We went to an amazing wedding last week. I was a little nervous because at the last wedding I went to I spontaneously burst into tears during the father / daughter dance. I hadn’t expected it at all and ran fleeing like Cinderella at midnight to compose myself and so I wouldn’t distract anyone.

As we drove to the venue, I prepared. It wasn’t going to happen this time. If need be, I’d numb my emotions for a few hours. (Just for the event – not as a rule!)

My preparation and intentions worked like a charm. There were no tears for the father / daughter dance!

But then…

…the mother / son dance. When they played “The Dance” by Garth Brooks the tears came fast and strong.

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Thankfully I had my husband right next to me so I could bury my face in his shoulder until I could get the sobs under control.  Thankfully it didn’t take long for me to pull myself back together.

This was the first wedding I attended since I lost my dad… and that song so reminds me of our Alzheimer’s Journey…

We can plan, prepare and hope for the best. But sometimes you just have to feel the pain side by side with the joy.

Thankfully I had support and the ability to PIVOT my emotional reaction quickly and focus on the happiness of the moment. And thankfully I didn’t seem to distract anyone from the true focus of the day – the groom dancing with his mother.
Our emotions are real, living, breathing things and as much as we would like to say when and where the tears will flow, it’s not always in our control. That doesn’t mean that we have to live on edge, to avoid situations that you worry will be a trigger, because you, too, can learn how to notice, name and pivot whatever emotion comes your way.

Was it embarrassing and a little stressful to start sobbing in the middle of a wedding? Absolutely.

But because of the work I have done and the skills I have, I was able to see and accept it, then put my logical brain back in charge and turn off the waterworks.

My husband sometimes thinks I have some tear stopping superpower (or starting power, truth be told!) but it’s not a superpower, it’s a skill. YOU CAN HAVE IT TOO.

While no one  can change the outcome of dementia or Alzheimer’s, with the right support you can change the journey.

– Tara Reed