Debbie Williamson

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Family Archive

Saturday

28

October 2017

6

COMMENTS

Life is Hard. God is Good.

Written by , Posted in Alzheimer's, Family

When our mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January, my siblings and I decided to start a Meal Train calendar to let people know our need for care and companionship for her and give them the opportunity to help, signing up for meals and/or visits.

Throughout these ten months, I have been regularly sending emails to this group of about 70, updating them and telling them of our mom’s current need.

When our dad died in July, we began looking for an assisted living community for our mom. That had always been the plan — when dad died, she would move closer to Santa Rosa and her church.

We worked tirelessly to find just the right place.

And we did! Find just the right place. Beautiful residence, gorgeous view, moving date set for October 12.

And then, on October 9, the devastating Santa Rosa, California fires roared through that community, burning to the ground over 8,000 structures. One of those was the community we had been calling her new home. The cable guys were scheduled, the new sofa bed was coming, and she was excited to join the walking group.

I guess not.

Thursday

12

October 2017

12

COMMENTS

Is Ignorance Bliss?

Written by , Posted in Alzheimer's, Family, General

Today, Oct. 12, 2017, was the day we were moving our mom into a perfect for her assisted living facility in Santa Rosa, California. Sadly, though, we didn’t. It burned to the ground on Monday in what is fast becoming the most deadly fire in California history.

This is one of many things that have unfolded in my life over the year that I never, ever thought would be true . . .

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
My dad died.
My husband has been unemployed for 7 months.
My mom evacuated from her home. We’re praying it doesn’t burn down.
And this is when I know that I really don’t want to know the future.

This is when I embrace the mystery of God’s perfect plan and purpose. (I don’t like it, but I embrace it.)

This is when my life of faith makes all the difference.

I’m reposting one of my all time favorite posts. The bandwidth of my brain is so full of sadness and uncertainty that I’m pretty unable to be creative, or even be very nice to 6th graders. So I thought this would be great to repost, to reread, since this speaks deeply to me about how ignorance can be bliss.

Sunday

1

October 2017

10

COMMENTS

Hate the Glitches!

Written by , Posted in Family, General

Since February, my email subscriber service has been glitchy. That means if your email for my blog is in the bottom half of the alphabet, you’ve not been getting any alerts that I’ve been writing. And I have been! Such a bummer. But my genius tech guy did some sleuthing and figured it all out. All emails are ready to be alerted next time I post.

So in order to catch half of you up, I’m going to repost the latest one I wrote about things I’ve learned since my dad died. It’s a good one and something we all need to be more aware of. I know I needed it! If you’ve already read it, so sorry that it’s coming again. But maybe it’s important enough to reread.

Happy October, email friends. Thanks for being a part of this blogging journey of mine. I appreciate your comments and encouragement and private messages of support and love. It’s been a wild and crazy and grief-filled year, but there’s always light, right? The darkness never, never overcomes the light. And that’s a good thing. It keeps me hoping. It keeps me keeping on.

Monday

4

September 2017

6

COMMENTS

The 2 Lessons I’ve Learned Since My Dad Died

Written by , Posted in Family, General

It’s been 37 days since my dad stopped breathing that July night in the ICU.

(I had to clarify with the night nurse who’d called us that “stopped breathing” wasn’t a euphemism for anything other than dead. Right, I asked him? My dad’s dead? Yes, he said, and he was so sorry for our loss. Ranks as weirdest phone conversation ever.)

Since then it’s been non-stop action — Planning the memorial service and the spreading of his ashes. Calling the realtor and beginning the painful, laborious process of getting the house ready to sell. Finding just the perfect place for my mom to be as the Alzheimer’s slowly and methodically tangles her brain. Keeping the meals and the visits organized and coming. Going through the house room by room, desk by desk, closet by closet, file cabinet by file cabinet and deciding what to do with everything. Every.single.thing. Every dish, towel, painting, sheet, bed, chair, rug, patio furniture, candle, pillow, picture, rake, shovel, bags of potting mix, windmill on the hill in the backyard. EVERYTHING.

