Friday, October 13, 2017

Fiction to Non-Fiction with Dementia Shock and Awe!

I first met Stephanie years ago when her daughter Bailey interviewed me about my Men of Allegany County series, set in the Southern Tier of Western New York... Stephanie and I, both new authors, working toward a dream... and I've liked her ever since (and she didn't run screaming, always a plus!) Here she is today, author of several great stories, and new non-fiction author of a book that touched my heart and my soul after watching my father-in-law fade into the nasty oblivion of Alzheimer's four years ago... Steph, the book is great. So are you.

Welcome to Seekerville for our 10th birthday bash, amazingly talented speculative author S. R. Karfelt! 


There’s a quote by Stephen King that’s one of my favorites about fiction.

“Kids, fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~Stephen King

That speaks to me. Writers can tell the bald truth wrapped in a nice and easily digestible story. We can overcome race, politics, and religion in a wonderful fiction world. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Writing out the first draft of a fiction novel into the wee hours of the night is my happy place. I never planned to take my happy writing soul into that dark dank alley of non-fiction.

Reality Bites. Compared to fiction anyway.

My plan for the next book was a fiction one I’ve had rolling around in my psyche for ages. In fact I thought I’d whip it out in no time because I’ve drafted it and rewritten it a couple times over the years. That book was even scheduled with my publisher. But. Reality bit in the form of my mother-in-law with dementia moving in with us.

Before she came, when I knew she was heading our way, I made grand writing plans so that I could make this work. I’ll take a couple months off while I get her situated. She can get used to being here. We’ll get her on memory meds. When she’s comfortable, I’ll start writing again.

That thought process strikes me as ludicrous and darkly amusing now. The one and only steadfast fact I’ve learned about dementia is that no one gets used to it. Getting comfortable with losing your memory is not a thing. It didn’t take long for me to come to that realization and contact my publisher. I told them I couldn’t make my deadline. Fortunately for me I’m with a small press and they’re more flexible than some.

But as I was talking to them they made a suggestion. Why don’t you take all of those Facebook posts about your mother-in-law, and put them in a document and see if you can’t make a book out of it?

Okay, this is the next highly amusing LIGHT BULB idea I had. What a great idea! All I have to do is tell the truth! That’s easy! I can whip out a 50 or 60K word manuscript, fulfill my obligations, and I’ll have a nice little non-fiction book.
For the love of light, Seekers, that was probably the stupidest thought that’s ever rolled through my head, and believe me there have been some doozies. But I did it. I took all my Facebook posts about dementia and Gummy and put them into a word document.

The reason I’d been posting about her, to begin with, was because when my husband left me alone with dementia for a work trip to Asia, he made the mistake of saying, Do whatever you have to do to survive it.

Now, what do writers do to survive it? We write!

It surprised me how many people responded to those posts. I’d received a flood of responses, and suddenly I wasn’t alone with this avalanche of a disease.

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. ~ Helen Keller

Suddenly I felt the stirrings of inspiration. So I gathered up months’ worth of posts like these:


  • It's not that Gummy packs all her stuff to leave a couple times a day. It's that somewhere in this luggage are all the pix from her room, the batteries from her clock, and a vase full of live flowers.
*

  • I'm trying something new. The answer to "Where am I?" is, you are here. It's not that I mind answering it. It's simply that it is often asked 2-3 times a minute. The confusion that goes with the answer and the proceeding questions can eat an entire day—and it can bring on panic, tears, or acceptance, but even if it goes well, it is asked again immediately.


  • Physically I can't answer that question 16 hours a day. I'm exhausted halfway in, and she is shattered.

So I'm experimenting. You are here, we love you, you're safe. This is an evil ugly disease, but it can't make us not love her. Take that you evil _______. #dementia

And thanks Target for the perfect nightlight.




That nice easy non-fiction book took nine months of hard labor. Isn’t that 

indicative? I like to say it’s both the easiest thing I ever wrote and the hardest.

The easiest because all I had to do was tell the truth. The hardest because all I
had to do was tell the truth.

Part of the difficulty was because Facebook posts are not an outline and had to be slowly edited out. There’s a reason it went through eighteen rewrites and ten edits. Part of the difficulty was I spent my days dealing with dementia and my nights writing about it. The other problem was I’d never written a memoir before. In the end, I just started writing the truth and crying. All I know is I’m super tired now and my tear ducts are desert-dry, but I have what I call Gummy’s book.

It’s the story of us, us against dementia, laughter through tears, and that deep love when adversaries become friends. I’ve been blessed with the most wonderful mother-in-law, and in the end it’s been an honor to stand by her through this hellacious disease and to write this book. I can’t control dementia, but it can’t stop me from telling our story.

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't. ~Mark Twain

That quote could not be more apt.

Dementia isn’t obligated to stick to possibilities either. Memory loss is the dark side of Wonderland.

If Gummy and I both face it with rude gestures and naughty asides, that’s because we’d both rather laugh than cry.

Since Gummy collected teacups for what must be centuries, judging by how many she has, I named a chapter in the book after them. When I thought about a Seekerville giveaway, I decided it had to be tea related with some of my travel goodies thrown in. (Stonehenge cookies, chocolates, and bookmarks!)


The cover of Gummy’s book has a broken teacup on it. I cried all over the place when I saw it. By then my tears were little puffs of dust. When I showed the book to Gummy and told her it was about us, a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law and our eons together, about her fight with dementia, and the funny stories when she tried to make me a better housekeeper or when the dog jumped into a puddle of oil and she washed him with Tide, she said, “Really? Nobody told me!” And that is the book’s name, and Gummy’s tagline. Nobody Told Me love in the time of dementia.


If you’d like a chance at the tea giveaway, tell me a quick story and I’ll guess whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. I have a theory that the really off the wall ones are the true stories!




S.R. Karfelt writes fiction with a twist of fantasy, like the ancient immortal moonlighting as a cop in Kahtar, Warrior of the Ages and The Covenant Keeper Novels, or the witch in B*tch Witch who inherited an evil gene but refuses to be evil just because it’s in her blood. Nobody Told Me love in the time of dementia is her first work of non-fiction.

