Weekly Writing Challenge; DPCHALLENGE


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#DP Challenge

This week, weave a story about yourself told through the lens of your past December 23rds.

When I think back to past Christmas years on the 23, I get mixed memories. Smiles, sadness can appear and then fade a way as I go year to year.

Christmas as a kid was always the same. Wonderful, magical, excitement! Those were the days.

Christmas as a married adult meant working over-time, need of more money, lots of presents under the tree for our children. Giggles and screams of delight as wanted gifts were opened.

A divorce and remarriage on the rebound means sadness to me. A husband who made life hard to exist. Him hiding when people came to our house. Embarrassment, replaced delight of seeing people. Wanting to get the day over with. No money, very few gifts. It was always a sad time for me and an angry time as well. I saved my little bit of money I earned each week and finally was freed from this relationship.

The loss of parents that you love leaves the biggest gap in your heart. Christmas joy is ripped a way. Tears and sorrow replace all other feelings. Robotic movements kick in as you try so hard to carry on in a normal way that Christmas is supposed to be. Always glad when it is over, but sad when my kids leave to go back to their homes.

Christmas this year I dreaded with all that I have. Excitement over my kids being here. Sadness over wondering if Al would make it to the holiday. Thankful he was here, sad he slept through it. Not as many gifts but gifts that were wanted and enjoyed. Plenty of food and good conversation took the sting out of what was happening in my brother’s bedroom.

I am glad Christmas is over. My tree is down and the house looks more back to normal. Al is still here having bad days, and some better days mixed in. I treasured each moment with my entire family, knowing in my heart that there will never be a Christmas like this again.

Christmas will come once again. The 23rd will arrive without delay. People will come and some will never be seen again, but hopefully the future will open new doors. New memories and I will once again smile, remembering the pasts and looking forward to the future.

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Christmas Smiles


Christmas, just mouthing the word, hopefully brings a smile to your face.

 

Christmas

Snowy hills

Red cheeks

Runny noses

Lots of shrieks

 

Eating snowflakes

Angels made

Sledding down hill

Ice-skate blades.

 

Warm hot chocolate

Christmas tree

Glittering lights

For all to see.

 

Christmas vacation

Means no school

Sleeping late

Breaking all the rules.

 

Pitter patter on the roof

Waiting for the fat man

Can’t sleep I’m so excited

Open gifts, oh come on la la land.

 

Christmas morning

Jumping out of bed

Getting mommy and daddy

Up and running a head.

 

Oh my stars look at all those gifts

Sliding on slippers I fall to my knees

Squeals of delight as I open each one

Begging my mamma to open hers from me.

 

Memories of Christmas for me as a child

Brings wide-eyed eyes and beautiful smiles

And now I am standing here at the door

Greeting my family who will stay for a while.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd

12.17.2013

 

christmas tree 4

 

Christmas Cards, Oh So Beautiful!


Beautiful Christmas cards. Musical, cheery, gorgeous. This is what Al has been receiving and got today also. He holds all of his cards. It is so cute to see him with them.

I want to thank our friends from whom we received cards today.

Vera J. She sent a beautiful Charlie Brown card that when you open it,  it plays different songs. It is precious.

RoSy S. What a cute Christmas tree. Crafted from a caring soul.

Alastair. Oh how beautiful. I love gold, and what lady doesn’t? LOL. It is gorgeous Al.

Cathy D. This is the cutest card. It has a mailbox with little squirrels all readying for the holiday. When you open it up a pop-up Christmas scene rises and the card plays, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.

Everyone who  has sent cards, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart. Al loves them, I love them.

I wish for all of you to have a joyous Christmas.

Hugs,

Terry and Al

snow falling

 

Are You Wondering?


 

I bet you have wondered the helper and Al and I got along today. Well, it was freaking fantastic! She jumped right in. She has a great personality. Al and her got a long very well. She changed him. She helped with every thing I taught her today. She fed him breakfast and lunch. She changed his brief.

