Alzheimer’s, Argentine Tango, Stray Cats… or what I call “Welcome to April 2019.”
I like to say the universe is a spiritual teacher that gets our attention primarily through issues of Health, Wealth and Love… for our own evolution.
So here’s what’s really going on right now, and what I’m learning along the way…
My father has advanced Alzheimer’s Disease.
Last year we moved him cross country from Los Angeles to Middle of Nowhere, Ohio (which is gorgeous, by the way). We’re able to get better care for him there in a full time facility in my stepmother’s home town, and she gets more support from her family and friends.
I approve of the move, but wow it’s an ordeal to get over there to see him!
I visited Dad two weeks ago. This is the first time I got the sense that he’s dying. It was a really, really hard trip. My stepmother and I have made funeral arrangements for when the time comes. I’m readying myself to hold memorials in Los Angeles and New York City.
It’s sad. It’s also a privilege to have had a father active in my life for so long.
And there are gifts with my father’s dementia: he’s forgotten the great betrayals and regrets of his life. As horrifying as this disease is, my stepmother says this is the happiest she’s seen him in their 30 years together. It might be cruel to “cure” him.
Compensating with Cats…
A few days before I left to see my father a grey cat appeared in my driveway who looked like he could be my cat Odin who ran away four years ago when we moved to Long Beach.
I can’t rescue my dad, but I CAN rescue a cat! So that’s what I’ve been doing. Total compensation.
And I’ve been torturing myself over my disappeared cat for 4 years, so rescuing this one is like making amends to the one who got away.
I’ve now captured, fixed, chipped, and treated the wounds of Odin #2. The Cone of Shame is off his head, and he’s learning to invite Belly Scratches. Progress!
Last night another stray showed up at my back door who looked like my husband’s cat who escaped last year. Weird…
So what’s the Tango connection?
A few years back I met a Stanford doctor at a Waltz social in Oakland, CA who told me that partner dancing is the #1 activity to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s. I’ve since confirmed that the Alzheimer’s Association says partner dancing prevents the disease by a whopping 75%.
Hearing this, my husband enrolled us in Argentine Tango class and West Coast Swing last year. We’re getting pretty good at West Coast Swing, but Tango was a tougher nut to crack.
The good news is being bad at something is GREAT for the brain!
The brain loves to struggle, learn, and solve problems. That’s what it’s designed for. We should ALWAYS be seeking out things we’re bad at!
And this week we had a Tango breakthrough… we actually looked like we were dancing. It really is more fun when you’re just competent enough to add some flair. I mean we’re still terrible, but terrible with style. 😀
- I’ve lost 24 pounds. (Which looks like 50 pounds on my tiny frame–the difference between a size 12 and a size 2 on my body.) And my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are way down.
- The middle aged lady “brain fog” that was freaking me out has mostly lifted.
- My husband, who had no dance training before this, has turned into a great dance partner. I’ve learned to follow. Which is a BFD for a female entrepreneur!!!
- Dancing is the best mood lifter on earth. It’s FUN!
So let’s wrap this up with
Top 3 Takeaways:
1) Grief is just Love. It’s not wrong. It’s not something to get over.
2) Dancing makes you smarter and happier. Science says so.
3) If you can’t be with the cat you love, love the cat you’re with… after capturing, neutering, vaccinating, and petting it to distraction.
I’m shifting to focus on more life stuff this year. Cause it’s all connected. And honestly being cash-rich but sick and lonely is not my definition of wealthy living.
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