Skip to content

GIVING THANKS

All month on Facebook I have watched friends give a daily account of what they are thankful for.  I have not played along on the grateful journal, however, I have been paying attention and giving it some serious thought. Naturally I am grateful for my wonderful husband, children and grandchildren and all of our good health. But on this Thanksgiving Day, it all comes into very clear perspective for me. I am most grateful for this past year.  Another year with my Mother. While the year started off dark and scary it has turned into a joyful and very memorable year.

A year ago, I was totally drained of all energy, I could barely function.  I  lost my voice last October and did not talk again until this April. I had no idea of the cause,  no amount of medicine, rest or healthy tips and tricks did anything to alleviate the drained, hopelessness that I was living with.  After several different doctors and numerous tests, the diagnosis came down to stress. Imagine That!

Only in the very recent months have I really begun to feel healthy and normal once again.  I have just started to regain enough energy to begin to tackle long neglected chores.

Six months ago, while attending the funeral of a friend’s mother who had also suffered from dementia,  I was totally distraught and wondering why my Mother was still left to suffer from this horrible disease.  My friend took my hands and said, “God has given you a mission to do.  He has chosen you to talk about what we are going through.  There is more for you to learn, in order share with others.”  My reply was that I didn’t want to learn anymore!

Oh, but if I had gotten my way back then….. I would have missed out on so much joy and many delightful memories! Not to mention, additional insight to share with others.

Earlier this year mom would always be found lying in a fetal position, non-responsive, not connecting to the real world in any way. Now, most of our days are spent with her up and alert, she laughs and tries to tell stories. We sing songs and pray together.  She likes when I read simple little stories to her.  I have a new growing collection of Little Golden Books.

For anyone beginning to go through this caregiver path, you might want to consider going shopping in the infant/toddler toy section, also, do not overlook the pet department.  Both departments offer colorful, textured, safe to chew toys without lose parts.

Our children’s toy collection started with a washable, cuddly baby doll for mom to cuddle and hold onto.  A richly textured pet ball offers finger stimulation, as well as safe to put in her mouth. The string of flexible textured teething beads, offer the stimulation of the different textures and colors.  She twists and turns the beads.  Out of the blue the other day, she counted to seven! Unsolicited and un-coached!

When I told her it was almost Thanksgiving and time to cook a turkey.  I thanked her for teaching me how to cook such a special meal.  She said, “You’re welcome, don’t forget to use a lot of nuts.  You need a lot of nuts.”

When she sneezed, she put her hand up to cover her nose, I said, “Bless you.”  She answered, “Thank You.” There may be a lot that she does not remember, but there is still so much that she DOES!  She has taught me to look for the joy and to expect the unexpected.

God has given me a mission that goes beyond being the caregiver for my Mother. As my friend told me a few months ago, He has designated me to tell our story and to let others know that even in our darkest days, there can be joy if we can be open minded and  know where to look!

I am thankful for the many wonderful people I have met during this year that I would not have, if not for this Alzheimer’s Roller Coaster Ride.  I have received cards from people thanking me for sharing my story and reminding them that they are not alone.  People have called to talk about what their loved one is doing and saying and how I have helped them to prepare for what is yet to come. Numerous people who have bought my book, have contacted me to send additional copies to someone else that they know going through this.  A year ago, I would never have thought that there could be anything good to come out of the deep dark days of dementia, but God has shown me the way, the purpose and the joy!

I am grateful for the lessons learned and the continued opportunities to learn, grow and share.

TRYING TO GET BACK TO ME

I don’t know what has happened to the past year. It is very hard to grasp that it has been a whole year, since I lost complete control of me and my own life. Yet, I know this to be true. From July until November 2012, I was completely swallowed up with the ordeal of trying to sell my Mother’s house. This was not the common, everyday responsibility of selling a mother’s house. No, there were two mortgages, both in foreclosure, a roof damaged by a hail storm, only to learn that the home owners insurance had lapsed. Upon inspections, I was informed that there was a gas leak that had to be repaired as well as, many cleaning, painting and repairing projects.

I had an awesome realtor who helped me to fight the foreclosure and we succeeded in selling the house on a settlement agreement. For me that involved long endless days on the phone with bankers and lawyers, court appearances armed with binders full of emails and letters, showing the mess that I was trying to correct.

