Monday, May 31, 2021

When it Rains, it Pours

 



I like rain, especially a cooling shower on a hot summer day. I don’t like downpours for days on end in springtime.

Springtime downpours create an entire set of troubles. When rain is combined with a driving wind it leads to double-trouble. The saturated ground caused a leak in the basement that has to be corrected through moving dirt and creating additional slope. We have a contract for the work, but we need nine consecutive dry days. That hasn’t happened for the past two months.

 

Then there’s the grass. The ground has been too soggy to mow and the rain brings about super-growth. When the ground dried out, Harold’s diesel mower quit. It’s been in the shop for several weeks. My mower won’t mow tall grass, but I managed to etch  out an area in front of the house.  When I decided to mow again, my mower died each  time I engaged the deck. Well, that’s not helpful for mowing.

 

The gloomy weather is disheartening. It makes me understand why people with dementia “sundown.” Sundowning usually happens in the evening, but with the grey skies and darkness during the day, I would imagine the behaviors are multiplied. Sundowning causes mood swings, anxiety, sadness, restlessness, panic, increased confusion, and other problems. As all caregivers are aware, each person with Alzheimer’s disease is different. Worse yet, each day is different.

 

The weather makes me moody and depressed. My arthritis acts up during rainy weather. My aching body makes me cranky. I’m not physically able to finish all the work required to maintain a big house and huge yard, especially when things go wrong.

 

I’ve turned into a handy-woman at times. I fixed my mower, stopped the leak from the heat pump (ok, so I cleaned and changed the filter), stopped the running toilet, and built a dam of old towels to contain the water coming into our basement to contain the mess.

 

Now, if the rain will stop long enough we can get our dirt work done. Hopefully, it can dry out enough to get the crops in the field.

 

On the bright side, I haven’t had to water my flower garden for a month. We finally got 90% of the lawn mowed. It isn’t pretty since the grass grew to epic heights. If we get the mower back from the shop, we can make it look better until we can mow it on a regular basis during the drought that’s bound to hit this summer.

 

In the meantime, we have company coming from Oregon, so the next two weeks will be a different kind of busy. Maybe we can order up some sunshine and an occasional gentle rain shower.

 

Copyright © May 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Friday, May 28, 2021

Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) Advocacy Forum 2021

 


The AIM Forum started on a Monday morning with a zoom meeting with Congresswoman Hartzler’s office. I don’t know why, but it made me nervous to know I would be leading the first meeting that morning, on Zoom, no less.

 

When we go to Capitol Hill for the AIM Advocacy Forum, I usually get to ease into the meeting with the Congresswoman. First, we have training and role-playing. When we go to the Hill we usually meet with the senators first and their ambassador leads the meeting.

 

The night before the meeting, I reviewed our federal priorities:

  1. Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act (CCAA) | H.R.2517 • S.1125
  2. Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials (ENACT) Act | H.R.3085 • S.1548
  3. Appropriations - $289 million increase for Alzheimer’s research at NIH, and $20 million to fund BOLD.
  4. Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (ACSA) | H.R.1474 • S.56

I read through the fact sheets and thought about which of my experiences could relate to the different pieces of legislations. When we are in DC, AIM emphasizes the most important aspects of being an Alzheimer’s advocate: (1) Tell your story, (2) Remember to make the ask, and (3) wear comfortable shoes.

 

Along with the participation of other advocates, the meeting with the legislative aide for Congresswoman Hartzler went smoothly.

 

The remainder of the Forum included Zoom calls with both of our senators, a Webinar, and a Congressional Hearing on Alzheimer’s.

 

The week passed by quickly, but I had to be on alert so that I wouldn’t miss anything. For some reason all my invites were an hour early, which I guess is certainly better than being an hour late. I accidentally dropped in on another meeting before I realized the time was incorrect on my invites.

 

Zoom meetings are good and bad. I didn’t have to spend days trying to decide what to pack. I didn’t have the hassle of planes, taxis, hotels, and transportation to and from the airport. On the down side, I really missed hanging out with my friends, especially Sarah, Kathy, and Jane.  

 

Advocates know how important it is to advocate for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement has been a game changer for how we communicate with our legislators. They give us the correct tools to make our voices heard on Capitol Hill.

