Recently at my husband Dave's class reunion I had a fun&lively conversation with one of his classmates. Marla, the woman I visited with, worked for a time at the U.S. Embassy located in Tel Aviv. In 2011 my husband, son and I toured Israel. The hotel we stayed at was right beside that Embassy. Dave and I have dreams of one day retiring in Israel to live in Tel Aviv. I told Marla that before we make a final decision we would talk to her again. She shared that it's much different being there as a tourist versus actually living in the state. She is right. The cost of living is high, the religious strain is combative and intense, the country is surrounded on all sides with the Middle East unrest. By her reaction, I'd say that she sensed that we are probably delusional. She did say that it is easier to live there if a person is solidly spiritually centered. We talked some about the Jewish religious divides within the priesthoods and the tension that exists on many street corners with vigorous, animated outbursts of argumentation. I had to laugh as I joined her in our own spunky, give and take of opinions. I really enjoyed Marla; she was straight up, smart&gutsy !
In my own studies, I have done some in depth research on most of the Jewish priesthoods. I have very strong viewpoints about this subject. I am aware of the political persuasion&influence in Israel by the Orthodoxy Hasidic sect of Judaism, which took hold&inserted its own brand of legalism, righteousness&peity in their society. Like the days of Jesus when the Sadducees&Phaisees comprised the ruling class, so it is today with the Hasidic authoritative impact. I find them fascinating to study, watch and talk to, but with all due respect my theorem position always stands on biblical doctrine. Therefore, only the Jewish priesthood of eternal value is the Leviticus sect. I recall having this discussion with a scholar who happily declared that, "...there is no such thing today as the Levites priestly function and that there are none..."
Hmmm...perhaps he should go to Israel and walk the Kotel Tunnel.
God is at work.
Excerpt from my book
When It's All Said & Done
I cannot begin to express the awe of this trip.
Dave, Nate&I bonded in a way that only those who love God&His word can identify with. We stayed in Tel Aviv, at the Park Plaza Orchard, on the beach. We took daily trips from this point of origin, returning at night. We bicycled to Old Jaffa, traveled to the Jordan River, saw Meggiddo, walked the old cities of Jesus's day, gazed at Old Jerusalem from the Mt of Olives, cried at the Garden of Gethsemane, stood on Calvary, witnessed the place of Christ's tomb, climped the stairs to the Rotunda, took pictures of the Chapel of the Franks, toured the Kotel Tunnel, bowed&prayed near the supposed place of the Arc of the Covenant.
We talked to Leviticus Priests, covered our heads at the Western Wall& Old City, strolled&smelled the aroma of the Cotton Merchants Market. We were stopped at the entrance of the Dome of the Rock by gun toting guards, soaked in the Negev Desert&the Dead Sea. We toured Masada&the West Bank, went to Haifa, Mount Carmel, Caesarea, and walked the Crusader underground city&the grand gothic Knights Hall. We saw the Roman Theater&aqueducts, Herold's palace, and saw the beauty of Rash Hanikra, along the Lebanon-Israeli border.
We talked, and visited with people, whose lives&personal stories were magnificent. It was extraordinary&unbelievable. We cried, laughed&pinched ourselves at this blessing of a trip. It was intense, historical& deeply profound for all three of us.
On December 31, 2001, NYC opened a boardwalk to the public so people could pay their respect at the location of the World Trade Center attacks. My family, along with thousands of other people stood in line for hours in order to witness this hallowed ground.
My husband and I have returned every year since.
Excerpt from the book "When It's All Said and Done"
"For those of us who were changed as a result of September 11th 2001, it is a time to count our blessings. I will never forget that day or the memories that followed.
Our son was 9 years old and playing in a youth football league with Dave as his coach. On their first practice after this terrible event, the boys all “took a knee” and prayed. They were young, and likely didn’t understand the full impact of what had happened. No, these boys of fall only really knew that, for the first time in their lives, the adults in their community walked around in an open state of mourning. I’ll not forget the first Saturday that followed. How a small neighborhood of families came together on a school field to watch these young ones play some football! I watched as parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers and friends walked into the sunlight morning to come together in solidarity; steeled game faces with tear stained determination.
