Sunday: Balance

My Sundays have always been my catch up day, even to just catch up on a nap. Filing papers away, reading, knitting and sometimes writing. Notice I didn’t mention cleaning or cooking.

Yesterday at RWA (Romance Writers of America) I was inspired to come home and look over an old story I started in 2002. I think parts of it are good, some of my scenes are very emotional, but too short. My heroine is angry, too angry. So yesterday I found out that a book can be about ‘man facing man’. Or in my case my heroine facing herself. I find this kind of writing exhausting; maybe I’m just old, but I want to convey her story  by making her a whole human being.

I rewrote the first page today. An excerpt she wrote into her diary. I have to run it by my writing group and see what they say.

You can go to www.AnthemAuthors.com.  Our Sun City Anthem website is finally up, and is just starting to receive our stories. You can go there any time if you want to read some of them. I know a lot of seniors, caregivers who can’t get out, and the t.v. and the computer are their only friends.

That why I started an Adopt A Caregiver program. Everyone in a community knows a caregiver. Just send an email, offer to be their friend. Sometimes they have no one else to talk to. If you want to know what it feels like to stand in a new caregivers shoes, read my book, Behind The Mask. This was written in secret because we were strongly advised not to tell anyone when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1993. Thank God, seven years later, they changed the diagnosis and took him off all the drugs, and I finally showed him my secret journal, and he said, “Publish it, it might help someone else.”

That is how Adopt A Caregiver started. I want to give back.I want to wipe away the caregivers tears.

I call it; give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Apology To A Caregiver

Please forgive me for not following up on my own advice to Adopt A Caregiver. There you were far from home stuck in a hotel room while your wife lay in the hospital in critical condition. I imagine you were frustrated, lonely, worried and alone.

Please forgive me for not following my own advice to Adopt A Caregiver. I’m going to try to contact you this week, and find out how you really felt. I hope you will open up to me and vent, and tell it like it was for you during those very long weeks, or maybe it was more than a month, I’m not sure.

I published Behind The Mask, so everyone would know what it feels like to stand in a caregivers shoes, hoping then they would go out and Adopt A Caregiver in their own community.

Remember, community is where you live, work, play, and go to school, church or synagogue. It’s all a community. I will be talking to high school kids soon, and I will let you know how that works out too. I know there are kids in school who are caregivers, and my heart goes out to them. They think no one understand what they are going through, and they can’t come out to play with ther friends. How alone and lonely they must feel.

We have to change that. Caregivers are to be admired, not shunned.

Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver, and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Knitting And Other Hobbies

Knitters, quilters, artists, craftspeople, all have one thing in common. So much stuff! I’ve been cleaning out my office, and today I decided to go after my yarns and knitting projects.

I used to do lots of knitting back in the 70’s because my friend owned a knitting store, and everything fit me perfectly. Also, I handed her the back, two fronts, and two sleeves and she finished off the neckline and the edges, and whatever else had to be done. I can’t sew. I don’t want to sew, bu I like to knit.

Recently a knitting store opened near my house and I was estatic. More color, more yarns, more to do, like I don’t have enough to do. I’m 77 years old, and I’m always doing something. For me knitting, easy knitting, is relaxing.

It took me most of the entire day, to go through every bag of yarn, to rip out old stuff that I didn’t like, or wouldn’t fit and put it all away, neatly.

Since I spend most of my days doing something for or about Adopt A Caregiver, a lot of time reading other blogs, and of course checking my statistics often, when will I have time to knit? Well, I decided at night, while watching tv. with my husband Howard, when we watch a movie together, then I can knit for a couple of hours. That is why I like easy. I have three hats I want to make, a couple of shells for myself, and many other projects too numerous to name. Yet everyone I know who does a craft tells me the same things, they have stashes of stuff in rooms, closets, cabinets, so I know I’m not alone.

I wonder if caregivers could or would find some time to knit? It is relaxing. I have to ask my caregiver friends. Are you a caregiver, would you knit if you could find some spare time? I think writing and knitting are relaxing, and theraputic. We all need some therapy at times.

To all my caregiver friends, hang in there, I’m working on Adopt A Caregiver as much as I can, and one day, hopefully, my vision will be a reality. Every caregiver will have a friend, someone to talk to, to vent to, and to share their day with them.

Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver, and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Anne Frank Said

Anne Frank said, “I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried in my heart.”

Wow, when I was her age, I thought maybe I’d like to be a writer, but who was I to dream that big? No teacher, no parent ever encouraged me, or asked me what I wanted. I was just goody two shoes.

Twenty years ago, while living in New York, a friend of a friend called me and said she would like to see our kissing art collection. I said okay. When she left she said that a book was bubbling in my heart and I should get it out on paper.

Boy, was that food for thought. I had a computer and around Thanksgiving time I thought about writing. I fooled with it, but didn’t know the craft or how to construct the story.

It wasn’t until we moved to California in 1990 that I decided for real that I wanted to learn how to write. So I joined the Orange County Romance Writers Of America and I tried to learn.  I admit it came hard to me, but I had several friends who helped me, and I am still in touch with two of them.

When we moved to Las Vegas, I started Sun City Anthem Authors in February, 2000. That was the best thing that happened to me. I blossomed, I learned and I found that writing from the heart is the only way I can write.

Behind The Mask, my secret journal written when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1993 was published this year. You see, in 2000, they changed his diagnosis, and I finally showed him my journal which no one had ever seen. He said to publish it, it might help someone else.

I think this was the most Bershert (‘meant to be) thing that ever happened in my life. Because what lies buried in my heart is all the caregivers going through their grief. I started a new journey, Adopt A Caregiver, and this year I will devote my passion, and my vision to making my dream of wiping away some of the caregivers tears, a reality.

With a little bit of help, I can do it. Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Caregivers: Live In Their Reality

One of the most valuable pieces of information I received after my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease was: You will have to live in his reality.

Those were the truest words I heard. I still tell caregivers that same advice. I know how hard it is, and yet, it’s also simple.

I was talking to one of my caregiver friends and we talked about it, and she said, “It doesn’t always work, but it’s still good information.”

Caregivers, you are my heroes. No one else can or would do the job you do 24/7. How I admire you and your tenacity, your ability to carry on. That’s not to say you never get depressed, or feel like you are all alone, and no one understands. They don’t. It’s that simple. Unless you actually stand in someone’s shoes you don’t know how they feel, or what they are going through.

I think that’s one reason I finally decided to publish my secret journal. To show others what it feels like, the thoughts and emotions going through a new caregiver’s mind. Now, I’m so glad I did publish it.

Tomorrow I’m speaking at the Henderson Senior Center, and I’m looking forward to it. They are the greatest bunch of people, giving, caring and open. The kind of heroes no one talks about. They are always behind the lines.

After that we are meeting old friends from Howard’s hometown of Baltimore, MD for lunch, what a treat that will be. I don’t think we’ve seen them in decades. A chance encounter with their daughter who works here and we found out we knew her parents. What a small world.

As this year is coming to an end, I feel blessed in all that I have accomplished. I publsihed my book, Behind The Mask, so people could stand in the caregivers shoes and know what it feels like, and hopefully that will inspire them to go out and Adopt A Caregiver. I’ll talk more about that tomorrow night.

Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver, and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Caregivers, We Do Care

Dear Caregiver,

I know this is a hard time of year for most of you. It must seem like everyone else is out shopping, having a good time, making a big family dinner; and there you are home alone. I’m so sorry, I know what it’s like to stand in your shoes. I’ve been there, and although my husband’s diagnosis was changed in 2000, I still feel for all caregivers. Only someone who has stood in your shoes, can feel your pain.

If you can, try to take a few minutes, some part of the day, and just sit and watch the outside, or meditate for five minutes, or take a coloring book and crayons and color outside the lines. Write down three things you are grateful for, start a journal, write a letter to your self. Tell yourself how wonderful you are, what a admirable person you are, tell yourself that you are strong, that you can handle whatever comes along.

Start a memoir, write about the good times; or use a recorder and just talk about your life. Someday your kids and your grand kids will see you as you were, a young person, with your dreams and your goals and your passion. They will admire you and look up to you, see how much you have contributed in your lifetime.

I admire you, and I hope that one day my vision for Adopt A Caregiver will become a reality. Someday we might have an Adopt A Caregiver day to celebrate all caregivers.

Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver, and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

I'm Home

It was wonderful seeing all the kids and grandkids this weekend, but it’s also great being home in our own bed. The trips get harder as we get older, but we will keep doing it as long as we can.

