A Brief Encounter

Sometimes you meet someone just briefly, yet you know deep in your being that you were supposed to meet. Maybe there is no rhyme or reason but when you are supposed to know, you will know. In the meantime be yourself, go about your every day business and when the time is right you will know.

Once in a while this person’s aura or energy or light will reach out to you.  Embrace it with all your being. If you don’t understand it, it’s still all right. Be aware, stay alert, go with the feeling and let it energize you. And if you are wrong, so what did you lose and so what? Just a little time and attention.

Then when you least expect it who knows what will happen.

I wrote this during the time I was a caregiver, while I was writing Behind The Mask.

Since I decided that my journey now is for everyone to Adopt A Caregiver, I’ve met many of these people. You just know they are put in your path to help you. Thank you and bless you.

It’s just like I said, word of mouth is potent, one by one by one we are getting the word out about Adopt A Caregiver. Several websites have approached me and said they wanted to write about my Adopt A Caregiver program, and I gave my permission. Several people have heard me speak, and want me to speak to other groups, and I have accepted.

I am so proud and grateful and blessed to have all these good people put into my path. Together we are going to make a difference in the life of the caregiver.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Bits And Pieces

I always keep a folder handy, called Bits and Pieces, and I throw in bits and pieces of writing that I want to remember.

They could be quotes, poems, my own writing, or  writing from someone else.

I want to share some of these  with you, whether you are the caregiver, or someone thinking of joining my journey to  Adopt A Caregiver.

One is a poem, I have no idea where it came from, or who wrote it, but it resonated with me to my core and I saved it. It reads,

“Depression hovers and hangs over me like a living thing. It swallows me, it starts at my edges and takes small bites–then keeps eating away in my head–till I am no more.

I am consumed by this thing. I want to fight back, but, I let it take me-it’s so easy to be eaten alive-bit by bit, by words, by anger, by resentment, till there is nothing.”

I wish I knew who wrote this piece of writing, it’s so very powerful.

On a lighter note, I think caregivers should journal, and I will talk more about that later this week. But for now, if you are a caregiver, give yourself some slack. Don’t beat yourself up!

Tell yourself, that just for today, I will live in this moment, and not be angry, or frustrated no matter how hard the day is.

Tell yourself that just for today, I will dress myself, put on makeup, and comb my hair, just for me. I will not let myself go..just for today.

Tell yourself that just for today, I will reach for a pen and paper, and pour out my thoughts. I will vent away all my fears, all my anger and not stuff everything inside. Here on this paper, I can complain, whine, and let my words cry for me.

Tell yourself that just for today, I will be grateful for something. Maybe someone will call or email or just get in touch. Maybe a friend will reach out.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

God's Roller Coaster

In 1992, our art collection of kissing couples was shown on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

In 1993 my husband was suddenly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and the Alzheimer’s Association and UCI ( Ujniversity of California, Irvine) insisted we keep it a secret. So I started a secret journal and poured myself on to the pages. Seven years later, God’s plans changed and Howard’s diagnosis was changed. No more Alzheimer’s. When I showed Howard my journal, he insisted I publish it, and I did as Behind The Mask.

This is what being on God’s roller coaster is like.

I wrote, “What is normal? Is it sitting around the dining room table after Thanksgiving and sending the kids out to play after we ate, and then we discussed doctor assisted suicide and what would happen if there wasn’t a doctor assisted suicide program allowed in my state.”

What is normal? Normal is our lives today. Normal is opening your eyes and seeing all the things we have to be grateful for. For the love we have for each other and our family, our friends, our laughter, and even our tears. Normal is living with hope, gratitude and love. Normal is being us.

After my book was published a light-bulb went off in my head. This book’s purpose was to help caregivers. By reading it everyone would know the emotions all the new caregivers are going through. I know I can’t wipe away all their tears, but I can help them get through the day.

