When you’re traveling the path of Alzheimer’s with a parent 24/7, you can expect daily kinks in the routine. Some days are relatively smooth and fall easily into the “I got this” category while others…well, I can’t say it very nicely so I won’t say it all (but you get the idea). For example, most mornings dad verbally grumbles about getting up even though I present him bedside with a hot cup of amazing coffee, a smile, and cheerful greeting. I remind him to shower, help lay out his clothing (because he will choose a sweater on a hot day or a light t-shirt on a cold one), and leave him to his personal hygiene rituals. Once he presents himself in the main part of our home, he usually smiles and notes, “I’m here; I’m ready.” We all clap and get his day going; it’s the same each day.
Dad requires lots of assistance with specific daily tasks, especially those involving medications, inhalers, etc. He easily confuses things or chooses to just skip them. Some days while gently reminding or assisting him through a specific task, he looks at me as though I’m 12 once again and “bossing” him into submission. Sidebar: Yes, I’m a natural red-headed benevolent overlord; always have been and always will be (those of you who’ve known and loved me most of my life, including St. M, will verify this fact, huh?!). To dad though, I’m 12 again and by golly, no daughter of his will tell him what to do. The second St. M opens his mouth to repeat what I just said, dad immediately complies. WHAT?!? It’s the power of what I call “show up.”
St. M carries compassion in abundance and uses the super power of show up to his advantage with dad. In his easy-going way, he coaxes daddy to do what’s in dad’s best interest–drink the entire glass of water with the medication, take the inhaler because of non-stop wheezing, wear the jacket because it’s cold outside, etc. It may incense me inside at times because I failed to produce results in that moment, but in reality, it’ a grateful outcome because someone other than me took the time to show up.
So, on day two: What’s a super power you gratefully use to help others?
Some dear friends gently remind me on this journey of these powerful words: “show up…pay attention…let go…speak your truth…don’t be wedded to the outcome…” This is my morning mantra and sets my mind as I choose to once again show up in gratefulness for the opportunity to start another day with dad.