Tag Archives: alzheimer’s

Empty Rooms.

into the rubble
into the rubble

An era is coming to an end. The Stroud family home will be no more. The last days are coming upon us fast. Days and endings I don’t think I ever really considered before. The house has always be a safe haven, just knowing it was there in times to reset or just go home to remember memories and why you left in the first place.

Mom always reminded us, there was a place to come to. Even when she was not at the house very much, traveling from place to place, discovering America, sharing her journey with her Cousin Teresa, or her male friend Lee, with whom she spend much of her last years with traveling back and forth from Vermont and Myrtle Beach, and scatter journeys home for Holidays and family events.

Mom’s passing in mid May from Alzheimer’s set into motion the closing down and sale of the Stroud home, She is in need of major repair that no one seemed to be able to find time or money for. The taxes where eating at the extra dollars that could go into repairs. I had not worked a job in some time and my photography and Reiki practice just didn’t bring the substance in the realm of finance.

After only a few viewers during the summer of the house, we thought it was just going to sit. We nudged the realtor a bit and one of the prospective buyers offered a price with could live with at the mid November. So the rush was on the clear out the house.

Closets where explored, basements where lit in places that hadn’t seen light in ages, the attic was peered into. Draws and boxes covered in dust and years of memories forgotten where opened, much discarded. Others claimed by family members who which to have it in their homes now. It still all needed to go.

As each day came and went the more difficult the feelings of frustration and lost would visit. My sister who has been the major force in this adventure to clear out everything due to the fact she lived here her whole life, until three years ago when they moved to a new home of their own.

I witness her stress and discomfort each time she arrives, her first reactions are fraught with anger, a bit a banging around soon to be soothed by action of getting things done.

There is less than two weeks left to accomplish this task. The rooms are emptying, the dust has been cleared away, the trash, recycle, and the pickers have been here, a few more will come to take the bigger pieces of furniture for the needy. Trips to Goodwill by my brother-in-law have been so frequent that he reports the store personal grimace upon his arrival in the late hours of their day.

My move will most likely happen this weekend. I am the last resident of the house, that is Muffin and I. We had a journey here that will be a life long unfolding of emotions, and memories. I had vision of the living in the house, making it sustainable for me

, yet it is time to let go, time to let the empty rooms be renovated, and filled with a new family’s life dreams.

The empty rooms once filled with necessary objects as well as family collections from each member are gone. The memories will still be part of who we each are depending on how we hold and embrace them.

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There are values in pain…

There are values in pain that are difficult
to see without the presence of a guest.

Don’t complain about autumn.
Walk with grief like a good friend.
Listen to what he says.

Sometimes the cold and dark of a cave
give the opening we most want.

–Rumi

 

A little over two years ago I noticed my Mom’s mind wasn’t functioning properly and when we had an appointment at the her Dr’s I ask about it. I wasn’t really used to being around mom that much at the time. She had a man friend and they would travel back and forth from Vermont to Myrtle Beach, stopping here on occasion for Holidays and Dr appointments. At that time I ask to see the Dr as well, to check her responses to normal questions. In his office she seemed to have answered correctly, even with being a bit distracted. Mom was not a very good listener, usually ready with a question about something else, maybe it was a way to deflect until she remembered.

Mom

Sometime later at her Heart Dr’s appointment, the Dr even came out to me to explain what she was to do for her self-care. He was concerned because she would not focus, and didn’t understand what he was trying to tell her, mentioning he would talk with her regular Dr. when I mentioned that we had discussed her memory issues and he was not concerned at this time.

At that point she went off with Lee, her man friend, I am sure which direction at the time. Her greatest joy was being with Lee and his Shih tzu Billy. She had a whole other family and friends there that she no longer had at home in NJ. Sometime later 3 months maybe she came home basicly  for good. Lee was concerned for her and he was having his own health problems.

Taking this walk with her was not my planned version of end life process, yet I was giving the task of being her caregiver, unprepared in every conceivable way. I began walking the autumn path of grief, anger and frustration with her it was not a happy time.

