Sitting across from her, a sweet elderly resident with dementia, attempting to get out of bed and expressing herself in sounds I could not understand. I sat there battling within myself, all therapeutic tools to help her not get out of bed and assist in calming her. I would cover her up with her blanket which she insisted on pulling back and throwing the pillow beside her leg. We did this dance and I started to feel the tightness in my chest. Aha! Sit, breath and listen - so I slowly started to let go. I let her kick the blankets to the end of the bed, I picked up the pillow and put it by the bedside and I just sat there. Telling her what I tell my daughter, "______, you are safe here" when she would get agitated (at least in my perception). I sat there breathing as thoughts came and went.
How does one "get" dementia?
How was she like as a kid? As a baby?
I wonder how she's feeling?
and then it shifted.
How am I feeling?
I was feeling scared.
Sitting with her brought up fear in me.
Am I going to end up like this one day?
Can I prevent it with the food I eat, exercise?
Then the gratitude practice kicked in.
Thank you for this moment.
Thank you for this teacher.
Thank you for this practice.
Thank you for this life.
Thank you for this opportunity.
And as I left her side, I thanked her and told her once again that she was safe.
Sending her well wishes
May you be well
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be at ease with life
Because - we all need well wishes wherever we are at with life.