Tag Archives: love

Remember

The word “Remember” can invoke many thoughts to each of us. You may even wonder where to begin. I’m sure that each of us could write a book on our own memories. I’m only thinking of the first thing that this precious word makes me want to write.

I remember the reason I fell in love with my husband. We lived in Colorado at the time and I remember the first conversation I heard him have with his mother. (His end of course.) The gentle tone in which he spoke to his mother reminded me how children are supposed to obey their parents. It made me remember that the reason we obey is because we love and respect them. He’d laugh each time she spoke of what “Muffin” (her dog and only companion) did that amused her that week. She talked about any visitors she had that week.

He spoke with deep concern about how she was doing and what needed to be done to her house. It was older and was in need of much attention. Bill’s two brothers helped as much as they could. They talked for about an hour and sometimes longer. This impressed me as them having a close relationship. This might spark a flavor of “mama’s boy” to some, but he was no “mama’s boy.”

One brother lived in Germany at this time. He was in the army. He and his wife lived on the base for a while, and then moved off base. They flew home at least couple of times each year. At those times, they visited each of their parents and took care of the needs that were a little more expensive.

The other brother lived about an hour and a half away from her and visited as much as he could. He also did what he could to visit and if she needed shopping done, he would do it for her. He visited her on a regular basis. He was a policeman in that town he lived. From Fairbury to Grand Island was the shortest distance of the three brothers to their mother’s.

We lived in Denver, about a six hour drive, but Bill made that drive when he could, and did physical work on the house and the yard. When I began to go with him I would make meals for her. I’d put them in containers, and then in the freezer so she could just take out one for her, and heat it in the microwave. I also did housework for her that she was unable to do for herself. Their mom had arthritis, and was pretty well crippled with the disease.

For a year I listened to him call her every week without fail. He spoke to her in that same mild and caring tone each and every week. How could you not fall in love with a man such as this? He treated me with the same caring tone and respectful manner. The sincerity in his voice and mannerisms spoke volumes as to what kind of man Bill was.

As the year went along, I heard conversations with his two boys in California also. This was the same manner as he spoke with his mom. Those conversations didn’t last quite as long, but the attitude, love, and respect was shown to them as well.

What can I say? After a year, he asked me to marry him. We got married and here it is 28 years later. He still takes care of me in the way only a husband can take care of a wife; loving, caring, and sometimes even crying together. I still care for him as only a wife can; listening, laughing together, sharing a sunset, or even a simple meal are still pleasurable to us. We tolerate his dementia, and we tolerate my physical and emotional problems. We try to keep them in their place and go on enjoying the love and respect we have always had for each other.

Difficult Apology

There’s a program here that gives a prompt. That is to help writers get their thoughts running again. Now, you may use these single words for that purpose,  just for practice, or you may do them  for fun.

I wrote a daily prompt a while ago that was on the word apology. I began by saying that an apology that consists of a short statement such as “Oh, sorry ’bout that” is an unacceptable apology. When an offense is committed against a person it becomes a personal offense. A personal offense deserves a personal apology. Sometimes an offender doesn’t realize that they have offended or hurt someone.

After 20 years, my personal offense against my family has become a painful realization of just how deeply that one act hurt them. I never dreamed that my actions would hurt anyone but myself. Seeing that it does, apologies are long over due. After I wrote and posted my apologies online, thoughts of my own attempt ran through my mind again. Slow motion flashbacks kept me awake night after night. This was a very sensitive subject to me and to my family. Once believing that my children, my stepson(s), our granddaughter, and my parents would not suffer any pangs from that act, but now I knew that it did. I removed the post. Unfortunately, I hastily destroyed it and wish I hadn’t.

A comment on one of my posts was a cry for help so, I had to write this post. I have to do this for my family because it has taken me more than 20 years to realize the unimaginable agony I caused the ones closest to me. Unexpectedly, I found myself needing to apologize to a number of people. That one comment made me imagine what happens to each family member when someone commits suicide. Jess, there was a day you revealed to me you remember the day of musical chairs. Then you asked where that was. I had to tell you that it was at the hospital for people who needed help.

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This act would have hurt you in a way different from all the others. If you had known that when it happened, you would have realized by the time you were in grade school that your grandma would have been there in your life to watch you grow up. Had I succeeded, you would have realized this was my fault that I wasn’t there.

Your years of growing up were some of the happiest years of grandma and grandpa’s lives. The visits, the overnights, the talks, and the vacations we took together, we always tried to do things that your parents didn’t do with you. I would have missed all those things.