Continue reading There are values in pain…

A Sense, a sense of knowing…

It is difficult for us to realize that this process of going inside and writing page can open an inner door through which our creator helps and guides us. Our willingness swings this inner door open. The morning pages symbolize our willingness to speak to and hear “our creator”. They lead us into many other changes that also come from the “Universe” and lead us to it “Presence”. This the hand of the “Higher Power” moving through your hand as you write. It is very powerful. “the Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron, Pg.85 *

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For the past week or so I have been reciting the Basic Principles as well as the Rules of the Road as prayers or meditations! When I begin my body relaxes, my voice even shifts, my heart/soul fills up,  almost to weeping. The joy that those words, those small sentences expresses to my heart is really beyond what language can convey! 

Than I was directed to the opening quote. Upon reading it I knew it was time to write, write again. These pages have had their fits and starts. Hey the blog is titled the “reluctant bloger” after all. Recently it or I have lived up to its name. 

I could have posted simple blogs with just poems/quotes and photographs. I could have filled these pages with daily accounts of the family’s experience of our Mother’s process of dying. The presence didn’t want me to go there. I used Facebook for support, that support was truly amazing! I am grateful for each person’s comments, the sending of healing, and course love. Love kept me sane, the love of complete strangers, well at least non-physical people, stepped up where friends and family would not or could not. In the case of crisis I go into social mode, hospitality mode. I suppose I was still in caregiver status in many ways. Yet finally freedom for the 24 hour caregiver position I had held for the past two years. 

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Mom’s going into rehab was her journey “homeward” once there she must have decided it was time. Within 2 months or less, the last week everything shut down. She was constantly cared for my nurses, hospice, family was around 24 hours a day.  The waiting seemed to be endless and longer than the 2 years we had spend together, yet it was her time, her journey that we all had to respect and guide her to and through.  That Monday Morning, which it is Monday now, I had just walked into the nursing home, as I walk up the hallway to her room, I saw the nurses coming from that direction, I knew before they told me. There was a sense of relief. My sister and my niece were there at bedside and had been for the final breath. I am sure a final sigh of relief from mom that she would finally get to the new adventure. Mom loved to travel, her travel took her all over the country, and even to Europe several times. Her new journey beyond this plane. 

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I got to the end of the last paragraph, I knew I was done. There is a sense of relief, and sense of new freedom. Of course the story goes on… 

I am Blessed, and I am Love, Jeff

Mediative Question: What has your latest journey taken you through? 

*( I used other expressions for God which Julie Cameron had not used in the opening quote.) 

 

This is a work in progress…

This is a work in progress, a process of uncovering our natural openness, uncovering our natural intelligence and warmth. I have discovered, just as my teachers always told me, that we already have what we need. The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always. We are just uncovering them. We are rediscovering them. We’re not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else. They’re here. That’s why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part. Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds. No one else gives this to you. People will support you and help you with teachings and practices, as they have supported and helped me, but you yourself experience your unlimited potential.

From Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears, page 51.

Pema Chodron

Low visual
Low visual

Groggy from allergy medication and then headache experience beginning New Years Eve afternoon, continuing into New Years day after which forced me back to bed. Early morning wake ups because Riley seems to dislike being alone at anytime of the day, continues to cry throughout the night. A dying pet and a Mother with Alzheimer’s is a fact of daily living… it seems I have reduce mom to tears several times in the last few days as well. She going off to her room as early as 6 pm. It is mostly due to trying to understand what she is either doing or wanting to say, listening, explaining, listening, and explaining. For she cannot follow through with task she either wants to do or ask to do, and she is always asking if she can help. Which to me is easier to do myself. The thing is we have both been very independent people, we are much a like, and it begins to rub the wrong way. My task this year is to get her into day care, and/or companion care. I can no longer continue to do this on a regular basis. I had 24 hours free yet being so exhausted and stress filled that sinus and headache were my companions. Plus fear the few hours that I could spend elsewhere would be only a moment of sunlight, appreciated, too soon gone.

