Joy

Geez – where does the time go? I honestly feel like we just celebrated Christmas, and we are now ending Holy Week, looking forward to the joy of Easter morning, but also another holiday to celebrate without my dad.

He loved holidays because it gave him the chance to be with his kids and grandkids. Some holidays had the added bonus of other members of our large extended family being able to join in the celebration, which just absolutely made his day. Last Easter brought the pain of watching his quick decline in battling Alzheimer’s. This Easter, though we won’t see him, we will hear him in the hymns. We will hear him say very loudly, “He is risen indeed!” We’ll toast Dad as we gather for dinner, and chat about how weird this “year of firsts without him” really is…

This Easter Sunday also marks what would have been our parents’ 51st wedding anniversary, and I still thank my husband for insisting we do something to celebrate their 50th last year. Oh, to go back and look at photos of the dinner is difficult as you could visually see the decline from the disease. And to see my aunt and uncle (Dad’s siblings) wipe tears as they watched their oldest brother struggle was also hard to witness.

But the depression we felt was diminished by the joy of having the family together. Despite it all, we ate, hugged, laughed and enjoyed life. Kind of like Good Friday….it is so depressing, but then we have the joy of the Resurrection – life is worth celebrating!

April 8th of 2011, I sent a floral delivery to my mom. The card read “Happy Anniversary. All my love, Larry.” That’s how he signed the card every year. He couldn’t order the flowers, so I did it for him. Bless his heart, he liked the flowers I sent, even though he didn’t connect “anniversary.” (And somehow my mom knew I was behind the delivery!)

This April 8th, the flowers I ordered for him this year say “In memory of.” Kind of depressing, I know, but, life is worth celebrating, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Blessings to you and yours.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

 

Forward Motion

A year ago at this time, we watched my Dad steadily decline, succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. The good days were becoming good moments, and those moments were few and far between.

Watching him go downhill was so difficult. Physically, he was strong and healthy. Mentally, the simplest of instructions were a challenge. Simple things we take for granted daily – like brushing your teeth or tying your shoes  – were tasks that he not only couldn’t do, but he couldn’t even understand what he was being asked to do. I remember assisting him by putting his shoes and socks on one morning. There was a brief moment of frustration in his eyes, almost like he was communicating that I shouldn’t be helping him, as he’s the dad. Maybe he briefly remembered tying my shoes when I was little? I don’t know. All I do know is that as our eyes met, mine welled up with tears while helping him, knowing that if he did have any idea what had been going on in his life with this disease, he’d be completely and totally humiliated.

For instance, Dad was 75 years-old. He worshipped nearly every single Sunday of his life. Seventy-five years of Sundays! But, on Easter Sunday last year, he didn’t even get the concept of being in church. Standing and sitting for readings and hymns completely confused him. He didn’t understand Communion – in fact, he made a scene so loud in the sanctuary during Communion that my poor mother hurried him out of the building, my sister trailing not far behind.

I think a good portion of the congregation was in tears witnessing this event. Many had known my dad for years, and they watched the steady downward spiral. It was no secret – his ability to live at home – with my mom caring for him – was coming to an end. A nursing facility was on the horizon for him – or so we thought.

As we move forward in our “first year without him,’ we now come upon Easter. It will be hard attend church and not think of the heartbreak we witnessed last year. But it will be even harder to see his name in the bulletin, as it will be amongst the long list of flowers ordered by those of us missing loved ones. His name will be listed under “In Memory of …”

There are just some things you are not prepared for when you are moving forward.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

A-A-Achoo!

Yep – that was me sneezing when I caught the inch of dust that had settled on my blog spot! I haven’t written anything on this page in almost a year. Wow. A year. Well, I’d like to say that nothing happened in that time, but, well, that isn’t at all true. I had started the blog to give myself and others a place to come to for support with aging parents – particularly, parents with dementia and Alzheimer’s. I also thought blogging would be a good way for me to expand my journalistic horizons. Good reasons to start writing. Sadly, I didn’t keep up with the blog for a few reasons – the biggest reason was that my dad was hospitalized for a month, and then passed away.

As I start to get back to life, I am doing some cleaning – both around the house and around the soul. I’ve noticed I left a lot of things that I just left hanging – this blog, knitting projects, not calling and setting lunch dates with friends, not scheduling dental appointments, etc. I am sure this lag of is all part of the grieving process. Oh sure, important things were handled, like paying bills and grocery shopping and attending school events. But in other areas, well, let’s say that the dust settled.

As a new spring season begins with energy anew, it seems somewhat fitting to begin to pop back into life from a long winter’s nap. Look for more frequent posts, and as always, feel free to leave me a n

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

ote – especially if you can relate to this post.

 

He said my name

What is in a name? We all know a name is important, and I don’t even need to cite research regarding the importance of one’s name.

One devastating part of Alzheimer’s Disease is when a patient no longer remembers family members’ names. In fact, my dad is at the point where he is familiar with a face, but usually can’t put a name with it. He hasn’t used my name in quite some time. In fact, the last time I heard him say my name was over a year ago. I called my parents’ house, he answered the phone, and said to my mother, “Lynne’s on the phone.” Somehow, my voice matched up with the name.

More recently, he asked “Where’s Lynne?” as I stood right next to him. In that moment, he didn’t know who I was. When I responded, “I’m right here,” he gave me a look that was a combination of disbelief and bewilderment.

I’ve come to accept that. There are a few people he instantly recognizes. Others just confuse him. The randomness of a lucid moment adds to the mystery of the disease.

But, isn’t there always hope in a new day? I stopped at my parents’ house for a quick visit. Dad was just finishing up eating. I sat in the living room, waiting for him to wander in. And that’s exactly what he did – empty plate in his hand, shuffling through the kitchen, he wandered right over to me.

“Lynne, what should I do with this?” he asked, handing me his plate and fork. I was dumbfounded! I couldn’t speak for a moment because my face was locked into an enormous smile!

I don’t remember much after that, as I basked in the sheer joy of having my dad really recognize me. I guess I had resigned myself to the fact that he’d never say my name. And, I was okay with that, since I know that his not using my name, or anyone else’s, isn’t his choice. With this disease, sometimes you just have to come to terms and accept what you never thought you’d have to accept.

And sometimes you are blessed with an unexpected gift!

Random ramblings…

New to blogging, I am trying to add pages while trying to overcome this serious writer’s block! (Why is it that while I am driving around town, great ideas pop into my head. And just as I sit down to share my profound thoughts with the world – poof! – gone!)

But back to the pages I am trying to add…I’m trying to figure out how to add pages so that I can post other topics in addition to my “Random Ramblings.” Useful pages, like dealing with loved one’s facing serious issues. I cite my dad’s Alzheimer’s…a friend’s unemployment that is leading to a financial scare, etc. You get the idea. I’m looking for posts as to how others deal with life curveballs.

I also want to add a “blessings” page, so that we never forget that even when things appear bleak, we’ve been blessed beyond measure.

So, wish me well as I continue to expand my blogging horizons!

Finally!

A-ha! I have entered into a new phase of writing! My blog will be a combo of random writings, links and previously published articles. Be patient with me as I navigate around building my blog!

Welcome to my blog

My first blog post, and I get writer’s block. Oh well, such is life. So many changes this year, and writing online is one of them.

Stop by my blog when you can. I’ll be posting many quips about dealing with change, as that seems to be my life’s theme at the moment. But then, isn’t that really what life is all about? Change – and how we deal with it.