Saturday, November 3, 2007

Little Family

I registered for the Alzheimer's forum on June 11, 2007. I started posting on this blog on July 9, 2007. It was not my first blog effort but has been my most consistent. My greatest stress was about that time and I posted about it on July 15th.

I remember that time so well. I felt as though my head were being squeezed in a vise and that I might not survive it myself.

I had not allowed comments on my blog entries before July 14th but on that day I forgot to check the box for "Don't allow." It seemed too much trouble. Nothing bad happened so I didn't check it anymore after that.

Lori posted a comment on July 18th. She began her blog on June 30, 2007.

Betsy posted a comment on July 20th. She began her blog in September, 2006.

Nancy posted a comment on July 21st. She began her blog on July 10, 2007.

Monday, September 17, 2007, Lori's Helen died.
Thursday, September 20, 2007, Nancy's Russ died.
Friday, September 21, 2007, my dad died.
Friday, November 2, 2007, Betsy's mom died.

Another friend, chris, lost both parents during this time.

I purposely did not include the others' names who posted comments. But I know who they are and I know when they posted. I did not want to include their names in this post. But they are dear to me. They are just as dear to me and beloved as Lori and Nancy and Betsy. I know that I do not really protect them by omitting their names but I have to try.

All of us hold in common the role of caregiving for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's disease. We shared and continue to share our lives and love and work and joys and frustration and grief. We tried and still try to help one another. We never criticized and we never judged and we supported each other the best we could. I personally found the words of these friends to be amazingly comforting. I was deeply surprised. We shared the last days of our loved ones and we shared our own feelings and emotions and thoughts and dreams and nightmares.

Alzheimer's is one of those diseases, and unfortunately not the only one, that often takes enormous effort from everyone and which frequently kills the patient slowly and cruelly. It takes so long sometimes and the caregiving is so intense that we forget that the end still is death.

But death does arrive. He is sometimes late and sometimes early but he always comes. He is not altogether unwelcome in the case of Alzheimer's patients. I know that myself from first hand experience.

And yet I am sad that he came and took my dad away. I am even sadder that he took Helen and Russ and Betsy's mom.

He will come again to touch others that I love. I find that heartbreaking.


Lori1955 said...

Oh Terry, tears are streaming down my face as I read this post. I just posted on Betsy's blog about how perhaps we were meant to find each other at this time. We became our own little cyber family in these past few months and walked together to the end of this journey. Yes death always comes and it will always be painful. I am just glad I had my blogger friends to walk this walk with me. We will always have a bond between us.

Annie said...

Excuse me, I must find a tissue. Peace to you and yours.

SKYGIRL said...

Flinty..."A Little Family" Indeed. I am not sure that people understand when I say "We have lost Six Loved Ones, in as many weeks?" and I am not sure they would understand, even if I tried to explain it?

I am so glad you have all had each other, to walk through this last challenge....and I know it is the toughest one of all.

I am also glad (and hope) that I will have all of you, when I walk through mine. I can't even imagine it, and I try not to, not yet.

One new friend suggested I should 'walk away' because it might be too intense, too painful?

What? Not a chance, it would be like walking away from family, well from a 'Good' family! ;-)

rilera said...

Thank you for this moving entry, Terry.

steflovesnonna said...

First off I did not realize that I started my blog before most of our friends. April 22ed was my first post.

Most importantly thank you being part of this family. I spend so time thinking I don't really belong with all of you wonderful people. I am younger, I am not with my Nonna as much as you all have been with your loved one. I don't get to be the kind of caregiver that you all got to be. Anyways here might be the bad point... when you all lost your loved ones I felt as if I had been forgotten. Nonna for some time has been living on borrowed time. Why did god take your loved ones and leave mine in so much pain? Its been so hard for you I know, and it has been hard for our other friends as well. I wish I could do more, I wish I did not feel so selfish sometimes. So left behind. Thanks for this post Terry, it got me thinking about a lot of things. You are a good friend, and caring soul.

nancy said...

i just read your post after posting myself about betsy and her loss. i mentioned you and lori as well in my post. i agree SO much with your post. you have always been able to express yourself so eloquently and capture many of the feelings i have myself. thank you for that. you are right, we are a family and one i will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

What a beautiful post, Terry. I read Betsy's blog just a short while ago and spent the last hour writing a post about it. When I came here and read your post, I thought how wonderful it is that we all feel the same about each other. I didn't find your blog until after your father's passing, but I can honestly say you are one of many whom I consider my family. Your words are always heartfelt and very soothing. Thank you for being you.

Chris said...

I have said this so many times but if it weren't for you, and the others, I wouldn't have made it through what I did. For this I am certain. How does one express gratitude? Somehow I will find a way but for now please know you remain in my thoughts daily as well as the restof our "family" we have come to know and love.
Bless you Terry.

dave said...

I am new to this blogging thing. Don't realy know many of you well. But as I get to know you better, I share your grief.
We are 8 years into this disease, and likely will be for a good while yet.
We are not yet to the really awful part, but my mind races ahead.
Thanks for caring.

~Betsy said...

I am also amazed at how we have all been brought together through this awful disease. I truly believe this was intentional. I know when I started sharing my blog with members it was because I was getting to a point where I questioned every decision I made on my mom's behalf. Without all of you, I wouldn't have gotten through this journey.

My prayers continue for all of you as you pick up your pieces and face a new path in your lives.

Nikki said...

Being a caregiver is hard. What a blessing that your dad had you to care for him. My husband and I care for my grandmother, Flossie. She is 96 years old and suffers from Dementia as well as many other physical ailments. My grandmother has lived with us for 2 years and 8 months. Even though she declines gradually each year, I have come to a place of acceptance. Therefore, it gets easier with time. I know what her limitations are as well as my own. I am sorry to hear that your dad passed, but I also know the peace of mind that you probably have been able to achieve. Watching the one you love deteriorate can be heart wrenching and at times the responsibility overwhelming. Stay encouraged, God is always with you.