This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. Some things get better with age. That’s very true. But one thing is for sure. Aging isn’t something that we have a choice about. So when you’re getting better, you’re also getting older.
We meet many persons on the road. Some are friendly. Some are less friendly. Some are young. Some are old. And well, since we have traveled far and wide in the Big Blue Treat Wagon RV, we have learned more about ourselves than we ever thought possible. And that’s not just because of all the places we have visited, but the persons at those places.
It goes without saying that my allure has only grown as much as my turkey neck the past few years. And so has my recognition when a person seems out of the ordinary or acts out of the ordinary. I am very observant of that. Seems to me that dogs are better judges of a situation or a person in a situation. And we ran into a person. In a situation. The Preserved Lady.
When we hike, we go to preserves a lot. Those are areas that have been protected and set aside untouched. They don’t let people build there or mess it up. It is left for others to enjoy.
When we were hiking at the preserve, we saw a man person and a little dog. And then following behind them was a lady person. She was walking a little slower. And she seemed very tired. But she took notice of us and asked how old we were. We get that a lot.
Girl Person told her we were almost ten. She said, “oh, who cares?” And well. Just like that, Digby started his usual howling nonsense.
Now, sometimes people say things that I think. And although I was thinking what she said next, I didn’t expect her to say it. She told Digby to stop. She told him to be quiet. And she said it like she meant it. Actually, she said it like I meant it.
Girl Person paused. At first, she got her attitude ready to go.
And then, she noticed that the lady had a funny look in her eyes. The Lady Person started talking about her dad…who wasn’t her dad but her husband person. And she didn’t know where she was. And everyone seemed quite confused. So Girl Person brought her to her husband person and we kept walking. But Girl Person kept looking back at her with tears in her eyes. She told us that this Lady Person was very special. She was a Preserved Lady.
Girl Person explained that she had something called Alzheimer’s. And that it is different for people, but some people live in the past. And I thought about it. And I wondered…if I could live in the past, where would I go? There were so many choices.
For this lady, I knew she was very special because she was Preserved. You see, her mind may have been fading from the present, but on that day, she was somewhere she wanted to be in the past for that moment. The next day, her mind would take her somewhere else. And I thought that indeed was special. She was preserved in time.
Girl Person said it wasn’t that simple. She said it was hard when people are preserved on the ones they are with now.
She said it’s hard to know what to say or how to be. It’s hard not to lose patience or be upset. And I heard her. And I knew she had reasons for saying it. But dogs live in the moment. For us, if that moment is imperfect in our eyes, or if the person is imperfect, we still want them there. And this Preserved Lady was there in her own way. She deserved to be loved, no matter where or who she thought she was right then.
It’s very easy to see people and have our guards up or to be offended. Certainly, this Preserved Lady told Digby what he needed to hear. But what we really heard her say was that love is such a basic need for everyone. We may look fine on the outside, but most often we are not. We all have to remember who we were when we were young. We have to remember that time marches on. We never know what will become of who we think we are. Say what needs to be said today.
Preserve what is good about you and show the world the love you want shown to you.
-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle
Girl Person asked a few people she knew their thoughts on Alzheimer’s or other memory loss and how it affected someone they knew…and how they dealt with it. If you or someone you love is affected, please leave your comment. We can all help each other on this journey of life.
“As a child my mom and I visited friends in a nursing home and I remember mom always teaching me not to ask “Do you remember me.” We always talked in the present and never argued. We learned to have fun with whatever topic was on their mind for that day.”
“Love of my life passed from early onset Alzheimer’s. One thing I learned is you cannot expect them to be part of “our” world…you have to become part of theirs. Creative fibbing and agreeing.”
“Watching my step father forgetting things and then getting angry with himself for doing it, I try to ask questions of his past that he seems to remember. He loves talking about his life in Ohio. When he starts to forget, I will go back to what he was talking about to spark his memories even though I heard it a million times. If you take an interest in them it seems to bring out that inner person.”
“Cherish the lucid moments. These are rare moments of I love you. Holding a hand. It is the hardest thing in the world to not have your husband recognize you because of a TBI. Let yourself cry. Self care is extremely important. I’m now going to go dissolve because even though it was ugly, scary, traumatic and he is no longer living I still have some of the most amazing moments of love. that is the greatest gift in anyone’s life. Love is the reason why it hurts so much.”
“There is a DEFINITE value and importance of caregivers bringing appropriate dogs and animals to assist with elderly and dementia care. But the dogs must be suitable and very well behaved. Cats are especially good too as they naturally comfort people.”