This is a slow time of year for reading blogs I’m sure, so I will spend some time formulating my plans for Adopt A Caregiver. I will share them with you, because they are so simple in my mind’s eye.

Everyone lives in a community, everyone needs to know who is a caregiver, and take some responsibility to see that somene will write to them, be their friend, share their life with them and help them out by just being there. All it takes is an email. Encourage the caregiver to write, to vent, to talk. Many of these people are so alone, and even with a wonderful attitude about life, they are still alone.

In the next couple of weeks, I hope to write to all those courageous men and women  who have written to me and shared their story, or just told me that Adopt A Caregiver is a noble and worthwhile effort. I will not let you down.

At some point, I’d like to talk to Mayors, builders of homes who have Directors of Activities, clergy, teachers, councelors, therapists, assisted living directors, national organizations, anyone who can help me impliment my Adopt A Caregiver plan. It’s not that hard. I need to make everyone aware.

You must stand in someone’s shoes before you can understand what they are going through, and I can help explain that, either by talking to the group, or they can buy my book, Behind The Mask. We all need more compassion. Smile, be friendly, don’t look the other way.

Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing. Tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

I Believe

I believe no matter what happens, everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes what is happening is too cruel to think that way. Death, divorces, children dying, diseases making caregivers who have to give up just about everything to take care of someone else. Life is not fair. I’m glad my mother told me that as a child. And it’s true, life is not fair. Sometimes we don’t get to choose the road, sometimes we get stuck in a box that feels like a prison.

I believe in Synchronicity. If we pay attention to our lives, there is a lot of Synchronicity going on. Synchronicity is when you are thinking of someone and they call. Synchronicity is like a couple of weeks ago, I was reading the sequel to The Gold Coast, and the sentence had to do with pirates and a ship in Somalia. I looked up at the mute tv and there it was flashing the alert. Pirates had kidnapped a ship in Somalia. Sometimes it can be scary, sometimes it’s an unusual word, something we don’t hear very often, and boom, there it is again.

We can stay stuck in a box, or we can be open to all possibilities. When I wrote my book, Behind The Mask, I mentioned that something happened to me during an Alzheimer’s luncheon. That feeling was so strong, every hair on my body stood up, and I knew, just knew as if something or someone hovered over me and told me, there was something I had to do.

I didn’t know what that was. Not until this year when I published my secret journal. It was something Bershert. (meant to be) And that was to help the caregivers. It took fourteen years!

And Adopt A Caregiver was born. I know in my heart that this is a wonderful idea. My vision for the future is looming closer all the time. I’m still going slowly, but it will come. Word of mouth has been terrific, and soon there will be articles and newsprint and possibly tv..the possibilities are endless.

I am out of the box, I am open to Synchronicity, I am aware, and most of all, I feel ready.

It’s the time of giving. Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing.

Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

To All The Caregivers I Adopted

Hello to all. I’m sorry that I’ve been too under the weather to keep in touch. I have missed talking to all of you. I am feeling better now, and will try to do better. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, and get too far behind to catch up.

I hope my little silly poem made you smile yesterday. It made me smile, so I put it up here. I hardly ever write poetry, and yet I have about six or seven that I think are pretty good.

It seems I am getting back to writing more and that’s good. I have neglected it for a long time.

This is the end of the eighth week of Chronic Fatigue, the result of a shot. No more shots for me.

I hope to find more time to write to you, my friends, I really do miss you all.

Adopt A Caregiver is going well. Thanks to all of you who are spreading my word out there. Word of mouth is so potent, it works so well. Only when something is very very bad, or very very good, do people talk about it. You only hear about the wonderful new restaurant that opened, or the worst place in the world. You don’t hear about the in between things. I consider Adopt A Caregiver, very very good, so please do talk about it.

Adopt A Caregiver, and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Elections

Tomorrow is Election Day. I hope your vote counts for the candidate of your choice.

We do have choices. I hope one of your choices will be to Adopt A Caregiver. I’ve talked to a few of my caregiver buddies today, and the most important thing I heard them say was, “Someone is listening to me!”

For a few good tips go to www.tenderlovingeldercare.com for some interesting ideas for hard of hearing older people. I learned a lot from reading this blog today, and know that I will use some of these suggestions in the near future.

Good luck to all tomorrow.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene