Jun 26, 2015

You say Goodbye and I say Hello

At my mother Jean’s memorial service, several people remarked that they had been “saying goodbye to her for a very long time.”

This struck me as puzzling because in all the years I have been visiting Mom it was always about hello, never goodbye.

You say Goodbye and I say Hello

Of course, this has a lot to do with proximity. I saw Mom so often that the changes in her behavior and cognition were so gradual as to be nearly imperceptible.

Upon arrival I was immediate pulled into her orbit—one filled with so much life and joy that there was no room for loss or sadness.

This is a luxury that family living far away just don’t have. When you can only visit sporadically, the changes can be both dramatic and alarming. It’s easy to focus on the loss of the qualities you love.

By Marilyn Raichle
Alzheimer's Reading Room

So here are two ideas for your consideration.
  1. If you live near the person you love, spend as much time with them as you can. Let them pull you into their orbits and enjoy the ride.
  2. If you live far away, consider spending time at a assisted living retirement home, a local nursing home, or in a memory care facility. Get to know the people who live there and the caregivers who support them. You will find vibrant and lovely people who are in the same boat you are—far from their loved ones and eager to connect. Together you may find comfort, understanding and joy.
This has certainly been my experience with my six adopted Moms in supported living. I arrive to beaming smiles and unreserved good will.

“Hello Ladies!”
“Hello!” they cry.
Nothing but happiness all round.

Marilyn Raichle writes a blog, The Art of Alzheimer’s— How Mother Forgot Nearly Everything and Began to Paint and is developing an art exhibition to debut in Seattle in January of 2016: The Art of Alzheimer’s—Changing the Way We Think About Dementia —One Painting at a Time. She also works as an arts management consultant in the Greater Seattle area.

You comments are welcome.

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