Having a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s is hard. Many call it “the long goodbye” because you are watching them, often slowly, change and recede from the person you have always known to a shell of who they were.

There may be days when you think it would have been easier / better / less painful if they had passed quickly… and then you may feel guilty about feeling that way.

SO MANY FEELINGS – many of them raw, conflicted, sad and painful…

But one thing we have, when we have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, is a little more TIME than people who lose someone suddenly to a heart attack, an accident, etc. We have a little time to SAY what we want to say. To make the time. To hug a little longer. To let them know how much we care.

Will they fully understand? Maybe and maybe not. But YOU will.

I own my own business and work from home – sometimes it’s hard to juggle everything. I remember one day I had a few soft deadlines and a big, ambitious to-do list. My dad was still in the memory care home and I realized it was a party day – what to do??

I chose the party. I chose my dad. With no regret.

As I drove home feeling pressure about the art I planned to do I realized, in 5 years or even 5 days, will I wish I had done one more garden flag design instead of attending a party with my dad? Absolutely not. So I let it go. I did what I could and I knew that I had make the right choice. I will never regret time connecting, I would have regretted it – especially if my dad had suddenly passed away – if I had chosen a flag design over my father.

This video is so powerful to me – while many of the things people put on the chalkboard don’t apply to our journey, we can still take action to cut down on the regret and increase the love and connection in our lives. Take the 3 mins and 15 seconds to watch it… then decide what action you will take and when.

There is no perfect way to leave this world or to lose someone you love. One small nugget I cling to is that I’ve had the time to say and do the things I wanted to, and changed the way I live and look at life, as a result of my dad’s Alzheimer’s.

While no one can change the outcome, with the right help and focus you can change the journey.

– Tara Reed