Closet Packed

I did most of my closet today, my husband says the bedroom and the closet isn’t big enough, and he is probably right.

This weekend we will tackle the kitchen. That will take time, but it’s not hard.

Adopt A Caregiver is still high up on my list, I just can’t get to it right now. Sorry caregivers. Once I get settled, and I guess that will take at least a month, then I will get right on it again. In the meantime, please bear with me as I take you through my move.

I haven’t done any writing, and I don’t even know where anything is, so it’s not worth thinking about. I am too tired, too much going on at one time, and I can’t think straight. Thank you Fibromyalgia and Chronic
Fatigue. As tired as I am, I’m not sleeping enough.

Talk to you tomorrow. I didn’t get to AA today, I will have to go next week.

Having lunch with my dear friend from the Henderson Senior Center tomorrow, and am looking forward to 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

Getting Something Done

Finally, I feel like we are making some progress with our move. I’m still going through my office, but am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We are having an art auction on May 2, 2009, and if you like I will keep you posted as it will be seen on the internet.

It is a lot of work, and I am working hard, but I think it’s more under control now. I have another load of things for the Henderson Senior Center. Things like wool, needles, pencils, paper, notebooks and some craft items. I’m sure they can use them all.

Went to AA today, (Anthem Authors) always fun, since our stories are so varied. I will continue to monitor ther website even after I leave. Anthem Authors is my baby, I started it in February of 2000 because I wanted to learn how to write. I am so proud of them and what we have all accomplished and learned over the years. I will write a farewell speech and probably cry, but I will do it anyway.

Now it’s back to cleaning out the storage in my office. My new office will be less than half the size. So I have to be careful what I pack to take with me.

In the meantime, remember to Adopt A Caregiver in your community. We must help support the caregivers. They are there, right in your own neighborhood. Tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Give Yourself A Break

There isn’t much good news out there. So give yourself a break. Light a candle, have a cup of tea, be grateful for the day and the sunshine (if it’s there) write down some things you are grateful for, especially the little things.

We are working hard around our house, going through files, books, all kinds of stuff so we can move back to California. Didn’t we pick a great time to do this?

My husband’s car is in the garage. We have areas for trash, Goodwill, garage sale, and the Henderson Senior Center since they are kind enough to take books, pens, paper, all manners of odds and ends. I told them they will probably need a bigger center. I hope it helps them, even if they have a garage sale They are the hardest working people helping people I know. I salute you guys.

In my office, I have done about 25%. I still have drawers, file cabinets, pictures, junky things that I like and will have to get rid of. I keep telling myself, the move will take months, maybe a year or two with the economy the way it is and getting worse every day.

And then I give myself a break, and tell myself I will have more time for Adopt A Caregiver and for my writing. I have many writing projects to finish. My memoirs, short stories, First Lines, and ideas for two books, maybe three.

I will keep in touch with my friends, old and new. I will treat myself gently. And I will get my office cleaned out and better managed in the future. (Ha Ha)

I am grateful for everything I have. I feel blessed and I am going to be so happy to be back with my family.

Give the gift that lasts foreve and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene set you.

Keep love and kisses in you life. Helene

Comments On Adopt A Caregiver

I want to share with all of  an email I received from Sue Bobby at the Henderson Senior Center. These folks are just the best, they don’t talk about caring, they do the caring. And It’s a lot of work. I salute all of you, and you in particular Sue. I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for me and for Adopt A Caregiver. This email made me cry.

“Of course you will be missed by the new friends you made here in Henderson, and yes, we will definitely keep in touch. I believe that you were meant to be here in Henderson for the time you have been here…to educate and inspire all of us to do more for caregivers.

Judy continues to tell me how she feels so blessed to have been brought together with her new caregiving friend Rhetta. They are tentatively planning on getting together to do some art work projects.

And one man, who is our patron, who has the young son who is the caregiver, has told us, by reading your book, he has gained some insight into what a difficult task his son has being his caregiver. This man has been able to be more independent and give his son more respite time lately. The man, who used to stay at home and not socialize using his near-blindness and deafness as an excuse not to socialize, now comes to the Center and volunteers his time with the Kids to Kids program and plays chess with others, and uses our magnifying machine to read books (like yours) and has a hot lunch every Tuesday. Tuesdays are now his son’s respite day to do activities with friends his own age.”

Adopt A Caregiver does work. 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

My Office

Deciding we are moving this past Wednesday night was the right decision. But, dealing with clearing the clutter out of my office is a nightmare. I have a huge office, with loads of built in storage, and everything is full to the brim…It will take me a month or more, working more than 3 or 4 hours a day. Papers to read, books to give away, that hurts, but it has to be done. Pictures, art stuff, loads of drawers filled with ‘stuff’ and more stuff.

I told Anthem Authors today that I would be moving to California, I think everyone was shocked. I wanted them to hear it from me.

The great thing is that I have the Henderson Senior Center to give the books, CD’s, VHS videos, cassette tapes, and a million other things. They will have to move to a larger facility in order to house all these books and ‘stuff’. I am so grateful to be giving it to them because I know all the people and they will have use for it, even if they use the books for raising funds. Thanks Sue and all of you at the Henderson Senior Center.

As for Adopt A Caregiver, my heart and my eyes overflow when I hear how well it’s working. It means so much to me and I know for sure, it means something to the caregiver, and also the person who does the adopting. Thank you all, I applaud you for doing this after my speaking about it to your groups.

