Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crazy Weekend and Little Victories

Dear Mom,

It has been a crazy few days, it was definitely a crazy weekend. Friday, I went to school as normal and had a pretty good day. We had a field trip with the first and second grade to the pumpkin patch. It was nice. I came home after to give you your supper before I had to go back out. I didn't want to tell you I had to go back out because I know you like to have me home. So, I waited until you asked me if I had to go back out. I told you I did and that I would be back later. I had been asked a week or two ago to help with the Red Eye Night that the teens at church were having. I just couldn't tell them no, they were told that there were probably going to be lots of teens there, and they really needed chaperones to help. As you were eating I told you I had to go back out for a little bit, but not to worry about taking Bella out because I would be back to do that. I headed over to the church and I must say, there were quite a few teens already there. Little did we know there would be almost 60 teens that would show up that night. Though, I hated leaving you, I was kind of glad I offered to help out. Once most of the teens were there we started the progressive dinner in the fellowship hall. There was a yummy salad. Then after they were done, there was a delicious white chili that the youth director's wife made. That was very popular. Not long after that there was ice cream with yummy toppings. As we cleaned up the tables the kids went over to the chairs set up in the middle to get ready for the message by Evangelist Garraway. When we were done cleaning we went over to listen as well. It was a great message and 2 boys made professions of salvation. It was a precious time. They were then getting ready to head to laser tag. I left to come back home to take Bella out and give you your medicine and to put you and Bella to bed. Once again I was struck with the dilemma of how to tell you I was going back out. But I knew I couldn't just leave because you would hear the door and wonder what I was doing. So, after you and Bella were snug in bed for a little bit, and right before I was leaving I told you I needed to go back out for a little bit. You were a little surprised, but just told me you would be asleep by the time I got back. I told you that was fine. I prayed over the house and you and Bella before I left to go back to the church. They finished laser tag, came back to the church to do some video skits, then we left to go bowling about 2 in the morning. We left there close to 4 a.m. and came back to the church to play hide and seek. Some kids were getting hungry again and ate some more chili and nachos, or ice cream. Things started winding down, there was a video playing for the kids to watch and some chose to just sit and chat as dawn approached. Around 5:30 I said goodbye to everyone and headed back to you and Bella. I got home about the time I would normally take Bella out and get you up to go to the bathroom. I got back in bed and we both slept for a couple of hours and then got up for breakfast. After breakfast I told you I was going to go back to bed. You didn't mind that because you wanted to get back in your bed and watch TV. I slept a few more hours, I think got something for us to eat later on, then called it an evening sometime after that. The little victory is that after a couple of months of not feeling up to going to church, you woke up wondering what you were going to wear Sunday morning. I tried not to get too excited. I found a cute outfit for you that you were happy with, put some make up on you, so you wouldn't complain about how awful you looked. We ate breakfast and you went off to church. When you got home you weren't complaining about everyone looking at you or having to help you out to the car. You just said you enjoyed the service. Yes! I have been worried that you would just get too comfortable and want to stay home from church, but I praise the Lord for this little victory. There was another little victory tonight as you also went to church again! I was so thrilled. It's great to see you getting out of that bed and getting back to church! You made my heart so happy, what a blessing! I love you and I hope we have many more little victories like that!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sad News