I actually cleaned the house with barely any interruptions. I did lay down but couldn’t sleep. I did watch Christmas Bride on the Hallmark movie station. I have no new aches.

Best thing that has happened in our lives in weeks. Help, someone to talk to Al, a loving soul who took her time and  showed Al she cared and all this on the first day. The next best thing is she is coming back tomorrow. I am keeping my fingers tightly crossed.crossed fingers

Update on Al


Al is doing pretty good on being home five out of seven days now. I think he likes not being tossed around on the bus and isn’t quite as tired. Although if he had his way he would go to Day Program five days per week.

His crying has leveled off quite a bit. The doctor took him off one of the medications and I think that was the culprit that made his tears so much worse. His appetite has been big lately. I guess he makes up for the days he doesn’t eat.

He got a Christmas card from a lady who also is in the M.S.A group. He really likes it and holds it quite a bit as it sparkles when you turn it in different directions. If anyone wants to send him a Christmas card, please email me at   tellmenolies2004@yahoo.com   for his address.

Although we have had our tree up for sometime Al has begun his ritual of now not being able to talk about Christmas. He doesn’t speak about Christmas that he and I share. His memories go back to when he lived at home and Mom and Dad were still here.

I heard him telling someone that he hated the holidays and yet he likes the Christmas tree lit up and the white lights in his bedroom. So I guess the point is he misses our parents so much and he longs for Christmas to be the way it used to. Deep down inside, so do I. I just don’t talk about it.

He has been complaining of burning feet the past two days. I have researched it and find that many M.S.A. patients have this issue. It is sort of like Neuropathy I think, caused from the disease. I give him pain medications but like his other symptoms the medication takes the edge off but doesn’t fix it enough.

Al and I had an interview with a young lady today who wants to work the weekends. Al started talking to her almost immediately. Filling her in on his coca cola and cars. She jumped right in and helped turn him and was dabbing his slobber.

I have to admit I was really impressed. She is strong too. She had no problem rolling him over. She said she wanted the job so I am hoping she will or can start this weekend. She will mostly be with him but I spoke to her about dusting his room and feeding him. Cleaning up the dishes. I think it is fair, don’t you?

I told her there would be no medications to give as I do that. I explained that her major job would be making him feel special, she agreed.

So, it looks like we may have help again. Her words when she was walking out our front door were, ” You both are stuck with me.” I smiled and hoped that this would be a true statement.Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpeg44candy canes

 

O Happy Day


Oh happy day, it is Monday. Freedom, I get out of the house. Now don’t think I am a nut case, but being in the house for 48 hours with no fresh air, I feel like a baby chick bursting out of my shell.

Even Al woke up with a smile this morning. It sort of rubs me the wrong way because he doesn’t smile for me usually, and I am the one who works so hard to get one smile. I can understand on the other hand though. Hey, he gets a way from me for a while. Although he ask to be in his bed, he breaks apart from it too.

My Christmas tree took a dump on me. The lights have trickled out over the weekend until I have one little place lit, so off to Wal-Mart for new lights.

So as I say Oh happy day!

Decorating


I haven’t really done much today. Goofed off, what ever my mind decided on. No real schedule. Took care of Al and then spent my time in my surroundings. I like the feel of comfort. A little old-fashion, lots of white lights, trinkets of antique pieces. Yes this is who I am and what brings me peace within my section of the house.

Here is a little area I put together to add a touch more of Christmas. When I finished I stood back and looked at it. I liked it, then I thought, maybe my friends will like it too. I don’t have much ability of accepting compliments, but I will say that almost every person who has ever walked into our home says the same words, it is always so warm and cozy in here, who does your decorating?

Of course I smile and say me and they say I should go into business. I love hearing good things about myself but I don’t think I am good enough to go into business.

Well anyways here is a piece of what I did.

christmas scene

A Very Long Day


11pm at night. Quietness at least for now. I feel so guilty that I have not been on here much the past couple of days, but Al has been so restless.