During this time period, I neglected my home based ceramic business. Fall show time was approaching and yet, I couldn’t find the time to work. The stress took its toll and I hit the brick wall. Absolutely no energy, I could barely get out of bed. I completely lost my voice, it took every ounce of energy to just breathe. I cancelled all of my scheduled shows. Without even starting, it was the end of the season for me. Unfinished projects would just have to wait until I felt better!

It is now fall of 2013, once again time for the fall show season. I am just now beginning to truly and honestly feel better. I am late getting started, but determined to make up for last year’s neglect. I have been saying for weeks that I was going to go out and work in the shop, but something kept getting in the way. Paperwork, housework, phone calls, errands, etc.

Today, I finally said, “Today is the day. I must get busy, I have to take care of business. All of those other things will have to wait…….wait for me!”

Out in the shop, calendar hanging on the wall is opened to September, 2012. I knew it had been a year, but it took seeing those curled pages for my head and my heart to both realize how much time had really escaped me. A whole year! Where did it go? I attempted to turn on the TV, except the batteries in the remote are dead. I am too short to reach the TV to manually turn it on. So I turn on the radio. Hubby has changed my country station to his preferred “oldies but goodies.” That’s OK maybe the rock & roll will help energize me. I look around at the half finished projects, wondering where to start. Do those vases have one coat of glaze or three? What color was I using on these bowls? I can’t tell by looking at them, and the collection of jars and bottles don’t offer any quick clues. Maybe I should just move all of this out of the way and start fresh with something new.

I walk past all the shelves of greenware that needs to be cleaned. I certainly don’t feel like getting into that kind of a mess today. I need to paint. Look for something in bisque, something easy. Not a plate that takes design work and real artistry. Something that can be creative and fun. I settle on a collection of little monster candy shakers. Three-eyed monsters can be fun, colorful and creative. Besides, you can’t really mess up a monster, right? Then I realize I have doubts about painting again, after all, it has been a whole year! I am out of practice. Have I lost my touch? I think I may have even lost the desire.

OK, clean up a spot and get started!! Quit procrastinating! The water bowls were never emptied, the water evaporated and there are layers of peeling dried up paint in the bottoms. There is dried up glaze in a couple of the brushes lying on the table. (So glad that I had a teacher who taught me to never, never, never leave a brush sitting in a bowl of water, at least they are not permanently curled and useless. They are salvageable.) I create a pile of items to take into the house for a good thorough cleaning. In the meantime get out clean bowls and fresh brushes. Go through the paint tiles and choose some colors. I really should do some serious cleaning and dusting, everything needs to be vacuumed, but that will take all day. (aka…procrastination!) So I make a deal with the spiders and other little crawling creatures of God, that if they will leave me alone while I paint, I will leave their cobwebs and dusty homes undisturbed. At least for today. I must paint!

Before I know it, hours have went by, and I have blended and shaded colors, dotted on warts and created some cute big-eyed little monsters. Each with their own personality, no two are alike.

Maybe tomorrow I will work on ornaments.

It feels good to get back to “me!” I have missed “me!”

While writing this little story, a scrap of paper caught my eye. It is a prayer that I copied from a friend’s blog, probably close to two years ago. I keep it close and sometimes, like today, it speaks very loudly to me. I hope that she does not mind that I share it here.

“Precious God, today I let go of wasting time, I let go of procrastination and blocking my own path. I choose to move forward in joy, happily doing those things that are mine to do. Thank you for my abundant life! Amen.” CAM

Thank you my dear friend for your very wise words.

SUNDAY – A DAY OF REST

“On the seventh day He rested.” I took those words to heart today. Upon returning home from church and without a single thought of breakfast, I changed clothes and went back to bed. For over three hours! When I awoke, I declared the rest of the day as a “me” day. A “Chicken Soup” kind of day for the mind, body and soul. I wasn’t going to do anything physical or demanding. I got a bottle of water, and propped myself up in bed with my laptop to do some much needed writing. I have had jumbled words swirling in my head for days. It was time for them to come together and make some kind of sense.

