Linda awoke from her night’s sleep with me standing over her, gently stroking her hair. She gazed at me with a confused look and asked, “Who are you?”
Being forgotten is a painfully common experience of those whose spouse or parent has dementia.
It hurts to never hear your name called by one with whom your life has been lovingly intertwined for decades.
“I’m Kenneth, your husband,” I responded as I leaned over to kiss Linda on the forehead. “I love you!”
Suddenly, the confused look gave way to a twinkle in the eyes and a gleeful smile. There was a recognition deeper and far more important than my name. It was the recognition, “I am loved!”
I often hear family members, pastors, and friends say they don’t visit those with dementia because “they don’t know me any longer.” Increased isolation results and persons with dementia get cut off from the very thing they most need–the assurance of love.
Whether Linda knows and speaks my name is far less important to me than she know that she is loved.
In her fleeting smile and momentary sparkle in the eyes, I knew that I, too, am loved. And, we both are enfolded in a Love that transcends words or the sound of our names.