My parents came that day too. The visibility of their pain pierced my soul. I knew the older people were in shock to have witnessed, in their lifetime, this heinous crime against their country. I believe that every able man on that gridiron that particular September day would have gladly taken up arms to defend their homes and country. The bombing of the World Trade Center was personal and the wound was deep. For weeks, even months, people treated one another with decency, graciousness and sympathy. "
Thank-you to our family and friends who have bought our book, When It’s All Said and Done. A special thank- you to the many people we don’t know or have not met that bought it on Amazon.com.
For those who have requested that we make it available on e-book, we are in the process of finishing that up. I found a few slight typos and I am working at embedding the words.
I will let you all know via my web site:
I will also put a notice on Facebook and Twitter as to how soon as it may be purchased
My overexposure family portrait
1568 Washington Avenue, Portland Me 04103
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Barbie DelCamp
Barbie DelCamp writes a poignant, honest and touching memoir about her mother’s Alzheimer’s and what not.
Author, Barbie DelCamp, a mother and wife living in Portland Maine, shares her and her father’s experiences in the tragedy and loss of her mother through Alzheimer’s. This first publication is entitled, When It’s All Said and Done.
Georgie Ann Walizer Forney, the author’s mother, died at 73 years old from Alzheimer’s and related complications. When It’s All Said and Done is an autobiographical account, written in a time frame beginning in 2000, until the death of Georgie Ann. It is written from a Christian believer’s point of view.
In When It’s All Said and Done, Barbie DelCamp successfully addresses many of the commonalities in ALL terminal illnesses, as she takes the reader on a sojourn through love, denial, sadness, laughter, despair, loss, grief and finally…hope. This first book is unapologetically forthright, honest and deeply personal.
Alzheimer’s, along with its effects on family caregivers and survivors, continues to be one of the fastest growing illnesses among baby-boomers. Contrary to commonly held beliefs, Alzheimer’s disease is not a “normal” part of getting older.
SweetGeorgieAnnsBooksandWhatNot is also in the process of publishing children’s books. Georgie Ann was not only a kindergarten teacher, but a “book aficionado” who adored children’s literature almost as much as she loved her Bible.
This book can be purchased at:
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.
I am so thankful that the prism of my own understanding is forced to depend on God.
Thinking about those who are facing “goodbye” and are processing their loss.
God’s Peace to you,
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
Excerpt from ‘When It’s all Said and Done’
“Knowing what is to come, does not soften the reality when it does come. Thinking we are prepared for death isn’t the same as facing it.”
Thank you Penmor Lithographers for another warm welcome. My dad and son enjoyed the tour.
Excerpt from 'When It's All Said and Done' and a part of a poem written for Mom.
All my Grammy’s Books
"Her shelves appear disordered some would say a
mess, but hands reach out to touch them her books
above her desk.
She signed everyone one she gave you, each child received her
best, a scripture to remind them how
wonderfully they’re blessed."
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.
“So you think you can write?” or, “So you think you can take “good” pictures?” Don’t we all? It was not until I jumped in wholeheartedly, out of a genuine love and passion, that I realized the extent of popularity in the self-publishing or photography arena. I was, and am, on such a learning curve…I had no idea of the language, seriousness, commitment and time it would consume. I only knew that I l enjoy both mediums. I find myself unable to walk away. I am obsessed. I don’t know what makes a person a “photographer,” any more than what makes someone a writer. My husband says that we become one, (either of the aforementioned), the moment we begin to write or take a picture. But I am talking about a real photographer or a real writer, according to the lay-person’s standards.
I suppose it’s when you become good at your “craft.” But “good” is in the eye of the beholder. I read incessantly about photography, yet, I cannot retain the information when it comes time to click my camera.
I look at other people’s photos and appreciate the vision that is seen and captured.
I do not edit in Photo Shop, as that is a learning curve too complex for me.
I was watching the Westminster Dog Show and, while I enjoyed seeing the beautiful dogs, I couldn’t help but find myself drawn to the photographers in the background. I said to myself, “I need to practice taking pictures in low light without using a flash” and, “I wonder what kind of a lens they are using.” I kept getting distracted from the dogs as I attentively looked for “real photographers.” After all, they were in the front row at the Westminster Dog Show… they must be “real” photographers.
