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I’m Fine

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The average person tells 4 lies a day

or 1460 a year;

a total of 86,700 by the age of 60. 

And the most common lie is:

I’m fine.

How many of us go about our day telling ourselves and anyone else who asks, “I’m fine,” even when we know we aren’t.  Denying the state of unrest within us doesn’t do anyone else any good, least of all ourselves.

Sure there are those of us who think we are inner powerhouses, who believe innately that we can work through the chaos and if we just put a little more effort into it, we can survive.  We continue to take each hurdle as it comes and keep moving forward, even when our body, mind, heart and soul yearn to rest.  But there’s no rest when we are amidst chaos.  We can’t let someone else down, nor ourselves.  We have to keep on, keeping on, in order to make it through, putting our best foot forward, because we are the responsible ones.  We are the ones whom everyone else is counting on and we just can’t let them down, nor can we face that sorry fact that we need help where we are.

If we were observant, we would face the truth and tell ourselves to reach out and we would know in our hearts that there are people who can and would help us.  Sometimes we do reach out, but if the person to whom we reach out can’t help us or won’t help us, we are doubly determined to just do it alone.  And so goes on that vicious circle of “I’m fine.”

But honestly. we are not alone.  You are not alone, nor am I.

And at times, we are certainly, NOT FINE.

Sure, I could tell you to rest and allow the weight of the world to fall off your shoulders at night so that you could sleep in peace.  You could hang your worries on a branch and give them over to God.  You could pray for solutions and look for signs from above.  You could reach out to friends and family for support or to trained professionals for guidance.  You could hire someone to do what it is you are so determined to do yourself.  It all depends on what is weighing you down and what is not fine.

But will you do that?

It’s a choice to get help when things are chaotic (and even when they aren’t).  It’s a letting go of the control and of the belief that I can do it.  It’s dropping the role that you’ve lead your entire life of being the responsible one and taking on obligations that maybe weren’t really even yours in the first place, but because nobody else stepped up, you did.

There will be those who criticize you if you choose to allow yourself to honestly say, “I’m not fine.”  There will be those who simply don’t understand what’s so hard for you when they look from the outside with their perception into your life.  There are those who will turn their backs and walk away.  Then there will be those who stay, who hold your hand, listen and pick up a shovel to help you get rid of the mess.

Those are the ones I want at my side.  What about you?

Trust in those who hold your hand with a loving heart space.  Allow their kindness, generosity and love to heal you, to help you and to ease the burdens you carry.  Trust in God that He can help you through these tough times.  And for goodness sake, get rid of the I’m fine, except when you know it will fall on deaf ears or when you really mean it.  Trust in I’m not fine, with those whose hearts are open to yours.

So if you’re asking me, “I’m not fine” today, but as Scarlett O’Hara once said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

How are you?

Shine On!

xo

Lying and Alzheimers Disease

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If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia, you’ve probably told a fib or two, or perhaps better said, you’ve stretched the truth in order to spare them pain.  I know I have.  I was recently talking with a friend whose Momma is dear to my heart and we were discussing how we’ve stretched the truth at times in order to keep our loved ones’ minds at peace.  My friend was sharing how she worries about the tall tales we have used to cover up the truth when faced with uneasy questions.  The subject of the Good Book and Judgement Day came up.

Do you think we’d be forgiven for the lies, even though they were said with a loving heart and in the hopes of calming the confused minds of our loved ones?

What do you think?

Please don’t misunderstand my intentions.  I’m not advocating lying.  I’m simply putting it out there for discussion among those who are in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia community.  I want to know if you have fibbed and what you think about it.  Let me clarify, I didn’t just decide to fib on a whim.  My intentions were to soothe their confused minds and to give them peace and let them be happy in the present moment.  They have grieved enough in this lifetime.

For me, I have fibbed when I felt it necessary to not cause my loved ones repeated emotional pain.  I have measured and taken my cues from my loved ones’ emotional status when they’ve asked me hard questions repeatedly about someone – for example, “Where is he/she?”  Instead of telling the truth outright, “They passed away,” (and you’ve known that, but you can’t remember it), I’ve learned to ask them, “Where do you think he/she is?”  Many times, I have gone along with whatever they are thinking which has brought them peace.  I’ve also been known to answer in vague terms, such as, “I know if she/he could be here, they would be.  They are looking out for you still.  Yes, they are at home,” (but I’m meaning their spiritual home and the confused mind is thinking the physical home).

I’ve found that being in the moment with loved ones with memory problems is hard when we know the reality, but easier, when we put their hearts first.  There are times when they know their loved ones have passed away and the tears of sadness that ensue are heart-wrenching for us all.  They remember that they died and the sadness is all-encompassing even though they had forgotten that they knew.  There are times when they ask for validation and I am careful to make sure I check to see what they are remembering before I answer.  For if they remember that so and so passed away, it is nothing but an insult to lie at that point.  Truth given with love soothes the confused mind many times.  And yet, at others, there is no soothing truth.  It is simply a moment filled with anguish and peace is nowhere to be found.