While putting together some short stories for a publisher’s deadline, I also took time to reflect on how my life has changed in the past year. I am grateful for the family and friends that have been by side and supported me during the difficult days. I am overjoyed with friends from great distances and past years, renewed and refreshed who are once again an important part of my new journey. Then there are the many, many new friends that have arrived in my life for a variety of reasons. Each one, I see, has their own God-appointed purpose to become an important part of my life.

Some have encouraged me to write and share my story. Others have paved the way and taught me how to achieve the mission that I had been guided to take on. Some have pushed me to stretch myself to become stronger than I ever dreamed possible. Others have encouraged and even created new paths for me to walk.

There have even been a few that brought forth disappointment, criticism and sadness, but they served a much needed purpose as well. The disappointment helped to put my life into perspective, and give thanks and appreciation for what is truly important.

A year ago I would never have thought that I would be writing anything that had to meet a publisher’s deadline! I would have never expected that I would be meeting and talking to well-known TV and radio personalities, as well as influential business people, asking me to be a part of their lives. Even more surprising is that I can actually stand up in front of a room full of total strangers and tell my story of being a caretaker and how the world of dementia has affected my own life.

I have reason to believe that God is leading me to something even bigger to come. I have a meeting later this week to assist and help guide someone else in telling their own story of Alzheimer’s caretaking. I am still in my own learning process, and yet I am asked to help someone else.

Today’s dinner was also a “Chicken Soup” kind of dinner. Created with left-overs from Friday night’s awesome baked chicken, found on a blog written by one of the new people to come into my life this year. When I first read her blog, bragging about how good the chicken is, my first thought was, “Really? Baked chicken is baked chicken!” WRONG! This really was as good as she said it was! Even my husband commented on how good it was. (If you know him, you know he is a man of very few words!) Check out her blog and try the recipe for yourself. http://www.carischaeffer.com

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES AND LESSONS TOO

I think we are all aware that sometimes a childhood memory will creep into our thoughts without any warning. Sometimes they are happy, others not so much. Sometimes it is such a minor detail that you wonder why it even crossed your mind, and where had it been hiding all of these years?

I had a very full weekend that involved a couple of days of preparation ahead of time. Two full days of assembly line baking for a couple of church events that just happened to fall on the same day. Wishing that I had a couple of grandkids nearby, so they could lick the beaters, so I wouldn’t be tempted to be a kid again and lick them myself! (Yes,of course I did!)
As I had the spatula in hand to scrape the excess cake batter from the beaters, I had a sudden flash of watching my Mother meticulously scraping the beaters clean. So clean, there was nothing left to lick, nor to be wasted in the dishwater. She could scrape a beater “slicker than a whistle!” I can remember commenting that she had left nothing to lick. She told me that she thought I was too old to lick the beaters, but with a smile on her face, she quickly dipped the beater back into the bowl, so that I would have something to lick!
Why the marathon baking sessions?
The second Saturday of the month is our parish Healing Mass and Prayer Shawl Blessing followed by a social hour with coffee and sweets. I usually bake or sometimes buy something to contribute to the event. It also happened to be our parish picnic. Cakes, pies, cookies and brownies were needed for desserts for the chicken dinner as well as prizes at the cake stand. Following in my Grandma Wayne’s footsteps, I baked a little bit of everything, to make sure that all bases were covered. Of course there were a couple new recipes that I wanted to try out, and then there is the no fail standbys’ that you just have to take. Must bake a little extra to insure that there is enough. Oh and don’t forget some cupcakes for the kids!
Saturday morning had arrived, up at 6:00 and at church by 7:30 with two different treats plated. I set up the prayer shawls for the blessing. Other ladies are setting up the coffee and snacks, tables and chairs. Mass starts at 8:00. Followed by fellowship with friends. I return home at 10 to pick up hubby so that we can go downtown to the farmers market for fresh fruits and veggies. Home at noon, time for a nap! Lunch and pack up for my afternoon duties! I carry four different baked goods out to the car for the picnic. (In a flash I visualize Grandma loading up her big red Plymouth with all of her homemade goodies!)