I have just changed him and rolled him over on his side. I pray that I won’t be up for a third night in a row. I am going to place an ad in the newspaper tomorrow morning. I just can’t do this anymore.

My neck is burning, I am sure it is muscles. I had some sort of spell today. I felt hot all over. I was actually sitting here at the computer and suddenly got hot and felt like I was going to pass out.

I knew I needed to get to the bathroom and splash my face with cold water. On the way there I leaned into the wall a little. I got light-headed. I had been to two doctors this week and my blood pressure was a little high. When I took it here at home it was the same as it was at the doctor.

I just can’t do this alone anymore. As long as he is confused and needs to be rolled so often in bed I need help. Please pray that someone responsible will answer my ad.

So far Al is saying he does not want to go to Day Program tomorrow. It is serious when he said this. I never in my life I thought I would hear those words.

The shower girl will be here tomorrow morning. According to how he is, he will either have a shower or a bed bath, and then I guess we shall know then whether he is going.

If Al is going to remain home I definitely have to have help. I need to get to the grocery store. No one delivers to homes in our area.

I have been working triple time to slow down my mind. I have stayed either with Al today or on the couch lying down. Al never slept all day but then at nine tonight he took a little nap.

I got a call from the Hospice Doctor this evening. I was surprised to receive this on a weekend. He was checking on Al and he definitely told me that the medicines he took Al off of will not shorten his life span, but neither are they doing him any good any longer.

He told me Al should not go to Day Program and I agree, but I am still leaving it up to Al and how he is feeling, but it seems Al is figuring it out all on his own. The doctor told me that each day Al will now become weaker and each time he is made to move around he will suffer more and more.

He stated a weird thing when I really think about it. He said, ” Each day Al is one day closer to dying.” I already knew this. I think doctors and nurses beat around the bush. They have ethics and politeness when sometimes I would rather hear the bold truth, but then again, why. It doesn’t matter. I try to make each day count.

When I roll him it is a huge struggle and I get stressed because I feel like I can’t do it. I know Al knows it is hard because he kept telling me he was sorry. Of course I would feel guilt that I verbalized my groans of pushing and moving and I would tell him it isn’t his fault, that I know if he could help he would for sure.

His tremors just this weekend have curled his toes up bad. He has a large looking hammer toe now from the curling. His arms won’t stay to the side of his body. They repeatedly make their way back to his stomach area.

No matter when I went in to check on him his hands were holding each other and he was beating himself in the stomach from the tremors. I have to wonder if I can get his shoes on him.

With all of the doses of pain medications  no one can seem to get the tremors to stop. I believe in my heart that the only one who can stop those tremors is God.

I don’t know the time but I am thankful that I have put up our Christmas Tree. I told Al I was going to put up white lights for him in his bedroom today but I never made it to that. Hopefully tomorrow.

I let the house go today. I fixed a meal. I cooked chicken legs and de-boned them. I cooked noodles in the broth and made instant mashed potatoes. I also made a pudding for Al. I took the seasonal pumpkin pie spice Jello pudding mix and added beaten cream cheese and a container of cool-whip, then enough milk to make it the consistency he needed.

He ate one doughnut yesterday. Today he ate about five bites of pudding two different times. He also ate about a fourth of cup of noodles. He didn’t eat much but he ate more than yesterday. I could hear his tummy growling but he is barely eating.

Well the day is over, hopefully. I am headed to bed to get some much-needed sleep. Keep us in your prayers for a helper to arrive. Hugs to all of you for your love, friendship and support. I couldn’t do it without the emails, phone calls, and comments.beautiful-christmas-scene-christmas-wallpaper.jpg

What Happened?


Last night Al finally went to sleep later in the evening to only wake up at half past midnight. I could not hold my eyes open anymore so when he slept, I laid on the couch. I think my mind shut down immediately.

When he woke up at a much shorter time than my body was hoping for I took care of  his needs and then wrote a prompt for Alastair. By then I wasn’t tired, but I went to bed. I don’t know what I watched but I flipped the TV on and saw Hallmark is now letting us view Christmas movies.

