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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Daddy’s Legacy

summer 2010 (p&s) 104

Today is the 100th anniversary of Elmer Loyd Robinson’s birth. In honor of the occasion, I’m reposting the first blog post I wrote on July 20, 2011.

Daddy was a simple man. I don’t mean that he wasn’t smart. Quite the opposite. He was valedictorian of his high school graduating class, and he was great at helping me with my homework. He could figure out how to fix or build anything. When he worked for the Post Office, he could quote the manual verbatim and knew where every Texas town was located, no matter how small. But his needs and wants were simple, and he sometimes didn’t understand the complexities of the modern world. He didn’t leave behind a collection of awards and trophies or a big estate, but he left behind a legacy of peace and love that will live for a long time.

Daddy was hard to buy for because he didn’t need much to be happy. If he had a pair of shoes for work and another for Sunday, he didn’t see the need of another pair for his birthday. He didn’t understand why Givenchy for Men was better than Aqua Velva or Old Spice, and the stylish shirts and sweaters he received for Christmas or Father’s Day hung in the back of his closet while he wore his favorite button-up plaid shirts. He played golf with a set of used clubs, and he docked his used fishing boat at a dock he built with his own hands. The most excited I ever saw him about a gift was Christmas of 1957. We had a brand new Plymouth, maybe the first new car he ever owned. In those days, outside rear-view mirrors were an accessory, and one on each side was a real luxury. That year Jim and I pooled our money and bought Daddy a matching pair of chrome rear-view mirrors. He opened the present with a half-smile that said, Oh, goody, another pair of shoes, but when he saw the glitter of chrome, he broke into a real smile. When he saw the second mirror, he absolutely beamed.

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Daddy’s Girl | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 15, 2021:

My Daddy and me – 1947

My father has been in Heaven for ten years, but I still miss him and think about him a lot. He’s especially on my mind in June when there is so much emphasis on fathers, so in honor of the special day we just celebrated, I want to share some of my favorite memories of the man I called Daddy.

  1. I was Daddy’s girl, especially when I was little. When he went anywhere, I wanted to go with him. In the time before seat belts and child seats, he was my child restraint system. I remember standing beside him, tucked “safely” behind his right shoulder. As shocking as that may be to our safety conscious society, I felt completely safe and lovingly protected.
  2. Another of my favorite memories is something that today’s children, strapped and restrained as they are, will never experience. From time to time, he would let me sit in his lap and drive the car. Of course, all I was doing was holding onto the steering wheel while he continued to be in complete control. Still, it was fun, it was a great confidence builder, and it was great practice for my later life as a Christian when I finally realized who is really in control.
  3. I loved going to work with Daddy. The first job I remember was at a lumber yard, and when Mom would take his lunch to him, my brother Jim and I would go climb on the stacks of lumber. Later, he took a job at the Post Office, and he sometimes picked me up from school. While he cased his mail for the next day, I’d sit on a stool at a work table and practice my letters or put my fingers through the air holes in the crates of baby chicks and pet their fuzzy yellow feathers. I’m sure we broke lots of OSHA and Federal regulations, but being a real part of his life was worth being a bit of an outlaw.
  4. A friend once told me that, when God made me, He forgot to put in the higher gears. I’m not sure exactly what she meant, but perhaps she was referring to my tendency to nod off in either a car or a church. In the early years, as soon as the sermon began, I put my head in Daddy’s lap and went to sleep. Sometimes, though, I stayed awake and sat in his lap. I amused myself, and totally ruined his ability to concentrate, by playing with his tie. I would begin at the bottom, roll it up to the knot, and release it. After it rolled out to its full length, I repeated the process. Maybe that’s why, for every gift-giving occasion, I gave him a tie.
  5. When I was five, we moved into a house where I had my own bedroom. Until then, I had slept in a crib in my parents’ room or shared a bed with Jim in the living room. For a few months, I had occasional sleep-walking episodes during which I assume I was looking for companionship. Several times I woke up sitting on the side of Mom and Dad’s bed with Daddy sitting beside me, his eyes full of sleep and his hair standing on end, trying to stop the flow of my tears and reassuring me that everything was okay.
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I also jotted down five memories of how Daddy provided support and practical aid later in my life when I was single again. Before I completely exceed my allotted word count, I’ll summarize:

  • He often hung curtains and pictures, installed ceiling fans, and finished many other things on my “I don’t have a honey to do” list.
  • In addition to caring for his own yard, he mowed, trimmed, and edged mine. He also removed and disposed of tomato worms that tried to take over my patio tomatoes.
  • Although he wasn’t in a position to offer financial assistance, he didn’t hesitate to co-sign a note when my old car bit the dust.
  • Daddy always had a key to my house, and more than once he got up out of bed and came over to unlock my door when I locked myself out.
  • Daddy showed me how a godly man should love his wife. His love for Mom was one of the defining realities of his life. He loved her as Paul told the Ephesians to love their wives and would have given up his life for her. He told her every day how beautiful she was and how much he loved her, and he never tired of kissing her or holding her hand.
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There’s much more, but these are a few of the things that added up to a lifetime of love and care. Daddy led by example and loved by acts of service. Happy Father’s Day to the first man I ever loved.

Blessings,

Linda

Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Excuses for an Afternoon Nap | By Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 6, 2021:

Naps are not a normal part of my routine, but I made an exception Sunday afternoon. In my defense, it had been a hectic week. Keeping in mind that hectic has a different meaning to retired people than to those still in the work force, here’s my story.

Monday’s schedule was normal with nothing more hectic than an afternoon workout at the gym. But Tuesday we drove to Bonham for David’s 2nd COVID shot which meant leaving the house shortly after sunrise. On the way home, we stopped at the Library to pick up a movie for later and at Brookshire’s for our contribution to lunch with Bill and Susan. They are regulars at our Friday night Bible study and recently invited the group to their home for a hymn sing. I was nominated to play the piano, and although I thoroughly enjoyed her Baldwin baby grand, I’m very rusty after ten years without a piano in my home. She loves to sing, so she invited us to come over for burgers and a practice session.

We had a great time, but we had to stop when my arthritic hands began to protest. By the time we made it home, it was time to get ready for movie night. One of our neighbors had offered to bring the makings for nachos if we would provide the venue and the movie. We watched The Matrix Revolutions and discussed things we had missed in previous viewings. It was a fun day, but hectic by our standards.

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To hug or not to hug | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 9, 2021:

What is one of the first things we say to our grandchildren when we see them? I have no scientific proof to back this up, but it’s probably something like Come give Grandma a hug! And more than likely, the kids come running. Maybe it’s because they know that Grandma usually brings treats, or maybe it’s because there’s something in human nature that craves the touch of another person.

One of my favorite stories from our family history is of a cousin who went to her grandmother and asked for a hug. It must have been cool, because the older woman had on long sleeves. She picked up the little girl and gave her a squeeze, but the child wasn’t satisfied. “No, Grandma,” she said as she patted her arms. “I need to feel skin.”

It’s a cute, feel-good story, but the theories of some healthcare professionals seem to back up the little girl’s need. In an article dated March 1, 2010, Maia Szalavitz of Psychology Today stated that touch can ease pain and lift depression. She further said that babies who are denied touch through lack of being held, nuzzled or hugged may fail to thrive and may even die if the situation continues too long. In April of 2018, the Healthline website quoted family therapist Virginia Satir as saying “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

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The End of a Family Tradition | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 1, 2020:

Facebook sometimes brings sad news, and Sunday was one of those times. AJ’s Fish House, a community institution for twenty years, announced that its doors will close effective December 1. This is not only a great loss to fried fish fans in East Texas but also to my family.

When David and I moved here ten years ago, we were introduced to the tradition of celebrating Aunt Fay’s birthday at the all-you-can-eat restaurant that specialized in all things fried along with a cobbler bar guaranteed to give a sugar rush to all who partook. Each January, on the Saturday closest to the 20th, Fay’s children, grandchildren, and various hangers on gathered from as close as Emory and as far away as Houston to celebrate the life of this amazing woman.

