Just See Me-Love Still Lives Here
Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia
My upcoming book, drum roll please...is now called ‘Just See Me-Love Still Lives Here-Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia’. My editor, Joyce Glass with the Writer's Academy suggested this title and I love it.
What's the Progress of Love Still Lives Here?
All 13 interviews and portrait sessions are complete and editorial work is nearing an end! Thirteen families opened their hearts and shared their stories about caring for their loved one with dementia. I learned so much about living well, and I can’t wait to share the portraits and the beautiful stories with you early 2018. Families who shared their accounts will have a beautiful legacy for their family.
Who is a Caregiver?
While interviewing 13 families, my definition changed a bit. A caregiver is someone who cares for another. A caregiver is someone who cares for themselves with the same integrity and authenticity they put into caring for others. We are caregivers to our parents, our children, our spouses, our friends and even our businesses. In the last few years, I realized I care for my business, my passion, better than I care for myself. I have to work hard to keep the designated self care time reserved and not let it get taken over by business tasks. Certainly we all have something we care about enough to consider ourselves to be a 'caregiver.' This is not to say I am comparing my various caregiving tasks to those of someone who cares for their loved one with dementia.
1. Rather than compare, our hearts can be open, nonjudgemental and look at others with the same compassion we want for ourselves.
2. All caregivers deserve compassion. If we have just a tiny bit more compassion, wouldn't it change the world? If we can have more understanding, we can change the world to be a kinder place. Don't we need this?
3. Open your eyes and open your heart. You don't know what others are going through. People who care for others are everywhere. They're at the grocery store, the school yards picking up their kids, next door to us... Don't ask what you can do because it places the burden on them. Instead, offer yourself and your services. It is easier to say 'yes' to an offer than it is to think about what you might need.
4. Caregiving can be thrust upon us without our approval. It can be an opportunity to rise up and show up 100%. It will be a time of many tests.
5. Practice active listening. Sharing a story is healing and essential to a robust life for all of us.
6. Giving makes you feel like you are living. Share your story, it builds intimacy and connection.
7. Money is not a substitute for tenderness. It is great to offer money to charities, but it isn't a replacement for true thoughtfulness.
The thirteen families in Just See Me-Love Still Lives Here, will ground us and remind us all about what is really important-Love, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Connection and other basic spiritual needs.
You may know I am a holistic nurse practitioner, and portrait, lifestyle and humanitarian photographer. I capture compassionate images-even of the hard times. About 2 years ago, I had a pull to document the stories of those caring for their loved ones with dementia. I believe when we truly have a ‘passion’ for something, no obstacle is too much. This is how I felt. It has become a book of spiritual lessons and so much more than I ever imagined. Love Still Lives Here is written so we can all be better caregivers- for others, our businesses and most importantly ourselves.