People occasionally ask me how I’m doing with my dementia. Or, more specifically, they ask me what Dementia is like. My responses have evolved over the last few months, but here’s the gist of it: Dementia is like having an annoying roommate move in with you. A roommate who never leaves the house and who’s extremely hard to get along with. The kind of roommate who can never be evicted, even though he pays no bills, and always leaves a mess. The kind of roommate that thrives on creating both problems and confusion. And when you leave the house, the roommate always travels with you.
Once moved in, Dementia never leaves. Some days are better than others, but in the end, Dementia never leaves. Medication helps a bit, but Dementia eventually defeats them all, as ones’ memories slowly fade away. The shock of the “official” diagnosis begins to fade, and one must come to terms with their Dementia, in order to get things done.
Our Christmas project this year was to put Christmas lights up outside. It had been a number of years since we’d done so, since we were always busy with our church. We made our pilgrimage to Home Depot for several strings of lights. But the really different thing we did this year, is that we put all the lights up on our backyard fence.
That was a first for us. Our Christmas lights had always adorned our front roof, front door and windows. But this year, we moved into a duplex with a large common grassy area behind us. A fair number of our neighbors are older and we got a lot of compliments. And even better, our dogs haven’t chewed the cords and turned into glowing reindeer. It’s a Christmas miracle, despite the darned Dementia.
Even better, the folks that reside in the nursing home and Alzheimer Unit across the way can see them out their windows and enjoy them just as much. Perhaps they relive their Christmas memories, while gazing at the lights. Sometime down the road, I’ll very likely be where they’re at; the lights are nothing fancy, just a reminder that the light of Christ shines always in the darkness. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!