 

I was pleased to do my part. I was able to tell my story. I remembered the “ask.” Throughout the virtual forum, I always wore my comfortable shoes.

 

Copyright © May 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Saturday, May 8, 2021

I’m in a Hurry and I Don’t Know Why

 



My sister-in-law Dinah used to say, “The hurriered I go, the behinder I get.” I often think of this quote. I’m always in a hurry to check off the items on my to-do list. I’m in such a hurry that (as scary as it is) the to-do list doesn’t always make it to paper.

 

My volunteer life has kicked back in full force. Unfortunately, the yard didn’t get that memo so we’ve been mowing a few days after each shower when the lawn is dry enough. At first, my mower needed a new battery, then Harold’s mower broke down.

 

After a hot, sweaty time outdoors, I went to check on my flowerbed at the front of the house. I walked around to the garage and both doors were down. I really didn’t think Harold would lock me out on purpose just to prove that I shouldn’t go outside without my cell phone as he constantly nags me to do.

 

I went around to the front door. The doorbell should get his attention, but the doorbell has been broken for quite some time. I knocked knowing that he couldn’t hear me, but the dog would. Sure enough, she got her “company coming” bark going and eventually Harold came to unlock the door. What nerve. He chewed me out for being locked out without my phone.

 

After several days of clicking items off my calendar—Thursday happened. First, a zoom call with our Walk to End Alzheimer’s committee. Check. After a half-hour, I had to leave that call for a conference call with my Alzheimer’s advocacy group. During the call, I mentioned the futility of trying to contact my congresswoman for a district meeting before the Advocacy Forum. Jerry told me he had a contact and would try to set up a meeting. Check.

 

As soon as I ended that call, I drove to town for a visitation for a neighbor. Outside the funeral home several veterans solemnly held American flags. I wasn’t sure I was going to stay for the funeral until I looked at the program and saw the song choices. I knew this wasn’t going to be an ordinary funeral when I saw the songs were “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals and “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

 

Gene was a Vietnam veteran with two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. He also enjoyed Mountain Man re-enactments and working on a forge. He was dressed in his mountain man clothes and several of his friends showed up in their outfits. A few of his friends shared amusing stories and fond memories of Gene. One recited a Native American prayer. At the end of the service, the veterans filed down the aisle and saluted. It was a touching, unique, and personal send off.

 

After the funeral, I returned home. My husband told me he couldn’t get hold of anyone at the congresswoman’s office. Foolish me, I thought he was trying to get in touch with her office for me. Instead, he was calling about another matter. While we ate a sandwich, his cell rang and I saw the number of her office. He chatted with Steve about his issue and I motion frantically for him to not hang up. Harold handed the phone to me and I told Steve who I was. “I just talked to Jerry,” he said. I proceeded to go over the Alzheimer’s Association federal priorities with him. Another task finished.

 

After walking the dog, I headed off to my businesswomen’s club meeting. On the drive home, I breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it through the hectic day.

 

After a year’s lockdown, I wanted life to return to normal, but maybe just a little more laidback. After all the funerals and memorials I’ve attended lately, it makes me realize how precious life is and how being in a hurry to get things done can interfere with life’s little pleasures.

 

My mental checklist needs one more item: relax. I need to take time to smell the flowers, pet the dog, play my uke, and visit with family. I need to slow down. Hurrying through life is way too tiresome.

 

Copyright © May 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Thursday, April 29, 2021

A Secret Chord

 


April 18 rolled around just as it did every year, and like every other year, I faced the anniversary of Jim’s death. He left this world sixteen years ago.

 

I called up my sister–in-law Ginger and asked if she wanted to go to the cemetery with me. This year I delayed my visit to the Missouri Veterans Cemetery by one day to accept a check from John Knox Village East for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

 

After the photo, I went by the Pigeon’s Nest Floral Shop to pick up a basket of flowers to leave in front of the columbarium. Ginger held the flowers in her lap during the short trip to the cemetery.

 

I always feel a closeness to Jim when I visit the cemetery. The pond makes me think of how he loved to fish. He was happiest with a pole or a guitar in his hands.

 

The day was windy and the half-mast flags were flapping in the breeze making a lonesome sound. The wind rustled through the trees and the weeping willow swayed and wept.

