In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, author Mara Botonis shares a few words with us about loving someone with Alzheimer’s disease and how to stay connected with a loved one despite the progression of dementia.
Learn more about her Valentine’s Day promise to a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
A Promise to a Loved One with Alzheimer’s
I will always love you. The way I feel about you is based upon all of our experiences, history and all of our memories over the years that make up the unique story of our relationship.
Honestly, it does break my heart that you are unable to remember the ties that bind us as clearly as I do. But, I remember. I know that if you had the power to change things you would too.
I will always love you.
I’m sorry for the times I’m hard on you when you are just trying to connect with me in any way that you can. I promise to recognize the gift of your love that you offer me every day.
When you ask me the same questions over and over, I will remember that part of the reason may just be because you want to talk with me.
When you follow me around the house most of the day, I will remember that it may because you want to be with me.
When you pace or get agitated and upset, I will remember that part of the reason may be because this is hard on you. It has to be frustrating to want to say and do and remember things that seem just out of reach.
When you look at me, sit by me or give me a smile and nod, I will remember that you are expressing your feelings with all the communication tools you still have access to.
I will remember to appreciate and look for everything you can still do and grieve less for what has been lost.
I will remember to accept you and appreciate you for who you are right here, today and tomorrow and not always compare you to the memories of you I that hold so dear.
I will remember that there are new and equally precious memories to be made right here, right now.
I will look for your love not in words, but in the way you depend on me because you feel safe with me. I will look for your love not in tangible gifts but in the touch of your hand. I will recognize the love you offer me in your desire to be near me, your wish to talk with me and in the way you search my face for answers to your unasked questions.
I will always love you and I recognize now that despite this devastating disease, you will always love me too and I promise to better honor the way you that show me how you feel.
I promise to better appreciate the gifts you give me every day, I know you are giving to me everything that you now have to offer. Thank you.
I will always love you.
What do you want to say to a loved one with Alzheimer’s? We’d love to hear your stories and thoughts in the comments below.