Category Archives: Alzheimer Awareness

Remembering again <3

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I know I used this photo already this week, but the story behind it is one that is still tender to my heart. 

I have a lot of decorations around our house that were crafted by children we love. 

Painted paper pumpkins and thumbprints dipped in fall colors and dotting a bare tree…a coffee can painted black with a pumpkin and a green stem…all make me smile because I think of the sweet little hands of children and grandchildren.

But this slightly garish decoration tugs at a place in my heart where deep grooves were worn by the ravages of Alzheimers on my dad and the scars left on us as we walked a journey many people know all too well. 

I am no hero in this story. 

I did what I could and let nurses and aids deal with the worst of it on a daily basis as we continued to get kids to ball games and school and through college and weddings and life. 

I wrote this several years ago and have shared before but I share again today because on October 5th many local families will walk in honor of or in memory of loved ones. 

My father lived another three months after I wrote this one tired night when everything in me was raw.

It really is the end.

A wheelchair replaces the bow-legged walk down the hall. Sweat pants and sweat shirt replace the soiled pants and button down shirt with the inevitable pocket to keep his notebook and pens in.

He isn’t angry, but he isn’t really happy either. Just in a fog.

I think he knows me, but hard to tell.

Trying to make conversation, his words are nonsense. He is embarrassed because he couldn’t swallow his medicine and now it is a wet spot on his shirt.

He looks at me, but doesn’t see.

It isn’t like I wish he was the way he was before. That wasn’t any better. Just a different kind of awful.

I don’t feel sorry for me. It hurts more than anyone can know, but I don’t feel sorry for me.

I don’t feel sorry for him either. It’s just another part of life for both of us.Another part that is hard and seems cruel, but it’s just another part.

In it are sweet moments.

Things like a fall pumpkin he made in crafts. It’s obvious he had a lot of help, but still he thinks he made it. When I tell him it is beautiful, and I really mean it because it is, he thanks me in his own way. Though the words make no sense, I can tell by the way he moves his head what he is saying.

When I think of how my mom was spared the pain of this, I can’t stop thanking God.

I can’t think of anything but how thankful I am to Him that she never had to see this. I am thankful it is not my sister. I am thankful it is me.

When I told him I love him, he said “me too”. I asked him if he meant he loves me or he loves himself. He laughed.

I am going to believe he got the joke and it made him laugh.

The laugh and the pumpkin are enough for today.

God’s grace poured out for one more visit, tangible in a fall decoration on the seat next to me.

Tomorrow will bring another dose of grace for that day.

Tonight the tears flow from my tiredness.

Tomorrow will bring new mercies.

For those of you who are in this season still, may God hold your hearts together when you feel you can’t face another trip into that room.

For those of you remembering your own season, may He give you comfort and peace that you loved as well as you could each time. 

No guilt. 

No condemnation. 

God holds all the pieces when everything is falling apart. 

Rest in Him. 

Be thankful for His grace and mercies over you and in you. Over your loved ones or the memories of them that you carry <3

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It’s always the re-entry that gets me <3

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Oh my…I have so much to tell you.

Only I am fighting to just say you…because I want to say “y’all”….

because I spent three full days in Texas and well…Y’all….it fits everything.

It’s inclusive when you are speaking to a known or unknown crowd…and works when just speaking a friend.

It finishes a thought or sentence with a much sweeter connotation than our Midwestern go-to “Do you know what I mean?”

So please forgive me if you see me and I slip up and use it…but I think if I didn’t love and live right here in God’s country…Texas would be my next best choice <3

So here is a short recap of the past few days and then I will be spilling out some of what got poured in so…y’all come on back…sorry…last time…I promise <3

First off…

huge shout out and thanks to Russ for showing up and for all you sweet friends who supported us with donations and being at the walk on Saturday.  I kept getting pictures sent and email notices of donations and my heart was so blessed.

And Russ cheesing it with the local news celeb…may have laughed out loud on that one <3

So thankful for each one who showed love for the caregivers and patients of this disease.

