April 1, 2006

It was just time to change our clocks again. This time we changed them an hour ahead. The old saying is in the spring to spring ahead and in the fall, to fall behind. That's the way I remember it anyhow.

Sharon took charge of the day light's savings time for us, or I'd still be falling behind. In fact, even with the time spinging ahead, I'm still falling a bit behind.Really, I've been for some time now. My system has not gotten accustomed to the time change and I'm still waking up behind time. There are mornings when I wake up, look at my clock and almost go into shock. Instead of 9:00 A.M. it is 10:00 A.M. Before the falling back I would get up at around 9:00 A.M. I dislike sleeping in till 9:30 A. M.I don't like feelig I'm sleeping my life away.I have things to do, places to go, naps to take. Going to bed at 9:00 P.M. should give me plenty of sleep, although I'm usually not sleeping all those hours even with sleeping medication. I tend to get restless and toss and turn. I also dream much of the time and can't be getting good solid sleep.
I'm not alone. According to an article in yesterday's newspaper, "70 million Americans toss and turn all night." A study conducted shows that more than one out of every 10 American's suffers from chronic insomnia, and millions of others suffer from disorders like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.

After reading that article, I guess I don't feel so alone with my problem. "Misery loves company".....no, I don't really feel that way. I just feel that with all the medications out there, why is this such a problem in America? Can't they give us something to knock us out? Good grief. I guess if there is no cure for the common cold, why should I think there should be a medication for assiting with sleeping?

My doctor has me on 50 mgs of Trazodone but it's not working well. I don't want to be a zombie but I do want to sleep when I go to bed. I don't think that's too much too ask. We spend all that money on going to the moon and are planning on going again, perhaps building a space station there this time around. Why oh why can't America put some funding behind research that will result in medication to make us sleep better?

Just one of my complaints.....I allow myself one complaint per day. Lots of laughs.

April 2, 2006

The politicians are back for two weeks making it easier to reach them. They are retuning to their home area's. Now's the time to speak or forever hold your peace. If there ever was a time to show your true colors, it's today, my friend. How can there be change in our sick corrupt nation and world unless, we the people dare to let the politicians know how we deeply feel and want we want them to back? Perhaps you don't deeply feel anyway. Perhaps you are one of them who has given up on America. Maybe your almost numb to the pain in our world due to being in it for years. I have to admit I've come close on a couple occasions myself to giving up on the whole mess. I'm so sick of partisanship, of lying, deceit and corruption. Of meetings behind closed doors and secrecy. Of those who say one thing and then turn around and do exactly the opposite false imprisonment, torture and war. The United States Constitution has been trampled and the flag no longer has the meaning that it once did for many of us.

I'm sick of the politicians that sneak things into bills, never mentioning the fact until we find out later. I'm tired of all the pork barrel spending and the debt. Oh, the debt. For generations the debts of today will haunt are children, grandchildren and on and on. I'm sick of corporate America and the lobbyists.

Who to believe? One side says this and the other side that. At times contradicting themselves. Who do we trust in this day in which we live? Well, I try to listen to both sides and then seeing and understanding the truth is not that easy. I've been surfing the net, looking at cultures and rulers of the paces no longer in existence that once ruled the world and wonder if days are numbered? I look at America and see the good that is still here. I don't just look at the negative but see the positive but I try not to look through my religion, my race, my politics or my economic place in life. I try not to look at America from my age or from my disease and pain.

What has happened to my America? Does it have a future? These question run through my mind, my heart and my very soul during these bleak days of gloom.

Can one really make a difference. We can try to bury our head in the sand and hope it will all go away and in the morning we'll wake up and realize it was only a bad dream. In some cases a night mare or we can take action with a call, an email or a letter. Visit that office of the politician when they visit your area. I'm speaking to myself and to any who might feel slightly guilty. It's not easy. Were busy individuals and many of us have dementia in our life or our homes. There are so many things that can keep us from being real American's. We can try to stay our of the battle and be neutral.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated,"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has his foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

I love America and therefore I cannot be silent. As an American with dementia, I will speak my mind but will do so harming no one. I guess words can hurt but they can also bring with them healing. I hope my words bring about healing and positive change.

I guess the real Chip is standing up . I'm not a radical or a trouble maker. I am not a trator or unpatriotic. I am a baby boomer , one year early...LOL, and remember many lessons that America learned the hard way while I was growing up. I remember...and therefore I will be involved with my nation and world.

April 3, 2006

It was an accident. Sharon had set the clock wrong. I was supposed to go with my buddy Tommy to work together at the soup kitchen in our community. I always like to get up at least and hour early to prepare and get cleaned up in the morning, having a few moments left to sip my cup of coffee. That morning all I heard was Sharon telling me that Tommy was sitting in our drive way, waiting for me. I usually watch for my friend, Tommy out our front window when I know he's coming to our home for some reason. We usually plan for our times together ... together. That way, I'm not caught off guard. I don't like to make him or anyone wait for me. I keep a crack in the door and am usually off to meet him when he pulls in my driveway. That's just me. Not that morning. After being rudely awakened and breaking the morning fog long enough to know recognize what I had been told, I dashed quickly into the bathroom as I tried to pull on pants, sweater, socks and shoes. It was very complicated for me that morning but I did it. I got it done. I left without shaving but I had no choice. I was in a fog in fast lane and I don't do fast lane any longer. Slow lane is where I'm traveling. I had no way of knowing just how long Tommy had sat patiently in my drive way waiting for me. Fortunately Tommy tends to run a few minutes early and I am usually ready to roll when it's time to roll.
I've got getting prepared to go away down pretty good, inspite of myself. I've never been one that liked to be late. I was usually at least fifteen minutes early in earlier years when leaving my home. The fifteen minutes has long since gone by the wayside but I can still pull myself together on time.
I hate to be put on the spot. Perhaps you know what I mean? Out of my fog I think I hear the words,"it's time to go." " or in the situation just described, "Tommy is waiting for you in the drive way." It can make someone who is at times tense in the first place from getting ready to someone that is a little, lets say, on the edge.
I dislike being pushed, hurried or shoved. I need to be able to go at my own pace, which usually is slow. Push me and I just might be tempted to push back. Hurry me and one might have to deal with my negative reactions. Shove me and watch out. Am I talking about quiet, shy, long suffering Chip? I sure am. Hey, I'd rather talk about the real me than have other's talk about me behind my back so that I don't hear. For dementia one of our temptations is too think were being talked about.