Once, I was at an event (with my camera, of course, which hardly ever leaves my side), and a gentleman began to “compare” with me. Apparently, he was a photographer. He held in his hands, like myself, his pride and joy…a digital camera. You know the posture we take? Cute… He sort of snubbed me as I only have a Nikon 3100. Only! This baby cost me $500 dollars along with the throw-in package 200 zoom lens. I had in my “bag” another lens which cost me an additional $500. That’s a lot of money for this gal. Although, I guess that if you’re a serious photographer it’s a nothing camera, but this camera has become a part of me. It fits in my hands like a perfect set of gloves.
My goal, at this event, was to take photos and create a memorable music DVD. I do it free, as well as print pictures, to personally hand to people. What fun!
This gentleman asked me “Do you shoot in the R-A-W?”, “Yep” I said, having no idea what he even meant! “Take that,” I thought, “see, I’m a photographer.” (For those who do not know, RAW is a developed photo or actually undeveloped photo. RAW is like the old way: it sits sort of like a negative in storage until you’re ready to process it. It is different than JPEG, which is what most people use. Not understanding the difference makes them…NOT a photographer, I suppose).
The best advice I was ever given concerning shooting pictures in this digital era was to take as many …and even more than you can think of. Never forget, it’s free to delete them and have a blast!
Excerpt from Chapter 6 'When It's All Said and Done'
" That September, I started taking more pictures than ever. I would drive to Bridgton past a farm that gave me comfort. I watched the season’s sunlight transition and waved at the tractor drivers plowing the fields. I looked forward to seeing the cows and sheep, stopping regularly to photograph them. I began to use my photos to make short DVD music videos about 2-5 minutes long. I would sit for hours at night, editing, improving and telling our story through this medium. Eventually I splurged from a small Sony “point and shot” camera to a Nikon 3100. It became my distraction. I have returned to those DVD’s and they truly reveal memories of my sorrow."
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.
I love books! Mom loved books, too. They were by far her most treasured items. If asked, both of us would say our favorite book is and was the Bible. Mom was always discovering things in this “ancient of times” writing. It was Mom who introduced me to a study on the book of Exodus (the second book contained within the great book).
Exodus means ‘exit’ or ‘departure.’ It was written by Moses and it is rich in a type of, or “shadow of” things to come. God uses much in the Old Testament historically, and in patterns which point to the future, and to His deliverance through Jesus Christ.
Exodus also gives a very detailed description of the Tabernacle. The Pentateuch devotes more verses to the tabernacle than any other object. It foretells the future Temple in Jerusalem, but more importantly the book of Hebrews tells us it is also a foreshadowing of a heavenly sanctuary, the one that Jesus has entered on our behalf as High Priest.
“Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I show you”
“See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Moses had ascended Mount Sinai to meet with God. Here he was given detailed instructions concerning all matter of building, design, and worship of the Tabernacle.
The book of Hebrews in the New Testament continues and affirms these instructions.
“They serve at the sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle; see to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Mom was enthusiastic about this study of the Tabernacle. She gathered books, diagrams, videos and Bible references for us to use. It was because of her revelation to me, and her follow through in my life, that I became an ardent student of both Exodus and Hebrews. They opened up the eyes of my understanding of who God is. His Holiness, His Law, His Grace, and His Love are all evident in His Word. His documentation and council in the Bible written for all time acknowledges that He is the Alpha and the Omega, knowing the beginning from the end.
I saw today on Facebook a post which said
“I never knew I was a caregiver until I started doing things for Mom that I never did before.”
My Mom was 73 years old, and my Aunt was 71 years old when Alzheimer’s and related complications took their lives. Each of these women were attractive and vivacious, with a keen sense of humor. Both were energetic and enthusiastic about the things that they found pleasurable, and both seemed to have had an aggressive form of this illness which quickly attacked them in the end.
Having just turned 55 years old myself, I have to say that both women by no means, in my mind, looked or acted like “old” people. Yet, when those of us who looked after them began to regard their cognitive decline, it was like witnessing a fast moving train toward death.
Alzheimer’s is generally marked in 7 stages. Mom walked through the stages quickly, while others may linger in them for prolonged years. Mom could have possibly been in early stages of Alzheimer’s undetected by us for a long time, but it was not until we witnessed her loss of language that we took notice of something wrong. Mom was originally diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia. I suspect she had both, or that they overlapped into one big mess of an illness for her.