 

When I shut my eyes and listened with my heart, I could hear a secret chord. It told me that although we lose souls we love, we gain others. Though we go through dark times, or minor falls, we have the promise that we will be lifted up and embrace life again.

 

I look at minor falls as the everyday setbacks. How you deal with those setbacks will foreshadow how you deal with heartbreaking tragedy. If you  have been able to set your  everyday troubles aside and press forward, you develop life skills.

 

Being a caregiver was the most difficult and stressful part of my life. Each day was different, and what worked one day wouldn’t necessarily work the next. Interspersed through the sadness were moments of joy.

 

Each of us has a secret chord. A few notes of a special song can lift us up and mentally set us down inside a memory. The memory may bring comfort, happiness, or sorrow. In time the chords that once brought tears to our eyes, may bring a reflective smile, and eventually a real smile of joy as we remember the good times.

 

In the cemetery, the secret chords of a love song that Jim sang especially for me traversed through my mind and soul. That song brought peace, joy, and thanks to my heart.

 

I am thankful that Jim taught me how to love, how to persevere, and how to turn pain into strength. He taught me how to hear the secret chord.   

 

Copyright © April 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Ambiguous Grief, Ambiguous Hope

 


Alzheimer’s caregivers know ambiguous grief even if they don’t know exactly what the term means. When a loved one has dementia, we grieve for the losses the disease brings although the person is still living. Our loved one is still alive, but we mourn the person he or she was.

 

Ambiguous grief occurs when we have a loss without closure. During Covid-19, countless people worldwide lost loved ones and had no closure. Our loved ones were in nursing homes and we couldn’t visit. Family members and friends died in hospitals and we couldn’t hold a hand and provide a comforting presence.

 

I don’t know if I could have handled not getting to see Jim when he was in a nursing home. I’m so glad that I was not in that situation. I could say that I would have brought him home if at all possible. But would I have? It’s hard to judge what you would do in a situation when you didn’t have to live it. Probably the most judgmental sentence in the human language is, “Well if it happened to me, I would have …”

 

Loved ones died and services were delayed, or maybe we didn’t feel comfortable going to funerals and had to watch them online. There was plenty of ambiguous grief to go around.

 

I always thought of ambiguous grief as having no defined beginning or ending. Last March my brother-in-law Larry passed away. After his services, we mingled, but not as much as we normally would have. We were just hearing talk about a pandemic. “Well, if it doesn’t happen,” I told my son, “at least this will be good practice for us.”

 

I had no clue what the next  thirteen  months would bring. Our family had loss after loss without normal closure. I made video tributes for family and friends, to find a small amount of closure for myself. I cried alone, but in some measure felt I was reaching out to others whose hearts hurt too.

 

After receiving the vaccine, my life is slowly moving toward hope. My calendar, although a fraction of pre-covid bookings, scares me. I look at it and think to myself that I’m not going to be able to do everything.

 

This hope has no defined beginning. Even after I had the immunization, I am psychologically in shutdown mode. I don’t have the enthusiasm or energy to return to all of my normal activities.

 

Ambiguous hope; cautious hope, but hope just the same. I’ll take it.  

 

Copyright © April 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Defining Moments

 


I read a book one time where the author said she knew her mother had Alzheimer’s the day she killed the cats. Sometimes, it takes that bizarre moment before we admit that our loved one is more than a little forgetful, or has become eccentric.

The younger the person with dementia, the harder it is to get a diagnosis. After that defining moment, the people closest to them will notice a bevy of behavior and reasoning changes.

 

Jim’s defining moment was the day he forgot his social security number, which was in itself alarming. He was in the service when the Army switched from serial numbers to social security numbers. I knew his social security number, so the day he forgot, I supplied it. The next question was “what is your birth date.” After a pause, Jim’s reply was, “I guess I can’t remember that either.” Ding, ding, ding—alarm bells rang inside my head and in my heart. I knew something had gone wrong in Jim’s brain.

 

Jim was forty-nine years old. Initially, the doctor thought he had a reversible condition. We had all the tests he could possibly have done and chased several different diagnoses. In time, there were other moments: he tore things apart, but couldn’t put them back together; he forgot how to read and write; he mowed the grass and never lowered the blade; he asked me to tune his guitar, then, he forgot the hundreds of songs he knew, or if he knew them, he couldn’t verbalize the words.

