My member and I get along very well. Often times he would be in the process of teasing someone or creating a dramatic situation when I arrived, and then expect me to be his sidekick in antagonizing other members about their age. It seems a bit terrible (and in a way it was), but a lot of the times it was simply funny, something I couldn’t acknowledge with laughter out of respect for others but that I would chuckle about when I got home. I realized after maybe the second time there, that I was pretty wrong about the conversations I expected to happen vs. the conversations I didn’t expect. We could talk about anything. We talked about bullies, swimming lessons, dating, etc…and everyone at my table had a great dynamic. I can’t even count the number of times we ended up shaking in laughter.
I guess the reason I wanted to write about laughing is because when I first thought about what volunteering would be like, I assumed (as I’m sure others do) that it would be a very solemn, heavy business. However sad Alzheimer’s may be as a condition, these wonderful people get through it with laughter and a lightness that I only hope to emulate in the face of personal tragedy. They do not treat it as a tragedy at all, (at least in my experience) but a dry comedy for the ages.
~ Sarah, Art & Design student