Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Greatest Gift

We all think during this hectic time of year that includes shopping and wrapping that those boxes and gift bags are so important...
Yes, a pretty wrapped gift is fun. I suppose we all enjoy receiving one or two. I will admit I do. I suppose if I was not remembered at all by anyone it would make me sad so of course I do appreciate the fun in opening the paper and appreciation that I received something nice.
I however never define these as the greatest gifts.
My greatest gift is my husband. I was the girl who wore glasses and was most definately not the most popular. A friend showed me a picture of this really cute guy and said I think I want you to meet him. I said, I will definately meet him but he is never going to go out with me in a million years. I remember the first day and how nervous I was. Well, that cute guy saw something in that shy nerdy girl and despite my moms trying to protect me (I think she thought there was no way he was dating me long too as she told me not to get my hopes up after each date lol) we have been together 32 years and married 30. He truly is my gift and dream come true.
My second greatest gift truly is my son. I am honoured to say Im his Mom. He truly was a joy to raise and I call him the best job I will ever have in my life. I never knew a person could feel such love in their hearts for someone.
For me those are my greatest gifts. While opening your boxes this weekend appreciate them but look around you. It isnt the bows, ribbons and things.....its the ones you are with that are the gifts for which you will keep receiving so much joy.
Happy Holidays Everyone.....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Separating Emotions When Making Decisions

It is amazing how I became the Mom to Mom. I was doing better at letting her go independantly on the little mini van that picks her up at home to take her to a little ladies group or to the beauty salon. When it arrives I escort her on and I know those two locations have reliable people to see her get off as well as sit with her and wait for the return trip. I was really getting used to it until she had her latest episode with her heart. Last week I asked a neighbor to drive her to spend time with her friends. This week they are having a Christmas party and of course she wants to go and she does not want me to ask the neighbor. She wants me to let her go on the van. I know I am making my decision based on emotions. While of course I dont want anything to happen to Mom it also scares me because if something happens it will further complicate my life. I know that sounds selfish. Lets face it however, should she fall or slip and break her hip Im really going to have my job ahead of me. I dont know why Im thinking this way. I know it is ridiculous. I know I am going to draw negative to me just for these horrible visions. I know that something could happen with me there just as it can with her alone. I know all of this. I dont know why Im feeling so concerned to let her go.
I do know that I must. I do know that I will. I do know that all will turn out fine. I do know that I cant fix everything. I do...Im just being truthful when I write it is hard to not hold her hand. I try so hard to protect her. I know things are out of my control. I know this. I take her to the doctor regularly, she has blood work aall the time and the fact her artery was getting blocked was not noticed by anyone is a sure reminder there are things I cannot control.
I must stop being overly protective based on what ifs and emotions. I now know how she felt on my first day of school, or my first date, or whatever she saw me leave her to do with prayers I come home safe. Just like I survived, so will she.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Always Go With Your Gut Feelings

It has been one roller coaster of a week here for me. I have noticed now and then the past few weeks that my mom just did not seem right to me. I could not quite put my finger on what was bothering me about her but my gut just told me something was not right. Well, Tuesday morning she woke up a little earlier than usual and said she had chest pain and could I give her an aspirin. I immediately did give her the aspirin and I put her in the recliner to rest while I quickly showered. When I came out I asked her how she felt and she said it was a bit better however the pain was still there. I calmly said well Mom, Im sure it is gas but the Thanksgiving holiday is here in two days and I think it best we just clear out minds and Im calling 911 to take you to the hospital. She of course protested but I inisisted as my gut was telling me something was wrong. I dressed her, called her cardiologist to make him aware of my plans and then dialed 911. Long story short as soon as the cardiologist got the fax from the emergency room of moms cardiogram he called my cellphone to inform me that 2:00 that afternoon he was going to perform a catheterization and see what was going on. What was going on turned out that she had another blockage in her right artery this time. It was 99% blocked and he put a new stent in that day. Her doctor told me good catch...she was weeks away from a major heart attack. The crazy thing about this story is November 21, 2007 is when she had her first stent and here November 23, 2010 she had another one..three years later. She was kept overnight and came home yesterday. We were supposed to go to my inlaws for Thanksgiving so Idid not have any ot the fixings in the house but ran to the store immediately once she was settled home and got everthing in. I made her the traditional Thanksgiving and while it was just my husband, mom and myself it was a wonderful, calm and restful day. Our guts are filled with good food now and grateful I listened to it on Tuesday.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Eliminating Guilt

When my son was young and we were raising him I always had a rule with my husband. We had to try our best every once in a while to get a baby sitter and go out to either a movie or dinner or even just a cup of coffee. I always believed that it was important to keep our relationship and interests strong as one day Sean would grow up and we would still need to have common interests.

Sean is now grown and Kevin and I have common interests for which Im grateful. I am finding it harder however to not feel guilty picking up and going to dinner and leaving Mom all alone in the recliner. When Sean was small and we left him for a while he anticipated happily going to the aunts or uncles or grandmas house while mom and dad were away. Mom sits all alone when I leave. That makes me feel incredibly guilty and sad.

Kevin is so great about all of this. In my heart I know I am a good daughter and do lots of things with Mom. I must push myself to take the time with Kevin as I know Mom will be absolutely fine. We all need separation from one another from time to time. We all cannot be together every second of the day.

