What Does It Mean To Be Seen?
I still remember the day I walked into the memory care community where my Mom was living. She was sitting in her wheelchair, seemingly calm and content, and looked up at me when I came close and said “Hi Mom” and bent to hug her. She looked up at me and looked away as if she had seen a blank wall.
Once again I find myself calling upon mindfulness practice to work through more of my experience with my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease during the last months and years of her life.
I still remember the day I walked into the memory care community where my Mom was living. She was sitting in her wheelchair, seemingly calm and content, and looked up at me when I came close and said “Hi Mom” and bent to hug her. She glanced at me briefly and looked away as if she had seen a blank wall. Not a flicker. Not even a polite smile. It was customary that when I walked in, she still, even in later stages of the disease, beamed with love and recognition when she saw me. I have told this story countless times to clients, friends, and other family members. I was inspired to share this with you because of an article I read today that has made me pause and take yet another, deeper look into what I often refer to as “the worst day of my life”. Could there have been another way to frame that experience, and perhaps soften the grief of the moment and so many moments since?
Back then, I was not an eldercare professional, had not had the experience or education that I have now, and often tell myself that if I had, I would have done things differently. Admittedly, I am not very kind to myself in these moments and even when I say I did the best I could at the time, it sometimes feels a bit hollow. Even though I am echoing what I offer in all earnest to my clients, I seem to have trouble integrating it into my own heart and psyche.
What is really underneath the disappointment, pain, and shock of not being recognized by a loved one?
There are big questions we can ask ourselves about this experience – if we are willing to take the deep dive into our own truth and vulnerability. If that resonates for you, or if you are struggling with the ache of not being recognized by someone who perhaps has known you for decades or even your entire life, take a look at this article by Susan Macauley. It might pave the way for profound self-inquiry that could be a path of healing in the struggle I know many of you have experienced or are currently living through.
Remember if you have any questions or would like to be in touch with a Senior Care Authority Advisor in your area call (888) 854-3910 for a no-cost phone consultation. We have many resources to share with you. You can also find a local advisor on our website at www.seniorcareauthority.com.
Written by Marcy Baskin: Elder Care Manager, Family Coach, and Managing Director of Senior Care Authority. She is also the author of Assisted Living: Questions I Wish I Had Asked.
20 great questions to ask when a loved one doesn't recognize you anymore, by Susan Macauley.