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How Thanksgiving Grows | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 24, 2020:

Like everything else this year, Thanksgiving is going to be a bit different. We usually go to the home of relatives for the holiday, but as the messages began coming in that various families were staying home alone this year, I began to plan my menu. David said I didn’t have to cook anything special, but I knew we would both be disappointed with hamburgers.

It’s hard to make a special meal for two without an overwhelming amount

of leftovers, so I suggested we invite Connie and Charles from across the street to share our bounty. Then I talked with Aunt Fay, and after she told me that she was going to buy a bag of dressing mix and a rotisserie chicken for her meal, I suggested she join us. She’s a busy lady and wasn’t sure if she could make it – but if she does, our Thanksgiving dinner for two will have grown to five.

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The best of times, the worst of times | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 18, 2020:

best of timesA Tale of Two Cities, the epic historical novel by Charles Dickens, begins with a famous opening sentence:  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. If you ask most people which of these two choices would best describe 2020 so far, a huge majority would probably choose the latter. Up until last week, I would have readily agreed – but now I’m not so sure.

One night I couldn’t go to sleep, so I left David deep in the land of Nod and went into the living room. After reading for a while, I picked up my phone and began scrolling through some of the posts I don’t usually take the time to look at during the day. Fortunately, few political or controversial posts show up on my timeline – probably because of the type of posts I respond to. Whatever the reason, most of what I get are photos of birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, weddings and other family gatherings. (more…)

Living in a Micro World | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 28, 2020:

family cemeteryThere was a time not too many centuries ago when it was not uncommon for a person to live their entire life within a few miles of the place where they were born. The furthest they traveled was to the nearest town for supplies, church and school. They socialized with family and friends from nearby farms, picked a mate from that small pool of choices, raised children, died at home and were laid to rest in the community cemetery.

Then, in the early 19th century, Samuel Morse and other inventors developed a way to transmit electrical signals over long distances, and the communication revolution began. It wasn’t long before radios, telephones, televisions, computers and satellites opened up the world to those little insulated areas. While all this was going on, other inventors transformed travel with the creation of steamboats, trains, automobiles, airplanes and rockets.

Almost overnight, at least from a historical perspective, civilization changed from a communication revolutioncollection of micro or extremely small communities to one macro or large scale, we-are-the-world society. Most of us live somewhere between those two extremes, but there are times when I feel like COVID has pushed us back into a micro world. It’s not the ultra-isolated world of the pre-electronic age. We still have instant access to more information than we can or want to take in, but our pool of human contacts has dried up to a puddle. I became very aware of that this past weekend. (more…)

Let Freedom Ring! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 6, 2020:

ice cream freezerI loved the Fourth of July when I was a kid. We lived inside the city limits where the authorities frowned on the fun stuff like roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire and shooting off fireworks. So we usually celebrated Independence Day at Aunt Fay’s. In addition to the fire-roasted treats, the menu also included potato salad, chips, watermelon, iced tea, Kool-Aid, and home churned ice cream. In later years when Uncle Dean bought the first charcoal grill I had ever seen, hamburgers were added.

While the adults prepared the food, the seven kids (me, my brother, and our five cousins) ran around Fay and Dean’s unfenced acreage, making noise and getting dirty. Sometimes we visited the food site to grab a chip or take turns sitting on the ice cream churn. By the time dinner was ready, we needed no prompting to come and eat. Everything was always delicious – food always tastes better when eaten outside on paper plates and sprinkled with a little bit of dirt. (more…)

Book Sale for Alzheimer’s Caregivers | by Guest Author, Marianne Sciucco

Marianne Sciucco is one of the founders of AlzAuthors, a site where caregivers can share information and experiences through books and more. She’s here today to tell my readers about a very special 5-day book sale that begins tomorrow. It’s a rather long post because it gives blurbs and links to all the books that are on sale. Please scroll all the way through and make note of any you want to buy – you don’t want to miss the perfect book for you. Mine might be one of them!