Wife, mother, explorer, and part-time hermit, S.R. lives in that hidden part of New York she likes to call The Shire. www.SRKarfelt.com

135 comments :

  1. Hi SR,
    Your book hit the nail for me, having just said the last good-bye to my Mummy, but not before she turned to the wall and talked to the invisible little girl and boy who kept visiting her. It was horrifying, magical, disconcerting and comforting all rolled into a ball. But the best part was the last, random conversation that came out of the blue between us, from her dry mouth to my wet eyes - when she said, "I love you, too." The last conversation from God to my heart...that Mummy would be okay in His arms until we meet again.

    Blessings and thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Hi Lyndee,
      <3 It is the cruelest disease and every time I meet someone else who's gone through it I feel an instant connection. As I say in the book, we're like those kids in the Harry Potter books who can see Thestrals because we've seen death. I'm glad that your Mum gave you that gift. Bless you. xo

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    2. Lyndee... what they "see" vs. what's there is such a mystery as the brain fogs. So sad. I'm glad you had that moment!

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    3. Lyndee, I'm glad you have that last wonderful memory.

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  2. Hi, Stephanie,

    What a beautiful post and a touching tribute. Thank you for sharing.

    I am trying to remember where you and I first virtually met. Was it the old AOL TRUE boards with Denise Camp, Debby Mayne and Lynda Cooper and Gail (can't remember her last name) and Cindi Myers? Something like that. :)

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    1. Hi Tina!
      Your name is so familiar to me too! I think it was right here in Seekerville back in 2011 or so. Then I probably started stalking you around the net, lol. Because that's how I roll.

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    2. So many stalkers... so little time!

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    3. Tina, I remember the old AOL boards!

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  3. Ruth——Thank you so much for having me here in Seekerville! I love that you remember Bailey interviewing you for your Men of Allegheny County series. Did you know she edited this book for me?

    I'm forever grateful that she dragged me out of my writer closet with those inspiring words, "Mom, Ruth Logan Herne is a PUBLISHED writer. You need to get out and meet another writer someday, and she's super nice."

    And so I did. And your inspiring words dragged me further out of my writing closet. You should know I wear my big girl pants most every day now.

    It was via Seekerville that I spotted a thread that led me to my first writer event, The Ragged Edge (thanks Linnette Mullin), and from there to the next writerly event and the next. About a million words later and countless rewrites and edits and I finally had a book published!

    That was easy! Lolol



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    1. Hahahahahah! Of course I remembered all that, because you and Bailey were marvelous! She was so young then, in college and it was such a fun interview. And I remember you seemed so shy at first, but then I got to know that you're not just shy, but possibly HERMIT MATERIAL inside.... and the sweetest thing possible outside. :)

      I'm so happy for your success... and I love that you're using your talents (And Bailey's!) to touch hearts and souls about this crazy awful disease.

      Gosh I hate this as much as I hate cancer.

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    2. PART-TIME hermit. That's what I call myself. I have to do that to write. :)

      It is a cruel disease.

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  4. Wow, I know this is a book my mother will want to read. She took care of her mother who suffered from some dimensia as her health declined. After my dad passed away, my mom went back to college and got her bachelor's degree then master's degree in Family Studies, emphasizing on care for the elderly and wrote her thesis on Alzheimer's education in the medical field. After working for the state as an ombudsman, she now teaches classes on aging at a university. She is the biggest advocate I know for caregivers, the elderly, and the importance of networking to utilize available resources!

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    1. Wow, Heidi, Your mother sounds like an amazing person! My goal for writing this book was to impart hope for caregivers. As awful as these diseases are, the one thing we still have is each other. Kudos to your mother!

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  5. I had an aunt who lived with the fairies. She would tiptoe through the house on bare feet, humming away, all the while swishing the long skirts of her floral gowns. She frightened me when I was a child, but now I see her differently.

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    1. Mary, every time I see "Call the Midwife", and see Sr. Monica Joan, I see the crazy mix of upsides and downsides in this wretched disease. An aunt who lived with the fairies... what a beautiful way of stating that, Mary.

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    2. It sounds like the beginning of a book, Mary!

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  6. Through tears I write this. Thank you for this post. I praise God my Mom passed before dementia intruded on our lives. THe last couple of months she would forget how to get out of her chair and would say, "what do I do now?" It was so hard to see her failing but praise God she is in the arms of Jesus and I will see her again.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Isn't it beautiful? When Steph first started posting Gummy updates on facebook, she captured my heart. I knew she'd capture hearts here as well.

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    2. Cindy,
      Gummy has the same problem now. She says, "My legs won't listen." These losses are each and every one horrifying. The good thing is at least they don't have to deal with them alone. Love to you, Cindy, for your faith and strength. xo

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  7. Welcome, Stephanie. Thank you for writing this book. Several weeks ago, my mother forgot she was married to my father. For a man whose wife has been his world for fifty-seven years, it was both devastating and heartbreaking. Thank you for visiting today.

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    1. A friend recently discovered that a parent is suffering with dementia... that had been hidden by sour behavior. So then there was guilt that they didn't realize something was wrong, but unless we've witnessed some of these things, how would we know? One crabby old man is just that... and the next might be scoring 12 on a 30-point aptitude test. But they hide it well.

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    2. Hi Jill,
      How difficult for your father. I hope that she remembers again. I've found that Gummy's memory has gaping holes in it, but things often return. Is it like that for your mother? Something I've noticed is that every single person with a memory disease presents differently. One doctor told me, just because you see one case of dementia doesn't mean you know what it is like at all. Each person with dementia is as different as people are.
      Gummy forgets, then remembers, then forgets. All within a quick conversation. It's a slow spiraling dance with occasional slides.
      Love and prayers to you for your mother, Jill. <3 And to your father.

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  8. Stephanie, thank you for your honest post. Dementia is a heartbreaking and relentless disease. My grandmother had it and it was difficult. Blessings to you as you honor her with your love.

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    1. Thank you Sherrinda.
      It is heartbreaking. My great hope is that there will come a vaccine or something to prevent this horrific disease from consuming the essence of so many people.

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  9. Thank you, Stephanie, for opening your heart and your life to others in this very special book. I know it will touch lives--bring tears and encouragement and healing and comfort. May God use it -- and you -- in his Kingdom work far beyond your wildest dreams.

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    1. Thank you so much, Glynna, for such a beautiful blessing! <3

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  10. Stephanie,

    Bless you for being a loving daughter-in-law and writing a book that will be a help to others dealing with a loved one suffering with dementia. I think your answer you are here is spot on. Good luck with your book!

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    1. Thank you, Rose. Gummy has been a wonderful mother-in-law and a lovely person. I hope that the book reaches hearts that need hope. That whatever this dark heartless disease does to those we love, that it can't make us stop loving them, and that we have each other.

