Focus on Happy Memories to Get You Through a Bad Day

A few years after my dad suffered his first stroke, my mother got aggravated with the way he huffed and puffed when he got into or out of bed. It irritated her to no end how he would watch her bring the orange juice, coffee and vitamins to the table and then act surprised that it was time for breakfast when she brought the food. Dealing with his incontinence was frustrating her to no end, and since he frequently rolled out of bed at night and needed help getting up off the floor, she wasn’t getting much sleep. She was physically and emotionally exhausted.

One morning when she looked at him, what she saw was a repulsive old man. It made her terribly sad, and she decided she needed to change her attitude toward him.

She wrote a letter to me about this revelation. This is what she wrote: “I’ve been trying to concentrate on happier times, like Valentine’s Day, 1993. We were in Port Richy, Florida, and we were on our way to meet my sister Jean and Frank and another couple at a very elegant country club.

On the way, we stopped at a grocery store to see if we could find an inexpensive floral gift for Jean and her friend. We were about to give up when the clerk showed us an orchid mounted in a small white wicker basket. We selected two.

I must have been looking wistful, because Quentin asked if I would like to have one, and I said I sure would! It was so pretty that I didn’t want to mess up the corsage by wearing it, so I kept it in the basket.

Our meal was delicious. The champagne was free, and there was a flower for each lady. As we drove around that day I had the most joyous awareness of how much I loved my husband of fifty-one years.

That flower lasted for three weeks. This is another experience I will never be able to duplicate, but I’m so glad I have the memory.”

If you are caring for someone who appears to be a lot different from the person you used to know and love, I hope you’ll be able to pull out a special memory today and focus on the feelings you had before he/she became your care receiver.

Happy Valentine’s Day.