 

Jim became more and more silent throughout the disease. He forgot how to tell his corny jokes, his tall tales, and how to carry on a conversation. It was loss after loss.  

 

When I was a caregiver, I had choices. I could be weak, or I could be strong. I could walk away, or stay. I could be uncaring, or be kind.

 

You, too, have many choices as a caregiver. You need to choose carefully and know what feels right, or what will haunt you. You will have many defining moments.

 

Hopefully, you will make the right choices. If you do, you must remember the rule of oxygen. If you have ever flown, you are given some solid advice if the plane loses pressure and an oxygen mask falls in front of you: if the person with you needs assistance, put on your mask first and then theirs.

 

The biggest choice you have to make as a caregiver: ignore your mental and physical health, or take care of yourself. You are of no use to a loved one who desperately needs you if you deprive yourself of oxygen. So, take a deep breath and move forward one day at a time.

 

Copyright © April 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

New Life


After a deluge of cold rain, we had a warm, sunny day. When I looked out my window, I saw the grass turning green. When I walked the dog, I heard birds chirping, geese honking, and squirrels barking. I saw irises popping out of the ground and tall grass surrounding the solar lights that line the sidewalk. Weeds and wildflowers are taking over my flowerbed. At night, I heard the occasional owl hooting, the peeping of tree frogs, a chaotic drone of various insects, and coyotes howling.


Animals that had been dormant for several months made their presence known. An adventurous blacksnake slithered across the road. After a long winter with a record-breaking cold snap, life awakened and surrounded me with its presence.

 

I, too, have been dormant for the past year. I’ve stayed at home so much that it’s an adventure to drive to town to check the mail at the post office. I have been getting several months to the gallon of gas.

 

Since Christmas, I’ve been working on getting my office back in order. I’ve pause to go through some of the old photos. I often smiled at the younger versions of “us.” Some photos brought back poignant memories that bring tears to my eyes.

 

As if my thousands of photos weren’t enough to deal with, we found two big boxes of Ream family photos. I worked for a full day just trying to bring some order to the jumble of photos. I learned quickly that an only child has about a hundred times more photos taken than when you have five brothers and two sisters.    

 

Life has begun to gradually change. My mom spent a few days with us and some of my family dropped by to visit. The next day, we had more company. As we sat around drinking coffee and telling stories about old times, it was almost as if the pandemic was just one of those long nightmares and we were slowly awakening from it.

 

Oddly, I was handling the alone time quite well until I had company twice in one week. The, the house seemed too quiet, and I felt an empty place in the pit of my stomach.  

 

My tasks multiplied as I tried to catch up with my volunteer work. I’ve spent hours working on the SBW website and trying to complete a project for the past president that should have been finished nine months ago.

 

I’ve had two conference calls, and a Zoom meeting within the last two weeks—for three different groups. Funny how Zoom has become a part of the new normal.

 

The Zoom meeting was our first Walk to End Alzheimer’s meeting. Yeah, I’d like to meet people face-to-face, but there’s something to be said about being comfy at home and still get the business done.

 

I’m wondering how I’m going to fit my volunteer work into my schedule. I have so much to do that the hours just fly by. It seems that I have a full time job without a lunch hour, breaks, or regular working hours. It is not unusual for me to look at the clock and realize it’s nearly midnight and I haven’t done anything to relax.

 

I recently heard a speaker who said that to deal with stress, especially during the pandemic, we all need a creative outlet. No matter what time of day (or night) I have a break, I pick up my ukulele and randomly strum chords, or run through a few songs. Either way, ten minutes of singing or playing my uke will bring my stress to a manageable level.    

 

Copyright © March 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Memory Week

 


The first week in March was Memory Week for the Alzheimer’s Association. Typically, we celebrate one day, Memory Day, and hundreds of Alzheimer’s advocates don purples sashes and share personal stories, Alzheimer’s facts and figures, and the legislation that we support.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, we did not make our in-person visits this year. On behalf of the 120,000 Missourians who are living with Alzheimer’s and their 319,000 caregivers, we asked our state senators and representatives for support of the following legislative issues:  

 1) Fund Alzheimer’s Grants for Respite: We asked them to support House Bill 10 (Department of Health and Senior Services) to maintain $450,000 for respite and care-related products. Ninety-nine percent of persons who receive respite care keep their loved ones at home longer. A two-month delay in placement could save the state more than $2 million in Medicaid nursing home care.