Also a very big thank you to Robin who is an amazing gift from God tech person who helped me unglitch my email list in a panic on Wednesday so my scheduled posts could go out.

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The Declare Conference was amazing and I will be sharing more from that this week.

I got home around 1 AM…and hit the ground running Sunday morning because we went up north to hear our favorite brothers in Christ sing…and then Papi thought we needed an overnight so…

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the band of brothers…including the rookie in the middle…climbed in Papi’s truck and the adventure began.

We detected a bit of maybe too much smiling from…

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momma bear since Little Miss Thing looked really sleepy and the house looked waaaaayyyyy too quiet….

Because our truck was anything but.

You know we had a blast doing the most unPinterest worthy things like…

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taking a spin through Menards….

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using a box of crayons that has “Sarah Reimer” written in black marker on the top…yeah…circa 1996 art supplies.

My sous chef and I made pumpkin bread and muffins…

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Boys played their favorite game…

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count the change in Papi’s big baseball bat bank.

After a restful nights sleep for them and not us, of course….

We took a trek down to the butterfly fields and the creek…

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Learned why it’s important not to have an open glass of water in front of you when you are playing cards with the band of brothers….

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Met up with mom at the pumpkin patch…

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introduced Caroline to the wonderful culinary world of Pumpkin Donuts…

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and had…

all in all…

y’all…

another series in the on-going series of ….

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Best. Day. Ever’s.

 

 

 

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Alzheimer Awareness – Forgiveness

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Thank you for sharing some memories this week.

I hope if you are or have been a care giver for someone with Alzheimer, you have found some comfort and hope and a safe place to process some of your own moments here on the Journey. 

While our family  didn’t do it perfectly, we did the best we could at the time and the years we spent being the caregivers to my parents and aunt are a blessing and a gift from God. 

One of the greatest treasures from those years happened fairly early on and sustained me.

It also taught me the power of forgiveness. 

After an eight week roller coaster of bringing them here, seeking the right facilities and medications that included having to visit my father in the Psychiatric unit of our local hospital in what was the absolute lowest point of the entire seven years; I finally got my dad settled into a nursing care facility under a director who loved him and advocated for him. 

My mother was still recuperating, so I visited alone at the start of his stay there. 

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The weather was warm and we would go sit out in the courtyard. I always let him lead the conversation. And I was comfortable when we just sat in silence.

One day, as we sat together,  he told me he remembered things in spots. I asked him what he meant and he pointed at me and said he remembered me and he pointed to a statue and a bench and said he remembered those.

Then he waved his hand vaguely around to some other parts of the enclosed area and said how he didn’t remember there…or there….or over there. 

I said that must be frustrating and confusing and he agreed and then he said he also felt like he may have said something to hurt me but he couldn’t remember what it was. 

My dad had what we call a “German temper” my whole life and when he got mad, he said a lot of things. But he never said he was sorry. 

He showed me he was sorry with his life. 

But he never said the words.

Until that day. 

That day when Alzheimer appeared to have stolen all that was good in him, my dad looked at me and told me he just knew he had said something to hurt me and he didn’t know what it was but he sure was sorry because he would never do anything that would harm me. 

When I say we took care of my father for seven years, I can tell you that the one moment on a bench in a sun drenched courtyard was worth every second. 

Years of hurt washed away that day. 

I learned the power of asking and receiving forgiveness. 

I learned that even when a disease as ugly as Alzheimer steals, we have a God who gives back more than we could ask or imagine. 

My prayer for you today…

whoever you are…

whatever pain you have endured at the hands of a person or because of a situation or circumstance…

whether it be Alzheimer or cancer or abuse or desertion or betrayal or anything that was meant to tear you away from God…is that you know the love of God, who redeems and restores and rescues and renews. 

The thief comes only to kill, to steal and to destroy….but Christ has come to give life, to restore, to build up. 

He is faithful <3

Only God!!! At this conference and I always pray where to sit. Today I sat by a young woman who writes a blog for guess what?????? Caregivers!!! Here is her site:

http://lifesferriswheel.com

You are very welcome!

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