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  11. Stephanie, thank you for bringing hope to those who are taking care of loved ones with dementia.

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  12. hi Stephanie
    This post has me holding back tears. Thankfully, I have not had to deal with dementia or other mental debilitations in all my families, but that doesn't mean my heart doesn't hurt for those who have.
    By all my families, I mean my family I grew up with (my "real" family) and the families of my birth parents, who I found when I was thirty. I have a wonderful relationship with my birth mother and my two half-sibs (having both my moms meet was super-duper. My MOM (real mom) thanked my mom (bio-mom) for the gift she gave her when she let me go to be raised by another mom. (I hope that made sense to you). My relationship with my birth father (and nine half-sibs) is not as close as I'd like, but he's been a bit busy keeping watch over my youngest half-sibs who were fosterlings he and his wife adopted.

    Anyway, I need to get your book because I think it will be helpful for me to better understand what care-givers go through so I can be a better blessing to them should they cross my path. Plus, I think your book will honor your mother-in-law's memory/memories.

    thank you so much for sharing with Seekerville.

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    1. Hello DebH—
      Now, see, your truth is more complex than fiction can ever be! I love the way you explained your "real" family and "bio-mom". I followed just fine! What a lovely tribute to your family!
      Nobody Told Me is both a love letter to my MIL, Gummy, and a heartfelt rage against dementia and suffering. I hope you will let me know what you think.
      xo

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  13. Good morning Stephanie.

    I can so relate. My dad and mom have suffered from some dementia. Every day is different.

    "It's not that I mind answering it. It's simply that it is often asked 2-3 times a minute."

    I had to laugh at this.

    My mom is also a tea pot/cup collector.


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    1. Oh, Connie,
      Then you know exactly what it is like. I try to slip into that patient place mom's have, like when we're answering kids. Again. And again. And again.
      I had to laugh at it sometimes too, because if I didn't I'd cry, and I'd much rather laugh.
      Oh, the teacups. The many many teacups. So VERY MANY TEACUPS. So little space, so many teacups. *makes the fist bump of solidarity still wondering what on earth to do about the endless teacups*

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    2. Well, there's no way to have a tea party unless you have the cups. And the hats. And pretty dresses.
      Mom enjoyed having parties w/her daughters and granddaughters. Still would for that matter.

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  14. The 85 year old woman hobbled slowly across the room, oxygen cord snaking behind and ready to strike. Before she knew what was happening she found herself lying on the floor on her side, her full glass of bourbon held in front of her like a trophy with nary a drop spilled. She giggled and realized at least she knew what was most important to protect!

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    1. And this, Susan, is exactly dementia. It's like they're trapped in a dream sometimes, isn't it? I felt I could never ever judge, because sometimes dementia has people do things that they'd never EVER do "awake" or fully conscious and cognizant of their behavior.
      Excellent snapshot in a moment of, writer. <3

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  15. Stephanie, both your story and cover has touched my heart. I had a great aunt who would sit in her rocking chair day after day with her handkerchief bunched in her ever-moving fingers, rocking and mumbling. I remember sitting at her feet, talking away as if she heard me, but never getting my questions answered. I think I was maybe 9 or ten, and just a few years ago, one of my older cousins told me it was dementia brought on by severe diabetes. It was as horrible a disease back then as it is today.

    God bless you for being such a loving and caring daughter-in-law. Since I am a tea drinker, I would like to be in the drawing.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Hi, Marcia! Thank you for sharing your true story. And wow, I never realized dementia could be brought on by diabetes, but of course now that you say that. It makes sense. It comes at us from all directions it seems.
      I love that you sat there chatting away just the same. I like to think that she heard snippets. In any case that gifted your aunt a normal moment with her niece. Every moment of normal we can give is a gift.
      Thank you for sharing!
      Good luck with the drawing! It's a lovely tea set in a gorgeous tin, and the cookies and chocolates are from Stonehenge, and so adorable.
      :)

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  16. Stephanie, welcome to Seekerville. Love the cover on Nobody Told Me. And perfect title. I can actually remember it, and that's saying something. :)

    I think we all have had varying degrees of experience with dementia. I remember my grandmother putting the clothes in the oven, thinking she was putting them in the dryer. More than one family member was prone to "escape" the house and head out down the road.

    And, most recently, a brilliant hard-working businessman I've know for over 30 years struggles with dementia. For his own safety, his family put him in a secure elder care facility. Even in his confusion, he knew the hills and hollows of the community he'd lived in all his life, and I couldn't help but laugh when he told them...

    "I know exactly where I am. All I have to do is walk out that door, cross that pasture, and go through those woods [about 5 miles through the woods to the road he lived on] and I'll be home." He was exactly right and I think it freaked the caretakers out. Score one for Bobby. lol

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    1. Pam, Hi there! I remember you well from an ACFW conference. <3
      It astonishes me how many people know this disease, and know it well. I can just see your grandmother plopping the clothes into the oven. The mind remembered they go into an appliance, the warm one. Sometimes I could follow Gummy's thought process, sometimes not at all!
      After Gummy moved here I realized that she'd stopped washing clothes possibly months before she came. BUT, she dried them all in the dryer, ironed them to perfection, and hung them on hangers. You can possibly imagine this?
      I love that your businessman friend knows exactly where he is! Unfortunately we had to move Gummy. Sometimes she thinks she knows, and I have a suspicion that if she was at home she would. The move was too much, but couldn't be helped.
      I'll bet Bobby did freak the caretakers out! Gummy still does it to me!

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    2. When I had to take Jon (beloved son-in-law) to emergency for dozens of wasp stings, there was a caretaker with a dementia patient in the ER.

      He'd gotten away from her. Took the car. I don't know what happened, he wasn't harmed, but they were in the E.R. for some purpose, right? And he was so angry at her as she called people on the phone to report what happened. I talked to him about what a great-looking shirt he had on and how it brought out the blue in his eyes... and he wasn't to be dissuaded about his anger. He kept pointing at her and saying "Who does she think she is? She's not family. She's nothing to me. But she's got her hands in my business, all right."

      The caregiver said that every day, around 2:00 PM, his attitude changed and he got angry with her.

      She said it had been happening for weeks.

      What kind of circadian rhythm mixup is that???

      I don't know what happened with him. I only know how tough it must be to be trapped in an otherwise healthy body and the brain fails...

