post holiday


To-do list in a notebook

Photo courtsey Creative Commons
My to-do list has dramatically changed this holiday season.

January 10, 2015 – Many people write a holiday letter telling all about life and their past year. Expounding on accomplishments, not only by the family, but an update on the mailman, the neighbors, the pets and so on and on. Just kidding here. The big change that came into my life this year was Ken’s passing.  It turned my life upside down. I started living in a more laid-back kind way, letting go of many of the things I thought I had to do.  These are some things I haven’t done, becaue everything is no longer as important as it was when he was alive and before AD took him away.


1. My Christmas cards are still in their boxes. They won’t be ready to mail until around December of this year, 2015. Meanwhile instead of resolutions I’ve decided to reinvent myself. I read a bit of Wayne Dyer on the internet and he advised against resolutions. Instead he advised change, and not a commitment to change overnight, but to begin on a change taking small steps. You can do anything for five minutes. So if you are going to work out. Do it, but start a little at a time. Yes. Five minutes is a good goal and one that just about anybody can do. Who can fail in five minutes? Then when you do the five minutes you can extend your time. Be a success with your changes to a better you by establishing attainable and realistic goals.

2. So, back to Christmas cards. My friend Jane in Idaho is always the first card to be received. If I mailed mine now, January, then I would be the first in 2015 to get my cards out. Instead be ready for new news when this year’s Season arrives again – any time after Halloween.

3. I didn’t wrap many of my Christmas gifts. The ones that got wrapped granddaughter Kristina did for me. I did manage to stuff grandson’s new socks in a Costco pharmacy bag and stapled it shut. At least he had to work a little getting it open, so it was almost like a wrapped gift.  

4. I didn’t wrap daughter-in-law Sabina’s gift either, and lost track of where it was, so she got it in a Macy’s bag on the morning of December 26.  I’m not getting forgetful I’m just taking life easy.

5. I didn’t put up the Christmas tree for a few reasons. The first was because I didn’t feel up to getting everything down and up and then down again, then back up in the rafters. Even though Ken could see the tree in previous years, it was meaningless. With his Alzheimer’s he has long since forgotten all about celebrations. His last comment when seeing the tree decorated with lights twinkling was, “Pretty, what’s it for?”

The second reason is because Buddy, the new dog gets tangled up with the computer wires under my desk. I didn’t want to have him take down the tree if he did the same thing with the decorations, lights and garland.

6. I didn’t have any of the men put up the outside lights either. That decision was part of taking down everything from the garage then putting it all back. Because I didn’t put up the tree or other decorations, I didn’t have to do anything on New Year’s Day. That was always the day I used to take it all down while Ken watched all of the New Year’s Day football games. January 1st was his day and that’s what he always chose to do.


1. I said goodbye to my dear husband of nearly 65 years and have just about finished with the thank you notes for those who participated in his service and for the other help I received during this difficult time for our family        

2. I made cookies which had been Ken’s job during those years without AD. He baked, I boxed and he delivered, but if the baking and boxing was completed, I went with him to give our love and holiday greeting to everyone on our list. I delivered by myself this year. That’s all right. Ken’s tradition of good will goes on

3. I took a box to my cousin Pat whose health has reached a point in her life where living in a care facility is best for all concerned. I also take my abundance of used magazines for her to share with the other residents.

4. I visited with another friend at a different care facility. She is also a victim of AD, but she still knows who I am and reaches out for a hug when I come in. Unable to eat sweets because of her diabetes I took her a tiny artificial plant.

5, I said, “Yes,” to Kristinia when she brought a tiny puppy home that she found abandoned with his three sisters in the bushes outside of her friend’s house the evening her grandfather passed. We named him Buddy – Ken’s nickname as a little boy. 10 weeks later he’s up from tiny to 25 pounds. Three of her friends took the female pups.


I suppose it has to do with the cycle of life. I notice that many of my friends are passing on, and as a woman of faith I know they are passing on to something better. But while we are here, we have a most important calling: That is to care for one another. As we do this we can resolve that during the coming year we will all do our best in seeing that we extend ourselves to caring and helping one another. And while we’re thinking of the new year, may your troubles be small and your joy large as we continue through these happy holidays into another chapter of our lives.