There are some things I don't have as much control over as I once did and the areas I've described are some of the things that can bring out my worst...real quick, if not handled wisely. My control button is not all the way on in some of these situations. Knowing this about me can help those caring for me prepare a head of time so that we don't even have to go near my control button. Knowledge on the part of others and then following up with preparation can go along ways in cutting down on fireworks from a control button that doesn't work properly all the time.

April 4, 2006

I was just reading the comics in the Jacksonville newspaper when I noticed it. It was a comic called Brevity by Guy and Rodd. It pictured the great thinker just sitting there on a log pondering some thoughts. The caption from the male says "Man, I'm sick of thinking...Can't someone flip on a TV or something?"

It made me think...for a moment or two. I get sick of not being able to think. I don't have this guy's problem. I wish I could think more often...and then remember what I think.

Sometimes I sit there thinking about how nice it would be too think like the great thinker. In the past, way in my past, I was able to get along pretty darn well in that area, not that I was the brightest bulb in the store but neither was I the dimmest. Not that I can't think at all. I can...but so many times the thoughts are hard to come by. They may be partial or fleeting. Unclear or not all that accurate. The thoughts may just come and go. They may be bits and pieces here and there, scattered though fleeting moments of time. There's been times, after hearing someone speak or give a thought, I ask myself. "Self, why didn't you say that?" My answer might be oh," I was just going to say that or he or she beat me to it." ..yea.....sure I was. Sure they beat me to it. They beat me to it because usually, my thinker was no where close to what was being said. I was off in back field somewhere watching the birds fly by rather than keeping my eye on the ball.

Too often I try to hide from me and turn something on. Cover it over. Thinking for me takes conscious effort and doesn't usually just happen accidentally. At least that goes for my best thinking. I must work at it and hope that it happens. At times thinking occurs on its own but as I force the issue, my thinking becomes more focused, centered and better. I have to resist just pushing buttons when thinking is not flowing like it should, that includes my Sharon's buttons. Lots of laughs. This thing named dementia is not for the faint hearted. It takes effort and hard work.

April 5, 2006

I've found in life that there are times that individuals ask direct questions to personal things that I may not want to share with them. At one time, for some unknown reason, I felt I needed to answer every question that I was ask. Perhaps it had to do with the question of honesty. I don't really know.

While a student at Columbus State College, I took a class on how not to answer personal or unwanted questions. I thought it was great and it really helped me with this area. At that time I made of my mind that I would no longer allow myself to be controlled by the question's of others. It really helped me and has served me well for many years now.

There are always a few that seem to want to know every thing about others, if it's their business or not. One might call it being nosey. They do it directly and with no shame what so ever. Unbelievable questions at times. Very personal questions at other times. And of course there are always some that love to gossip and pass things along to others, once they are told, or think they may have found out some information they can just pass along. Along with these individuals are those that just ask questions without thinking and with no evil intent connected to them. I am guilty of asking questions without much thought behind them. Its so easy to just open up one's mouth and out pops whatever.

In politics which I have a great interest in, I watch politicians be quizzed by newspaper reporters, the public and even groups of individuals that are paid and necessary to get at the truth. There are those that have the right to know things that are of importance for what ever reason it might be. I watch as many seem to be answering a question, but in reality, they have not answered the question at all. They go around it, under it, side step the question or issue, repeat what the question was, answer another question, change subjects completely, wear one down with many words, use words that no one understands without the help of a dictionary, words that have different meanings or are ambiguous, change the subject or go round and round the mulberry bush, sort of like a merry go round with words. They never answer the question, unless they want to, and many times it seems they have no intention of answering the question. If they do make a statement there may be a disclaimer added later as to what they really meant by what they said. Lots of laughs. They may have spoke for some time simply saying nothing.

I look at our best example, Jesus himself. He used stories to answer questions, many times not answering questions directly. He would quote others. He would ask a question back to those involved. There were times when He was just silent when ask a question, refusing to answer. Was he lying or misleading? No, I don't think so. He just was not answering the question given which was his choice. Yet, Jesus shared with us much of his life and answered the important questions of life. There are still parts of his life that we have questions on and want to ask Him someday. In that great day, knowledge will be complete, but now we look through the glass and not all is clear to us. It causes disbelief for some. For myself, I have come to believe that Jesus had a good reason for not answering some questions. There are things we don't need to know, and some things we will know in time. Along with this comes some mysteries that are God's alone. I've always been amazed at how many articles, books and films are on the mysteries, trying to decode, to understand. Many religious people give many hours to trying to solve the divine mysteries. There are those that make fortunes and ministires out of this game. We are a curious bunch, aren't we? Some don't seem to be happy unless they know everything and all their questions are answered to their satisfaction. Other's are content to let it in God's hands if He so chooses.