I worked from 2-4 serving fried chicken at the carry-out line, then I changed clothes and shoes, to head across the parking lot to church for evening Mass, where I was scheduled as a Eucharistic Minister, hubby had arrived in time for Mass, afterwards, we sat down to eat dinner with friends that we haven’t seen since last year’s picnic. We then went outside to participate in several games, except for the cake booth!!! I had no desire to win one!! I guess I could have donated it back, if I did win it. I should have played, I would have paid true homage to Grandma. She always ran the cake stand at the Cahokia Fireman’s picnics. She also made aprons for the apron booth, and had done more than her fair share of quilting on the raffle quilts, as well as embroidered pillowcases for the pillowcase booth. Not to mention the group of ladies who gathered in her kitchen to make the homemade potato salad and coleslaw. (And I helped!)

People have always asked me why I thought I had to do it all, especially my Mom. It’s simple, I learned it from my Grandma!

Did she know that she was teaching lessons that would be passed on to future generations? I hope she knows I was paying attention and that I have passed the gene on to my daughters!

A VERY BUSY MORNING

So much to do this morning, several places to be and had to be home in time for an early afternoon appointment here. Dressed and ready to head out the door, but first had to take a quick look at the computer to see what was happening in the world of email, FB, and friends blogs.

I could not help but giggle out loud while reading a friends blog, relating a time from the past, reminding us of the days when Labor Day meant putting away the white shoes and purses and pulling out the darker clothes and accessories. I giggled because I was wearing white capri pants with my white flip flops. Does my brown shirt make it a fall outfit? Closed the computer, picked up the fall sunflower swag to hang on mom’s door, and I was off and running.

When I arrived at the nursing home, I couldn’t find mom. Not in her room, not in the hallway, not in the dining room. Where could she be? One of the aids noticed me looking around and informed me that mom was in the activity room. She was listening to music and getting her nails done. They were at a stopping point with the nails, so I took her outside to sit on the porch to enjoy the very welcome cooler weather. We had a nice visit and she chatted freely. Our conversation went something like this:
“Did Linda and Ray come to visit you yesterday?”
“Yes.”
“Did you have a nice visit?”
“Yes, and my mom came to”.
“Your mom came to visit you?”
“Yes,”
“How is your mom?”
She laughed, a good, hard, deep, belly laugh. When she caught her breath, she leaned forward and said:
“You know how mothers are. She likes some things, I like something else!” She continued to laugh.
Oh, how I love to see her laugh!

We chatted some more about nothing special, until she became very sad, her chin quivered and she started to tear up. I asked why she was sad.
“Because, she works too hard. She does too much.”
I asked who she was talking about.
She raised her handed and pointed to me and said, “Her, she works too hard.” With tears in my eyes, I told her it was OK, and that “she” didn’t mind the work, it is not that hard at all. I assured her that “she” would be OK. Then I said, “It is such a pretty day, let’s go for a walk.” I pushed her chair out from the protective shade of the porch. She quickly said, “It’s hot here!” Though it was not at all hot, her quick perception between the shade and the sun lifted my spirits. Her immediate awareness was like a ray of sunshine to me. We went for a short walk and I returned her to the activity room. I told her that I loved her, and she said, “I love you too.” Made my day! On to the other things on my list.

No time at all this week for a scheduled haircut with my regular hairdresser but desperately needing this shaggy look trimmed and cleaned up just a little. Ducked into a “No Appointment Necessary place,” I told her not to “cut” a lot, it just needs trimming and cleaning up. When I got back to my car and was looking in the mirror, only one thing came to my mind. “I look like Jamie Lee Curtis!” Nothing wrong with Jamie Lee Curtis, she’s beautiful, but this short cut is just not me. I won’t need another cut for six months! This is the cut I should have had last spring, not in the fall when it is time to start covering up!

When I finally returned home from the busy day, my husband, who has never, ever commented about any haircut, took one look at me and said, “You trying to look like Jamie Lee Curtiss?”

CONQUERING CLUTTER AND GETTING HEALTHIER

The calendar says it time to start thinking of fall and all of its autumn glory to come. However, it is still hotter than the 4th of July here in the Midwest. As I look out the window towards the pond, I see that the leaves are falling but the temperature is not. I also take notice of all of the spring and summer projects that were never touched. The blank place where my garden was supposed to have been installed this year. I have been yearning for this garden for 10 years, and still nary a single tomato plant! Oh, how I remember my little garden in Wisconsin that produced a bounty of fresh vegetables that were canned, pickled and frozen. Maybe next year.

