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Posts Tagged ‘Dying’

In Honor of Susan Suchan

One voice that has been significantly missed this past year is Susan Suchan.  She lived her life fully even when diagnosed with dementia. We continue to celebrate her birthday and the love, compassion and dear friendship she brought into our lives.

Through Death,

Our Connection Remains

It was an honor to work with Susan on Dementia Chats.  Her insights were brilliant and her laughter contagious.

A few of us gathered to honor what would have been Susan’s 62nd birthday.  Please watch and feel free to share Susan’s life and the impact she had on others.  Remember each one of us have the opportunity to lift and inspire others by sharing our authentic self with one another, just as Susan did.


For poems by Mary Radnofsky read on the above video Click Below: https://www.alzheimersspeaks.com/images/Poetry/2_poems_mary_R_about_susan_suchan.pd

To see Truthful’s blog on Susan Click Below: https://truthfulkindness.com/memoriam/susan-suchan/

You never knew what would happen next….

A Bit More About Susan

Susan Suchan was the mother of two grown daughters and five beautiful grandchildren. She was a nurse for 23 years and was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD) at the age of 48; an additional diagnosis of Frontotemporal dementia(FTD)/Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). Susan advocated for and about the “lived experience”, working to change perceptions, stigma and help bring to life, and the realness of her disease process. She has had the opportunity to speak Nationally and locally. Susan was awaiting the release of a documentary featuring her life, showing the effects on friends and family relationships, finances and end of life discussions. The film is called, “Susan’s Story” and is still in need of funds to complete.

Here Are Some of Our Dementia Chats Sessions Featuring Susan

Help Make “Susan’s Story” a Documentary, a Reality 

In honor of what would have been Susan Suchan’s 62nd birthday, her family and the producers of the documentary, invite you to help complete the film.  The documentary is in post-production and the final $125,000 is still needed to complete the film. 

Please contact Russ Kirkpatrick, the Producer/Director of the film, if you have questions or would like to make a contribution. Tax deductible contributions can be made to one of two 501(c)(3) organizations associated with the film. 

Contact information: russ@kkp.film

Link to the trailer of Susan’s Story: https://vimeo.com/302739507

Looking for a Keynoter, Consultant or Trainer?

See what LeadingAge has to say about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

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Thoughtful Life Wishes For The Dying Process

 Thoughtful Life Wishes

For The Dying Process

on Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

2pm EST, 1pm CST, 12pm MST, 11am PST and 7pm London time

Join Lori La Bey, Host of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio and her guest Jon Braddock on Tuesday.  Jon is the founder and CEO of My Life and Wishes, an education and digital planning platform with a mission to help families become “thoughtfully prepared” for the inevitable, their own death.

Contact Jon Braddock at:

https://www.facebook.com/jon.braddock

https://twitter.com/jonbraddock

https://www.facebook.com/mylifeandwishes/

Get Jon’s Free Checklist

 

A Big “Thank You” To Our Sponsors of

Our Dementia Friendly Cruise

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Loss Repeated

Loss Repeated

mario_and_danielle_grad_l=pic_flash_of_lightThis past Friday we lost one of our precious family pets.  Mr. Mario in retrospect was the head of our household.  Although not the bread winner as the IRS would define head of household, he filled our souls and will be greatly missed.

mario_on_the_bedUnlike the relationship I had with my mother who died in February after a 30 year battle with dementia, Mario had not been feeling well on and off for the past three weeks, yet he always seemed to bounce back, prance around and get into mischief. He was always game.. even for the crazy outfits at Halloween and X-Mas!

mario xmas outfitAlthough both losses have been and will continue to be a struggle, it is amazing at the differences and yet similarities.  The love, joy and comfort each provided in their own was powerful.  Due to the fact that my Mother lived in a nursing home for may years, her energy and presence was not embedded in each and every routine we had as a family.

Mario would:

Waking me up two or three times a night to go outside to go potty… I can now sleep through the night.

Sleep with me starting out laying on top of me, then going under the covers until he was too hot and the routine repeated itself throughout the night… I can now sprawl out in my own bed not worrying about bothering Mario or rolling over on him.

Remind me if I forgot to give him his pills as I was rushing out the door… No longer do I have to worry I might forget his medicine.

Grab the toilet paper and run through the livingroom and up the stairs in delight when someone would forget to shut the bathroom door…  Now, bathroom doors can now be left open.

