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I love this thread; it's a "healthy" one. You ladies sound so good. Blessing to you!
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Austin,
It is so good to hear from you. You sound rested and at peace. Enjoy the green beans and the rest of the glorious weather. It will be colder soon and then I hibernate. We are putting our house on the market. Keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck!!
Linda
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It is so great that you all are able to think of blessings when you are so involved with caregiving, I got a chance to be a little blessing for someone else. I went out to stay with my Mom for two weeks to help her and to give my sister a little break now that my caregiving here is done with the passing of my husband two months my cat really gave me a talking to when I returned even though my son stopped in every day to feed him and check on him. I also have friends that I can call anytime when I am down. My yard is also a mess but I am still doing paperwork from the passing of my husband and it was good to be away from it for two weeks-but my black eyed susens are so pretty and that is a blessing but my tomatoes now have a blight but I did get a lot before I went away and my green beans will be ready soon which I will roast.
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Janny,
You are so fortunate to have such a supportive family. They are your joy along the journey!
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"I look at the yard and my head spins!!!" I can relate to this Micheleangel. My gardens look like a jungle. Friends tell me it looks enchanting to be kind.
Staying on topic though . . my mother and I look at old photos and since her memory is so jumbled, the narratives of the photos are always different. It's pretty funny but I don't let her know.
My daughter and my sister bring the most encouragement.
I can call my sister anytime and she always lends an ear. Last week I thought I was falling apart and she changed her schedule to come up for a visit. She's here for the week.
My daughter will take any negative situation and find the silver lining and the humor. It comes naturally to her as it used to for my mother. When I see how my mother will live on through my daughter it brings a smile to my face.

Family, friends and work keep me going when life becomes overwhelming. And I haven't worked for a month . .that's been the missing piece which I need to start easing back into my routine.
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Yes, there is something to be said for " stopping to smell the roses"! I too have had my moments when I have had to stop and see if I had anything to be thankful for. Of course, I think of my family and friends and realize that I am blessed. Yes, my dog waits for me too, and that is a great gift. Here is to a good week and many blessings.
Linda
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You could not have said it any better. I think we all have our highs and our lows in dealing with our aging parents. I did the same thing at church this Sunday.. I really did count some of the things in my life that are truely blessings and that make me smile on the inside and on the outside. Even the smallest things such as having your dog wait for you at the door and have him so excited to see you when you return from being out.
To all of you that are taking care of the aging ... you are a blessing to others. I hope you all have a uneventful week. Hugs Alena
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In church today, we were asked, "Who had a blessing this week?" Lately, I just sit there. I wonder about the thread, "Count Your Blessings." Guess I get caught up in the doing, and in the drama of mama's trauma. Today, I came here to reflect, looking for the joy in the journey. I think we all struggle with that, at times.
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You know austin I am typing thru tears now. I dont know how you all do this day after day. And i do know I will miss it the day that i dont have to anymore.....I always feel like the baaaaaaaaaad caregiver lol. You guys are waaaaay toooo good.....but I will be here to dust off the halos...I love reading what you all are up it has been inspiring to know I am not alone. I am sorry you are coping with debts. No one ever tells you how to do this stuff....you just do. Thanx all for being so amazing.
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ddarkangel-you are and have been handleding and the bad caregivers do not get on this site they only think of themselves and do not bother to talk with the likes of us-you have a good handle on things and take the time to smell the roses and appreciate her sense of humor even if you only see it now and then remember some day you will only have the memories even though it seems it will go on forever and you are doing all you can so you will have no regrets which will be a great comfort to this is someone who has been there and I do not have any guilt now that he is gone at times I am angery he left me so many debts but I will get throught it somehow.
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Rainbow painter i read your post and it teared me up.....I get so caught up in the "doing stuff" for mom some days and then she does similar things....she is confused at times but then she is ok and says something really funny and i almost miss it...heres to not being so consumed by our "chores" that we miss the gifts........I really hate this slow painful stuff..........hope I am enough to handle it all. Too many halos on this site! You guys are way too good! So where do the bad girl caregivers hang out?
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My joy is that it has stopped raining!!!!!
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Dear yearight, those are real good thoughts. I hear you on the "not looking for a reward," part, and doing it for those who once took care of us. It's not always easy, but it's not always a burden, either. I think we can find our rewards in the doing, which is part of finding joy in the journey. You have the right idea. Thanks for posting on this thread. What you said is a blessing.
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You know, when i started this journey, i thought it was a no brainer, who wouldn't take care of their parents if they were able to. But as people found out that i did this they were generally amazed and expressed how they would never do it. Do you know how many time's i've heard, "your reward is in heaven" ? i always say that i'm not looking for a reward for taking care of my parents. Shouldn't i take care of them because they need me and after all, who took care of me when i was vulnerable and needed my diapers changed. i have come to realize that us caregivers are a special breed and we share a bond. i do appreciate all of your posts they help keep me grounded. i think it truly helps to know we are not alone. Someday our parents will be gone and we can look back and know that we did a good thing.
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Thank Linda, you, too deserved some down time. And thanks for the wonderful reminder, Austin.
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You are all saints and I believe God who has said there are many mansions there with him the bigest is for caregivers after all that is what his son did while here on earth.
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SecretSister,
Good for you. You deserve some time off. Hope the birthday is a joyous day.
Linda
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So nice to hear your positive report. Some refreshing time for you and hubby. And exciting plans for the future to work on. Sounds like a good target.

