Do you ever just sit and observe what’s going on around you? I do it all the time. I love to people watch. I’m amazed by all the different lives that walk in front of me knowing that I’ll likely never see them again. I wonder what brought them to that location. What are they doing here? Do they have a care in the world or they just enjoying themselves for a carefree day out?
I ask myself these questions all the time. Think about how often we neglect the things that are right in front of us. How life can become so complicated in a split second by an action such as an “accident” or words such as a ”diagnosis”. It’s so true that we don’t appreciate what we have until we either lose it or are at risk of losing it.
Of all the things that we take for granted, our health has got to be at the top of the list. We forget how easy it used to be to walk without pain when you now suffer from it all the time. Perhaps we forget what it feels like to be happy when we are burdened by depression. Maybe we forget what it feels like to be surrounded by those we love when all we feel is isolated.
Humanity is one of life’s greatest treasures. Too often we are present when times are good yet quickly dispersed when times get tough. Why is that? I know it’s human nature, but that doesn’t make it right.
Both my professional role as a neurology nurse practitioner and in my private life I deal with issues facing people who suffer from dementia. I see the fear and anxiety in their eyes and feel the sadness in their heart. They feel as though they burden their loved ones and no longer offer anything of value to society. Isn’t it shameful that we as a community allow people to have those thoughts? Just because someone can no longer remember things such as words or names does not mean that they have nothing left offer. They can offer companionship, love, joy, compassion and at times, even insight.
Can you imagine a world where we do not make those suffering from disease feel isolated or guilty? Well, here’s the great news. With effort and intentional change, we can make that happen. If we all become a bit more aware of what people are going through, perhaps we could become a more compassionate society. What we cannot prevent or cure (at least not yet), we can make less difficult. With these simple actions, we can eradicate the loneliness and isolation that often is the result of the disease.
Today I challenge everyone to take a moment and open your eyes, look around; see the world through a different lens and try to understand what someone out there might be feeling. The simplest gesture can make a world of difference to someone. It sounds so simple yet it’s not done very often.
Wouldn’t you want that done for us or our loved one?
With the unfortunate rise in the prevalence of dementia, this could be happening to someone you care about. Just think, if you found yourself or your loved one in that unfortunate situation wouldn’t you want someone to go out of their way to make a difference for you?
We can do better and with a little bit of effort and deliberate change, I know we can!