Adopt A Caregiver. I am devoting the rest of my life to make this happen. One by one by one, word of mouth is potent. We can all help. We all know a caregiver. All it takes is an email. Be a friend, and really listen.

Determination, passion, compassion is what I have. I need everyone’s help to get my words out to the community. My community, your community.

I guess I am still on God’s Roller Coaster.  Thank God.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

November is National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month. We can start early. Together we can make a difference.

Adopt A Caregiver, be a friend. Listen to the caregivers who are lonely, depressed, and wondering what is going to happen next in their lives. Evey day is a struggle. Emotions can run high, and there is no outlet.

We can help. A friend is somene who does not judge, who listens, who is there. A simple hello does wonders for morale. Especially now that winter is on it’s way.

My brochures came today, and they are beautiful. Thank you Allison. I’m giving them out, trying to reach as many people as possible. Spreading the word, one person at a time. The seeds are taking root.

Comments about Behind the Mask, my secret journal, come in regularly. I started my new book, Adopt A Caregiver, and I’m using as many stories and comments as I can. They are so important. No one understands until they stand in the caregivers shoes.

We must lift the stigma from Alzheimer’s Disease. We must remember that it is the disease talking, not the person. One of the problems is they look the same, dress the same, walk the same, but they are not the same. Sometimes they don’t even make sense. And asking the same questions every few minutes, well, we would all lose patience. It takes courage and compassion to be a caregiver. Lets try to help them, those who are so busy caring for others, they have no time for themselves.

Let do it before November’s National Caregivers Month.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Reaching Out to the Community

November is National Caregivers Month. Lets start now and reach out to our community.

Adopt A Caregiver. Alzheimer’s Disease is not contagious, and the other victim is the caregiver. The one left alone at the end of the day. The days are getting darker earlier now, think about the caregiver. Be a friend, write an email, send a card, encourage them to talk, and let out their emotions. If they don’t want to talk to you, maybe they would write in a journal. I wrote in a secret journal when I was a caregiver, and believe me it saved my sanity. Because I had to keep the diagnosis a secret I poured my heart out on those pages. I published them as Behind The Mask. I am so glad I was able to take off my mask.The worry never stops, the thoughts never stop, thank God I had my journal.

I am thinking of writing a children’s book about being a caregiver. After all the child is helping and they surely don’t understand what’s going on. They are asking questions, or not asking questions. I think a book like this is necessary, don’t you? I value your opinion, let me know what you think.

I hope you never have to stand in the caregivers shoes. Adopt a Caregiver now, plant the seed and watch it grow. I’m hoping that every community will want to talk about my program, I’m hopng that every community will have an Adopt A Caregiver program. It is my new journey, please help make this vision a reality.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

A Small World

As I’ve said, word of mouth is potent, and that is evident as I’m finding out what a small world this is.

One of my books, Behind The Mask, went to someone I know, but she did not know it was me who wrote it. Another lived near me in another state, and we connected. Just think if every one told some one else about Adopt A Caregiver, in no time we would make this a closer and better world. We could wipe away some caregivers tears, not all of them, but some. That would make us all feel good, knowing we helped the caregiver.

Adopt a Caregiver is the subject of my talk tomorrow with the Henderson Senior Center. I’ll let you know about it tomorrow. I expect it will be great, with everyone listening and wanting to help. So far this group has been wonderful and willing to do anything they can to get my adopt a caregiver out there for the world to see and hear.

I’m waiting to hear from the Alzheimer’s Association. I know we can help each other, and they know the caregiver is important as is the patient.

Now I’m having some trouble with my computer, maybe someone will come to my rescue.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

My New Journey

My new journey is Adopt A Caregiver. This too, will be an uphill battle, but with your help it will get easier.

My old journey was devastating, when my husband was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and we had to keep it a secret.  That seven year journey as I clawed my way out from the desolate darkness back to the magic and miracles in my life, as I learned that love and kisses do heal. And God has his own plans.

