On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for May, 2019

More Front Porch Antics | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, May 28, 2019:

Rocker in the makingWhen I left you last week, David and I were both tired and sore from a week of climbing and crawling around on a ladder and porch railings to paint and to mount sheets of foam insulation on the ceiling of our new front porch. This week we had several days to rest and recuperate.

Monday we drove to Fort Worth to attend our grandson’s jazz band concert. An amazing performance was presented by all the students, especially by Mattias who I still can’t believe is in high school. We spent the night to avoid getting home well past the witching hour. It also allowed us to visit over breakfast and lunch before heading for home.

The schedule for the rest of the week was full, but by Saturday we were out of excuses. Well, I had one excuse – an online book event that required a bit of promo work. While I was on the computer, David put on his work clothes and headed outside. It wasn’t more than five minutes when I heard him calling me. (more…)

Feeling My Age | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, May 21, 2019:

Porch Front View 011019Last week I wrote about drying my wings. The weather this week was beautiful, and the good weather gave us a chance to do some long overdue work on our new front porch. So now my “wings” are dry, but they are very weary.

Sometime in the early 1950s, when I was around five years old, my parents bought their first home in Snyder, Texas. It was a cute little five-room cottage with a carport, asbestos shingles (who knew they were dangerous!), and a neat front porch surrounded by a white railing. I was quite a tomboy, and that railing was the perfect configuration for climbing, jumping, and performing daring circus-like stunts with my brother. Our favorite involved him standing on the ground and me jumping off the rail onto his shoulders. From there, he would grab my hands and I would flip backward and hopefully land on my feet. I was young, agile, and foolishly fearless, and I don’t remember any negative after effects from my antics. However, after more years than I care to discuss, my recent front porch antics left me weary and sore with a few bruises and several broken nails. (more…)

Drying My Wings | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, May 14, 2019:

snakebirdFlorida requires that, when developers put in new subdivisions, they leave a certain percentage of the land in its natural state. We were blessed to have a retention pond right behind our house and a screened-in porch – better known as a lanai by the natives – where we could sit and watch the wildlife. Some of the wildlife, like the alligators, was a little too wild, but the large variety of birds was fascinating.

One in particular caught my eye. It was a rather large black bird with a long neck. It would dive under the water and stay for a long time. Then it would surface and stretch its neck straight up so it could swallow whatever tasty bit of marine life it had snagged before disappearing into the water again. When its tummy was full, it would climb out of the water and sit on a log or rock where it would spread its wings and sit for a spell before flying away.

No one in our household of transplanted Texans could shed any light on this bird and its unusual habits, so I went to the Internet. I found a wildlife site that had a place for questions, and I described our visitor. I received a prompt reply that I was watching an Anhinga or Snakebird. The reason it spread its wings after a swim was that, unlike other aquatic birds, it didn’t have any oil on its feathers. It had to spread out in the sunshine so it could dry off enough to fly.

I have felt somewhat like a Snakebird lately, especially Wednesday of last week. It has been so wet this spring that everyone I know is checking their feet for webbing, and companies that make mildew removers are making a fortune. (more…)

Two Memoirs about Alzheimer’s Caregiving by Linda Brendle

A Long and Winding Road by Linda Brendle         56161812_524092914662317_2745872214099230720_n

Buy A Long and Winding Road:      Ebook     Paperback

Buy Mom’s Long Goodbye:     Ebook     Paperback

A Long and Winding Road

Alzheimer’s is a family disease, and this is a love story – not a boy meets girls love story, but a family love story. It is the story of the love between a daughter and her parents and her willingness to take them into her home when they could no longer care for themselves; the story of a mother and a father who loved their daughter but no longer remembered exactly where they were or why; the story of a husband who loved his wife so much that he stood beside her as they fought to survive the ravages of the brain-wasting disease that was stealing her loved ones away a piece at a time. It’s also the story of a seven-week trip for four across sixteen U.S. states in a forty-foot motor home – a trip that involved stopped up toilets, wet jeans, laughter, and headaches that were far from the easygoing retirement the Brendles had imagined for themselves.

Linda Brendle takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotional and spiritual challenges that many families are facing right now. Co-dependency, mental breakdowns, and finding love after divorce are just a few of the issues weaved into this journey of caregiving.

 A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos is the story of the chaos that happens when four people, two of whom have Alzheimer’s, spend fifty-three days in a 400-square-foot box on wheels.

 

   

Mom’s Long Goodbye

Mom’s good-bye began with a red photo album and ended fifteen years later in a hospital bed in the Alzheimer’s wing of Southridge Village. This is her story and mine.

My first memoir told of the chaos that happens when four people, two of whom have Alzheimer’s, spend fifty-three days in a forty-foot motor home. It also told of the years and the life experiences that brought these four people together. After finishing it, many readers asked what happened next. Mom’s Long Good-Bye is the rest of the story.

Based on blog posts written as the events happened, this memoir takes the reader through grieving a continuous loss, some of the initial changes Alzheimer’s causes, the transition from caregiving to assisted living, Dad’s death, Mom’s last year, and the grief and closure of her final good-bye.

This book is for the millions who have experienced the heartache of witnessing the physical and mental deterioration of a loved family member or a dear friend. Mom’s Long Good-Bye strips away the façade of being the perfect caregiver and gives the reader a look at the denial, the anger, and the fear that come as a loved one loses herself a piece at a time to an insidious disease. By sharing her own struggles, the author assures other caregivers that they are not alone, that perfection is not required, and that comfort is real.

 

Blessings,

Linda

Images of Moms | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on May 7, 2019:

Last month, I participated in a photo challenge with some of my Facebook family and friends. We were given a topic for each day of the month and were supposed to post a picture related to that topic. It was especially challenging for me since I usually think in verbal images rather than visual ones. Some of my pictures were just something to check off the list, some were pretty good, and a few were almost inspired. It was fun, but it was also a bit of relief when it was over. I guess I’m still thinking in visual images, though. Sunday morning I saw the perfect image for the topic “mom.”

We have a number of young couples in our church and lots of children. In fact, you have to be careful in the halls not to step on a little one or knock over a toddler who’s just getting his legs under him. I’m way out of that circle, but based on Facebook posts and other evidence, I think there are lots of play dates and sleepovers among our kids. There’s also a lot of seat swapping in church – you never know which kids will be sitting with which family. (more…)

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