      Of course some cerebral palsy patients have the exact opposite affliction. A ready brain and no way to express it.

      Life has some tough turns sometimes.

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  17. Welcome Stephanie, and thank you for this beautiful story. I was care giver to my son with Prader Willi Syndrome until he passed away 5 years ago at age 24. PWS isn't dementia, but I know how exhausting it is to pour all of yourself into another person 24/7/365. Hard as it was, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I wrote a book (Mainly just for my family) about him - very healing to my heart. I hope you found the same gift writing your book and many others will when they read it. Thanks so much for sharing this sweet story with us.

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    1. Hi Cindy, It's good to meet you here on Seekerville. Is your book only available to family? I am sorry for the loss of your young son. Surely a heartbreak like no other. I relate to your feelings about not trading the experience for anything. Although I fought against taking responsibility for Gummy, I now realize that I'm blessed with it, and I'm honored to do it. I love her dearly.
      Thank you for sharing a whisper of your son here. Sending you love through the net, one caregiver to another, one mother to another. <3

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  18. My mom passed this past February but she escaped the hell on earth that you mention. Dementia/Alzheimer's escaped her but she was diagnosed with the dreaded Double C curse in January and Colon Cancer claimed her about one month later. The book that you have described is very much needed and I am sure that it is very inspiring and enlightening.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, I'm sorry for the trial and loss of your mother's passing. How painful for you. Thank you for the kind thoughts on Gummy's book as I call it. Sending love your way via all the ones and zeros we can now communicate through. Blessings to you as well, caregiver.

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  19. Stephanie, your post is truly moving. Losing someone you love to dementia is heartbreaking. My step-grandmother, Emma, passed away this April from the disease.

    Here's a true story from when I was about 18. She came for a visit (this was before her diagnosis) and the first thing she asked me when she saw me was, "Do you have a boyfriend?"
    I laughed a little and answered, "No, I do not."
    She set her jaw, narrowed her eyes and grabbed my wrist. Turning my hand over palm side up, she slapped a $20 dollar bill down. "Good for you," she said. "Men are no good so you stay away as long as you can. They'll do nothin' but break your heart." Then she walked to the living room and sat down on the couch.
    Emma had a tough life. But finally, she's in the arms of the One who restores all hurts and has made her whole.

    Thanks for prompting this memory.

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    1. Oh my goodness, Josee. What a brilliant story. You made me laugh out loud for real, and I love the feistyness of your step-grand. I can just feel this wonderful moment. Thank you for sharing her!
      <3

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  20. Thank you for sharing your writing talent to bring this book forward Stephanie. I’m going to buy a couple of copies because we’re struggling with my FIL’s Alzheimer’s right now and my MIL’s changes into dementia as well. And the family dynamics of denial against those who want intervention are so hard. You are the epitome of Ruth in the Bible. And that is not an easy journey but you’ve obviously done it with courage and grace.

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    1. Oh, Laurie, what a battle! Both of them! My sympathies to you and yours. I understand denial. Unfortunately, I think it is often natural, especially because some people see only snapshots of those suffering. Gummy is a born extrovert. Even after she'd moved from my house to memory care, she could still pass as just another capable person out in the real world.
      She had her little jokes, and fun way of chatting someone up.
      As soon as she moved in with me, I realized how we'd let her go too long on her own, not realizing how bad she'd gotten, and we were WATCHING for it.
      Someone would tell us, oh, she is bad now. I'd call her and we'd have a rousing conversation and I'd think, why, she is fine. Or we'd visit for a weekend, and we'd think, she'll be okay here in her little world for a time still.
      We let it go far too long. We didn't see the truth until it roared in our faces.
      Dementia is so very easy to miss in the beginning.
      And on top of that some people just cannot seem handle the loss. I cannot blame that. I've learned to forgive that and have come to understand it too. We're all uniquely built, and we can't all handle everything. Sometimes I think most of us are doing the very best we can, however broken our efforts or deep in denial we may be.
      Wishing you the best possible outcome with your loved ones. With love.

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  21. I'm going to get your book. We deal with Alzheimer's in my husband's family. His brother has it and this is a man who married late in life and has young children. It's so sad. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jackie,
      Hello! It's nice to virtually meet you. Memory loss is so much harder to take when it effects the young. I can at least look through Gummy's decades of snapshots and see, she has had a beautiful life. Your story is truly heartbreaking.
      Wishing you all the best.

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  22. Stephanie, thank you for being our guest today and describing your family's battle with dementia with such honesty. What a lovely tribute to your mother-in-law and a beacon of encouragement to others!

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    1. Thank you, Myra!
      Your kind words mean so much. I'm so happy to be here in the hallowed halls of Seekerville! <3

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  23. Your journey, the good, the bad and the ugly, reminds us all of the power of love and laughter. Love of dirty jokes, and Target at 1 a.m.-laughter at flirting with married residents and ludicrous situations all are powerful fuel to keep on keeping on.

    Here's my story:
    If he didn't eat, then he would vomit. If he vomited he would become dehydrated. If he became dehydrated he would have to go to the ER and get an IV. If he got an IV he would have more bruises and blown veins. If he had more blown veins then chemo the next day would take forever. If it took forever, then I would miss another day of work. If I missed another day of work I would get in trouble with the boss. If I got in trouble with my boss I would be more stressed. If I was more stressed I couldn't be patient to help him to eat.
    Instead I smiled, kissed him on his bald head and said, "Daddy, I love you!"
    "I know! I'm such a good time!" as he reached for his spoon to slurp his broth.

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    1. Goodness, Kimberly. That so tough. But it sounds like you're doing an amazing job.

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    2. Kimberly,

      You know how to make a reader cry, don't you? But the truth does that, doesn't it?
      THAT is what buries these stories into our hearts. The relate-able honestly of them.

      Also, I adore your daddy's response, "I'm such a good time!" Bless his soul. It reminds me of Gummy.

      It's a true story. The honesty is heart-high here.

      xo

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    3. Cause and effect... They did a kid's version of this on Sesame Street back in the day... and the little kid is weighing up the effects of what will happen if he hits his brother.

      In the end, he doesn't hit his brother because he doesn't want the "ball circus" of 'if this, then that' to rain upon his head.

      We come full circle.

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  24. Stephanie, how wonderful to have you here today! I'm struggling through this disease with family members right now and Ruthy has been telling me for ages to check out your FB page! I'm glad to finally meet you. I'll definitely go buy your book as well as a few boxes of Kleenex. :)

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    1. I went for laughter through tears, Missy. It's the only defense. Wishing you the kindest outcome and oceans of love as you move forward with this.