That is one reason I self published my book, Behind The Mask, so others could stand in my shoes and understand caregivers feelings. Then, they could go out and Adopt A Caregiver.

Call support group leaders, tell them about my Adopt A Caregiver program, they can give you some names of people who would want to be adopted. They need your help and support.

Give something back, talk about it, get the word out. It does not take much time to write an email, or send a joke.  Make someone smile, let them vent. Let the tears flow.

Caregivers keep their emotions inside, they save their tears for later. They don’t want to talk about it. They also don’t want to be left all alone. Imagine how they feel, especially the younger ones with early onset, they still know what is going on, they understand how their brain feels like a sieve, everything going in at the top, and sifting out through the bottom.That is what my husband always said.

But Alzheimer’s Disease is not contagious. Please help those who are so busy caring for others they have no time to care for themselves.

Adopt A Caregiver.

Word of mouth is potent, let others know about this worthwhile program.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Behind The Mask/Adopt A Caregiver

That is the subject of my speaking engagement tomorrow. I have no idea how many people will be attending, if any, but I am prepared to talk. My book, Behind the Mask is every new caregivers story, it just happens that I published it. It is still their story as well as it is mine. The every day up and down emotions are all on display. Since we had to keep our diagnosis a secret, I started a journal on my computerthat Howard could not see.

After they changed the diagnosis, seven long years later, I showed him my journal. It took me a few years to gather up my courage to do that. But I realized how lucky I was that he would be able to read it and know what I was talking about. That his mind was sharp. He loved it, said it was me and that I should publish this book.

After I held Behind The Mask iin my hands, I realized this book had a purpose.

And that is my adopt a caregiver program. Everywhere you go, at dinner, clubs, social events, doctor’s offices, community, wherever you are, there are caregivers. These people need a friend, someone to talk to. An email works, gives them something to look forward to.

Caregivers don’t want to be a burden, they don’t want to talk about it. They feel that no one understand what they are going through. Behind The Mask takes you on their journey. You can stand in their shoes and know how they feel, their loss, their anger, their love and the fact that the are willing to do this 24/7.

It is my understanding that support groups for caregivers is dwindling. I hope not. It is so important for caregivers to have an outlet. I suggest each and every caregiver buy a journal and a bright colored pen and start writing out their feelings. It does help. Sometimes I think it saved my life, when I didn’t want to burden my children with my thoughts.

Come back tomorrow,  and I will tell you the outcome of my talk.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Caregivers have courage. I admire them and I salute them. I hope my adopt a caregiver program reaches as many caregivers as possible. One by one we can do this together.

Their stories are both heartbreaking and heartwarming. As caregivers open up to me I try to get those stories out. Then hopefully people will start to adopt a caregiver.

As more people understand what caregivers are going through, they will be able to put themselves in the caregivers shoes. A simple email is all it takes. Say, I’m listening, I’m caring, and I will continue to write and be your friend. It only takes a few minutes of your time, and I guarantee that it will be self rewarding.

I am writing to four caregivers now, and those who have read my book, Behind The Mask, now tell me they never knew how hard it was. That is because we never talked about it, never opened up, never showed our pain and depression. Everyone else was doing their thing, having fun, going places, and caregivers don’t always have that option.

One person can make a difference, with a little help.

Send a caregiver an email, and I will thank you for that.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Behind The Mask, my secret journal is now available on my website.


How Would You Adopt A Caregiver

Adopt a caregiver, such a wonderful way to give back. Takes no time to write someone an email and let him/her know you are thinking of them. Alzheimer’s Disease is not contagious, remember the caregiver is lonely and scared; think of them once in a while.

If you have any comments on how you would adopt a caregiver please add to the comment section. I will try to answer each comment as quickly as possible.

Behind The Mask, my secret journal shows  how a new caregiver feels and what they are thinking about. Now that my book is out, I’m spending my time on getting the word out so you too can adopt a caregiver and give something back.

Let me know how you are doing.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene