Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Molly’s story is one of triumph over darkness by using her greatest strength to give her a new purpose and begin a new mission. She was the dutiful daughter and caregiver of both parents with Alzheimer’s disease. Her father was diagnosed in 2008 and passed away in 2011. Her mother passed away from the disease in 2012. Her parent’s experience haunted her, and she often felt guilty that she hadn’t done enough.
During the agonizing experience of caring for both of them and also going through a painful divorce, she relied on her journal writing to help her through this very dark period in her life. She was an established writer and poet, and writing was her therapy. It helped her to put down on paper difficult feelings, such as guilt, anger, and feeling totally overwhelmed.
In the midst of these very dark times, Molly decided to go back to school to earn her master’s degree in poetry. She says, “It was something good for me. It was a comfort and escape and a positive way to reach for the future.” She enrolled in graduate school at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. It was a “low-residency” program because it required only four weeks at the university (two weeks each year). The rest of the rigorous program was done from home, one-on-one with a professor. Her degree is an M.F.A, Master of Fine Arts (in Creative Writing). This program, along with her poetry, helped her get her footing again. Little did she know at the time that poetry would turn into her mission of helping those with Alzheimer’s.
She felt that poetry is similar to music in terms of being rhythmic and easier to remember. She had an epiphany that she would use poetry to reach persons with Alzheimer’s. She started with one presentation to a new memory care center, and that was the beginning of a new purpose and mission, called Mind’s Eye Poetry.
Basically, she found a way to interact with dementia patients on their terms and be able to help them maintain their dignity, and in the process, help them reclaim a sense of empowerment. She says that people forget there is more to caregiving than keeping people safe, clean, and medicated. She also believes that even though it is a fatal disease, these people deserve more than just being kept busy.
She says, ”It not only dehumanizes those for whom so much is being lost, but may, in fact, speed up the disease process. Until the final stages of the disease, people living with dementia can love, laugh, create, and imagine. No, they may not be who they were before the illness, but we fail them when we pronounce them, “gone”.”
She believes that they should be treated as a person first and patient second. It was with these beliefs in mind, that she founded Mind’s Eye Poetry. Her original idea has grown immensely, and she has been doing these presentations for three years now. Click here to go to her website and get more information about her poetry presentations.
Molly says, “Through the use of poetry facilitation, I help my poet/patients access memories and imagination. I turn those memories and imaginings into poems using their ideas, phrases, words, and even non-verbal cues. The resulting poems are stunning—testaments to the human desire for creative expression.”
She emphasizes “I know, without a doubt, that up until the final stages of the disease process, people with Alzheimer’s have the potential to be vital, engaging, creative individuals. We need only go on the journey with them, not expect them to remain within our narrow definition of someone who “used to be.” I am spreading the word: People with Alzheimer’s still possess the ability to laugh, think, create, and authentically enjoy living in the moment. They deserve challenging, empowering, dignifying interactions. They deserve the best we have to offer.”
She says that making life better for these dear people and their caregivers has been addictive as she sees what a difference it makes in their lives. Her only regret is that she wasn’t able to use it with her own parents. However, she feels very fortunate to use her passion to bring joy to others. God is truly blessing her so that she can bless others.
- Her journal writing.
- Going back to school.
- Using her strength to help those stricken with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Bless Molly with her amazing mission. She is truly a vessel for Your work to be done here on earth. Continue to give her strength and wisdom to bring joy and creativity to those suffering from this terrible disease.