Dear Family and Friends,
I’d like to share another post from Barbara Webb, whose husband, Al, is now in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease where he is still active, but needs an increasing amount of help with daily activities. Barbara’s 95-year-old mother has also declined recently. Totally active until six months ago, she is now in a nursing home. Sadly, her physical decline is accompanied by some dementia and hallucinations.
What I love about Barbara’s posts is that they’re very honest about the realities of living with Alzheimer’s, but she always finds the blessings amid the heartbreak. Today, she shares with us how she does that:
“Although this is the time of the year that many are counting their blessings and looking forward to celebrating the holidays, this time of the year can also bring on sadness and depression for many.
“My life has changed a lot in the past few years. Instead of enjoying the golden years with trips and checking things off my bucket list, I am caring for two people who I love very much. Although I understand that I am truly blessed to be their caregivers, I also long for the good old days. This does cause me to be sad at times and even somewhat depressed. I have nicknamed this my PPMs – my “poor pitiful me’s.” But the other day I had an idea. Every time I get the PPMs, I would like to turn that around to the BBMs – my bountifully blessed me’s. Here are some examples of making those changes in my mind:
“When we can’t travel long distances anymore,
Be thankful for all the memories of trips we have taken.
“When I am worried about being in the donut hole for Al’s medications,
I am thankful that we have the resources to pay for those medications.
“When the chill is nipping at our door,
I think about the wisdom in moving from Florida to be near family to help us.
“When my schedule is jammed full of doctor appointments for Al,
I thank God that he gave doctors the knowledge to care for those in need.
“When I feel angry that I have to now drive everywhere we go,
I am glad that I am able to drive so that we are not dependent on others or public transportation.
“When I give my mom a massage that she loves so much instead of thinking about the millions things I have to do,
I look at her face and see how relaxed she is and am thankful that I can give her that peace.
“When I feel the walls of the smaller home we now live in crowding in on me,
I am so thankful we downsized when we did to make upkeep easier.
“When our wonderful neighbors offer to help,
I accept with thanksgiving knowing I am also allowing them to be blessed.
“When Al tells a silly joke for the hundredth time,
I try to be glad that he still has his wonderful sense of humor.
“When Al can’t remember something,
I am glad that God has given me a good memory (at least so far!).
“When I think about how neat and clean my house used to be,
I look around at the mess and think of Annie and say I will clean ‘Tomorrow”.
“When my mom calls totally confused and wants me to go there immediately because ‘the men’ are in her room and I need to get them out,
I am glad that I am able to calm her down to the point she can relax and go back to sleep.
“When I feel I am pulled in all directions and to the breaking point,
I am thankful for a caring support group of people who listen and know what I am feeling.
“When I need a little extra help from a therapist,
I am glad that we were able to find one who understands us so well.
“When Al wants to eat constantly,
I am thankful that he has an appetite and can be well nourished.
“When I am exhausted from dealing with insurance companies, bank statements, paying bills,
I am thankful for the insurance we have and the ability to pay those bills.
“I could probably go on for a lot longer, but I think you get the general idea. This holiday season, and beyond, I am trying to look at my BBMs instead of my PPMs. I am not always successful but I am trying. I am finding that when I do this, my sadness lifts and I can smile at all the blessings I do have in my life. I think that sometimes when we are so focused on the tasks at hand, we tend to lose sight of the big picture. Remembering my blessings not only makes me feel better but also enables me to be a better caregiver and wife.
“So I would like to invite all of you to concentrate more on your BBMs and less on your PPMs. I bet if you sit down and make a list you will be surprised at how many blessings you truly do have. And how much better you feel.”
Thank you, Barbara, for your perspective. And may you all have a blessed Christmas.