Monday, September 26, 2011
So, Monday mornings are Hardee's days. Shirley and I love that sweet tea. It's a southern thing you know. We wave to friends having coffee and sometimes we stop to chat. They used to ask about Elbert (after he couldn't go) and now they ask how I am doing. I say I am doing alright. Time is healing the sorrow and it's wonderful to know that people still remember him and that he was well liked in a community that had not known him before Alzheimers. His personality was so infectious. I sure do miss that sweet smile.
Friday, September 23, 2011
As I have been quite open about my struggle with indecisiveness, restlessness... and a bunch of other ness's, I have had some of you suggest that I start giving more than just sitting at home. I keep pretty busy with my little projects at home but I did take your advice.
I've always been involved in club work and in that way giving to others through the projects they would have. But, with caregiving you just can't give of yourself more than you have to give. With that phase of my life over I needed to find some way to get outside of myself, to give to others, to find a purpose.
What I'm getting at is .... now you got to realize that after years of Elbert wandering during the night and me not having a sound nights sleep for years I love to sleep in. Not bad late, just later than a lot of people. So, I got up at an early hour yesterday morning. Before the alarm went off, I'll have you know. And, I went down to the Methodist church's House of Hope, a food bank ministry that they have. Food is obtained from a food bank in the nearest city and then distributed to those locals in need by the church women.
First I was weighing potatoes. Three lbs. went into a plastic bag and each person would get one bag of potatoes.
Then I put a frozen chicken in with the bag of potatoes.
It was a hot muggy day with no air in the building and my friend, that was doing chicken with me, and I just wanted to crawl right into that freezer. It felt so good every time we opened the lid.
We were finished by noon and I walked out of there feeling really good about helping others and doing something worthwhile. So, you girls that suggested I volunteer were right!! Thank you for the encouragement.
I feel very blessed today that I have people who encourage me, to stand by me, and I am thankful I am involved in a project that helps others.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Today, Sept 21, is Alzheimer's Action Day. Let's spread the word.... if we all work together it will make a huge difference. Tell someone about Alzheimer's and ask them to pass the word on to others. We need to take action today to help eradicate this terrible disease.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
In the months following Elbert's death I struggled with finding my way without him. It has been difficult and very sad for me but just this past week I felt a change. A change can be good and I think this one is.
No one can prepare you for the grieving process because each person is different. You have to deal with your own emotions, feel for your own place in life so that you can go on. I don't say that one minute you are grieving, the next it's over. You can't sever the ties of a happy marriage like they never existed. Tears still come very easily for me, my heart hurts, I feel empty inside. However, I have experienced a sensation of walking through a door and nearly closing the door behind me. I said nearly!! I believe in a short time that door will close and I will walk on the other side of all the deep emotions that has come close to bringing me to my knees.
There's been a lot of anger I had to work through. Personal issues as well as the knowledge that Elbert didn't deserve alzheimers. He was healthy, he took care of himself. He did not have a history of alzheimers in his family. He was a Christian. He embraced every moment of his life and found joy in it. It just didn't seem fair. I even got angry that he dare go off and leave me!
The anger is gone now. I feel at peace with decisions I have made, changes I have adopted, doors I have closed. I feel God's hand in all of this, that He knows the answers of 'why Elbert?'. And, I know that He will guide me in my remaining days on earth. So, yes, I have walked through that door and stepped out into the light that He shines on me.
I just want to add that the support and caring that my blogging friends have shown me throughout this time has been great comfort to me. I love you all. I pray often for my Alzheimer caregivers. I know what it is like and wish I could help lift the burden. Maybe one day soon they will find a cure.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Elbert had fun no matter where he went. Here he is sitting on a tree limb making funny faces at me. He made me laugh and he could also make me cry. But, it's the laughter I remember now and the wonderful times we had.