I have devoted the past several years to ensuring the health and welfare of my Mother, living my life wearing blinders to my own personal needs. God chose me for this job and I would not have changed it for anything in the world. I pray that I have done His will in the manner that He wanted. However, I recommend that one should also not lose sight of the importance of your own needs, while taking on the responsibilities of another.

As I moved Mom out of her house and into Assisted Living, some of her furniture and things went into storage, the rest into my house. Prized knick-knacks wedged in amongst all of my own. Shelves and bookcases overflowing. Clothes hang on racks in the basement. Boxes of papers, pictures and memorabilia found every spare corner and every useable spot behind and beneath all of my furniture. Stacks of boxes have been topped with a piece of plywood and draped with fabric, trying to disguise what lies beneath.

Enough of this mess! The clutter HAS to go!
The time has come that I must truly think about what my life has become and take control once and for all!

I have been meeting with various furniture consignment shops and making plans for getting Mom’s furniture out of storage and into someone’s home who can use it. Hopefully we can recoup a portion of the three years of storage fees. Maybe some of my own surplus furniture will go along as well.
I will be going through the collection of clothes, knick-knacks and boxes, determining what really needs to be kept, and who will benefit the most from what remains.

As for me getting healthier…….I started a few months ago by quitting the endless merry-go-round of having my hair colored. The stress of making and keeping appointments, trying to keep ahead of the “growth” line and the peeking gray around the edges. Hair cut short and going natural. Gray is good, chemicals are not! I have earned every one of these gray hairs and now wear them proudly as a badge of honor.

I have found a truly caring doctor who honestly cares about the person, not just running the patient through in order to get to the next one and collect the money. He has me on a regiment of vitamins and a gluten free diet that has cleared the fog in my head and has helped me to lose 16 lbs. so far. He sends random pep-text messages. I text him on difficult days for additional support. Previous doctors have always said, “Lose weight, exercise, see you in six months.” Clearing the fog, has helped me to see the clutter that needs to go, and I am sure that clearing the clutter will help to make me even healthier.

I have also found a natural nail technician, who is working to repair a very botched “Oriental” manicure. I am halfway into having my own natural healthy nails again.

The major kitchen remodel that was started last February, is at last reaching completion. Hubby is hanging the last of the wall cabinets and installing the final tiles in the backsplash this very day. Soon all the tools that have taken over the house, can finally go back to the garage!

At the ceramic show a few weeks ago, a young girl told me that she wanted to pursue her Mother’s love of creating porcelain dolls. I told her I had molds to get rid of. She came to the house and adopted 34 “kids” of all types and sizes. Those 34 dolls translated to about 136 separate molds, which means we emptied some shelves!! Whoo – hoo!!! Another person wants any sports related items and someone else is looking for any mold by a certain manufacturer. This is really clearing the clutter! My girls will be so happy to hear this!!

Tomorrow, I think I want to return to my studio and start working on pieces for this year’s show season. But, before I can start working on this year’s shows, I must clean up the mess I left last year. Last fall when I got sick, lost my voice and spent over six months barely able to get out of bed. Work stopped and shows were cancelled. I have not been out there since. I am ready now to pick up the pieces and start again. To quote a very dear friend, “I am pressing on.”

I thank God for bringing to my life, the right mix of people, at just the right time, to give me the strength to start picking up the pieces and conquering the clutter! God is good!

I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you. Isaiah 42:6

COASTING ALONG ON A SMOOTH HIGH

As everyone probably knows from my previous post, I was very apprehensive to take my much-needed vacation. Mom’s good mood and new-found communication skills really put me on edge. Her telling me that she would not forget me, had me worried that those would be the last words that I would hear. But of course I did go. I did what my mother told me to do…… I had a good time!

