My Cross ..our cross

Luke 9:23

“Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

It truly is hard to carry your cross, sometimes feeling it is way too heavy and you cannot go on.

So many people call in, sometimes crying, sometimes too tired to speak or too agitated. How does it feel to look at your spouse, your mother, your father, and see a blank look, distracted, almost empty inside? How does it feel when that person doesn’t know who you really are..maybe you are the father, or the brother or the child..but that is not really you, is it? Yet, that person in front of you does not recognise you as you…how does it feel? How does it feel to reach out to touch that person, knowing full well that you are losing him or her..losing the person you so love…how does it feel?

Why do you have to carry this cross..why do you think that yours is heavier than mine..why cannot you just wake up in the morning, sweating from a bad dream, and then get out of bed and get on with your happy day??

Look around you, ask around..and you will see that you are not alone in carrying this cross. In fact, so many times, yours is lighter than others..yet you do not want to know. Your cross is there, and you do not want it…and I do not blame you.

Your cross is hard. Yet have you ever thought that it is actually shared with others? Do you live alone? Or do you have family around you? Even if you live alone, a neighbour, parish priest, or even the postman is thinking of you when he knocks at your door. Someone knows something about you. That means you are not alone…and do not feel you are. No, you are not alone.

If you live in a household with others then your cross is shared with others..can you accept this?

You must, and you must understand that your cross is their cross, our cross…and we carry it together.

If your loved one has dementia, they too are carrying a cross..sometimes much heavier than yours.

Many people say to me that the relative suffers more than the person living with dementia. I mention this a lot because I do not quite believe it. Yes, of course, the relative suffers, goes crazy, is desperate, tired and helpless. That is 100 per cent true. Yet, your cross is their cross …it is our cross together.

So, I say to you, lift that cross and carry it. Hate it as much as you do, you have no choice. Lift it up with all your might, pad it with happier thoughts, with hope, and most of all, with love. Carry your cross with love and you will feel it lighter…that I promise!!!

Could Jesus carry his cross…no he couldn’t…of course he couldn’t. The wood weighed a ton and cut into his flesh. He fell several times, almost dying on the way. Eventually, the cross faded into nothing as he breathed his last breath. Do not lose hope..your cross will one day end too.

As hard as it can be to face the stark reality of dementia…as hollow and deep the cavity you fall into…you will succeed. You will manage this steep hill that you climb. You will eventually come to the top. You will reach your destination, even if it takes will get there somehow.

So, take up your cross and carry it. Share the burden with your family, with your friends, with your neighbours. We are all in this together and we are there to help one another. Your cross, my cross..our cross.

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