Put his tiny paws on the counter as he would stretch, trying hard to pretend he was not begging when food was being prepared… No longer do I have to gently tap them and tell him to get down.

Anxiously await by my feet as I can clean my make up off, hoping I would drop a facial wipe or Q tip as he had a fetish for paper… No longer do I have to worry I might step on him underway or drop something he should not get.

Bark fearlessly at anything outside and would protect us from anyone trying to enter our home…Now there is silence.

Greet each of us at the door when we came home or get nervous when he saw suitcase getting packed, wondering if he would be going with or not…  No more will I since the unconditional love Mr. Mario gave freely wanting to be close to us always.

The list is long of all the things that have change overnight.

Here is just a partial list of loving nic names we had for Mario, now to only be heard when reminiscing.

Littles, Stinky, Mitter Mitter, Baby Boy, Little one…

marke_and_mario_fixeddanielle and mario cuddling

He is not there to rub his neck against our feet or talk in his whiny bark when he wanted to play.  He no longer does he sit on our laps and cuddle as us as we work or relax, or nuzzle us when he wanted to be tucked under his blankets.  No longer does he lay across from us and just watch us or comfort us when we are down or celebrate with us when we are joyful.

 

mario up closeMario will not be here to greet my daughters first child, but I know he will be watching over her and protecting her with my parents from their glorious seats in heaven.mario standing chunkyAlthough the routines Mr. Mario affected and how he touched people he met, were different from my own Mother, they will both be missed equally for the rest of my life.  Each triggering tugs of pain over moments of joy now in the past, unable to have a future to create more.  Each has taught the true gift of unconditional love and its importance in this world.  Each has taught me the true meaning of compassion, the gift of just being present and valuing what you have in your life today, as it may be lost tomorrow.  Each has taught me the critical importance of treating all things well and lovingly.

Although this is a journey none of us willing wants to take, it is natural part of life and a road which can not be avoided.  In the days ahead I know I will have a hard time framing my loss in this fashion, but over time I pray to get better at it.  Right now my mind accepts this philosophy, but my heart and soul are still grieving wishing life had given us a bit more time together.

May each of you be strong enough to go

to unexpected heights to explore love.

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May you each be blessed to feel the pain of loss

as it is a true measure of the love you had. 

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Learning To Say Good Bye

Learning To Say Good Bye

There are so many levels and forms of “Good Bye.”  Most of us don’t realize the full extent of the process until it’s our turn to walk the path.  It may be a child leaving for kindergarten or college, a divorce, a decline in health or the ultimate… a death.  Even though I have ventured down each of these paths before, every time it is new and fresh with lessons to be learned.memom

Since my Mothers passing in February, I have gone through the typical ups an downs of my grief and loss.  Missing her is something that I really can’t even put into words.  i will be doing fine and then the next thing I know something triggers a strong memory.  It could be a smell, a picture, a phrase someone says or even a faint voice I hear on occasion and I would swear she is right next to me.  Her presence still feels so close.

In the past few weeks a new decision was put before my family.

What to do with my parents beautiful lake home.

lake 1The decision was far from easy.  Although my brothers and I now own it together, our lifestyles are very different.  Not everyone lives in the same state and so the logistics for using the cabin became uneven.  Each with our own busy life and trying to maintain our own homes, adding a another into the equation complicated things to say the least. Seeing eye to eye on fiscal responsibilities and life philosophies can be difficult in a family. The past couple of weeks have been painful for us all, but the decision to sell seemed to be the only real option.

Going through and staging the home for sale I cleaned, and packed and tossed and cried.  I prayed for clarity and peace in my heart as my soul aches over the decision.  When I would  sit to rest, my eyes would scan over all the belongings…

The old ugly glass lamps which my mother loved have now become so precious to me.  My fathers recliner that comforts me as I try to relax.  Moms loon collection and glassware which is more than any one person could ever use… The simple scents of old perfume, the feel of dads tools in my hand.  It’s amazing how we look at things differently once someone is no longer physically in our lives.

The end of a era so wonderful and filled with joy.  The emotions  are embedded in my body.  When I cry, not only do tears come, but at times my stomach twists, turns and aches in pain over the loss of them.  Yet when I laugh and remember the times of joy.  My emotions are just as strong; making me smile, laugh boldly and even tears of love and hope and joy will stream down my face.