As a caregiver…(it makes me want to laugh aloud, as the word “caregiver” rests on the surface of a page as though it is a sweet and endearing word, it’s not), my Dad experienced long and painfully difficult days waiting on, and watching over his beloved wife.
As I have been writing this book, Dad has commented often about things in which he had forgotten. Dad never had time to “catch up” through his care giving days. He just kept bravely putting one foot in front of the other. As I look back, I don’t know how he ever had time to do anything but address the moment and do what needed to be done.
Caregiver: a person who has accepted responsibility to look over a vulnerable neighbor or relative.
That’s a big pill to swallow, and my hat is tipped to all who have taken on this daunting task.
May God Bless, and give you strength and an abundance of merciful patience.
Thank you Dad for being a devoted husband, and for loving and caring for Mom with all your heart.
Your daughter Barbie
My husband and I try to take a yearly weekend to travel to New York City. We have many memories of the Big Apple, and I write some about this in our book. I also write about my friendship to a wonderful woman who I have now known for 43 years. My friend, Marikay, had never been to the city until this past week. We traveled with her and her husband to see the sights.
This past week, New York City had record cold weather, the likes of which have not been recorded for 118 years. This was Marikay’s introduction to the grueling walks, festive lights, screeching and hustling sounds and warm smoky sweet smells. She did not get even a whiff of the wonderful street vender’s myriad of food, since the air was so cold that they were hardly seen. If one witnessed them, their carts had the appearance of a lost silver igloo misplaced on a city corner in lonely frigid air.
The sound of people whistling for a taxi or streets in honking traffic were also missing, as well as the Central Park parade of horse drawn carriages with drivers in amusing whimsical costumes. No, New York City was not necessarily asleep, but it was hunkered down and in slow motion as if it were with tourist, not looking up to the skyline of tall buildings, but with faces and bodies tucked in layers of coats, hats, mittens, socks and scarfs. It was cold!
We made our way through the city in a double decker hop-on hop-off bus. The unheated bus sustained us with only a smidgen of protection from the below zero temperatures. We were on a mission to see the sights and to go to the World Trade Center so that Marikay and her husband Dave could pay their respects.
Thank you, people of New York City, for your thoughtfulness and perseverance against many tragic losses, and for your undying spirit of pride.
It was on May 15 2013 that I finished the last page and closed the cover of the book I had been reading. I looked out into the ocean and thought for a bit. Then I spoke aloud to my husband “I think I’ll write a book”. His response “I think you should”.
It had been just 50 days since I had lost Mom. My husband, Dave, had brought us to one of our favorite spots in the Dominican Republic, The Barceló Bavero Beach in Punta Cana. Before we left for this get away, Dad had bought me a book to read. It was a story written by a popular journalist about herself and her Mother, who had Alzheimer’s. While it was very good, making me cry and laugh at different times, it wasn’t our story.The author wrote her story, but she either hadn’t reached the final days or she had decided not to share them. My pain was still exposed and tender having witnessed the life and death of my dear Mom with the same illness.
My family had just walked through the last months, weeks, days, and minutes of our Mom’s life. We were still in shock and grief.
Our story also included our Christian faith. The truth, the mystery, the believer’s conviction and our dependence in God through this insidious illness was missing.
And so I said, “I think I’ll write a book.”
Sweet Georgie Ann was my Mother. She was a wife, mother, daughter, sister, Grammy, kindergarten teacher, Christian and friend. On March 26th 2013 she passed on from this world to heaven. Mom was 73 years old when she died from Alzheimer’s. Mom was an avid reader and book “aficionado”. She adored children’s books most of all.
Our first book When It’s All Said and Done is a memoir of sorts, in our journey through this illness. We will be publishing this book in the next 30 days…God willing. Also I am working on several children’s books with distinctly Christian and Historical content.
Though I don’t proclaim myself a writer or a photographer, both mediums have stirred a passion and drive within me over recent years.
It is my hope that the reader of this first publication will be illuminated by the honest portrayal of our journey from beginning to end, through this terrible disease. Furthermore, I hope the reader is able to glean from these pages, the hope which we all have through trust and faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s safe to say that not everyone is at the same place spiritually, but this book is and remains unapologetically truthful; not only to the nature of my wonderful mother, but to some of the very attributes of who God is, along with His desire for each of us. My hope and prayer is that the reader is sustained by His presence in their lives, as we have been.