For those experiencing the ‘living loss’ of a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, finding moments of happiness can be far and in between. Yet when you keep your eyes, ears and heart open you can sometimes be touched by a moment that allows you to share a smile which is all you need to raise everyone spirits.
My friend Mary’s visit with her grandmother provided such a moment for all those who had gathered to celebrate the ailing matriarchs 92nd birthday. Although grandma was dressed in her pajamas and only somewhat aware of why everyone was there and who they actually were, a question fostered in confusion allowed everyone to share a smile.
As recounted to me, a conversation between Mary’s mother and Mary’s grandmother went like this:
Grandma: “Shouldn’t we be going”
Mom: “Where, Mother?”
Grandma: “Home, to church.”
Mom: “We aren’t going to church tonight.”
Grandma: “Oh, okay, Let’s go get ice cream then.”
The innocence of the moment made everyone laugh.
When the story was told to me, it jarred a memory of a teaching of Dr. Hew Len. He has taught that vanilla ice cream is a ‘spiritual’ tool. According to a message he received in meditation, eating vanilla ice cream is an opportunity to connect with God and erase memories of past mis-steps in life.
I remember when I first learned of Dr. Hew Len’s ice cream tool. I thought it was as wacky as anything I had heard. Then I noticed something. Every time I eat ice cream – and I am a vanilla ice cream eater – I think of Dr. Hew Len’s teaching, and after I smile, I realize I am thinking of my connection with God. Wacky or not, it does have the same effect as going to church!
Guess we should watch who we think is suffering dementia and who has odd teachings. Everyone has something they can teach us when we are willing to learn. What we think is ‘loss’ may not be a loss at all.