If you visit a relative in a memory care unit, there are two ways to approach the meeting: The first is with the expectation that you'll get to see the person you’ve always known and loved. The second is with a slight sense of curiosity – a willingness and desire to see how they’re doing that day and to meet them where they're at.
Of course, the latter leaves you less vulnerable to disappointment. It's tempting to hold on to your expectations based on who someone used to be, but they may not always remember what you said a minute ago, or even who you are. They've changed. And even though they still love you, they likely can't maintain their relationship with you the same way they used to.
It's hard to face the world every day as it actually is, especially when the things we take for granted – like having a loved one recognize you and remember your name – become uncertain.
But when we do, it relieves us of the burden of trying to maintain the status quo and gives us the freedom to chart our course through life with ease, capable of seeing the paths actually available to us. In turn, we can navigate our circumstances free from resentment and with open hearts.