It is all up to God and the universe to lay out the future and what is to be.  All we can do is make the best decisions with the information we have at the time, and let go. And then let go again and again.

The worrying does us no good but to make us spin in doubt.  We all must move forward as difficult as it is and live our lives – fulfill our missions and walk our own paths.

mom and dad weddingI am so grateful to have had such wonderful parents who filled my heart with love and compassion.  Both excellent teachers and leaders in their own way.  May they understand how difficult it is for us to let go of the cabin.  May they appreciate how we all feel their home deserves a wonderful family who will care for it the way they did. A family who will have the time, money and energy to maintain the home in a loving fashion.  A family who will love it and share it with their friends and family, creating beautiful moments of joy, that will one day be truly appreciated at a soul level.

If the cabin is meant to sell it will…

if not, well I guess we still have lessons to learn.

May you each process your own loss in all the various forms it comes in.  May you find peace within your journey and blessings in the lessons you have learned.  May you find the ability to share openly your emotions with others, so you can fully release the pain you feel.

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Feeling Lost Without My Mother

Feeling Lost

By Lori La Bey – copyright 2014

Lori La Bey of Alzheimer's Speaks & Senior Lifestyle Trends

Lori La Bey founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

Through my mother’s thirty year journey with dementia she continued to guide and teach me; love me in ways I did not know where possible, especially in times of illness.  It’s now been 72 days since mom slipped into the heavens and joined my father. Although I can rationalize her journey on earth is over and she is now in a much better place, free of pain, fully mobile and mind intact; I am struggling.

Today I Will Visit Her Grave Site With My Beautiful Daughter Danielle,

Who Loved Her Grandma So Very Much.

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Going There Gives Me A Sense Of Peace.

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The Cemetery, A Place Where I Can Honor Her,

Leave Roses And Balloons In Honor Of Our Relationship And

The Love We Had For One Another.

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Throughout My Life, My Mother Has Been My Logical And Loving Conscious.

Mom Was My Rock.

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Mom is the one I could always depend on. She was not only my mother, but my best friend.  As my friend Lisa Hirsch titled her book, “My Mother My Hero”  pretty much sums it up!

Through tough times she was my guide and support.

On special occasions we celebrated together.

Mom Taught Me:

To look for the tiniest of things to be grateful for.

To hold a hand out to those in need.

To love deeply.

To consciously make a difference in my life and others.

To work hard and be responsible.

To understand my impact on others; realizing, appreciating and honoring the world is much larger than myself and that we are all interconnected.

To understand that to be a Mother one does not have to have their own child; but rather to be willing to adopt a child in mind, body, heart and soul.

To make a connection and difference in someone’s life, is to be a Mother.

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Mom Showed Me How By The Way She Lived Her Own Life.

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Leading by example showing me a variety of ways to be a compassionate person.

How to listen to others, not just hear their words.

To look for nonverbal signs of what others truly want or need, when their words were lost or pride held them back.

To look past the everyday judgments and see the whole person standing before me.

memom

Through Illness Mom Taught Me:

To let go of control. To realize it is a mirage, a trap of guilt and pleasure.

To embrace the simplicity of life.

To smile and spread grace.

To love more deeply than I ever knew was possible.

To laugh hard and authentically to embed the moment into my soul.

To look for and create joy in all moments of life, no matter how difficult they are.

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To talk openly and honestly with others acknowledging all emotions without embarrassment.

To understand we are all in this life together and that shame, guilt and denial shut us down. Realizing the only way to get past those crunching emotions is to be open, honest and proud you’ve recognized them and what has triggered them; allowing you to move through them. Past them. Over them.

To not only say, “I’m sorry” when wrong, but to change my behavior to avoid it from happening again.

To feel my fear, think of alternatives to remove it and to be brave enough to take action to reclaim the life I envision.

To follow my instincts even when they seem goofy or senseless.

To trust in a higher power than myself, knowing I’m never alone.

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To honor everyone’s beliefs.

To realize prestige, money and objects are just things.  They will not make you a better person; until you realize they can be powerful tools to expand your work for the greater good.

She taught me the importance of being person centered and what it truly means – which is how and why I created “Your Memory Chip.”  –  Are they Safe?, Are they Happy? Are The Painfree?

