If dementia were a human, I would have no trouble creating an accurate characterization. It would be a cruel, unfeeling, unrelenting tyrant that robs its victims of everything but basic bodily functions.
One of my closest and most cherished relatives is one of dementia’s targets. Spending time with her, I soon realized that all she had left was the present. Her past was inaccessible, the future was impossible and the now lasted only for a few seconds.
For as much as I wanted the visit to be meaningful to her, she had no recollections. When I told her my name (many times) I was blessed to see a flash of recognition. As quickly as it appeared, it was gone.
My countless memories are all that remain – only to me. We have been related for a very long time and for all those years, I anticipated and enjoyed her heartfelt birthday cards that are no more. Now she is as far away mentally as the physical distance between us. To her, all the days are the same and they are all labeled as “today.”
If your reality resembles mine, never find excuses not to visit. My loved one knew I was there for ten seconds, then another ten seconds and ten more. With all my heart and spirit, I only hope that I brought a moment of security and love. If she knew that she was loved for all types and lengths of time, it would be to defeat the dementia beast. She deserves that defeat, roses to bring her joy and more, for as long as I can fight for her. Shalom.