I see the tall pine trees, the fleck of color, a cardinal. It makes me think of my aunt, a bird watcher all her life. I remember the simple things. I remember sitting by her kitchen window with the bird feeder right outside. She knew all their names. I never paid close attention. I knew the common ones, sure, but not much more.
My aunt lived in that house for over 70 years until, at some point, moving into a nursing home became the best option. No more bird feeder. No words then either as dementia took hold. Visiting became difficult. I was always ensconced in the past, thinking of what had been, thinking of the loss.
One day I realized the staff was putting out bread for the geese. I took my aunt to the window where she could see the geese strutting around, arguing, dancing, talking and laughing. Such a mundane thing. No one else even noticed. Something happened though. My mind let go of, “I wish life was different”. Instead I moved into being right there in that one, precious moment. Just life as it was. Nothing else. We were together and joy came back into both our eyes.
The Good News About Alzheimer’s: How Mindfulness Can Heal Patients and the Ones Who Care for Them
Mind Deep: Launching Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care at UCSF
Presence Care Project-History-You Tube
Mindfulness-Based Alzheimer’s Caregiving: A Randomized Controlled Trial Replication Report
‘Dementia Beyond Drugs’ by Allen Power
Jean I loved the imagery of observing the geese feeding…and remembered personal occasions of “seeing without talk”. It is a rare and lovely moment when I’ve managed that with another person present.