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    2. Missy, I thought of you and your situation as I read this post. Hugs and prayers.

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    3. Did Missy mention I've been advising this for MONTHS??? (scrolls up... ) Oh, yes. :) I SEE SHE MENTIONED THAT!!!!

      You know, this whole thing is very much like Gummy's doctor said: Twenty patients, twenty differing descents into a land of darkness or twinkle... so many diversities involved.

      Missy knows I pray for her all the time. And then I annoy her. And then I pray for her again. ;)

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  25. Hi Stephanie:

    Great non-fiction tells us the truth by providing facts. Great fiction shows us the truth by letting us experience it. With the former we educate our selves; with the latter we gain wisdom.

    Dementia, at least Alzheimer's disease, is not just a lost of memory. It's many other ailments as well. It can bring paranoia, a refusal to do anything requested, many trips to the emergency room, falls, cuts, injuries, incontinence, a refusal to communicate, feeding tubes, sliding out of your chairs, plus the heartaches and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. It's an ever unfolding story until the very end.

    A story

    A long time neighbor knocked on my door one morning with twenty dollars in his hand requesting that I drive him to the other Tulsa. This was when I first found out he was dealing with Alzheimer's. He explained to me that there was a second Tulsa where everything was in the right order. This Tulsa, where we were at the time, was all mixed up and out of order. He pleated with me to take him home to the right Tulsa. He looked and sounded perfectly normal. Given his problem, a second Tulsa was a locgical assumption.

    My father-in-law just recently died in his mid-nineties after over a decade of heroic 24/7 care by my wife and her sister. I don't believe that anyone who has not cared for an Alzheimer's patient knows what it really is. Oh, if only, Alzheimer's was just a loss of memory…but no…it is many, many times worse and far more complicated.

    Fiction endeavors to read with the soundness of non-fiction while non-fiction tries to read with the fluid page-turning ease of fiction. Yet both move to the highest level when they also inspire hope.

    Would you say your "Nobody Told Me love in the time of dementia." will inspire hope? Such would be a blessing.

    Vince

    "Seekerville: where truth and fiction provide inspiration."

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    1. Vince, I'm so sorry for your and Linda's loss.

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    2. Vince,
      I feel like Vizzini in The Princess Bride when trying to decide if your story is fiction or non.
      Your story must be true, because for those in the throes of dementia there are two places—this nonsensical place they happen to be, and the other place, the one they came from, where the world made sense. This is why so many people with dementia want to "go home" even when they ARE home. I've found it is code for "take me back to where my life made sense."
      On the other hand, your story cannot be true, not because your neighbor may have wanted to go to Tulsa, Pakistan, and not because your neighbor otherwise seemed perfectly normal (he was in many respects, still normal. Dementia will ham-salad bits of the brain at a time, leaving key pieces alone for a time). No, the reason your story has to be fiction is because after your careful and articulate analysis of both fiction and non-fiction, AND knowledgeable examination of this disease, I'm having trouble believing you hadn't noticed some other behavior from your long-time neighbor that would have given you pause before he knocked on your door.

      So I am in a Vizzini conundrum. Perhaps it is due to your most excellent storytelling. Perhaps it is due to the unbelievability of this disease that continues to shock me each day.

      As for would I say that Nobody Told Me love in the time of dementia will inspire hope? Yes. I say this because however well-hidden, there is always hope. I think we are hardwired to locate it. Look at your wife and her sister, caring for your father-in-law for over a decade as Alzheimer's tortured and took—not just their father, but bits of them too. Yet they held steadfast, because love is deeper than even the depths of this disease. That is how I see it. And one of the biggest influences in my adult life, and the one that helped me to learn to see the world in this way, was Gummy. All I simply had to do was tell the truth when I wrote this book.

      No matter what this disease or any of the other heartless ones on the horizon do, they can't take what we've already had. I've had many years with Gummy. I remember them when she can't. Dementia can't make me not love her. Dementia can take people, but it can't touch love, and that is where I find hope.

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    3. I say it absolutely inspires hope because it's got the laughter through tears mentality we all identify with.

      Vince, what heroic wonderful measures Linda and her sister went through. God bless you all.

      I won't say I'm sorry for your loss because the loss happened years ago when the person they knew, loved and grew up with morphed into a totally different person.

      Going home to God at the end of that travail is the grace, in my humble opinion.

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    4. Hi Stephanie:

      The story is true. And my neighbor did look and sound perfectly normal as he was telling me about the other Tulsa. He was well dressed and walked with ease. Evidently he was being kept in the house and out of sight and we were not told of his condition. He was retired and we were told he was working on a massive computer database for the oil industry. Also this must have been at an early stage because he lived many more years in a Alzheimer's care facility. Today I think people are much more open about the condition.

      I look forward to reading your book and seeing how it can bring hope. This is such a sad subject. Thanks for an excellent post today.

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  26. Stephanie, my goodness, what a story! And God bless you and bless you over and over again for the love and care you show to your mother-in-law! In situations like this, I always think about what Jesus said in Matt. 10:42 -- And if you give even a cup of cold water (or in this case, tea!) to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded" and Matt. 25:40 -- Verily I say unto you, Since you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."

    Not that Gummy is "one of the least," for sure, but she is one of those who have the least awareness of where she is because of that foul disease, so the Scripture certainly fits. And you are certainly doing unto Jesus every day of your life, my friend, so GOD BLESS YOU!!

    Beautiful post!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Thank you so much, Julie. <3 Like so many women, mothers, grandmothers, and wives, Gummy gave, cared for, and loved in abundance. I'm the fortunate one to have had her, and to still have her.

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  27. Stephanie, bless your heart (in the good way)! Such a desperate time for most, yet you made the most out of a desperate time. God bless you! My heart aches for you and all those who have "lost" loved ones to dementia and have caved to the dark memories rather than the good ones. It's difficult. Thank you for sharing your journey with humor and grace, and setting hope just a little closer to within reach.

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    1. Actually "caved is the wrong word. It's more like being overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation. I don't know how anyone survives the journey without the God of heaven and earth holding their hand.

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    2. Audra,
      We all have our days. This disease is relentless. I'm fortunate to have so much good to inspire me forward with Gummy. Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot. <3

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  28. I'm one of those who have been touched by Alzheimer's.

