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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Name Calling - Precious Memories 20

You can't lose me
Bet your life
I am here and I will always be
Just a wish away
Wherever you go
No matter how far
My love is where you are
You won't be lost if you believe
You can't lose me

Momma use to say "Girl it won't be long
'Til it's time to go out on your own
Chase your dreams find your place in life
I know you'll do just fine"
When that day finally came
There were things she needed to 
But could not say
So I whispered softly as I wiped
The tears from Momma's eyes      
You Can’t Lose Me – Faith Hill



*Real names have been changed

I was crushed when she didn’t remember me.

I was in denial for the longest time, thinking it wouldn’t happen to me. The staff had gently tried to prepare me, but I brushed it off, thinking our bond was too strong for that. Science after all has proven it.

Based on a study from The Journal of Neuroscience, the relationship between daughters and their mothers is more profound than any other. "This association was significantly greater than mother-son, father-daughter, and father-son associations," said the researchers, who performed MRI scans on members of 35 healthy families.

Scientists found that women share a structure of the brain that regulates emotions, meaning mothers and daughters are more likely to relate to and understand one another's feelings than anyone else's.

Mom and I?   We had that.

I know everyone doesn’t experience this, though I wish they could. It always broke my heart a little, when facility staff would stop me in the hall and say, “I wish my mom and I were close like you two.”

Though our hearts were knit together, Alzheimer’s snuck in and unraveled the connections in her mind.  The first day I walked in, and realized she had no idea who I was, it felt like a deep searing knife driven straight through my middle.

I just stopped in my tracks. 

How can you forget your babies?  It was something I could not process.

The first time it happened, I walked in and said, “Hi Mom!”   She turned around and yelled loudly at me, “I’m Mabel!”   

Taken aback, it was then I realized, I had offended her by saying “Mom”

In her mind, she wasn’t a mom.  

She was Mabel.      And I was a complete stranger.

I crouched down in front of her wheelchair and gently said, “Hi Mabel.  I’m Stacy.  Nice to meet you.”  

I stared deeply into her eyes, willing her to remember.  She looked at me as if she had never seen me, a little puzzled, a bit hesitant. Clearly offended that I would be so dense, to not know her name.  It took her a bit to warm up to me.

I was dying inside.

I could not believe it.  We were here.  

We were right here, though I had hoped and prayed this part wouldn’t happen.  So now I had to navigate interactions with someone who looked and sounded like my mom, but I couldn’t just walk up and hug her or touch her. 

I cannot put into words a pain so deep.  The cord was being severed between us.

I didn’t want to scare her, so I began introducing myself to her from this visit onward.   It was awful.  I cried all the way home, every single time. 

I was losing her little by little, though physically she was with me.  I had never felt so alone.  I missed my mom so very much.

Growing up, I knew I was in trouble when all three of my names were called out….  “Stacy Renee Burgess, get in here!”  

If all three names were called in succession, there was usually a good chance that I was about to get scolded. 

What I wouldn’t have given just then to be in trouble one more time, so I could hear her call out my name.



  *The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.  


You can start reading our story from the beginning here:
Precious Memories 1 


You can read my last Precious Memories post here:
Remember - Precious Memories 19

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Path Of Peace

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

International Delight One Touch Latte Was NOT A Delight!

After finding this creamer at my local store, I was ready for a classy coffee experience.

Having left the big city behind a few years ago, life as a country girl has brought some changes. Mainly, not much in the way of  fancy-schmancy coffee houses.

I've been missing some froth in my life and was hoping to liven up my morning java.

I was anxious to try this and see if I would get the same frothy goodness as the video was showing.

Did. 
Not. 
Happen. 

This is nothing more than flavored whipped cream in a can, people.   And expensive too!

If you want whipped cream, just go buy some.  Save yourself the time and hassle.  This was a MESS.

I followed the instructions and it still did not come out at all like the video.   The can sputtered and spewed what looked like Silly String.

