Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Mistakes, Truths, and Careless Words


My former boss, Ed, used to say that if you never made a mistake, you weren’t doing anything. I could see the truth in that statement. The people that took on responsibility and tackled complicated jobs, occasionally made mistakes.

I wore several hats at work, including office manager, and whenever I made a mistake it had the potential to be a doozy. I was always more tolerant of other employee’s mistakes than I was my own. Once I learned to forgive myself for making mistakes, I was calmer and more optimistic. I always figured my mistakes paled in comparison to someone making a mistake in a life or death situation.   

In today’s world of instant communication, it’s easy to send an angry text, email, Facebook post or to make a snarky phone call. The tongue is one of our most dangerous, out-of-control weapons. Words can destroy life-long friendships, marriages, and employment. Rumors and lies can ruin lives. Silence really can be golden! Thinking before you speak or send regrettable words is always a good choice.  

It’s not a good idea to let your mouth get ahead of your brain. Sometimes, saying you’re sorry doesn’t erase the damage. Forgiving or forgetting isn’t easy, especially to a grudge holder. Somewhere along the way, I stopped holding grudges and usually gave others the benefit of the doubt if they weren’t blatantly being hurtful.

Lives can be irreparably damaged by a moment of stupidity. Everyday people are subject to the scrutiny that was once reserved for the rich and famous. We live under the constant watch of cell-phone cameras, internet postings of arrests and accusations, and face the judgment of friends, enemies, or total strangers. People are no longer innocent until proven guilty; they are guilty until proven otherwise. I hope that I don’t breathe life into salacious gossip, but allow it to die a slow, painful death  

Throughout life, I’ve discovered some hard truths. I learned that it wasn’t my responsibility to make a clinically depressed person happy. When Jim went through his periods of PTSD and depression, I was supportive and encouraged him to get medical help. The hardest part for me was to overcome the feeling that I had failed him. As much as I loved Jim, I couldn’t make him happy when he was going through a dark time.

 The truth is that being a family caregiver is often a thankless and lonely job. A caregiver can become emotionally and physically drained without adequate respite and support. Caregivers are well-known for ignoring their own medical conditions because, well, they just don’t have the time or energy to tend to their own health.

If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your loved one. It is important that you do not give up your hobbies and activities, especially when caring for another long term. Hold your friends and family close because they will help you retain your zest for life.


Copyright © May 2023 by L.S. Fisher


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Life Happens


The most unpredictable moment in time is tomorrow. Although we may have an idea of what tomorrow will bring, it may not resemble the actual events.

Real life can turn routine into chaos. We all know the horror of answering the phone and hearing of an accident, a terminal diagnosis, or a death in the family. The same device can bring us unexpected joy when we hear of a birth, an engagement, or someone who lands her dream job.

Life happens while we make plans. When you think about it, so much of life can sometimes seem to be random events strung together in a haphazard order.

I feel like my life is a billion piece jigsaw puzzle that was whirled up into the stratosphere and came to earth a piece at a time to form a picture that became my life. As with all good puzzles, you can’t force the pieces together—they fit or they don’t.

I became the person I am based on all the misfortunes, adventures, failures, triumphs, and experiences that happened throughout the more than 26,000 days I have lived on this planet.

The older I get, the more I forget. I only remember a fraction of the billion pieces of my puzzle. Although some of the pieces fell together as they should have, it seemed that from time to time, they were swept off the table and thrown into the floor to be picked up and, hopefully, fit back together.

I met Jim through a chain of events that could have easily never happened. We pursued a relationship against the odds that it would work out. Early in our marriage, our richer and poorer was definitely poorer. Late in our marriage, the sickness and health turned out to be sickness. The part we nailed was “to love and to cherish.” Until death do we part, turned out to be how our story ended, or did it?

The picture of my life fell apart and rearranged into a new picture. I gathered up the knowledge I gained through Jim’s dementia and shared it through my writing. Our story lived through my recollections. My fallible memory was bolstered by the pile of tapes I recorded while we journeyed through the land of dementia.

It’s a lot easier to recall the main events of life than to recall a conversation that took place on an uneventful day. How many days are really that memorable during a lifetime? Maybe an algorithm exists that could calculate an average number of red-letter days for an average life. Let’s be realistic, no one lives an average life. Until we exit this world, life happens as it is intended for each of us.

Copyright © May 2023 by L.S. Fisher


Wednesday, May 17, 2023



Last month, I kept reminding myself that “April Showers bring May flowers.” Seeing  colorful blooms in the flower garden, and sniffing the heady aroma, can make my heart sing with happiness. When a bouquet is given as a gift, it can convey caring, love, or remembrance depending on the occasion.

Jim used to send me flowers from time to time. One time, when asked how he wanted the card signed, he said “your secret lover.” The florist told him that wasn’t a good idea because the recipient might call up wanting to know who sent the flowers. “I guarantee you that she will know who sent them.” And I did.

Another time I was feeling down and like I wasn’t appreciated at work. He sent flowers with a note that said, “I appreciate you. Baumasteric.” Well, there was a woman at work who read the card and just about split apart wanting to know who had sent me flowers.

Although I was always happy to get bouquets of flowers, I think the ones that meant the most to me was when Jim would stop by work and take my car to the gas station. When he returned the key, he often brought me a single red rose from the gas station. That was a win-win—a full tank and a rose that smelled of “I love you.”

Miley Cyrus’ song “Flowers” has a message for anyone who has to learn self-reliance. When I think of those who need to be strong, I think of caregivers. Unconditional love means that a caregiver realizes that at some point, their loved one might not be able to express their love.

We usually think that in order to love someone, he or she must reciprocate the feeling for it to be real. What I learned with Jim was that in the silence brought on by his aphasia, he could not express his feelings. One of my most precious memories was the night when I was leaving the nursing home, I kissed him and said, “I love you.” I was used to no response, but one time he said, “I love you too,” and sounded like he meant it.

Several years ago, the Alzheimer’s Association began to provide pinwheel flowers for the walkers who participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Each color has a significance and walker chooses the one that represents their connection to the disease.

A blue flower represents a person living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. We walk to find a cure for those who carry the blue flowers.

A purple flower is for those who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s or another dementia. I always choose a purple flower because Jim passed away from a rare form of dementia in 2005. His dementia had been diagnosed as “dementia of the Alzheimer’s type” and until the autopsy, we did not know that he had corticobasal ganglionic degeneration. In CBGD the area of the brain that processes information and the brain structures that control movement shrink and nerve cells degenerate and die over time.

 The yellow flower represents a caregiver for a person living with Alzheimer’s, and the orange flower represents someone without a personal connection to the disease, but supports the vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

The white flower represents the first survivor of Alzheimer’s. We are getting closer to having more than the symbolic white flower at our Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Research is turning the key to unlock the mystery of Alzheimer’s with current treatments that slow the progression of the disease. Advocates are working diligently to have FDA approved Alzheimer’s treatments covered by Medicare and Medicaid. New treatments promise the precious gift of more time to spend with our loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s.

Until then, we will carry colorful pinwheel flowers as we Walk to End Alzheimer’s once and for all.  


Copyright © May 2023 by L.S. Fisher