Sep 30, 2015

Effects of Stress

During the ten years of caregiving, I could sometimes keep the stress under control by exercise, adequate sleep, prayer, eating wisely. But the last month stress got the upper hand, and I share this with you to remind us all of the damage of stress. During the dying and funeral process, I was unable to sleep,  except one night at the end when my daughter came to stay overnight. She brought dinner, went to the nursing home with me, and I seemed to feel a lift in shouldering the responsibilities while she was here. The week of his dying and funeral were particularly bad with no time for exercise and i was unable to sleep.
The effects of that stress were blatant.  I was simply not myself at the funeral after not sleeping at all, and this week I have had consistent diarrhea. Finally, last night I slept.
I share this because I want us to be aware of the incredible damage of stress.  We need to avoid what stress we can and deal effectively with what cannot be avoided.

Continue the blog?

Readers have requested that I continue writing the blog, and I will, at least for now. I have always wanted the blog to address any unexpected responsibility. Caregiving for small children is not that different from caregiving someone who is disabled or has a serious or terminal illnesd, except that positive progress is usually expected when one is caregiving children. This blog will continue as we support each other in living life as best we can.

Sep 29, 2015


When I first decided to save money by using only a cell phone, that actually worked. But, as summer progressed, cell service deteriorated in our home. Then, in the weeks Dwane was dying, my satellite service stopped hosting google, so I could no longer do this blog from home. Irony?  I stop and notice when the universe might be sending me a message.

Sep 28, 2015

The Void

Yesterday I had finally been able to sleep after a week and half of not, and I found myself wondering what to do. After the breakfast with friends, after the bike ride for exercise, after the laundry - this expanse of time I am not used to. I actually sat on the deck and had ice tea. We devote so much time and energy to categiving, there is a void when it is over. Time will help decide how to fill it.

Sep 27, 2015

After the Funeral

Family members have left. Bed linens washed. And I am finally sleeping some. I wanted to do the funeral in a way Dwane would like and I was well prepared. What I was not prepared for were the criticisms.  Criticism about details, plan of and place of burial. That took me by surprise and added to the stress. I guess there is just no way a person can plan well enough to avoid conflict. 
But, it is over, and now time to rebuild my life.

Sep 26, 2015

The services are over. The Christian Wake service went very well. I chose to do the eulogy because I wanted to honor who Dwane was, before robbed of that by dementia. The funeral was lovely too, marred only by my lack of sleep and some family dynamics.
As caregivers we handle so much stress, and the death compounds that.

Sep 25, 2015


Today is the funeral.  I want it a tribute to Dwane and his life.

Sep 24, 2015

Dwane's Death

Dwane died on Monday, September 21. At the moment of death, a single tear rolled down his cheek. I think he was sad to go, and he will be remembered as part of the fabric of our lives of those of us who loved him.

Sep 23, 2015

Accepting Support

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"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." Henry Ford

As caregivers, we get ongoingly to choose how we show up in this role.  We are at the end now.  It is very difficult to witness the dying process of someone we love.  But, really, would we make any other choice under these circumstances?  Death is a given at this point, but within that we can choose how we respond to witnessing it.  Is he aware I am here?  I don't think so, but I want him to have the comfort of a person's presence.  I have brought a cd with ocean and nature sounds for background soothing sound, and I talk to him when he seems awake.  The staff is being so very kind to him and to me.  

Sep 22, 2015

Being True to Ourself

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You're only responsible for being honest, not for someone else's reaction to your honesty. Kelli Jae Baeli

How very true.  We must be true to ourselves, and it is important to not worry about how that lands for someone else.  That, of course, does not mean we can be unkind.  But, it does mean that we must consider our own welfare first.  The expression, "People's opinions of you are no business of yours" holds truth.  Let us be true to ourselves and let others do the same.

Sep 21, 2015

The Erratic Process of Dying

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"The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most.  I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with the the sunshine of my prosperity."  Ulysses S. Grant“
We are at a point in this journey with dementia where we get to see the erratic process of dying.  On Friday he refused all food and drink.  On Saturday morning he ate some pudding.  He is mostly nonresponsive, but there are glimmers of lucidity and alertness.
One of the things most difficult for me is the drive here and walking in, not knowing what I will find.  Trepidation.  I am having trouble sleeping.  The visual of seeing his discomfort, even though he is on morphine, takes over when I try to go to sleep.  