We have the same choice. We can either answer a question or not answer a question that is ask. It's entirely up to us. If we decide not to answer or just talk about something else, we are not lying or intending to deceive. We just are not answering. Is that rude? Should we question ourselves or feel guilty? I don't think so. I think it was just a choice we made at that moment. Perhaps the one asking the question was rude to ask it. Perhaps they did not know any better or were just curious, not thinking through what they were asking. Perhaps they were just attempting to be part of a conversation or get to know us better. They may even now regret that they ask. There are so many reasons for questions. I ask them myself and accept someone's refusal to answer me. I try not to be personal in my questions, thinking before putting my mouth in gear. That's easier said than done with those of us with dementia because we usually are fortunate to get our words and thoughts out in the first place and usually if a thought comes to our altered minds, we are quick to get it out or write it down before it slips away from us. I also try not to take person someone's silence.

Questions can always be ask but they do not have to be answered. We are not being impolite or ignoring a person. We are not being untruthful. We are using our conversational skills in such a way as to protect ourselves from unwanted intrusions into our lives. I have had to tell myself that this is OK. Giving myself this permission has freed me up to give out only the information I choose.

I share my life with many opening and honestly but there are areas that are private. Perhaps just for me, my wife or my family. Maybe just a few close friends. Perhaps there is a reason for my silence and then again, do I need a reason not to share information?

A good answer to stop personal unwanted questioning is to ask, "Why do you ask?"

April 6, 2006

A short time ago, I found myself on the phone making a long distance call for some needed information. I stated that I was calling long distance, had dementia and may need some additional help. I don't know that I've ever done that before.

I was proud of myself. Some times on phone calls I sort of stumble along and feel ill at ease. At times not being able to get hello out quickly because of my voice difficulty. At many other times, my voice is not audible enough to be understood. I've had a time or so when I was hung up on, probably because it was thought that my call was a prank call. How embarrassing for me. My voice problem is a part of my Lewy Body Dementia that I have. I am usually not comfortable in making attempts to explain to a stranger on the other end of the phone, reasons for the inferior quality of my voice. I'm not quick enough or able to put the words necessary together to explain this too the many individuals I may call for business reasons as well as for pleasure.

If a person knows me, they know what to expect. That my voice changes from soft and quiet to strong and louder from moment to moment, at times causing great frustration for me and others.

I've found that when my problem is known, most individuals are kind enough to try to understand and assist me but there are times when others seem to be in a rush or having a bad hair day and don't want to spend the time with me to understand.

I even have a special phone for those impaired with hearing loss that magnifies my voice but still, it doesn't always magnify my voice adequately to be understood at all times.

Should I just give up the use of the phone? Heck no! I refuse to give up, adding another loss to my ever growing list. I will still enjoy the use of the phone, even when it is strained conversation for both me and listener. I still am aware enough that when I'm really having a bad day or period of time with my voice, that I make attempts to use the phone sparingly.

April 7, 2006

I over heard an individual tell another that I had dementia recently. Now, there seemed to be no good reason that I could understand, why this person would want to share that information with another, within in distance of my hearing.

At first I was upset and then angered by this lack of manners. Now, I don't mind sharing this information with another but when I do, there is a reason for it. It's not, Hello, I am Chip Gerber and I have dementia. Sounds like Alcoholics Anonymous meetings I've seen on TV. After that the individual is given a welcome and a round of applause.

I share my life as needed and when I feel I want too. Not just casually saying to a total stranger that I have dementia. The conversation might get around to that issue but it must come naturally. I must feel at ease about my sharing a very personal fact about myself. There are times I need to share this to get assistance and then there are times I share openly about my disease with other's with dementia and those I feel I might be able to help or educate about my disease. I try not to automatically share something so very personal.

There are times when loved ones need to share medical information on me. I do not object to this at all as long as it is helpful.

I'm sure those that many of those that I come in contact with have illnesses and disease. Most individuals as they become older are on several medications but few...few come up to me and say, hello, I have such and such and such. My name is Mike. I have heart problems, digestion problems, some type of infection in my ear, irritable bowel condition and an eating disorder. Oh, and I forgot to tell you I just got some fleas from my dog, Rocky.... How are you today? If this would happen I think many of us would be mighty uncomfortable and soon think of some reason...any reason why we had to run.

When someone says, "Hi..how are you?" Do we really think others, many times almost total strangers, want to know all our aches and pains? I think it is no more than polite conversation more than a question in our society today. It isn't really a question, it is more of a greeting.

Now if I'm talking to a family member, a good friend or someone who needs to know, I'm more than glad to share some pertinent medial information with them. On my daily journal, I share my ups and downs, my tears and laughter, my goals and hopes, what is important to me and how it really is for someone with dementia. I share because it gives me insight into myself, my issues and how to have a better life for Sharon, my family and myself. I also share because I care and want to change my world and bring hope to those who have dementia personally or in their lives. I've grown a lot personally through sharing my thoughts and feelings in journaling and hope to continue this activity as long as health and energy permits.

One thing I must try and remember is "Hello" is not an invitation to dump my health situation on another but at the same time, if I care, I will share.

