Life in Darkness

"Where There is Darkness, There is Life"


Just as I see sunshine on this cloudy day, last night I was sitting in darkness, but I could see the lights around me were all on.  I could clearly see my inner self sitting on a round, wooden, three legged stool, swaying an ultra bright, lightweight, hand-held golden coloured flashlight, trying to shine it in such a way that people on the outside could see — could see me, the me inside of my body; the me who sat there writing this tale. But, the people out there could not see me — they just could not see through the darkness.


This experience was triggered by three extraordinary photographs that a friend in my life posted on Facebook. They are photos of her father and her father’s wife who live in separate care homes; two living people who now lead physically separate lives but who, I believe, live side by side with each other all of the time — each sitting on their own three legged stool finding comfort in the spiritual company of each other, undaunted by what we out here might be thinking as we struggle with the very real transformation of what was to what is for us out here in front of us right now. We don’t see those flashlights shining, but those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s possibly do — I choose to believe they do.


In those photographs, that father and his wife are physically and emotionally together. When you look into their smiling eyes, it seems like they have never parted ways. They are happy, sitting side by side, softly holding each other’s hands and enjoying themselves like nothing significantly new has even happened in their lives, or ours. 


They are not speaking like those of us on the outside speak to each other, but I believe they are speaking. I think it is even possible to believe that when they are physically apart, in their respective care homes, they are continuing the narrative with each other spiritually, with a hand-held flashlight powered by their endless love, leaving the rest of us feeling bewildered, confused and alone.


I know that research on dementia and Alzheimer’s continues and, in the meantime, many such patients and their families carry on. The answers to the many questions may never come forward in this lifetime and how we handle it is entirely up to us, not them. I choose to believe that behind the darkness that we out here see, there is in fact a different kind of life and a different kind of light for people with dementia or Alzheimer's — and, most importantly,  lives worth living, appreciating and celebrating while we all still can.