A different perspective
A different perspective

I have been consciously aware that I don’t take the camera with me as often as I use too. Part of the fact it has been too darn cold to be out longer than our walks. And the fact that the community recently had fence’s placed around the field we walk through and around, closing in or off part of the wood that we would walk. It is still accessible from a different direction yet so-called civilization has encroached as well as affected the line of sight. I am very “sensitive” to nature being altered by humankind. Some of that alteration is for progress, some just what seems to be forced enclosures!  So yesterday knowing that I was not going to get to Philly to photograph the Mummer’s Parade. I made a point of documenting the first day of the year, in black and white, nature and to make use of the fence as an object of art, which in some ways represents my situation in life at the moment. I had recently thought of doing my black and white photography for a number of reasons. One it is a different challenge, to see in another way, the shadow and light play, winter causes much of nature to be dull and seemingly lifeless. So if I am “forced” to photograph the same thing everyday find a new way to approach it is creative venture. I recall a photographer who lived in the burbs of NYC, who photographed out his window every day for years, the street below him, the light, the season. So why not make what I am doing a more conscious act. Season to season, year by year, different times of the day, weather etc.

repeating patterns
repeating patterns

A lot of this work is already done. For I have photographed the same area for the past several years, some of that you can see by viewing the photography here on the blog, redbubble, and Facebook pages. Even though I consciously did not submit the same views at different seasons they do naturally show up.

The progress of mistakes

“If we are to make progress, if we are to grow, if we are to live our dreams, then we must begin to expect that mistakes and problems will arise – and not meet them with the arrogant belief that they shouldn’t be there, but instead bring awareness and patience to the situation and know that problems are there to teach us and they are an inevitable step towards mastery.”  Mastin Kipp: Daily Love Blog:http://thedailylove.com/

behind the curtain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each morning for weeks, no months, I have desired to write, to blog, always getting distracted by one thing or another. Which is always just me getting in my own way. There is always something to distract us from our journey, always another shinning object, another mistake, another detour, yet all paths on the same journey to our destination. The road less traveled is not as easy to walk, ride, but I believe a much more rewarding one. A journey made from our own choices, our own visions of who we are, where we wish to go.

Since last fall I have become my mother’s caregiver, finding out her dementa/Alzheimer’s is worst than we thought but not as bad as it may become. Yet a new chapter in both our lives, lives interrupted by illness, aging, unclear paths untraveled by either of us.

Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes depression became my companion, I felt betrayed in some ways by my sister and brother in law who bought a house and moved out of the family home after 55 years! It was just Mom, the dogs and I! I knew some of the steps to take to get the help, Doctor appointments, contacting the county/senior service, I knew but I didn’t do much about it. I stood stunned in my path, going numbly from day to day. Was there, is there an arrogant belief I should not be there? Not arrogant, just a shocked misunderstanding of where I was in my life. Did I ask myself is this what I called forth? If I called being a caregiver to my Mother it was not a conscious calling. Is this part of growing up, being responsible?  If it is part of growing up and being responsible is sucks!

An older male friend commented this way about my being in this state of presence about my Mom just yesterday: “Please know that in the process of your frenzy and fury over dealing with your mother that you are doing the work that honors both of you. (This is a better way to think about it then prompting her to talk about fourteen hours of labor!!!”  Yes, I am trying to move into the higher vibration of all of this.  and slowing this is coming to be, yet part of me is just numb or angry, feeling love in this process is a difficult to reach. As the quote says above; “but instead bring awareness and patience to the situation and know that problems are there to teach us and they are an inevitable step towards mastery.” I am far from mastery in this matter, I seek advise and guidance, sanity through photography… the shadow of me

Yes, depression will still continue to shadow me, yes mistakes will jump up in my path, yet the journey continues, everyday the challenge to create, every moment that challenge to Be Present, to who I am and who I saw up as is unfolding.

Question of the day: Are Mistakes markers for your awareness?