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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Valentines Day: The Side Not Talked About

Valentines Day  –

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The Darker Side

Most people think of love, happiness and joy on Valentines Day. The day is wrapped around those currently in our life as we celebrate our relationships.  Tokens of love like flowers, chocolate and jewelry allowing those feeling to linger, but for many others Valentines Day can be extremely painful.

The loss of a loved one in our life can trigger thoughts of longing for what once was.  Grief can take hold as tears roll down ones face and and the heart longs for the precious connection it once had. The longing of physical touch; a kiss, a hug or just holding hands is no longer possible.

For some, the pain of loss lingers way past the day marked on the calendar as Valentines Day.  For some, each and every holiday triggers the loss of the physical presence of the one they loved.

Earlier this week, I was in Indiana and Illinois at three Clarendale properties doing screenings of “His Neighbor Phil.” At the last screening, a woman in the audience can up and gave me a beautiful poem about love and loss. I wanted to share it with all of you.

The Poem is Titled

“Grief is the Price of Love”

The Author is Unknown

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May this poem give those grieving some peace of mind and heart knowing the greatest gift one can receive in a life time, comes with two price tags…. grief and gratitude.

May we all be lucky enough to love so deeply and completely to feel both “grief for a great love” knowing it’s “sister gratitude” will help fill the holes in our heart and help us find peace in our life once again.

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Third Mother’s Day Without Mom

Feeling Lost and Privileged

Below is an article I wrote for my first Mother’s Day without Mom.  It was a very healing moment writing about her. I feel it still stands true and maybe, just maybe it will help others on their own healing journey.  I hope  you enjoy it.

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.

headstoneThe 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.

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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 your 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.

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I thought I would add this short video, one of many, which means the world to me.  It’s of my mom singing in her end stages.

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Gratitude or Stress Over The Holiday Season?

Gratitude or Stress

Over The Holiday Season?

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The holiday season can give us time to pause, reflect and appreciate our life and those in it; or it can put pressure on us to cram our schedules full of activities and pull us into hectic environments like Black Friday.

The choice s ours.

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What will you pick and why?

I used to go crazy during the holiday trying to do it all and do it well, but as each year passed I found more was added to my list and my poor body was exhausted. If I’m honest I was cranky to boot!  Not at all who I wanted to be; especially during the holidays.  Lack of sleep, the pressure of not enough time and the cost of things were not balancing out.  Yet, at the time it all seemed to make sense.

It was what everyone was doing…. Wasn’t it?

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Well, as I grew older and as my parents became ill I found my life changed focus.  Not right away, as I wasn’t that bright.  But over time, I began to realize that the biggest gifts in my life were actually sitting before me all the time. They weren’t hidden and wrapped in packages under a tree.  They were the people in my life, all going through different stages of life.

They were raw and not perfect, but they were mine.

They were those who loved me, and I them.

They were those who stood by me and supported me, and I them.

They were those who got mad at me, and I them.

They were those who laughed with me, and I them.

They were those that cried with me, and I them.

They were those who sat silently with me, and I them.

They were those who forgave me, and I them.

Our imperfections were perfect together!

We gave each other love, energy and support through good and bad times.  We were team.  An indestructible force to be reckoned with even when at odds.  We would step up and out for those we cared for and it showed.  Others even mentioned they were jealous of what we had, yet it took me so long to truly realize the gift of our relationships.

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It took being shook to the core.  A life disaster.

It took finding out I might lose that which I have taken for granted most of my life.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I ask you to pause. 

Please think about what your life would be like without those “human gifts” in your life.

If they were gone, how would it change your life?

If they were gone, how would it impact others?

When was the last time you told them how much they mattered to you and why?

Think what it feels like to be told you matter.

Giving the gift “YOU MATTER” to others will not only sooth your soul but theirs.  It takes little time, costs nothing and can give you both great peace.

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Please know how much each of you matter to me. 

Know how much I appreciate your support not only for Alzheimer’s Speaks but for me as a person.

Know your journey is not one of being alone, but as part of a beautiful imperfect team within society.