I invited Kevin to a movie tomorrow night and perhaps a burger afterwards. Date night. I will be sure Mom has dinner before we leave and I promised her we will take her to church Sunday and breakfast afterwards. Compromise I hope will help me enjoy the movie and not feel guilty leaving her all alone. Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things Change, Nothing Stays The Same

I have been thinking lately how things are constantly changing in my life. I grew up, met my husband, got married, had my son, watched him grow, saw my dad get sick and then died, see my mom age and move in. We lose loved ones and then others are born to take their place. Some days are wonderful and then there are times where we feel there is a dark cloud hanging over our heads. Somehow throughout all of these changes we survive. We make it.

When things are going badly or upsetting me I try hard to remember this concept. Nothing stays the same. Whatever I am experiencing right now will not be forever. Nothing is. When things are going wonderful I dont take them for granted either as the same can be true for happiness. Embrace it, appreciate it, be grateful but never take it for granted.

I do believe in positive thinking. I believe in order to have a happy future we must do our best to take care of our current life. I try to stay healthy, and pay down debts. In some instances we do have choices for our future. I know my behaviour at times can hurt me more than help the future. If we live long enough we all are going to be faced with the future.

There are however things that we would never plan in a million years but must deal with. We wake up each day and hope for the best. We ask for strength to get through hard days. We look for opportunities to smile every chance we get.

Things change, nothing stays the same. That is life. Lets all just try to enjoy the ride.

Friday, October 15, 2010


When we were younger and I looked to the future and tried to make plans for various things Moms famous line was you cant make plans!!..That used to frustrate me so much. I always thought, and part of me still does feel, that comment was so negative. We have to plan for the future. We have to at times have things to look forward to.

Now that I am older I do understand what she meant. We can try to make plans with the hopes that they will go smoothly but life is incredibly unpredictable. There are so many things that just happen that are totally out of our control. We can try to tell God our plan but unfortunately he really is the one to decide if he is going to let our plans happen.

Caregivers most definately experience setbacks in their lives. We understand that sacrifice is rewarding but that doesnt always make the experience easy. We try to make plans but we really do put our lives on hold for the person for whom we are caring. We put our spouses on the back burner lots of the time, we put our interests aside sometimes.

I know lots of time when I try to make plans to escape for a while Im faced with a setback. It can be so terribly discouraging when you plan a fun afternoon away and something happens and you are unable to go. Setbacks!! frustrating!!

Again however we cannot predict everything in life. I must try to not let the setbacks deflate me. I must try hard to continue to find the sunshine when the cloud looms above. While its not acceptable to whine and complain it is fine to speak of the setbacks. The world may not understand your sadness however another caregiver will.

We dont get a lot of thank you's when our role is the main family member for the caregiver. While it may not have felt like a choice I know I chose this role. Im doing the best I can however once in a while it sure would be nice to leave this for a bit. I thank anyone that understands how hard this can be.

Most days are good. It is sometimes when I experience a setback that I feel sad. Knowing others feel this way helps me. I say thank you to all the caregivers out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!.....I now will try to begin a new day, I will expect the best, prepare for the worse, but try to celebrate through all......even the setbacks!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Own Best Friend

All jobs are difficult and everyone has problems in them from time to time. We dont constantly talk of the problems because who wants to listen. Everyone has their own dilemmas and life challenges to get through.

Caring for your elderly parent really should not be called a job however at times I do refer to it as one. When people I just meet ask so "what do you do?" my reply is I am home with my mom. She will be 92 in January and I stopped working a year ago to spend more time and to motivate her day.

I know myself that this is not the most exciting job on the universe. I believe my rewards will come through memories later on. For now I believe only another caregiver could understand the impact of the job. We tend to keep our sadness or complaints to ourselves more than others as there are some that look down if you complain about the frustrations of an elderly parent or a sick spouse. You made a vow after all for better or worse, and I hear all the time, how bad can it be, she is so cute and she did take care of you afterall.

I have to learn to be my own best friend. I have to learn that it is ok to at times feel frustrated, sad, lonely and emotional. I tend to express that everying is fine when asked versus saying it does get lonely here sometimes.

Its not all glum however. It truly isnt! Mom and I have afternoons of laughter lots of the time, she taught me to be more organized as her eyesight is so bad and when things are in order she just finds them easier. She taught me compassion as I myself will one day be her and will want to be treated with dignity. She teaches me patience and she is always telling me I need to talk lower. Lately surprisingly she actually finds me funny. She never liked my sense of humor but all of a sudden she is laughing more at things I say.

We all want to feel loved and needed and important in some way. You dont get raises, bonuses, sick days, vacations and weekends pretty much are the same as Monday to us. However when Mom compliments my cooking to someone on the phone with phrases like you always get a good meal in this place or when she says Im very fortunate, I have a very good daughter it makes it all worthwhile.

Its not always easy and on the days it isnt I have to be my own best girlfriend and tell her its ok...its hard...but keep telling her your doing a great job. And keep that sense of humor girlfriend. I have to program these thoughts into my brain on those days. If a sad or emotional friend called me on the phone I would have the words for her, so I deserve to tell them to myself as well.

When I see Mom in the recliner or out with her friends at the center somehow the sacrifices dont seem so bad. And she always remembers to call out for me to take a break from whatever I am doing at 3:00 to say its time for coffee Donna!!

