It’s a Jolly Time of the Year

Frances and Brad playing a Christmas tune for Jim. December 2015.

Frances and Brad playing a Christmas tune for Jim. December 2015.

I am late packing and loading the car. I am always late these days. And it’s ok. There are worse things in life. I am learning to be all right with my new shortcomings and appreciate my new strengths and recognize my contributions that enhance this world. It is a process that will probably last my lifetime, but one I am steadfastly enjoying being cognizant of. ┬áLife is good. Really. It is.

I know there are many parts of my life that just suck. There is no other word to use (not one I will publish anyway). There are times I am severely depressed. I cry. I sleep. I become a sloth. Again, it is ok. It is a process.

There is another part of my life that is the best it has ever been. The love. The support. The care. The new friendships and re-connecting with old friends as well. The opportunities that have arisen and the feeling of contribution. I am constantly being thankful for something positive happening in our lives, either for myself, our children or for Jim.

This week funding for Alzheimer’s research reached an all time high. Hillary Clinton became the first presidential candidate to make Alzheimer’s research a priority and suggested doubling the amount just passed. That is what we have been fighting for. Surely other candidates will follow.

Our Christmas has already been a wonderful one. The spirit of the season has been sprinkled throughout our home and our lives. We have had much to be happy about. Jim had his two best Air Force buddies come for a visit and he was amazing. He didn’t drool. He wasn’t hunched over. He showed lots of expressions and laughed. You could understand him most of the time. It was like a Christmas miracle. They had such a nice visit. It was good for all of us.

Today, we stopped by his home and he was not quite the same. He was hunched a little and not as aware of what was happening around him. But the staff had decided they wanted to help Jim do what he always does best: Give to others. So, they got the kids and I cards and gift cards and got me a new watch that were from Jim. It was heartwarming to see his smile and feel his hug and his kiss as I thanked him for his wonderful gifts. And the staff. Wow. How thoughtful. How generous. How, how….how do you convey the depths of gratitude? Not only do they take great care of Jim so I can take care of the kids, but they also find a way to give back to us through the material that transfer into emotional.

Our world seems to be full of hate and turmoil and so many events that challenge our belief in our neighbors. Our family is blessed to be reminded each day of the good that is surrounding us even while there is much to be horrified about. I challenge each person to commit to making our world a place that reminds us all of the good we can be and should be. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. It can be a small gesture or a grand one. It can be whatever you can do at that moment. Imagine if each of us took the time to hold the door open for others, or paid for someone else’s coffee, or picked up that piece of trash someone else threw down or refused to get angry at the person who cuts us off while driving down the road. People make mistakes. Forgive. Know that we each are fighting our own battles. Make the world the place we want to live in and we want our children to live in. There is enough ugliness without adding any extra. I am just as guilty as the next person of not always being the most patient or most thoughtful, but I will continue to improve. Will you?

I was asked today what I wanted for Christmas. Without trying to sound cheesy or like a Miss America wannabe…my true and real answer (besides a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease) is for everyone to be treated the way our family has been for the past year. I wish for everyone to feel the love and receive the help that our family has been blessed with. Life is a rough journey and if we all stick together, the path can be a smoother one. So, my Christmas wish is for all of us to be a little kinder, a little more patient and understanding and little more generous with our time and our love.



posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (9)

9 Responses to “It’s a Jolly Time of the Year”

  1. Lorrie says:

    May God bless you,and your family.May he give you the strength and patience that you will need in the coming new year.

  2. Lorraine Moody says:

    I have read all your comments about JIM. My husband is 89 and been in Alzheimers since 2007/ and we have been married 60 years. and 30 years retired from the Air Force.I tried like you to get some funding for all year as Jack is going into the 7th stage. And I am trying to keep him at home so I am his caregiver. But the Gov’t says we don;t qualify for help. Yes I saw where Hilliary Clinton is behing the funding , lets just pray she follows thru for patients. down the line. God Bless you and your family. Jack & Lorraine Moody Haltom City, Texas

  3. Lorraine Moody says:

    Sorry I mashed post before I saw I spelled my email wrong.

  4. Marchelle says:

    Karen I accept your challenge! My prayers continue to go out for you and your family! Jim could very well be my uncle or other family member therefore you both have compassion and heartfelt prayers??

  5. Chris says:

    You are so right. Life is a journey, not a destination. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Sometimes we can chose our path in life and at other times, it is chosen for us. We must make the best of all of it. I like to think of it as not better, not worse, just different. And if our loved ones are happy, that’s all we can ask. Merry Christmas to your family from ours.

  6. I smiled remembering how Joe reacted when men friends visited. Our men need “guy time”. You could see by the way Jim reacted. I am trying to put a smile on my face for me kids. Jan. 31st. will make a year of Joe’s departure. Our lives will never be the same and I keep telling myself my days can still be full. Right now I don’t feel it. Our children all grown and most of the grandchildren busy too which leaves me alone with my tremor and rattling around in this big empty house. I dreamed that I was buying Joe a new trumpet then another night I dreamed of us kissing one of those long meaningful kisses. May you find love and peace in your memories and find bits of Jim if only for a second or two the way he was before Alz. when you visit.. Deane Johnson……searching…….

  7. Jill Clark Page says:

    Karen, I meant to post yesterday but the internet here has for low/slow mode.

    I wish you and your family a very peaceful holiday time. , know it’s hard. Our 2015 ended sadly with the passing of our daughters daughter born at 24 weeks, 1.5lbs. May God be with you and follow his lead.

  8. Andrea says:

    I’m so glad to see that you are reflecting on the many blessings God has brought to your lives during this incredibly difficult time. My own husband passed away the day after Thanksgiving this year at the age of 51. Our family’s journey, like your’s, has been unbelievably devastating. However, God has been so loving to us by blessing us in unexpected ways and by answering our most desperate pleas in prayer. As many Christians have said, during the most difficult times of our lives we often find we have our closest walk with God. May God continue to bless your family.

  9. Cindy says:

    Thank you for writing blogs that are so encouraging. I look forward to your posts. I pray for you and your family often. I thought you might also be interested in my thoughts. You are not alone.


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