Student or Victim?

May I cry? And cry some more? Because it’s heartbreaking to see my dad slowly losing himself in dementia. And because he’s not the only one. There are so many others.

Whether they came upon dementia via Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or something else, they all had lives. Dreams. Talents. Accomplishments.

They all have families. Families that are now stretched and torn and broken.

All of us – patients, family and friends – are stunned. We don’t know what to do with ourselves, because we normally function under the theory that if we follow the rules, we’ll be OK. That things like this only happen to “the other guy.”

But it turns out, sometimes we are the other guy. We are all the same – equally vulnerable to pain and disease.

As we adjust to life with dementia, it seems everything has changed . . . But, really, it hasn’t. The world hasn’t changed. The “rules” haven’t changed. What’s important hasn’t changed. The thing that’s changed is our perception.

Dementia has taken away the life we knew, and in the process, cleared our view. It has removed obstructions that kept us from seeing what was there all along.

Now we see that much of what we spend our lives worrying about and accumulating and “proving” . . . They don’t last. They can all be taken away. We own nothing. When it comes down to it, we are not in control.

The question is, what will we do with this revelation? Will we use it to expand our understanding of life and ourselves?

Tears are ok, but we can’t cry forever. At some point, we have to decide if we’re going to be victims or if we’re going to be students.

We might not want to learn this lesson. But we’re here. We might as well see what “here” has to teach us.

This is Dad's high school graduation picture. He was valedictorian of the Ledyard Community High School class of 1955.

This is Dad’s high school graduation picture. He was valedictorian of the Ledyard Community High School class of 1955.


3 responses to “Student or Victim?

  1. I know your pain Sue, and I have shed the same tears for my dad. I am so sorry, that you and your family have to go through this. Hopefully someday there will be a cure, for this horrible disease

  2. This made me cry, Susan. You and your family continue to be in my prayers. Your dad is blessed to have you caring so much for him.

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