AlzAuthors 3rd Annual Caregiver Appreciation Month Book Sale & Giveaway is November 21-25

by Marianne Sciucco

AlzAuthors is built by caregivers for caregivers. Our mission is to provide carefully vetted books and blogs to help you find the answers and guidance you need. The majority of our authors have “walked the walk” with a parent, spouse, or other loved one, and have chosen to write their stories as balm for the soul, and to share with others the information they wished they’d had on their dementia journeys.

As November is National Caregiver Appreciation Month, we think it’s a wonderful time to recognize the long hours, sacrifice, and love caregivers bring to caring for a loved one with dementia or any long-term illness. In honor of their efforts, we are hosting a book sale and giveaway. It’s a terrific way for caregivers who are looking for knowledge, guidance, and support to build a library of carefully vetted books to help guide and inspire them every day.

Starting today through November 25th, you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books for free and reduced prices. We offer a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s literature. All are available in Kindle, and many are available in other digital formats, paperback, and audio.

Our books are written from a deep place of understanding, experience, knowledge, and love. May you find one – or two, or more! – to help guide you on your own dementia journey.

Click on the book covers to visit each book’s Amazon.com page. Please check all prices before purchasing. AlzAuthors is not responsible for ensuring price reductions. Please contact the individual authors with questions (contact information is provided in each author’s AlzAuthors blog post). All prices are in U.S. dollars. Note: AlzAuthors is an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

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anthology cover_ebookAlzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories: 47 Authors Share Their Inspiring Personal Experiences (An AlzAuthors Anthology, Book 2) by AlzAuthors, KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL – starts at $0.99 then rises each day to $4.99

Within these pages you will be immersed in a world of writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia gathered together by the team at AlzAuthors. The editors of this anthology have worked tirelessly to find and vet resources – memoir, novels, nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, and blogs – to provide those living with dementia a friendly place to find the support and knowledge they need. Includes stories for those caring for parents, a spouse, or living with the disease themselves. Stories featuring books for children and teens are also included.  May one of their stories speak to you.

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anthology biz cardAlzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories: 58 Authors Share Their Inspiring Personal Experiences (An AlzAuthors Anthology Book 1) by AlzAuthors, $0.99 (reg. $4.99); paperback $9.99 (reg. 14.99)

This poignant anthology grew out of the first year’s blog posts on AlzAuthors.com. Fifty-eight authors reveal the backstory of their books about Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It is a heartfelt compilation from those who have been deeply touched – whether they live with the disease, are caregivers, or simply care. They join together to offer compassionate support and courage for anyone traveling a similar path.

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flying fossilsFlying Fossils by Lynn Gentry, fiction; FREE (reg. $4.99)

The Slocum women never discuss the family secrets they buried in the Frio River. For twenty-five years, they’ve gone their separate ways and lived separate lives. But when Sara’s fall breaks her hip and leaves her unable to care for herself, her daughter is forced to return to Texas. Charlotte’s short-term care-giving plan is dashed when she realizes her difficult mother needs long-term care. While Sara struggles to regain her independence, Charlotte grapples with the impossible task of juggling a high-pressure job, a rebellious teenage daughter, and a slightly demented mother.

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blue hydrangeasBlue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story by Marianne Sciucco, fiction; KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL – starts at 0.99 then rises each day to $4.99; paperback $9.99 (reg. 14.99)

What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name? A care facility is everyone’s solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband, Jack, can’t bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams, and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving, complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home. With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But, on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days, and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.

