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Posts Tagged ‘Support’

At the most basic level, we are pack animals.  Neurobiologically we are wired to be connected to others.  But somehow we learned to  individuate.  We learned to separate ourselves from others, to become fiercely independent, the captains of our own ships.  We learned that to need others or to be vulnerable was to be weak.  The message, “Just get over it” almost whispers in the wind.  We are allowed a day to grieve a loss and then we’re supposed to move on.

The human heart, with all it’s neural receptors, doesn’t work like that.  We are hard wired to connect.  When people we love, or people we are supposed to love, or people who were supposed to love us drift away, it hurts.  When we shut down in order to show the world that we have “gotten over it,”  a little piece of ourselves dies.  When we “fake it till we make it” and pretend that everything is OK when it’s not, we lose a little piece of ourselves.

The crazy thing is that there are countless people out there watching people they loved fade away, sliding into the abyss that Alzheimer’s creates.  There is no need to bear the pain of this loss alone.  I just sat with a group of people who, like me, were grieving the loss of a parent who was fading away due to Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.  They spoke of the anger at a universe or God who would be so cruel, the exhaustion of providing care and worrying, the fear of losing their loved one completely, their despair that they would never get the unconditional love from that parent, the anger at the disease, the frustration at the inability to clear up unfinished business, guilty about the wish that that parent would just die, and a sundry of other issues related to watching a loved one fade into the clutches of Alzheimer’s.  Even though it was sad and painful, it felt healing.  I felt like I wasn’t so alone.

I think the sense of aloneness, of uniqueness, of the idea that “no one else could ever understand” is the worst part – at least in this moment.   So I challenge you to find someone to share your story with, someone to share your pain with.  Find someone who feels safe and try it…  see how it pans out.  Let me know how your experiment works out.

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