Autumn mist hangs in the air
lying low, embracing the limbs of bare trees
blanketing the ground
barring the light
softening the edges
tempering the harsh landscape with a quiet grace ____________________________________________________________
Sounds a bit like dementia? Like the process of Alzheimers? Possibly like caregiving?
November is Alzheimer’s month. It is a time to remember, to name names, to acknowledge and recognize those people we have known, those we have loved, those who are with us, and those who have died.
I am going to use the words from the Beatitudes in the New Testament.
But I want to clarify some of the words because I do not want to imply that anyone is lucky, or fortunate or chosen with the diagnosis of Alzheimers or Dementia.
I want to invite you to remember the grace and the impact that a life has had on the world. The life of your loved one, your family member, the one in your care. The one you will name today. They are and were not an empty shell. They are, and continue to be part of your story, your life, your relationship. They will remain with you as long as you continue to speak their story and the influence they have had on you.
A Beatitude is a supreme sense of blessedness
Blessed is another word for Grace.
And Grace is another word for honor, to dignify and being in favor with God.
Favor is a kindness, a service and a leaning into a calling.
Being created in God’s image implies that each person has a completeness to their essence, their being, a wholeness of mind, body and spirit. The person with Alzheimers has a wholeness to their essence. But like in the autumn mist, we are not able to embrace them.
Created in God’s image also implies that every individual is created for relationship with God and with others. But like in the autumn mist, the edges are softened and connection is not the same.
Every individual maintains an ability to give and to receive. Like in the autumn mist, the harsh landscape is touched with moments of quiet grace.
The meek, the defenseless, the vulnerable, the powerless, the poor in spirit, the ones who mourn are called blessed ~ remember, blessed is another word for Grace, another word for honor, for being in free favor with God.
Blessed, graced and honored are those with Alzheimer’s
Blessed, graced and honored are those with dementia
Blessed, graced and honored are the caregivers for leaning into a calling of care
Blessed are those who make it known
“I need to be loved, respected and not left alone.”
Blessed are those who have a story that needs to be heard.
Blessed are those who hold, who listen, who feed, who love.
Blessed are those who are loved.
Blessed are those who remember.
Blessed are those who have forgotten.
Blessed are those with bodies and minds and spirits.
Blessed are those who need affirmation, support and connection.
Blessed are you.
Graced are you.
Honored are you.
This is what Love is. This is who God is.
May the Wellspring of Compassion be opened in you.
May soothing words find a home in you.
May Tenderness bless you as you reach out
to comfort body, mind and spirit.
In the midst of fear and frustration may Courage be given you.
May Patience keep vigil with you and Peace of Mind calm you.
May your heart find a song to sing even when you are weary.
May Abundant Love lift you and gratitude bless you
as you live the mission of Care entrusted to you.