We didn’t really do anything special this trip. Mostly drove around in the convertible and enjoyed the scenery. We took a Botanical Garden tour and did a chocolate tasting there. For those who may not know, Hawaii is the only US state that grows cacao trees. Chocolate Farms and tastings are a big deal there. We celebrated our anniversary with a sunset dinner at a very nice seafood place. The food was fabulous! I guess the most monumental thing that we did was to take a 5 hour sunset dinner cruise up the NaPoli coast. Now if you know anything about me at all….you know that boats, water, and me, just do not mix very well. I have a very long history of “near-death” experiences when it comes to water activities. I prefer to keep a very safe distance between us! But I survived and enjoyed the beautiful rainbow arced against cliffs, seeing how large the sea turtles are, and watching the adorable little spinner dolphins performing off to the side. But in all honesty, 5 hours was way too long. Half that time would have been enough!

So after returning home, I nervously went to visit Mom. Not sure what I would find, though it seems that her mood swings have really subsided in the last several months. My fear is that she would not be awake, or responsive. However, she stayed true to her word, she did not forget me.

She was awake and alert, her face it up when I got near. She proclaimed a very excited, “Well, Hello!” I was thrilled! I asked if she missed me, and she said, “Yes.” I took that answer straight to my heart. It may have just been an answer to her, but I want to think that she meant it.

I am having more hope these days as she seems to be more aware and alert at every visit. (I must do more research with the Alzheimer’s Association and see if this is to be expected.)

Her conversation is limited, but she does try to talk and tell me stories. I am thrilled with the manners that she has never forgotten. I am like a proud Momma, when she sneezes or coughs, she will put her hand over her nose and mouth. If I say “Bless You,” she says “Thank You.” If I tell her she is pretty, or that she smells good, she says “Thank You.” It does my heart good to know that she has not forgotten everything, she still remembers to be a lady!

We are also back to singing, “You Are My Sunshine,” she sings right along with me. The only problem is that I do not know the second verse, but she still attempts it. I really must learn all of it. She looks to me to keep on going, and I try to fake it.

As of yesterday’s doctor visit, he took her off the Abilify. She has not had any mood swings or outbursts in several months. Gradually all of the dementia related drugs have been removed. No more delusions, I have to admit though, I kind of miss talking about Richard. He had been an important part of this ride for several years. It is hard to believe that the strongest drug that she is on at this time is Tylenol, when they feel she needs it.

I asked Mom if she wanted to pray. She said, “Yes.”

So I started with, “Hail Mary” she followed with, “Uh-huh”
I continued with, “Full of Grace” she responded, “Uh-huh”
I went on with, “The Lord is with Thee” she said, “I hope so.”

Who says she doesn’t know what is going on and how to hold a conversation? She knows what is important!

Never underestimate the human mind, no matter how dark it may seem at times.

LESSON OF THE DAY

For years I have been comparing this disease to a roller coaster, and for good reasons.  I never know what to expect when I go to visit mom.  There used to be the days of severe mood swings, and meanness, contrasted by days of being like a sweet and innocent child. 

In recent months, mom has been very quiet, rarely awake.  Conversations have been pretty much one-sided.  She would talk in rambling gibberish with a sporadic understandable word.  There were times that she laughed out loud with a contagious laughter that caused everyone around her to laugh out loud as well. 

Today, I had such a heartwarming visit; I couldn’t believe my own ears. Mom was truly engaged and knew what I was saying and she was responsive.  We had several real conversations.  Of course I was as thrilled as any proud momma, watching her little one make a major accomplishment.

We took our usual walk around the building, speaking to various people in the hallways.  We stopped in the TV room so we could sit and talk.  

I told her that I was going to be gone for a few days; that I was going to take a vacation.  She looked at me and smiled, and then in her very soft voice, she said, “Good.”  This is usually where the conversation stops.  But she continued on, “You should.”  “You need to take care of yourself.” “ You need to have fun.”  I was dumbfounded!  I just giggled, and said, “What did you say?” and she repeated the whole thing again.  Yes, I really did hear her tell me to go and have fun and take care of myself. 

When I told her that I loved her, she repeated it back to me.  Something she has not done in a long time.  She usually responds with, “Good” or “Thank You.” But for her to say, “I love you too,” was a true gift from God.

But there is more.  