These are the thoughts that will give me peace later on. I know this to be true as I have done this once before. You forget all the frustrations when there gone. You truly do. It is the good times that you will hold in your heart.

Be your own best friend and feel the painful times and know they are ok and embrace all the wonderful memories......

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Things Dont Work Like They Used To

Did you ever experience a cluster of days where things little bylittle just stopped working the way they were meant to. That is me this week for sure!!

Our main computer froze the other day and we still have not been able to "thaw" it out, the kitchen light starter is broken and takes a few minutes to get warmed up, we are experiencing rain and the telephone line is full of static and Moms doorknob just fell off her bedroom door as I picked it up with my migraine I woke up with this morning. I suddenly just started laughing and said to Mom, man we have more broken things around here lately than things that work.

I then was reminded of my day on Tuesday. I volunteer at Moms senior center as I thought it was a good way for her to get out more as well as fill my need of wanting to find something for which I could give back to the world. Tuesday was a Fall party at the center and it was a lot of fun and I helped serve the lunches. After lunch the music began and I watched all these elderly people with their walkers, canes, hearing aids, bad eyes, missing teeth and many aches and pains singing and dancing and clapping. Behind me sat a younger gentleman who apparently had a stroke who was paralyzed but he asked his aid to help him out of the wheelchair and he began to move back and forth to the music and was smiling as well.

All these wonderful people have lost so much. They were not focusing on all the things that no longer worked. They joined together and did not focus on all those things but instead chose to continue despite them.

It is so easy to focus on the broken things. I realize while writing this that at times I hinder Mom from all the things she can still continue to do to make my life more convenient.
When she asks me at lunchtime would you like me to make our sandwiches I usually say no I can do that. I selfishly dont want the crumbs, and the mustard on the counter and what I refer to as cleanup in aisle three moments. I have to learn to compromise however. She can still make the sandwich. She wants to make them. She needs to feel useful. We all do!

I knew when I made the decision to join homes that it was not always going to be easy to share our five rooms as I had done it with Aunt Hilda. I also know however I invited her to give her a better way of life. I have come a long way with her. I however must focus on all the things that continue to work and allow her to do those things for which she is able despite them perhaps not being done perfectly.

I must stop complaining!....My headache is not a big deal compared to others problems, I have my laptop so the computer being broken is not something to over react over, the kitchen light turns on slowly, Im not left in the dark and so what there is static on the phone....I can still hear the person on the other end. I may have to count to 100 when Mom peels potatoes as Im running around the kitchen grabbing the flying skins so my little shit tzu doesnt choke to death. I have to remember, focus on what works!! Hey,I can still count to 100!!. Its not always easy but the end result I know when done correctly will be worth it.

Mom can no longer do many things for which I can see the sadness in her eyes. But like all those wonderful people on Tuesday they were encouraging each other to keep on going despite the broken things. I must learn to keep encouraging her as well!!

I close by saying, wow Mom, that afgan your working on is really coming out NICE!! and you know it really is.....its actuall Beautiful as is She!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ingredients Of A Perfect Day

Last week Kevin and I dropped Mom off at church bingo and then enjoyed a nice breakfast, a walk in the park and just a little bit of time alone which is rare these days. It was almost time to pick Mom back up and I sadly said, Man, Im 51 years old! When will we be able to pick up and go and stop having to look at our watches? That day I felt the ingredients for a perfect day would be you, me and no watches.

The next day I read a blog a good caregiver friend wrote. Her name also is Donna and she cared for her Mom for many years. Her Mom suffered dementia and it was a very long journey but Donna cared for her right to the very end. Donna gave her Mom so much love despite the fact she no longer recognized her. Donna was so incredibly patient and sacrificed so much for her Mom with absolutely no regrets. This past August her Mom passed away and Donna wrote a fabulous piece on feeling like an adult orphan. How does one heal once Mom is no longer here?

As I was reading the piece I thought to myself, I really need to be careful what I wish for. We sometimes think things will be so much better once our carees are no longer with us. Despite the stress we all face we will never know what it is like to lose them until we are going through it ourselves.

I realized reading that piece that at times I focus way too much on things lost and what I cant do versus appreciating the things I do have. I have to learn to stop asking why as God knows the answer to this queistion. I waste so much time questioning and in doing so I lose out on many beautiful things.

Today we once again dropped Mom off at bingo. We took a beautiful drive way out on Long Island and bought homemade pies and jam and enjoyed country roads. Yes, we did have to keep our eye on our watches as Mom needed to be picked up. Instead of being sad however I was glad for the time we did have together. I am also blessed Mom is still here to enjoy the pie a la mode tonight as well.

It is not always easy but always be careful what you wish for. What you define as the ingredients of a perfect day today could change later on. Make the best of the situation each day. Those to me are the ingredients of a perfecct day.

Thanks to my friend Donna for this reminder.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cracks In Foundations

This morning Queens looks like a bit of a war zone. It has not been confirmed yet but there are reports that we experienced a tornado here yesterday. You can define the storm any way you would like. I define it as incredibly scarey.

The sky got so incredibly dark, and the winds picked up with a harsh howl. You can hear outside the window garbage pails and other odds and ends just blowing all around. The news was urging we go into basements and take cover. I was so frightened as I was home alone with my Mom as well as concerned for my husband who was in Manhattan working.