Remember to keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Early Valentines Day

Today was an early Valentines Day for the members of the Henderson Senior Center who came to our home  to see our collection of kissing couples. They had a wonderful time, and we had a wonderful time talking about different pieces of art and the stories around them. All faces were smiling as they to get on the bus to go to lunch. An outing that will stay with them at least for a few days. Howard and I loved it. A reporter and photographer were here also from the Henderson Home News and I think they enjoyed themselves also. I hope so. Will keep you posted if the article appears online.

I talked about my book Behind The Mask, and Adopt A Caregiver and a few of the women already were part of my program. They spoke highly about it. The fact they are doing their part, writing emails to someone who is a caregiver gives me great pleasure. In  a few days I will be telling you some of the comments I have received from both the caregiver and the one who adopted them.

As you all know, I have not been well, and I am far behind in my paperwork. But writing on this blog every night is a must for me. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Our Memoir Workshop is coming along nicely. I hope we will be able to do a great job and maybe take our workshop to some senior homes, or even do this workshop in one of our libraries.

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

Chronic Fatigue

Remember my favorite saying. You need to stand in someone’s shoes before you can comment on how they feel, or why they do what they do.

Yesterday and today were the first two good days I’ve had in two and a half weeks. And there was also that little 9 week Chronic Fatigue attack after a shot in October. My doctor says, no more shots for me.

It’s hard to explain to someone how Chronic Fatigue makes you feel. Actually, I don’t think you feel anything. You can’t think, work, do anything, which might include sleep, even though you are thoroughly exhausted!

Today I went to Anthem Authors and we are working on a Memoirs workshop  for the entire Sun City Anthem Community. I am pretty excited about it, and so are the other participants. We each have a specific section to cover, and mine is to explain different ways of starting your memoir.

Would you believe I started mine with a manilla envelope, called Reflections Of Me. It has dates on it, 1993, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2009. In that manilla envelope I stuffed little phrases like, “What Mom said when I was born. Or, 10 years old and we moved, I thought my world was coming to an end. Or, Teen years, I was yanked out of my dreams. How was I supposed to know to be careful what I wished for.”

Little phrases like that so when I actually started to write, I had some place to start. If there is any interest in this, I will share more of it when we have more work done.  Let me know. Send me your comments. I promise to answer as many as I can.

Tomorrow is a big day for us. We are having a bus from the Henderson Senior Center coming to see our collection of kissing couples. They will love it. I was also told a photographer from the local paper will be coming also. When the seniors finish here, they will go off on their bus to lunch. What a nice outing it will be for them. I can’t wait. Will tell you about it tomorrow.

Several of the seniors have supported my Adopt A Caregiver program. They are glad to be involved and they say that writing that email only takes a moment, and they know the caregivers are so grateful to have someone to talk to.

So, 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

Reflections Of 2008

It’s been a very interesting and busy year for me. In February my granddaughter got married, and my book came out; both the same weekend. In March my grandson got married and I started thinking about the purpose of my book, Behind The Mask. A secret journal started when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1993. It was secret because we were advised not to tell anyone, as he was still working, and highly functional.

In 2000 his diagnosis was changed and a few years later I showed my husband my journal. He said publish it, maybe it will help someone else.

A few years later I did publish it. And now I knew the purpose of the book. To show people what’s it’s like standing in the shoes of a caregiver. You don’t know about anything, until you do stand in someone’s shoes, and only then can you understand, truly understand.

In April of this year I started using Adopt A Caregiver in my blogs. In May I applied for a trademark, which I am still waiting for.

For the next several months, I met with and spoke to groups, all receptive to Adopt A Caregiver. Many of these people helped me, introduced me to other people who also became interested in my vision of wiping away some of the caregivers tears. We, my husband and I started a Non Profit Foundation.

In October and November, I was literally laid out for nine weeks from a severe bout of Chronic Fatigue which resulted from a shot.

Now as I look back over the year, I am proud of what I have done, and I feel that I have barely scratched the surface. I see 2009 as a huge stepping stone for my vision of Adopt A Caregiver.

I spoke at the Henderson Senior Center this morning, and I can’t tell you how much these wonderful people have done for me, and with me. Allowing me to speak at the center several times, helping me, supporting my vision and just being nice folks. Thank you so much guys, you all really got me started on my new journey.

It all begins in the community. Where you live, work, go to school, church, synagogue, all your social clubs, whereever you congregate with the same people, you hear things. You know someone has just become a caregiver, or someone is really lonely and depressed, and wishing they had a friend. Reach out, don’t hesitate, they need you.

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

Only you have the power to forgive yourself; care giving is a tough journey, don’t beat yourself up if you can not do everything yourself.

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

What I Learn From You

Every day I learn something new, mostly from people who email me or contact me in some way. I know how my caregiver friends are feeling, and I wish I could change some of what they are going through. They are mostly alone, or feel like they are alone.

I am speaking at the Henderson Senior Center on Tuesday morning, and I am counting on some of their seniors to come to the rescue of some of the caregivers I hear from. That’s the way Adopt A Caregiver works, one on one, so they can become friends. someone to share with, someone they know who does care.

I will start speaking to groups again, and word of mouth works for me. It’s potent, and the seeds get planted.

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.