April 8, 2006

I was just looking at the comics in my local newspaper when I happened on to Blondie. Now, I think I enjoy Blondie so much because her husband Dagwood reminds me a lot of myself. Lot of laughs

In this cartoon, Dagwood is in the bathtub taking a bath. It looks like he's reading a magazine, his Dogwood sandwich piled high lots of goodies that I'm sure he made himself, is on a footstool where it can be reached easily. The radio is playing some music in the background. He is all set or is he? Dagwood says, "Okay, magazine, sandwich, music but it seems like I forgot something...." He raises partially out of the bathtub, just enough to reveal that he had forgot to remove his shoes...Oh my...

Many of us with dementia can probably identify with Dagwood in forgetting. I know I can. I'd forget my head if it wasn't fastened on to me.

Forgetting is a big part of it. I'm no longer caught off guard, surprised or upset when I forget something. I'm surprised when I remember something.

April 9, 2006

Has there ever been a time when you couldn't find something. Something little maybe, or possible something big?

Not long ago Sharon and I went into a shopping center that we normally do not shop at. Sharon parked our car and normally takes note where she parks at. I could take note but I would not remember with or without taking note. Lots of laughs.

We came out of the store and I followed Sharon to the area where she was sure the car was parked. No car. We then began to scour that area and the car was not there. So we decided we would take two positions in the parking lot, some distance away from each other but in the same row of cars. We then would proceed down each row looking for our car. Now, Sharon was sure the car was not parked past a certain point in the lot and I was almost certain that I passed a large truck from a local service organization when we had first found are parking spot.

Although tired by then, we walked to the area Sharon was certain it was not parked in. Therefore, we did not look there. I was almost ready to call the police department and report a stolen car, when we decided to walk into the area where the car was not supposed to be parked and sure enough...right before our very eyes, there is was. Oh, happy days....We were dog tired and hot by that time, but we were just ever so grateful to find our car. What a relief is was.

Many times I experience these same feelings in my day when I go searching for something in our home. I just know it was there... Did someone remove it and not return it? I can easily become suspicious. Occasionally it crosses my mind that I might just be the one to blame for the disappearance of items. Our home is small enough that some times the missing item turns up. Then there are the times that they do not. Confidentially I think that I'm pretty good at hiding things.

I can identify with some of my dementia buddies with how frustrated and overwhelmed they feel at times when they are unable to find things they are looking for.

The stress this can add to our day is high for many of us and we must look for ways to alleviate some of that stress by allowing our caregiver's to help us out as we search for lost items, resisting playing the whose fault is it game.

One of the items I use to lose was my reading glasses. They were always missing, it seemed. Then I got creative and bought a pair of glass strings, sort of like a string that goes around my neck holding my glasses firmly in place. Since using them, my times of searching for my glasses has lessened greatly....I can now stress over something else. Lot's of laughs.

April 10, 2006

Do I have a commitment to write things down? I think I do. I also think that caregiver's should have a commitment to write things down for us, notes that we can find easily, placed where we can best benefit and locate them, printed clearly with simple words or and numbers so that we can easily follow. I say easily but most things that are simple for others are complicated for those of us with dementia, so I mean a one, a two and at the most a three or a, b and c. Keep it simple and it might just be useful for us and easy to follow.

I keep a pad and pen in the car, by my computer, by the TV and by my bed. It sure helps. Then the secret for me is to round of these notes and make use of them. Sometimes I need assistance with collecting my notes and in using them to my best advantage.

Notes also can allow us to participate in assisting caregiver's in simple house hold duties. For me, it makes me feel a part, like I'm helping out and being useful.

Orchos Tradikim states that people who forget important appointments and tasks use the excuse that "it's not my fault that I forgot." Orchos goes on to say that in truth, a person is greatly responsible for not writing things down. With dementia at times it is not our fault. We forget or are unable to do this task. By making the choice of keeping notes, it can prevent many unnecessary problems for us.

I remember when I first began having memory problems, one of the things I had difficult with was remembering what floor of the parking high rise my car was parked on. I think the parking garage was four stories high. At first, I would go to where I thought I had parked my car that morning after working in the office for the day and many times, the car was not where I thought it was. It was embarrassing for me. The search for my car however usually resulted in me locating my lost car. I began to write down the floor my car was parked on, on a small slip of paper the floor and put it in my pocket. It made it so much more easy and reassuring when I returned to my car after being gone for hours. The problem I had was that sometimes I would forget to write the location down, fumbling in my pocket for the note that was not there.

Notes can save the day and the little sanity we have left at times.

April 11, 2006

"Our value lies in what we are and what we have been, not in our ability to recite the recent past." Alzheimer's patient

Where does our value lie as a dementia person? I'm sure one could get different answers from different individuals but I like the one I just quoted from an Alzheimer's patient. Our value likes in what we are....humans, individuals, God's creation and child, an American, a curious person, a caring person, a giving person, a generous person and on the list goes. These are a few of the many things we can be. These are where are value lies.

And then our value lies not only what we are presently but what we have been. When men get together one of our first questions is what do you do for a living. Dementia doesn't stop this at least at the early stages. We sit in groups and around tables discussing what we formerly did for a living. This is part of where are value is.

The recent past is usually not something that we can recite easily or correctly. We might make attempts to do so and at times can sound very convincing. Our recent past is our reality and might well not be yours or others. Were not trying to pull something or deceive. Our recent past is what we make it, how we see it, what comes to our mind at the moment. Our present reality I think also has value to it.

April 12, 2006

When we left Ohio to move to Florida about four years ago, we could only take so much of our possessions. A life's worth of belongings, all that we had, had to be gone through and fit into our small Chevy and the back of a U. Haul truck that Sharon was diving. Choices had to be made. Things that were special to us, that had memories attached had to be left behind.

