Chapter 11 – DWELLING

Learning new words can be fun, especially for one who enjoys writing. But, new words, I have discovered, can also be very comforting. As I make my way through “the valley of the shadow of death” in these months, and now going into years, following Richard’s death, many times I find myself overwhelmed under the shroud of grief. In fact, the feeling of loss is so great, I wonder if I will ever be able to get out from underneath it.

The new word, at least new to me, that I have learned is from the Portegues, Brazillian origin. According to Wikipedia, Saudade “ is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.[2] A stronger form of saudade might be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missingmoved away, separated, or died.” Finally, there is a way to truly express my feelings over the years with only one word.

Feelings of Saudades, for individuals or families, who have heard the word Alzheimer’s, begins long before the disease has completed its’ task and taken the life of a loved one. Hearing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease feels like someone has pushed a button and you are watching as a shade is being lowered to block out the light of life you have always known. You want to stop it but have no control. The sense of loss begins immediately, though the disease itself progresses slowly, yet, nonetheless relentlessly, until all rays of light that illuminated your world are completely gone.

As I am writing, I am aware that there will be some readers who will not be able to identify with my experience, and that is okay. But, I also believe there will be those of you who, like me, will say, “yes, this is exactly how I feel!” So, for you, my sweet friend, this writing is for you.