So the grieving process gets interrupted by all the busyness.

But every so often it crashes in in a wave.

Monday

14

August 2017

9

COMMENTS

Monday

10

July 2017

1

COMMENTS

Our Trip Down The 395

Written by , Posted in Family, General

Driving away in our car that overheated twice on the road into Tahoe, we decided no air conditioning. Google maps said we were 8 hours and 3 minutes from home. That won’t be so bad. No air. We can do that.

Uh huh.

And we were off down the 395, along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. Up and down, in and around, through towns and spaces we hadn’t seen before. Snow covered mountains, Mono Lake, Independence, Lone Pine, the road to Mammoth, Bishop, Bridgeport, Tom’s Place . . .

And it got hotter and hotter.

Finally, about two hours from home, we relented and turned the air on low. Anxious that we would overheat so so close, I kept an eagle-eye on the thermometer, praying the needle to stay put.

It did and we made it.

Sunday

19

March 2017

3

COMMENTS

Safe From the Mayhem

Written by , Posted in Alzheimer's, Family, General

As one who avoided all science classes in college and managed to graduate with Anthropology 11 fulfilling the science requirement for a Sociology degree, I actually can get my mind around these few lines of explanation. I can picture what that looks like.

Realizing that it’s happening in my mother’s brain though, breaks me a bit. How can it be her? What happened that caused the plaques and tangles to form in her wise, sweet, kind mind? Diet Coke? Balance bars? Pretty much zero exercise?

But this is the mystery of Alzheimer’s . . . apparently, no one knows. Why is it her brain cells and tissues are dying? Where did the plaque come from? The tangles? Will the tracks ever straighten?

Saturday

11

February 2017

11

COMMENTS

Alzheimers.org

Written by , Posted in Family, General

“Hi, I’m Debbie and my mom has early stage Alzheimers”.

10 words I never thought would leave my mouth. Ever. Ever. Ever.

I was sitting in a small office at the local senior center with four elderly women each of whom was caring for a loved one with some form of dementia. Two facilitators were leading this support group for care givers. To say it was a bit surreal is an understatement. It felt more like I’d been transported to the Twilight Zone. On Jupiter. Without a space suit.

They talked and I listened still in disbelief that I was in that room for that reason on that sunny Friday morning.

Life is weird.

So many other things had come unglued in my life at the end of 2016, but the health and mental capacity of my mother was not one of them.

January 3, 2017 — our lives took a radically different turn.

Wednesday

10

August 2016

12

COMMENTS

Launching, Landing and Leaving – Part 2

Written by , Posted in Family, General

(School began in our district today, so I thought I would repost this from last August. Whether you’re launching a precious one to preschool, high school, grad school, or boot camp, this one’s for you.)

As we took our youngest to grad school last week, I remembered all the other times we’d taken her to new places and then said good-bye.

Kindergarten, middle school, high school, Young Life camp, college and now grad school in very far away Indiana.

People ask me all the time if we miss her. Yes we miss her, but we’ve been doing this for 22 years — launching her into her own life and space, helping her land and then, leaving her behind.

When she was 5, we walked her to the kindergarten door at Wide Hollow Elementary School and sent her in. Our first real experience of launching and leaving this baby of ours. We helped her land, gave her a hug, and walked to the car.

(Not so sad, really, that day. She’d been a challenging infant and toddler, so I’m thinking Bill and I might have done a happy dance in the parking lot. Maybe. Can’t really remember. Did I say challenging?)

Saturday

9

April 2016

1

COMMENTS

Our Daughter, The Photographer

Written by , Posted in Family, General

Our oldest daughter is a spectacular photographer. (I’m totally biased, but she really is!) She and her husband are in Juneau, Alaska this weekend for a wedding shoot. So, since I’ve been praying for them and cherishing the wonder I feel every time I see the beauty she creates through her lens, I’m reposting a post I wrote 2 1/2 years ago as she was just starting her business and we were along for the ride. Now that she travels doing weddings and engagements and product launches, we’re not along for the ride much anymore. But that’s the beauty of instagram and blogs! You can see all her work here at katskyephoto.com