A Reflection Paper

I am sitting down to write another blog post, wondering what topic of the thousands of topics I want to talk about might be the best one for this time. I have abandoned the topic of death (which I started back in March) for now, as I need some separation before we dive back in. So, what can I write about that might hold a gem for someone who reads it? I realize this blog, which never set out to be a research or instructional blog, has become my version of a reflection paper. Stories from the journey of dementia. I am feeling separated from that journey more than ever right now. I am not working directly with anyone at this moment, and no one in my family alive right now has dementia. I am on committees and a member of a coalition where I do work in dementia. I record programs and sit on the opposite side of the screen from clients, and it all feels miles away. How can I provide you with value if I cannot, myself, connect with you?

As an art therapy and drama therapy student, I was required to write reflection papers sometimes every day, sometimes every week. We were tasked with writing about our experience of going through a therapeutic process, witnessing a therapy session, or after learning a new method. We also wrote reflection papers after each day of our internship. They were messy papers, and for me, not always exactly what I wanted to say. Knowing my professor would read these papers, I never fully could articulate my thoughts, and I am not sure I was able to convey my true reflection of where I was that day, that week.

The collection of 6 years of education in the creative arts therapies and the reflection papers that accompanied that journey sit in a binder in my closet. They are steps on the journey. For the first time in years, I chose to crack open that binder and read a little bit. I discovered why I was so ambitious (Spiritual ambition to be more accurate) in pursuing the creative arts therapies and dementia. I am reminded of that spark of wonder that occurred when I imagined blending the two worlds. I am brought back the relationships I formed while an intern and the lessons they still carry. I miss that time of my life in some ways. But we move forward.

As I read the pages of this binder, I was reminded of why I am here doing the work I set out to do each day. I am reminded of my purpose that I was blessed to discover at a very young age. I am reminded that while I feel disconnected from those on the receiving end of this blog and the services I provided, as well as from many of my fellow care professionals, we are connected in mission, in the purpose we have, and the dreams we hold for working alongside those living with dementia.

I mentioned back in June that you were to stay tuned about the next steps for the Hem of Christ Ministry, and that will arrive next week. (I ask for your prayers!) And maybe in October, we can continue our exploration of death and daying. But until then, this is my Dementia Letters Project reflection paper. Messy, maybe not exactly what I wanted to say, but a moment to reflect, to share some things, and to tell you that sometimes we feel incredibly disconnected when in fact we are still here connected, one community on this dementia journey.

Published by Kathryne Fassbender

Creative Gerontologist, Speaker, Catholic Innovator. I am also the granddaughter of someone who lived with Vascular Dementia.

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