    My grandmother suffered from it in the last several years of her life. I remember sitting next to her in church, and it was time to sing. We stood, sharing the hymnal, and she whispered to me, "The worst part is that I don't remember the hymns."

    After my grandmother's death in 1985, my mother lived in fear that she would end up just like her mother. That fear stole her joy, and when she was diagnosed in 2001, she gave in to the disease. She spent the next five years with my dad as her caretaker, and then the last five years of her life in a nursing home.

    For me, watching her drift away so slowly was awful. I started losing my mom ten years before she died, and every day I expected the phone call telling me she had passed away. People always say to enjoy your parents while you have them, but she was rarely there to enjoy. It didn't help that we lived almost a thousand miles away and could only visit a few times a year.

    I decided long ago that if Alzheimer's was in my future, then it is. My days are numbered by my Lord, and He holds my future in his hands. I will embrace the cup He has for me, whether it is bitter or sweet.

    Thank you for being here today. I think I need to read your book. <3

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    1. Jan, that's a wonderful attitude. And I think that can make all the difference.

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    2. Jan, I love your attitude. After seeing this disease up close and personal, I think we all feel its cold breath. It inspires me not to waste an opportunity and to live in the moment. I remind myself this is all we have in reality anyway. This moment.
      I've noticed nearly everyone who comes into contact with dementia/Alzheimer's goes away with that slight fear, that knowledge that it can happen to us too. I hear people comment on their memory all the time, both young and not so much.
      But I'm with you there. There's nothing to be done for it except to love life and live it well.
      Dementia has made me braver.
      Gummy has made me braver.
      She did that both before and after that disease.
      Once right after 9/11 my very young son was given the opportunity to do some world travel with a student ambassador program. I remember telling Gummy that I wasn't certain he should go. She wisely said, Oh, Saffi (that's how she pronounces Stephie with her southern-ish accent) you can't let anything make you afraid to live.
      <3

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    3. Oh, yes! How true! "You can't let anything make you afraid to live." :)

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  29. Stephanie, thank you for this beautiful, emotional post and for writing a book that will surely bless those walking through dementia. I admire you for the care you are giving your mother-in-law. My mom was witty, smart, efficient, a woman who could handle a job, her home and host others often with style and ease. Dementia took all that I knew. She was stoic and we never talked about the disease. I wish we had.

    Janet

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    1. It's a fierce thing to name, isn't it, Janet? I understand not talking about it. With Gummy all the fences were down long before dementia, but I tread with caution. Even now when we're surrounded by it, I've noticed that I never say Alzheimer's to her. The doctors have begun to call it that. I still say dementia to her, as though that is lesser or will change a thing.
      I think we don't say things to protect our hope and theirs. It is absolutely understandable.

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    2. Caretakers become egg walkers. Not an easy way to live, but my dad did a remarkable job.

      Janet

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    3. Oh, yes. I understand egg walking, but am not so good at it

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  30. Stephanie, this stirred up so many emotions in me. My grandfather, my husband's grandmother, and most recently my father-in-law suffered from dementia. My father-in-law was a bi-vocational teacher and pastor. He read and studied for sermons all the time. I remember when he confessed he could no longer comprehend what he read. It was such a sad moment...followed by many more to come. I am certain your story is going to bless so many who need to know someone else has gone through this and understands--especially those who are primary caregivers. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. It's a painful topic, and I feel it. I try so hard to look for the hope in it. Not that long ago all of Gummy's photographs came my way to be sorted. There were so many boxes of them that they filled an entire room in my little house. For six months I told company now isn't a good time to visit, because I'd have had to sort those photos to make room for them.
      For a time I tried ignoring them. For a time I tried shoving the task onto someone else.
      In the end I finally faced it, certain it would crush me.
      In those boxes was her life. From tap dancing as a girl, to her husband's military days in Casablanca. There were papers from her first ancestor to journey to America in 1753, to photos taken of people I don't know in the 1800's. Every note my kids wrote to their grandparents when they were little was preserved in there (Hey, Pop-Pop, I've got something for you. A PILLOW IN THE FACE! HAHA!), every photograph I'd sent to Gummy as we moved from place to place she saved in the envelopes with the date stamp and return address.
      You know what?
      It was beautiful.
      Instead of pain, I found a balm.
      Gummy has had a beautiful life. A life of family and laughter and love. That meant more to her than any riches. This love was her legacy and wealth, and I got to be part of it.
      Despite dementia, we're both so blessed.

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  31. My brother Rich, who is only five years older than I am, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a couple of years ago. He's still able to carry on a phone conversation, but he can no longer drive and often asks the same question you just answered. I used to hate cancer the most, but now it's Alzheimer's.

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    1. Oh, Barbara. I'm so sorry. I'm often stunned by the youth hit with this disease. I am glad he can still talk to you on the phone. I hate this disease too, but mostly see it as a beast that needs eradicated and made impotent. What a day that will be. <3

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  32. Whether you're familiar with dementia or not, we all know how life works, right? Memory care sent Gummy to the hospital this morning, so I'm darting over there. It's usually a lot of hurry up and wait (the good hospital visits are anyway). So I'll check in from my phone for the next hour or two. Love and prayers sent Gummy's way for pain relief and wise doctors are so very much appreciated.
    <3 <3 <3

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    1. Praying for her and for you, Stephanie.

      Hugs, Janet

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  33. Praying. I was my Grandma's caretaker 39 year ago. I understand. We didn't have all the knowledge of today. I felt so alone. I wrote some of it into one of my fiction documents in honor of her and also so others could find comfort. I miss her so. I will have to look for your book. One piece of advice look for the humor if you can not always humorous at the time. One night about 2 in the morning Grandma was outside mopping the grass and refusing to come inside. I laugh about that now and somehow makes me feel closer.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Wilani—That is excellent advice. Laughter is the best medicine! Right now I’m sitting by Gummy’s side regaling her with tales of how her son is trying to get here, but he lost his license, and the TSA is getting a bit up close and personal with him before they’ll let him fly. It made Gummy laugh. Poor guy.

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    2. Oh, poor hubby... that's a frustration, right there, only funny in Home Alone!

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  34. Stephanie, I'll make fun of folks... WHOOPS, I mean CHAT WITH FOLKS (of course) while you take care of The Gumster.

    And I'll pray while I'm doing it.