I have learned that changing the subject often helps in some situations.  Repeatedly going down that sad path of loss can be detoured when we change the subject drastically.  Heaven knows, I’ve interrupted that path often with the offer of a cookie or a Hershey’s kiss or just by telling them, “I love you so much!” and following up with a hug.  Sometimes it works…and sometimes it doesn’t.  But it’s worth a try.

I know there are different degrees of memory loss as it is a progressive disease.  Even moment to moment, I have seen clarity, then confusion, changing in a few minutes span of time.  It’s a roller coaster ride sometimes and hard to manage for all of us.  I can’t even begin to imagine how it is for them when thoughts can be fleeting, words elusive and memory blurred or simply out of reach.

So, what are your thoughts?  Do you fib sometimes?  Do you have any tips for redirecting conversations?  What works for you and your loved ones?  What doesn’t work?  Please share!

Shine On!

xo

On My Knees

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As you’ve seen in my last few posts, life has been hard these days.  For me, writing is my outlet, sharing what I think might help someone else who is a caregiver of someone whom they love who has Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.  I write in order to connect with others who are walking this path because we understand how emotional it can be and you just need support from others who get it.

There is no cure for this disease.  It is fatal.  As the mind shuts down, the body begins its journey as well.  It’s genetic as well, which means that those of us with relatives with the disease, can be subject to it in the future.

Think about that for a moment…what you may be witnessing as a child of a parent with Alzheimer’s, may be you one day.  It puts a terrible spin on the whole experience, don’t you think?  For then, with that knowledge, we wonder if we have it and every tidbit of forgetfulness becomes a full blown worry if it’s early onset of the disease.

Just because a parent has the disease, doesn’t necessarily mean that the offspring will develop it though, which is good news.  For it’s hard enough to watch a loved one struggle to hold onto information, recognize people and remember that loved ones have passed away.  The incessant questioning and cycles of repetition can make it hard to be patient, especially when we are hurting as well.  In truth, I’ve cried a boatload of tears lately in frustration and sadness in feeling so helpless.

The power of prayer and faith helps.  When I can’t stop trying to fix the situation or at least better it, I find that getting on my knees to pray helps quiet my mind.  Simply handing it over to God for the night, once I finally let go, let Him in and let God take it from here that is.  I’m a tough cookie.  I like to keep a handle on things so it’s harder for me to allow the Universe and God to hold onto everything while I sleep. But it helps so much.

Do you ever find yourself on your knees praying when all else fails?

Shine On!

xo

 

 

Sundowning and Alzheimer’s Disease

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Confusion, extreme confusion, often comes during late afternoon or at night for those with Alzheimer’s and so that’s why it’s called sundowning.  Lately, we’ve seen it come and go at all times of day, with no predictable time frame.

Watching a loved one fret and worry is exhausting for the loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia and for those of us who care for them.  As the mind whirls into a vortex of unpredictability, thoughts firing at random, words tumbling out nonsensically, a helplessness sinks in and an urgency to help in any way possible to allow for peace and tranquility.

When sleep can be encouraged, it seems to dilute the chaos in their minds, allowing our loved one a little peace.  Changing the subject to one of love and beauty helps as well, but sometimes that button cannot be unpushed, the channel cannot be changed and we all whirl in the frenzy for a bit.

Have you ever experienced this as a caregiver of a loved one?

It’s not easy to remain untouched by the emotionality of the situation, let alone what is unknowingly coming out of their mouth.  Thoughts flicker, reality surges and fades and my heart breaks wide open with sadness for I cannot even begin to fathom how hard this is for her, let alone for me.

This disease is just so hard and old age, as the adage goes, ‘ain’t for sissies.’

Shine On!

xo

 

 

 

The Present Moment

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With the uncertainty of life, we let go when we have exhausted all means of control.  Sometimes it takes us longer to finally come to the conclusion that there are simply parts of life that we must allow for we cannot stop them.  For a planner like me, it’s always felt unacceptable.  Searching my brain, I would try to come up with endless ways to make whatever situation better for me, my family, my friends ~ relentlessly trying to improve a situation that I found unacceptable because it was causing someone else or me pain.

But there are times now, after sleepless nights of fret, worry and planning, that I am learning, albeit slowly, to let go and to allow God and the Universe to proceed.  What I’ve learned in the wee hours of the morning is to go with the flow, release, let the river take its course and have faith that as long as I can put my head on the pillow in peace, knowing I have done all with a loving heart, there is nothing more I can do.

However, it’s hard ~ this letting go.  So I am learning to let go and let God ~ and let Him in.