It was not fluffy, frothy or foamy.

It was not a delight.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Snow by Kathryn Hewitt


How do you know, at fifteen, what love and affection really mean?

Ruth learned all too soon that love is commitment, and affection has a price. But who will ultimately make the commitment, and who will pay the price?

 At fifteen, Ruth thought she had her life planned out. That is until she met Luke, a charming new cadet from the local military school. After entering into a seemingly harmless teenage romance, Luke's possessive attitude and subtle remarks begin to undermine Ruth's confidence, sending her into an emotional tailspin.

A beautiful young girl is suddenly lost in a grown-up world, trying desperately to hang on to a love she thought would last forever. Shattered dreams and hopeless tears become the bricks that build walls around Ruth; yet just below her broken heart, a beautiful vessel is being formed.

Join Ruth on her wedding day, five years later, as her childhood friend helps her journey back to face the demons of her past.


Cafe Lily's Review:

This has been on my  "to read" list for a long time.   While it is not the most well-written book I have ever read, it carries an important message.  Snow is based on a true story, and so that immediately captured my interest.  I did think that the parts where Ruth is going back and forth in her mind between past and present, became a bit excessive and distracting.

Having said that, I believe the message is far more important than the mechanics in this case, and for that reason I recommend this book.

Kathryn Hewitt said two things in an author interview, that readers should keep in mind when reading Snow.....

Why she felt inspired to write this book............
I became pregnant at fifteen. My mom was determined that I didn’t become a statistic, so I continued my education and went on to college while raising my son. At the time of my pregnancy and when he was an infant, it was extremely difficult and on more than one occasion I thought I couldn’t do it, but I did. I want other girls, who find themselves with unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, to know that they can do it, too.

The message she hopes to convey..............
God is listening. When people are in a crisis, they cry out to God, whether they are believers or not. I want every person who reads this book to know that God is there. He hears us and He does care. Sometimes our circumstances don’t turn out the way we want them to, but God sees the bigger picture and everything works out for the good of those who love Him. Miracles do happen when we pray. There is Hope in every situation.


 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

We're Out Of Control!



This morning, when I logged into Pinterest, one of my suggested pins was what you see above.

Yes, God.  I hear you, loud and clear.

Because right before that popped up I was playing the "How will we be able to ___________?" game.

You know, the one that starts right after God speaks to you and confirms that indeed, change is coming.  

It's time to be brave, step out, and flex that faith muscle.  

I'm not talking about confusing faith with foolishness, but a simple child-like trusting that what God has spoken, He is going to manifest.   

Because He is the only one who can.

In the natural?    I am Abraham.  

I have no idea specifically what we are doing here, just a general direction in which we need to start walking.

Being out of control, is very freeing.   I can't mess this up, because God's got it.




Sunday, March 5, 2017

Rocks In My Backpack

Having spent the last few years, with a startling, debilitating health crisis that popped up out of the clear blue and hit my spouse head on, it has been interesting to see how those around us, (mostly friends and family) have reacted.

Some have ignored the situation completely and disappeared. Our value has been lowered, and so they have moved on to greener pastures.

Some have questioned the legitimacy of the health crisis, even after multiple tests and medical specialists, gave it a name.

Others have given non-stop suggestions and advice, most of which has been uninvited.

I am amazed and taken aback at the people who truly believe they are better informed regarding our situation, than the doctor, surgeon, neurologist and other specialists. It’s like they need to prove that they have the answers, and if they were in our shoes……((insert magic wand here)).

Well, they’d have the answers, they’re pretty sure of that.

Yet they’ve never walked a single step of our journey. Honestly? It’s insulting.

It’s like a silent put-down, or indication that they think we’re going about this health crisis all wrong. As if there’s a right or wrong way to have your life invaded, turned upside down, and completely overhauled by something that has no cure.

While we are grateful that they are somewhat paying attention and not just ignoring the situation, it’s like putting rocks in our backpack.

