Home Personal Development How I Learned the Power of Letting Go After My Father Developed Dementia

How I Learned the Power of Letting Go After My Father Developed Dementia

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“Even in silence and darkness, there is beauty in everything.” ~ Helen Keller

When I was 11, I had to stay up until the early hours of the morning.

I was a severe anorexic when eating disorders were seen as the “inconvenience” you brought upon yourself. I was certainly not wealthy)—a disease easily cured with a prescription for chocolate cake.

My emaciated body was the perfect testament to my condition, but it was at school that I first noticed my change. was lagging behind.

The teacher told me to eat already, and when I threw the lunch in the trash can, I was sent to the public health center to watch over me. best girl in the world. again.

At home, grape flavored bubblegum and bouillon cubes were my favorite foods. On the hottest days of August, I toe-touched, crunched, and jogged at least four times a day, passed out in the morning, and hid my body under a layer of flannel shirts. Even then, home was still my refuge, a place where my eating disorder could let down my hair and run amok.

Thankfully, my parents were both full-time and often worked until dinner, so mealtime wasn’t too difficult. I’ve become as adept at hiding my food as I was.

I was smart too. Or maybe it’s better to acquiesce. A weekly ice cream trip to Friendly’s (the irony in the name!) fooled my overworked parents into believing I was okay.

They reasoned that puberty simply shaved off the “baby fat” I had. As soon as my period came, I starved it.

But despite the ice cream trip and their growing awareness, I still felt pretty safe at home.

until the moment changed everything.

A sunny, nondescript autumn day (Isn’t that what Joan Didion said? We are most amazed by the tragedies and traumas that happen on ‘ordinary’ and ‘beautiful’ days…?) , my father surprised me and picked me up. early from school.

Rushing to the office for my dismissal, there was a small, naive part of my 11-year-old self that I thought was going to surprise me with a trip to Disney World.

That’s what happened to my friend Mary the year before. When she returned from her impromptu trip, she was sporting tanned skin and a constant smile, after which she spent most of her fifth grade with her mouse ears on the top of her head. I pasted it in.

But there was no magic kingdom for me. Instead, not knowing anything about where we were going, my father rushed me into the car and we drove off. Sitting next to my controlling father, my stomach hurts wondering what would happen.

My weak heart was pounding and I prayed that it wouldn’t break while I was driving. When I glanced at my gray skin and cracked white lips in back view, I thought I was just a stray dog ​​in a shelter, to be ripped out of its cage and put down by a complete stranger. I knew. Get thrown into battle, or worse.

Finally arrived at the medical center in the shopping mall of the destination. As soon as you enter the front door, the strong scent of medicine and grape candy wafts in the air. Before I could catch my breath, I was taken to the examination room and put on the scale.

Turning her nose to me, the doctor said, “You’re too skinny. You need to gain some weight.” diagnosed with the disease.

Then she looked at me. “If you don’t eat it,” she warned sharply. She then informed me that once locked in a miserable prison of force feeding and bondage (as I imagined) she would not see her family until she was “fixed”.

When we got back to the car, my father spoke the first words he had been saying to me all day. do you get fat? ”

“Yes,” I answered, but I was too scared to fight. Too scared to defend myself. Too scared to tell him this wasn’t the choice. I wasn’t choosing to starve myself. I was sick.

But even if I told him, he wouldn’t understand. nobody did.

From that moment on, I found myself completely alone. At that time, I was awake past midnight and started jogging quietly on the spot. rice field. will they kick me out? to that place?

I told myself, “I will never forgive you.” I will die before I go to a place where I have literally stripped myself.

The game continued for the next few years. There were constant threats with doctors, but I lived long enough to stay away from that particular treatment center.


Flash forward about 40 years, and today my dad is an old man with dementia.

I am now one of his main caretakers because the universe works weird sometimes. missed the experience of having trust, he took me down the aisle. I am here for him now that he needs help.

My father doesn’t remember that day that will forever be etched in my mind. He doesn’t remember the hell I went through in the years that followed, and above all, he was ignorant of the real battle scars—what lies deep inside his heart.

He doesn’t know that one “unremarkable autumn day” when he pulled me out of school started a negative spiral in my life.

All he knows now is what his dementia allows him – if the sun is out, if the squirrels ate the peanuts he threw, and if I will be there to help him. whether or not Deliver groceries, take them for drives, take care of them.

Yes, this could easily be the ultimate revenge story, but years of teaching and practicing yoga have set me on a different path.

The path I chose is the path of letting go.

To be honest, my father has dementia and can’t help it. To Let go of at least some parts of my life. I had to let go of expectations and attachment to results. Sometimes I had to let go of my name and identity, like the moment he called me “Sally.”

But in letting go, I also realized that his illness had brought several gifts. And I learned to appreciate the feel of the cool autumn air on my face as I helped him to and from the doctor’s hospital.

Letting go has allowed me to experience all the things I was too busy to appreciate before. .”

But letting go because of dementia wasn’t enough.

I had to let go too.

To let go of the toxic weight from the past, I released the moment years ago when everything changed.

how? Deciding to lose weight is not just about that event, every aspect of my life.

Was it easy? No, but it was doable.

When I let go, I didn’t worry about forgiving (which is an important step in healing) or seeing other people’s perspectives. I just let go of my tight grip on everything I was holding on to. blamed myself.

We all live through positive and negative events. The only control we have is how we react to any given situation.

You can unburden yourself and unburden yourself. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and tell yourself, “I’m going to lose weight.”

That’s where our true power lies.

Have I forgotten my past? of course not. But I let it go. By letting go, I regained an important relationship with my father and, more importantly, with myself.

By letting go, I released my suffocating control over life and regained my own power.

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