Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MY WEEK OF RESPITE ~ THE POWER OF PLACE

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

9 comments:

just me said...

I know exactly how you feel about the ocean, just commented on my friends facebook. She said she is craving the ocean tonight, I posted I crave it everynight and day, truly my favorite place on earth is the Oregon coast. Someday try to visit that slice of ocean, the best smelling salt air ever! I read an article the other day, should have wrote down the info. but a Dr. who's husband had Alzheimers was giving him coconut oil and it diminished his symptons within days. I tried to tell my MIL about it but she needs it as much as he does these days. I'm sure you can do some searches and find some information, always wondering if anything can help sometimes. So happy you got a break, remember to take care of you as well. Your mom would want you to do that as well, Blessings! R'chelle

vicki said...

Sweet Jan- the ocean has magical powers of healing. When I lost my parents- this was my place to run away to- my place to walk the beach and talk to God. There are no words for how being near the ocean can make you feel. Listening to the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore-- feeling the breeze and the mist - just knowing that God made this thing that moves and swells and has never stopped - ever- from the first wave that began --- it's a powerful force-- and I feel the hand of God when I am there.

I'm so glad that this respite has left you refreshed and given you some much needed energy to tackle the challenges of care taking. You are in my prayers as you continue this journey.

This post is so beautifully written--the photos are gorgeous. May I share this on my blog?


Love you-
Vicki

Bettyann said...

so glad you were able to go away to a special healing place...I love the ocean..the vastness..soothing ..take care special lady xx and hugs

Shell said...

I'm such a mess after reading this,,,,,I don't know what to say Sweet Jan, other than that I understand the calling to the Sea for healing,,,,,the demise/gradual loss of our parents.

This was a Beautiful post,,,,and I relate SO much. My own mom lost her "Body",,,,not her mind. But still I miss her so and feel your pain.

Love you Jan,,,take care!
Hugs,
Shell

audrey said...

Hello, Jan.
I read your post because Vicki sent me here through fb. I am caregiver for my sweet mother who is 95. She is still doing well mentally, but has spinal stenosis and is fragile and in pain most of the time. Bless you for the care you give to your mother, Jan. I know it is difficult in many ways and yet your love for her gives you strength. I don't get away because I can't leave her. Your words about the ocean were a help to me as I have always loved being on the shore listening to the call of the waves, knowing that God gave us this wonderful mysterious gift to enjoy and to help soothe us when we needed quiet and peace. I will visit the ocean again one day, but for now I thank you for the beautiful photos and words. It is good that you were able to have some R&R time. Take care.
♥ audrey

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Hi Jan, how wonderful you were able to have a respite from your care giving duties and responsibilities. It's such a hard job; only those who have done it, have any idea what it's like. God uses His creation to heal, this I truly believe. He uses His creation, His oceans, to give us rest, relaxation, recuperation and to let us know we are loved.
"You are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are His everlasting arms."

Robin said...

I am so glad you got at least a week away, and with friends!
Place is incredibly important and I love hearing other's perspectives on it. There are water people, mountain people, desert people... I too am a water person. Something about so much water in one place... so cleansing.
I love the east coast (I've never been to the west one) and I love the me that comes out when I'm there.
The backroads of the hill country remind me of my dad and I feel so close to him when I'm driving them...
Thank you for sharing this!

Sisters Treasures said...

Hi Jan, thank you for visiting my blog. What a touching blog. I helped my mom take care of my dad who had Alzheimer's . Now I'm here for my mom who is mentally very alert but physically she is having a harder and harder time getting around, etc. it is a blessing to care for her (and my dad), but I understand the need to get away. The ocean is a wonderful place to be with God
To answer your question on my blog, I don't live in Center Point, just went to the new fleaarket there. You might check them out the last weekend of July.
Betsy

Canace said...

What is it about the ocean and its healing? I've gone there too to 'find myself' on several occasions. Is it that it makes everything seem so small.. so infinitesimal by comparison? Whatever it is I'm glad it has given you a breath of fresh air to continue on.

AND... YOU MUST GO TO SCOTLAND! I loved it! There, and Ireland.. like time traveling to a magical place. Have a look at my video of Ireland on Facebook.. you'll fall in love. :o) All best to you and your Mom!

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