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Alzheimer's DaughterAlzheimer’s Daughter by Jean Lee, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $4.99)

What would you do if both parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? At the time of their diagnosis, Ed Church struggles to his feet, yelling, “How dare you use the A. word with me,” while Ibby wags her finger at the doctor scolding, “Shame on you.” They protect each other, Ibby by asserting, “We’re not leaving our home,” and Ed reassuring, “We’re just fine.” About his driving Ed defends, “I’m an excellent driver, I’ve never had an accident.” When their daughter, Rosie, finds dings in Ed’s car, he dismisses, “Someone must have bumped into me.” After Rosie moves them to assisted living, convinced they are on a second honeymoon, they break the news, “We’ve decided not to have more children.” In the late stages, they politely shake Rosie’s hand, inquiring, “Now, who are you?” In Alzheimer’s Daughter readers journey with Rosie Church from her first suspicions that something is awry to nearly a decade later as she is honored to hold Ed and Ibby’s hands when they draw their final breaths. Kindle reg. price 3.99/sale price 0.99.

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requiem for the status quoRequiem for the Status Quo by Irene Frances Olson, fiction; $0.99 (reg. $4.99)

Family caregivers are oftentimes ruthlessly challenged by uninvolved family members who are quick to condemn, but reticent to offer assistance. Such is the case for Colleen Strand, a widow who recently found her own footing who takes on the task of caring for her father, Patrick Quinn, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her older brother, Jonathan, criticizes Colleen at every turn and verbally abuses the father when he has the gall to exhibit symptoms of his disease. In short, Jonathan travels down the road of denial, leaving Colleen to deal with all matters regarding their father’s care. Connected tenuously to a father who barely remembers her and a brother who has become an enigma, Colleen faces the moving target that is Alzheimer’s disease, determined to clothe her father with the dignity he deserves, while capturing the far too fleeting moments of time with him. Kindle reg. price 4.99/sale price 0.99

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competing with the starCompeting with the Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager, $0.99 (reg. $3.99), Young Adult Fiction

Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect… Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams–Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning. A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated… After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend–who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson. Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses about his history with Simone. Though he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe–especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school. Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star? This book has a sub-theme of Lewy Body Dementia.

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finding ruthFinding Ruth: A Daughter’s Quest to Discover Her Mother’s Past by Cynthia Hamilton, memoir; FREE (reg. $3.99)

A writer turns detective to learn what her mother’s life had been like before Alzheimer’s stole her memories. A true story of forgiveness and healing. As fiercely independent Ruth struggles to stay self-reliant at the age of 86, each day brings her closer to an event that will alter her life forever. While her author daughter shifts through Ruth’s possessions prior to her move into a skilled nursing facility, she discovers a previously unseen photo from 1949 and realizes how little she knows of her mother’s life. As Alzheimer’s continues to warp Ruth’s once sharp mind, she can no longer shed any light on the past. Yearning to know who her mother was as a person in her own right, the author painstakingly reconstructs Ruth’s life from photos, letters, public records and firsthand memories. What emerges is a portrait of a bright, beautiful woman who is propelled through decades of broken promises and heartache, bouncing from one ill-fated relationship to the next, but always staying strong, always surviving. Through a timeline going back sixty years, the author gleans a much better understanding of the woman she had known only as Mom.

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i'm your daughterI’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia by Julie A. Gorges, memoir; FREE (reg. $2.99)

“I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia” is written by award-winning journalist and author, Julie A. Gorges, who was the primary caregiver for her mother suffering from Lewy Body dementia. Sharing her intimate story, Gorges provides a compassionate and supportive guidebook to help caregivers cope with the many difficult challenges they will face while caring for their own needs at the same time. With gut-wrenching honesty, Gorges shares her own roller coaster ride of emotions, mistakes she made along the way, and all the ups and downs of this life-changing experience that is fulfilling as well as difficult and painful. This book walks caregivers through the entire process to the end of the journey to help them cope and move forward after a loved one dies. Gorges wholeheartedly believes there are many things people can do to make life more dignified and enjoyable during this challenging time. “I’m Your Daughter Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia” is a must-read for those embarking on this difficult, but in the end worthwhile journey of caregiving.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]Almost There by Laurel Garver, Young Adult fiction, $2.99 (reg. $ 3.99)

Paris, the City of Lights. To seventeen-year-old Dani Deane, it’s the Promised Land. There, her widowed mother’s depression will vanish and she will no longer fear losing her only parent, her arty New York life, or her devoted boyfriend. But shortly before their Paris getaway, Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, pulling them to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. Among the piles, Dani finds disturbing truths that could make Mum completely unravel. Desperate to protect her from pain and escape to Paris, Dani hatches a plan with the flirtatious neighbor boy that only threatens the relationships she most wants to save. Why would God block all paths to Paris? Could real hope for healing be as close as a box tucked in the rafters?

