The Dementia Letters Project
“There is something in us as storytellers and as listeners to stories that demands the redemptive act, that demands the redemptive act that demands that what falls at least be offered to be restored.” – Flannery O’ Connor
Look for a moment at our culture and at the shifts in dementia care and you will see that stories play a lead role in our healing, our understanding, and our connection to one another. While not a new thought, it may have a new understanding, placed in a new context. We are all storytellers. We are all listeners to stories. We all should have the opportunity to tell our story.
Not all forms of dementia look alike nor does every person experience dementia in the same way another person might. With this knowledge, we still are only seeing a small snip-it of dementia. We see doom and gloom, we see the rare breakthrough, we don’t see or hear the other stories, but these stories deserve to be told. I created this project because I wanted to open up a place where others can share their experiences, their fears, their joys. It is fluid and flexible for each person wishing to write a letter. These letters will be published on the blog, Bonae Memoriae on Sundays and shared via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Depending on the success of the project, it’s own website or platform will be created.
Here are some guidelines:
- Address it to yourself, your family, dementia, to a loved one with dementia, the community, God, anyone, everyone.
- Write a letter of any length. It can be vulnerable, it can be funny, it can be sad, it can be in the form of advice, or in the form of sharing a moment with a listening ear.
- While I encourage you to write the letter in your own voice, please keep it free of vulgar language and do not bash anyone, or any organization.
- The letter will be your opportunity to share your story of dementia as a person living with dementia, caring for a loved one, working in/studying this field or even addressing your own fears and uncertainties about dementia his disease.
- You do not have to be directly impacted by dementia to write a letter.
- Some questions you might want to think about include the following. Has dementia changed your relationships? Has it changed your understanding of dementia? What do you think about the disease? Does it scare you? Did it steal something from you? Did it give you something?
- Sign the letter using your name, a nickname, a pseudonym, anonymous, whatever you feel is appropriate. It is not so much about who signs it, but that your specific point of view and experience is shared.
- If you would like a short bio to be added you may add it after your “signature.” While this is not a self-promotion project, it is a place where we can continue to learn from others about what resources exist.
- This is an ongoing project so no deadline is in place. If you feel inspired to write a letter you may send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post it on my blog and share it throughout social media. If you would like me to send you an email letting you know what week it will be published or links for once it goes live let me know in your email with your letter. I look forward to hearing from you, learning from your experiences, and growing a greater community connection.