What I learned about Independence from my Dad


Hi, I’m Janet Clark, and it’s one day before the 4th of July here in the US – our Independence day.

My Dad has dementia, which makes me sad, but it’s also teaching me a lot about what freedom means.

My dad has lost many of his freedoms. He can’t walk outside anytime he chooses, he can’t drive a car, cook meals, or even eat what or when he wants.

He can’t learn new things, or  enjoy spending the money he earned over a lifetime of working. He can’t pick up a telephone and call his friends and family.

He lives in the moment. Some are moments of joy, some are moments of fear, some are moments of discomfort, some are moments of contentment.

So what are the lessons I am learning?

1. You are not your work. See my Dad was an executive, very respected, very successful (by corporate standards) and very well paid. He had hundreds of people working for him. Many of them considered him their mentor, many admired him, many respected him.  Yet now, my Dad is just one of the residents on the 1st floor.

2. You are not your money.  My Dad made plenty of money, which is, thankfully, affording him good care. But, frankly, money can’t buy back his freedoms.

3. There is Freedom in Loving. My Dad is still something special. He can’t remember a lot, but he knows the feeling of love. He loves someone to smile at him, he will smile right back. He loves a hug, a kiss & a touch. And he will reciprocate. He loves a sentimental greeting card, they bring tears to his eyes. He loves the “old songs”, he’ll sing right along. He loves to pray, he hasn’t forgotten how.

My Dad’s dementia has taught me to love more and worry less. That is the Freedom Shift I am making this Independence Day. How about you?

Sending Light & Love!

Janet

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