I Want to go Home

Folks quietly talking about crops, a broom sweeping the floor, a rolling pin rolling out pie crust and a screen door squeaking to a close, chickens pecking the dry ground beneath the windmill, a rooster crowing, sheets blowing with the wind on the clothesline, the smell of rain and newly plowed dirt, chicken frying in the iron skillet and biscuits baking in the oven, fresh tobacco in a pipe….these are long ago memories of home.

I want to go home…

“I want to go home! This is not my home!” Dad wanted to go home, but I was confused because he was at home. He had lived in this house for 25 years…going to work and coming home, mowing the grass, eating meals with Mom at the kitchen table, holding grandbabies, tinkering with his hot rod in the garage, sitting with Mom on the front porch…waving to passers-by. This was home.

How was it that he didn’t recognize this place after so many years? We reminded him of special memories that had been made in this house…people who had been here, trees that had been planted, long-time neighbors who lived close-by, Christmas trees that had been decorated, and apples gathered from underneath the apple tree. No matter what we said, he was determined to make us understand…this was not home!

I finally realized he was longing for his childhood home…even though it had been well over 60 years since he had been there. That home was a solid, long-ago memory, safely hidden from Alzheimer’s in a protected corner of his brain. Memories of the current house had simply disappeared, never to be retrieved again, no matter how hard we tried to bring them back to the surface.

So, I just joined him in these conversations about home…talking about riding on the tractor, planting cotton, gathering eggs for “Mama”, riding the horse, and chasing the dog. It was amazing how easy this was…and it made life so much easier for him and for me. We told him we would head home tomorrow, more than once, and he visibly relaxed…a real burden lifted. Finally, he had gotten through to us.

I never lived on a farm, but I treasure memories of my grandparents’ place. I would love to step back in time to watch my grandmother, in her flour-dusted apron, making a peach cobbler or to ride in the squeaky wheelbarrow as my grandfather pushes me through the garden, bouncing over clods of dirt. These are sweet, comforting, and safe memories….and I hope they stay with me forever.

I finally understood…I would love to go home too.

Grateful & blessed, Tracie

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

I wrote Dancing Around the Chaos for those who are on the ALZ journey with loved ones…struggling to figure it out and dreading what the next day will bring…but too exhausted and afraid to think beyond the present. It happens to also be a sweet and tender love story that really happened, whose characters are real people. Find it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2v2paXK

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Apple Memories

The appearance of the apples was misleading. Their looks, in fact, could have caused them to be ignored as they fell to the hard, West Texas ground with a thud. Beneath the mottled skin though, they were still apples, sweet and delicious, like other apples who look just fine on the outside. If only apples could talk, they would be sure we knew there was still a treasure to be found inside.

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Bear Hugs

It’s been well over 2 years since Dad moved on to his heavenly home, but some days the grief is still fresh…as if it just happened.  Even after all this time, on occasion, I think of something I need to call him about…but oh yeah…I can’t pick up the phone and call him anymore.  On days like that, I spend a little time with a bear, remembering those bear hugs.

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Hold My Hand & Walk With Me

It was October…a little chilly with clear skies and lots of Texas sunshine.  Microphones were being checked; someone was singing on the stage.  We took turns pulling the children through the park in the wagon, searching for the perfect place for a family picture.  Chatter and quite laughter filled the air as we watched other families taking their pictures too.  We were there to take a long walk together, and memories of other walks scrolled across my mind.

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My Naomi

My Naomi was young at heart, and that youthfulness must have spilled over to her good looks. She loved to laugh….I wonder now…could this have been her secret remedy against wrinkles and frown lines? It’s possible, of course, since laughter is the best medicine after all! She was active, always busy, and took very good care of herself.

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Love Endures

We were all amazed as we watched Dad take sweet and tender care of his bride…patiently answering the same questions over and over again, looking for her lost purse many times each day, and watching over her carefully, protecting her from harm. People who knew them said they were soulmates, and I guess they were. They had been married many years when Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s had changed their lives and ours too. Mom was lost, and Dad was exhausted. We had sleepless nights full of worry, and many tears were shed. My heart ached for both of them, and I longed for life the way it was before the invasion of Alzheimer’s. We lived across the state of Texas, many miles from them, but we traveled there often to check on them, finding the situation a little worse with each trip.

It wasn’t until later, after Mom and Dad were gone, when I started writing my book, Dancing Around the Chaos, that I realized what a rare love story we had witnessed. I was reminded of the Bible verse, 1 Corinthians 13:7, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” I had read the verse many times before, but now, I understood it. It was real to me…Dad had lived the verse, demonstrating the meaning of the words. Alzheimer’s is the long road to goodbye, no doubt, but had it not been for this journey, we would have missed witnessing this rare love story. It was a gift.

Other gifts come to mind today…Valentine’s Day….along with other Valentine memories, like the year I won the 3rd grade valentine box contest. Mom helped me wrap a Kleenex box in red felt, glue pink and white felt hearts on it, and then attach a decorated coconut to the box with pipecleaners. It was, of course, a mouse pulling a carriage…which doubled as a collection box for valentines from my classmates! I love this memory, and I’m thankful for so many gifts in years past. The Valentine gift I treasure most, however, is the gift of this amazing love story…an example set for generations to come. What an honor!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Tracie

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Dancing Around the Chaos

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It Is Well With My Soul

About a month after Mom passed away, I was visiting Dad when I heard another resident, Emily, say to a volunteer.  “I want to watch THAT TV!”  She was pointing to the wall covered in crosses – all shapes, sizes and colors.  It’s beautiful.  I guess when she glanced up at the wall, Emily thought, at least for a few seconds, that she was looking at a TV, and she wanted to see more of that show!  The volunteer leaned down, whispered something in her ear and kept pushing her wheelchair toward the dining room.

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Remembering Januarys Past

It’s the middle of January, and I’m waiting for an x-ray.  I notice my reflection in the glass above me.  It’s strange to see myself in a hospital gown, on an x-ray table…waiting for the technician to tell me which way to turn next.  I think I look older now, or maybe I’m just tired.  Some days, my hands shake too much to put on mascara, and I have circles under my eyes.  Most days, I don’t think I look like I have cancer, but….looking at my reflection now, maybe I’m wrong about that.  I do see Mom in my eyes…I definitely favor her, and I like that.  Memories of Januarys past scroll across my mind.

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