On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘Death’

Alzheimer’s was… | by Linda Brendle

Alzheimer’s was the evil plaque in Dad’s brain that changed him from a hard-working, easy-going man into a cranky, ill-tempered couch potato.

Alzheimer’s was a thief. It stole Mom away a piece at a time and left me to grieve a loss that went on for years.

Alzheimer’s was a twisted comedian that made me laugh at the ridiculous things Mom did while I cried inside because of the reason behind her antics.

Alzheimer’s was the demon in my head that made me impatient with situations that were no one’s fault and angry at an opponent I couldn’t defeat.

Alzheimer’s was the monster in the closet or under the bed that changed our lives forever once the doctor spoke its name.

But Alzheimer’s was also the loser.

In spite of his difficult final years, Dad left a legacy of peace and love that lives on in the family he left behind.

While Mom’s past disappeared along with her memories, she also forgot the social anxieties and fears that had plagued her all her life and became a real party girl.

The wardrobe mishaps and other silly incidents often led to shared laughter and hugs that made life feel almost normal if only for a moment.

As the good days became fewer, I learned to cherish them when they came.

When Mom’s vocabulary was down to only a few words, one of those words was Jesus; and even to the end, she always responded to music.

Both Mom and Dad passed from this life without a struggle and with peaceful smiles on their faces as they looked into the face of the One who cares for the least of these.

I have found solace in knowing that my task of caregiving was completed not perfectly but well, and I have found comfort in sharing our story with others who are going through the same thing.

Read more about my family’s fight with Alzheimer’s in Mom’s Long Goodbye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort released by Anaiah Press on March 12, 2019. Ebook now available at Amazon; print format available soon.

Blessings,

Linda

MLG_Final

Buy it at Amazon

Mom’s Long Goodbye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort | by Linda Brendle

MLG_Final

Released by Anaiah Press this week, Mom’s Long Goodbye is available as an ebook on Amazon. It will be available in print soon.

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

MLG_Final

Buy on Amazon

What was Alzheimer’s to our family? | by Linda Brendle

new-book-coming-soonI announced a couple of weeks ago that Anaiah Press will release Mom’s Long Good-Bye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort, my second memoir, on March 12. Here’s a little bit more about the book:

Alzheimer’s was the evil plaque in Dad’s brain that changed him from a hard-working, easy-going man into a cranky, ill-tempered couch potato.

Alzheimer’s was a thief. It stole Mom away a piece at a time and left me to grieve a loss that went on for years.

Alzheimer’s was a twisted comedian that made me laugh at the ridiculous things Mom did while I cried inside because of the reason behind her antics.

Alzheimer’s was the demon in my head that made me impatient with situations that were no one’s fault and angry at an opponent I couldn’t defeat.

Alzheimer’s was the monster in the closet or under the bed that changed our lives forever once the doctor spoke its name.

But Alzheimer’s was also the loser.

In spite of his difficult final years, Dad left a legacy of peace and love that lives on in the family he left behind.

While Mom’s past disappeared along with her memories, she also forgot the social anxieties and fears that had plagued her all her life and became a real party girl.

The wardrobe mishaps and other silly incidents often led to shared laughter and hugs that made life feel almost normal if only for a moment.

As the good days became fewer, I learned to cherish them when they came.

When Mom’s vocabulary was down to only a few words, one of those words was Jesus; and even to the end, she always responded to music.

Both Mom and Dad passed from this life without a struggle and with peaceful smiles on their faces as they looked into the face of the One who cares for the least of these.

I have found solace in knowing that my task of caregiving was completed not perfectly but well, and I have found comfort in sharing our story with others who are going through the same thing.

A beautiful cover is in the works. I will let you see it as soon as the final version is ready.

Blessings,

Linda

Change | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 30, 2016:

changeI don’t do change very well. I don’t know if that’s a result of nature or nurture – in other words, I don’t know if I was simply born with a natural aversion to change or if I have developed that aversion because very little changed in my world when I was growing up.

Not that my childhood was boring, but it didn’t involve a lot of variation. When Mom placed furniture in a room, that’s where it stayed. Dinner meant one of a few familiar menus, and family vacations usually included a week in a cabin on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas. That kind of lifestyle gives a solid sense of stability and security, but it doesn’t offer much opportunity to learn to deal with change. (more…)

A Life Well Lived – Betty Brendle 1928 – 2014

Betty

 

Today we are celebrating the life of Betty Nichols Brendle. Betty was born in Houston, Texas, on October 31, 1928, and she went home to be with the Lord August 21, 2014.

I first met Betty fifteen years ago shortly after I met her son, David. He and I were moving quickly from friends to a more serious relationship, and he thought it was time to take me home to Mama. He said she had reservations since, like me, he had not always made good relationship choices, but she made me feel like a part of the family from the beginning.

Yesterday, we planned how we would lay to rest the body that she no longer needed. She had left us some ideas.

“I think I want to be cremated,” she said a few days ago. She didn’t want us to think she had given up, and she always left room for a woman’s right to change her mind. “I not sure, though.”’ After a few minutes, she continued. “I want Woods to do the service.” Woods Watson is the Senior Adult Pastor at her church. “I don’t know what he’ll find to say about me that’s good,” she worried.

“Mom,” said Deb, her youngest daughter, “You have a servant’s heart. You’ve always been there for anyone who needed you.”

“And you raised three wonderful children,” I added. She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I did.”

Family was important to Betty. In her last days, her family gathered around her. As her hold on this life weakened, she asked about those who had not yet arrived.

“Is Jerry here?” she asked about her younger sister who flew in from Astoria, Oregon. When Jerry arrived, she offered words of love and made sure Betty was comfortable.

Betty also asked about her granddaughter. “Is Krista coming?”

After Krista arrived from Austin, Texas, Betty seemed to relax. Shortly after midnight she simply stopped breathing.

As I write this, some of the kindness she showed to others is coming back to her family. Friends are bringing food and preparing to serve lunch before we go to the funeral home where we will laugh and cry as we share stories and memories of a life well lived. Let the celebration begin.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  2 Corinthians 5:6-8

Blessings,

Linda

Graveyard Humor | by Linda Brendle

dead_end_graveyardWhen I was younger, I thought operations and medications were the only subjects older people talked about. As I “matured,” I realized that I was wrong. Sometimes we talk about our final wishes–how we want our earthly remains to be put to rest when we leave them behind. A couple of Sundays ago, several of us went to lunch after church. By the time our meal was finished, we had solved the world’s problems, and our conversation drifted to more practical matters like the choice between burial and cremation.

One couple, while they took part in the discussion, remained non-committal about their personal plans. David plans to be buried at Uncle Sam’s expense, thanks to his eleven years of service in the Navy. The rest of us plan to be cremated. (more…)

When You Don’t Understand, Bow the Knee | by Linda Brendle

My church family suffered a tragic loss Sunday morning when one of our members, the thirty-one-year-old mother of three, died suddenly. Her death was so unexpected that she and her husband were listed in the bulletins as the greeters for the day. This week has been a time of grieving, reaching out to each other, and asking Why? (more…)

%d bloggers like this: