A Box of SunShine

 

burdens saying

 

Wow!  What an overwhelming response I have had since starting this blog.

I have to tell you, I was nervous.  Really nervous.  It took me a while to decide I was really going to do this. Then it took a long time to come up with a name. And it took a long time to figure out if this is the best course of action to help my husband, my children and everyone else that will face this disease head on.

The stories that have been shared with me and the love and support I have felt since opening my soul to you gives me hope.  It gives me hope that I will survive.  My kids will survive.  We will all be OK.

Thank you.  Thank you a million times from my heart for reading, for sharing and for taking the time (which few of us seem to have much of) to reach out to me and share your story, your love and your heartfelt ideas for this blog.

Our story can be a real downer.  But, I don’t always feel down.  I sometimes feel like I’m on top of the world. I listen to a great song in the car and feel the sunshine on me and love life.  I love my kids, my parents, my friends, my husband and all is right with the world. I sing or become engrossed in a good book.  I have lunch with friends or go for a jog or a walk with a friend.  Through my work, I meet and help a lot of people.  Life is good. Just like all the bumper stickers and t-shirts say. Life is good.

I would not be able to say that without acknowledging that the only reason I could do this blog and say “Life is Good” is because of friends.  Some are recent friends.  Some are friends that have been around a while.  Some are people I call Mom and Dad.  Some have come out of the woodwork to help me set up the blog, to help me come up with a name, to sit and listen to this crazy idea and tell me “You should.  You should do this. The world is waiting.”

We all need friends like that.  Sometimes, you want to be that friend and life gets in the way.  That is ok.  I have someone that helps me see things a little clearer sometimes.  I was talking to her about how I was feeling lonely and like no one cared, and on and on about poor, poor me. Sometimes it is very easy for me to fall into this spiral.

She put it all in very clear view for me.  She explained that my friends do want to help.  But sometimes, they just don’t know how.  Sometimes, you see a situation and it is too much for you to comprehend, to take on.  Sometimes, people have their own shit they are dealing with and they just can’t deal with anyone elses’.  And that is good.  Because, life ebbs and flows.  Sometimes you are the giver and sometimes you are the receiver. Sometimes, you just can’t give and do for someone as you would like to, but you care and you want to help as much as you can. When this happens, sending positive thoughts and  wishes helps too.  I am starting to get this.  I have been the giver many times. Recently I have become more of the receiver.

It is hard to be the receiver.

Several months ago I posted something on Facebook about having ants in the kitchen.  I was asking my friends what they used to get rid of the tiny pests.  I got several responses and I also got a really special response.  I got a bag of ant killer hand delivered to me at home by a neighbor.  Someone I wasn’t even particularly close to.  Someone who could help and did.  It was a simple gesture that made a huge impact.  Who does that?  At some point and time, we all do.  Sometimes more than others.

Last year I  had a really bad day.  Ok, last year I had ALOT of bad days. One of those days that I just couldn’t stop myself from crying.  It was all overwhelming me and I just didn’t know which way was up. I had taken Frances to softball practice and I was sitting in the car.  Sobbing.  Just letting it out.  No one could hear and I was alone and I just needed to get it out. Thank goodness we had tissues in the car….

All of a sudden, I see one of the Dads from the team knocking on my window. Oh shit!  I cracked my window; red, swollen eyes, runny nose and all. He asked if I was OK and asked if he could help.  Frances had fallen and scraped her knee up pretty good and he had come over to let me know. Once he saw me, I think he forgot about her and just wanted to help. This man is someone I have gotten to know over the past couple of years and believe me, he is not a softy. At all.  There is not a lot of emotion or sentiments that are passed from his lips. He tells you what he thinks and how he thinks it should be. I like that about him.  Straight from the hip.  I was touched to the core that he offered help and I knew he meant it. I was also completely embarrassed.  Nothing was ever said between us about that moment, but about 2 or 3 months later we all went out to dinner.  His family and ours.  We ate and had a great visit.  When the bill came, he paid.

My pride was hurt but my heart was warmed.

I have friends that help take the kids to practice when I have to work and they both have two different places to be.

I have parents that listen and listen and listen without ever telling me to suck it up and stop complaining. Thank you. I don’t know where I would be without my Mom and Dad.

It amazes me the power that a small act of kindness has to make such a huge difference in the outcome of a day.

There have been days I have woken up and just not been able to think clearly let alone desire even getting out of bed to face another day. So many times during one of these awful, gut wrenching times, a friend or a co-worker or just an acquaintance will somehow manage to help shift the axis of my world enough to lift me out of my funk. Usually without even knowing the wonderfulness of what they have done.

Thank you to all that have helped and will help in the coming years.  Thank you for those that help others in the same or similar situation.  Sometimes you can do and sometimes you can’t. When you can; do.  It will warm you on the inside like nothing else will.  It may be inconvenient.  It may cost you.  But the reward will far out weigh the cost and I promise you, the person or the family that you are helping will appreciate it more than they will be able to express to you.  It will give them hope where before they had none. And that my friends is how you make a difference and change the world. It will let them know they are not alone.  And it will happen when they really need it.  Just at the moment when they are thinking, “I can’t do this.  No one cares and I can’t do this.”  You will come along and you will make a difference that no one else could have.

My request to you:  Help when and if you can.  It can be something as simple and small as a handwritten note or card.  A cut flower left on a porch.  A call or text or e-mail. Recently, I received a “box of sunshine” from a person who has a daughter fighting cancer.  I don’t know the family terribly well, but I suppose they heard about Jim and wanted to do something.  And they did. They got Lemonhead candy, butterscotch candy, a pedicure kit that was yellow, a solar dancing sunflower and other yellow items and put them in a box with a simple card letting me know they thought I needed a box of sunshine. Wow.  Are you kidding me?  Their daughter is fighting for her life and they are thinking of us and putting all that stuff together in a box for me?

Takes your breathe away, doesn’t it?

Have patience. For a very long time I wasn’t able to share what was going on with Jim.  It was this secret that enveloped my whole being.  I started acting short with friends and forgetting things.  I am sure I just wasn’t “me”. People, remember we all have stories.  We all have shit we are dealing with.  Someone may have up a beautiful life facade that at any moment can come crumbling down around them.  I know for me, I always felt like I had a train wreck up ahead and I had to figure out a way to stop it or slow it down. That sense of urgency has subsided a bit, but I know there are friends and neighbors out there that are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders.

It takes us all to lift up the other.  The one thing I have had to change is my personality. Patience.  Never my strongest virtue. I’m still working on it.  With the patience of others, I will be able to grow like I never thought possible. Show your goodness. The world needs it.

Congratulations.  You are making the world  a better place. Thank you. All it takes is a bag of ant killer, a dinner dropped off, an offer to take the kids, a lunch date, or just an ear that will listen. Do it while and when you can.  You never know, you may get more back than you give.

 

 

posted by Karen in Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “A Box of SunShine”

  1. Carla Burgess says:

    You’re doing great with your blog. I’m proud of you and impressed with the way you are putting your life into words and sharing it with everyone. Takes a lot of courage.

  2. Krista Bradshaw says:

    Karen….I am really at a loss for words…my heart breaks for you. BUT…thank you for your bravery in sharing your story! You write so honestly and beautifully…you will help so many others.

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