SEVENTY-TWO AND COUNTING

When I was young, I kept dozens of journals usually filled with my life challenges and the emotional roller coaster I couldn’t get off. Eventually, I stopped the literal writing about my struggles and moved to poetry, which was metaphoric writing about my struggles. Then my art took it to a new symbolism of pictorial pain. At some point in my 40’s stopped writing about my personal pity party. I stopped writing altogether for several years and focused on my art career.

During that time, I began developing therapeutic art programs for those with dementia, which led to 20 years of conducting workshops for caregivers. Eventually, I wrote and published a book about the science and spirituality of dementia.

Yesterday was my 72nd birthday. I’ve been managing the COVID lockdown well up till then, but suddenly I woke with an overbearing feeling of suffocation; being trapped. This claustrophobic emotion just wouldn’t leave me. So I went back to bed.

Two years ago, I broke my left hip; broke the right 8 years ago. Since this last break, I have struggled with physical mobility and feeling my world has shrunk. For the following year after the accident, I was depressed, telling no one. Then came months of feeling not much of anything good or bad. Just living from day to day. I did tell a few people who, to my dismay, didn’t really understand what it was like to live in a void. It wasn’t depression, it was waiting. What kept me going was knowing, on a deep level, that I was on hold, and something life-changing was coming. Breaking hips and limited mobility was just a prelude to a newer and better life that was on its way. Each day I hoped this would be the day, but unfortunately, the morning became night, and not much happened in between.

Then the ray of sunshine broke through. A friend read my book and asked me to create a project with his nonprofit foundation for people with dementia and their families. He wanted me to make the information in my book a physical reality.

This happened one week before lockdown.

Since then, I have been a busy bee. It’s been a whirlwind of website construction, learning new technology, making contacts, and program designing. The new “Infinite Mind Dementia Project” in Costa Rica is now a reality. It is progressing slowly and steadily, making me very happy up till my birthday.

It was like a slide into the depression of earlier except for the one good laugh over a joke a friend sent me. So I waited out the day knowing the following would begin anew.

Although I am, another year older, physically challenged and dealing with keeping safe from the contagion. I got up at dawn and went out in the garden to welcome this new day. Today everything seems back on track.

Once again, I am grateful for what I have and optimistic about the future. I’m finally moving forward, determined to make this 72nd year the best ever and transform emotional surviving to thriving.

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