February 14, 2020 💘 © by Judith Allen Shone
Happy Valentine’s Day!
It seems appropriate that I share new-found words about LOVE on this day.
Through the years of caring for one with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, the phenomenon of AMBIGUOUS LOSS stepped in many times. Piece by piece those things that meant something vanished, not on any schedule, not related to any stage of disease. But those memories are gone, never to return.
I did not realize I experienced so much grief until someone found this quote and shared it online. It explains exactly how I have been feeling the entire journey through Alzheimer’s World.
I cannot say it better.
I have felt the little pulls at my heart strings when the date nights, the sweet cards, the kind comments, the invitations to dinner, the intimate conversations stopped. The biggest void has been knowing my name is no longer a memory. He sees the person now standing before him, but he does not associate that me with our history together. And, although I do still hold his hand and put my head on his shoulder, hat original person has vanished from My Love’s mind. I am the now familiar person who is with him who makes him feel safe.
Yet, I am his caregiver.
The collection of my sorrows, my sad days, and the empty spaces I feel each evening in my heart after saying “good night”, have become what Jamie Anderson calls, “…love with no place to go.“
The Alzheimer Society Canada explains “Grieving occurs in different ways at all stages in the dementia” caregiving journey as big and small losses continue over a long period instead of at one time “…closure is not possible and your grief cannot be fully resolved while the person with dementia is alive.”
Is it any wonder, then, that when we feel this way, that we seek out others…friends, loves, places, pets, passions, to refill out spirit through our interactions? Is it any wonder we yearn to replenish every cell in our bodies with love that we once felt, now ravaged by sorrow, so we can again share and give it away?
We all need love, to receive it and to give it away. The interchange of love impacts each breath, each action, each thought. When love is gone, we miss the feeling of being surrounded by that peaceful contentment and trust.
It is by discovering it is missing that I realize every inch of my body and soul have been created to have a life relationship based in love. 💗
Right now, my caregiving relationship with My Love still goes on. The grief I speak of here is of an ongoing nature. I cannot relate how I will feel going forward.
Carrying the idea further, I felt grief, defined as “love with no place to go,” meant, that if I wanted to again feel love, I would have to find places where I could share it. Memories of missing tenderness could remain while I would be able to replenish my soul, restoring love by continuing to care for others.
I think that is how it might go. Grief might not have to be painful forever if I consciously continue to seek out ways to give and share love. I am convinced that kindness, to myself, to others and from others to me, is the best way forward. That kindness can release what is seemingly caught, or pent up, as Jamie Anderson relates, “in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat and in that hollow part of your chest,” and we can then allow love some place to flow.
I gain hope as I learn from other caregivers. They will tell their stories of their lost loves. There will be caregivers who gave their all and were drained empty of love and found love to fill their life again. While stories help ease the pain, none will be the same, yet all will be heartfelt.
Is it possible that my stories in my series Accepting the Gift of Caregving, Part One and Part Two, are stories trying to find ways to release “love that had no place to go”?
Let Love be a habit…give Love somewhere to go.
Love, love, love… every day, every one, everyone!
Each day do something to make others smile and your heart sing!
“Love with No Place to Go” © 2020 Judith Allen Shone
Jamie Anderson quote photograph from Facebook, with reference 12.WP.com
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