“Dementia is our most-feared illness, more than heart disease or cancer.”~
A very dear friend of mine recently received a diagnosis of vascular dementia. At 72, she is young, in terms of seniors and elders, and remains younger than her years in most ways.
I’m no stranger to dementia, and I’m not even completely blindsided by this, I have seen some signs. Yet this is a first for me in the very-close-friend-category.
How grateful I am that both she and I have tended to our personal growth over the years! She has called me her friend with benefits. Coaching benefits. 😉
When I asked her what her greatest concern was about this, she did not hesitate: I’m scared about when the time comes that I don’t know who I am.
“It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases – one was Alzheimer’s, and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer’s.” ~ Terry Pratchett
I gently asked, if she didn’t know, why would it matter?
Oh, I would never trivialize the fear and anger one feels when faced with any kind of life changing news. But I knew she’d “get it”. She got quiet, breathed noticeably, and chuckled. “Oh, right”, she said.
She’s got a brilliant mind, picks up concepts quickly, and is more interested in transcending her conditioned thinking than anyone else I’ve ever known, present company included.
Navigating through the mysterious corridors of brain mis-fires will be an interesting journey with her. Certainly we will both feel a plethora of emotions, and we most certainly will allow each other to experience those feelings, yet with the confidence that all is well, all is divine, and that our lives are richer because we knew one another. And with the confidence that we will feel pain, and that pain will serve to bring us closer, to each other, to ourselves, to life itself.
“I can’t remember anything. Isn’t it peaceful?” ~ Byron Katie