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trading placesTrading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother by Sandra Bullock Smith, memoir; FREE (reg. $2.99

Caring for an elderly parent can be extremely challenging. The role reversal involved is emotionally and intellectually demanding, and many caregivers find themselves unprepared to undertake such a difficult task. In Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother, author Sandra Bullock Smith shares her personal experiences spending ten years caring for her ailing mother. This heartfelt look at the trials and tribulations of that decade offers powerful insight and encouragement for anyone entering into a similar period of life. Smith’s touching stories share the heartbreaking, and sometimes comical, moments she experienced while providing assistance to her aging parent—and how they mirrored similar events from her own childhood. In a very real sense, the two women traded places. Smith found herself uttering phrases she heard all too often as a child, such as, “Don’t give your food to the dog,” and “You’ve had enough sugar today.” Smith began jotting down the things she said, and thus this charming book was born. Filled with respect, compassion, and love, this uplifting and amusing memoir is for anyone involved in elder care or who may face the role in the future.

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winding roadA Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos by Linda Brendle, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $3.99)

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 seven weeks touring the southeastern U.S. in a 40-foot motor home. Alzheimer’s is a family disease, and A Long and Winding Road is a love story–not a boy-meets-girl love story, but a family love story: The story of the love of a daughter for 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 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.

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Mom's Long GoodbyeMom’s Long Goodbye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort by Linda Brendle, memoir; $0.99 (reg. 5.99)

“Mom’s goodbye 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.” Linda Brendle’s first memoir, A Long and Winding Road, 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 Goodbye 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 goodbye. Mom’s Long Goodbye 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. Through sharing her own struggles, Brendle tries to assure other caregivers that they are not alone, that perfection is not required, and that comfort is real.

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somebody stole my ironSomebody Stole My Iron: a Family Memoir of Dementia by Vicki Tapia, $0.99 (reg. $3.99)

Navigating the waters of dementia can be frightening, unleashing a myriad of emotions for everyone involved. After Vicki Tapia’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, followed closely by her father with Parkinson’s disease-related dementia, she struggled to find practical, helpful information to light her way. Somebody Stole My Iron began as a diary to help her cope, but emerged as a road map for others. It offers a glimpse into her family’s  life as they rode the waves of dementia, sometimes sailing, other times capsizing. This engaging memoir offers useful information from experts within the field of Alzheimer’s research, personal lessons the author learned along the way, and ideas and tips for managing the day-to-day ups and downs of dementia.

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the reluctant caregiverThe Reluctant Caregiver, Missives from the Caregiving Minefield by Joy Johnston, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $1.99)

Untitled design (3)Not everyone is born a natural caregiver. One moment, digital journalist Joy Johnston is a cynical workaholic with an underwater mortgage. The next moment, she faces the responsibility of caring for her eccentric mother who’s battling colon cancer, just six months after her father’s death from Alzheimer’s. As an only child, she has no choice but to slap on the latex gloves, and get to know more about her mother — and herself — than she ever imagined possible. The road from reluctance to resilience is bumpy and splattered with bodily fluids, but it also offers unforgettable lessons. Who knew you could learn how to change a colostomy bag on YouTube, or that hospice nurses like telling dirty jokes? Peppered with snarky humor, vivid observations, and poignant honesty, this essay collection will resonate with anyone drafted into a family health crisis.

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to helen with loveTo Helen With Love by Linda Jenkins, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $7.99), paperback $7.00 (reg. $15.49)

It was a role she never expected to fill, but Linda Jenkins was soon thrust into a life of unpredictable days, lonely nights, and searing grief. For eighteen years she watches her mother give more and more of herself to Alzheimer’s disease from the seat of primary caregiver. Nothing could prepare her for what this new path would entail: navigating insurance issues, the healthcare system, financial concerns, hospice, and a panel of doctors, nurses, and caregivers. To Helen with Love is written with humility, faith, and love in the face of a dark and ravaging disease. She candidly addresses her fears, her doubts, and her grief as time ushers her through one obstacle after another. A practical and helpful memoir, the book is filled with resources, advice, encouragement, and hope; she finds humor and joy where it shines brightly through the fog and captures it all in her recollections of her mother’s last years. With insight on advocacy, best practice, and the emotional spectrum common among caregivers, Linda Jenkins offers information, support, and inspiration in her mother’s memory. Her faith was challenged in ways she could never have dreamed of, but with the love of God and her mother, she rose to the challenge and learned about herself, her family, and her faith.

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motherhoodMotherhood: Lost and Found by Ann Campanella, memoir; $0.99 (reg. $7.99)

Alzheimer’s disease, infertility and love of horses intersect in this memoir, which was named “One of the Best Alzheimer’s Books of All Time” by Book Authority. At age 33, author Ann Campanella returns to her home state of North Carolina ready to build a horse farm and start a family. Ann’s foundation is shaken when she experiences multiple miscarriages at the same time her mother spirals into Alzheimer’s. Ann’s connection to horses sustains her as she cares for her elderly parents and her window of motherhood begins to close. As her mother’s memory fades, Ann receives a final miracle. The voice in Ann’s memoir has been called constant and abiding, her imagery indelible. Her graceful, exacting language rises above the grief of infertility and the struggle to care for aging parents, connecting the reader ultimately to the heartbeat and resilience of the human experience.

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dear cluelessDear Clueless: A Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Caregiving by Sandra Savell, memoir; $1.99 (reg. $3.99)

At the time this book was written, the youngest person recorded with Alzheimer’s Disease was 28 years old. Since I learned about Alzheimer’s with my maternal grandmother suffering from and succumbing to the disease in the 1980s, the ages of Alzheimer’s patients have been steadily becoming younger and younger. In my mother’s memory care unit was an educator who died of early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 53. There is a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s every 67 seconds and it is estimated that one in every three people in the United States will have Alzheimer’s by the age of 85. This disease lasts from 2 – 25 years. If this trend continues then every family in this country will be visited by Alzheimer’s and the affects on caregivers will also affect this nation. This book is both a personal story of a decade-long journey of caregiving as well as a call to arms for funding and research of this terminal disease.

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save the bonesSave the Bones by Shannon O’Donnell, memoir; paperback $8.50 (reg. $15.00)

Maddening. Crazy-making. Frustrating. The dance that is Alzheimer’s is never quite mastered. The music changes often and the steps are irregular. This way? That way? Nothing is ever straightforward in the telling. This mother and daughter navigate the capricious ways of Alzheimer’s and discover new things along the way, including laughter that surprises and bonds them to shared history and memory. Second edition. Includes new material, the final chapter in the story of a mother and a daughter and Alzheimer’s.

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loving zeldaLoving Zelda: A Stepdaughter’s Caregiving Journal by Sue Anne W. Kirkham, memoir: $1.99 (reg. $3.99)

Caring for aging parents, it’s both a challenge and a blessing. In this engaging inspirational memoir, author Sue Anne W. Kirkham explores with honesty and humor every emotional and practical facet of the adult child’s experience when roles are reversed. Her father, Bill, a retired psychologist, and her stepmother, Zelda, had enjoyed absorbing hobbies and eagerly traveled the globe together for most of their 32-year marriage. Now Zelda–former organizer of Fourth of July kitchen-band marches–is fading away into the confusion of dementia. They need help. Through character studies and helpful insights, you will get to know this blended family intimately, and you’ll want to be there with them through every dramatic turn of events.