The storm departed almost as quickly as it arrived. It sure did cause lots of cracks in foundations around the community. It taught me however that we just dont know what roads we will one day be travelling. I learned that we just have to wake up and use our time wisely. I learned we have to keep the faith for God knows the entire story even if I dont.

We all have cracks in our foundations that need repairing. Just like the trees and all of the damage some will be repaired, however Im sure there are some that will just have to remain. Today we all will try our best to conduct our lives despite all the cracks we face.

Fix what you can, dont stress over what you cannot and use the experience to learn and grow. That is all we can do. Cracks in the foundation for me was a huge lesson. Embrace each day despite them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I have been thinking lately of all the numbers I have in my mind to remember.

What is todays date?
What is todays temperature? How do I dress and how do I plan my day?
What time is it?
Are there any important celebrations for which i need to acknowledge (dates)
Are there any phone calls I need to make (phone numbers)
Are there any letters I need to write (addresses)
What channel is moms soap net on again? she missed days of our lives yesterday
What was my number code to listen to my voice mail again?
I must type in the prescription numbers to renew moms medicine with cvs
What is Moms access a ride ID # again...I must make an appointment (numbers) to get her hair done tomorrow
I must remember to weigh Mom this week to make sure there isnt a lot of water in her body
What size did you say you needed me to order your housecoat in
How many pancakes do you want Mom?
How much money do we need to take out of the bank for groceries this week
Mom reminding me that despite my being 51 and she being 91 it is just a number

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!!!!!.......The main number to remember is 1!!!! We caregivers are all Number One!! Shout it Out!!....
We have so much to remember but we always seem to get it all done and remember each and everyone of them.........
I probably forgot to list some numbers however ...... feel free to remind me of anything I did not mention..........

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I sometimes feel I have to change the way I react to things especially when it comes to my Mother. A few weeks ago she was pouring boiling water into a coffee mug to have tea but her eyesight is so poor and she did not see the water spilling all over the place. I was so concerned that she not burn herself and I said Mom, you need me to do that for you I think but I said it rather harshly. I dont do it to hurt her feelings, it truly is so that she wont get hurt. It is so hard as I dont want to always make her feel like she is being reprimanded. I know at times my reaction causes her more stress. I thought about the word react and once you unscramble the letters you will see four of them create care. The only reason I am reacting the way I am is because I care. I must unscramble my mind like I did the word and realize kind actions and not excited words would serve me better....I will learn to lower my voice and speak calmer when these mishaps happen....wish me luck!!!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Coloring Inside The Lines

I would definately not define myself as a perfect person as I honestly know I am far from it. I in the past have purchased things I did not need nor could afford just because I had to have them, Im sure I ate things I knew were not good choices and most definately I have said things for which I should have thought twice about.

On the other hand I cannot really do anything wrong. Im the type of person that while at the grocery store if I change my mind and decide I dont want to purchase an item in my cart I just cant lay it anywhere. I must return it to the correct spot. I cannot leave the shopping cart anywhere in the parking lot, I must walk it to the corral which is usually far away from our parking space but still put it away. I really do try to do the right thing even when I dont necessarily have to. Solicitors call while we are eating dinner and I just cant hang up, I listen for a few seconds and then politely interrupt and say thank you for calling but we really are not interested and then hang up. I guess this was how I was raised. I was raised with manners and rules.. Mom always said my house, my rules.

When I watch small children coloring it makes me crazy if they just scribble their crayons on the paper. I so want to guide their hands and teach them to color within the lines. I dont as they have to learn on their own and all I can do is try to set the example for others to follow.

Is this a fun way of living? Is it worth it to always be honest?

I think so. I wish we could spread the word and just try to get everyone to realize their are rules in life. Sometimes we have to color inside the lines to have a more sane life.

So will I never again eat something I shouldnt, of course not. Will I never again say something I shouldnt, of course not!! Am I an honest person, of course I am and Im very proud of it. Thanks Mom and Dad. Im very grateful for the lessons you taught. Coloring inside the lines does not make you boring believe me!!! While Im quite neat, orderly and disciplined I still am quite colorful.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Getting My Discipline Muscles Strengthened

I am a believer that we all must work hard and think about making healthy and happy choices because doing so will help us in all aspects of our life later on. Is it always easy to do? Definately not. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work. Do I always feel like working out?, NO! Do I always feel like eating and cooking healthy?, NO! Sometimes do I just feel like going to the mall and buying something I dont need just because I want to? YES. Every day I work on strengthening my discipline muscle. I want them to get stronger and stronger every single day. It is definately a challenge to do what is right. We sometimes eat or buy things we really deep down did not want or need out of boredom or sadness or loneliness in the hope to brighten our days but afterwards it can make us feel worse in the long run. It is fine to treat ourselves. I believe we all must do that from time to time. We must do it for the correct reasons however. I am cleaning out closets and drawers in my home every day this week. Im throwing out the clutter with the knowledge that having a peaceful environment will make me much happier than had I jammed one more thing in that was not needed. I will then applaud my work and make a pedicure appointment. A small treat that will keep the calm feeling within me to work out my discipline muscles again next week.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Am I A Princess