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When someone commits suicide they don’t really want to die, they want to stop the pain. I remember wanting to die way back when I was a child, but I didn’t know why or how to do it.

He never saw any of the promises the recruiters made. He was in Afghanistan but a couple of months and they sent him home. He was in Bethesda Hospital for a while and as soon as he got out, he waited for a train on the deck and threw himself onto the tracks in front of the train.

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To everyone that felt the sting of my actions, I truly believed at that time, I was only hurting myself. I truly believed that it would affect no one but me. Anyone who thinks that way needs help right now. I knew I was in trouble and headed for more, but I didn’t know how to stop it. Owing everyone in the family an apology, I am going to try to do that now.

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My husband and I had a long talk along with my apology to him. This was the most difficult person I have ever had to apology to. When I realized how deeply my husband loved me, how much he depended on me to care for the family and all that had to be carried out. If he had me no longer, and had to take care of all the affairs, and how much this would have devastated Bill. I could see it then. He would not have been able to bear this happening to him. He had already lost so much in his life; this would have deadened his emotions to the point of physical and emotional paralysis.

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JR, although you are grown now, you were young at that time. If I am correct, I believe you were 13. Words will never be enough and there are not enough words to apologize to you. I know that this did hurt you in ways I don’t know how, still to this day. You saw what was happening to me and I sincerely apologize for the unhappiness and uncertainty I caused in your life at that time. It was more difficult for you than any of the kids. You were at the age that you needed a mother figure in your life, and I let you down. In the younger years of yours and Jason’s lives we did have many good memories, but I am aware of the bad ones too. There were too many and I feel badly about those days too. Sometimes I still cry about those days, and I cry even more over the selfish act of suicide. We’ve never talked about it, so I don’t know exactly how you felt, how much you knew, or what damage I did to you.

Jason is not here for me to apologize to. It’s too bad that he was hurting so badly that he needed to make the pain go away the only way he knew how. (His girls were loved so much by him and they loved him too. He might have been able to put the brakes on and she would not be so wild.) I know that this hurt him at that time in ways I don’t know either. My attempt affected him somehow but I won’t know until the resurrection. He was a difficult child to get to know what he was thinking. It may not seem like it, but at times I felt as if he were my own too. He tried to reach out for help, but I was not able to cope with him at that time. Many times you saw me help him when he needed it no matter what. I know that your father didn’t know what to do to help either of you. He’s a good man and loves both of you. I do look forward to seeing him again. We both did the best we could at that time.

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Now I turn to my own 2 daughters. Tammie, I know you were and still are very upset with me and there isn’t anything I can do about that. You only stayed with us a couple of months. When your father changed the lock on the door without your knowledge and you didn’t want to come back to us, I just figured that you didn’t love me, so I let you go. I didn’t order the police to put you on a plane back to us.

I don’t know how my actions affected you, if it did at all. You are further away from me than words. All I can do is apologize. I truly am sorry for my act of selfishness.

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Lauralee, You were around when this happened and I’m so sorry that it hurt you; some day I would like to sit down and talk about that. I hate now what I did years ago. Our relationship has always been rocky at best. I know we laughed about that before, but it isn’t really funny. I am sorry that I don’t recognize how this affected you since we are not very close. I would like to talk to you about it someday soon. My deep apologies for not being there. Thank you for the amount of time that you let Jess visit us and spend so much time with us while she was growing up. I feel bad that we didn’t have time to have lunch when I was in Denver. I’m sure Jess told you I got pretty sick in Laramie. I won’t be back to CO again. The altitude I can no longer tolerate. The doctor said that once you leave, you can’t go back if you have lung issues.

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This is for my parents who were thankfully busy with their own lives. My dad was sick and my mother was trying to take care of him and work at the same time. Now they are both gone, so I cannot apologize to either.

Dance, Dance, Dance

Dance? Why, Thank You Sir

When I saw a flyer sitting on the counter at the nursing station one day while I was waiting for Bill to get ready, I just knew this would be something Bill and I would be interested in going to. There was going to be a shindig at the nursing home. Everyone and their families were invited. There would be a Country Western Band from 2-4pm. A petting zoo would be set up between 4-6pm which consisted of a skunk, kangaroo, porcupine, camel, capybara, and some other more common animals to our part of the world.