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is there any ice creamIs There Any Ice Cream?: Surviving the Challenges of Caregiving for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s, Anxiety, and COPD (Accepting the Gift of Caregiving) by Judith Allen Shone, memoir; paperback $19.99 US ($22.99), $25.00 Canada ($29.99)

In 2018, the Alzheimer Society of Canada website showed over half a million people in Canada were living with dementia. That same year, the Alzheimer Association website reported that over 5.7 million in the US were living with a form of memory loss. Unsuspecting family members had to jump into the role of caregiver without warning or training. Often, the caregiver was a spouse. Many caregivers became confused, challenged and eventually overwhelmed from the stress of caring for their loved one. Judith Allen Shone fell into that category. It never occurred to her to ask “what if” her love became ill and she, alone, had to become the one to take care of him. She never dreamed she would have to become a solo caregiver. But that is exactly what happened. It is from her experiences that Shone came to believe no caregiver should be walking their path afraid or all alone. Written for all caregivers and those who support caregivers, Shone juggles humor with insight, as she chronicles the story of an untrained and desperate caregiver who, in her memoir-story style, relates her formidable experiences accompanied by the emotional chaos of caregiving for her loved one with COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, cancer, and anxiety, with occasional mysteries arising. Includes one successful intervention….

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Alzheimer's TrippinAlzheimer’s Trippin’ with George: Diagnosis to Discovery in 10,000 Miles by Susan Straley, memoir; $1.99 (reg. $5.99)

What would you do if you learned that your spouse of 40 years had progressive dementia?
At sixty-two, Susan Straley was in a panic. She felt their fun retirement life was now over. Not only that, as an independent woman who loved her freedom, she didn’t want to be strapped with the caregiver role! And she worried about their retirement savings… what if George needed long-term-care? What she really wanted to do was run away. George tearfully begged her to wait until their 40th wedding anniversary, only a few months away. So Susan took off on a last-hurrah road trip with George and their recumbent trikes in tow. Their story is told in open and honest letters to family and friends, sprinkled with warmth, humor, angst and incontinence. Readers will find themselves traveling along with Susan and George, delighting in their experiences, cheering them on. Alzheimer’s Trippin’ powerfully captures the resistance, the joys, and the adjustments of one strong woman on the journey from diagnosis to discovery.

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weedsinnanasgardenWeeds in Nana’s Garden by Kathryn Harrison, illustrated children’s fiction; $0.99 (reg. $6.99)

A young girl and her Nana hold a special bond that blooms in the surroundings of Nana’s magical garden. Then one day, the girl finds many weeds in the garden. She soon discovers that her beloved Nana has Alzheimer’s Disease; an illness that affects an adult brain with tangles that get in the way of thoughts, kind of like how weeds get in the way of flowers. As time passes, the weeds grow thicker and her Nana declines, but the girl accepts the difficult changes with love, learning to take-over as the garden’s caregiver. Extending from the experience of caring for her mother, artist Kathryn Harrison has created this poignant children’s story with rich illustrations to candidly explore dementia diseases, while demonstrating the power of love. It is a journey that will cultivate understanding and touch your heart. After the story, a useful Question and Answer section is included. $1 from the purchase of this book will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

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i smile for grandpaI Smile for Grandpa, by Jaclyn Guenette, author, and Kathryn Harrison, editor, illustrated children’s fiction; $0.99 (reg. $4.99)

Discover the heartwarming relationship between Grandpa and his Little Buddy in this touching book. When Grandpa is diagnosed with a dementia disease, Little Buddy realizes playing soccer together won’t quite be the same. But, while the activities that Grandpa can do are changing, there is still much fun to be had. In fact, spending time with each other is as special as ever! Using delightful and tender illustrations, dementia is compassionately explored through the innocent eyes of a child to create a greater understanding of the disease. Tips for speaking with your child as well as a useful Q&A are also included to enhance learning. Written by Registered Social Worker and Dementia Care Expert, Jaclyn Guenette / Edited and Illustrated by Award-winning Author & Illustrator, Kathryn Harrison. *A portion of profits from this book will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. Thank you for making a difference.

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Blessings,

Linda

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