December 17, 1999

Whoops, I've done it again, haven't I!?! It's been over two months since I've written in my Updates, though I have updated the site a bit all along. Let's see. Now to try and remember just what I've added.

The poem "Alzheimer's" by Kelly Cherry is here now in Alzheimer's Poetry. Her story "That Old Man I used to Know" is there as well. I was so fortunate to meet Kelly Cherry at her poetry reading at the University of Alabama in Huntsville a couple of months ago, and I am thrilled to have her poem and story from her books Death and Transfiguration and My Life and Dr. Joyce Brothers.

I have also added a section of articles, essays, and stories. This actually began several months ago when I read an article by Peggy Eastman in the AARP Bulletin. That article, "Helping the Caregivers: Alzheimer's Caregivers are No Longer Alone" is now here at this site in Alzheimer's Articles. When I asked permission to include her article at this site, Peggy told me that she was also working on a book and that I might like to add a chapter from her book to my site as well. A few weeks ago she sent me a copy of her book, and the "That Which Remains" is the chapter that she is sharing with you all here.

I am blessed to have good friends I've met on the Internet who are writers and who are former caregivers. Dorothy Womack and Brenda Race have recently had articles published in Today's Caregiver. Dorothy's article, "Caregiver Guilt" and Brenda's "Coping with the Holiday's a a Caregiver" are shared in Alzheimer's Articles as well. Dorothy and Brenda granted me permission to use these articles sitting over lunch at Garabaldi's Mexican Resturant in Huntsville about a month ago. I had met Dorothy and her husband in person, but it was my first time to meet Brenda and her husband in person. Dorothy and Brenda are the most incredibly giving people I've ever met. Brenda sent me a color printer a couple of months ago, even before we met in person. Both she and Dorothy have showered me with gifts of bears of all types and sizes (I collect bears have have about 40 of them). When I walked in the Memory Walk in October, both Brenda and Dorothy sponsored me, and Brenda's mother, in the nursing home at that time, even sponsored me. Brenda's mother died this week and her funeral was today. I know that all of you have enjoyed Brenda's poems, and now her article, and you along with me will keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

I am also blessed to have another Internet friend who is the new editor of Today's Caregiver. Congratulations to Kate Murphy!!! I can't think of anyone better for the job, and I wish her all the best.

And I wish you all a good and peaceful holiday season. Merry Christmas!!!

October 12, 1999

Still I've done no significant updating, but I do want to mention a few things. It's an exciting time people touched by Alzheimer's Disease. As well as all the research that is going on, new medications being discovered all the time, there is also more and more of something I've tried to link on this site from the beginning-- Alzheimer's and the arts.

There has been another movie-- "Forget Me Never", which was based on Diana Friel McGowin's life and her best-selling book. It was a wonderful movie, and having read the book and also corresponded with Diana several times, I think that it was pretty true-to-life. Diana was played by Mia Farrow. I haven't located reviews on the web, but as soon as I do, I'll try to get them linked.

My supervisor invited me to a Kelly Cherry poetry reading, especially because of her poem about her father's Alzheimer's. I enjoyed it so much, and afterwards I got to meet the poet. I told her about my web page, and I asked permission to include her Alzheimer's poem in the contributed poetry section. She told me that I would need to write to the publisher and ask for permission. But she also said she had written a story about Alzheimer's in a book that is out of print, and she gave me permission to include that in my web site. So as soon as I get a copy of the book I will do that.

I walked in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk in Huntsville again this past Saturday. I raised $306 to turn in that day and there's $60 more I'll be collecting that I will mail to the Chapter as soon as I can. It was a rainy day, but we all walked in the rain, with few complaints. And we even stayed around, under tents, to eat pizza and to see if by chance we could win a door prize. If I'm not mistaken, $41,000 was raised for the local Alzheimer's Association Chapter.

What is really amazing though is my co-facilitator in the local support group back in Troy where we just moved back here from. Her news in her email to me was so good, I'm sure she won't mind me including it here:

> Brenda,
>We had our walk on Oct. 2nd and I thought of you during the walk.
>It was a beautiful day. The wind was blowing and it wasn't too hot.
>The Troy Support team raised $1,172.00 and consisted of 4 walkers 
>...  I was very proud of them. Our church team consisted of 6 walkers
>and turned in $2,720.10 the day of the walk.  On Monday after the
>walk Walmart called and had a $2,000.00 check for the Alzheimer's 
>Association.  So I am mailing an additional $2,030.00  today. 
>The church was so excited about our contribution to this worthy
>Hope to talk with you soon.
>Ann Marie

Isn't that amazing! I am so proud of Ann Marie and the Troy Alabama Alzheimer's Support Group!

Maybe next year I won't be so new on my job and I'll have time to get out and go around to businesses and maybe I can raise more too.

Well that's all for now. Just got home from work, and I'm tired, and I have to go to work again early tomorrow morning. Good night, and I hope it's a peaceful one for you all.

September 13, 1999

There are no real updates, but I did want to write here and let you know how things are going. Since I'm running out of time, I'm just going to copy and paste here a message I sent to my friends on the PASSAGE list tonight:

Hello everyone! My husband and I are moved into our new apartment in a new old town (back to where we had moved from in Jan!) now and I started my new job today (at an old place where I used to work part-time).

