Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rules Don't Apply

When I was little I learned not to drink milk from my cereal bowl, I learned to eat neatly and not drop my food, I learned not to play with my food, and I learned that I had to eat what was put in front of me. I learned all the things most of us teach our children.

Honey banana rice with pork.
So the other day when my Mom mixed rice, bananas, and honey together at dinner, I was reminded of how many of those rules do not apply anymore. Mom just commented yesterday morning, after she had drunk the milk out of her cereal bowl, "Remember when I taught you not to drink milk from your bowl?" That memory made her smile. It was kind of funny for us to think of how she now does many of the things she taught us not to do. Her hands shake from the Parkinson's so she is sometimes a messy eater and drops her food. She does not always want to eat what is put in front of her so we make her something else.

What makes me really happy though is that none of us care about the rules. Who cares if she makes odd food pairings or has a messy spot at the table? She is still the beautiful person she has always been. She is still important and valued. It does not matter that the rules no longer apply.

It can be hard for us to watch these changes because these rules are often the ones that people believe split adults from children. They are a sign of ability and health. At first it made me sad to see Mom dropping her food, but that is really just my fear over the progression of her disease, not that it actually matters if she drops the food. As we see these changes, we need to remember that our loved on with dementia is still valued and important. The changes do not mean we are losing our loved one,  but that they are transitioning into a new phase in their life that we have the privilege to be with them for the journey.


Rev. Katie

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