Know your presence is honored.  I wish you nothing less than a fantastic holiday season filled with wonder and surprises, surpassing your dreams.

Blessing to you all.

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Thank you Mom and Dad for the beautiful life lessons you taught me.  I hope you are celebrating in heaven.

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Lori La Bey, Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I need to apologize to everyone for being late with cheering in the New Year and thanking each and every one of you for your love, support and advocacy for dementia through my work here on Alzheimer’s Speaks.  All though I had good intentions to write an article to celebrate the passing of another year, I just wasn’t ready to write an authentic piece.  One I thought you all deserve.

You see this past year was a difficult for me and I needed to do a bit more processing of things from both my heart and mind before I sat down to write and express my gratitude.  So here it is.  I hope you enjoy it.

2015 Allows Opportunity to Change and Expand

Through Death and Loss I Have Learned So Much

Grandma in bed sleeping me trying towakeher040410On February 28th, 2014, my Mother passed away after a 30 Year battle with dementia.

She was a New Years baby and so the 1st, was always Mom’s day… a big party to honor her.

This year a visit to the cemetery.

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Shortly after, our beloved puppy, “Mr. Mario” passed and joined my mother.

To say 2014, was a good year is difficult at best to say, especially when I feel I have lost so much in my life. Yet, when I’m able to sit back and reflect on why these losses are hitting me so hard, I have to smile.  The great love I was gifted in my life to feel such overwhelming grief really has been such a blessing.  When I allow myself to look at my loss as a gift of great opportunity and to appreciate the priceless value of my relationships with others – family, friends, co-workers, pets, children and yes, even strangers.  Each and every encounter with another is a blessing in it’s own fashion. An opportunity to smell the roses and watch the petals of life unfold as they bask in the love and light of a simple moment in time, so many of us take for granted.

Each of these encounters affords us the opportunity to make a particular moment in time memorial or not.  We have the power to make an amazing difference in the life of another, which then effects us on level we sometimes don’t even know.  Sometimes, too late to tell the other party.

My goal for 2015, is to be more present not only with others, but nature in general as well as myself when I am alone.  I want to slow down and live with gratitude, even when things don’t make sense and seem to be going south, when I want to go north.  I am going to chose to embrace the thought, I am never alone… that none of us are. I am going to not only chose to believe this but to actually live my life more authentically knowing there is a grand plan which all of us are players in.  One which wants a beautiful life for each of us.  But I also believe that in order to value beauty we sometimes when need to be tested to see the ugly or scary side of things.  It’s like the Ying and Yang.  We can’t have a high without a low which puts things in perspective.  Sometimes it is easier to see how lucky we are when we see someone less fortunate.

I know over the years, I’ve also learned to find beauty in what I used to think was not proper, or ugly or whatever term you want to use.  But as I’ve gotten older, I have found if I just stop and take the time to look for the simplest of beauties… I could find them. I am choosing in 2015 to be more conscious of how I live my life.  I hope you will join me in finding beauty and a sense of peace in your life too.

new years eve better clock and glassesMy we each cheer in 2015, in our own unique way.

My we all be kinder to ourselves and others.

My we embrace each moment before us looking for the beauty in life.

My we each love fully understanding the pain of our loss which evidentially will occur,

is a gift only great love can give.

Please know I am here to support you any way I can.

Again thank you for your love, support and advocacy.

Lori La Bey of Alzheimer's Speaks and Senior Lifestyle TrendsLori La Bey founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

For additional information on Dementia and Caregiving go to:

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My we always know we are not alone.

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Gratitude Follow up

Here is a comment from one of our readers who is a bit shy and prefers to stay anonymous but had insights on the post I did on the gift of gratitude.  If you haven’t read the article, here is the post.

I read your blog in gratitude….what a lovely story…and mind set.  I feel the same way…my mom always says…I don’t want presents…I want your presence!  And I think of that often…and I have realized that as my life is changing…many material things are gone, lost over the years…

I have learned to focus on the “in the moment” experience ….and most people think I am a bit strange for doing so.   But that doesn’t stop me…I still stop to look at things that interest me or catch my attention…bike racks are interesting …stop and listen to the noises, music or music noise and have even danced a bit in public..no harm done.  Learned to laugh at my mistakes, we all make them, accept my faults, offer praise and kind words, even when maybe in the past I would have argued.