Imagine trying to climb a huge hill. And with every attempt you make to gain some ground and get up the hill, someone’s “advice” is actually a heavy rock in your backpack.

One rock, might not impact the climb so much. But little by little, the more rocks (or advice) that you are given, it starts to make the climb impossible.

You feel defeated.
Tired.
Worn out.

And let’s not forget, there is a hill to climb and the only one climbing is YOU. Not the advice givers. 

They aren’t actually climbing the hill or pushing, or giving you any momentum. They are standing along the sidelines, dropping rocks in your backpack as you attempt to get by. They are telling you how to climb the mountain better, when they have never had to climb it themselves. Makes a heavy burden that much heavier.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure they don’t intend to make it harder on us. But, it does. When they ask if we have “tried this” or suggest another alternative, outside of what the doctors are doing, basically they are saying we’ve missed it along the way.

We’ve messed up, and if we would just (insert magic wand here), this entire situation could be fixed. 

Chronic disabling illness is a lonely road, made harder by those who direct the focus to being the one to solve the problem, rather than just being there.

We don’t need advice.  We need a miracle. 

And the advice givers won’t be the one bringing that to us.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Remember - Precious Memories 19

 Long ago, far away
Life was clear
Close your eyes
Remember, is a place from long ago 
Remember, filled with everything you know 
Remember, when you're sad and feelin' down 
Remember, turn around 
Remember, life is just a memory 
Remember, close your eyes and you can see 
Remember, think of all that life can be 
                                                                       Remember by Harry Nilsson 

I am wearing her “signature” scent today. 

A soft gentle “mom” breeze swirls quietly around me, with each move I make. Permeating the air, it causes me to stop and breathe deep. I feel a sense of comfort and peace in her scent. 

I remember. 

When I reflect on our journey through Alzheimer’s, there are moments it feels like it took forever. And then there are times when it seems like just a miniscule flash of time, and it was over before I could comprehend that it had started. 

From actual diagnosis to death, was almost three years. But my mom was diagnosed much later than she should have been, due to circumstances beyond my control. The specialist we saw, determined an approximate starting point based on the journal I had kept of her symptoms. As best as I can figure, my mom spent well over a decade with this disease.  

She fought a good fight. 

Alzheimer’s is terminal, though I rarely heard it addressed that way. There is no cure, no one recovers, and there are no survivors. Daunting as that may be, this is the reality of the disease. 

When I began to first notice changes in my mom, she was what the professionals would probably have considered “mild impairment.” This meant, that though there were significant changes going on, we really couldn’t distinguish dementia from normal “age related” memory loss, at that point. 

The signs and warnings were there. 

We braced ourselves. It was going to get worse before she would finally be at peace. 

I could easily sit and make a list of all I have lost to Alzheimer’s. And it wasn’t just memories. I lost time with my mom, conversations, opportunities, hugs, smiles, connections….and that’s just a few things. 

I lost my closest friend and favorite lunch date. 

But for as much as I lost, I look back and realized I gained some things too. I gained strength and patience. I learned about peace in the midst of the impossible. 

I learned about unconditional love. 

I learned what it meant to grieve, many times over. I gained an understanding of what real compassion and empathy looks like. I learned that I could somehow keep going, by God’s grace, when I was so exhausted I had nothing left. 

I learned what it means to love someone so much, you do things you never thought you could (or would have to do). Like bathing your parent, or handling their personal care. Assisting your parent with their bathroom needs is a humbling experience. She needed me and I had to step up. 

I learned to appreciate the bond I had with her and the years we were given after my dad passed away. 

I learned to be grateful for what I had, because not all women have a relationship with their mother, like I had with mine. 

I learned most of all, that I have something beautiful, to remember


. *The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.  


You can start reading our story from the beginning here:
Precious Memories 1 


You can read my last Precious Memories post here:
Momma Said This Would Happen - Precious Memories 18