I love you, Bob
I have had the pleasure of getting to know an amazing woman who runs an adult day program in our state. She is passionate about helping the seniors in her town, and it all began with a desire to keep her own husband happy as he faced dementia. She recently told me a story that I just have to share.
As her husband Bob experienced life with dementia, she felt him begin to worry. In the early stages of the disease, he was aware of what was happening to him. She busied herself in taking care of him, but was surprised one day when he told her that she should move on with her life and find a new husband. She struggled with why he would say this, and realized that in her quest to take care, she’d somehow lost that love connection. She loved him with all of her heart…but when was the last time she’d told him so? She decided in that moment to remind him every day that she loved him. She decided to tell him so, directly, several times a day. In the morning she would start the day with “Good morning. I love you, Bob.” She’d sprinkle “I love you, Bob.” throughout the day. And she’d always end the day with “Good night. I love you, Bob.”
As Bob’s dementia progressed, he reveled in that love. He would often ask people that he met throughout the day “Do you love Bob?”…seeking that approval from everyone. It became a reason to chuckle in the adult day program that she created in order to bring fun back into Bob’s life. And, indeed, everyone loved Bob.
I just think that this is such a good reminder. As our loved ones journey through this crazy life with dementia, do we continue to remind them that we love them? In fact, put the dementia in this story aside. How often do we look our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our children in the eye and tell them “I love you.” I don’t mean a quick peck on the cheek and a mumbled “love ya” as you walk out the door. I mean the look me in the eyes and tell me that you love me “I love you.” I can honestly say that I don’t do it often enough.
So I’ll leave you to think about that…I have something I need to say to someone special today…