There were two older women sitting together across the room from us. One lady, we overheard, was 95 years old…her friend appeared to be a few years younger. After we had been in the packed ER waiting room for a couple of hours, the younger lady told the older one that she needed to leave to be sure someone was okay and that he had eaten supper….that she would be back. And…she left.Continue reading “That’s News to Me”
After baths, the folks shuffled into the living room in their pajamas. Those who didn’t claim a recliner scooted close together on the couch…one sat cross-legged on the floor. Vanna was putting up the first puzzle, and the wheel started clicking, spinning around and searching for a place to land. It was time for Wheel of Fortune!Continue reading “Blessings in the Battles”
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
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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.
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.
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.