Mom and I were sitting outside enjoying a nice Summer morning today. My neighbor next door babysits her two small grandchildren while her daughter and son in law go to work. She looked so tired and drained and I commented to her that I hope she can find a little time to take care of herself. She went into the house and came out a few minutes later with a wagon full of laundry on her way to the laundromat as she is not allowed to have a washer and dryer in her apartment. The poor thing was lugging the heavy load down the block wearing the same clothes for which she had on yesterday probably to save herself work. Wear it as long as you can versus lugging it. I said to my mother I feel very badly for Debbie. She and her husband do not own a car. Im not certain if it is because they cannot afford one or perhaps they dont want one but they grocery shop with the same cart as the laundry. I said to Mom. She really must think Im a Princess. Here I am sitting in a different tshirt and shorts than yesterday out here reading womans day books and there she is so exhausted. It really made me very blessed for everything that I have in my life. I dont think Im a Princess. Am I a Princess?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Keeping The Gas Tank From Ever Reaching Empty

My husband is notorious for waiting until the car is almost registering the gas tank is empty before going to the gas station. I get anxiety when he does this. I dont understand this at all, it is not good for the car and it truly stresses me.
It reminded me that it is just as important to keep my gas tank full at all times as well. Dont wait until your thirty to drink, sip all day. Dont wait until your starving to eat, have something every few hours. Dont let your bodies go to empty. We cannot run ourselves down as just like the car engine we will suffer when waiting to be filled.
Ive been hearing that people are living to be 106-107. Some people would say, wow that is wonderful. When your the caregiver you think both wonderful and dread. I say dread respectfully because its hard for me to even imagine sharing my space for 15 or 16 more years. Not to mention that would make me 67-68 myself. I have to be sure to enjoy the journey. I have to be sure to enjoy my ride. I have to be sure to keep my engine running smoothly. Ready set, go, join me!! Start those engines. We dont know how many years we will be on this journey but at least we can try to make it a happy ride.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Face You See Is The Real Deal

I love the fact I am getting older and in about six weeks or so will be 51!! Yippee!!...It is wonderful up here world. Im finally at the point where I can be the real me!! Take me or leave me but this is the real deal. Blogging opens your heart and lets you freely write your story. I had so much anxiety when I was younger and it is refreshing to talk about it and let the world know Im not yet where I want to be but am sure glad Im not where I used to be. Its not easy when you live an invented life. You always have to be an actor. I always felt like I had to impress everyone. Im so grateful that is so not necessary. Youth really is wasted on the young. I spent so much time,energy and money doing things to just feel like I fit in. Stuff doesnt make you fit in if you are unfit inside. Im so happy that I love this person I am. I appreciate all I have and when feeling this way Im not resentful. When your at peace it is easier to make better choices all around. It is when we are resentful that we act out poorly and do things in the hopes of feeling better but in reality are just making things worse.. things will never bring happiness until we are healthy within. Sacrificing brings a lifetime of blessings truly does. So I am now wearing a happier face.....what your seeing is the real deal....I can now go out and walk the dog without makeup and hair done...who cares...however Im still proud of the days when I have the perfect hairdo and makeup....but it is for my happiness only...not for anyone else....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wisdom Is Choosing Now What You Will Be Happy With Later

I was talking to my sister about this yesterday. My dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly after I got engaged. We were originally going to get married in November of 1980 but as dad began declining we decided to push it to August instead. Luckily we did this as dad passed away November of 1980. Planning the wedding was difficult. The day of my wedding my mother was understandably upset and was crying and kept saying things like everyone was leaving her and she hopes I would never forget her. Of course I promised her I would never forget her nor was I leaving her. And leaving her I never did. I stayed in the same neighborhood as her and we are still here with her. Should I have moved to a different neighborhood back then when Mom was still young and working? My Sister still lived in New York at the time. She moved after I was married two years which really made things difficult for me. Was it guilt that kept me here? I wonder every now and then was this the right choice? The title of this blog is so true...we really need to consider the whole picture when making choices. Im not certain if I did that. I lived in the moment without thinking that Mom would one day be old and I have no family here to help me. Perhaps if I had not stayed so close Mom would have moved with my sister instead. I have moved on and have accepted the reality that there is no other family here to give us breaks. I believe this experience has made me a better parent. My son came to me upset the other day and said Mom, I dont know what to do. His girlfriends birthday is on Mothers Day. I said to him, I never want you to forget me, I never want you to disrespect me and I always want you to love me however I also want to clip the wings. Im not certain this girlfriend will one day be my daughter in law but regardless for now she is very important and I said you must put the love in your life first, not me. I dont ever want him to feel guilt about conducting his life because he is an only child and must worry about me. Some may not agree with me.
Do you ever wonder if you made the right choices that led to your caregiving role?
Depsite the past the main thing is today choosing things that I will be happy with later on. I am very blessed. I have many happy memories. You just cant help wondering sometimes!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

