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I'm sorry that I couldn't stay in chat longer. Gail emailed me a copy of the chat. I appreciate that very much because it helped me to know you better and the struggles you are dealing with in your life presently. Jan, I come from a very dysfunctional family also. The only way to heal is to get some help through ACOA or an excellent therapist. Gail gave you some excellent points to think about. Believe me I know that it isn't easy. My Dad died in WV and I am here in WI. My family kept asking me to come home that I owed him that much. He was very abusive to me and my mother mostly. I talked to him on the phone a couple of times and told him that I was praying for him but that I could not come to see him. The last time I talked to him, I just told him, after he said he loved me, "just close your eyes, Dad and when you open them again, you will see God." My father died that night. Did I feel guilty when my family wanted me home? Sure did...but I knew I had no feelings for this alcoholic and abusive man...even if he had changed in his old age. So, Jan...may I suggest that you do what is right for you in your heart right now. Doing something out of guilt really in the long run hurts us all the more. At least it has been my experience. My thoughts and prayers are with you. If I can be of help, please let me know, OK? Take care of yourself.

Love,
Melissa

P.S. I am a Catholic Dominican nun. Lutherans are great!
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Thank you Melissa for responding as you did. Not reall coming from this type of a situation, it is difficult to share because I have no experience with it. But I do know that Jan will do the right thing and she also knows we are behind her 100%. It seems much easier to relate when others have or are going through the same experiences.. God bless you

Love & light
Gail
Melissa, Wow, thanks for sharing that...it helps so much. How are things going with Dorothy? I'm so happy the classical music helps...even if it brings only short times of repose and peace it is a blessing in the midst of all that Alzheimer's chaos. Sometimes my Mom would appear so lost, worried or agitated then a familiar musical passage would make her instantly stop in her tracks, smile and calm down. Poetry had the same effect. My Mom taught elementary school, mainly 3rd grade, for 30 yrs. She utilized a lot of poetry in her teaching. When most of her ability to speak had left her she would join in the recitation of favorite poems with such confidence and zest... boy how I miss her. Thanks Melissa!!!! Thanks alot.
Dear Jan:

Glad that I could be of help. You have so much going for you...keep your energy going in the right direction, OK? The classical music does help. But Dorothy has had 2 bad days in a row...and when she hurts, I hurt. She was all packed up today and ready for me to take her home. I thought my heart would break. Again, I face the dilemma of not getting stuck in Dorothy's pain but loving myself and her through it. Take care Jan. And if you need anything, let me know, OK?

Peace,
Melissa
Dear Melissa, I'm sorry to hear things are so hard for you and Dorothy right now. I remember well the heartbreak of my Mom saying, "Well, I'm just about ready to go home now, anybody coming with me?" My Dad would always say ..."not until the doctor says your ready..."and it often helped. With a long, progressive disease such as Alzheimer's grieving is an ongoing process. I think when my Mom initially went to the nursing ctr. and for several months after I probably grieved most deeply. There were other periods that were esp. difficult too, but that was the worst. The reality of the disease, the heartbreak, just came crashing down....and no one could change the course it was running. So Melissa, just allow yourself to feel the feelings. The clouds will lift, and some rays of sunshine will come soon. Do you have any friends that go with you to visit Dorothy ? Some times that was helpful but sometimes I just wanted to be alone with Mom. I tried to always find some good things to say to the staff that took care of Mom...it is such hard work and they were absolute angels. Soon we had a good relationship going and I think that helped Mom as well as me. I sent cards occas. to appreciate the staff's tireless efforts(via the Director of Nursing). We often celebrated holidays together at the Ctr. Just some thoughts...I bet you are already doing these things....keep up the good work....Please know that you are in my prayers. Jan
Dear Jan:
Thank you for all the suggestions. They are great. I do express in writing weekly my appreciation to the staff for the care they give Dorothy. I miss her, Jan. And yes, there is a real grieving in my heart. I am really trying to take it day by day and love Dorothy as I find her day by day. I think part of my problem was what you mentioned...not wanting to see the diminishment that was taking place in Dorothy and a feeling of everthing crashing in on me. I find that trying to take it hour by hour also eases the pain and stress for me and Dorothy. Thanks for all your care and support. Please keep the suggestions coming, Jan. I need all the help I can get...thank you for caring.
Melissa

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