Guest Poem – If Only For a Moment

if-only

I never knew traveling on the road called Alzheimer’s and Caregiving would allow me to meet personally, professionally and/or on social media the many amazing people I have thus far. Whether they’re in the ALZ fight from first-hand experience or in support or they are or have been a caregiver to someone and understand the life. And this blog has been another great extension. In response to my post The Beginning, The Middle or My Now  I was sent this lovely poem from Aimi Medina. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read nad/or comment on my blog because this is for you as much as it is for me. And being a writer and poet myself I appreciate her sharing this gift.

So with her blessing I am reposting the poem and sharing it with you. And if you want to see her blog and other works I have provided a link below.

Thanks Aimi. xo

If Only for a Moment

If only for a moment,
Whisk me back in time,
So painful,
So true,
Yet, it was Dad.
It was you.

If only for a moment
I could rid you of the pain,
Splash color,
Many ways,
Paint over,
Stormy days.

If only for a moment,
You could speak those words once heard,
I’d listen,
I’d tell,
I’d scream,
I’d yell.

If only for a moment,
I could see you stand and tower,
Over mountains,
Over voices,
Over barriers,
Over choices.

If only for a moment,
I could take it all away,
So painful,
So true,
Yet, it was Dad.
It was you.

If only for a moment,
It doesn’t matter when,
Just to be with Dad,
My father,
Again.

3-15-14 by Aimi Medina

Here’s the link to the poem and other great works by Aimi.

 

Pamela

 

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TAKING AN ALZ PAUSE FOR….THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

Photo courtesy: MLB.com

A few Alz supporters were mentioning on social media that we wish someone had thought of a cool way to raise money for Alzheimer’s as it is being done for ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Not saying next summer Alz supporters can’t piggy back on this, but it took one person to start it, just one. It did take a moment for the momentum to get going, but once the celeb community grabbed a hold of it, it took off and ALS has raised a great amount of money. And for those who have done the challenget I hope they didn’t forget the donation part of the challenge. Well those of us in the Alz world need to put our thinking caps on and something going.

So here’s my pause in the Alz world to let you know about ALS and to show you the pics from last week  two weeks ago when my co-workers and I took the Ice Bucket Challenge. We were challenged by the San Franciso Giants. I have to say ice and all it was very refreshing and yes, I would do it again.

Ryan, Kellen, Moi and Joe

An Alpha and some Delta’s… William, Moi, Karen and Wendy

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body and when a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death.*

Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig was an American baseball first baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball(MLB) for the New York Yankees (1923–1939). Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, a trait which earned him his nickname “The Iron Horse”.

Gehrig was the first MLB player to have his uniform number retired, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

Gehrig’s streak ended in 1939 after he was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disorder now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in North America,[8] which forced him to retire at age 36 and claimed his life two years later. The pathos of his farewell from baseball was capped off by his iconic “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech at the original Yankee Stadium.

To learn more about the Ice Bucket Challenge go here.

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Pat Bowlen gives up control of Denver Broncos while he battles Alzheimer’s disease

Bowlen

Photo Credit: Denver Broncos

It’s never easy to hear about a person falling to Alzheimer’s and this post is about a member of the NFL, family Pat Bowlen. He isn’t a former a player as we sadly hear about the many players succumbing to this disease or symptoms like it because of the hits taken throughout their career, no Pat is an owner, the owner of the Denver Broncos, a team that has the second-best winning percentage in the NFL, behind only the 49ers.

Elway once said Bowlen’s competitive nature as a triathlete when he was younger translated into his business life “and how he ran the Broncos.”

Bowlen was known as much for his humility as his competitive fire, doing his best to stay out of the spotlight even as he built a winning culture and a fan base that extends throughout the Rocky Mountains.

He has been the CEO and owner since March 1984. My heart and prayers go out to the Bowlen family and to Pat for being open about his memory loss and for the journey he will soon embark.

Reported from ESPN:

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is giving up control of the team because of Alzheimer’s disease.

The 70-year-old Bowlen will no longer be a part of the club’s daily operations, the Broncos announced Wednesday. Team president Joe Ellis is adding the title of chief executive officer and will have final say on all matters.

“Today is a day of sadness for us, it’s a day of tremendous sadness for the Bowlen family, all of our employees, people around the National Football League, and this region and this community,” Ellis said during an afternoon news conference. “Pat wants us to do two things. He wants us to win, he’s always wanted that and will continue to want that. Also he’s always wanted everybody here to do things the right way.”

The Broncos say the ownership of the franchise is held in a trust Bowlen set up more than a decade ago in hopes that one of his seven children will one day run the team.

“As many in the Denver community and around the National Football League have speculated, my husband, Pat, has very bravely and quietly battled Alzheimer’s disease for the last few years. He has elected to keep his condition private because he has strongly believed, and often said, ‘It’s not about me,'” Bowlen’s wife, Annabel, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner. My family is deeply saddened that Pat’s health no longer allows him to oversee the Broncos, which has led to this public acknowledgment of such a personal health condition,” she added.

“Alzheimer’s has taken so much from Pat, but it will never take away his love for the Denver Broncos and his sincere appreciation for the fans,” Annabel said.

John Elway, Hall of Fame quarterback and current Broncos executive vice president of football operations, also spoke at the news conference and had difficulty containing his emotions.

“It’s a sad, sad day,” Elway said. “Pat has been a mentor, somebody I’ve looked up to. I can’t say enough for what he’s done for me … and I know what this football team meant to him. Other than his family, it was the most important thing in his life.”

Business is expected to go on as usual at Broncos headquarters.

