Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Another Shelley Birthday

Do birthdays bother you?  They do for some of us. The idea of aging can be depressing.  

I'm happy to have birthdays, but they remind me that time runs out. Our daughter, Shelley, had a birthday yesterday. She has dementia and didn't realize it was her birthday.

In earlier years, she'd become depressed over a birthday. When she turned 18, she thought the world would end.  She also thought we would do nothing special to celebrate.  We invited her friends and surprised her with a party at a country-western show. She and friends had fun dancing the night away.

When her 25th birthday came around, she had a new job. She became so depressed about her age that she stayed home for the day. 

By the time she turned 50, she'd been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Now, that's a good reason to be depressed.  I was with her when she told the doctor, "I'm so scared."

These days, I don't know what she thinks.  She surprised us yesterday with a few lucid comments.  Most of the time, she speaks her new language, gibberish. However, as we gathered items, she asked, "Are y'all leaving?"  She also made several appropriate remarks.

I am concerned about her future. I pray the Lord lets me live longer than Shelley. I want to finish taking care of her. So, as the birthdays number up, I pray harder for that.

I find it gut wrentching to post about my little Shelley, but I do so with the idea of helping others who might be caregiving a loved one.  Caregivers compare notes. "Is this common?"  "What should I do?" Questions we face daily. The dementia/alzheimer's journey is complicated, frustrating, and sad. 

I'm praying Shelley's years with it are not wasted. If we help someone else along the way, it's a good thing.  Shelley has always been a helper, and I know she'd want to help someone today...even if she doesn't know she's doing it.

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