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Unpredictable Weather

We are in that crazy time of year when you never quite know what to expect, weather-wise.

Last week, the high temps and gorgeous warm breeze had most of us convinced that summer was already being ushered in. And then, this past weekend: snow!

The snow on Sunday morning was truly beautiful, but the afternoon vivid blue sky with bright sunshine was also extremely gorgeous! Isn’t is funny how Mother Nature keeps us on our toes during this time every year? Sometimes, the changes in weather are volatile. Other times, sneaky. But either way, it’s “predictably unpredictable.”

Sunday’s snow, for example, was fleeting – like a glimmer of cognition in a loved one’s eyes during a conversation. Fleeting, but nonetheless there.

Is any of this resonating with the caregivers out there who have loved ones living with dementia?

When you’re caring for someone living with memory loss, things can change at a moment’s notice. Moods, temperament, behavior, even physical appearance can shift as quickly as a weather front blowing in. It can be surprising, nerve-wracking, even scary.

It can also be fascinating, if we decide to adopt that perspective. Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk and leading mind on the topic of gratefulness, offers up in his powerful video, “A Good Day,” that such changes in our lives are opportunities to cultivate a life-enhancing mindset of gratitude:

“Even with the weather, we don’t think of all the many nuances of weather. We just think of ‘good weather’ and ‘bad weather.’ This day right now is unique weather – maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again. The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now. Open your eyes and look at that.”

I wonder: can we approach the ever-shifting realities that we face along the dementia journey through the same lens? Can we take it all in with wonder, appreciation, curiosity, even awe?

Can we laugh the mysteries? At the fact that we slip on our winter coat in the morning, we’re sweating in the afternoon, and we never quite know what to wear during this time of year?

Can we find similar joys during this “Alzheimer’s adventure” with our loved one?

(Got a comment? I love ’em! Email them here and I’ll read and reply.)