Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I've been full-time caretaker for my mom 
who has vascular dementia.
She's been at the ranch for 4 months.
I was able to take a week off, a week of respite,
because my sweet brother, Russ, flew in to take
over her care while I spent a week on the 
Atlantic shore on Satellite Beach, Florida.
 I happened to read an article in a free
zine called Natural Awakenings that
I know God put in my path to give me the
words that describe perfectly what being at
the ocean means to me.
.....The qualities that make a place special to us
are highly personal, and they often help us to define
who we are. Whether the setting is a lake house,
a mountain lodge, a seashore cottage {ocean condo} or a
backyard at twilight, our sensory connections to these
special places shape us in deep and lasting ways.....
 This relationship to place is one that we carry 
within ourselves for a lifetime.
 Iona Dreaming: The Healing Power of Place
is Clare Cooper Marcus' journal of her six months 
on the Scottish island of Iona.
 "I feel pure in this place. It is as if there was no separation
between my living, breathing, perceiving body and my soul-nature.
No posturing, no pretending. I am who I am -- no more,
no less. As my breathing slows and I relax, I experience the
sound of the sea passing through me -- not me hearing the sea,
not me and the sea -- just the sound"
 The ocean has always been the place where I feel God
the deepest. This week of respite was necessary for
my mental being and soul.
I rented my dear friend, Vicki Boster's, condo and it felt
like I could reach out the window and touch the surf.
The week was shared with my best friend from college
and my cousin - each being with me for half a week.
Their presence allowed me to talk about what I have been
through these last four months. It was immensely healing.

I crave the ocean every day.
I would love to experience a few weeks 
on the Scottish island of Iona like 
Clare Cooper Marcus was allowed to do.
Traveling abroad...to an island in Scotland...
writing about it gives me chills.
I don't think I'll be adding that to my bucket list,
however, because I don't see any way it would 
happen, but simply thinking about it makes me grin.
(And, God can make it happen, right??)

This past week at the ocean was cleansing, refreshing
and, as I said earlier, healing. I hope that I can
go to an ocean again in the next couple of months.
Any ocean -- God speaks to me through any of them.

I am aware that I am not the only daughter that has or has had
full care of a parent with dementia......or cancer.......or
parkinsons.....any chronic disease. But, we all have our
own challenges that we must deal with while caring for our 
parent(s) and my challenge is physical. So, I need
to do what will keep me the healthiest so that I can 
care for my sweet mother properly.

Give me the ocean.

Thank you for following my blog and for your continued support.
My mother is so important to me and all of my siblings.
Having her loose the best of her is incredibly hard to witness.
Without God's support I don't know how I could do it.
I give him all the glory.

Blessings,  Jan

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Frank and I just lifted mom back into bed. What is it, 12:45 A.M.??
She had slipped off of the bed after going to the bathroom and sitting down on the bed to crawl back in and go back to sleep.
I have a monitor next to my bed on my nightstand so that I can hear if she needs me in the night. I barely heard her say my name. So much so that I had to stop reading and really listen to make sure I did hear her say my name.
She said it again and I knew she needed me.
I got that. "oh, God, no" feeling when I saw her sitting on the floor next to her bed.

She said the bed was slippery and she slipped off.
When I questioned that she said that the floor was slippery. She was barefoot and didn't have her slip on shoes on her feet so it may have seemed slippery.

But then I realized what had happened and as I type this I am looking at the screen through a blur of tears that threaten to slide over the edge of the lower lids of my eyes. The tears that have been sliding all over my face, mixing with the 'tears' coming out of my nose' until I got out of bed and got some tissues and sat down in front of my computer.

What had happened wasn't anything new..... 
My mom's walker was at the foot of her bed.
You see, she doesn't think she needs to use it, even when falling is getting to be a weekly thing around here.
But, really, is it her fault? She doesn't remember. Whose to say that she didn't just forget to use it all the way to the side of the bed so she wouldn't slip on that slippery bed or because of the slippery floor? Whose to say?
Oh, my poor mom. She wasn't hurt in this slide down to yet another dark place.
She simply sat there and whimpered and broke my heart all at the same time.

I got Frank up and we got her in bed and I felt so useless, so inadequate, not only as her caregiver, but as her daughter. I can't help it. 
It breaks my heart to hear my mom moan with defeat. To be back in the place she visits too often where she has no hope of her life getting better. 

As time goes on, week by week and sometimes day by day, I see the decline in her memory as I see the progression of her confusion. I want to scream that it's not fair, but I know that life's not fair. 

If I didn't have the arms of Jesus to crawl into at night after I turned off my Kindle and turned off my light, I think I would have lost my mind by now. My God. He is my savior in so many ways. And, He's the One I call out to in my mind during the day when things are gloomy, when she will only watch HGTV (I keep reminding myself that I cannot jump through the t.v. and smack that woman, that wife, who is whining because she doesn't like the granite counter tops in the kitchen of the house she's being shown. Really? Would she like my laminate ones better?), mom's being mean, hiding her food in her napkin, keeps telling me that I'm too happy, continuously looks through magazines for just the right Christmas gifts for all of us. 

I've stopped crying and I think if I read for a bit more I'll be able to go to sleep.
Oh, wait. Maybe not.
My nose is impacted. 

I know that getting my feelings down on paper has helped me. My blog is my diary and there are just times that you have to write in your diary. I'm just very thankful this wasn't a Page 2 post because it could have easily been one.

If you read this, thanks for taking the time.
I either have a lot of lurkers or only about six people that read me any more.
Now I'm crying again. . . . . .jk

Night and God bless!, J.T.

P.S. Mom has been put on an appetite enhancer and, boy howdy, has it made a difference!
She is eating wonderfully now! Yea!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Letter from a Mother to a Daughter: 

"My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. 

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl? When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day..... 

the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. 

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my darling daughter. "

This 'story' was posted on Facebook by a friend, Kathy Maximo, and my friend, Julie Grakowsky, made me aware of it. I read it and cried as I came to the realization that this story is my story. Even with mom's dementia getting in the way, or maybe because of it, I felt I was living this mother and daughter's life.
I'm sure this was written at the time of Mother's Day for a reason. It works beautifully, but the story works perfectly for me and my precious mother.

Blessings, Jan


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