 2) Secure Initial Funding for the Structured Family Caregiver Waiver: Funding for this program is also included in House Bill 10 (Department of Health and Senior Services in the Division of Senior and Disabilities Budget.) Signed into law by Governor Mike Parson in 2019, the Structured Family Caregiver Act is an agency-directed model to ensure availability of cost effective choices for persons with dementia. The waiver was approved in February 2020 for an initial cap of 300 participants.

 3) Missouri Alzheimer’s State Plan Taskforce: The Taskforce will assess the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia within the state and maintain an integrated state plan to overcome Alzheimer’s. HB 989 will update the 2010 plan through input from Missouri residents, integrated with latest research and best practices from other states. The Lt. Governor will chair the taskforce and deliver their report to the Governor and General Assembly no later than June 1, 2022.

 4) Transparency of Pandemic Reporting: In May 2020, the Alzheimer’s Association released a set of recommendations on improving the state and federal response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. Four specific items were recommended: (1) testing, (2) reporting, (3) surge activation, and (4) support. All cases of COVID-19 in these settings need to be reported immediately, accurately, and with transparency.

When Jim developed dementia, I was working full-time, and family caregivers, including his mother, watched him while I was at work. His caregiving became too difficult for his mother, and I hired professional caregivers to supplement family caregivers.

The only financial help I received when Jim was at home was respite funds through the Alzheimer’s Association. Home health care is expensive and although respite funds were limited, it was helpful. I would have loved to find quality day care for Jim. I found a place that watched him for a while, but when he took off for home with his guitar over his shoulder, they refused to take responsibility for him. Although I had to work through several issues with home health care workers, I was able to keep Jim at home for about six months longer.

Placing a loved one in long-term care has to be one of the most difficult decisions a caregiver and family have to make. When I made the heart-wrenching decision to put Jim in long-term care, my mind told me it was the best way to keep him safe, but my heart argued that I had failed.

Too often loved ones with Alzheimer’s outlive the primary caregiver. It is nearly impossible for one person to provide the level of care necessary for a person in the late stages of dementia without sacrificing the care partner’s health. I know now failure would have been to keep Jim at home after exhaustion and burnout kept me from being the best caregiver I could be. By putting Jim in long-term care, I had chosen the option that was best for him and for me.

Copyright © March 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sunshine and Hope

 


After suffering with my knees and other arthritic pain for a few months, I went to the doctor Monday. I wore my Alzheimer’s T-shirt that says “I Hope. I Fight. I Walk. The ortho doc  shot a different version of cortisone in my knees. I’ll admit that it was a little bit ouchy, but by the next day, I was feeling the difference in my knees. By Wednesday, I felt the difference throughout my body. My hands were not as swollen and felt better, and amazingly, I lost five pounds.

 

Wednesday was a warm, sunshiny day and that alone would have been enough to raised my spirits. Another event that made Wednesday a red-letter day in this household was that Mike from MediEquip came and installed our custom curved stairlift. It was a bigger thrill than any carnival ride to zoom to the basement and back up without putting strain on my knees.

 

For the past year or so, I’ve been the one who traveled to and fro to the basement. For the past several weeks, I’ve ventured to the basement once a day to work on organizing my office. “You get the Wi-Fi in the basement,” I told Harold, “and I’ll move everything back to the basement and use my office.” The basement router had quit working about the same time my knees had. I’ve had a “temporary” going on permanent office on my kitchen table ever since.

 

“I can’t seem to get the Wi-Fi to do what I want it to do upstairs, much less downstairs.” We’ve gone through three different brands of routers and even the most expensive one had been dummied down enough that it won’t do everything we want it to do.

 

Still, the stairlift gives me hope that the basement will be accessible for both of us. I’ve worked through the pain long enough.

