When I have spoken of balancing life given the presence of Alzheimer’s, there is one statement I have heard over and over again:
“Don’t forget to live your life, too”.
Each time I’m told that, it knocks the breath out of me. Trying to live, and live to the fullest while those you love suffer, is emotionally paralyzing.
And yet, it’s true.
There is a choice, and it is one of life or death. Mine.
Therefore, after some thought, I have come up with a quick list of actions that I want to take more often in order to “live my life too”:
- Talk about my mom. Tell stories. Some friends have never met my mother but I’d like to share her regardless.
- Ask for help. Where I might not like having to call someone when I’m crying, I just need to do it.
- Journal/Pray/Meditate. These are good forms of putting words to my struggles and finding pathways of peace.
- Have fun. Go out, form new interests, plan great activities a.k.a. live a little.
I’m in my twenties. My world is not “deal every day with the reality of Alzheimer’s” OR “live the quintessential twenty-something’s life”. It’s both. This may not be the path of most of my peers, but it is mine. And living, no matter how complicated the balancing act is, is something I refuse to forget how to do.