Monday, June 24, 2019

Reunions


For the past couple of years, several of us women who graduated from the same high school meet for lunch once a month. I reconnected with several friends that I hadn’t seen in years. We’ve bonded over life’s circumstances and decided that we like each other much better now that we’re older. These mini reunions led to us becoming a planning committee for our 50th class reunion.

When we think about it, life is full of reunions. A chance meeting in a grocery store, a club meeting, a conference, or a public event can be a reunion. Each year at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s I see some people I haven’t seen in quite awhile. Some return year after year, and others are just beginning the Alzheimer’s journey. These are bittersweet reunions. We are happy to see each other, sad for the circumstances.

Each year at the Alzheimer’s Forum, I have a reunion with my good friends Sarah, Jane, and Kathy. A year is a long time, but it seems that we can almost pick up our conversations from the previous year mid-sentence. We all lost our husbands to dementia and developed an amazingly strong bond. We are sisters of the heart.

We reunite with friends and relatives on social media and make new “friends.” We can keep up with births, deaths, marriages, as well as, what someone had for dinner. The important events are often interspersed with mundane observations, political rants, and too much information. The jury is still out as to whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

We are caught up in our own little world and are shocked when we learn of a friend or family member’s death. What is the first thing we all say when we run into family members at funerals? “We need to get together somewhere besides a funeral!” Sound familiar? Yet, we go our separate ways and lead our separate lives. We never get around to making that call, meeting for lunch, or making that road trip.

Since I’ve joined the Capps Family Band, I spend more time with my birth family than I have in years. Although I’ve not accomplished many of my retirement goals, at least I’ve done well in spending more time with my mom and siblings. We have two practice sessions a month and play music at three different nursing homes around the middle of each month.

An additional benefit of playing music is that I get to spend more time with my aunt. She likes to hear us sing at the nursing home, so my mom and I pick her up when we play in Versailles. I think I’ve spent more time with her in the past two years than all the years before.

Whether it’s at the grocery store, a family reunion, or a chance meeting, I love running into friends and family. Even if we only have a brief conversation and a quick hug, it reminds me of the connections I’ve made throughout my life. Mini reunions make my heart sing.
      
Copyright © June 2019 by L.S. Fisher
#ENDALZ


2 comments:

Kathleen H. Wheeler said...

Nice, Linda, keep singing!

Unknown said...

Dear Ms. Fisher,

Hello! I hope this finds you well. My name is Amit Chakrabarti, and I am an undergraduate student at Brown University. This summer, I am working as a market research intern on a project revolving around the relationship between individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (and dementia) and the spouses, children, and caregivers of these patients.

I read some posts on your blog, and also visited your website, and am interested in understanding more about your interactions with those with Alzheimer’s. My research specifically deals with the social component of Alzheimer’s and studies a strategy to improve the quality of life of all parties impacted by this disease, including the caregiver. If you would be willing to talk on the phone or have a video conference about this, I know my research would greatly benefit from your perspective.

Please let me know if you are interested in discussing your role as an Alzheimer’s caregiver and interactions with those with Alzheimer’s. I would be more than happy to work around your schedule to find a time to talk if you are interested.

Thank you for all the help you have already provided, and I am hoping to talk to you in the future.

Best regards,

Amit