As a child the affirmation of your parent meant something. So did the words that wounded. And you would think when you grew into adulthood that somehow it changes. It doesn’t. Even when you’re much older and so are your family members. Their words and actions still bless, and their words and actions still wound. It’s the very role of authority.
When this is further complicated by brain chemistry that is aged and just not firing like it used to, words and actions that wound still happen. It’s just that now there is not always the place to logically work them out or emotionally get them settled with your loved one. They are not their same selves. And even though our minds understand this, our hearts do not.
We can apply forgiveness. That helps. And what I’ve found recently is being intentionally about the things to be thankful for. (This comes from a book I’m reading called the Slight Edge. It has nothing to do with caregiving except that it’s small section on being intentional about writing down good things actually does make a difference.)
Anyway, it’s a journey we walk through. One of forgiveness, reminding ourselves of love in the past. Kind of like the lines in the Liz Murray (Homeless to Harvard) movie where she is taken before the selection board. And while her mother did not remember that she loved her daughter, the daughter remembered that her mother loved her. Before the drugs fried her brain. That’s what we hold to.