Dear Mom,

Earlier this week we heard a news story that really got my attention. There was a silver alert issued for a 68 year old man, Ronald Masci, who had gone out for his daily walk. Two hours later when he had not returned home, his wife called the police to tell them he hadn't. The reason it really got my attention is because Mr. Masci had dementia. Of course now anytime I hear of anything with dementia or Alzheimer's it makes my ears perk up because it just seems so close to home now. The wife and people from the community said that every day he go for a walk, it was just part of his normal daily routine. I know how important keeping same routines is. Once I heard this I started praying that he would be found, and soon. I was concerned because the weather has gotten cooler now and the next day was supposed to be really rainy and cool. I prayed that he would be found before all of this cold rain came. The police went out looking for him, along with many people from the community. He was well known in the community. That was an encouraging thing because at least many people knew just who they were looking for. All week I have been following this story and praying for Mr. Masci to be found and for his family to have peace. Today I read a status update from our local news station stating that they found him and police were not giving many details. I wasn't quite sure if they meant alive or dead the way it was written. I was hoping it meant they found him alive and well. But as I read some comments under the status I soon found out that people from the town had gotten reports that his remains were found. Not long after, the local news station put an updated status saying that his remains were found by police dogs. My heart just broke, it brought me to tears. Right away I prayed for his family. I can't imagine what they must be going through. We didn't talk about it. I knew you wouldn't have remembered the story anyway. Plus, I don't think you realize how close to home this hits for me. I often pray that you will not try to walk anywhere with Bella. I hate how much you have been in pain lately, I don't like the fact that you basically stay in bed most of the day, but someone reminded me that because of that at least I don't have to worry about you wandering off. I guess this is true. I pray you continue to be safe when I'm not there. This story still just breaks my heart. It's so sad there wasn't a better outcome. The coroner is still checking to see what it was that took his life, the police said it didn't seem like foul play at all. I am going to continue to pray for this family...praying for peace for them. And I'm going to keep praying that you and Bella will be safe...trusting the Lord for that...I love you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can't find the words...

Dear Mom,

Some of our conversations have been interesting lately. You are struggling more finding the right words to express what you are trying to say. We have been able to laugh about it thankfully, so it's kind of fitting to try to go back to remember some of the fun things you've said lately. While we were at physical therapy, the therapist was telling you how you need to stretch out your hamstrings because they are so tight, as she is working you out to stretch them, you breathlessly ask, "What are my hamstands anyway?" I couldn't help but to laugh, that of course made you laugh, which in turn made the therapist laugh. We were all pretty giggly girls for a little while! Then you were in the bathroom and something fell and banged, so I opened the door to check on you to see if you were OK. You looked at me and said, "It was just my corn that fell..." "Your what, mom?" "Wait, I mean my cane." Again, I had to giggle a little bit, which seems to get you laughing as well. The other night when I brought Bella to bed there was a show about cute puppies and babies. I had to ooh and aah because there were some super cute puppies and babies, as I did, I guess I was driving you a little crazy, you looked at me and said, "Get a grape!" (supposed to be "Get a grip.") Right away after that one we both started laughing extremely hard. It got to the point that you had to get out of bed to go to the bathroom again. That made us both laugh even more. I'm so glad we can laugh and smile about these things. I know those moments of not being able to find the right words can be frustrating. So, it's important for me to keep things light. Other times we're not cracking up necessarily, but you will be trying to say something, and I'll just try to figure out what you are trying to say or what you are talking about. I read in an Alzheimer's article that that's the best thing that I can do. Sometimes I want to try to make you figure it out, I think it's because I secretly hope it will maybe help "fix" you. Slowly, I'm coming to terms that I am not going to be able to "fix" you. So, instead, I just want to enjoy these moments, smile, laugh, and remember them fondly. I love to hear you laugh and also love to hear you say, "You're so funny, you make me laugh! I love laughing with you!" Makes my day! Well guess what, I love laughing with you, too! Love you!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another Smile Moment

Dear Mom,
Today I was able to be home with you and Bella. It was Columbus Day, so I had the day off. We had a pretty chill day, I was pretty tired. We had a good breakfast together. The homemaker/companion came and I took Bella on a little walk to calm her down, since as you have said this companion doesn't seem to be too keen on her. When we came back I went downstairs to play the Wii. You actually came downstairs, you even stood behind me and tried to join me. You were pretty active for not getting around so well lately! Of course after a short while you were in the chair just watching, but still you surprised me. I had to take you to physical therapy again. I was sort of waiting to see if you would say something about the bookstore again, you didn't, but you did look to see the cars in the parking lot. We got to your physical therapy and you did a terrific job. I know you get tired and you hurt, but you keep trying, you made me proud again. We had some good laughs while you were working with the therapist. She was telling you that you needed to stretch your hamstrings more. You asked her, "What are my hamstands?". I had to laugh and then you did, and once I got composed enough to tell her she laughed as well, but said she has heard all kinds of things from people that had no idea what she was talking about. Then at one point she was asking you to do a certain exercise and you told her she was so pretty that you would try to do that for her. You were so cute! After physical therapy we had to go to CVS to pick up your prescriptions. As we pulled in the parking space that's when you really put a smile on my face. There were some old hymns playing on the radio, "I Surrender All" came on and you started singing it, you remembered the words. I left the car on, went in and got your meds, when I came out you were humming another song. Another song came on and you started singing the alto part to that song. I asked you if you remembered the title and you did and told me, of course, I don't remember it now. :) Then when we got home we heard "Have you any room for Jesus?" You didn't remember the title, but you did remember the words at the end, "bid him enter while you may". The interesting thing about that is they just showed on the news how music, old songs can be used to help alzheimer's patients in some nursing homes. It showed people singing along to old songs they remembered, it was so sweet to see. I started thinking about you and if you would remember, and there you were showing me it's still there. I love these moments!! And I just really want to treasure each one. LOVE these smile moments!!! :D I love you!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who Is This Woman?

