Dad seemed confused, so I found some pictures to show him. We looked at a picture of him and Mom dancing at our son’s wedding; he liked the picture but didn’t know the people. We looked at pictures of him as a young boy and a picture of his father. When I pulled out the picture of the yellow house, nothing about it registered with him either. He seemed more settled, but I realized, once again, that none of those memories, even of this very special house, were still tucked away in his mind.
- It’s been six months today since the cancer diagnosis…hard to believe that much time has passed. Cancer brought more chaos for us to dance around.
On the very day “Dancing Around the Chaos” was officially released, May 21, 2018, I was diagnosed with cancer. A book launch celebration had been planned, readings had been organized, interviews were scheduled, but all were canceled as we grappled with this new reality. The timing was so incredible to me. God had allowed me the time to complete the book He had laid on my heart…without being distracted by the cancer already growing in my body.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!
Dad was born on August 3rd. It’s hard to believe that he would be turning 85 if he were still here. He loved birthday cake and ice cream…especially after a Dairy Queen hamburger! Other than that, he was in favor of simple celebrations, spending time with those he loved. It seems like I should be planning to bake a chocolate cake for this weekend…maybe I will anyway.
The news stunned us. We didn’t plan for this; we had other things to do. Instead of having a party, we cried. When we thought we would be paging through the book, we were instead hearing results of tests and making new plans for the future.
release day finally arrived for Dancing around the Chaos!
After thinking about this book for years, it’s finally a reality! It’s hard to believe there is an actual book I can hold. I hope Mom and Dad would be proud of me. Even after all these years, I want to please them. I do know they would like hearing about the people who read their story and what a difference it made in their Alz Journey or even what a difference it made in their commitment to those they love.
In the early days of the disease, when I heard stories of others in later stages, I actually thought…”Well, I know that will never happen.” Little did I know what the future held; I was very naïve. Many times along the way, I would remember something a friend had shared with me two or three years prior, and reality would settle in. We were there; those things were happening. It was hard, no doubt, but at least I knew others had been down this road. That gave me comfort.
Looking for Laughter
Our visits, I was learning, had more of an impact on Mom than was obvious to us. She didn’t usually know who we were; we had no meaningful conversation; and we were all exhausted from trying to keep up with the mayhem. Mom had not had much of an appetite for 7-10 days. Dad said it had been hard to get her to eat anything, but on this day…something was stirred. She was happy – and she was hungry!
Mother’s Day is Almost Here
It will be a day full of memories of Mom. I still feel like I should be looking for a special gift, ordering a corsage (which she loved!), planning time together. It seems strange that this process, practiced and perfected over many years, has simply disappeared. Truthfully, because of Alzheimer’s, Mother’s Day vanished years ago, long before Mom passed away.
I ran across this post a couple of days ago on Twitter, written by Roger Marple, who is living with Alzheimer’s. I found his writing so refreshing and inspiring that I reached out to him for permission to share on this blog. Be sure to watch the attached videos…will be well worth your time.
I hope you will be encouraged!
We had to face reality. Finally, we realized we could no longer pretend this wasn’t happening; the situation at home would never improve – the decline continued. We had to have help for the sake of safety if nothing else.
Our first plea for help went to Home Health Care, and they were lifesavers to us. They made regular visits to the house, made sure medications were in order, checked vitals, gave baths, and most importantly, became friends to Mom and Dad. Their visits brought laughter and good conversation about growing up on a farm and working in the oilfield. Their goal, they explained, was to bridge the gap between home and the next level of care. I wanted to believe that this level, Home Health Care, was all we needed; surely it would be sufficient for the duration.
When our kids were little, we lived about eight hours from their grandparents. Our long trips across Texas, with three little kids buckled in for that long ride, were…well…long! We tried all kinds of tricks to make the ride seem shorter as we passed through town after town.
We tried traveling at night when they would normally be in bed. That worked about half the time; the other half, they were wide awake and afraid because it was too dark.