I am thankful that I finally completed the paperwork necessary for my 1st annual accounting as my parent's Conservator. While I have forgone a lot of "me time," over the last 19 months, and have made many changes in my parent's lives to get them some assistance, I still find joy, being responsible, and helping those who cannot help themselves. My little boy has had two distracted parents for the last 2 1/2 years, so we are going to try to be a blessing to him when he turns 9 this Tuesday. Today, it seems my joy comes from serving others.
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Staying positive to me means getting away. We just went to the Jersey Shore, or as the Boss says "Down the Shore" for 7 days. In the meantime, we had a tornado at home, but no real damage. This Jersey Girl needs me time, and I make sure that I get it.,. I am already planning my next getaway!
While we were down the shore, we made up our minds and are moving to a 55 and over community to be with our best friends. This means carting mom along, but we have no choice. Our taxes have doubled here in Jersey in 9 years and are now over 15, 000 dollars a year for just our property taxes. Meanwhile, we get no relief for having mom. Just does not seem fair. So , the joy is that we have a plan and we now have to sell our house. Life goes on, thanks goodness. Glad to be back. I missed my fellow caregivers!!!
Linda
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Okay, this is the ever optimistic lafemme and it's midnight and finally some peace....sorta. I'm still parenting and parenting a caregiver!! I know God has a plan but I wanted the salad bar, not the buffet! My youngest son has been home 4 days with his we and Grandmother (he's a college sophomore transferring from Univ. of Ky. to Eastern Ky. University to pursue Middle School Math & Science Education-genes not from mom and dad) and is certain he doesn't want to stay here (as originally planned) and is considering retransferring colleges, majors the whole nine yards-- we all went through when we were college-aged (those of us who can barely remember). Anyway, I put on my wise mommy hat & told him I understood and we would stand behind his decisions provided he thought at least 3 days upon them because we trusted his judgment. He thanked me. Well this almost double-nickle gal (age 55) can still deal with the younger set (let me tell you about my grandchildren....) My point and inspiring point here is that God apparently lets us do more than we ever realized possible. I ran across a quote today that seems a propos: "If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." Thomas Edison. And with that we should all feel a little less haughty. Good Night my new friends and may tomorrow bring bliss in whatever fashion!! lafemme
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This site is awesome!! I think all of we caregivers always think we can do better and bash ourselves when we get frustrated. Reading this site definitely helps one to cope and aspire. Two points to remember. One, don't forget to take care of your own health needs and two, hug that loving and supportive spouse more often!! While this seems obvious (a term my family affectionately refers to as "Thank You Captain" for thank you Captain Obvious) it really is important. Have a great day!! lafemme
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Sometimes the joy seems far away, especially during times of trial, such as a loved one's illness, or when facing a difficult decision. There is a time to laugh, a time to heal, but also a time to weap, and a time to mourn... May your sorrows be few, and your joys be many.
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Amen, Cat. Amen. Glad your Mom had the time of her life, and you enjoyed your special fellowship and friendship with each other and your new friends. Your post is all-around uplifting!
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Well today was very special for me and my mom. We not only met and made a couple of new friends who also care for their parents at home, but while shopping at a local store for dinner I was greeted by a dear lady in her 80's who used to visit her husband daily at my facility until he fwas able to transfer closer to her home. She was so very excited to see us & after much laughing hugging and kissing agreed to call her daughter and join us for dinner. It was great fun to let my mom hostess, her cheeks are still pink & she is smiling ear to ear. Sometimes the universe just seems to know when you need a hug & today was my day to get one.
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Dear Rainbow Painter, your words have touched my imagination in many ways. I'm intrigued by the depth you have found in both emotion and experience with Alzheimer's. You know well what that means, and I hope to read more of your writings on this subject. Your words bring the familiarities of sorrow and hope to the surface. They mingle together the fear of the inevitable, and the precious, unbidden moments of the present. They add dimension to my various thoughts about the process of grieving what was, and adapting to the ever-changing face of what is, as we embrace the direction of our loved one's multi-faceted journey.