We talked about the flowers outside and the colors in the drapes hanging on the windows.   She taps me on the arm, leans in real close to me and says, “I won’t forget you.”  It was all I could do to keep from crying.  She smiled at me and said, “OK?”  I said, “OK, then when I get back from my vacation I will tell you all about the beaches and the palm trees. She only shrugged her shoulders.

It was time to take Mom to the dining room for dinner.  When I told her that I needed to leave, she said OK, I Love You, You Have Fun!” Three complete phrases at one time!  Even the nurse standing there was impressed. 

I struggle with trying to analyze the day.  Was this the calm before the storm?   Was this just one more high point in the ride?  Was it God reassuring me that it is OK to go and get away for a while?  Or was I given the lesson that one should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up hope? 

I can’t shake the nagging feeling that I have, that I might not be able to tell her about the palm trees and beaches when I return.

Now with bags packed; I am wondering if I should go or not.

Today’s lesson was fun, and truly memorable, but I do not know the answer to the question.

Should I stay or should I go?

 

 

 

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS

Today marked the one year anniversary of the death of a long time family friend. She was a dear lady with a heart of gold; truly loved by everyone who ever met her. Our early connection, so many years ago was through the American Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary, as well as her family being close and caring neighbors.

As chairperson of the Junior Girls Auxiliary, she taught my girls the meaning of patriotism and the lifelong value of appreciating our veterans, while the girls were in their very early formative years. There were handmade gifts and treats that they delivered to the VA hospital, holiday parades and many other early lessons of giving back to the community.

Early in the spring of 2012, this amazing lady became very sick. During one of my visits with her, she shared a memory of when my girls were just toddlers. Inside our large corner fenced in yard, whenever they saw her car coming around the corner, they would run the entire length of the chain-link fence, continually waving and yelling “Hi” to her until she was out of sight. That memory brought great joy to her; I will never forget the smile on her face, as she was telling the story about my girls! She said she always looked forward to seeing their smiling faces greeting her. At their young ages, they did not know that they were creating happy memories for another person, that would last a lifetime.

Just a few short months later at the funeral home, her daughter was sharing with me the special time that she and her mother had during the previous week, knowing that the end was near they talked about special memories of their 43 years together as mother and daughter. They said their goodbyes, and both were at peace, when God called her home.

While I was so very happy for them both, that they had their special time together, I have to admit that there was a stab of jealousy as well. I know I will never have those final days of sharing thoughts and memories, with my mother. We have not shared our memories for several years now. When I tell my stories, it is a one sided conversation. There is no give and take. I have to believe that those memories are stored away in some dark tunnel in her mind. She may not be able to share them, but they are there – in a safe place.

While I am sad, that we are not able to share our old memories, I am grateful for the new memories that my mom is helping to create now. I hope she knows that she does still make me smile!

I cannot dwell on what we have missed,
I must focus on the precious moments that we are still creating.

The Launch Of The Roller Coaster Book

At long last the book is available to the world!

I had many doubts along the way, but in just one short week I have been told that I have had an influence on more than one person’s life. Three different people have contacted me to buy additional books to share with others. One lady with tears in her eyes has shared with me that the things that I wrote, she could have written herself. Another person was so happy to know that she was not alone in her feelings and that her loved one shared many of the same mood swings and issues that I had shared about my Mother. That in itself has made this struggle worthwhile. All along the way, I have known that God was guiding this ride and now I am seeing that there truly has been a purpose for this ride that I have been on. I sincerely thank the dear friends who gave me the courage to believe in myself, and who would not let me give up when things were hard!

Below are some pictures from the book release party, I wish all of you could have been there to share in this amazing once in a lifetime event. My first book is published!

The Purple Jacket

A Caregivers Blog About Love, Care and Commitment

When I Became an Author

My blog is about how I became an author, what steps I took and how it all started

So…You Want to Write a Book

With Author Susan K. Earl

readful things blog

The search for meaning, one page at a time

A Circle In The Path

Dealing with the mental and physical decline of my beloved mother

The Dementia Diary

Just another WordPress.com site

The Redneck Rosarian

America's Favorite Rose Gardener

The baby aspirin years

Ms. Boice falls in love, travels and eats her way through life in the post-40 years.

%d bloggers like this: