Love is supposed to be reciprocal. What happens when our loved one stops showing us the love we have been conditioned to expect, when they meet our gaze with indifference, or when they tell us to go to hell? Dementia is an invitation for us to discover the true meaning of unconditional love, using mindfulness and loving kindness as gateway practices.
There is no substitute for actual experiencing, or as close to it as we can get. Only then can we feel from the heart, the extent of what our loved one may be going through. This is much more powerful than just reading about it. With its built-in readiness, caring from the heart is a lot lighter on us and more likely to sustain us in the long run.
Imagine a marathon you did not sign up for, and yet, you are told you have to run the race until the end. To add to the challenge, you are to carry a heavy load on your shoulders, and the load will get heavier and heavier as the race goes on. This is what the dementia journey is like for most family caregivers...
Hating is a heavy weight to carry around, all day, every day, as is fear, as is self-recrimination. They cloud everything, even to the point of watering down even the best experiences in your life so that the joy those experiences should bring become not much more than mediocre, and that's no way to live.