Of course, there would also be hot dogs, soda, cotton candy, and a few other choices of usual carnival food items. We went to this as it was set up in the driveway of the nursing home. I didn’t get there until 3pm since my home care worker came that day and wasn’t done until 2:30.

When I got there, the band was playing in the main dining room and Bill was just being escorted back to his wing so I told the aide that we would like to go over and listen to the band. We walked back over to the main building and could hear the music coming from the dining area. I told Bill that I’d like to go and listen to them and we began to go down the hallway. The closer we got to the dining room, the louder the music. I suggested that we go listen to it in the visiting room in the front. Bill agreed and we started to walk back the way we came.

We hadn’t gotten very far; Bill stopped, took my cane, set it aside and said, “Let’s dance!” Just imagine my surprise at that since in our 29 years of marriage we had never danced. Not even at weddings would he dance! Now that I can’t keep my balance very well, hence the cane, he wanted to dance. “Okay, I replied let’s dance!”

There we were, just dancing our hearts out and both of us smiling from ear to ear oblivious as to what was going on around us. Occasionally I did notice the ones that could see down the hallway from the dining room were just watching us instead of the band and smiling too. Some of the family members made remarks such as, “Oh look, they’re dancing, isn’t that just adorable?” and, “Isn’t that precious?” Several stopped and watched for a few moments smiling then walked on. I thought to myself, “Yep, we’re old,” and once again turned my attention to dance with my husband. Bill grinned from ear to ear, and was oblivious as to anything going on around us. I just wanted to be in the moment with my husband while he was happy as he was before this monster overtook him.

I know it used to make me smile too when I’d see older people dancing or walking hand in hand down the sidewalk. It is smiling and worthy of an “Oh, isn’t that just precious?” The literal translation of those types of statements is, “Isn’t that nice an older couple is still close and intimate? They want to and can do things that they did when they were younger. We fit the bill, 29 years of marriage, and even through the dementia we giggle over a private moment while taking a walk. In marriage there is an intimacy that only those two people have. A look, a twinkle in the eyes, and a reach for the hand. Those days are much fewer now as the dementia has slipped into Alzheimer’s.

The next time you see an older couple dancing together as if they were one, ice skating as only a couple that has been married for years can do, walking hand in hand and talking, perhaps even giggling at a memory only they share, think to yourself, “Isn’t that precious, and isn’t that adorable?” Happy marriages filled with laughter, trust, love of a lifetime, intimacy, and gracefulness in old age.

Not every time I see him, will he smile and that new sparkle will be there. I am not fooled by this kind of behavior for I know the time will come when his eyes will be blank once again, his smile will fade away, and he finally will no longer remember me. This happens, day by unannounced day. For now, I will take these fine days while his eyes have a mischievous spark once in a while and his smile is sincere. I will take today and cherish it even after it all stops.

He is not smiling as much and is confused as to where he is moving. He is wandering and that is not good. He is now in a dangerous position. I know that when we go to the doctor he is going to put him into a nursing home.

End of phase

End of retirement phase

 

Along with dementia comes a loss of many things in our lives. When one party is sick, and the other has dementia, the medial bills stack up fast on the credit cards. With medical and bills piled up, something has to give.

Therefore, another phase of our lives ends after retirement. We had to sell our beautiful four-bedroom home on five acres. One reason was the medical bills that stacked up leading us to bankruptcy which put an end to our good credit we had at the time. Alzheimer’s had resided with my mother for 15 years by now. Dementia had been diagnosed in my husband Bill’s life. No more trips, no more dropping everything and going somewhere. Yes, the carefree phase of our lives had slammed the door quickly.

We had entered a new phase. It was one of high medical debt, and maxed out credit cards. There was no end in sight to this new phase either, especially after I fell and broke my shoulder. Necessity left me with five surgeries in the first year alone. My mother had to be moved to a nursing center and I still needed to be with my mom often. My mom needed me in these last of her days, even if she didn’t recognize me. I had to be sure that she still was taken care of properly. I had to take her laundry home and wash it because her clothes disappeared when they went to the laundry there. Dementia in the first stage was waiting at home for me.

It does sound like I’m whining, but I’m not. My mom died a few years ago. My husband’s dementia is in the second stages, but I don’t mind. Our bills are under control and we now live in a one-bedroom apartment. I wouldn’t say that life is good, but for me it is. I still have my husband home with me. I rejoice each day that we are able to communicate and be understood by each other. That is a joy in my life.