I just received a picture of my old motor scouter that I had to sell. It was about a 55 or so and was a Cushman which is no longer made. It was my wheels before I became old enough to drive, my way of escape from the country to the small town near by. It was special although no longer working and rusted. I always thought that someday...someday I would have a little extra money to get it restored to running order and it's former beauty. It never happened and was sold to someone that was interested in restoring it. Since we had no room to bring it with us, I sold it to what I thought would be a good home for it. From the picture I received, the motor scouter has been restored and what a beauty it is. The picture made me feel that my loss was another person's gain after much work and money on his part.

Then there was my old childhood bike. A Western Flyer from Western Auto. A cousin and I had gotten one at the same time. I loved that bike. I could ride into town and across the hill to play with my cousin Glen who was about my same age. I remember that Glen and I were given summer memberships to the local YMCA to learn how to swim. I think we went for three years in a row. In the beautiful summer mornings of Ohio, we would ride our bikes to the near by town together and then return in the hot sun.

That bike had to go and was sold, almost given away after having kept it in a shed for years.

I think I have a problem parting with my past. These items along with many others linked me to my past, and I didn't really want to let go of them, but there are seasons in our life that force us to let go of our childhood, of our past.

Dementia is one of those, although it doesn't just last for a season. It's a life time disease. Once you are diagnosed, there is no cure. No turning back. No changing the current that sweeps one along. We may be able to slow it up a bit but the stages will continue with only sweet death stopping the monster.

So I'll live in the past as long as I can, although it is far less clear today than it was not long ago. I'll connect the past to the present and go back and forth as I am moved by life's currents. The past seems to give me some security while the present is fleeting, giving me an insecure feeling.

April 13, 2006

I am thinking about the word and meaning of contentment in relationship to life and it's ups and downs, the many curves in the journey, the many changes.

I guess there has always been those that were not content in history and today...today there probably are few that are content. Contentment for me is a feeling of peace accompanied by trust in someone greater than myself.

It means that in sunshine and rain, in good days and bad, through thick and thin, in health and sickness, in plenty and in poverty, we are content with our lot, with our lives. Paul in the Bible had been through the good and not so good. The worst and the better, but in all of it, he was able to say he was content.

My Dad would always say that we should save for the rainy day. He had lived through the great depression on meager substance. He and my family made it, were survivors, and once working, Dad did very well in life. But. he always lived like at any moment it was going to rain again. Hard times were going to return. In fact Dad said on one occasion that the United States would someday have another depression. I was raised in a home where the depression had made such an impression that we lived in the shadow of that impression.

All around I find discontent. Individuals are not satisfied with their lives. If only is echoed through the world. If only this...if only that. If I can just... Always reaching but never really attaining contentment. Those wants are always greater than our needs, it seems causing unrest, worry and heavy burdens to bear.

When it comes to the world of dementia, can we learn to be content? Do we always have to live in the what if world? The if only world?.If things were only different then I'd be content, then I'd be happy. I live in the same world as you. I'm living in acceptance of my disease, not in denial. I have no desire to ask why, although I did at one time. I don't have a fatalist view of life. What will happen...will happen. As a person of faith, I realize that pain and hurt has always been a part of life. Mysteries as to life have always been with us. Do I want to be content, knowing God knows, cares, and supplies my daily needs or do I want to live in constant searching, reaching, uncertainty, unrest, anger or resentment? God is love. I accept that. When pain is involved I don't completely understand it, but that's where belief comes in. I don't ignore the question of pain in our world but it does not stop me from believing in God's goodness and his ability to see me through this life. In fact, the questions surrounding me only push me closer to my God. The peace and contentment that comes with personal faith can help us be more than mere survivors. We can be content in knowing that He is holding us tightly and has a plan for our lives and therefor, we can be content.

April 14, 2006

The son of movie legend Charlton Heston has revealed his father will never leave his home again because of the devastating effects of Alzheimer's Disease.

Fraser Heston says his father, who made his name in moves such as "Ben Hur" and "Planet Of The Apes", is battling the disease with the support of his wife of 62 years,Lydia.

He said,"He's still at home and will be for the rest of his life. He's exhibiting a kind of courage I haven't seen before."

"He's with his first and only love-my mother."

The 81-year-old star was diagnosed with the condition in August 2002 and his son added he was "doing as well as expected."

He also paid tribute to his mother, adding,"She's doing really well. Very brave. She will endure."

Copied from email source: Movie News Virgin.net- compter copy

April 15, 2006

April 15, 2006

Some poetry I found that I like and speaks to me and my situation. It's called "It's In The Valleys I Grow" written by Jane Eggleston copied from 321 Greetings.Com, a free email service.

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It's then I have to remember,
That it's in the valley I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top,
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love,
and would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn,
And my growth is very slow.
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
but it's in the valley I grow.

I do not always understand,
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing,
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing,
When I picture Christ on the cross.
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining,
When I'm feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder,
that it's in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me,
Lord, And use my life each day
to share our love with others,
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys,
Lord, For this one thing I know.
The mountain tops are glorious,
but it's in the valleys I grow!

April 16, 2006

Easter means so many things to different people. Way, way back, as far as I can remember, Easter was always a special time for me and my family. We celebrated in so many ways. At times is was with a sun rise service. I don't remember ever missing church on that Sunday. Ever...It was a time to celebrate our firm belief without a doubt that Christ rose from the grave. On Good Friday we would remember His death. I still have no doubts that this miracle happened. Not a doubt...For me belief is so much easier than disbelief. The faith I have was a gift given to me by my Father.

