My mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 62. She passed away five years later. My journey with her was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have never experienced pain, grief, anger or frustration so deeply. Also, though, it was so profoundly transformative that what I learned along the way will ripple throughout the rest of my life.
From day one of her diagnosis, mom was teaching me. Not directly of course, but in a mystical way she forced me to change so that I could be with her. She was giving me lessons on how to move and maneuver through life with strength, agility, poise.
The most profound thing she showed me was that on the other side of the struggle through Alzheimer’s is a deep and spacious world of Love and Grace.
Often that world can’t be seen, because what comes with Alzheimer’s is heartbreak, pain, and grief. Most of the time, the struggle blinds us. We watch memories go, sometimes personalities. We watch their bodies wither, and their minds jumble. So much gets taken away from us and our loved one as the disease progresses. Things change and disappear and it feels like our heart goes with them.
If we can find a way to be truly present however, with ourselves, with our loved one, with the journey and all it brings, we can see that something more powerful than disease still remains. The purest forms of Love have nothing to do with the mind or the body, and if we can broaden our gaze, we can touch that Love.
As a teacher of life, my mother humbled me, and I am forever grateful to her.
I wrote my book, Love Doesn’t Care If You Forget, in an attempt to point others to the capital ‘L’ Love that mom showed me so that other can awaken their own deep Grace. The book is our personal story, yes, but it is also a guide to the other side of the struggle. There is so much to fear and dread and deal with when you love someone with Alzheimer’s. No one really tells you, at least no one told me, that it can also open up a door to a richer world.
If you know where to look, the forces of Love and Grace will make themselves available to you. These powers will comfort, guide and enliven you along the way. I wrote this book as my best attempt to shed light on the places where those forces exist, and where they don’t.
It is a small book about deep Love and eternal Hope. I brought it into the world to let you know that it is not all hard. It is not all grief and pain and struggle. There is so much more that you don’t have to dread. Indeed, you can welcome it into your heart.
About the Author
Brianne is a writer and advanced certified transformation coach who explores the simple beauty and powerful truths of life.