It’s the connection

May 28, 2011
My father had dementia.

While his body was in great shape, his mind was marbled with bad stuff.
Stuff that crowded out his short-term memory.
Which meant he repeated himself constantly.
The same stories, over and over.

We understood. But it could be irritating.

Just before he went into a memory-assisted living facility, he visited me in California.
We took a drive to the Monterey peninsula.
On the way, (101 South around Gilroy, to be exact) are golden hills dotted with trees.

Dotted is the operative term.

Dad looked out the window.
I could see that something troubled him.
Finally, he broke his silence:

“Carol, why don’t they plant more trees on those hills?”

I explained a little about ranch land, open spaces, and drought.
How expensive it would be. How hard to water.
He considered that.

“They could helicopter water in…”

“Yes, they could but that would be inefficient,” I said, “and so expensive, Dad.”

Silence for a while.

“Carol, why don’t they plant more trees on those hills?”

And so it went for an hour.

Someone I know trains an older person who has dementia,
helping her maintain functional fitness.

“She does tell the same stories over and over,” he said. “But it makes her happy to tell them.
And after all, it’s the connection that’s important, not the story.”

Goes to show that you can hear wisdom anywhere,
if you just listen.
Even lying on the floor doing crunches.

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