I've noticed the movie, "A Vow to Cherish" has been mentioned lately. I missed seeing it, but would you believe, I read the book a couple of months ago! I had looked up "Alzheimer's Disease--Fiction" in the catalog at the public library, and was reading all the novels I could find to see how the disease had been treated in them. I was very impressed with "A Vow to Cherish" when I read it. In fact, I had intended to write a review and to post it here as well as to include it on the book reviews page at my site. I got busy and didn't get that review written, but I did copy this from the book's cover, to use in helping me write the review whenever I got a chance to do it:

(A Vow to Cherish, by Deborah Raney. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1996. ISBN 1-55661-666-X From the back cover:) "As she waiting in the darkness of the auditorium to watch their youngest son take his diploma in hand, Ellen Brighton had taken her husband's hand and squeezed it. She realized again how right she had been to marry the man seated beside her. She could think of no one she would rather be marooned on a desert island with than this man who was her husband, her friend, her lover. Suddenly, the empty nest before her had felt wonderfully full. But that bright anticipation of the future is cut short when Ellen's health begins to fail. A devastating medical diagnosis [Alzheimer's] is followed by a heart-rending search to understand why God would allow this to happen to them. Yet Jake's love remains strong, even when he is overwhelmed by the changes and adjustments he must endure. Then, quiet innocently, Jake meets Julia Sinclair, a young widow who understands his struggle as no one else can. And as their friendship grows, Jake finds himself faced with the most difficult decision he can ever make regarding his love for Ellen."

I was very impressed with the book, and I would love to see the movie as well.

On another topic, I think someone asked a while back about William Smiley's poem. That was about the time I had to shut down my computer and pack it for moving, and I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to answer. William's poem, "Alzheimer's Tiptoed in and Carried You Away" is on my page here: http://www.zarcrom.com/users/yeartorem/ADpoetry/tiptoed.html in the Alzheimer's contributed poetry at my site. William's grandmother had Alzheimer's, and he had visited my site for the first time looking for information for a school report. Several months later he sent his poem to me.

Sorry for not posting lately but am still digging our things out of boxes. We are happy to be back in the northern part of our state, and I think I'm going to enjoy my new/old job. I was a part-time cataloger before at this community college as a second job. Now I am full-time as Technical Services/Reference Librarian (and unofficial Electronic Services Librarian/Webmaster).

For those who are new, a bit of introduction-- I was full-time caregiver Aug. 1994 through Dec. 1995 for my mother who had Alzheimer's. She died in April 1996, just after her 80th birthday. I had left graduate school to be her caregiver. I went back and finished last year. It was hard to believe it could at first, but life does go on, and there is life after caregiving. Working on my web page in my mother's memory was a healing experience. Even more healing was joining this group-- PASSAGE has become family to me.

And peace has come to me in so many ways. Even moving back here-- we have a lakeside apartment, and my husband feeds 60 ducks and a couple of geese that gather just outside our sliding-glass door. I've bought mums and other plants and our patio is becoming a jungle-- just the way I like it! Even sitting here at the computer, I can watch the sun going down over the lake, and see the ducks swimming off into the sunset. God is so good!

God bless you all, and fill you with His peace tonight and always!

Love & prayers, Brenda

August 29, 1999

Even though I actually haven't had time to do this at present, I have made major changes in the design of my site, at least in it's index page, with an opening page that lets you choose whether you want to read Our Story, to use the Alzheimer's Information Directory or to visit the Alzherimer's Contributed Poetry. I'd been planning on doing something like this when I had more time, but comments and site reviews have spurred me on to do it now, even though I don't have the time. I know that the loading time of the main page has been an increasing problem. I have also moved the awards off that original main page and placed them on a new Trophy Case page and have moved all the Web Rings to the Rings page, as well as creating a new introductory main page. Perhaps it's a good time to make drastic changes, when I will be off the computer for a while and not able to read anyone's reactions. ;-) Just kidding. :-)

I'm doing it again--moving again! It's all happened so fast my head is spinning! I was offered a position back at Calhoun Community College where I had worked part-time previously. I will be going there as Technical Services/Reference Librarian (and unofficial Electronic Services Librarian/Webmaster, I think), after only eight months as Cataloging Librarian at Troy State University. I have loved my job at TSU so much and wouldn't leave so soon, but this is an opportunity I can't pass up, and and we've lived in Decatur before and like the area (my husband especially likes the Decatur/Huntsville area--He is from Mobile, and really hasn't relished living in the small town of Troy.)

As to updates, there have been very few in the past few weeks, except for this major change. I have been experimenting with some new java applets. They are here: Photo Album Slide Show I, and Photo Album Slide Show II. I have put links to these on the main page of my Photo Album, and hopefully soon I will have more older family pictures added there as well.

I think that's all I've done. I'm behind in updating so many parts of my site, but I have been at work 10-12 hours a day, trying to get as much as possible done before leaving. I think that I may have more free time on the new job so maybe I can keep this site updated better. I feel as if I've left parts of it hanging-- started redecorating with my backgrounds, and then stopped, so it's a pretty mixed up combination of the old (the site is over three years old now) and the new. I apologize for the disorder, and I ask you to be patient be patient with me, with updating the site and with responding to email and guesbook entries. There may be a week or so that I will not be online during the move.

Thank you all so much, and God bless you!

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Copyright © 1999 Brenda S. Parris

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