I wrote a long reflection yesterday and thought I posted it and now I am running behind. Aack.
So a shorter response. Learning to give people time to retell their stories means so much to me because my husband is struggling with short term memory. So, giving time to hear stories, to give the gift of listening, of time, of predictable routine.... is all a gift. Showing up.
I found so much tenderness in this story.
And additionally teaching our children to listen between the lines to the emotional story is so important. We need more words than mad, sad and glad. Learning the language of emotions. Brene Brown's a new book makes a new relevant contribution to understanding human emotion. Boy do we ever need this literacy!
Thank you for this offering. Oooh it speaks to me in Big "My Life Right Now" Ways. Remembering the neighbor's stories exactly and hearing between the lines are a couple of many gifts of love in this story I think. They are all important. Showing up to hear the stories. Giving the time and attention to the neighbor not just kind of listening, hearing is caring. Listening closely enough to take in the totality of the story in all it detail and adding that to what you already know about the neighbor. Letting the details build a person's whole life, wanting that. The routine itself is a gift to everyone.
Then the shift. Respect for dad, the pattern of learning, the pleasure of it. Shifting from.the details of the story to seeing the meaning of the story and the feelings of the neighbor and the recognizing the bigger meaning of the routine, the repetition.
My husband's short term memory is not good any more and the challenge living with this every day for me grows. A friend whose mom and brother died of Alzheimer's gifted me with some helpful advice. I am trying to be present and learn and grow as I support him in his current being. The advice to remember that he is a good man amd he is doing the best he can reminds me to look and listen beyond the repeated wuestions or observations, his confusion, the repeated detailed stories from years long gone. This shifting to hear at all levels and be present to the needs of another takes effort, practice, discipline. Love. All kinds of love - for him, for myself.
I am rambling but that skill is enormously needed in our world. When we look over the tops of people's masks, hear the sound of the voice, read the language of the body, take in more. Can we do that in ways that keep us vulnerable and safe? I am practicing.