All My Hugs All My Kisses

The anniversary of my Aunts death is quickly approaching. I can hardly believe it will soon be four years since we had our final good bye hug and kiss. The sun was streaming brightly through the hospital window as it was rising 6:30 a.m. It was just she and I as I whispered in her ear I would miss her so much and that I loved her and thanked her for being that wonderful Aunt she was to me all my life. I was blessed to have her and that it was ok. I will be ok. You can leave. She always protected me and gave me lots of hugs and kisses and she then took her last breath. It was like a hug and kiss because I know she knew Kevin would be leaving for work in Manhattan and if I did not make the call soon to say she passed away I would be stranded there with no ride home for hours and hours until he got back to me. I know my Aunt!!..That was exactly what she was thinking. Those hugs and kisses were so special and meaningful that I still feel them each and every day. Her body and wonderful smile left but her soul lives within me. She made me the person I am. She was always someone everyone could count on!! She cared for so many people and was always doing nice things for everyone. Her relatives hurt her so much but she found forgiveness in her heart. She found her wings to fly despite the clouds. Her doors were always wide open and welcomed company and she always had that piece of cake waiting to be defrosted in the freezer. She enjoyed long conversations and thought I was the funniest person in the world. She took pictures of things like televisions and kitchen cabinets and houseplants that at the time made us all laugh hysterically but now are wonderful mementos filled with memories. She was light in the darkness and just kept travelling lifes very difficult road. She was one of my very best friends but I realize that isnt true. Im my own best friend thanks to her!!...I love you Aunt Hilda...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shopping In My Own Closet Isnt All That Bad

I cant believe it will be a year since I stopped working to spend more time with Mom in two more months...Boy, the time sure flew!!
Has it always been easy???? Honestly not always.
Every job has its moments though....even when I was working outside the home there were days I wish I could quit but kept going.

I am usually ok. This is a very special job I am doing. I will admit I do miss my girly indulgences like manicures, pedicures and visits to dressbarn for a new outfit. I am totally not thrilled when I see the gray roots on top of my head as I try to stretch the hair cuts and color. I would be lying if I said when Im in the company of those working outside the home I am not intimidated. They look like I used to.

I am working on this...I sabotage myself constantly. I am working on focusing on the haves and not what Im lacking. I remind myself all those outfits hanging in the closet were purchased when I was one of "them" so go shopping in there and wear them proudly in this new job.

God put me here to do this very special and important job. Sacrifices are necessary but really they are benefiting me so much in this journey as I am learning life lessons....Life goes on with gray roots, short nails and old outfits. they really are cover ups for what is inside....the book cover might be a bit wrinkled these days however keep reading because the story is a great one. I found I have a huge heart and that is worth every manicure, pedicure, outfit and pair of shoes I ever purchased..........

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

If A Relationship Has Meaning Do I Keep Mending The Fences?

I believe in family. I believe in families uniting no matter what!.

Well, at least I want to believe that! I always did believe that! Am I right?

Im beginning to feel lately like I am the only family member that feels this way. My mother had her heart attack two and a half years ago and my sister came once Mom arrived home from her three week hospitalization to help me for which I was grateful. My nephew and his wife drove up from Georgia to help me move a few things here when I broke up Moms home, and my other niece came for a weekend to see Grandma. They have not made the trip since. I along with my husband have orchestrated visits even before Mom came here with us. I must admit, I am getting tired.

Easter came and cards from grandchildren, no phone calls......

I ask myself, why am I bothering? Im here...Im doing the right thing! Why do I care if they keep in touch? Why????
I cannot find the answer....
I suppose I wish they cared as much as I do.
I believe it is fear however...I believe I am trying to keep the glue together for I only have one sister and I think once Mom is gone we may no longer really keep in touch and that makes me sad. I feel if they are not caring for Mom they surely are not going to remember me!!

I always felt family to be important. I tried to lend a hand during many bad times they experienced down there...I tried hard!!! Im not looking for a thank you...I just wonder, are acts of kindness just one sided? Am i being overly sensitive?

I dont know the answers. I do know I am proud of my kind heart, and I know I am doing the right thing....So, do I keep mending fences to keep I leave the hole in the fence and let them crawl through it themselves or do I ignore the broken fence? The only thing I do know for sure is I dont want to throw it away and forget it completely....!!!

Communication is the key to harmonious relationships. I know that!!...I just cannot tell other people what to do!!...Not to mention it would probably cause a huger hole in the fence....

For now I will keep smiling on my end of the fence. I will work hard and try to keep a joyful attitude. I have to keep my side of the fence strong because peeking through the hole will only distract me and the work I was put here to do. Maybe one day others will peek over to my side and understand! So for a little while i will quietly stay on my side and we will see what will be!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happiness Is A Choice - What Brings You Joy?

All the books say that happiness is a choice. Every day we are faced with something that could put us in a bad mood that could easily steal our joy. How do we avoid these irritable moods and feelings when they pop their evil heads into our minds. Life can be so incredibly hard and sometimes you want to smack the person that tells you its all perception when you just dropped a dozen eggs on the floor and you have to clean up the mess. I dont have the answer for every day, and everyone and all situations. I do know it is worth a shot to be joyful because we dont know if there will be a tomorrow so we better make today count for something. Here are some of the things that bring me happiness and joy during the stressful days. I usually do at least one every day sometimes more. Feel free to write me some of yours as well. We all can use ideas to find happiness.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

The taste of my first sip of coffee to begin my day

The quiet of early morning when it is just me, my dog and my book

A morning that begins with a great workout which then gives me boundless energy

Watching someone who truly enjoyed a meal I prepared and asked for seconds

All summer fruits, (peaches, plums, cherries, watermelon, strawberries)

An occasional sweet (cheesecake, anything chocolate)

The arrival of 3PM
This was the time my special little boy would arrive home from school when he was little
This was the time Mom and I called faithfully each day even if we spoke five times before
This was the time Aunt Hilda and I when she was alive enjoyed a cup of coffee and a chat together
This is the time now that we joined homes that Mom and I have our coffee and chat....

