Today’s quote is a Japanese concept Douglas Dale learned in the tearooms of Temple Mineji. It struck me like crack thunder.
No question, this job of caregiving can break us on a daily basis. Most days are like B-Tickets to the old carnival “Fun House” ride with the elongated mirrors, spinning tubes and sectional floors that rhythmically rock, drop, bend and ascend at high speed.
If we make it through the unknown perils of caring for our loved one with dementia, taking whatever opportunity to have curiosity and to learn, we can wind up more valuable than when we started the journey in the first place.
I “broke” (in so many words) many times in this process, my heart mostly. I put myself back together with the help of a few very special, patient and wise individuals. I am better for it, more valuable than when I started.
The photos below show an 1898 building that ultimately became Douglas Dale’s restaurant known today as Wolfdale’s. In 1901, it was gently moved by raft, 22 miles across Lake Tahoe to its current location in Tahoe City. A great old place that was fixed.
What Is True For Me: Looking through a metaphoric lens, I see no difference in the evolution of Douglas Dale’s delicious “cuisine unique,” the restaurant building itself, and his extraordinary life’s work, to my own private “renovation” through the machinations of caregiving, though far less obvious and apparent. When I began paying attention to what was happening throughout my day, some of the symbolism's were staggering. I’d just stand there in awe and utter surrender, looking up, shaking my head and saying, “Wow… thank you.” I know I miss an awful lot too, and I am certainly not overly obsessive as to why a bird crapped on my freshly washed car, or analyze someone cutting me off in traffic. (Yeah yeah yeah… I can just hear the Masters say, “….Oh but there is meaning my child).
I believe if I had this notion of looking though a metaphoric lens the first few years of caring for Mom, I would have been more patient with the both of us. I would have been less stressed because I was finding meaning in certain things, and my own personal growth would have most likely evolved a bit sooner. It’s like learning the alphabet as a child, once I learned it, I was “caught,” I couldn’t help but learn to read and write. Viewing my life through an illustrative, symbolic lens, “caught” me again, this time as a student, curious to ask questions and learn.