I was blessed beyond measure to have married such an easy going guy. Even in the throes of Alzheimers he was considerate (most of the time), loved to make a joke sometimes, and always worried about me having to take care of him. Blessed? You bet.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
We knew for such a long time that there was no path we could take other than the one we were on. Elbert's life was spiraling downhill so the children and I started getting our 'ducks in a row', you know, making plans, getting our finances in order, writing down important things to remember at the time when we knew our thinking would be clouded by grief. We worked hard at getting those ducks in a row and I think we were pretty successful. Not much went awry.
Then when I was alone and life had to go on, I realized that a whole new family of ducks had moved in and I had to get busy getting all of them 'in a row'. It's been a struggle. How do you know how to carry on? How do you make decisions by yourself that would have been previously made by the two of us? Talk about an empty, confused feeling!! I've been working on it. Making sure that what is left of my life runs smoothly, keeps me calm and somewhat content. For months I wasn't sure I could do this....
And, then, I got this feeling of peace, almost like God holding a road map up in front of me, showing me the path that I needed to be on. It may still have some bumps in the road as life itself is never without those bumps. But, I finally feel like I am going to make it.
I have gotten all the paperwork out of the way, met with all the 'important' people who hold my day to day existance in their hands, swept some unneccesary cobwebs out of my head, started making priorities, ridding my space of clutter. Things are looking up and those ducks are lining up pretty straight like those in the picture I posted.
I took that picture several years ago, never thought it would mean anything to me other than a brief sightseeing moment, but, you know, those ducks sitting on that log are a symbol of the work I have been doing and will continue to do. But, that a look at that picture again. There's some dadgum turtles on that log... those must be the 'bumps' I was talking about that I might encounter. Well, turtles are slow so I think I can overcome them. What do you think? You think I should take my foot and edge those turtles off into the water? Yeah... guess so, before they make my ducks fly off and mess up their row!!
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I ran across a long poem (which I am not going to bore you with the whole thing) that struck a cord in my heart. This pretty much sums up how I have felt so far this year.
I must make my way to the mountains,
and find a path to the sea,
let the far and silent places
become a part of me,
for my world has grown so small,
that there is no room at all
for my spirit twisting, turning
to be free.
thank you, John David Burton, for such an impelling look at my life as it is today. The poem in it's entirety is found in the book 'Fire In The Soul' by Richard Lyon Morgan.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I've had a couple of good days. Stayed busy... that seems to be the answer. So, you ask, what are you doing to keep you so busy ?
First of all, I went to a nearby Army base (Elbert was Navy but the Army recognizes us seagoing folks) to pick up my prescription and do a little shopping at the commissary. The military was such a huge part of my and Elbert's life and it just seems RIGHT to be driving down a base street at turtle pace and have to stop for troops in the crosswalk. Those guys look so young, so innocent, so.... how Elbert looked when we got married!!
It's a life I miss. Those were the good times when we were young and moving around from base to base with our little pascal of kiddies. Didn't know enough about the world to worry that much, just taking care of each other and loving every minute of it. We had five children, all born in different states.
the oldest (a girl) born in Alabama where I was waiting for Elbert to come back from Korea
the second (a boy) born in Florida. We also lost him there, at age 3 1/2 months.
the third (a girl) born in Seattle, Washington
the fourth (a boy) born in Honolulu, Hawaii
the fifth (a girl) born in Bainbridge, Maryland
Fast forward to the present....
Our third child now has grandchildren of her own and it was her first grandson who had a first birthday Tuesday and, of course, great-grandmother had to help him celebrate. I sat there looking at the generations gathered around the birthday boy (there were four generations present) and how I wished that Elbert could have been there. He was so crazy about the 'little ones'.
But, life marches on, the roller coaster is climbing toward the pinnacle ... I hope to keep it there by remaining focused on the good in my life, the memories of the past and making memories of life as I know it now.
It's okay to be sad and wish for happier times. I tell myself that all the time. I do know, also that sadness can't take over your life and cloud your willingness to live in the today that you have. Count your blessings. I did have Elbert for 60 precious years. That's a huge blessing in itself.