Watching my 91 year old Mother whose eyesight is so poor still crochet and make beautiful afgans for nursing homes of all places

The memory of watching Aunt Hilda teach my son Sean how to make the Easter stuffing and having him now teach it to me

The thank you I extend to people who meet me at parties or gatherings and tell me they loved my last blog when you think no one has read it

Being silly and acting childlike every now and again (go squirt that reddi whip can at someone!)

Making people laugh and smile

Listening to music through headphones and my ipod

Putting on a nice cheerful outfit and great hair days

My journal

Any moment I can escape and be alone with Kevin. It could be a coffeeshop, a crowded mall, a rare weekend get away or just watching television in the living room

Telling someone who has been kind or has touched my life in some way how much I appreciate them

Thanking people for kind words if I somehow touched their life

Receiving a handwritten note or card from my son

Lending a helping hand to families when they are in a bind

Being around and communicating with friendly and caring people

Loving what I do and having people to love and do things for

Looking in the mirror and seeing this great lady who every day reminds herself she is doing the right thing and is great at it!!

It doesnt have to be expensive, you dont have to go far to get it.....Little life...JOY!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Even When You Dont Feel Like It - Do It Anyway

There are days I wake up and say I just dont feel like working out - do it anyway
There are days I say I just dont feel like eating healthy-do it anyway
There are days I say I have no ambition and dont feel like getting dressed - do it anyway
There are days I say Im so overwhelmed and dont feel like doing anything - do it anyway
There are days I begin to question and dont feel like praying - do it anyway
There are days I dont feel like going out of the house - do it anyway
There are days I dont feel like talking to anyone - do it anyway
Three are days I feel like Im unappreciated and am just doing all this for nothing - do it anyway
There are days I dont feel like being cheerful or laughing - do it anyway
There are days I dont want to be disciplined and want to shop unecessarily - do it anyway
There are days I dont want to be cooperative and forgiving - do it anyway
There are days I dont want to be helpful and nice - do it anyway

Doing it makes a big difference. Positive actions each day makes a big difference. We all feel sad sometimes and just want to have a victim pity party but it is much healthier instead to try and find a healthy outlet. It is so easy feeling resentment when you are a caregiver. We are constantly taking important things away from ourselves in order to fulfill everyone elses needs. We are constantly sacrificing and we sometimes just want to throw in the towel...Dont!! We cannot be too busy to care about our feelings and our health and our lives. Doing the wrong thing has consequences also....Keep on keeping on...Keep on running your race....Take everyone elses dreams and successes and what they are or are not doing out of the equation right now. Focu each day on getting up and do it and DO IT the best way you can!!.
Its going to hurt sometimes, its going to be hard sometimes, its going to be painful sometimes, its not going to be fun sometimes, do it anyway. You will be glad you did!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Changes Of Life

Unfortunately life changes....things change that cannot be helped. Now that Im a little over 50 Im realizing just how true this is. My body in itself is going through many changes which can be emotional...that along with seeing your Mother age and slowing up a little more each day can be emotional as well. We caregivers give others so much love every day and sometimes it does get lonely. We sometimes need to feel loved as well. I refuse to let this get me down however. I intend to fight every day to embrace all the changes that are presented to me. I am going to fight and give laughter to Mom as much as I can.I am going to fight to keep working out, eating right. This stage of life is where I believe you must take extra care of health. I dont want to be anemic or lack calcium. My cholesterol is already high which I feel is due to these changes also. I am going to fight to keep on keeping on. These changes represent the second half of my life. The first half is over. This is my second shot at finding some enjoyment despite what life has presented me with. I am going to fight to spend time with Kevin and once in a while get out and do fun things. It is my right to do these things. I am a good daughter, I am a good person. I have no problems facing the challenges of all the changes in life. I am going to fight to find things to smile and be happy about. Im going to fight bad temptations. Im going to keep fighting because I want the second half to be the best years of my life. I can have it all. I just have to set my mind to it and not allow emotions take over me. Join me...everyone join me in this fight. once today is done it is gone. we will not get it back. I want my journal entry for each day to be inspirational so those reading them once Im gone will see it is worth the fight...I can do this...we all can!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Talents/Or Lack Of

The other day I was working on a needlepoint project...(Im not very good at needlepointing AT ALL!) and I was getting so frustrated. I said, my goodness...why cant I be talented? Something as simple as using a piece of string on a needle should not be this hard. I thought about this and realize I say that a lot. why Cant I Be Talented? I walk into peoples homes sometimes who are so good at decorating and I say boy I wish I could be like that!!. People have a knack for things..I would have the same vase with the big red flower on a table and it would look ridiculous!!. I say it when I admire peoples outfits...some people wear large jewelry and I think man, what a talent. I would wear that necklace and look like an idiot. The non Donna talent list was going on and on. I finally said maybe you need to focus on the things you do well. Maybe its time that you may consider people are admiring you. My first thought was to laugh at this ridiculous thought. But hey, I do make people laugh...even if at times they are laughing at me not with creating happiness...I am very funny!!...I have a huge heart...I am incredibly giving and loving .....I like to write..Im not certain Im great at it but I think the fact I can open my heart and express feeling is a talent. I hope in the words that I can be inspiring another person. I cook good as long as I have a recipe..but hey, thats a talent...there are lots of people that cant follow directions. Wow!!...I guess I am talented afterall. Goodhousekeeping, you wont be knocking at my door any time soon nor will Vogue I suppose...but thats ok....I have a radio face anyway lol lol lol
keep smiling, keep laughing...god gives us the talents he feels we need for the job he sent us to do!!...

