Lesson #39: Be Grateful

It’s been two months since we lost Mom. Grief still catches me by surprise, and I guess this stage lasts a while. Something will happen that I want to tell her, or I will see a show I know she would have enjoyed. I’m also having some sadder moments of second guessing; wishing we had known or done more. I try to push those thoughts away, and focus instead on two packages that I carry in my heart. … More Lesson #39: Be Grateful

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Lesson #38: How to Say Goodbye

I watched my father at lunch last week, noting the grief etched onto his face, the shadow of sorrow in his eyes. It’s sad to see this 91-year old lion without his mate of 64 years. I get the impression he’s processing the loss of his wife a little at a time, because of its potential to overwhelm. Which is smart. And we are there for him, like spotters around a trampoline, our arms open. Helping him keep his routine, which includes lunch with his best friend every Friday. The two old cuties kept the chatter light and lively, a silent pact in the midst of grief. … More Lesson #38: How to Say Goodbye

Lesson #21: Death Be Not Shy

As Joseph Campbell† and countless sages have pointed out, all human fears circle endlessly around the topic of death. Fear of anything is, ultimately, a fear of dying. Whether triggered by spiders, poverty, speaking in public or being alone, it all comes back to a basic fear of being separated from those whom you love and/or that which is most familiar to you, which is life. … More Lesson #21: Death Be Not Shy

Lesson #17: Help Help Help!

The other day I walked quickly before a rainfall to secure a lone taxi. I was just behind a man who, as it turned out, also needed the taxi. A rare gentleman, he asked me where I was headed and offered to share his ride. As we awkwardly made small talk in the back seat of the cab, I mentioned that I had moved to the area to care for my parents, both with dementia and Alzheimer’s. … More Lesson #17: Help Help Help!

Lesson #16: Look Forward, Stay Present

There is so much about caregiving that makes me sad, and looking back is a big one. Mom seems to be moving into an advanced stage of her Alzheimer’s; she has recently become more confused, less willing to get out of bed in the morning, and less connected with reality. She’s having trouble going to the washroom on her own, she struggles with her fork and knife, and her appetite has decreased. Along with her increasing inability to express herself, it’s truly heartbreaking.  … More Lesson #16: Look Forward, Stay Present

Lesson #13: Don’t Forget To Laugh

My mother was often my first phone call when I was pissed at a colleague, thrilled about a new writing challenge, or just feeling blue and needing some cheer. She’s been there from day one, helping me put things in perspective and providing unconditional love. My Dad, too, has always been a kind and generous mentor, advising me in my career and with financial matters. I can’t thank my parents enough for j … More Lesson #13: Don’t Forget To Laugh