Sep 20, 2015


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Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself. William Shakespeare

Honesty is the best policy.  First, we must be honest with ourselves.  With family members coming, there is more opportunity for stress for me.  Difficult situations, and, certainly, a person dying can be called difficult, can bring out difficult dynamics among people.  As caregivers, our first responsibility is to take care of our own health.  The next responsibility we have is to make good choices for our loved one.  

Sep 19, 2015

Significant Decline

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When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

My loved one has had a very dramatic decline in health and functioning.  Just two days ago, he seemed to change, literally, overnight.  He is almost nonverbal, often not responsive.  It seems we are nearing the end.  I would like to see a peaceful end to his suffering, and I would like to see an end to the stress for me.  
Family members have been notified.  Time will tell what is ahead.

Sep 18, 2015

Thoughts Become Things

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"What you think about you become." Earl Nightingale

Could it really be that simple?  If we monitor our thoughts toward more love, more health, more compassion -- will more of that appear in our lives?  There is evidence that it is true.  People who talk about misfortune, often have more arrive.  People who talk about health and well being, often have more arrive.  It's not that it is magic, I don't think.  It's just that our attitudes (thoughts) create our lives.  Let us think of love, safety, freedom, peace, well being, health, joy.

Sep 17, 2015

Asking for Support

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"Reach out for support where and when you need it." Terry Drew Karanen

One of the steps for more joy is to reach out for support where and when you need it.  A neighbor and I were talking recently, and she said she hated to have others supporting her.  It is hard for me, too, to ask for and accept support; but it is critical to our health as well as our level of joy.  In recent weeks I have contracted handymen, building contractors, furnace people, roofers, painters -- all to do things I either cannot or do not want to do.  I consider it a win/win.  I help them make a living, and they help me with tasks that need done.  Perfect.

Sep 16, 2015

Ways to Support Joy

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"By taking care of your own happiness you'll create a joy beyond anything you've experienced up to now." Terry Drew Karanen

The above author gives 12 ways to have more joy in your life:
1.  Start your day with gratitude and end it with forgiveness.
2.  Meditate -- even for just 5 minutes every day.
3.  Show love for yourself by feeding your body nourishing food.
4.  Cultivate and maintain close relationships with others.
5.  Exercise in a way you enjoy
6.  Listen to music that makes you want to dance -- and then dance!
7.  Find a hobby you love
8.  Go 'electronics free' for an hour -- or a day.
9.  Fill your mind with uplifting and encouraging reading.
10.  Reach out for support when and where you need it
11.  Fill your mind with positive thoughts and plans for the future
12.  Fall completely and totally in love with yourself!

Sep 15, 2015

Finding More Joy

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"To allow someone the right to 'make us happy' or 'make us sad' is an example of how we willingly give away our power and choice." Terry Drew Karanen

We have all experienced having the actions of someone else make us either happy, mad, or sad; but what a power we are giving to any other person to allow them to change the way we feel.  If we focus on our own serenity, with scaffolding by gratitude, we can keep the power of joy within ourselves.  We can be more immune to what others do and say.  Wouldn't each of us rather be happy than mad or sad?  We have the power to make that choice, to choose to allow others to do and say what they want, without it affecting our equanimity.  

Sep 14, 2015

Utilizing Support

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"Our thoughts create our reality." Neale Donald Walsh

Recently, another caregiver said to me that she wished it were not so hard.  I agree.  I wish it were not so hard for our loved ones and for us.  But wishing does not change things.  Changing our attitudes does change things.  Changing our thoughts does change things.  So, might we decide this is not so hard?  Can we find purpose within it?  I think we might be better for choosing this perspective.   

Sep 13, 2015

Enjoying Where We Are

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"The grass is greener -- right here." David Ault

What an interesting consideration.  We humans often think "over there" or "later" are greener than here; but the quote above, which is also the title of his book, points us toward a greater truth.  The only life we can live is right here, right now.  If we believe that everything right here and right now is good, then we will see more good.  These seem to be universal truths.  So many quotes point to this:  bloom where you are planted, etc.  So, for today, let us savor each and every moment.  Put away our 'to-do' lists, and enjoy, really enjoy this moment.  And, this moment.