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Thank you Amy. Resonate with every word. Most especially:

"We felt in our bodies and our hearts all the ways we could break if we give so much to others that we cannot take in love and have nothing left to give ourselves."

Feeling this. Acutely.

Much love from my Kintsugi heart to yours,

Kristin

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Mar 13Liked by Amy Brown

What a beautiful, heartfelt sharing of your experience in Hawaii -- what a great communion of sisterhood in caregiving!

I love this: "We felt in our bodies and our hearts all the ways we could break if we give so much to others that we cannot take in love and have nothing left to give ourselves."

Seriously, I have felt the same. How can our hearts not break open when we give so much of ourselves--and that's the way we women are intuitively, and often trained to be from early on. But centering--yes, that's the perfect word that reminds us, that in order to give of ourselves, we must be grounded and centered on ourselves.

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Thank you for this thoughtful comment, Louisa! Here's to staying grounded and centered.

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Mar 12·edited Mar 12Liked by Amy Brown

Perhaps you or others have mentioned this: the 'concern' for dementia (I almost wrote 'fear of dementia', but this is too strong) as one ages, even if it doesn't seem manifestly present. It is natural to have memory lapses, even in one's 40s and 50s. When one is closing in on 88 (as I am) there is a tendency to question one's faculties. I concluded in my 60s or 70s that as one collects data and stores it somewhere in the noggin, the memory banks get quite full and quick access to it all sometimes fails. My mate (whom you know) has a family history of dementia in her female line. She is alert to her own faculties, sometimes mentioning the aging process (she's only 70). She cannot help but wonder if she will become afflicted as her forebears did. I see nothing like it in her, of course. We both are avid readers, electronic game/puzzle players (not 'gamers', fer sher), arguers over current issues, etc. But--will the dementia catch up with us before we cash in our chips? I certainly don't want to be a burden to my family and friends, should I lose my cognitive abilities. I am physically quite healthy, in comparison to others my age. If I should retain a healthy body but a failing cognitive system I can say, at this moment, I wouldn't want to 'live' this way. I wouldn't want to drag any of my loved ones down with me, deprive them of living their lives encumbered by my inability to care for myself. Some countries (I think Canada, for one) allow persons to end their lives under such circumstance. Is this worth discussing in these pages? I sometimes darkly joke that when the appropriate time comes, I'll "take a walk in the woods".

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Thank you for this thoughtful comment, Ron. I am glad that you are, at 88, able to live life fully, cognitively and otherwise. That is my aspiration as well. We can't know what life has in store for us. My mother's vascular dementia was her worst nightmare. She told me as she got older, "anything but that," yet sadly, this is what happened. I can' know what it is like to live with dementia but as close as I am to my mother I see the diminished life quality, the dependency on others for daily activities and daily hygiene and toileting, and I know she would never have wanted that for herself (thankfully she's not seeming any longer to be aware of it, has accepted it, suffers no apparent shame or embarrasment, which is a blessing). And so one can understand the appeal of an assisted suicide if one has such a diagnosis. A beautiful memoir on this topic is Amy Bloom's In Love about her husband's decision to end his life after a diagnosis of Alzheimers through Dignitas in Switzerland. So, yes, I think it is worth discussing in these pages. Somber but necessary reflections.

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I just ordered Bloom's book, thanks

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Mar 12·edited Mar 12Liked by Amy Brown

I hear you, and I wholeheartedly agree, Amy. Thank you for sharing your experiences here as a compendium.

In-person, there’s a natural gravitational force that pulls caregivers together; we know we see the signs or pick up on the heartache between the words of conversation. Through our online voices, I hope our network of empathy reaches those in need of support & connection.

Here alongside you.xo

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That is so beautifully put, Victoria! Thank you for these kind words.

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Carer-echo of kindness, right there ;-)

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