Ruminations on a Year-2018

We look at the world; the world looks back at us.   Some call me brave.  Brave?  Far from it but I do accept responsibility.  They call us a loving couple and that we are.

“Oh, Bert looks so well, you would hardly know he has Alzheimer disease”.  If only they knew.  I choose to accept the compliment on behalf of both of us, after all carers get so little thanks, if any.

“How can you write so positively about your situation?”  I choose to do so.  No, I do not have a Pollyanna complex.  Rose coloured glasses obscure too much.   I have to see clearly not just for me but also for my Bert.  I hurt.    Of course I do.  However, I am grateful that I do see the glass half full and have been blessed by an offbeat sense of humour and with a partner who makes me laugh.

“You are a Saint.”  Hah!  Leave that sobriquet to Mother Teresa.  There are times when I must be more akin to the devil incarnate.  Have I experienced bitterness?  Yes, but as Norman Vincent Peale said: ”Change your thoughts and you change your world.”   Sure I will have negative thoughts; they come with the territory, but I hope they are not bitter.

In 2018, the learning curve reached a peak.  We sit on a plateau not knowing when the change will come.  Will it be again upward or will it be a downward helter-skelter tumbling into the abyss?   More than likely it will be a combination of upward learning as we tumble ever downward.  I choose to let the future be, holding on to the present and refusing to be weighed down by the past.  2018 taught us we can live, differently yes, but live nonetheless.  This is neither bravery nor sainthood, just accepting the things we cannot change.

In 2018 I learnt banging my head against the wall only results in a headache. Therefore I count to ten or maybe twenty or maybe…  I must be long past a million by now.

In 2018 I learnt that I am actually quite pragmatic as I know I have to acknowledge the darkness.  I have to grant how awful, how evil, how depressing this disease is.  Yet I must also look for the infinitesimal spark of light within that darkness.

2018 taught us to live by smalls, like small mercies, small moments, small comforts, and small miracles.  We learnt to wonder at the beauty of one song within the symphony, one iridescent droplet after the rain, one star within the constellation.  In a shrinking world our universe expanded.

In 2018 I would sometimes awaken with tears streaming and fall into a chicken and egg reverie.  Are these tears of joy for a rare good night’s sleep or is the sadness deep in my soul finding release?  I try to unravel the conundrum while in my suspended animation shifting between waking and sleeping I endeavour to decipher the meaning of the tears.

The yin and yang are played out in every way thinkable every day.  It seems that happiness and sadness are always holding hands, walking in tandem and interlaced with uncertainty.  What’s next is an ever present question and the answer is always we do not know.

The Meander:  As a new year dawns I promise myself that when I see myself sliding into the slough of despair I will ponder the imponderables:  How can there be darkness if we do not know light; how can we know good if there is no evil.  I can be joyful because I am intimate with sadness.

22 thoughts on “Ruminations on a Year-2018”

  1. Light peace and love as you and your Bert journey through 2019. Thanks for your inspiration and humor it makes me feel guilty for complaining about woes

  2. Oh, my dear. Even in the midst of facing the pain, uncertainty, and feelings of loss, you write so beautifully, and your love and strength come through.
    Your writing is powerful, wise, and expresses such profound insights.
    Keep writing.

    My best wishes to you and Bert.

    1. Comments like these from people like you give me inspiration. I write because I find it helps to keep me in balance. It is therapy and I am glad I can use it to help others. The caregiving life is not easy but when shared it becomes more bearable. Yes, I will keep writing.

  3. Paula, I thought of calling you, but I am certain I would have had difficulty voicing my true feelings to this absolutely amazing blog. I always enjoyed your thoughts, spoken or written, but this one “takes the cake”. I read it to Pres, and had to stop often to ease the tightening in my throat. Oh Paula, this one really brings home reality; this life of ours is real, not a rehearsal. I feel your pain, in the same way that I feel your love. Love you both very much my dear sister-friend. Keep that smile, especially that one (chuckle) in your voice.

    1. Dear sisterfriend, we have shared so much over the years. I know why this one carried such an impact. Remember our sharing also includes those wonderful times of love and laughter when we laughed until we cried. Love you and our Pres.

  4. How inspiring! How poetic! How wonderful that the gift of writing provides an outlet for you. My ever-present arthritic aches and pains, plus frequent new pain from out of the blue, sometimes get me down. You are teaching me that I have little to complain about and that I, too, should keep my eyes on the light, not the darkness. Thanks for the lesson; and best wishes for a 2019 that brings more light than darkness to you and Bert.

  5. An honest, interesting and thought-provoking post as usual, Miss Paula! The insights you share are, I am sure, no doubt helpful and inspiring to all your readers!

    1. I hope so. This is such an amazing and stressful journey that if anything I write can bring some solace to my readers will justify my need to write. I get as much from writing as from hearing that I am making a difference, no matter how tiny.

  6. Yet another absolutely beautiful post Paula. Before I turn in for the night, I felt compelled to respond. Such beautiful words you wrote. Touched my heart. Some made me feel sad too.
    I know all to well, the feelings of sadness, despair, depression. I too have shed tears at many different times throughout my mother’s Dementia. I know what it’s like to feel that roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis. Sometimes for me it’s a song lyric or a tv show episode that can trigger my tears and make me think about how my mother used to be. Same can be said about my dad. Whenever I hear the word cancer or see someone suffering in a tv commercial it brings out the tears as well. I just chalk it up to me being someone who feels things very deeply, someone who gets emotional very easily. Some call me overly sensitive. Which I guess I am, thing is I cant help it. Just part of who I am. Pardon my french here but I just give a shit. I care too damn much. Always have. Always will.
    Again, just love your words. So well said. So meaningful so helpful too. Love this entire post. Keep them coming.

    1. Stephanie, you know it, you feel it. All I can say is love yourself. You are carrying a heavy burden. Allow yourself to be who you are and take delight that you are unique, special and capable. I want to help. I am so happy I can in any small way.

  7. You leave us with nothing to say. Your thoughts are as irredescent as that fallen raindrop, shimmering for all of us engaged with life. It helps me keep the even keel that all of us seek. Bless you both.

  8. Dear Paula,
    Of all your writing which I find exceptionally good, I do not think I have read anything as superbe and moving as “Ruminations on a Year- 2018”.
    Thank you so so much for sharing these words. Through them you touch our lives and change the world.

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