Tough week for me…..No, wait! Mental diet says to be positive so I’ll say it like this, “through the law of substitution, I am handling life’s challenges.” As my fellow MKMMA colleague, Wanda Robinson says, “Target your virtues….” http://bit.ly/h3OwW3 If you’ve read my blogs before, you already know my mom, my best friend through the past 40 some years has mid to late stage Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve come to terms with it, we make the best of it, she still knows me, and although there appear to be some difficult decisions coming up on her care, I’ve no doubt, between my step dad and me, we’ll figure it out. “Putting” her somewhere is out my current state of mind’s possibility, so I am leaning more towards having home care help first.
Fast forward to this week, and I’m now faced with the reality of my dad having the same insidious disease. A little background first……..he was always my hero, looks years younger than his 82…..though strict, rigid and for the most part distant in personality most of my life, there’s just something special about your dad. He was a Naval officer, one of the most experienced divers in the Navy when he retired…….those dive tables we use for scuba diving today? He was one of the first deep sea divers and basically tested those tables in their infancy. He was part of the Sea Lab program that developed underwater living habitats in the late 60’s and 70’s. I have listened to his stories about how he rescued POW’s in Viet Nam, laying in rice fields with leeches all over his body before swimming back with them to the safety aboard a submarine for years. He could fix anything mechanical, had a cattle ranch in the Ozarks for 18 years after retiring, and then moved to the gulf, not far from Biloxi about 15 years ago. He was wiped out in Katrina with a 15 foot storm surge and finally rebuilt his place two years ago. I didn’t always “like” my dad…. at times, I was even afraid of him, but to say I admired and looked up him would be a huge understatement. We drove to Mississippi this week so I could see first hand what my step mom has been describing for a couple of months now. In my mind, the suggestion of AD was simply out of the question.
I won’t go into the depressing details, but it appears in my mind, lightning has struck twice in the same place…..So how does this long sad story relate to our MKMMA course? I think I’d be in the looney bin if it weren’t for this course. If ever there was a time for the law of substitution, this week was it! With most people, this week could have been incredibly traumatic…….that’s not to say, at some point, I may still fall apart. But the law of substitution says we cannot think about two thoughts or things at the same time. I could have focused on all the negativity associated with what the future now holds for my dad, me, his wife, the rest of the family……..but I would have ended up in a heap on the floor. And for what good purpose? So as hard as it was……and it was definitely HARD, I forced my mind to think of the good times, to remember him like he used to be. He’s a “nicer” man today……..he has an affinity with animals and loves birds. As we did the 360 loop, as he calls taking a walk around his 10 acres, on the back bayous of Gautier, Miss., I let him re-live his years in stories I’ve heard a hundred times. I reveled in his efforts to rebuild his place on the water, both physically and in his mind. Three months ago, I know I couldn’t have handled this situation. I’m positive because 3 years ago, I failed in a similar situation with my mom, not having the MKMMA tools at work within me. The law of substitution works! I feel sad and probably am not holding it together as well as I think, but the “law of substitution” kept me in a frame of mind this week, where I was able to cope and deal with one of life’s toughest challenges.
The law of growth is at work here too…..”whatever we think about grows and what we don’t think about atrophies!” With two parents suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, you can bet the genetic link is on my mind. I refuse to let those next, naturally thinking, thoughts take over my mind…….I will continue to live healthy (true health!), cherish my marriage with Chuck, my kids and grandchildren and definitely focus on the positive, (my networking business) and keep it growing. As Og says in scroll IV, “I am unique”, and I like to think, I’m one of a kind….”I am rare, and there is value in all rarity: therefore, I am valuable”……I have great hope for MY future and this is my focus.