As many of you know that have been following me for awhile my oldest brother, Bill has been in ill health for several years. He has been on borrowed time. But the end is near for him -- the past week has seen a heart attack and two strokes among other things. He left the hospital today to go home to be with loved ones for his final few days. We have known this day was coming -- but quite truthfully I thought this "time" had come many times before. Now that it is finally here we know that he will be in a better place shortly and in no pain. He is surrounded by his family.
Bill is 13 years older than me so I didn't real know him as a brother. When I was in kindergarten he was in college. I vaguely remember going to some basketball and football games he played in high school. I also remember some times when he baby sat for me and my other brother (who is only two years older than me). After my brother graduated from college he lived away from home, then married. So, I really never spent a lot of time with him until we were both adults. When I was out on my own, we only lived a few miles apart and worked in office buildings across the street from each other. For about a year, every morning we would meet at 5am and play nine holes of golf together. It still gave us time to go to our respective houses and change and get ready for work. It is kind of strange that that is what I remember the most. I can't remember who won the golf games, but I would be surprised if I won any of them since he played golf on his college team. I am just grateful he shared that time with me.
He has requested no funeral, no memorial service and doesn't even want an obituary in the paper. That is they way he wants it so that is the way it will be. He will leave his wife of 45 years, three children, eight grandchildren and his first great grandchild is due in another month
Since Bill was so much older than Tom and I he was much different than we were. He was partly raised by my grandparents who lived next door to us. We always joked that he came from a different gene pool than we did. There are a lot of funny stories to share, but those will be saved for another time. He will be missed.
Welcome Summer! It is really hot here in the south already so I hope it is not an indication of what we have to look forward to all summer long. Last year, about this time I was lamenting about running in the Peachtree Road Race (largest 10K in the country). This year -- I'm not running or walking -- just watching. My son and daughter-in-law are going to be running again and I am just going to watch them go by! I do have an excuse this year, a few weeks ago I had my left knee replaced. Three years ago I had my right one replaced and it was time for the left one to follow the same surgery. I forgot a lot about what it was like, but my physical therapy is kicking into high gear and it is kicking me in the butt! I don't remember it hurting like that before but it probably did. Anyway, in a couple of months I will be good as new (well maybe not quite true) but will be much better off than I was a month or so ago.
Today is "The Longest Day" as it is the summer solstice. However, you may have also seen a little publicity about Alzheimer's Longest Day. Today, many groups and organizations are helping to raise money for Alzheimer's by doing an activity all day. For instance, there is a group here in Athens that is playing bridge all day and raising money. Others are running, sailing, playing scrabble, walking, playing basketball, etc. to help raise awareness and much needed funds for research. Thanks to all of those that are participating this year. I hope next year, I can organize some of my friends and we can play Pickleball all day long!
I am sure I have heard every parent say at one time or another "it's not easy being a parent". when do we ever stop taking responsibility for our children? I know that we can't be responsible for everything they do and certainly when they are adults it is hard to bear that burden. But lately, I have been feeling bad about some things my son has or has not done, and while he is an adult, I feel bad as a parent, because I didn't raise him that way. I didn't teach him some of his behavior but it had to come from his upbringing right? My son is not a bad person by any stretch of the imagination, and I am very proud of what he has made of himself, but I am disappointed in some of the ways he has dealt with some things and I feel responsible because I didn't do a good enough job in teaching him. I am sure that some of these things are trivial to others, and the way young people do things these days are totally different than the way we would have done something at that age, but it makes me stop and think about parenting and how little things really can make a difference.
Many of you have purchased this book and I appreciate it! All royalties for this book are going to the Alzheimer's Association. Since its release on April 22nd, the book rose to number 16 on Amazon's book list. In fact, Amazon ran out of books and the book has been sent for a second printing already. I have heard from many of you about some of the stories in the book. I haven't made it all the way through the book yet, but I was surprised at how much I learned from the book. One lady emailed me that she bought 10 copies of it. It can also be found at Barnes and Noble, and someone also told me they downloaded it as an e-book, but I haven't checked that out for myself yet. I was honored to be one of the many people to be able to share their story in this book. Thanks to all those that put it together. If you like the book, please let me know. I would love to hear from you. Check with your local Alzheimer's Associations, too, as some may have book signings or readings where you can get your copy.
I know I haven't posted in awhile. Thoughts not in the right place to get down on paper.
This weekend our son and daughter-in-law paid us a visit. It was so nice to have them here -- I'm always a little sad when they leave. I know that sounds pathetic, but I miss them even though they only live about 75 miles away. They are busy. They work a lot and they have their own lives so we hate to intrude into their time. But I do miss them nonetheless.
I have been going to physical therapy for some back problems. Yesterday, when I was there I wasn't having a particular day and I found myself having a problem following directions. It was kind of like when I have a problem making change -- my brain knows what to do, I just can't physically do it. So, when the therapist asked me to lie and my back and put my feet flat on the table so my knees were upright I couldn't do it. I knew what he was telling me to do, I just couldn't do it. Now the therapist doesn't know of my condition, so he just kind of moved my legs for me. A couple of other times he asked me to do something and I couldn't figure out what he was telling me to do. I should have something, but I didn't. I am sure he thinks I am an idiot because I couldn't do simple tasks. My husband told me I should have said something -- next trip I will. I just hate bringing it up if I don't have to -- but perhaps this is one of those "have to" situations. I just feel so stupid.
I just returned from Washington DC from the Alzheimer's Advocacy Forum. It was a great conference, almost 1,000 people there.......all dressed in purple. I will post some photos soon. But, this year, the conference got to me. really got to me.....it was way too much for me. By the time we got to the airport to come home I literally didn't know if I was coming or going. had a meltdown at the airport and on the plane. glad Ralph was with me, because I am not sure what I would have done if he hadn't been there. It was a long week -- too overwhelming. More soon.
I have written in the past about the state of Georgia working on a state plan to address Alzheimer's. I am happy to say that the legislature passed the plan in this last session and we should see the results of the work of the committees soon. Thanks to all that worked on that plan and I know it will be a valuable tool moving forward.
I also wrote a few weeks ago about the "Chicken Soup for the Soul, Living with Alzheimer's and Other Dementias" a few weeks ago. Today I received an advance copy of the book and if you are dealing with Alzheimer's in your family, I highly recommend the book. I haven't been able to read all the 101 stories but they all deal with caregiving, coping and compassion. You will definitely learn something from these stories. Thanks to all who put this together. It hits book stores mid-April. You may even recognize a few of the authors of some of the articles.
For the whole report, you can log onto www.alz.org.
If a few short weeks I'll be heading to Washington DC for the Annual Advocacy Forum -- talking with Senators and Representatives and their staff -- hoping to not only increase awareness for Alzheimer's but increase funding for a cure for this disease. The numbers in the report are staggering and we have to fight harder than ever to get the help we need.
Over the last couple of days, I have been at the SEC women's basketball tournament. Today, players were wearing "We Back Pat" thirsts over their jerseys in honor of Pat Summitt and her foundation to fight Alzheimer's. I was not having a particularly good day, but several people told me they wanted We Back Kris shirts. how sweet is that. it didn't make my day go much better, but I felt loved.....thank you!
I was diagnosed with Early On Set Alzheimer's when I was 46 years old. I am now 54 and working in Advocacy to help fight this disease. I speak on a local and national level about dealing with Alzheimer's while living it. Hopefully, my perspective can and will help others.