Oh Christmas, the word can cause such stress for me. How can that be? Christmas was always a wonderful, sparkly word. Full of thoughts of snowflakes.Snowflake-Screen-Saver_1 A time for family to get together and feast on the best foods of all.Christmas-Wedding-Food-2 A time for Christmas dazzles, pretty lights and trees.Christmas tree 2013

A time for play, to forget all of our problems and for this one season take our minds off of ourselves and think of others. Build snowmen, make snow angels, go sledding, have fun.kids sledding

And then something happens. We get no notice, it just slips in underneath of us and once we realize what happened, the sorrow sets in. I don’t know if it has ever slipped in on you too, but I know it has for me.

I look at all my wonderful memories of the photos above and I rub my chin and squint my eyes and I ask myself, what happened? where did everyone go? where is the laughter?

I feel this way very much this year. There is no Christmas spirit in my house, but our tree is up. There is no snowflakes yet, but my white lights are up. Isn’t it awesome how snowflakes bounce off the reflection of the white lights?

Oh this brings me so much joy, the scenery played out at the holidays. There are no presents under the tree as of yet. My gift I ask for this year has to come from God; to bring peace to the inside of this home. To continue to bring understanding, lots of love, and plenty of compassion. To relieve Al from his suffering and to thank God for sending Jesus into my life. This is my one and only gift and yet no one can buy it for me.

As I sit here waiting for Al to get up I let my mind wander back in time. I listen carefully and I can hear Dad laughing and Mom yelling because the food is not perfect. I can see my Grandfather starting up the 1954 Ford tractor. He is getting ready to pull us behind it on an old truck hood.

I can smell yeast rolls baking and see a big bird cooling on the stove. There are pies at the square folding table. I hear giggles from all of my cousins as they race through the house full of excitement of opening presents later.

I see me in my best Christmas dress; all frilly red with white anklets, black patent leather shoes, and my hand muff, all fluffy white. I can hear Grandfather telling everyone at the table to hold hands and I can remember his words of grace.

I can hear the laughter around the table and glasses clicking, utensils digging into mounds of food and I cry now. I cry for the joy of being able to remember. I cry for what Al and I will not have anymore, and I cry for what is about to happen to our lives.

God is good, God has the perfect plan. I don’t always like it, but I have to follow it because I know he is right. As I sit here wondering about Christmas this year at my house, I know one child that will be here, one child that won’t be here and the other child I won’t know until it gets closer to Christmas.

I realize I am never alone. I have you and God and my children, my health and my memories, and of course today, I still have Al. It is important that I stand tall and brace life knowing I will hit bumps. So in closing I will light my candles, and while waiting for Al to get up, I will play my ultimate favorite Christmas song. Together this will cause a smile to come on my face and I will walk into my brother’s room ready to tackle yet one more day.

Good Morning To Me and You


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I was able to get up this morning and take a shower at my own pace. I even put some body lotion on afterwards and am dressed. I smell like a lady again. Do you think anyone will notice?

Probably not, but I do. I am able to sit here and write and drink my first cup of coffee. I am loving every moment I have with myself. I look out the window and I see a mixture of sun and a few streaky clouds. I see one tree now baron of leaves, other trees that haven’t begun to shed their summer leaves and I see one pine tree.

I used to hate silence. I used to hate spending time with myself. I thought I was boring. But Al‘s illness and my responsibilities to taking care of his needs has made me appreciate one leisurely shower.

The coffee taste better. Rhino, our cat is napping on my bed. Al is snoring. The Christmas tree is glowing and all is quiet. In my neighborhood I live with Senior Citizens on my side of the road. On the opposite side lives the Saturday social drinkers; so Sunday mornings can be spectacular.

I don’t know how many of you take time to be with yourself. I don’t mean meditating or praying. I mean just stepping back and looking at the precise moment you are in. What are you doing and are you enjoying it? Have you noticed anything about this fine Sunday morning?

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