Today I wanted to share some personal thoughts on how I have felt since my Dad passed away in Feb.
After the funeral I was totally humbled by the support from family and friends. I also felt really strong because of all of you in our ‘Dementia Downunder’ community.
I never dreamed I would be leaning on the support of hundreds of people (mostly whom I have never met) and sharing my thoughts so openly. I can only imagine if there is people out there alone, or with limited family caring for someone with dementia, that our community could really fill a void for them.
‘DD’ and the stories I told over the years gave me a real feeling of pride in my Dad, my Mum, my family and the legacy we have created.
When I walked back into Dad’s nursing home a few weeks later after he passed I still retained that passion to advocate, and instantly re-ignited the amazing connection I have with residents and their families.
The grieving process is teaching me many things and will continue to do so. I will share some biggies for me:
1. Death is not necessarily bad if you leave behind a legacy which helps others.
2. The journey of dementia can teach you so many things about life, living in the moment and discovering yourself as a person and what you stand for.
3. Values and ethics come to the fore with dementia care. You discover what matters, what doesn’t, and what you have to fight for.
4. Older people are so valuable, wise and funny and we often don’t take the time to really nurture them and learn as much as we could from them. Take the time and you will reap the rewards.
5. Support is so comforting when you open up to like minded people that understand where you are at and what you are going through.
6. Sharing stories is therapeutic and regularly talking positively about the person who has passed away is important.
7. Thanking those that helped along the way allows them to be encouraged to keep doing this for others.
8. As a man I no longer worry if I shed a tear in public. It reminds me I am human, and is respect for how that person made an impact on me.
9. Grieving can be positive and is a great excuse to roll out some great old stories and have a few laughs.
10. Grieving for my Dad makes me a better Dad. I regularly draw on what I learnt from him and use all the ‘life tools’ he instilled in me.