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OIP

Why does anyone start something new like a job, recipe, or project? Obviously, there is always some guiding influence which directs an individual to make changes, or choices, in life. Sometimes, we all have the need for a little adventure, both to move away from the boredom of a situation or…some need to leave more of a significant imprint in our lives. 

I feel that when a person spends a good deal of time reading the literary works of others, down deep inside is the urge to express themselves through writing. This applies to many other artful means of self-expression. Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, correct? One never knows how well their efforts will be acknowledged, even appreciated, unless they try. 

And so, I did just that several years ago. The trials and tribulations of dealing with a mother suffering with Alzheimer’s paved the way to document so much of what was slipping away, day after day. During her many sleepless nights, I sat up, ready to thwart her wandering and started drafting a book and building a website, something to leave behind for my children and grandchildren. A collection of all my mother forgot and even more that I was determined to remember. 

In many ways, I credit my late mother’s dementia for encouraging one of the very things she sought to destroy when I was a teenager…writing in a daily journal and documenting much of the pain that children endure as they struggle through their growing years. 

Ironic, and I often wonder how many others venture into new and positive challenges based on how they have lived, and the people involved. Is it a mission, of sorts, to redefine ourselves, or…rewrite the history of what has made us who we are?

In some ways, I’ve tried to do both.  

 

workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…Tell us about why you started blogging to begin with. 

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Look away…

It’s a standard warning on car mirrors: “Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear”. Mirrors don’t always give a truly honest reflection. Sometimes, the mirror is warped; sometimes, it’s only our perceptions. When Alice went into her mirror, it was the world itself that was distorted. And yet at times, the mirror will show you true things that you weren’t aware of; something around a corner, or behind you, or on another spectral plane. People can even act as mirrors; they can show you yourself as others see you.

old woman - mirror

 

She constantly refused to look into a mirror, any mirror.

My mother.

It wasn’t because of vanity or due to failing eyesight.

She could see clearly, without eyeglasses, towards the end of her life.

It didn’t matter.

The reflection staring back was unrecognizable

To her.

That person, that old woman with gray hair and wrinkled skin was someone else.  “A witch” she often said as she quickly looked away from what she had determined was some creature hiding in the glass.  She would cover her face with both hands.   It wasn’t her, not by any means; she was young, in her twenties, still with dark hair and red lipstick.

In her mind.

Mother lived in long ago realities; the aging process stopped and did a U-turn back about fifty or more years once Alzheimer’s took control.   In some ways, I was envious.  She didn’t have to deal with life’s sorrows and responsibilities but that was nothing new.   For as long as I could painfully remember she always managed to look away from bothersome issues, seeing only what she wanted.  Comfortable, happy reflections.

I was never her mirror of choice.

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workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Workshop…Writing Prompts for 4/4/19…Write a blog post inspired by the word: mirror.

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Laughing…through tears

I’m supposed to be a Writer and, for a while, I thought I was one.  So many of us who blog come out blasting in the beginning, sometimes unable to keep up with everything we want to share.  We don’t always care who reads or leaves comments, it’s just satisfying to sit back and read our thoughts staring back on the screen in front of us.

Then, the doldrums hit.  Words stop flowing and we keep meaning to sit down and get busy with our chosen passion.  We want to write but don’t, start yet never finish and agonize over a dozen promising posts that gather cobwebs in our drafts folder.

Recently, someone I greatly admire mentioned that she missed me, asking if I was okay.  Just that one message stirred me, deeply, and I started wading through various outlines I’ve been ignoring.  Still, I continued to find excuses to write, allowing life to keep getting in my way instead of giving it free reign to whet my creativity.

Yesterday, at the salon where I work, a man called to make an appointment for his wife, explaining that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and that he wanted to do something special for her before taking her on a “Doo Wop Cruise” in a few weeks.  He sounded so confused, explaining that he had reached out to the Alzheimer’s Organization for help and received nothing but mailings asking for donations along with information on subscribing to their publication.  Having experienced the same response when my late mother was diagnosed, I understood his complete frustration.  He went on to explain that his wife is just 63 years old and is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s,  a form of dementia that often moves more rapidly than what strikes the elderly.  I gave him all the short term advice that I could during our twenty-minute conversation and scheduled time for his wife with one of our best salon stylists.

Shortly after, I had the pleasure in having a conversation with one of those people who really listen, you know, the ones who ask questions and stay totally involved in what you have to say?  We briefly spoke of my writing and how this blog came to be born; we spoke about Alzheimer’s and my difficulties in being a caregiver, how I often laugh in the midst of the chaos in my life.   My inspiration became re-invented when she said…”laughing, through tears”…the title of this long overdue blog post.  I thank you, “Melanie Cricket”, and hope you stop by to read my humble offerings!

So, where have I been?  Like so many others, dealing with things I’m unable to control.  An emotional fracture, caused by foolish disagreements and outright vindictiveness, which has impacted a long-standing friendship of forty years; painful endings of new beginnings; our miserable economy and, worst of all, cancer hitting much too close to home with the recent diagnosis of my husband’s brother, his only sibling.  Each passing day has been full of debates and lectures, mixed-in with a dose of depression that lingers in the background, waiting to pound its gavel down on my existence.

It’s not the end of my immediate world, not by any means.  Countless other human beings have so much more to deal with and I’m reminded about “There but for the grace of God…” when I feel so overwhelmed.  My heart breaks and tears mix with anger over the young girl from Colorado who was robbed of the chance to grow into the beautiful woman she should have been, for those who struggle to survive on a daily basis, for those who cry for help and no one listens.

All of this will pass and I will laugh whenever possible, but, my tears won’t be far behind.

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