As the summer is drawing to its inevitable close, I can’t help but look back on the wonderful experiences that I have had at various books signings on the east coast of America. I wrote my book so that other caregivers would know that they are not alone, and my feelings were validated time and time again as I met the public at each stop of my tour. Dementia is an equal opportunity disease, capable of bringing friends and family to their knees regardless of their socio-economic status. No, I’m afraid that those joining the caregiving community is growing. Young people have asked my advice for their afflicted grand parent, spouses have told me their concerns as their eyes filled with tears, and friends with worried faces have shared what the caregiving experience is doing to someone they hold dear. And it is through these exchanges I have come to realize that I was meant to write this book. Fate handed me a enormous task and now, more than ever, I know that my experiences were supposed to be shared.
To the woman in South Africa who sent me a heartfelt email about her mother, the daughter who wrote me of her mother’s initial diagnosis, and to the 10 year old girl who volunteers in a memory unit – I say, “Here’s to you, the grace makers.” You are the heroes! You chose to rise above your personal needs and look uncertainty and sadness square in the eye. You are a healer, a mender, a bell ringer calling forth your divinity to be shared with the world. You were selected for a reason. You are the difference maker, the fixer-of-things, and the architect of metamorphosis. You are a spirt-filled vessel scattering seeded blessing through the universe.
And so for all those whose voices that are silenced by this tragic disease, I will speak for them and say, “Thank you for taking on this challenge. May you become soothed by the song of the meadowlark, comforted by the warm streams of afternoon sunshine, find relief as tender as a falling leaf, and catch the peace that sails on a gentle ocean wave. And in the end, may you all the blessing that you have bestowed upon others keep lifting you higher and higher, until the orbiting stars and you merge into one.”