Greatitudes

quotes, Nurtured Heart Approach, Howard Glasser, happiness, gratitude

as 2018 ends

it’s been an interesting year — small changes add up to significant “losses” over the course of the year
Mobility and speech are the biggest ones..

Mom, we’re grateful to be your caregivers. Thank you for being a part of our family.  We anticipate more changes in 2019 – and look forward with joy to every moment we have with you.

You have always been an example of love, generosity and kindness.  Your sweet demeanor is a reminder of how incredibly blessed we are every day.  Smiles and genuine thank you’s from the moment you get up until you go to bed.

Delight in the sunshine on a snowy day, joy in seeing a photo from long ago or visiting with a family member whose name escapes you…

Attending a family gathering and sharing loudly, “I know him, that’s my son!”  Bringing the room to tears as they feel that to their very core and maybe even a bit of envy that it wasn’t a statement directed to them… but joy nonetheless to know she still knows him.

Big feelings are now a common thing for you, Mom.  You’re not exactly sure why at times, but they are big.  I’m grateful you don’t feel the need to hide them — or hide behind them.  Tears are welcome… I just wish you could recall the reason for them.  I can guess who you are missing or that the occasion brings fleeting glimpses of memories of times past.  Maybe it’s even a little bit of letting go of the fear of what’s to come.  We’ve had the “talk” a couple of times when you’ve brought the conversation to that point.  Grateful for being able to share that conversation with you and hope that your fears are lessened a bit.

Conversations at night with others we cannot see on the monitor.  The lady who sits in the chair watching over you.  The doorbells announcing guests and you rise from bed hoping to greet them with your lovely smile.  The relief you feel when you find you don’t have to get up “just yet” and can rest a little longer before you have to begin your day.

Oh Mom, we’ll treasure these moments forever.  Thank you for sharing the past 3 years of this journey with us.  We are truly blessed and honored to be on this pathway with you.

 

 

 

blessed for sure

Thanksgiving has come and gone… and we had a very quiet one.  Grateful for each and every moment we get to spend with Mom.  It could have been so much different if the stroke had been any worse.

November 17th just as we were prepping to get Mom ready for bed, she collapsed.  We are very fortunate that EMS arrived within 5 minutes of our 911 call.  Mom was on her way to the hospital within 10 minutes -and by the time we arrived, she was having a CT done and her room was ready in the ER.  Mom was responsive and alert when we saw her about 20 minutes later.  She recognized my brother and said, “That’s my son, Pete.”  Such joy for my brother!  And I was just thrilled that she’d gotten a full sentence out and her words were clear as a bell.

We spent the next couple of hours at the hospital.  Mom was doing well enough to come home.  We all got to catch up on a bit of sleep and decompress a bit.

She’s doing remarkably well since that episode.  We’ve completed the follow-ups with her primary and her neuro. Neither see any residual effects and were even surprised that she answered some questions for them that she hadn’t been able to do in previous visits!

Fast forward to yesterday.  We had our traditional family gathering with the family.  Most everyone was able to be there.  We’re all grateful for the privilege we have of spending one more Season of Giving and Loving with Mom.  Lots of precious memories were shared and I’m pretty sure that most everyone spent more time doing the same on their trips home.  More time was spent sharing stories than taking pictures.  We’ll take those pictures with Mom today and add them to the growing “library” of memories in our family’s dropbox folder.

Wishing you all joy-filled moments and memories to treasure today and throughout the days to come.  Happy Holidays!

     Our thoughts shape who we are.

 

the harvest

Throughout our lives we have planted seeds in our relationships.  I often wonder will the harvest shared with my kids be as sweet as the “harvest” we are now sharing with Mom during this season of her life?


My thoughts about the current harvest that is underway is that we have been blessed beyond measure!  Mom’s efforts throughout her years has been one of nurturing gentleness, kindness, compassion, joy, laughter with a generous supply of humor.  She has tended this garden for all of her years.  She hasn’t withheld her love nor her faith with each of us.  She’s plucked the weeds and tended to the plantings with tenderness and more love than we may have been entitled to in the moment —

As we go about our part now, as her caregivers tending to her garden (memories, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) we want to ensure that the legacy of a bountiful harvest will continue on.

