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Soul-searing, life-testing situations have what some call “fall-out blessings.” This book is about understanding some of the deeper lessons we are exposed to through caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
We all want a cure. But in the meantime, while this illness is still with us, how can we create a quality of life for each person in each stage of the disease? How can we look deeper into situations that, at first glance, look hopeless and destructive in order to find opportunities for insight, inspiration, and greater understanding of ourselves and those we love? How can we allow the full measure of the experience to unfold and be felt with as much of ourselves as we can bring to bear?
We wish for people who care for those going through the difficult dementia journey that they strive, through the tumultuous waves, to remain awake and open to the blessings of a journey that opens our hearts, nurtures our compassion, and ultimately enables us to be better human beings.
For those brave individuals living with memory loss illnesses, we wish that they be supported and allowed to live their experience fully in their own unique way, to express themselves, to love and be loved, and to be sheltered from harm. In later stages, they are no longer involved in mundane worldly existence and are in a deep, internal state that we as caregivers generally cannot reach into and share. Dementia has built a wall around them, as if they have entered a cloister. Rather than think of this wall as an imprisonment, Megan Carnarius views it as a final honoring of the life this individual has led and of the body or vessel that housed them. Allowed to “cocoon,” it affords the time needed for the soul to attend to deeper aspects of the self on a spiritual level. So that, when ready, the individual can let go and be allowed to let go, when they know it’s time.
Coming from a rich professional background in caring, Megan Carnarius clearly outlines the different stages of dementia and highlights many practical aspects, suggesting accessible tools for caregivers, family and professionals alike. She also addresses the more subtle, spiritual dimensions of this illness with much compassion and understanding, offering new insights into hitherto little explored areas.