Celebrate Every Day, Change Your Experience
by Reverend Linn Possell,
PAC Speaker and Mentor
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have. But rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
- Frederick Keonig
Thanksgiving is around the corner and while we all know that this day has been set aside to recognize and be grateful for the good things that we have in our life, often this is a time when we feel regret or sorrow for things that may be missing or have changed in our life. When we are living with dementia, whether as a person who has brain change or as a loved one, there are moments in our life when we experience ambiguous loss. This grief is different from the grief that comes from a death. Ambiguous loss can come from a variety of sources such as a change in relationship, if someone does not remember us, a different family dynamic, or when our loved one no longer lives with us – to name a just a few. Holidays and celebrations can become even more difficult when someone is experiencing ambiguous loss. But rather than looking at the changes and wishing things were different…what if we could appreciate our life even as it looks different than what we had imagined or hoped for?
This is what I found when supporting my mother’s life who lived with young onset FTD (FrontoTemporal Dementia). When I was able to celebrate the life she lived before her dementia, as well as the life she lived with dementia, and the new life that I lived because of her dementia, I found myself free of the ambiguous loss that many people told me about.
My hope is that during this season of thanksgiving, you can find a time to reflect on the things that can be celebrated, even if your life looks different than what you had imagined or hoped for. Each day, look for one small thing to celebrate and see if that changes your experience.