May I leave with you a scripture from Matthew 25:35-40  For I was hungered and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty and ye gave me drink.  I was a stranger and ye took me in. Naked and ye clothed me, I was sick and ye visited me. I was in prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungered and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked? and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison , and came unto thee?                                                 

And the King shall answer and say unto them. Verily I say unto you. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.


Originally posted 2015-01-10 23:04:59.


After Christmas Sales page

This Alzheimer's caregiver misses the companionship of shopping with her husband at after Christmas sales.

Ken and I used to do it all the time, and I do believe he enjoyed this kind of shopping more than I did.  Always one to appreciate a good buy, he couldn’t believe that everything left over from December 25, was marked 50 to 75 percent off.  “Hang around long enough and it might reach 90 percent off,” I would tell him.  Usually, though, at 90 percent what was left wasn’t worth taking home.

“Look at this,” he called out, attracting every customer within earshot, “it’s only $8.00.”  It was usually a toy he would have selected a few weeks prior for one of the many little ones in our family at twice or more the price. Of course we weren’t the only shoppers looking for future gifts.  No longer under the stress of the Jolly Old Elf’s arrival, we all gently sorted through the bins and shelves finding just the right gift for next year’s “someone.”

So amidst the austere surroundings, when stores deliberately strip their displays down to the nubs and advertise “White Sales” meaning sheets and other linens which are no longer necessarily white, we understand the barren look.  Colorless windows and displays in January usher in the coming of spring just around the corner when shoppers, hopefully flocking in great numbers, will be dazzled by the store’s new brightness and buy the latest in fashion.  However, as post-Holiday shoppers strolling through the bleakness of winter there is at least one counter, or section, that displays the merriment of Christmas just past.  That’s why we were there.  With our carts piled high we set out for the car pleased with our bargains; a small portion of next year’s gift list on the back seat.

Going to the mall alone a few days before the New Year, I did not intend to do what had been Ken’s and my pattern for so many years.  Alzheimer’s manages to remove just about all the pleasantries from life – even shopping for the small children.  I went because I needed a few things.  Items purchased, I strolled among the isles featuring “White Sales,” and stumbled upon the red and green of close-out Christmas.  I couldn’t resist just a quick look, but soon my cart was filled with toys, crafts and games for next year.  The bargain hunter within me is alive and well even if the trip isn’t the same without Ken.  Now it had become merely the practical thing to do.

Gone was the mischief I used to see in Ken’s eyes, glancing around as if he had pulled off a “fast” one at the store; the ultimate toy bargain, not fully grasping how happy the store was to have it all gone before inventory.

I miss the time he didn’t want to settle for just one gift for each child – his grown children included.  “Just a few more little things – like the stocking stuffers when our family was small,” he would coax as I marked my list complete a week or so before Christmas.  For a long while he thought gift buying was like after-Christmas shopping: all fun.  What he didn’t grasp was that serious shopping is often time-consuming and tedious.  “Okay,” I finally told him, “I’ll wrap if you buy.”

Dutifully and by himself, he began his search the week before one of those bygone Christmases only to find how difficult it was to find a bunch of “little things” times three or four equaling stocking stuffers for a couple of dozen adults and children.  “You win,” he confessed after a few days of searching for just the right extras.  I know how he felt accepting that our children are all grown with children of their own – even grandchildren  — and they don’t need any more stocking stuffers.  So he became content with our after-Christmas bargains where one gift for each person is just fine.

Our Holidays are different now.   Still able to be at home with me, spending most of his time content to be in our family room which has become his domain, shared with Alzheimer’s, me, the caregivers, and the cats Ken is as happy as he will ever be.  With Ben and Crizaldo to do the heavy care, I am still the main caregiver; the one in charge, but always allowing them to do their job in their own way.  In his dementia every so often he will ask, “Where’s the boss,” which no longer means much although the boss is me, but I am not who he wants.  Recognition is seldom there.  In all outward appearances he is the man I married – older – still Ken – but not.  I miss my husband, my friend, my fun date, and my after-Christmas-bargains shopping companion.

Originally posted 2012-01-07 05:01:34.

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