Many years ago, I took care of an old man with Alzheimer’s.
For over six months, I fed him, gave him his showers, dressed him, kept him company, wiped his butt, took him for walks.
Fended his ‘crazy’ spurts – like when he tried to hit me all the way out of the house, then locked me out and was laughing maniacally through the window (oh yes. Ha. Ha. Ha. ).
|the old man|
I took care of him because in the initial interview, I took to his wife – I really liked her. With dark circles under her eyes, she was completely overwhelmed, struggling to care for him 24/7.
But man…. the love she showed her husband! The tender way she looked at him! He had no idea who she was but still. She didn’t skip a beat. I wanted to help her. So I joined ship.
That period taught me a lot, you know. I was in such a raw state in my own life and self that I could not bear to be touched.
But this old man could sometimes only be soothed by my holding his hand. I’d have to hold his hand and get to this place of stillness inside myself and let that energy come across…and only then would he quiet whatever agitation might have stirred up.
But somehow in that all, he taught me how to hold hands. He taught me how to open up to other people again from a trusting heart space.
I’d watch him for hours as he gazed outside.
He saw things that I didn’t. I wondered what they were.
|the old man, looking out the window|
They consciously chose to take his Alzheimer’s in stride and learn and grow as a familial unit. Bond ever-tighter. To request help when they needed it (enter me), but to form a net of pure love and catch this man who meant so much to them.
But what do I know? Maybe this is the face of “suffering” and “affliction“?
|my little Maverick. In front of the big painting of the Old Man, looking out into his garden through his magic glass and seeing his young self out there|