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Posts tagged ‘Inspirational’

Mom’s Long Goodbye – Prologue & Chapter 1

MLG Promo 2 Read the Prologue and Chapter 1 for free. If you want to read further, get the ebook for $.99 at Amazon.

PROLOGUE

You Say Goodbye, but You Don’t Go Away

Genesis 24:56 (KJV) And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.

Some people have a hard time saying goodbye. There are the false-start types. When it’s time to leave, they say, “I’d better get on home now,” but they stand in the doorway, keys in hand, and talk for another fifteen minutes. Sometimes, it takes them several more attempts before they actually make it out the door.

There are also the revolving-door types. They make it out the door quickly enough, but they pop back in several times to retrieve something they forgot or to tell you one more thing. I tend toward the second type, and I have a friend who finds it amusing. On my second or third round trip back, she smiles knowingly and says, “You say goodbye, but you don’t go away.”

There’s another type of person who takes a long time to say goodbye. It’s not a loveable personality trait that makes them linger in the doorway to tell you just one more thing or a quirky forgetfulness that makes it difficult to leave. Instead, it’s tangled knots of nerves in their brain that become encrusted with plaque and steal them away from their loved ones a piece at a time. Mom was one of those people. She had Alzheimer’s, and it took her fifteen years to say goodbye.

CHAPTER 1

Fear and the Red Photo Album

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 Mom was afraid for a long time. I found evidence of her fear in an old, red photo album, the kind with a thick cardboard cover bound with braided cord. It had a rose embossed on the front, and I sat on the floor, wondering what forgotten pictures were inside. Instead of pictures, there were articles. Page after page of neatly clipped and mounted stories about dementia and Alzheimer’s. Stories of symptoms, stories of promising theories, stories with more questions than answers, stories of Mom’s first steps into the darkness.

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Mom was always a fearful person, especially when she was alone. Dad worked nights several times during their seventy-year marriage. She sometimes told the story of being a young bride, left alone in an isolated country house while her groom worked at the ice house every night. One evening, she was awakened from a restless sleep by a terrible noise. She later described it as sounding like someone was trying to get into the house straight through the wall of her bedroom. She had no phone and no close neighbors, so she huddled in the center of the bed, trembling with fear and wondering how long she had left to live.

The noise continued for a while, but when the walls didn’t splinter and the threat didn’t seem to increase, she screwed up her courage and crept outside to investigate. She slipped down the front steps and peeked around the corner, and there, she saw it. An old milk cow was chewing on the grass that grew up beside the pier and beam foundation that supported the house. She laughed about it after the fact, but she and I had a replay of sorts years later when I was in my early teens.

We lived in the city by then, and Dad still worked nights, this time at the post office. My older brother, Jim, was away at college, so Mom and I were on our own. I was sound asleep when I was awakened by an urgent whisper.

“Linda! Come in here. Somebody’s trying to get in the window.”

I jumped up and ran into her room. She was sitting up in bed, her back pressed against the headboard with the covers drawn up to her chin.

“There,” she said, pointing to the window beside her pillow. “Somebody was scratching on the screen.”

I sat on the side of the bed for a minute, staring at the window. The closed window shade was backlit by a full moon and gave off an eerie glow. Suddenly, a shadow passed across the window, and I scooted under the covers and into Mom’s arms. We sat that way for a few minutes, but when there was no further movement or sound, curiosity overcame fear, and I slid out of bed and tiptoed to the window. I pulled the shade away just far enough to peek out.

“I don’t see anything. I’m going to call Dad.”

Without turning on a light, I went to the phone that sat in its recessed nook in the hallway wall. All the modern houses had them. Like a blind person reading Braille, I slid my fingers over the dial, counted the holes, and dialed the number.

“Dad, I think somebody’s trying to get in. Something was scratching on the screen in your bedroom, and I saw a shadow on the shade.”

“Did you look out?”

“Yes, I peeped out and couldn’t see anyone.”

“Okay. Stay away from the window. I’m going to call the police.” “Okay.”

Within minutes, we heard a car pull up in front of the house and saw the beams of flashlights as Mesquite’s finest investigated. Then, we heard a knock on the door.

“We didn’t find anything, Ma’am, but we’ll have a patrol car drive by here frequently for the rest of the night.”

When Dad got home the next morning, he found us still huddled together under the covers. He immediately went out to investigate; he was laughing when he came back inside.

“I didn’t find any footprints or anything, but I did find some evidence. There were rat droppings on the window sill.”

We took a bit of kidding about being afraid of the dark, but Mom wasn’t just afraid of things that go bump in the night. She was afraid in the daylight, too. She was afraid of making a mistake, afraid of looking foolish in front of others, of being embarrassed, of being looked down on.

She had a beautiful voice and helped lead the singing in her tiny, country church when she was a teenager. That was before air conditioning, when church windows actually opened and congregations cooled themselves with cardboard fans provided by the local funeral home. One Sunday morning, a fly flew in an open window  and straight into Mom’s mouth as she sang. She was so embarrassed she became reluctant  to lead the singing. Not long after that, she learned that the former song leader had been diagnosed with throat cancer. Fearful that his singing might have contributed to his illness, she retired from her leadership position and rejoined the congregation.

She had other musical talents, too. She learned to play the guitar by watching her uncles when the kinfolks gathered for a songfest, and she also played the piano by ear. We had an old player piano we inherited from one relative or another. The player mechanics had been removed, Dad had refinished it, and Mom spent many happy hours playing honky-tonk tunes and old gospel favorites. When we moved from a small West Texas town into the suburbs of Dallas, though, she feared that city folks would look down on her country origins, so she did her best to cover them up. Her guitar was relegated to the back of her closet, and the piano was made available for me to practice the Old Masters favored by my piano teacher.

Mom also feared illness and physical infirmities of all kinds. She was born with yellow jaundice, as it was known in the country, and she was sickly as a child. As an adult, she endured a tonsillectomy, an appendectomy, a hysterectomy, three spinal fusions, and the removal of a deformed kidney, so she saved her best nightgowns for her next trip to the hospital. She feared falling victim to any epidemic or new disease that made the rounds of the morning talk shows. In spite of her fear, or maybe because of it, she often developed the symptoms of those diseases. What she feared most, though, was Alzheimer’s. I didn’t realize how much until I found that old photo album. Mom and Dad lived with us for six years before they went into assisted living. By that time, neither of them was capable of making the decisions necessary in downsizing. I went through their personal belongings and made piles: things to pack, things to store, things to donate, things to throw away. I found trash, and I found treasures—and I found the photo album in the bottom of one of Mom’s dresser drawers. I wonder how long she lived alone with her fear before the rest of us suspected.

Blessings,

Linda

New 5-star review for “A Long and Winding Road”

Linda Brendle’s A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos cleverly uses a fifty-three day RV road trip as a vehicle for readers to glimpse the ups and downs of Alzheimer’s erratic world. This heartwarming story of a daughter’s devotion to her mother and father is inspirational. The author draws upon spiritual courage to meet nonstop challenges. She tempers the seriousness of the subject matter by sprinkling pages with humor. And, Linda Brendle flawlessly weaves her personal growth journeys to add depth to this enjoyable read. I highly recommend this work.

WindingRoadFinal

On sale for 99 cents!

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review of A Long and Winding Road

WindingRoadFinal

If you love bargains, the digital edition of A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos is on sale for just $.99!

A review by Mary Beth Magee of Reviews and Opinions and the Writing World: 

A book every caregiver should read by a woman who has been there

What do you do when the world you thought you knew starts shifting out from under you? 

That’s the dilemma that confronted author Linda Brendle. She faced a husband in career turmoil, a mother in the throes of Alzheimer’s and a father suffering from vascular dementia. As a potential cross-country move loomed, she and her husband made a decision to take an extended trip in an RV with her parents.

The result of that trip became “The Long and Winding Road.” Brendle moves back and forth between the trip and memories of past activities to show the way personal history influences personal present and perceptions. Her extraordinary memoir should be on every caregiver’s “must read” list.

As someone who has cared for a mother with Alzheimer’s, I identified immediately with Brendle’s situation. She doesn’t sugarcoat the problems, but she shows a path through them. Her poignant and heartfelt story can offer a glimmer of hope to anyone in the situation.

If you face a caregiving role, look for “The Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love and Chaos” by Linda Brendle. The book will provide an understanding shoulder, a cheerleader and a frequent “I know how that feels” chuckle. Her deep faith perspective will encourage you in your own faith walk. I wish I had this book when my mother was still with me.

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.

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords

Blessings,

Linda

 

Book Review: Ella’s Rain by Buffy Andrews

CoverEllas’ Rain by Buffy Andrews is the story of a teenager who has experienced a lot of loss in her life. The story begins after Grandma Dorothy’s funeral when Ella leaves the home she shared with her Grandma to move in with Maddie, Dorothy’s best friend. Equipped with a lifetime of wisdom contained in the year’s worth of notes left by Grandma, Ella comes to terms with her grief and learns to live life without fear. (more…)

Pre-Order A Long and Winding Road | by Linda Brendle

A Long and Winding RoadYesterday was an exciting day in the life of this new author. The ARCs (advanced reader’s copies) of my memoir went out to reviewers. To make it even more exciting, Barnes & Nobles is now offering the book for pre-order in a Nook format. Other distributors will be offering it in other formats, but this is the only one that is live so far.

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER 

It’s not too late if you would like to review the book or participate in the blog tour by spotlighting the book, posting an interview, or posting a guest post. You can sign up at the link below.

REVIEWER AND BLOG TOUR SIGN UP 

About the book:

Sometimes reality really bites. Alzheimer’s has wrapped Mom’s brain into knots, vascular dementia has attacked Dad, and, instead of carefree retirees, we have become caregivers. Regardless, dreams die hard, and we somehow stumbled into the purchase of a forty-foot motor home. That’s when all four of us set out on this seven-week trek across sixteen U.S. states. Now, Dad stopped-up the toilet again, Mom wet her last pair of clean jeans, and David just announced that he was hungry. My head is beginning to pound, and I know this isn’t going to be the easygoing retirement we’d imagined for ourselves.

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. Whether you’re looking for an inspirational story to help teach you how to “let go and let God,” considering becoming the caregiver for one of your own parents, or are just looking for an entertaining travel book, this story is sure to strike a tender nerve.

Release Date: July 1, 2014

Thank you all for sharing this long and winding road with me.

Blessings,

Linda

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