In the early years of our marriage, he had to care for me. He did it so lovingly and never complained. He was there for each medical emergency, and each surgery. Now it is my privilege to care for him. I hope that I can do that with the same love and gentleness that he has done for me all these years. So now begins the final phase of our lives and I will still thank our heavenly father for the Kingdom we pray for, the Kingdom that will rule over the entire earth, (Rev 21:4) and tells of no more death or tears.

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Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s?

Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia? Does it even matter? Why should you care?

A few specialists say there are no distinctions and they utilize both Alzheimer’s and Dementia equally. Some specialist’s find there are a couple of contrasts yet say they all end up in the phase of Alzheimer’s so it doesn’t make a difference what it is called. In the two articles in Lifescript.com, and ALZ.org there are varying opinions.

Alzheimer’s sickness is the most widely recognized reason for extreme mental deterioration (dementia) in the elderly. It has been evaluated that 30% to half of individuals more than 85 years of age experience the ill effects of this condition.

Alzheimer’s starts with unobtrusive indications, for example, loss of memory, for names and late occasions. It advances from making the same inquiries again and again to trouble learning new facts. In this stage, they forget to pay the bills, and lose the worth of a dollar by being scammed. Further stages are a few eccentric behaviors some depression in varying degrees, they lose the concept of time; there is no recognition of that fact.  These steps are not always in this order and usually take years to just go through these stages mentioned. Through the span of the illness, the individual step by step loses the capacity to complete the exercises of regular daily existence. They have an inability to recognize their friends and even their seldom seen children are attributes of modestly extreme Alzheimer’s. In time, for all intents and purposes every single mental capacity comes up short.

See more at: http://www.lifescript.com/wellbeing/non-alzheimers_dementia . See more at: http://www.lifescript.com/wellbeing/a-z/elective treatments  http://www.lifescript.com/wellbeing/a-z/elective treatments. This data is from lifescript.com

Dementia-Symptoms: The very first thing Difficulty recollecting late discussions, names or occasions are regularly an early clinical indication; unresponsiveness and gloom are likewise frequently early manifestations. Later indications incorporate inhibited correspondence, misguided thinking, bewilderment, disarray, conduct changes and trouble talking, swallowing and walking.

Modified rules for diagnosing Alzheimer’s were distributed in 2011 prescribing that Alzheimer’s be viewed as a gradually dynamic cerebrum sickness that starts a long time before indications rise.

Mind changes: Hallmark variations from the norm are stores of the protein piece beta-amyloid (plaques) and bent strands of the protein tau (tangles) and additionally confirmation of nerve cell harm and passing in the cerebrum.

Take in more about Alzheimer’s http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp  Alzheimer’s infection. Above is the utilization of the two utilized conversely? This data is taken from Alz.org

I watched my mother for 16 years go slowly downhill with Alzheimer’s. I took care of her, seeing to all of her needs. She did not live with us, but I watched her closely until the very end. Now, I watch my husband quickly slip from dementia into Alzheimer’s. So they both do end up in the same place but the ride is very different.

Alzheimer’s may seem dramatic at times to those who are the caretakers, it can be and I’ve dealt with that too. Each time there was a turn in my mom, it was a sad thing. She may have lost her friends names. It was embarrassing for her and she began to stay home more. I moved her from Denver to Carthage, MO and I placed her in a nice assisted living facility only a few miles from me so I could visit her daily and spend a few hours with her each day.

In dementia the distinctions are much more difficult, they are significantly heart wrenching. Dementia has a face that flies up repeatedly; it’s ugly, destructive and rears its head with more destruction than the last time. This malady may ransack your friends and family who are unfortunate victims of this vicious and destructive dementia. It steals their fundamental abilities one skill at a time. Understanding of words and communication disappear silently. Ability to follow instructions becomes impossible. They don’t recognize a common object even if they look at them and hold them in their hands there is no recognition. Dementia steals their lives and in the end, Alzheimer’s takes it.

The saddest day I had with my mother was the point at which she inquired as to whether she would forget me as well. I couldn’t remain there and mislead her. With tears in my eyes, I disclosed to her that she will, however I will feel it more than her since she won’t recollect me yet I’ll recall her.

The saddest typical day for a man with dementia, I can just figure. Each time Bill slips, it’s been more devastating than the last. From all out wood appearances it seems he struggles with all of life in general. He lives in a world that is upside down and this continues to be anything but comfortable; additionally this experience is something that he can’t control. Much the same as the specialists over, a few people accept there are no contrasts between the two conditions. If you would like to know the answer to that question, continue reading this series of “The face of dementia.” Whatever they lose, the caretaker will need to figure out how to manage it. Each time the appalling creature demonstrates its face; you have been innovative and figure out how to coexist with it.

So decide for yourself whether Dementia and Alzheimer’s words are interchangeable. Listen to my observations during my mother’s Alzheimer’s and my husband’s Dementia.

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Now the Final Phase

Phase

So another phase of my life ends. We had to sell our beautiful four bedroom home on five acres. One reason was the medical bills that stacked up and the good credit we had at the time. Alzheimer’s had resided with my mother for 12 years by now. Dementia had been diagnosed. No more trips, no more dropping everything and going somewhere. Yes, the carefree phase of our lives had shut the door quickly.

We had entered a new phase. It was one of high medical debt, and maxed out credit cards. There was no end in sight to this new phase either, especially after I fell and broke my shoulder. Five surgeries if the first year alone. My mother had to be moved to a nursing center and I still needed to be with my mom often. She still needed me. I had to be sure that she was taken care of properly. I had to take her laundry home and wash it because her clothes disappeared when they went to the laundry there. Dementia in the first stage was waiting at home for me.

It does sound like I’m whining, but I’m really not. My mom died a few years ago. The dementia is in the late fourth stage, but I don’t mind. Our bills are under control and we now live in a one bedroom apartment. I wouldn’t say that life is good, but for me it is. I still have my husband home with me. I rejoice each day that we are able to communicate and be understood by each other. That is a joy in my life.

In the early years of our marriage, he had to care for me. He did it so lovingly, and never complained. He was there for each medical emergency, and each surgery. Now it is my privilege to care for him. I hope that I can do that with the same love and gentleness that he has done for me all these years. So now begins the final phase of our lives and I will still thank our heavenly father for His Kingdom. The Kingdom we pray for, the Kingdom that will rule over the entire earth. (Rev 21:4) Tells of no more death or tears.

Which one is Truly Deprived?

Deprive

As many of you know, I have been struggling with my husband’s dementia. We’ve had windows open and doors shut, we’ve tried being playful, and yet I feel as if I am empty and can’t give any more.

Now I have to put him into a nursing home and the sadness is overwhelming for me. I’ve talked to him, and he’s been quiet and tearful. I have been also. Neither of us are able to say what needs to be said. I need a break and he is no longer able to stay by himself.

When I put my mom into a nursing home it was very different. She obviously needed more nursing care than the assisted living community was able to give her, Of course there is some guilt with that, but not nearly the struggle there is with a husband who has been a constant companion for many years. Now, you know that he will still be alive, but won’t be living with you any longer.

Anyone who is, or sees the early signs of any type of dementia can know what to expect. Some people go through them very slowly, and some go quickly. I just am wondering who will feel more deprived. Bill will know that I am not there and he can’t come home to sleep, and I can’t be there all the time. There isn’t really anywhere we can visit privately unless I take him out of the memory unit. He will miss me terribly. He’ll want to hold me, but I won’t be there, he’ll want to tell me he loves me. He’ll want to tell me he wants to come home. He will have to share a room with a stranger. His balance is terrible and he will be falling down. He won’t like sharing a room with any stranger.

I will be home feeling alone and not knowing what to do. I can go visit Bill, but most of the time I will go home alone. Will I be afraid at night? I won’t have anyone there to share something beautiful with. I will miss his arms around me and his shoulder to cry on.

Who will be deprived the most? We will equally be deprived. We are still looking for those golden years and they are “just around the corner.”

The Art of Letter Writing

In your lifetime, have you ever waited for a letter to come? I used to get letters from my grandfather. I waited for each precious letter for weeks sometimes, and every letter held much meaning for me. Reading them over and over was the best part of receiving one. When I had a boyfriend at the age of 15, we wrote letters to each other all the time. We both decided that we loved this because those words were meaningful to each of us. If we felt down, we could get built back up again if we were able to remember the way our love for each other was expressed; through these special letters. If you’ve ever written and received letters, then you know what I’m talking about.

I always take special care that when I send a “Get Well Card,” or a “Thinking of You Card,” that I write something special for them. It has to relate to them personally. Something such as “we miss your face at the Sunday meeting” or “I understand B has his garden going already, make sure you save a couple of tomatoes and corn for us.”  Because of the lack of having a large vocabulary,

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