I like how I feel, and sometimes I get a kindness returned and it is so sweet!

Thank you for putting the idea out into the blogosphere ….

I just loved getting all your comments.  If you are shy and don’t want to post them in the comment section where your identity is noted, don’t worry.  Just shot me a private email and we can let the world know your thoughts without exposing you.  You can contact me through the website.  Just click on the logo below and lets chat!

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Lori La Bey Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

I truly appreciate all the love and support you have given me over the years as I have developed Alzheimer’s Speaks.  I promise to continue to grow and expand our offerings to help raise awareness and support for those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other Dementias around the world.  I am grateful for your articles, comments, pings, likes, tweets ….  feedback.  I am looking forward to a very exciting year ahead.

May each and every one of you

have a blessed Thanksgiving

Lori

Together We Are Shifting Our Dementia Care Culture

Around The World!

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Click here to enter the webinar room

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An Amazing Letter from a Son to His Mother with Alzheimer’s Disease

Here is just one example of the benefits to belonging to an online support group.  The group I belong to is called “Memory People” on Facebook. I have been at times overwhelmed with the supportive and honest conversations between those with Dementia and the Caregivers of those with Memory Loss. I want you to know that nothing communicated in the Memory People group is for public use without authorization.  Both Mother and son have given me the honor of publishing this letter on the blog, as to help others.  A big “Thanks” goes out to both of them.  🙂

This is an Amazing letter from a Son to his Mother with Alzheimer’s Disease.  The insight and guidance given is incredible and precious.  His Mothers says she reads it every day.  Enjoy!

Mom,

Maybe it’s not so bad to slowly lose memories: you won’t even know it’s happening until you try to remember it and it’s gone. Rather than worry, I say submit to the chaos…even when you don’t remember who the people are right in front of you, just know always that you are surrounded by people that love you. What more could any person wish?

Never submit to despair: it’s a universal law of nature all things must obey: they are created, they’re around for a while, then they are returned to nature. Rocks, trees, stars, planets, and people: we all exist only for some time. Enjoy the time you do have, because you are one of the few lucky individuals that will ever get to have any time to enjoy at all. Of all the billions of people that came before you, the trillions of plants and animals that came before us, the number of things that never existed is even larger.

So create, you creature! Write words, draw pictures; ideas are of no use to anyone unless they’re put down somewhere. Consider this: every sentence you read of mine, I am transferring thoughts into your head. You are here with me now as I write these words. You will always be with me, for as we read these words, we are of one mind. This magic that we call reading is time travel for author and reader alike. I am with you in the future, dear reader, and you are with me in the past, your humble author.

Try this…imagine the time before you were born. Of course you can’t, not exactly anyway…you can only be told about it from witnesses: pictures, books, films, etc.

Now try to imagine ten million years from now. Of course we can’t do that either. We can hope for things to happen, but anything we hope for is pure fiction: useless except as art.

So this time in the middle, the time that you’re around and breathing, that’s the special time. Not any particular time at all, but that entire time, all of it. Every beat of your heart is a miracle of nature. Every living thing is the pinnacle of creation; every cell is divine.

We are of this lonely universe, which is slowly but surely rending all matter back into the energy it was made of. So enjoy your existence…there is no time EXCEPT the present! One long stream of nows that we call the past, and another stream of nows that we call the future, with one, just one, right there in the middle right…..about….now!

As we forget the past and ignore the future, we live more and more ‘in the now’. Soon, every movie you see will be brand new! Later, every great new song will be brand new! Even later, every hilarious commercial will be enjoyable all over again, forever! Then still later, every person that enters the room will be someone new to meet! Oh how much fun that could be, like being a kid all over again. Scary, but exciting…change is inevitable.

So always keep that curiosity, that wonder, of being in this world, for you are one of the lucky ones. Know deeply that you are loved, and that all is right in the universe, whether it’s all right with us or not.

Love,

Ken

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