I think it’s human nature to believe we’ve got this, we can figure it out and make it work.  But we forget that there is God, the Universe and the Laws of Attraction who also carry us when we allow them to work their ‘magic’ as well.

Being in the present moment is a life lesson worth learning for me.  I am watching my Mom struggle with Alzheimer’s and being in the present moment with her.  Sometimes her present moment isn’t ‘reality’ but wherever her brain is at the time.  So to honor her, we gather in her present moment and support her, enjoying whatever gifts we can.

It’s a shift of thinking that has taken me a long time to accept and to process in my own brain.  However, love is accepting and above all, I love my Mom.  So I accept where she is at any given moment.  I’ve come a long way baby, but I still have much to learn.

Isn’t that the way life school is anyway?  Learn, practice and love?

Shine On!

xo

Alzheimer’s Disease and Telling a Loved One About a Death

alzheimersflowerMy Mom recently lost her sister with whom she lived in a memory care facility.  It broke my heart to deliver the news to her, so I remained mum for a while and didn’t tell her.  She believed our Aunt was still alive in the hospital for longer than she was, as we contemplated how to tell her the sad news.

But God and the Universe had different plans.  For you see, her resident friends who knew Aunt Mable were also concerned about Aunt Mable and wondered when she would return home.  Mom was told that she was still in the hospital getting treatment, but in truth, she had passed away.  Little could any of us know that one little lady, who is wheelchair bound, blind and has hallucinations along with memory issues would be able to succeed in calling the hospital in hopes that Mom could talk with Aunt Mable and get more information.  A miracle unto itself that she accomplished this with her cell phone.  Sadly, she got the news that Mable had passed away and in a loving manner told Mom.  I know she thought she was helping, but her announcement wasn’t what we had planned.  We were trying to get to Mom to tell her ourselves in person.

Looking through the eyes of an observer, this little lady’s heart was in the right place.  She saw our Mom upset and wanted to help and when I see the situation with a loving heart, I am grateful.  But in that moment when Mom reached out to me, sobbing that she had heard that her sister had passed away and was frantic, I felt powerless.  I had wanted so much to shield Mom from the pain and be there when she found out in order to help her through her grief.  In the end though, life unfolded as it was meant to be.

It is hard for anyone with memory issues to remember, let alone to keep the information that a loved one has passed away, for their ability to remember fades and rallies, moment to moment.  The acceptance of what feels unacceptable (a death of a sister) is too much for the mind to handle and it fades, only to return after a bit and the grief begins again.  It’s a roller coaster for all involved as we try so desperately to soothe a broken heart as the knowledge comes and goes, along with the grief.

There’s no easy way and from my experiences, the only rule is to keep a loving heart, flow with the moment’s understanding and continue to offer love and support to Mom.  That’s all we can do in every situation quite honestly.  Be open, be kind and love.

May you find your Sunday to be filled with peace and love, this is my wish always.

Shine On!

xo

 

 

 

A Visit From Someone Who Has Passed?

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Two years ago, my Aunt AAngel passed away.  She was very special to us and was a part of our family’s life for more than 60 years.  AAngel wasn’t a biological aunt, but instead, a part of our family by love.  I am not sure if anyone remembers that she passed away two years ago, but her loved ones who have memory issues, were talking about her suddenly and I found it interesting.

I have a theory that our loved ones who have passed, visit us.  Has this ever happened to you?  With memory issues, my aunt who was most impacted by her passing, forgets that AAngel has passed away and believes instead, she is visiting her own family.  But the other night, suddenly my aunt wanted to talk on the phone with me to tell me how she had been talking with AAngel.  What I found as a precious coincidence is that the very same day marked the two year anniversary of her passing.

When a loved one passes, I think they often check in on those of us who are here on Earth, still in human form.  They hover around, comforting us when we are grieving if we would only open our hearts and minds to see the signs.  We’ve all heard of feathers, pennies from Heaven, songs being played on the radio, etc. as signs that our angels are nearby.  Has this ever happened to you?  I know I’ve been visited in dreams by loved ones who have passed away and I always take it as a confirmation that they are sending a little bit of love and connecting with me.  I don’t think love ever really dies, it simply changes form.  It may get harder to see those whom we loved who have passed, but their loving essence only fades in human form.  The loving bond we share, remains eternal.

For what’s the legacy we leave behind after we’ve passed except for the remembrance in the hearts of those still here on Earth?  Sure, we can leave material goods and be remembered, but to be remembered in the hearts and minds of those who truly loved us, is a precious legacy.

So today, let’s take a moment to remember those precious souls who have passed and left a precious legacy in our hearts.  Feel the gratitude in knowing them.  Then, as we go about our day, let’s keep that reminder and do for others so that one day, we may be remembered in a special way.

Have you ever been visited by a loved one who has passed away?  What signs have you received?  Please share!

Shine On!

xo