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Reasons I Cry

The Reasons I Cry......
When I hear a sad song
When Im angry or disappointed
When I have hurt or disappointed another
When I hear bad news
When Im hurting physically (headache, day I fell on the ice OUCH!)
When Im hormonal (which is very often these days)
When Im touched by something someone has said or done
When I watch a sad movie or show
When Im scared
When Im lonely
When I must say goodbye to family
When I feel like having a poor Donna pitty party day
When my son sends me a card or a note
When I think of Sean in general and how incredibly joyful I am to be his mother
When I think of Kevin and all the gratitude I have for him every single best friend
When I peel onions (my onion soup is the BEST so those tears are worth it!)
When at a funeral
When at a wedding or happy occasion

I try so hard to be a comforting person...I dont like to cry as you all know. Laughing is so more my thing!!A good cry however is ok and can make you feel better when needed and shows you have feelings and emotions. Dont hold it in when you feel the need to cry. We all need that good old cry every now and then.
Now tell me your thoughts..........what makes you cry?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Definition Of A Friend

What is the defintion of a friend? Personally I think there are many levels of friends. Sometimes we need a friend to drop everything they are doing to help us in a bind. I think at times we need a friend to share our thoughts with in an open and honest way. Sometimes we need someone from our past to sit and reminisce with us about those good old days. Sometimes you find that very special person who shares the same values as you and there is just a connection. Sometimes we just need support and insight on a problem or situation from anothers point of view. Sometimes we need that one person who will not pull punches and tell us the truth not necessarily the words we feel we need to hear. Sometimes we just need someone as a sounding board and once we get through venting and using them as a punching bag we see things more clearly. We may disagree with our friends but they remain loyal. We may have totally different troubles but have no problem listening to each other. We may have completely different lives but still have a bond. If we are lucky enough to find one person with all of these qualities we should rejoice and be lucky. Im blessed as my best friend, my husband, has every one. That is very rare. I have friends that may have a few of the qualities. I have even met strangers on line that I can call friends having never met them who understand me. The main thing Im learning about friends is people we hang out with affect our lives so Im learning to avoid complicated people. I try to spend my time wisely and no longer just communicate with people for lack of anything else to do. Your quality of life changes simply by who you are spending your time with. So, rest assured, if I am talking to you, visiting you, writing to you, responding to you, or any or all of the above your my friend or I would not be wasting the time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Dont Have To Be Busy Every Second Of My Day

Im finally realizing that every second of my day does not have to include something to do. Life gets so overwhelming and sometimes despite my best efforts to stick to my to do list my mind wonders in a million other directions and Im starting five projects at one time and finishing none. I find I overload and stress myself and finally said this must stop. I am working hard on writing down two or three projects for a day and sticking to them. After those chores are completed I do my best to carve some time for me. During this time I go online, write or read blogs and emails, I read, I work on my crocheting, watch television...whatever I choose. Im so tired of having magazine subscriptions that are being thrown in the trash unread as I just did not have the time to look at them. When rested you actually perform your tasks in a healthier and more productive way. Start today...carve out a little time each day for yourself. It isnt easy to do it but once you manage it you will feel so much better.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Never Give UP

From day to day we are challenged many times. So many times we feel like we cannot go on. Our dreams, wants and goals are thrown to the side and we feel like we are in a blizzard of discouragement. Dont feel like you are fighting that losing battle. Dont give up ever!! Discipline yourself that just like you can put negative thoughts in your mind you can replace them with positive ones. It is not easy to do I will admit. Sometimes we are faced with "blizzards" during the course of the day that we can never escape from. Hang on to the dream. It is ok to take a break once in a while but dont stay down long. Without tests and challenges we will never grow. Explore ways to reach this goal, ask friends or relatives for advice. Negativity makes you sick and just causes more bad thoughts. Positive thoughts will bring a smile to your face. Your a winner just because you are giving each day your best effort. No matter how bad things seem, or how overwhelming days get dont give up!. You can do it. The day will be over soon and there will be a fresh tomorrow. NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sometimes We Need To Give To The Less Fortunate

I think it is great to have garage sales and try to make some money for things we can no longer use. I have done this on many occasions when my son was younger and it can bring in some extra cash. Every now and then though I think it would be a generous gesture to bag it and give it to people that are less fortunate. There are so many people out of work and struggling today that could use these things. Let us all try to go through our closets and prune back on the stuff we are no longer using. Let us try to be generous and send them away versus holding on to them to sell. It will help the person receiving them enormously, it will clear out the clutter in your home but most importantly it will be a huge gift from your heart.