Do we follow their lead, and dance beside them? Or do we make our observations from afar? It becomes a matter of choice. Some walk away, and lose themselves in themselves. For those of us who have chosen to join in the progressive pattern of their life, without demands and expectations, we find the unexpected joy in the journey.

What is faith(?); but evidence of things not seen... We may not see how the road may turn, but know there is light at the end of the path. Thanks for sharing the thoughts of your heart. I look forward to reading some more, as you have added so much to the joy in the journey. Take care.
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Your note brought tears to my eyes the last thing before my husband died I remember he was trying to tell me something which other friends have said their loved ones did I told him it was ok for him to leave and that we knew he loved the Lord and believed in him and he could leave us because I know where he will befew nights later I saw fireflies for the first time this and we would always tell the other to see them when we were young they were around all summer and we would catch them in a jar so that was a signal to me that his spirit is there in heaven and he knows I am still here and will be there some day- I am getting a plant he liked to plant at our church small garden my friend is trying to get by Wed when we have the service for him- I picked up his urn today and got two small ones it is marble-our son picked it out so tonight I will not be alone he will be there. I hope all my old and new friends are ok and I do think of you all and how you gave me such support the last year and a half or so and how you let me piss and moan to my hearts content
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Hi SecretSister.

I've been quite busy as many here are in the endeavors of our lives caring for others who aren't able to care for themselves. I was drawn to your question and sat and reflected a bit on it before replying.

I find it comforting, yet this has been a long process in the making, to let go of the "loss" of who my mother once was and embrace the refreshing newness of seeing through her eyes and listening to her thoughts, when she responds to such.

Just today, we (my husband and I) went to visit Mom at "the Hotel", as she calls the Assisted Living facility, and I was sitting beside her asking her about her morning. My leg was propped up across the other and I was wearing flipflops. As we were talking, she reached over and tickled my foot!!! She giggles and I giggle. Just out of the blue, she tickles my foot!

I haven't had a reaction from her as such in so long! I'm filled with excitement and joy just thinking about it and it just happened only a few hours ago. But it's a memory that leaves such a joy in my heart.

So this journey of burden is lighten by the precious moments of "out of the blue" reactions from her. Sometimes I premeditate them, sometimes I don't and they just happen. I also wear some article of clothing that belongs to her or jewelry that she used to wear to see if this will spark a light for her. And just today it did.

I wore one of her brightly colored flowered blouse today. I've worn it several times to visit her, but today, she reached over to feel the sleeve of this blouse and said how pretty it looked. She even said that it looked familiar. I asked her why it seems familiar to her. She responded that it was once hers. (smiling and giggling) It worked! I was so happy. She still didn't want to wear it and I even asked if I could bring it to her next week so she could wear it again. She said no that she doesn't wear that kind of blouse anymore. She wears only things that keep her warm.

So, this is how I find joy in my journey of this season of life. I grab when it pops up "out of the blue" and hold on to it close to my heart.

Have a blessed day and I hope you find the colors of your journey and weave them into rainbows for your heart.
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And you, mitzi, have finesse. Thanks for sharing, friend! Praying all is well with you and yours. And thanks for reminding Cat, and us about God's grace. Truly, he is our joy. You're a blessing! :)
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It seems like food is the great escape of choice? LOL

Getting back to the original question.... some people have an easier time than others. Even though my parents are in assisted living which I am more than grateful for... it does not negate the other heavy responsibilities that come with it.

We had several small trips planned before all the things happened with my mother and gratefully and by God's mercy, we were able to go.

To put it point blank, being out of state, for me was the best thing to find joy. I wish I could afford it more often. I knew that there was not one thing I could do while being out of state, and I was able to unwind just fine.

Despite my dysfunctional relationship with my mother, I still provide for she and my dad, but at a distance. There is no shame in that and no guilt. It's just a different kind of journey.

Cat, I am so grateful that you can accept things as they are in finding the best way to deal with things. I think by the grace of God that's all any of us can do. Some can do it with more finesse than others.

Finding joy in the midst of the journey? It may just be sitting down and enjoying that chocolate for 15 minutes. For some it is the memories of our past. Mine is escaping out of state. Whatever it is, make sure you do it to keep your sanity. That will be the best thing in helping you through this journey.
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I have my mom at home and have her with me 24/7. I find joy in many things - most of all accepting things as they are and finding the best way to deal with them. Thankfully with the internet I can manage work and staying connected to friends.
It is always a joy when I see she is thriving because I took the time to focus on her as she is -
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