The Journey Continues

With the sleep I stole yesterday through the day it didn’t bother me too much getting up with Al through the night last night. He and I had many conversations during the evening and the middle of night.

I could clearly tell that Al  has made peace with himself and the world. When he did sometimes look me in the eye I could feel a calm staring at me. It has been so odd lately this week.

With Al being a massive routine person it seemed strange to no longer turn the fans on for him. At times he has asked for the TV to be turned off. It seems that silence has become his friend as his mind ponders on his life.

I only interact with his personal thoughts when he has asked me. I feel it is a very private process and I have no right to interfere. The night before we discussed his Grandma who lives in Florida. We also talked about an aunt who resides in Florida also.

There is pain in memories that Al and I both have carried for a couple of years now. I have forgiven the harsh words, and have moved forward; but when Al brings it back up I can feel a sting return.

I didn’t know how to handle it, since we could not go to Florida so he could speak to them in person. So I became the third person, repeating Al’s words to God that Al said and doing it out loud so he could be sure that God was getting his messages.

It seemed by the time we both found sleep he had come to an inner peace. He had also brought up last night that he wished he could say good-bye to family members. This part hurt me terribly and I can’t help but add I got a little angry.

The people who Al mentioned I have already previously contacted and let them know that he was reaching out to them. I have tried my best to get people in Al’s life to understand that he may be mentally challenged but not stupid. He misses people and has hoped that he would get those visits.

Al only has issues with comprehension, other than that he knows who his family and friends are. He also realizes who has not contacted him in some way and then he cries, telling me he did something wrong. I can do no more for him on this topic unless I want to get on bended knee to those and beg, and I refuse to do that.

Last night Al said he thought he was done with everything that was important to him but for one thing, the will. He said he needed to make a will. I asked around for a video recorder but I never located one.

The next best thing I could do for him was to take pen and paper and let Al write his own will, with me doing the writing. I know that it would not hold up in a court of law, but it was sealed and complete in Al’s mind.

He told me about his coca cola collection. Who he wanted to have certain things. He talked about his vintage car collection. He had been obviously thinking about this very much because he had me write down his clothes, dresser, TV, shelving units. Just about everything in his room was added to the will and separated.

When he felt he was done I read back to him what I had written and he felt content with it. I drew a line and Al signed it. I had silent tears running down my cheeks and all I could do is reach out and rub his arm and his fingers.

He talked then about the ladder to the sky and the little lights he was seeing. I told him that if he decided to leave during the night to always remember how much I loved him. I explained that I would never forget him and reminded him how special he was to me in my life.

He wrapped his free hand over mine and started to cry, but I heard clearly through his tears saying to me, ” I love you sis. You are the best sis I have ever had.”kids sleddingpurple candles100_0749

A Moment in Time

Within two hours this morning  I had changed a complete bed for Al because of his excessive sweating. Hospice was here this mid-morning. There were several phone calls on her end, many conversations with Al and now he is on his way to the Hospice house. They are going to try to adjust medications or find something to help Al’s tremors and see if they can get him to get some sleep.

In two days he has eaten about 20 % total each day. I packed some items for him. Clothing, shaver, tooth-brush, and of course three vintage cars.

And ambulance came and got him at 1pm and took him out on the gurney. I kept telling Al that he would be back in a few days. I told him like a broken record that I loved him.

When I could no longer stretch my neck anymore and see the ambulance I came back inside. Quiet, empty. I know that he will be back, God willing. I know he will be alright, he will be back before I know it. I just need to keep telling myself this.

We think it is the tremors that are causing him to not eat. As far as wanting to go to heaven, that is still utmost in his mind. Not being able to walk or barely stand is the M.S.A.  I guess it is a combination of every part of this nasty illness.

Every web site I read about M.S.A. all state several things in common. The most frequent sentence I read is it is the worst debilitating disease I have ever seen. I am afraid I have to agree with this. It not only cuts your life short. It takes a way your dignity and pride and everything you could ever do before.

Last night there was a point when he said, ” I can see Mom. Her hand is reaching down to me.”

I gulped a little and said,” well Bud, just reach out and grab it. I will be alright. I want you to be able to get a new body and trade this in.”

As I was talking to him he stretched out his arm to the ceiling. He was reaching out for her. Oh Lord, I can’t talk anymore. I have to go. I just can’t deal with this right now, sorry.arm reaching outangel-looking-down-from-heaven-534book4

Al and the Car Show Today

Although my brother spends much of his free time sleeping; nothing was going to keep him a way from the car show today. My son and a group of about 15 build trucks and enter them in car shows. It just happened that one was in our local area so I wanted to take Al.

He was so tired and I wasn’t sure if he could really see the cars as his head hung so low but I know he had a good time. We were able to stay about two hours and then he said his pain was getting too bad. I brought him home and he napped.

I wanted to share with you what he thought in his words as “cool”

bel air 2This is one of my son’s cars he entered.

bel air and AlAl said,” I want one more ride in that car” and my son replied, ” no problem buddy.”

bel airecar show

Al sitting by one of the “cool” cars.

car show2My son’s truck.

car show 3One of the trucks in my son’s truck club.

car show 5Is this a real UPS?

car show 6Al liked the color.

car show 7Al sitting by one of his favorites.

car show 8Al said this had the same color as the Bel Air.

car show 10I had to sneak in the car of my dreams.

car show shirtWe couldn’t leave without getting Al a little gift.


I Couldn’t Help But Cry As I Read This

Dianne Cogar writes amazing poetry. I have been following her writings for some time now. We have recently friended each other on Facebook.

