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Alzheimer's - the gratefulness hidden within the sorrow August 06, 2008 3:13 PM


  An arrangement of Lake Michigan Stones and Shell Done Recently by the Author's Mother








An arrangement of Lake Michigan stones and shells done recently by the author's mother

A Son's Thanksgiving

By Donald M. Schwartz, Nov. 22, 2007

My mother has advanced Alzheimer's
But there is thanksgiving and gratefulness,
Hidden within the sorrow.
I ink my thoughts,
On this 2007 day of thanks,
For the strength of my Mother's true spirit is rolling, it keeps rolling along.

For the strength of my Mother's true spirit is rolling, it keeps rolling along,
For she is stronger, tougher, wiser and larger than her Alzheimer's,
And for this I give thanks;
And gratefulness,
I can free a precious few of her thoughts,
And calm her sorrow.

In her presence, I am greater than all the world's sorrow,
For the strength of my Mother's true spirit is rolling, it keeps rolling along.
Even though most of her thoughts,
Are imprisoned by the Bastille of her Alzheimer's;
For those few thoughts she can break free, she has gratefulness,
And teary thanks.

And I give thanks,
For fighting through my sorrow,
At the recent loss of her walking abilities, pledging gratefulness,
Of the strength of my Mother's true spirit as it rolling, as it keeps rolling along.
What else will be stolen by her Alzheimer's,
Can obsess my thoughts.

On this day of thanks, above my Mother's bed, now hangs her pre-wedding portrait, freeing some of her thoughts,
And making her feel thanks,
For a mind's glimpse of her life long before the thief of Alzheimer's.
Spying upon her once coal-black hair and vibrant facial colors dwarfed her sorrow,
As the strength of my Mother's true spirit kept rolling, as it kept rolling along.
And for this I have infinite gratefulness.

Riding back from the nursing home on a recent night, I felt a rush of gratefulness,
Many tiny victories flowed together into a raging river of thoughts,
Surging through my mind the sweeping awareness of the strength of my Mother's true spirit that kept rolling, as it always keeps rolling along.
I must keep giving thanks,
And be larger than the sorrow,
And to keep my spirit from the greedy thief of Alzheimer's.

So I say to the thief of Alzheimer's, you can never grow larger, stronger, tougher, or wiser than gratefulness,
And the sorrow you serve can never out power the sweetness of the thoughts,
Of my thanks for the strength of my Mother's true spirit as it keeps on rolling, as it keeps on rolling along.

Author's Note:  About a month ago my mother was admitted to the hospital for what the nursing home thought was a stroke.  It turned out to be dehydration. The big concern was that she was hardly swallowing.  We had to make a decision between a feeding tube, or letting her go of malnutrion under Hospice Care.  My mother decided on a third option, she managed to regain some of her swallowing abilities and has been doing much better, but is still under Hospice care.  My mother still is able to enjoy my visits albiet in a quieter way.  I am glad she continues to defy the "wisdom" of the Alzheimer's Association and the medical establishmet.

Donald Michael Schwartz, Ypsilanti, Michigan

August 5th, 2008

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The Starfish August 08, 2008 7:56 AM

  I have been perplexed as to how to balance my life.  I would like to see my mother (suffering from sever Alzheimer's) at least once  per day, but usually it is more like every other day. Sometimes once in three days.  I feel so over whelmed by the goals I have set for myself that much of the time I spend is  not very effective.  I need to just focus on one task at a time - that is when I can accomplish something - that is what I will do over these next few days.  I have to surrender myself to the moment - each moment - then my energy will expand with little effort.

So what does this have to do with starfishes?  Well, a couple a days ago I read a short story called "The Starfish" about a young man rescuing starfish from the low tide one at a time.  The older man witnessing the younger one's daunting task proclaimed:

"'There must be thousands of starfish on this beach. It would be impossible for you to get to all of them. There are simply too many. You can't possibly save enough to make a difference."

The young man smiled as he continued to pick up another starfish and toss it back into the ocean.

'It made a difference to that one,' he replied."

click here to see the full story:

After reading the story I said to myself, "My mother is my starfish."  Even seeing her a few minutes a day is good - making sure that she is comfortable.  I did that this morning. She was in the dining room awaiting breakfast.  I turned off the air conditioner (it was a little cold in the room), put a jacket around her and placed a pillow behind her shoulders.  I could see that she appreciated the care and was much more comfortable.  The other residents enjoyed seeing the sequence of my caring - more starfishes returned to the tide in however a small a way.

Donald Michael Schwartz
Ypsilanti, MI

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