I am most acutely aware of love’s meaning when I reflect on loss. Loving connectedness is the overriding meaning of our otherwise finite existence.
We can choose to be happy. I have chosen to be as happy as possible while serving as a caregiver for a wife with Alzheimer’s. But that happiness is not to be achieved at her expense, shunted away or forgotten while I pursue other diversions.
We need to manage our destiny by controlling our self-perceptions and actions
One of the first actions I took as an Alzheimer’s caregiver was to reach out to AARP. I made an intentional effort to meet and become friends with my neighbors, joined a small and supportive church, and continued professional affiliations as much as possible.
The French use the term, ennui. It is a kind of boredom that comes from living in an emotional vacuum, an existence in which no one is either happy or unhappy. Just an easy, comfortable, predictable, routine existence punctuated with brief moments of either joy or sadness.
You, the readers, could have more important stories than my own. That knowledge tells me I should listen to those stories and do what I can to polish them a little. Then use this medium to inform and inspire others to do something similar.
There are both men and women who provide excellent care for their spouses without giving evidence of being severely affected emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
It may be a cliché, but it seems clear to me that love remains long after most other parts of the brain and personality disappear.