Feb 15, 2010

How Would You Know?

I hear these words all the time -- "you are a good son"....

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I don't know how many times a complete stranger said to me, "you are a good son." Hundreds, more than a thousand times?

I'm sitting here thinking about how I use to feel when I heard these words. I would think to myself, how do you know? Or, if I was in a bad mood, how the hell would you know?

Complete strangers (mostly women) would come up to me smile and say, "you are a good son". They based their opinion on a simple observation, they saw me holding my mother's hand as we walked.

I heard these words in the gym, in the grocery store, in restaurants, at the nail salon, and even at the doctor's office.

I suppose you could say, I didn't need to be told I was a good son. I knew I was a good son. Or maybe, it was because I had a problem accepting praise.

After all, most of the people who said, you are a good son, were making a simple observation based on their own beliefs. Based on what they saw.

As time went on, and the Alzheimer's started wearing me down, these words did start to take on a new meaning for me. They meant a great deal to me. I came to appreciate those words.

I realized that those words improved my day. They encouraged me. They encouraged me to keep on going on days when I needed a boost.

I now believe those words changed me. I now find it easier to accept praise. And, after all these years I appreciate those words of kindness. The Alzheimer's changed me and changed me for the better. It taught me to listen. Instead of thinking "how the hell do you know". I started listening and let those words sink in. I accepted those words in the way that they were offered.

Those few kind words helped me make it through the day. They energized me. They gave me a new and better opinion of myself. Those words made me feel "appreciated".

Those few simple words from a complete stranger lifted me up when I needed it the most.

I wrote this for all the good sons, daughters, spouses, and Alzheimer's caregivers out there.

You are a good person. I don't need to know you or meet you in person to mean and believe those words. I know it.

You have my admiration and respect. You are a good person.

PS... sometimes they said, you are a good grandson, I did like those words from the very beginning.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room