Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TURNING A PAGE IN THE BOOK OF LIFE

I promised you a post on my resolve to turn a new page in my life, So, here it is. I am working hard on maintaining that resolve. Old habits are hard to break. Sometimes you just can't turn the page all at once. Things on the preceeding pages hold our attention. But, like I say.... I am trying.

Life with Alzheimers has been, and is, a tough struggle. I've laid aside so much of who I was so that I could concentrate on taking care of Elbert. He is the # 1 priority because he is 'near and dear' and the love of my life. Each change in him means a new role for me. When he moved to Magnolia Manor Assisted Living, that involved embracing new ideas, new schedules, new ways of doing things. And, now with him in the nursing home I am opening a new chapter for myself. His care is basically out of my hands.... except, of course, what I chose to do. And, at this age, what my energy level will allow me to undertake. This new journey I am on does not mean that he is less to me or that I am abandoning our love or our commitment to each other. After all come Dec. 10th of this year we will have been married 60 years!!!

I've had so much stress on me for so long and it has taken it's toll. I've taken anti-depressants to keep me out of a deep dark hole and sometimes that did not even work. Problems (children, in-laws, grandkids, friends and people who claim to be my friend) seem to creep through  the walls of my life. Some of them recognize the need to protect me, some do not.

The two weeks that I was in New York (and I always come back from Susan's renewed) was a wake-up call for me. There was time to reflect, to plan, to figure out what Elbert would want for me now that he can no longer help me make decisions and join me in the joys of our life together. 

I decided it was time to close some doors (maybe a whole bunch of them) and open some new ones. Ones that will give me peace and joy and less stress. My taking care of Elbert and myself are the main concern. So, I need to get on with that. 

I decided I would rid myself of what I could of stress-related things. I would fill my days with joy and peace and contentment. I would find those things that opened my mind to new and exciting ventures (now, I did not say ADventures although there may be some of those, too). I want to grow and learn and be healthy (not on anti-depressants because my world is collapsing around me and I don't know how to control the collapse). 

So, I came up with this thought. I know part of it is not original... I don't know about the rest of the slogan. I think I may have heard it somewhere.... or perhaps it was my soul screaming it out to me. I try to say this (with conviction) every morning that I open my eyes.

'Today is the first day of the rest of my life... and what I do with it .... is up to me!!'

Enough said. 

Life does throw us curve balls, gives us books that we do not wish to even turn the first page, much less read a whole chapter. But, how we deal with those curves in the road is really up to us. We learn to steer clear of potholes, we take the scenic route instead of the freeway where the traffic is scary and dangerous. We find our spirituality and let God guide our every step. 

I will take time for myself.... 
I will learn new things....
I will lean on the everlasting strength that God provides....
I will not let dark corners of life engulf me...
I will stop and smell the roses...

There is bright light ahead, a dawning of a new day.  Elbert can not walk with me on much of this new path. Although he is still with me in body,  Alzheimers took the man I knew and loved away from me years ago. I cherish each and every moment I have left with him and I know that he would be the first to cheer me on as I walk into the light.

10 comments:

Nancy said...

Very touching post, something we can all learn from. I'm so happy that you see some options that light your fire. Looking forward to read of future adventures for you!

NewKidontheBlogg said...

Wow! Love the clarity that you came to. Admire you.
Carol

Gilda Spitz said...

Latane, what an absolutely beautiful, poetic, and brilliant post! You brought tears to my eyes. Well said, my friend.

Gilda

Martha Z said...

The man you have brought us to know through your memories of him would want you to move on. He loved you and would never have wanted you to carry such a load. You did all that you could to keep him safe and happy for many years. You will continue to see that he is cared for but to honor him you must care for yourself as well.
God bless.

Dolores said...

I read your post yesterday, and it touched my heart and tear ducts ... so much that I couldn't respond.

Today, I'm trying again.... with tears in my eyes.
This is such an honest, straight forward and loving post!!! Oh, how I can 'almost' relate. David not being in a nursing home yet, I don't truly know the feelings, but I do know it will be hard.

You continue to inspire me and help me to know that I can do this journey..... and especially with friends like you.

When I read your comment about people claiming to be friends, that really hit home to me. I'm saddened and struggling with a 'friend' who started treating me differently, and it hurts so much. It's strange, because I have wonderful loving friends and family, but this one person treating me different hurts my heart.

Sorry ..... I didn't intend to be so long winded.

Love your post.... thank you!
Love,

Linda J. said...

My thoughts are with you everyday as we continue this journey called Alzheimer's. I often wonder if people realize the affect of AD on family members. My best to you on your turning of a new page....

Susannah said...

AMEN! And well said, as always. I love that you have come to this point and have made these decisions. I think you are the best wife that Elbert could ever have but you need to be YOU! You inspire me, you lead me on with your words.

In today's world, others do not take the time to understand the hardships of what you have been through. I wish you the very best. You deserve it, Latane.

Beautiful post!

Friends,
Susannah

racheld said...

The love just shines through this post, and I wish you well on all your journeys.

May there be sunshine and rainbows, with easy paths for your feet, and the pages of your Book sweet and serene in the reading.

Iona said...

You are so inspiring, this is a very touching post. I have been struggling caring for my elderly mother who suffers from Alzheimers - I call it the family disease. We did however find a wonderful resource, a free bonus book which has helped guide us through what to expect as the disease progreses. Hopefulyy it might help your blog followers too.
Free bonus book about dealing with Alzheimer's

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