Sunday, December 21, 2014

Shortest Day

It is a blessing that today was the shortest day of the year.
Alzheimer's Caregiver Flower | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Yellow: I am supporting or caring
for someone with Alzheimer's.

Since Mom's diagnosis, I have done my best to focus on the positive. There are lots of obstacles to overcome, but there are also lots of shining rays of happiness filtering through the trees of the dark forest. That's what I strive to keep top-of-mind.

But there are days, like today, when despair overtakes positive thinking; when nagging thoughts creep in and push out the knowledge that typically keeps me strong.

I know, for instance, that this time next year will be much different than today. But I also know, regardless of what the future holds, that this time next year will be worse, because it's Alzheimer's.

With other diseases, there is always hope for a cure; the notion that things might still be okay and your loved one could still pull through. But that is not the case with Alzheimer's. Rather, we live in the shadows of the knowledge that this moment is as good as it gets.

The approaching holidays make it nearly impossible to push out thoughts of those who chose to abandon my mom, me, and our family. Thoughts of efforts to reach out going unanswered. Thoughts of close relations who prioritize other things that pull their attention and compassion away from us. The pain is acutely sharp and persistent. Pleas for support fall on deaf ears that exist in the realm of denial; a realm to which I have no access.

On days like these, when buckets of negative thoughts rain down, I try to busy myself with soothing chores, such as baking. Today, I baked ten loaves of bread. Every morsel will be given away. The process, including giving it away, is therapeutic. 

But still, as a day like today wares on, there comes a moment when there is only one thing that can be done; as bread in the oven baked and the dough in the bowl rose; I sat quietly in my room where the light was growing dim and I wept.

The tears silently streamed down my cheeks, warming my face like the soft embrace of an angel's hug. The poison of hurt, frustration, and anger spilled out. Hubby retrieved a box of tissues and placed it on the table beside my chair.

When the tears were spent, there was room once again for good thoughts; loving family that supports us on our journey; amazing friends that help us through each day without hesitation; amazing, strong, sons who cook supper, run errands, and tell goofy jokes; happy, loving moments shared with Mom. 

For now, the darkness is held at bay. Tomorrow will be another day with the promise of just a little more light than today. Some days, a little more is all any of us need.

But at this moment, with dryer eyes, I can honestly say that for me, it is a blessing that today was the shortest day of the year.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
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Copyright 2014 Michele Bare 

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