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Mysticism in Dementia

My friend Susan Joyner shared an amazing conversation with her mother who has Lewy Body Dementia. My own mother exhibited similar giftedness as rational thinking and inhibitions slipped away from first place. Interesting that both women could so clearly grasp the dance of life.

Susan captured this fluid and beautiful response from Betty Smith Joyner on 12/3/11 just after her mom expressed confusion about whose house she was in.

I asked my mother “Where are you?” as she seemed to gaze out the window at the birds on the feeder. She responded “I’m a little boy with an all day sucker that only lasted half an hour.”

Then she paused and I asked again, “Where are you now, Mama?”

I am running across a field and chasing a butterfly, to find another such as I with whom to contemplate…I know that I am a butterfly and whether that is why I was brought here I’ve no idea but it is enough to see the light reflect from my wings, the wings of my brothers and all of the others. I am part of the whole and so I go happily from flower to flower to share what I know of the world around me.

One would like to arrange the world into an armful of flowering beauty…to take us back to the fields where children come to play and grownups to pray…to pray and play…two sides of the same coin!

Each step of the dance is known in advance.  One can miss what one does not have but one can weave healing threads around the edges and the center and soon into strands of beautiful pinks and reds, a glowing orb. And we go back to our wing thoughts, happy to have been a part of all that is.

And for our children, a star leads them through all the morrows. They lend an anchor to those in need without losing what they have been given.

Little butterfly, dance your dance and watch the road for signs of the way you have forgotten. May the elders bring them to you and guide you on the way. Each butterfly has its own favorite song to follow, and you, my kitten, give thanks for what you love, may it keep you safe and may you know wild joy!

The music grows more distant. The songs have all been sung…so now, take you your message and take it to the sun. Sleep beneath the flowering plant. Let it be for thee a blessing and nourishment for all eternity. Fold your wings and go to sleep…the peaceful sleep of the just.

Every mind and heart goes through the battle of life with only one guide…love. This love is more solid and beautifully spun than you know. You will dance in the web of life. Love it, live in it, and cover the world with it as a golden fleece.

No matter how short our path falls of the goal, our dream is the love that burns ever brightly…it grows and sparkles like the flowers of May. You will feel its warmth every step of the way. When you do not feel it, it is yet always there, so have not a care!

And now I kiss thee and blow you gently from my finger into the message that is being played for thee. Now thou must be on thy way no doubt.  But that is the way of life, new faces, new joys, new songs…and all for thee, all for thee.

For the many times my voice seemed angry or disturbed, it was from love. I wanted to keep you safe and happy, which cannot be done.

Wild flowers and shooting stars…I hold you here in my wings, ready to carry you whenever you have need of me, my darling butterfly.”


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