Monday, September 30, 2013

Every Warrior Needs a Cheering Squad

"Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness of which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest."
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby.

"I shine when...." I sat with this prompt for days. The Spirits of Joy online vision book class ends today. Although I have other prompts still to do, I wanted to finish this one before the class ended. When do I shine? As I began to gather pictures that seemed to have something to do with this, I began to understand I shine when I find a light within my depths that allows me to see where and how to move ahead from confused darkness, that allows me to release troubles from the hold they have on me.

This light must must illuminate the ruins until I can find a door to go through.

Two weeks ago I felt like a small boat lost in a churning ocean. If I only knew how to swim, or if only I had a life preserver or a compass, I could save myself. It's horrible to feel lost, rudderless, small.

Then a new thought appeared. I'm not a rudderless helpless boat, I am the leader of a team. What a reframe! What a life saver. Though I don't know how to swim well enough to save myself in an ocean, I do know how to build a team. I do know how to find my own cheering squad.

So I've built my five part team for now. My husband is in some stage of dementia. He still drives, plays tennis, meets with friends, but his problem solving skills are weak. Changes will escalate. I know there will be other teams as he moves on. Today we're dealing with legal aspects that must be changed now. Later when our trust is drawn up again, we'll find an attorney our sons will be comfortable with.

Next there are back up helpers for "when the time comes" and my husband needs more help. I've already spoken to people who will move into action to help then. At this point this all seems so remote, and we know how relentless this illness can be.

There's a support team for me, for my emotional and physical health which includes a life coach and a caregivers support group to help deal with the difficulties my husband will experience and those I'll have difficulty dealing with later.

Family support: The very best part is that my sons have figured out how to be supportive and show their caring.

Friends: I need to experience the total joy of asking for what I want and need from my friends. It will be better to think of what I want ahead of time so when I'm wallowing in misery and sadness, they can step in. I am imagining everyone saying yes, once I figure out what to ask for. This is a challenge for me.

Baruch ata built me up when a part of me died and I needed to find myself again. I began to pray, to write prayers, to talk to you directly. Thank you for showing me the way again. You turned on the light. You told me to plan as much as I can, and then show up and be gentle with my husband and gentle with myself. This is a journey I can't go on alone. Amen


  1. As we go through life there are always changes. It sounds as though you are preparing yourself in a positive way for what may happen. Sending many good wishes to you Barbara as you navigate uncharted waters.

    1. So glad to know you're with me on this journey.

  2. You are so wise to set up a 'cheering squad' now. The preparations you are making will reap benefits in the future. So sorry to hear about your husband, but I hope and pray that you will be able to enjoy each other and, as you prayed, be gentle with each other and yourselves as you journey.

    1. I hope we're both right about my intentions! Thank you for commenting.

  3. It's obvious that you have put in a lot of time, effort, and thought into your on-line vision class, and the colorful, cheerful, annotated Joy book which you have shared with all of us over the weeks. Your practical steps regarding the future unknowns with your husband are helpful to many of us who may be looking at similar circumstances. SL