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Friday, February 20, 2015

Appreciate Life February 20, 2015

Each day as I sit with my less and less communicative spouse at his assisted living home, I gain an appreciation for the connections I have with family and friends. Alzheimer's disease is such a devastating end of life that sometimes lingers on and on. Watching the plaques and tangles take control of more and more of my husband's brain makes me realize how much of the connection between us depends on our self-perception. We love someone because we attach ourselves to an idea we have of that other person. 

Less and less of that connection depends on the actual behavior of the person him or herself once we decide to love. Yes of course the physical attraction comes first, but even that is a decision we make ourselves about the type of person we will let ourselves be attracted to.I also see that one indiividual in a relationship decides not to love the other anymore again for reasons peculiar to that person. Thereis nothing   the no-longer-loved person can do to rescue the relationship.

I understand better the idea of pre-arranged marriages where the family participates in choosing a reasonably matched pair who develop a partnership between them over time. I know that idea is passe now, because the sexes were not treated equally in the choice or in the marriages that were arranged. Women had defined roles they were expected to maintain which were subordinate to their husbands. That won't work anymore. Each person has set ideas about the person they decide to love.

The second marriages I have observed seem to fare better. The pair chooses more wisely perhaps, the strain of finances and of children is decreased. The healthy spouse remains devoted to a more and more absent partner if Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease, ALS or cancer enter their lives.

Just as "it takes a village" to raise a child, it is of umost importance for our lives to develop new friendships, maintain alliances and deepen our connections with our friends and family.

1 comment:

  1. I like this one especially of recent posts. All sorts of connection levels exist. Just months ago I spent about a month deeply involved with Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, a work he dedicated to his son, Nichomachus. Aristotle's forte in the many chapters on friendship, an issue he took with the highest seriousness, is in regards to character friendship. Besides this, he explores two other less serious levels, and yet it seems to me many other levels of friendship or at least social connection exist, as if society has evolved greatly since ancient Athens. I think Mark Zuckerberg, for example, is a genius not so much because he created a web device, but because he greatly advances social connectivity.