Of course along with the holiday season came Easter Lilies which always smelled so good. When the church was full of them, ah...how fragrant is was. In those days, folks would dress up in their best. The colors of spring would come out and the little children, they looked so right, smiling brightly many times as they wore something...new and bright.

Of course there were the Easter baskets full to over flowing with candy that would make your mouth water just too look at them, let alone, taste it. Oh my...

Usually a meal would follow made by my Mom, who was one of the best of cooks. A great and tasty meal with all the family members included that we could get.

Then it was time to hide the Easter eggs, and so we did. The kids would love it and so would I when I was young. I also enjoyed coloring the cooked eggs ... every color imaginable.

Those were the days. Mom, Dad, Grandma, My brother Harold that are long gone, but not forgotten were still with us. It won't be too long that I get too be with them. Up there in the home prepared for me. What a hope I have.

Memories, how they linger...how they ever flood my mind. Some are slipping. Some come up missing and then reappear. Others....sadly they are gone.

Easter will always be a special time for me and my family. A time to consider the miracle of Easter, a time to make and remember ... memories. Although I know that there will be a time when my memories probably will not be there, As I live in the ever present moment, I don't go there. What ever my future, I am in His hands.

April 17, 2006

In these days when the church is so divided and the name Christian sadly brings shame with it because of how many Christian's live there lives or don't...., it makes it difficult for those of us who believe in Christ, forgiveness, change, mercy, pardon,grace and love to speak much of our faith due to misunderstandings. We've done it to ourselves with no one to blame but ourselves. Our religious leaders by enlarge that we see on TV are so viewed as to represent all of us. They don't. They do not represent me, in fact, I am ashamed of so many of them. I find that many individuals have never really known a Christian.It makes me sad. They may know religious individuals but someone whose alive in Christ and lives out his love moment by moment, they are difficult to find. None of us are perfect, although we are forgiven, but the example we give to our world of what it is to believe and follow Christ's teachings are usually so far from what the Bible set forth for us. I apologize to those who are confused, who have been left down, who have been hurt by the church and so called Christians.Those that no longer believe or think it's all false due to what they've seen and heard.

I want to say that there are those whose lives have been changed by the Christ , and that put that faith into action everyday. Those who don't feel they are better than you or who don't want to push religion down your throat. There are those of us who don't want to make you into our twin. Those who don't have all the answers but are sojourners in this land right beside of you. I am one of them.

I want to close with a portion of one of my favorite songs, "Because He Lives" by Bill and Gloria Gaither taken from www,mamarocks.com. It is also in many church hymnals.

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because He holds the future,
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

April 18, 2006

I just went to the front door to ask our cat, Ms. Noel if she was ready to come in yet from the porch. I guess she wasn't, because she just looked at me from across the porch. I put her out a few minutes ago, but left the front door ajar, to remind me where Ms. Noel was. It's a hot day here in Florida, but she insisted on going out. I'll check on her again in a bit. Ms. Noel has a mind of her own.

She's quite the baby and over the years she has become a part of our family. For those of you who have a cat or wish you did, you may understand what I am saying. Pets our almost like family. Too some, they are the family.

"Who would believe such pleasure from a wee ball o'fur." Irish saying.

April 19, 2006

It's been many years now since I was able to be in a class room setting. For much of my life, it was spent in the class room preparing for my future, even after being employed as a social worker and minister. I identified with the classroom, instructors and classmates. Even after being diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and unable to work as a social worker, I forced myself to attend continuing education classes on social subjects of interest in order to keep my social worker's licenses with the state of Ohio. I had to have fifteen credits yearly, verifying it every two years to keep the license I had for so many years since Ohio made it mandatory that social workers be licensed. I didn't mind at all because I enjoyed the class subjects and being with others that were interested in their world. Individuals who wanted to save their world by enlarge.

But there came the day when I was no longer able to find class rooms, remember my instructor or the material we covered in class. I could not really participate in the class room setting because I was unable to function on that level. I finally, after much consideration gave up attending classes and left my social worker license expire. It was very unsettling for me. A great loss. That license permitted me to work in a field that I loved, a field where every day, I was helping others. The license represented longings I had to help my fellow man. It represented all the time and effort I had put into the college class room for so many years. It represented not only my chosen field of employment but also part of my heart. So much of my life had been spent in the class room. I thought I would be a life time student. Another great loss that still lingers on some where inside of me.

Approximately five years after I completed my last class. To this very day I receive mailings from various programs being offered nation wide for social workers to attend. Continuing education. Recently in the mail came information on a class being offered. "Practical Strategies, Interventions and Treatments for Childhood Developmental Disorders." Because I worked for most of my career with senior citizens, this class probably would not have been one I would have chose to attend, however other classes offered still interest me but of course, I'm unable to follow through on my interest.

The past, although steadily slipping from my memory, still lingers on although fragmented and altered. Still these are my memories, and I enjoy returning on occasion to those times of yesteryear. Memories can represent the best of times and the worst. My memories are a mixture of both, but mostly they are good ones.

April 20, 2006

Sharon and I have lost count of how many years we both have been lover's of Gospel Music. It goes at least back into our teens and that's way back....Lots of laughs.

We both have attended Gaither Homecomings that feature some of the best you'll ever hear. My feelings, of course. I'm sure there are many Gospel musicians that are not part of the large Gaither family. The Gaither's are special. Were hooked and watch them on TV most weekends. The musicians and singers that travel with them inspire us, soothe us, entertain us, make us laugh and at times sing or hum along.

