This IS The Weather
Acceptance is a funny thing.
It sounds so good… so grown-up… so enlightened…
And, as the saying goes, if it were easy, everyone would do it.
I look at acceptance as one of the antidotes to the distorted and illusory, though still very damaging, hammer of control. (Have a look at Lion Goodman and John Jones’ sage article on control.)
Here’s a premise that, to me at least, makes a whole lot of sense: We live in a world in which unexpected stuff happens. Some of the stuff that happens is tragic and heartbreaking – and it hurts.
In my own world, my siblings and I are facing my father’s decline with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It didn’t just show up a couple of days ago, and we’ve been navigating these troubled waters since before the beginning of the pandemic.
To say it’s been a lot doesn’t quite do it justice.
At the same time, the fact that we are well-resourced, privileged, and that Al, in his wisdom, did a remarkable job of preparing for this sort of eventuality is not lost on us.
And it still hurts.
We lost our mother years ago following a very long 8-year cognitive decline.
I’m not looking for sympathy, by the way.
As our family faces and fumbles through all of this, we’re well aware that we are far from alone. If anything, Al’s preparations have made this road an easier one to travel. Many don’t have our good fortune.
See my comment above about “still hurts.”
If any of us could wave a magic wand, will it to be different, or otherwise exert control over our circumstances, we would.
And, of course, attempting any of those things is right up there with cursing the weather…
As I’ve written and often speak about, here’s the thing people can get wrong about acceptance: It is not the same as approval or resignation.
There is nothing about my father’s condition or path that I approve of. There is very little that I’m tempted to resign myself to…
It is simply a set of circumstances that are.
Liking or disliking it doesn’t change it. Railing against it doesn’t change it. Wishing it away does nothing to impact it…
Looking the circumstance in the eye and taking it in – in all its truth, heartbreak, and ugliness – gives me a place to find ground.
This IS the weather. In the here and now, this is exactly what is unfolding.
There is nothing to like about any of this – and reaching for control is useless.
What we can do is be with Al, witness him still enjoying ice cream, (some things dementia just can’t take away) and have the honor of holding his hand.
How’s your weather?