I had seen one of her comments and poems tonight of where she paid special tribute to certain people, and I asked her if she ever got bored or had time if she could do something for me, for my memories of my brother, Al.

I waited for a reply back and went to her Facebook profile. Here is her link;

Here is a peek at who she is;

I will never forget the gift she gave me within the same evening. I told her I was going to share it with you and let you know that she wrote it for me and Al. Here is the poem.

Thank-you so much Dianne.

Dianne Cogar 11:03pm Jul 15
A heart-gift for Terry Shepherd …

Al, My Dear Brother And Faithful Friend
Emotions Drawn From The Heart Of Terry Shepherd
20 Revised by Dianne Cogar 13

One kind and loving brother, and a wonderful true friend–
Someone who cares deeply from the start to no end!
Your smile and your wisdom, it’s uniquely your own–
Still young at heart, though you’re now fully grown.

This life sometimes hurts, and heartache stands in the way–
Though you revive my soul, spreading joy on each day.
And as tears sometimes flow, happiness will befall–
Empowering my emotions with this life I recall

You’re a man with a heart, and your life’s full of wonder–
Though sometimes confused, and you’re sometimes in blunder.
But God has a plan, Al you’re special to me–
You bring to life purpose and He filled you with glee

There’s two loves in your world, both are true to your need–
And they keep you content, yes, they keep your mind freed.
Old vintage cars; such amusement and desire–
And that sweet cocoa-cola that often takes you even higher!
Such small things to ask for, and even smaller gifts to give–
But these humbling pleasures are what that makes heart live.

Al, you’re a treasure, though still a diamond in the rough–
But together we survive, and together we grow tough.
And there’s no other brother that could make me feel this glad,
For all the memories we’ve shared, and even those that go bad

Yes, God has a plan, and he touches my heart,
From the fresh new of dawn, to the eve we must part.
And though worry I do, and the tears sometimes fall,
I know my problems are few– in comparison they’re small.

So let’s just go on with each day, and each in thankful belief–
And I’ll trust with my heart will come peace and relief.
You just smile at me always, with your eyes bright and true–
And never forget Al, that I’ll always love you!flashing star

Lessons In Life

The saying is, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I believe you can. I am considered middle-aged, and am starting to see I am getting set in my ways in life, but I was taught a new thing this morning, and I have sat straighter, and have taken a new look at my life, and am now thankful and yet fearful.

I have been living my life through Al’s actions, and I now realize this has been wrong to a point. I have also been preparing myself for the future. I actually hate doing this, as I am not God, therefore, I do not know the time or the day when our lives here on earth will end.

I believe the brain kicks into a slow-moving gear, maybe a shuttle, slowly adjusting to what will happen down the long path of life. I think it keeps us out of the shock mode. I know of many instances, when a young person, or a healthy human, has been lifted by God, to live with him, instead of showing his presence here on earth. We go into shock, surprise. We mourn heavily for the loss of our friend, co-worker, or family member. Children especially are the hardest to deal with, as we expect them to live for ever, and even out live our own selves. It takes our minds weeks, sometimes months,maybe years  to get through this and past it. So, I am thankful in a way, that my brain has started to adjust to what could happen.

Today, though, I have learned from a dear friend, whose family member also suffers from Parkinson’s, that Al is not going anywhere, if normal circumstances continue. I believe I have fallen into the trap of listening and taking the words from Al and letting them sink too far in my heart.

Yes, he is suffering, I do agree. Yes, he walks with much struggle, and wobbles back and forth. Yes, he is very slow, and is beginning to struggle with drinking and speaking, but he is safe, in the fact, that he still can walk, talk, use the restroom, and dress himself.

When I learned that there could be more likely worse things to come, I had a wake-up call. Al could come to the point he can no longer walk, will not recognize me, can no longer be fed normal food, and he may want to sleep more than stay awake. The coca-cola could become a distant memory, and his new awakening for vintage cars, could become a thing of the past.

I don’t know for sure if this is something God wants me to learn or not, but my gut says yes. I believe God wants me to wait on him, to listen with my heart, and to let my fears go into God’s worry basket. I believe that God wants me to live for today, and pause only for tomorrow, glancing at it with a dim light, but not concentrate on the what ifs.

I believe that God wants me to place my trust in him, and not in the world. You can hear the doctors words, you can read all of the books, but when it comes down to black and white, it is very clear, the color is all white, pure white, our lives are in God’s hands, his perfect timings. I believe that God is using Al’s illness to teach me humbleness, thankfulness, and to walk an even closer walk with our Lord.

I talked to Al, who is in a constant pattern of seeing only himself. I told him my thoughts on how it can sometimes be a bad thing, a negative thing, to see only ourselves, and not see the wonders of what God is doing in our lives.

He didn’t understand, which I was already prepared for, and I explained to him what could happen to him in the future with this illness. I taught him what I learned, that God wants us to be forever grateful for this moment that we are given. He looked at me, and I felt the click, that he understood a big part of what I was saying. His comment was, you mean God wants me to be like this? I said no, but he wants us to give thanks for what he is giving us for this day today.

He said nothing and lowered his head to his lap. We both sat in silence for a few moments, he and I pondering on the lives we are living, thanking God for each moment we have, and that we have this time together to share. Someday, each of us are going to leave our memories for others to ponder on, but for today, I just want to lower myself on bended knee, and say Thank-you to God for using my brother and his illness, to draw me closer to you. Thank-you for being gentle and loving in your teachings to me. You are perfect in your teachings and timings, and for this I praise your name.