This last eight days has been a whirlwind of emotional highs and lows. And on this one year anniversary of my official retirement from my 40 year security career I am amazed by the incredible opportunities I’ve been given in my post retirement career of bringing joy and hope to caregivers!
Over the last four years I’ve worked with the Baltimore Faith-Based Commission for Behavioral Health and I’ve loved it because it focuses on preserving the physical and mental health of its clients. On June 23rd I covered an interesting topic to reassure participants that diseases that can mimic Alzheimer’s disease may actually be something else! I sure do wish Mom had one of those other diseases instead of dementia, but unfortunately that was not our journey! I’m glad that I could reassure others that forgetting where they left their keys doesn’t mean that they have Alzheimer’s disease!
The very next day on the 24th I offered part II of my Life After Caregiving Exploration! Part II allowed us to “rebuild” ourselves with LEGO bricks now that our caregiver journeys have ended. It was one of the most profound things I’ve done in a long time. In the first build a woman said she was only taking “baby steps” since her Mom died a few months ago, BUT by the third build she was ready “climb a mountain”! The head of Hopkins Geriatrics emailed me on Sat morning to say how impactful the session was even 24 hours later. Having all of us build who we are today after caregiving was life changing for us! It was so successful that we’ve decided to offer my two-part Life After Caregiving class each quarter for former Johns Hopkins caregivers!
The 27th was “Re-linking” day! Charles De Vilmorin the CEO of the awesome company called Linked Senior reached out to me to ask if as a “surprise” for his team I would do a fun teambuilding session of LEGO Serious Play! Of course I said YES and it was incredible!! I had them build what they loved most about working for Linked Senior and their builds were so amazing the CEO was at a loss for words!! It was a powerful testimony on his leadership and their mission! Because of the company name I named the session ReLinking because I was so proud to be part of the group coming back together after 2.5 years apart due to Covid! Several of them had not met in person until our session!
I had been missing Mom so much since the 21st which was my first The Longest Day Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser without her! I built 50 LEGO models during the almost 16 hours of daylight but it felt different and lonely this year without Mom! But I kept going! Yesterday on the 29th I delivered a LEGO Serious Play session for Dementia Friendly America Baltimore County and it was called Living Creatively with Dementia! There were caregivers along with their care partners participating! The session had a very interesting start as the person who introduced me started by showing the news video clip of me and Mom for a May LEGO Serious Play event which I had actually never seen!
Loretta Veney and LEGO Play – in the news: https://www.wmar2news.com/goodtoknow/lego-serious-play-workshops-provides-cognitive-emotional-stimulation-for-people-with-dementia
Seeing the video shocked me and I immediately became emotional! Thankfully I was able to take a deep breath, stop my tears and recover! I could hear Mom’s voice saying “get it together and honor the commitments you make!” I received an apology that the video was shown without giving me a heads up first. I led the session with my usual joy and was proud that I didn’t let my emotions get the best of me!! The participants loved the session and I was so happy to see participants building with their partners!! It was glorious
I took most of today off and spent it with a friend at the Smithsonian exhibit on Futures!! It was insightful and inspiring and gave me lots of ideas for my Future of Re-Assuring, Re-Building and Re-Linking others for years to come!!