Not long ago their pianist, Anthony Burger died. In fact it was February 22 of this year. What a loss to us. If you ever heard or watched Anthony play, you would understand. He was so gifted, so talented, and yet he took none of the credit although it's training speaks for itself. What a humble and gentle musician.

At 44, Anthony died of a heart attack while on a Gaither Homecoming Cruise while playing the song,"We Shall Behold Him" by Dottie Rambo on a piano.

The words to the song he was playing are as follows:

The sky shall unfold, Preparing His entrance;
The stars shall applaud Him with thunders of praise.
The sweet light in His eyes shall enhance those a waiting,
And we shall behold Him then face to face.

And we shall behold Him, we shall behold him.
Face to face in all of His glory,
And we shall behold him, Yes, we shall behold Him
Face to face, our Saviour and Lord.

The angels shall sound the shout of His coming,
The sleeping shall rise from their slumbering place.
and those who remain shall be changed in a moment,
And we shall behold Him then face to face.

Anthony finished the song in Heaven. I think God wanted a new pianist for His great choirs. If I listen I can almost hear the angelic like music playing over there, a place that really is not that far away. I enjoy life here on Earth, but when He calls me, I will joyously take my place in the choir, singing my heart out to Him. I believe..I believe

Anthony, we'll miss you but our loss is Heaven's gain.

April 21, 2006

I was just thinking, as I sometimes do...I can get off of a subject or topic on occasion. I notice it when I get on the computer to do something specific, I notice it when I'm talking or thinking. I notice it when I try to answer questions or follow chat rooms and email communities. In my reading and watching TV, I notice it. Off I go to another thought or into lala land at times.

Sticking to one train of thought is not very easy for me. Following a conversation or conversing myself is can be very difficult for me.

Focus is lost so quickly. At times I try to refocus...to regroup myself. Sometimes it helps me but so many times, I just keep drifting along.It's a lost cause and yet I still feel that my life has purpose, inspite of it all...

Some time ago, I had a Grandson who played ball on a local kids team. I loved to go and watch him play. Of course Papa was present rooting perhaps the loudest of all for my boy..

I would watch him play outfield. He was easily distracted. I would tell him to keep his eye on the ball, but his eyes were everywhere but on the ball. He would look up at the sky, the birds, a butter fly going by, the planes passing over. It seemed that everything distracted him from what he was there for. To play ball...

That's sort of how I am. Distracted so easily, about almost anything and everything. Follow thorough is a problem. Staying focused is almost impossible. There was a time in my life when in school or in my profession when I had to be focused but that time is long past. It was not much a problem for me back then. These days, I no longer have to be focused. It's OK for me to be like I am. It's OK to be distracted. It's OK to be me. As Popeye once said, "I am what I am."

April 22, 2006

Recently I sent a copy of an account with someone who had dementia. It had some remarks about him and from his caregiver wife. This couple were well known by many in America and therefore I thought it might be of interest to others.

The response I received distressed me. The individual replied that although this one individual had dementia, that there were so many that were blessed with good health. I kept going over and over the response. This was a well respected, well educated seemingly very caring individual but I was almost shocked by his reply.

I can't even say that this person knows nothing about dementia because he has a close family member with dementia. Of course fewer individuals have dementia than the population in America but if only one person in the world had dementia, it would be worth my time reading and learning about it. I would be concerned and not by counting my blessings. The world seems to be filled with the haves and have nots.I find that so many are unable to go beyond their comfort levels and reach out. Perhaps I'm being judgmental. I've spend most of my life in social services and have found the most wonderful people and those that would not raise a hand to help their mommy. How sad. What joy and peace they rob themselves of.

Sensitive...you bet I am on the apathy and lack of concern of my world to other's plights.

Can a well person be concerned about the sick and diseased? I've met and read of multitudes that are.
Can a whittle person be concerned about a black person?
Can a rich person be concerned about poor individuals?
Can a Democrat be concerned about a Republican?
Can a Christian be concerned about the Muslim population?

And on the list goes. Can we be concerned enough to put ourselves in their place, feeling their pain, longing to help them enough to get into action?

We don't want sympathy. At least I don't. I do want someone to be empathetic, however. There's a time and place to be grateful and count your blessings, but this does not take the place of allowing oneself to be so much a part of our world that we think, feel, reach out to touch, get involved and act locally, state wide, nationally and world wide. A little wave can become a part of other waves and make a difference. I desire to affect my world. I have so far to go. I haven't yet scraped the surface but I want to and that my Friend is where is has to begin.

April 23, 2006

"Dementia is not a major part of our life, just part of it. I don't wake up with my first thought being "I have dementia. I plan ahead and wake up thinking of the activities I have arranged to do that day." An Alzheimer's person.

This quote I found on the computer made me stop and think how much of a part of my life dementia is and also how I wake up and what I'm thinking.

When I wake up, I'm in a semi fog. No, I don't wake up thinking I have dementia. Perhaps there are those that do, but dementia although having it, does not control my life. It is not ever present in my mind. There is so much more to life than disease. It's only one part of my existence that I must deal with moment by moment.

When I wake up, usually I lay there and think about the goodness of the Lord. I welcome Him into my day and talk to Him a bit. I'm not at all a holier than thou person. Not a religious nut or fanatic but God has a lot to do with my life and I live and move and have my being in Him. So, it's natural on my part to wake up giving my day to Him for a few quiet moments before the rest of my morning begins.

