The Only Constant in Life…

bigstock-Change-Green-Road-Sign-Over-Cl-8148542[1]I’m sure you know the ending to this blog’s title, and you probably also know how true it is. Change is coming for me and my family. My 83-year-old mother had cataract surgery last week and is staying with us until the eye drops are finished. Given that she also has dementia, the very notion of expecting her to put three sets of drops in her eyes in the morning and at bedtime, and two more drops at lunch and supper, would for never have happened. Thus, her visit.

After nearly four stressful years of watching her slowly deteriorate and six months on a waiting list, she will be moving into assisted living next month. The problem is, we haven’t told her. The surgery was a bit traumatic for her, since she didn’t think she needed it in the first place, and the Ativan given at the hospital knocked her off her feet, literally. Having lived on her own for 40+ years, the idea of sharing meals in a communal dining room bothers my mother immensely, even though she’ll have her own little kitchen.

Still, the move needs to happen for her own safety and for the family’s peace of mind (and no, she doesn’t want strangers coming into her home to assist her). We found a wonderful place that offers full memory support, closer to where I live. This should be a win-win, but have you ever heard of an aging parent who says, “Oh, boy! Assisted living? Sign me up!” For many of us, quite the opposite is true.

Once she’s there, my sister and I will go through the arduous task of sorting through what she won’t be taking with her, recycling and reselling what we can before selling her condo.

I’m therefore leaving my day job (a part-time secretarial position), whether permanently or temporarily is unknown. Either way, it looks like I’m heading toward semi-retirement, which is actually fine with me, as it could mean more writing time. I’ll also continue my job as a facilitator for the writing program through Port Moody Parks & Recreation, which I really enjoy.

I’m not looking forward to the talk with my boss at the end of this week, or the inevitable talk that I and my sister must soon have with our mother. Although I don’t like letting people down, the coming changes don’t frighten me. In fact, I welcome them. The amount of work, physical and emotional, is daunting, but I’ve been preparing myself for a while.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep blogging, and reading, and writing, because I love doing those things. I haven’t spent as much time as I‘d like writing or editing lately, but I do a little bit every day. I’m blessed to have something I can feel passionate about, and it keeps me from becoming too morbid about real life.

It’s likely there will be a new routine to adjust to in the fall, and that a lot of good will come from the upheaval this summer. Old chapters are about to close, but honestly, I look forward to starting new ones. In life, as in writing, I always want to know what will happen next.

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#amblogging: The Many Reasons For Keeping a Journal

Create_a_Personal_Journal1[1]I believe that everyone has a story. Some of the best ones I’ve read came from members of critique groups who were writing their life stories to pass along to their grandchildren. Those stories were filled with captivating details about times and places long gone. How did they do it? Aside from great memories, most of the writers kept journals. The ability to revisit times and places through old photos and the written word was invaluable.

I’ve kept a journal for most of my adult life. It began with boyfriend and school issues, then slowly progressed to work challenges, and later parenting ups and downs. Lately, I’ve discovered another reason to keep a journal. In fact, I’ve started a second one which has nothing to do with me as a writer, but as a daughter.

I call it the dementia journal. Our family saga began two and a half years ago, when my sister and I realized that our mother’s cognitive skills were diminishing. It seemed like a good idea to record what we were experiencing. I’ve since learned that journal records can give healthcare professionals better insight as to what’s happening.

Journals have many purposes, and not all of them are about writing fiction or memoirs. You don’t need to be a professional or even a passionate writer to note things down. But you can jot down a few lines about a memorable vacation or event. How about keeping a food journal filled with great recipes you’ve experimented with? What about writing down goals, or challenges to help you focus, or put things in perspective?

In his blog, Benjamin P. Hardy outlines several potential benefits when one starts to keep a journal. It’s never too late to start. Here’s the link to his piece: https://medium.com/the-mission/why-keeping-a-daily-journal-could-change-your-life-9a4c11f1a475