Here in Maine, the mornings are cool and we are starting to see goldenrod at the edge of the fields. It is still summer, yet with the mist rolling back as the sun comes up a little later each day, it is easy to imagine the change that is coming.
Talking with family in Indiana, Tennessee, and Alabama, summer stills seems well entrenched, but I feel like sharing a little autumn.
I apologize for such a long gap since the last blog post here. When I first started writing, I was so excited to be discovering all that Jim Gray had tucked away within his paintings of the Joy of Life Parade, that I could not help but write constantly as the mysteries were unwrapped. Early on, I wanted to share so much with each of you that it kept me pecking away at this keyboard. The pace of it all, with trips to Indiana and an opportunity to present a PowerPoint presentation at the Dementia Action Alliance 2019 Conference in Atlanta in June, left me somewhat exhausted emotionally, and I think I just had to take a few weeks away from trying to write about what my Dad had created, and process our own family's season of change.
The story of the Joy of Life Parade is not complete yet, but I want to turn down a side road and simply share some of the images and stories that have been brought to mind by the cool morning and the hint of change in the air.
Autumn Lane www.jimgraygallery.com/product-page/autumn-lane
Life is a journey which many will make, seeking the right paths to go
Everyone travels down varying roads, hoping that somehow they'll know
Luckily finding that fate smiles at times, proving we don't search in vain
Finding a path that widens before us, becoming our own autumn lane
And traveling onward haply we find, we've come to a most joyous state
Living our lives to the fullest each day, while learning just what is our fate
So as the sun rises a new day is given, to you that you might use it right
Make all you can of the time you have, and give thanks for the gift of the Light
Autumn Breezes www.jimgraygallery.com/product-page/autumn-breezes
The cool air of autumn rustles more than just the leaves of every tree on the mountain side; it also stirs the soul and makes the spirit soar.
Just grant me one day that I can call mine
to hike in the mountains where lives the Divine
and I'll know that the rest of my life will be fine
after wandering in the presence of God.
I will leave you with these thoughts to ponder, because it seems that so many of us either are or will be caregivers and helpers for loved ones who are living with dementia.
Consider collecting and organizing your own Joy of Life Parade, even if you do not Draw. The phone you likely carry, can serve well in this purpose.
Gather the photos of your loved one, that have been taken over the years, add to them the photos of other Caregivers, family, and friends. Write down the memories from these photos. The memories they still recall, and your own. Keep a journal of the Joys and the Challenges you encounter, but be especially mindful to record or write down the memories. The Joyful days are easily brought to mind. The Challenging days require patience to wait and see just how even these may one day bring you to a realization of Joy. Use the images you collect to reminisce with your loved one and keep that Joy of Life on Parade constantly.
One thing is for certain…
Love will see us through.
Give it freely. Receive it gratefully.
Wishing you peace,
To learn more about the work of the Dementia Action Alliance, please visit https://daanow.org/