Excerpt from ‘When It’s All Said and Done’
I knew Mom would hold off until God’s perfect calendar, where the Old and New Testament met. Not on Easter, the following Sunday, but today when the blood of the Old Covenant met with the Lamb of God, the real Passover. This was her “white as snow” day, I just knew it.
See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him-his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness---so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Just Do It…
Recently someone said to me they have two gears; stop and go. She is the kind of person who goes all day long. She is organized, (that’s a quality I’d pay money for,) and she is accomplished in most of what she endeavors to do. People like her just ‘do it.'
I wrote a book. I wanted to write a book, and I did. Good, bad, indifferent, received, enjoyed or rejected, I just did it. In doing so, I came face to face with doubt, and yes, occasionally grandiosity. Mostly, I came face to face with fear.
I remember when Mom was finishing her Masters’ Degree and had to submit a paper. She called me frequently, consumed with fear. There were times she felt she just couldn’t do it. There were times when she felt that what she was writing about wasn’t good. There were times she worried about what her superiors would think concerning her finished work. Isn’t that just like us to set ourselves up in the end by allowing fear to get in our way? Mom did finish her paper, and Mom did receive her Master’s Degree.
Push on… just ‘do it.’
In writing a book, I did not know anything about how it’s done traditionally. I had no starting point in writers’ conferences, literary agents or editors. I wasn't even aware of such things or groups until I was close to finishing my book.
To this day, I have no idea how to promote or sell my book as this is an ongoing learning experience. Quite frankly a google search on the ‘how to’ of self-publishing is exhausting. I have typed self-publishing in the search engine many times, the result is 150,000,000 hits in 0.21 seconds on my computer. I find myself unable to keep up with all the directions and suggestions, who would?
I wrote a book, opened a self-publishing company and faced my fear by pushing on. I said I wanted to, therefore I prayerfully just did it.
The fear that mostly got in my way, besides not really knowing what I was doing, was the fear of rejection and the fearful need to answer my own question throughout, "why am I doing this again?" Ultimately, the fear of rejection is a matter of faith. I am already secure in Christ. Any good that comes from that is in accordance to His will , therefore rejection quickly took a back seat. I was left with, "why, again, am I doing this?" I did it because quite simply, I wanted to. For some reason, I found it important to process and tell our story. Not only the story about Alzheimer’s but my intertwined story about ‘stuff.’ I wanted to tell Mom’s story, Dad's story, and to add another voice in the moving dialogue of what people and families go through.
People diagnosed with Alzheimer's are more than three times as likely to die as those without it. (link quote)
Alzheimer’s is often overlooked by many individuals who aren’t dealing with it on the front line. Even those who witness this illness firsthand are often not confronted by Alzheimer’s stark reality. Many who have Alzheimer’s are in homes, hospitals and are cared for by medical personal. Alzheimer’s heartbreaking portrait can only be understood when we understand that, though it is a neurological illness, its effects are seen in the physical realm. Think about it... “the mind is a wonderful organ,” is it not? The mind tells your feet to move, it tells her stomach “I am hungry,” it recognizes beauty... The mind tells our arms to hug, and reminds our nerves that heat is present on the stove top. The mind sees and hears words, and translates them to something meaningful.
The mind. What a beautiful thing.
When a person loses their mind they lose everything. I’m not talking about a mental illness, I’m talking about nothingness.
I saw my mother look into a mirror several times and say, in all seriousness, “Who are you?” Mom didn’t see herself, she saw a stranger in the room. At first, when I saw Mom do this I wanted to laugh and make light of it, as Mom was often a jokester, but it was actually not a laughing matter. Mom saw another person in the room whom she did not know and it frightened her. Sometimes Mom looked at Dad and said “When are you leaving?” Mom and Dad were married almost 55 years yet she forgot who he was on many days. Mom kept waiting for this man , her husband, to leave.
We use the word 'paranoia' when describing some symptoms of Alzheimer’s but a better way to describe it would be mindlessness. Mom was not paranoid, she was losing her mind and it displayed itself as paranoia. Mom never changed. She was always lovely and pretty even in the end, but she could not recognize herself.
Alzheimer’s is more than just forgetfulness. It eventually spreads within the brain, effecting the section which controls the physical functions. A person with Alzheimer’s may eventually forget how to breathe or swallow. According to the Center for Disease and Prevention approximately 5 million people in the US are living with Alzheimer’s.
Still, many do not know that it is a fatal disease. There is no cure.
This figure is likely higher, since many with Alzheimer’s die from related complications.
Yesterday my husband and I drove to Penmor Lithographs with our book 'When It's All Said and Done'...Penmor is going to print the book. What an impressive facility! Dave and I got the tour. We saw cool machines and met some of the folks who work there. I said to Dave on the way home, they are all "rock stars" at what they do. I cannot thank them enough for treating us to an impressive afternoon. Here's a big shout out to Wayne, Walter, Brian, Steve, Terry and the rest of the staff. You made us feel very welcomed and we are thrilled to leave out project in your capable hands.
Barbie and Dave
Dotting the i's and crossing the t's... with my husband Dave and our two dogs, Stella Rae and Minnie Mae.
Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States overall and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. It is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression.
We finished editing our book. We are now finishing on the design and format and getting everything completed so that we can print our book! I am saying 'we' because without my husbands devotion and tireless time to this first heartfelt project, I don't know where I'd be. Thank you Dave for your support and wise oversight...
I first met Georgie 17 years ago. She would soon be my mother in law, as her daughter and I married and made our home in Portland, Maine. It was the second marriage for Barbie and me, so I was well familiar with all of the family dynamics which contributed to a marriage. Family gatherings including holidays, birthdays, graduations and barbeques were always attended by Bob and Georgie.
There was never a time where both of my “parents in law” weren’t a joy to be around. I’ve even remarked to Barbie on several occasions that I considered myself lucky and blessed to have such exceptional in-laws.
You’ve no doubt heard, upon occasion, comedic one liners…you know the ones…”mother in law” jokes, which have always been good for a laugh. That’s because we can all relate to the sentiment behind these jokes.
Now, whenever I hear this kind of humor, I just smile to myself…but for different reasons.
You see, none of these dynamics ever existed between me and Georgie. She was a loving, decent, kind, and respectful, woman who exuded all of the qualities you’d hope to see in someone who called themselves a Christian.
I miss her more than words could ever say…
After Donnie's death, Mom never stopped grieving. She missed her sister with a painful longing. As a result, and perhaps in an effort to fill her desperate void, she began to view me less as a daughter and more as a friend. As time progressed, she shared more and more intimate details of her life with me.
All that Donnie had been to her, I now was. How thoroughly cherished were my last years with her. I had become her sisterhood fortress.
(Excerpt from our book 'When It's All Said and Done')
Alzheimer’s a memoir: Mom & Rainbows, excerpt from Chapter 6 of our book 'When It’s All Said and Done'
I still recall Mom’s coffee moments and how she held her cup between her hands like it was a priceless antique. She’d take a sip and slurp it in delight. Mom’s coffee cup was white with a colorful rainbow across it. The first rainbow appeared in the Bible after the flood along with God’s assurance never to flood the earth again. Mom cleaved to the promises of God. Each appearance of a rainbow in the sky was a remembrance, to my mother, of God’s vow.
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
I have a lot of parasailing pictures but yesterday I saw this one in rainbow colors which made me think about Mom.