Through All These Lessons And More,

I Find I Still Want Her Back In This Physical World Where I Live.

Some days my heart aches so bad I think it will explode; or maybe, just maybe it will stop beating all together.  I logically believe and know in my heart mom is in a much better place. In heaven with my dad probably dancing and laughing with many friends and family who have also passed.

But Today, My Mind Wonders…

How Long Will The Pain Of Her Loss Last?

My heart longs for the warmth of her being.

My body reaches out to touch and embrace her, wanting to feel the calmness she always gave me.

My soul wants to be in her physical presence.  The presence that grounds me and allows me to feel strong and confident; even when weak.

My nostrils want to take in one last breath of her essence.

My mind wants to create more moments of joy with her.

Yes Today I Will Go To The Cemetery,

Where I Know She Is Not.

Mom’s soul is not limited to the small patch of grass next to her headstone.

Mom is in the air I breathe.

She is in the sunlight that warms me and ignites my growth.

She is the rain that falls, filled with nutrients and washing away the toxins.

She is the snow that chills me and brings a brilliant beauty by white washing this canvas called earth.

She is the sunset that screams at me to be amazed by our God and the beauty which surrounds me.

She is the moon that calls me to reflect, regenerate and give gratitude for the life I am blessed to live.

Mom, on this Mother’s day I honor you,

and all Mothers who have warmed a child’s heart, taught us soul lessons, loved us unconditionally as we have taken missteps, stumbled and fallen.

To all women who have been then there to pick us up and wipe us off.

Who have kissed a booboo.

Given a hug when we have felt unworthy.

Who sat silently in our presence when no words were needed to make us feel safe and loved.

To your hand, when you reached out to let us know we are not alone.

To your words of encouragement when we were down.

To you thoughtful and thoughtless celebration when we finally got it right!

Each Mother is special.

An “Earth Angel” Guiding Us In This Physical World.

Thank you to all Mother’s, for who you are and what you do for the world at large.

Thank you Mom for all you taught me.

All you gave me.

All you continue to give me from the other side.

Your continued connection through dreams and through our souls has been a beautiful gift to me.

May Your Mother’s Day Be blessed. 

May You Hear The Love My Heart Sings For You.

heart on sheet music

Tomorrow Look For The Short Post, A Gift Mom Wants Me To Share With All Of You.

For More Information And Resources On Dementia And Caregiving

Go To Our Website Below.

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Grateful

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Lori La Bey and her mother Dorothy Moeschter, who passed Feb 28th, 2014

As my mother’s journey of 30+ years with dementia now comes to an end on earth, I know she will live on in spirit guiding and protecting me as she did even in her last days. I have come to frame my mothers death in one of gratitude. Not an easy thing to do, as it took me years to get to this spot when I lost my beloved father as I kept looping in my loss for him.

I am grateful that I had such a wonderful mother, who taught me such powerful life lessons and encouraged me to share them with the world.

Grateful, for the pain and loss I am feeling as it defines the depth of our love and relationship. As the saying goes – you can’t feel great joy without knowing great pain…they balance one another out and give value to each side of the coin.

Grateful, for my mother sharing her purpose and mission with me, and trusting me to carry on her legacy of shifting our dementia care culture.

Grateful, and oh so proud of my daughter Danielle and how she loved and cared for her Grandma.

Grateful, for the overwhelming support and love from people all over the world who were touched by my mother’s story and my work.

Grateful, my family pulled together for my mother’s last days.

Grateful, for the new friends and colleagues who are joining together to work collaboratively to make a difference to improve lives of others dealing with dementia.

Grateful, to be part of a whole so much larger then myself.

Grateful, to know the blessings wrapped in caring for another can never be taken away, even when the time seems way too short.

Grateful, to know I did everything in my power to continue my relationship with my mother as the disease process ebbed and flowed.

Grateful, for the wonderful memories we continued to create throughout her life and which are being relived after her passing and still changing lives

Grateful, that my mother is still communicating with me even though she has passed, through words, and pictures and signs and symbols; each putting a smile on my face and calmness in my heart.

Grateful, for passionate friends, assisting others on this journey called dementia.

Grateful, for being a Purple Angel Ambassador and the St. Paul Pioneer Press Adding this symbol to there standard obit forms.  Check out the symbol!  Yehhh!!!!

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