Yes, I am living with Alzheimer’s disease. But nevertheless, I have a need to hold on to my sense of self worth. I want my ideas and opinions heard. I need to get up and out of my bed each morning, and stretch my arms. Wave them over my head, say hello to myself in the mirror, and ask myself who I want to be today.
I’ve learned it’s important to make a positive statement to yourself every day about how you view life. I am going to think happy thoughts today. I am going to hear the birds chirping when they soar past me.
I am going to identify the birds as they are flying to their nests. Is it a Robin Red Breast, a Sparrow, a Black-capped Chickadee or a Blue Bird of Happiness? Listen to their songs. Identify the bird calls. And whistle back. They do answer you. I know. They do make me feel alive and worthy of their songs.
Take time to watch the squirrels scamper up the trees and back down again to bring food to their hungry babies.
My husband Dan and I sat for our granddaughter recently. She is like a little bird with her baby talk and adorable antics as she plays. Looking at her makes me so happy to be alive. I taught her to put her toys away, and it actually felt good to be able to teach her something. Again, that feeling of self-worth is very empowering.
I remember my aunt and my grandmother who were almost blind. They would feel my face and hear my voice and that would make their day. My advice for anyone living with Alzheimer’s disease or another chronic health condition – do something that pleases you each day. It will help you live and feel a sense of self worth.
Today our group of friends with early-stage Alzheimer’s attended the funeral of a spouse who was the husband and caregiver to a member of our group. He enjoyed his life as a former Pastor of the church where the funeral was held. We will miss him. His daughters and other family members and friends will now have the responsibility to take care of our friend with Alzheimer’s who is now a widow. We will all miss him and will continue to nurture our friendship with his wife.
After we returned from the funeral, my husband and I took a walk and enjoyed identifying the birds along the way and the flowers growing in our yard. My thoughts became consumed with playing with grandchildren and going to an annual family gathering at a lake home in the not too distant future. Life is good.
~Barbara Cheek Johnson is a journalist living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease ~