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December 2, 2014

My husband and I just went on a nine hundred mile (one way) road trip to visit one of our daughters for Thanksgiving. We shared the driving duties. While he drove, I slept or crocheted. While I drove, he worked on his laptop solving work issues. If he was on a conference call, it meant no radio for me. Totally alone with my thoughts on the open road.

There is nothing like being totally alone in your own thoughts with the miles swiftly separating you from the day to day routines to help you put your life into perspective and to let the healing process begin in earnest. As the miles stretched behind me, so did the worries. I also discovered words that I had long forgotten how to put together. I discovered that I really wanted to write again. “Right now!” Not in hour when my drive time was up, but right now! Characters and plots were coming together like never before. I needed to get them down before they were forgotten. I didn’t want to lose them now that they had returned.

These characters and plots are not related at all to the Alzheimer’s Roller Coaster ride that I have been on for eleven years. They are part of a romance novel that I dabbled with more than 15 years ago, when I had a pipe dream of “someday writing a book.” That story has been lying dormant for so long, I had totally forgotten about her. Now suddenly she is alive and becoming her own person with a purpose and meaning. She has spunk and spit. She wants to grow. Much like myself. I have been lying dormant and it is time for me to grow as well. This new found energy totally changes the course that the original first few chapters were taking. It is a whole new story.

In the five months since my mother has passed on to a much better life, I have talked to many people for many different reasons. At book signings, the newcomers to the Alzheimer’s world want to know what to expect and how to cope.    I share what I know and let them unload their worries. I unload my burdens to my priest, my grief support group, my very caring doctor and a dear friend who understands all too well. In the Alzheimer’s support group that I have started at church, our small group represents all stages of the disease. We all share equally in our concerns. Each has a story to share and we are there for each other.

A most precious blessing during our trip was spending time with our seven year old grandson. I had taken a brand new 500 piece jigsaw puzzle to work on. Not knowing if he would even be interested or not but it was a very conscientious plan to carry on a family tradition of when my mom came to visit us in Houston, we would spend hours together over a jigsaw puzzle. After the Thanksgiving dinner table was cleared, I got out the puzzle, the little guy right away said that he does puzzles with his Meemaw. He helped sort out the pieces and got started right away with hooking the border together. Over the next couple of days, at various times, everyone had their hands on putting the puzzle together. An amazing thing happened close to completing the puzzle. When there were dozens of random single spots, odd shaped pieces that should be easy to fill and no adult could seem to find the right piece. The little guy would look at the spot, reach into the remaining pile and fill the hole with the first piece he picked up. He did this over and over again.

I would like to think that just maybe he had a guiding hand from above! I know one thing for sure, not only did fill in the holes in the puzzle,  he helped fill the hole in my heart this year!

“We are many parts, we are one body, and the gifts we have, we are given to share, may the Spirit of love make us one in deed; one, the love that we share; one, our hope in despair; one, the cross that we bear.”   

Marty Haugen

 Our roles in life are indeed many parts, (wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, caregiver, friend) connected very much like a jigsaw puzzle.

Maybe now, I can start to put my own personal life puzzle back together again and find the words and the energy to finish many things that have been neglected for far too long.

From → Alzheimer's, Faith

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