The Best Way to Have A Special Friend is to BE One! Social Media & Technology R invaluable to ALL especially Alzheimers Caregivers!
Being in Florida away from most of the family and friends in MY life, I could not have survived without Social Media (Facebook, text messaging, Skype, and Twitter) and Technology (my iPhone 3G, my MAC PowerBook, my new Sony Alpha HD digital SLR camera and wireless Internet).
Borrowed from a friend tonight on Facebook: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.’
After 68 days of caretaking in FL, I am traveling home to KY this minute, leaving my Mom and my stepdad, Pawpaw Tom to see if they can make it on their own – OH HOW I DO understand this and Must live it now so I don’t lose my strength for my own life here at home!
Then, after writing about Pawpaw remembering our names on Posterous.com with postings on Facebook, another dear, dear and very special friend wrote back to me very quickly.
I had not shed a tear about my emotionally draining months in Florida, UNTIL I read her powerfully touching note. I know needed to cry a bit. She helped my pressure cooker begin to seep and release the built up emotion. Friends and their support is critical to our health and well-being.
I share her story now with the names changed to protect her families’ privacy. She wrote:
“I hope if you and Dennis are not home yet, it’s almost 11, that you’ll be home soon, safe and sound. I couldn’t help but have tears as I read about Tom asking if you and Dennis had gone yet. He’s still there.
My great-aunt was in the nursing home 15 years ago. I had gone with our GA group for Halloween to take treats to the residents and to let them see our sweet girls all dressed up. I had known this aunt all my life but had very little memory of being with her much at all. As we were passing by her room, I noticed the name and stepped in to speak to her and she immediately knew me and called me by name.
After a brief visit, all the while in her mind she was at her home frying pork chops for supper and entertaining me. I said I was leaving, she hugged me and said “tell Anna Bell and Bill I asked about them.” I almost fainted.
I told her that I would and went home and called mom and told her about that experience. At that point in my aunt’s illness she had been in a nursing home for at least 5 years and most of the time did not even recognize her own children.
Our minds are such wondrous things. It’s impossible for me to understand how this disease takes away the people we love a little at a time. At the same time, what a blessing it has been for you to be with Tom and your mom during this time.
You’ve had time to savor moments with him and to also grieve your loss of him.
As I look back on the 17 days we were given to say goodbye to my dad, though incredibly painful, those days were so profoundly precious. I cried all the way home every time I left the hospital.
I never said to dad, I’ll miss you or anything that would upset him. I never wanted him to know how devastated I was. I had in my mind that I wanted his last memories of life on this earth to be of a family that he had never let down and to know what a wonderful father and a wonderful gift he had been to us all.
The night before he closed his eyes to sleep forever, as we were leaving my husband said “Billy Sue why don’t you pray tonight.” Aaron had prayed every other night before we left. Dad was so weak he couldn’t speak but he clutched our hands as I prayed the last prayer he ever heard on earth.
I feel such an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for that experience. The things you’ve experienced with your mother and stepdad these 2 months, will forever change your heart and bless you for the rest of your life.
The things we hear of that are so incredibly sad but can also be some of God’s greatest blessings to us.
I’m sure you’ve done things you’ve thought you’d never be asked to do, as well as endured things you thought you’d never endure. With God’s presence you were able to meet every challenge.
I will be praying for your mother and Pawpaw. We’ll see you soon!”
I cherish these special people God has placed in my life. I appreciate and am so thankful for their support and friendship.
No one should ever try to handle the stress of caregiving without multiple support networks. I hope each of us learn to nurture our friendships.
Friends are precious gifts from God. Friendships are important in many ways and so often we fail to recognize just how important they are to our well being.
Remember: The Best Way to Have A Special Friend is to BE One!