Bowlen had reduced his public appearances in recent years, although he was still a fixture at the team’s Dove Valley complex and at all of its games. After acknowledging in 2009 that he suffered short-term memory loss, he stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2011 when he promoted Ellis to president.

For the first time this offseason, Ellis represented the Broncos at the annual owners meetings. He previously worked as the Broncos’ marketing director from 1983 to 1985, then rejoined the team in 1998 as its executive vice president of business operations. In 2008, Ellis was named the team’s chief operating officer, and in 2011, he was named team president.

Under Bowlen’s guidance, the Broncos won six AFC titles and two Super Bowls. At 307-203-1, Bowlen and New York Giants founder Tim Mara are the only three-decade owners in pro football history to win 60 percent of their games.

The Broncos’ 186 home victories are the most in the NFL since the Bowlen family bought the team in 1984, when Elway was Bowlen’s quarterback, not his front-office chief, and the Broncos’ five losing seasons during those 30 years are the fewest in the league over that span.

Elway once said Bowlen’s competitive nature as a triathlete when he was younger translated into his business life “and how he ran the Broncos.”

Bowlen was known as much for his humility as his competitive fire, doing his best to stay out of the spotlight even as he built a winning culture and a fan base that extends throughout the Rocky Mountain region. His style endeared him to employees and players alike.

“Words can’t express the love, respect & gratitude I have for Pat Bowlen. He set the standard for team ownership. Keep Mr. B in your prayers,” former Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey tweeted.

When Bowlen received the Mizel Institute’s 2013 Community Enrichment Award, Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe said, “I would be hard-pressed to believe that there’s an owner that cares more about his city, about his state, about his players than Mr. Bowlen does.”

Hall of Famer Gary Zimmerman said he realized Bowlen was a different type of owner when he signed up for a turkey his first Thanksgiving in Denver, thinking it was all a joke.

“Then I come into the locker room, and there’s Pat sticking turkeys into our lockers,” Zimmerman recounted.

During Peyton Manning‘s whirlwind free agency tour in 2012, Zimmerman said, he knew any other teams pursuing the four-time MVP were just wasting their time.

“I knew he’d be a Bronco before he did,” Zimmerman said, “because once he visited here and met with Mr. Bowlen, I knew there was no way he could go anywhere else. 

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold was included in this report.

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The Beginning, The Middle or My Now…

footprints-man-beach-morning

 This post is a submission for Caring Across Generations second #blog4care on Caring for Aging Parents. By sharing our powerful and personal stories, we hope to make a difference and create solutions  to the care crisis, together.

As I pondered on what I wanted to write for this post, the title is appropriate to my thought process. Do I discuss where I was as a caregiver (i.e. the beginning), the middle of that journey or where I am now and you know what I’ll give a little of all.

You see I am on the other side of caregiving, as my mother passed two years ago. I miss my mom terribly and would give anything to have her back, even those crazy, tough and teary caregiving days. Some people who are in the midst of it may say “I understand you’re missing your mom, but the caregiving part too?!”

Yep that part too! In my posts I often talked about the tearful nights, mom’s behavior changes, challenges with getting financial assistance for a person who wasn’t rich or poor, lack of sleep and sadness, as I navigated new territory wondering when I’d have time to move forward in my life, because doing anything else other than caring for her and giving her 110% felt like a guilty thing to do. It seemed there was always some obstacle to tackle.  As with anything new, I learned how to manage that life. Caring for mom, making sure she was on a daily routine or making sure that I was on a daily routine rather, keeping up with errands, and taking her to doctor’s appointments became my norm, but also learning how to meet her at her level was a huge step for me.

I often blog about meeting a person with Alzheimer’s at their level because once this really clicks for you, it does give “you” the caregiver a better sense of control. It makes the role easier because you learn not to sweat the small stuff, you learn to make better decisions because you truly realize that no matter how much you want the former person you knew it’s not going to be. You have to find ways to present decisions to them easily that will make them feel engaged and that they matter. Basically you make the decisions on the decisions they are going to or going to try to make.

Trying days yes, but now that I’m on the other side of the coin so to speak, it’s been challenging too but in a different way. Two years later and I still cry. I cry for my mother and my father. He didn’t have Alz but it’s the emptiness of having both parent’s gone. And I struggle with my next. Funny isn’t it, when I was a caregiver, I knew all of the things that I wanted to do when I was able to get mom secure some place and now that I am no longer a caregiver it’s all escaped me. I have new challenges and another new mindset to conquer.

When I see something or do something that I want to share with my mother, it hurts my heart that she is no longer around to share in those things with me. Holidays aren’t the same. I felt so lost that first Mother’s Day. I tried to get cards for friends and family members and couldn’t do it. Stores where’d I go to buy items for mom gave me major anxiety when I’d go in after she passed. Who knew? No one prepares you for that! I knew there would be a great loss, but I never expected not being able to handle going into a store.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is very much like the quote from Forest Gump, “…it’s like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get”. You get mood swings, the eating challenges, the bathing challenges, and for some, the wandering challenges (thankful that I didn’t), but you also get times when funny things are said, you learn how to grocery shop quickly, and to think very quickly on your feet.

When you’re in the midst of it really is the unknown path. I turned to blogging because I am a writer. I wanted to give a voice to my experience, once I got over feelings of embarrassment and not wanting to relive tough moments with mom, with learning financial systems and so on, but I knew there was a bigger picture, my experiences could help the next person.

I didn’t know where that would lead me, I just hoped someone would read my posts. And someone did and eventually my voice was becoming a bigger voice that started out for Alzheimer’s and is growing to be a big voice for the unsung hero…caregivers.

I don’t know my next, I have a list that I’m ready to conquer. I just hope that I can make a difference in someone else’s life.

To learn about my beginning, click here.

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