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  35. Thank you Ruthy! We’re in the ER waiting for a room. I’m cutting up grapes and trying to get Gummy to eat. That sip of coffee with a straw really woke her up. I am not the world’s best caregiver for certain (and obviously am lacking in the laws of thermodynamics/hot coffee) but I can make her smile through the pain.
    She’s calm, and had a few bites at least.

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    1. Waving to the ER! You're not so far away, I could drive down and annoy you in person.

      It's what I do best, darling.

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    2. Bet Gummy could win that annoying contest. She's the best, but she's no more angel than I am. Even when the memory is gone, she appreciates an excellent bit of snark. What's not to love?
      Most of the time I was there she drifted or hurt, but at one point she opened her eyes to TA DA a young handsome doctor standing over her.
      WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? she asked.
      I just appear, he said.
      You're quite good at conjuring men, Gummy, I added. I can even see him.
      She shook a finger my way, but opened and closed her eyes looking around the room for a moment, but try as she might, she could only get one to appear.
      Darn.

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  36. Thank you for sharing this post today, and may God bless you and your family throughout this journey.
    I, too, am familiar with this very painful, heartbreaking disease, and experienced it with my precious mother and mother-in-law, two saints now in Heaven. Prayers and gentle hugs for you.

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  37. I did not join this conversation last night like I usually do as I had just gotten back from a week long visit with my sister-in-law yesterday afternoon....by the time the blog was live (9pm my time)I was definitely too pooped to do anything but go to be early! :-) You ever need a vacation FROM your vacation....lol!

    My grandma had dementia & lived in a nursing home for many years. I say had because she's now gone about 5 years. Anyway, I live over 2000 miles away so I never really saw the effects the disease had on her. My husband and I fly out to Illinois (where I grew up) to visit when had been married for 7 years and visited her. Most of the time she didn't know who I was or was thinking I was one of my aunts (her daughters). She kept talking about how she hadn't heard from Dad (my grandpa) since he went to Germany in WW2 and how he probably wouldn't make it home (he survived). It was a shock to me for sure because she had always been a strong, independent woman who knew her own mind. To see her trapped inside a mind that no longer worked and didn't even know I was her granddaughter brought me to tears! She was lucid for a bit and told me my husband was a good man, that was the first time she had met him. She tired easy so we didn't stay long. I really hate dementia!! It robs family members not to mention the person suffering from it. I'm really praying that Doctors can come up with something to help. I know they have made some progress towards it though.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your story Stephanie. I'm glad you are able to help care for your mother-in-law. I'm sure it's very hard emotionally, but you are a trooper for doing it. I pray you find strength each day to do what needs to be done, and comfort in those hard days!

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    1. Trixi, you're right, it's so different when you're far away. You know it's happening, but it's not up in your face 24/7.

      Here's my thought on a personal note: If I get so bad that I don't know people, or I get mean or ugly and spiteful and start acting like a crazier image of myself... It's okay to walk away and get on with your life.

      I'd rather have the people who love me remember me the way I've lived my life, than the way I am when ravaged with disease.

      Now that's a personal opinion only... but I don't want guilt hanging out in my place.

      I want peace and joy and singing and laughter to fill the spots I once held holy.

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    2. Trixi, hello, it's nice to meet you, and I agree that a vacation from vacation should be a thing.
      When people live far away it brings a different type of challenge, doesn't it? Maybe you don't see your loved one as often, but you miss the good days too and those fleeting moments when there are flashes of lucidity. Even now Gummy is in there, just not all of the time.

      Ruthy, Gummy would agree on what you've said. But so far I have to say her basic easy-going personality is around more often than not. Of course pain and suffering changes people. So far I can still see her though. Today she yanked off her blood pressure cuff when she got fed up with it. She gave the nurse trying to get more blood enough of her halting words that the woman stopped and came back later. :)
      But bottom line, I'm with you, Ruthy. It's a practical way to think. I don't want to take away my children's lives. Should this happen to me, the only thing I expect is an occasional bit of dark chocolate snuck past memory care staff. <--serious about that kids.

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  38. I work in a long term care facility, and I see every day the different ways Dementia steals a person's life. It is difficult to watch a resident go from having a little trouble caring for themselves to being total care. I just remind myself each day that I am here to help and love them through it. Prayers for your sweet mother-in-law. I know she appreciates you!

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    1. Holly, you are the reason we can trust our families to long-term care. Gentle souls like yours are a huge help to struggling families and patients. God bless you.

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    2. Hi, Holly, it's good to meet you, and bless you for the calling you've answered. Working with people dealing with dementia is most definitely a calling. I've met such wonderful, loving souls. I see them laugh with the residents, hold the line when necessary, and I've seen them sneak off fighting tears now and then.
      What an amazing group of people and I sure hope they all get to sit at the cool kid table in heaven because they seem so often over-worked and under-appreciated on this side of life.
      Thank you for your prayers for Gummy. I know she appreciates my time and effort. What has amazed me about this time I spend with her is that even now in the midst of this mess, how much I'm still learning from her.

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  39. I'm so sorry about this struggle you're going through. My great-grandma has a bit of dementia, but it was brought on by a stroke- sudden. Not a slow descent. How horrible. I'll pray for you both.

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    1. Hi, Boo! Thank you for your kindness, I’m sorry for your great-grandma. Strokes are so awful and sudden. I appreciate those prayers and so does Gummy!

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  40. I'm sorry I haven't been joining in on the conversations lately (and during Seekerville's birthday at that!) but I've been feeling poorly of late. I would appreciate prayers. Lots and lots of prayers. Thanks!

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    1. You’ve got it Nicki! Hoping you are feeling better soon.

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  41. If Gummy and I both face it with rude gestures and naughty asides, that’s because we’d both rather laugh than cry

    Oh my yes -- laughter! Having been through this with a family member and a dear friend (although not as a caretaker), I can attest to the healing grace in laughter. One of my favorite stories was when the friend thought the birds needed something at the feeder in the backyard. He thought they needed something, but he couldn't remember what. So, he put water in the feeder, which already had seed. It was summer. The seed sprouted. And in a couple of days there was all kinds of green stuff springing from the feeder. We called it his Chia Feeder :-)

    Blessings and grace to all of you who are experiencing this challenge.

    Hope Gummy improves. Do let us know!

    Nancy C

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    1. I’m loving your chia feeder story, Chillin. It’s sounds like true life to me!

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  42. Hi, Stephanie,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    Story - young woman watches a movie, has an epiphany and totally changes her life for the better. Right then. No going back.

    Please do enter me in your generous drawing.

    May God bless, encourage and guide you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. *waves* Hi Phyllis! This is a tough one. Know why? I can believe that the young woman could change her life for the better after watching a movie. Once I saw a movie with several girlfriends (one of those heartwarming baby movies) and we all marched off and had babies within a year. Plus, whenever I hear comments about whether or not we're all influenced by movies I think OF COURSE WE ARE. There's a book out called Buying James Bond (a $$$$$$$ text book that I so want) all about the items those movies have sold us over the years.

      Know what, Phyllis? I was going to make a point counterpoint argument, but now I've convinced myself. YES. I think that story is true.

      Good luck in the drawing!

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    2. *waves* :) You'd have won either way. It is a true story... and also I wrote a very fictionalized version for a flash fiction story. But your story is better!

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  43. Awww, Stephanie, your post made me tear up. With an MIL who's terminal, it's been 21 years in the making that she finally likes me. I'm watching as my own parents near 80, and I wonder how long we have with them.

    I can only imagine what these last months have been for you and your family. May God continue to give you His strength and His peace as you walk this journey.

    Yes, I'd like to be in the drawing. Thanks for sharing this post!

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    1. Hi Jeanne, I'm glad you stopped by! I'm sorry for your MIL. Gummy was not completely wild about me in the beginning either, and I'm sorry to admit I felt the same back then. It's funny how life changes things given enough time. I'm grateful for it.
      Wishing you the best possible outcome as you move forward through this. <3

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  44. Your blog touched me deeply this morning. My husband's grandmother lived wth us for about 6 years and we watched her slowly fade due to this awful disease. My older three children still remember her fondly - especially my third child, whom she used to sneak underneath her desk and feed the toddler "forbidden snacks" she used to keep in her room.

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    1. What a good memory, sneaking the little one forbidden snacks. What I love about this is that years after the six years of caregiving she’s still remembered fondly. Thank you MH! <3

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  45. Thank you for sharing your story. What a sad, sad journey dementia is. Our family of 5 siblings traveled it w/ our mom for five years and in March of this year, she went Home. Being the closest geographically and an RN (of course that qualifies one for caring for the demented, right?) I ended up being the main caregiver. We did have Mom in assisted living for the most part but for a few weeks and month she would stay w/ me and I have to say, I wasn't always the most gracious of caregivers. I learned but I still have some guilt over the impatience that would crop up. My son called it..."Grammy has a fractured brain." Fractured is right. My two daughters (we have 5 adult kids) have already decided that they "aren't getting me when I get old, the first born son is!" Thank you again for sharing your story...so many people in need of encouragement and knowing they are not alone in the struggle.

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    1. Hi Anne! Thanks for stopping by. It seems impossible to always be patient with it, I’m not the most patient woman for sure. I couldn’t help but notice you were a nurse with five children and can’t help but automatically put you into the amazing column! I like your son’s take on the “fractured brain”. I’ve called it Picssso, because everything seems rearranged in a nonsensical pattern, but if I look long enough, I recognize bits and pieces!

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  46. My father passed year ago this month. His Alzheimer's broke our heart. My mother is in assisted living now. Her dementia makes her ask often what day is it? Even on my daughter's wedding day she called twice to ask why I hadn't picked her up for church. I reminded her it was Pam's wedding day. I'd hired her former home care giver to be her plus one. I couldn't be the mother of the bride and care for Mom at the same time. I wrestled with guilt but in the end she had a delightful time and had a great friend to take her home early when she was tired. Nobody Told Me sounds like a book for our time. That phrase I often hear from my sweet mother as well.

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    1. Oh, yes, Nobody Told Me is dementia’s chorus I think. The friend to plus one with your mom sounds like the PERFECT solution. I think knowing our limits is the way to handle this disease. That’s what works for me, it doesn’t seem to benefit anyone for me to go for sainthood and wind up exhausted or sick. I worry for caregivers I meet who I know never get a break. I’m glad you focused on being mother of the bride, and I’ll bet the bride did too! (Not that that’s relaxing! Lol)
      I recharge with occasional trips. It changes the scenery and I’m far enough away that I can’t stop in for a few days. I’m new and refreshed and anxious to see Gummy afterward.

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  47. Hi Ruth and Stephanie! I was here yesterday and then got interrupted. It’s been a crazy week! I did purchase a hard copy and I can’t wait to get it! Congrats, my friend! I’m so happy for you in your writing career! Love you both dearly!!! 💞

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    1. Linnette—You have to let me know what you think when you read it! I know your TBR pile is probably half a mile deep!
      I’m feeling the crazy week here too!

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    2. Yes! It is, but I love your Gummy stories. You manage to bring sanity from heartbreak by using your Stephie humor. It’s sad and yet happy at the same time. It’s the bittersweet that is life. If the editors didn’t edit you out too much, I know I’m going to live it!

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  48. Story:
    Once upon a time, a single mom went to get her oil changed. Leaving class, she was so upset by her inability to grasp Prob and Stats that she had to stop and see her pastor. He calmed her down so she wouldn’t have a meltdown at the mechanics. Taking a deep breath she heads to the shop and works on her college coursework while she waits. Thirty plus hours later, she is ready to pay for her oil change, but they inform her that her battery is in dire need of changing, so she sits and waits again. Her oil and battery now changed, she pays and gets in her van to leave. Cranking the steering wheel to the left, she taps the gas and hears a horrible grinding noise that wasn’t there when she came. She swings back around and parks, reaches for the door handle and it comes off in her hand. Great. How to get out? She lowers the window and opens the door with the outside handle and marches back into the shop. Ah! The break pads probably weren’t put back on right. That fixed, she starts her engine and prays nothing more will happen. And nothing more happened - not that day, anyway.

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    1. This has to be true, although THIRTY HOURS LATER stinks! Reality is relentless! Also the handle coming off, the break pads put on wrong! COME ON! Give the college student a small break please!!!

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    2. Wait. Thirty hours later? Um. That must be a typo. Oops! I don’t even know... Darn auto correct!!! The rest was true! LOL

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  49. We have a dear friend starting into this.. His mother was also stricken with it.. It takes a special person to be there for a loved one through this.. God Bless

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    1. Thank you DK! Hoping your friend will have support and a ‘kind as possible’ path. It’s a tough one. I often turn my mind to how I remember Gummy responding in the past for how to behave now. It helps me get centered when times are rough.

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