Dear Mom,

Here we are in a new week. After the craziness that was last week, I guess I did have to wonder a little bit what would be in store for this one. Saturday was a wonderful day that I got to spend at an Iron Sharpens Iron Women's Conference. One of my friends had a free ticket and invited me to go. I was a little hesitant's Saturday, my sacred day for sleeping in and relaxing especially after a crazy week. I was hoping to just go hang out at the Berlin Fair or maybe get up to the Big E since it didn't happen on Friday. For some reason (the Lord, I'm sure) I felt that I needed to try to get up and go to this. This meant getting up not much later than I do for school. I was meeting the ladies I was going with at 8. Thankfully it was at the church right up the street, only about 3 minutes away! Well, I did it, I got up, got Bella taken care of, got you taken care of with breakfast, got myself ready to go for a day of refreshment. I left the house around quarter to 8 and got there before 8. I was there all day until 5. I checked on you and Bella at one point, calling to make sure you were OK. You said you were. I hadn't even planned to stay that long, but it was so good I wanted to. I'm glad I did. It definitely was refreshing! Sunday came and once again you didn't want to go to church, that just makes me so sad! I went to mine and was blessed for going. Monday came and when I checked my calendar I noticed that you had physical therapy at 6 that night...ugh. I was just hoping to get home, maybe take a nap and relax. Well, when I told you, you were not happy either because you said you weren't planning on going out that night. Well, that was an obvious never plan to go out much anymore at night or in the day for that matter. So, I had to bribe you a little bit by telling you that we would go get something to eat while we were out. Well, that put a big smile on your face and next thing I know you are in your room getting your sneakers on. We didn't have to leave for about another half an hour or so, but you were ready. It felt strange to bribe you, but it just shows me how different you have become. This disease is always full of surprises. Another one of those surprises came as we were on our way to physical therapy. We drove by the Christian Bookstore where you used to work years ago. There was one car in the parking lot and you all of a sudden piped up with, "Marcia is the only one there working tonight." Wait.....what??? I couldn't believe what I was hearing so I asked you to repeat it again and you did. You said her car is the only there., you remembered and you reasoned. I was pretty surprised by that, it was almost like old times sitting in the car talking with you. I didn't make a big deal about it, but now I had a big smile on my face. I'm not naive enough to think that this is a turning point or anything, I know you still suffer from memory loss, I know you will still have bad days, I know things will get worse. But moments like these I choose to treasure! I guess one reason why I was surprised is because I just showed you pictures of that family about a month ago because the daughter got married, but you didn't recognize her. You worked with her, too, but you didn't seem to recognize her at all, you sort of remembered Marcia and Herman, but I don't think you could recall their names when you saw their pictures. Yet there you are shooting that out there, you definitely caught me off guard. Wow!
Then, when we got to physical therapy, even though you "weren't planning on going out", you did a great job. The therapist even said so. She was stretching you and I don't know if you were channeling your former Richard Simmons/Jane Fonda days or what, but you were stretching better than I have seen you do in a long time! I was so proud of you! That was encouraging to see. You did keep telling her you were tired and needed to rest, but you were doing it. And you were doing well. After therapy I asked you where you wanted to go to eat. You wanted some place where we could take the food home because you were tired. I gave you a few choices of places that were in the area. At first you said Ruby Tuesday's, then you changed your mind and chose McDonald's. That was fine with me because it would be quick and we could get home, I was tired too. But I was so proud of you and the job you did, I know it isn't easy for you. You have been through so much, but you have always remained strong. Stay strong! That will help me to stay strong for you! I love you!