Gratitude nurtures the love we have for her.  The beautiful scenes she painted that hang in our homes will continue to remind us of her talent and the joy that painting brought to her for so many years.  The family favorite recipes that we’ll cook, bake and serve throughout the holidays as we remember with fondness the joy that gourmet cooking brought to her heart and delighted our palettes as we grew up.  Hand-crafted gifts and one of a kind holiday cards will continue to bring us joy as we continue the traditions that have blessed our family for so many years.

And mostly, the word REMEMBER will continue to be the best nutrient for our soil as we prepare for the next season of growing and harvest.

Beautiful things happen every day

I love this image… it’s one of my favorite sunsets.  Regardless of what the day has held, I look forward to seeing the colors in the sky each evening.  They remind me of the “gifts” we’ve been blessed with that day.

We’ve awakened, our eyes have seen the sunrise and now the sunset.  We’ve enjoyed each other’s company.  Shared a laugh, a smile and maybe even albeit, too short, lucid conversations or moment of clarity where there may have been none only a moment previously.

Care-giving can be tough.. but there are multiple joys as well if we choose to look, see and delight in them.

My challenge for you, dear readers, is to make the moments count today and at the end of the day, reflect on one of the many “gifts” you’ve experienced throughout the day.  Let it lift your spirits and prepare you for more beauty in the days to come.

another day

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Today, will be just another ordinary day.  Nothing spectacular happening.  Nothing notable on the calendar…. at least it’s that way from Mom’s perspective.  To me, it’s a whole different story!

We have another opportunity to share space and time with Mom.  An experience we wouldn’t have imagined being possible a few short years ago! We get to experience everything at a “heart” level.

So grateful for
each and every smile.
moments of laughter
tapping of toes in time to the music
songs sung
shared meals
relationship
heartfelt connections
occasional bursts of conversation
zingers
rare moments of lucidity
recall of a memory from long ago
the occasional calling me by name
sense of humor
humility
curiosity
….

Looking forward to a #bestday kind of day!  Nothing says this is just “another day” in my books.

a new season

As always, every day brings something new our way in this journey with Alzheimer’s.  As easy it might be to fall in the woo is me trap, we find joy in every day we have with Mom despite the “junk” that sometimes creeps up on us.

The leaves have begun to change into brilliant shades of gold, yellow, orange and red.  The mountains are boasting their first dusting of snow on the peaks and it was such a beautiful sight to behold. The colors begin to fade — just as memories continue to fade even more with Mom.

Late night conversations, bursts of energy to cook, answer the door, find something that might be lost have been our latest challenges… Grateful she still wants to do something, even if it’s 2 am or another 0’dark thirty time.  Smiles and eyes that twinkle are still an everyday thing.  Laughter, tapping to music, favorite foods and a root beer shake are highlights of our week.  Speech is becoming less frequent and garbled at times, but there are still those moments that Mom brings us to our knees with a zinger!  LOVE IT!

treasures

it never ceases to amaze me when we “catch” that moment of lucidity, share a laugh, cry a little or hug, or stumble upon an idea that changes the course of things….  (https://greatitudes.com/2018/06/24/a-month-of-changes/)

This week we had a routine visit with Mom’s primary care physician.  He seemed genuinely thrilled with Mom’s current state of health and was even more impressed to notice that her hair was growing back in  (Yes, that’s a big deal!) and that there were no open wounds from “picking.”  We talked about the change in medication of one of her prescriptions and how that change in dosage was making a difference in the intensity of the headaches but more importantly the “deep itching” on her scalp and sometimes other places on her body.

It’s taken a couple of months to get to this point of 20 minutes or so of  “not-picking”, but it’s so been worth it.  We are grateful to the medical professionals who were willing to listen and let us advocate and try something a little different to see if it made a difference for Mom and hopefully, it might make a difference for another patient in their care experiencing the same issues.

Today, we’ll not take for granted one single moment.  We’ll treasure each one and the joy they can bring.

Karen Salmonsohan