 

I have real hope that I have as much protection against Covid-19 as possible. When I told a friend earlier in the week that I was getting my second vaccination, he asked, “Aren’t you nervous?” Not at all! Just excited to put an end to this yearlong ordeal. It reminded me of being fastened in a seatbelt on a long bumpy flight, and finally the seatbelt light dinged and the pilot said, “You are free to move about the cabin.”

 

My life has been filled with surreal periods of time and the past year has been the most recent. The outside volunteering and social activities I thought was necessary didn’t seem as important. I discovered new facets of my personality as I retreated to being a homebody. I have always craved quiet time. Unfortunately, I still allowed outside pressure affect me. These activities continued in conjunction with an unusual amount of household disasters, meal preparation, cleaning, daily tasks, new responsibilities, physical pain, and mobility problems interfered with my plans of more relaxation.

 

In some ways, this past year has reminded me of caregiving for Jim. Only the caregiving stent of surreal time was tenfold this one.

 

During the most difficult of times, I still find joy. Sunshine and vaccine gives me hope. I look forward to a bright, sunshiny spring after the long, dark winter.

 

I’m ready for life to return to normal. If we can all accept the new normal for a few more months, maybe this virus will disappear as other deadly viruses have in the past. We may all have PTSD when this is over, but the main thing is to do our best to turn our faces toward the sunshine and give ourselves reason to hope.

 

Copyright © February 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Trash or Treasure?

 


I’m fighting a paper war and I think I might be losing. My furniture is back in my office after replacing the water-damaged carpet with porcelain tile. I have returned some of the pared down files to my file cabinets, but I still have tubs galore to go through.

 

The goal is to spend at least an hour a day going through the boxes in the family room to decide what to throw away and what to keep. I’m trying to be heartless. When I see newsletters, articles, scrapbooks (mine and others), and books upon books I try to determine what is still important enough to keep. I don’t want to waste office space with projects that have been put on hold for ten years. 

 

To complicate matters—my dumpster is full and has been for two weeks. It’s past time for the pickup, but they just keep putting me off, the weather, you know. Yes, I know, but tell it to the dumpster and the full trash bags waiting for a place to be stashed.

 

I try not to spend a lot of time on the paper war—just glance, toss, or file. I finally tackled Jim’s file. But, I couldn’t help but be sidetracked with the memories pressed within the pages. I kept everything in the bulging file—at least for now. I found his long lost original birth certificate. I could remember it had a few weird things on it. First off, his middle name was supposed to be Dee, not D. I know for certain that Jim wasn’t the first born of twins or triplets. And he had three older siblings, not two. I still didn’t find his brain autopsy report. I thought if I went through the file carefully, it would appear as mysteriously as the long-lost birth certificate.

 

My next stumbling block was Virginia’s file. My mother-in-law was my “other mother.” I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it was for her to watch Jim’s decline. Until her health failed, she looked after him. She cried when I told her I was going to hire caregivers so that she could take care of herself. I don’t know if she was relieved, or upset that I didn’t think she could watch after him.

 

Jim was getting to be a handful. He kept taking off down the road and Virginia would follow him in her car. She would call me on her “car phone” and keep track of him until I could come home from work. He just wouldn’t get in her car. Another time he took off all his clothes in the yard and she couldn’t get him to put them back on. I assured her that since he was in our yard on a country road that anyone driving by would just have to look the other way. By the time I made it home, she had him inside and dressed.

 

Other than my mother and sister, no one even came close to being as good with Jim as his mom was. Being Jim’s caregiver was a labor of love for her.

,

After Jim passed away, we had an informal service. Jim’s friend Gary was officiating and when I told him some stories for the services, he said he wanted me to tell them. I didn’t think that was appropriate, but both of my sons agreed with him.

 

After Jim’s services, Virginia told me that she wanted the same kind of service when she passed away. When Virginia was nearing the end of her life, I went to her house one day and asked her to tell me some stories.

 

In her file, I saw the document that I wrote for her services. I read through the pages and laughed at the memories of her younger days. By the time I reached the end, my tears were dripping onto the page.

 

My heart ached for the days when all the family gathered at Bill and Virginia’s to share a meal, play cards, or enjoy music in the yard. The laughter and love of those days are treasures firmly entrenched in my soul. Those who have left this earthly home are only a memory away.

 

Copyright © February 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