This is followed by my morning coffee to cut through the fog. I guess even without fog, I'd want my morning cup of coffee. Lots of laughs. I enjoy and look forward to it. Then on with the day. There's somewhat of a routine I have, things I want to do and errands to get done. In between all of this is lots of rest, and things I like to do like surfing on the computer, reading, devotions, music, perhaps some simple games and the little things that make life enjoyable.

Each of us wake up in our own unique way. Just a few thoughts on how I usually wake up. My dementia buddy Jim started me on this journal entry. Thanks Jim for sharing with me. It helped me share with others.

April 24, 2006

Earth Day just came and went with little fanfare. Only in recent years have I begun to think about this day's importance to mankind and all that it entails. It's a day of celebration of the beautiful earth that we live on. A day of planting trees, of thinking how to save our decaying, misused and abused earth. A day of celebration.

Our nation has a terrible record of misusing the gift that was given for us to enjoy and care for. Our government seems to care little about what it is destroying.

I look at the terrible things we have done to the earth. I grew up in what was part of Appalachia. It was Cole country. Cole was dug by large equipment and removed from the group leaving acre after acre raped and unable to use until finally laws were past in America forcing the companies owning these acres of earth to clean them up and make them useable once again. For years these sites sat there, vast amounts of acres that were eye sores for those living near. We thought they were destroyed so badly they would never be able to be used again. Finally after many years the government saw fit to insist that this land be restored.

I think today how we cut the timber without replanting or cleaning up after the ground was cleared of trees. I think of the lakes, rivers and ocean where we dump raw sewage. Of areas where we drill for oil and destroy the wildlife and the areas for years to come. I look at the area in which we live. Hoot Owl Community. It's a rural community with a sign on the main road leading into our community. The sign says, "Don't litter." Before and after the sign the sides of the road are strewn with trash. The county comes and cleans up the litter on occasion. Shortly thereafter the litter is back.

I think of our environment that is contaminated by corrupt industries and corporations.

What has happened to America? To me it is so sad. Upsetting really. Why are there so many of our fellow citizens that don't care about their earth? What can we personally do to make a difference?

A song comes to mind that I have song in church before. I really like it. It is called This Is My Father's World by Malbie Babcock. 1858-1901. This is from Cyberhymnal.org in part.

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and tress, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the Lilly white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world. O let me never forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: the battle is not done.
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav'n be one.

This is my Father's world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze
God makes His glory known.
This is my Father's world, a wonderer I may roam
Whate'er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

There are those that can't wait for Heaven. I can. I know it's a place prepared for me and I will arrive there soon enough but the Earth was also prepared for me. I love it here, inspite of my aches and pains. I just want to be a part in restoring it to it's beauty and rightful place.

April 25, 2006

I was just thinking how it might feel for one with dementia who is placed in a nursing home. What thoughts and fear might cross one's mind, or what is left of it? I've visited nursing homes and assisted living home in the past, spending time there with loved ones. I guess I've never really given much thought to how the residents must feel..and what they think. I have no doubt that they have feelings too.

My brother just had to be placed at least temporally in a nursing home while his caregiver, wife recovers from major surgery. Bill has Lewy Body like I do, although his stages have progressed much faster than mine.

Bill almost always lived in a quiet country setting, spending much of his dementia time at home where he chose to be. I wonder how this new world is affecting him? He's accustomed to being by himself with his wife much of the time. Now, he is surrounded with other's with all types of conditions. Much of his quietness has been taken away along with much of his privacy. His way of life has been changed dramatically.

How does it feel when they lock those doors for your safety and you can only leave with permission? How does it feel when family leave after a brief visit? When your rising and bed time is set? When you are given meals that might not be to your liking. If dementia turns our whole world upside down, what would nursing home placement do to us? Dementia with nursing home placement. By thinking about these issues one can make it better for nursing home residents. Just treating them like we would want treated.

I don't know the answer to these questions but I can only guess. My mother and grandmother were also placed in nursing homes, but only after all other options were tried. It was not the choice of our family. It was a necessity like it is with so many families. The only solution but it seems so final. I recall seeing nursing homes with cemeteries next to them. Is that what residents dwell on? Can staff at a nursing home facility continue to make life pleasant for residents? I think family and friends can add much to make life more bearable for residents. I don't think placement has to be the end of the trail. I believe that there can be life after nursing home placement. I believe there is still hope.

April 26, 2006

I was thinking about how my family cared for my grandmother long after she retired from work and could no longer care for herself. Grandma became a member of our family, a much beloved member and was given great care by my parents. I forget how many years she lived with us but she was given lots of TLC during that time.

The time came when Grandma could no longer be cared for in our home. It was a safety issue for her. We knew when it was time. With many families placement only comes after something happens that forces the issue. It was time for Grandma to go to a new home. I remember my parents talking about Grandma's placement. They felt so guilty. Although the nursing home was a distance away from where we lived, Mom and Dad would go almost daily to the home to make sure Grandma was receiving proper care. They would get her up and take walks with her to assure that she would get the exercise she needed to continue walking. It wasn't easy for them to place her or leave her there.

I don't see how placement could ever be easy for loved ones. Although we can visit, take our loved ones outside or for a ride. Perhaps even home for a day or so. Guilt and concerns can so easily linger on. It's difficult and stressful. There is no easy way. Love hurts...but in these situations we must have tuff love. Love with a purpose, Love that has other's best interest in mind and heart. This can allow us to move on with our lives. To live with our decision. To make peace within ourselves regarding the placement. It may continue to hurt but time can bring about some resolution, some change, some healing. We must be able to feel that we have done our best, our very best and then go on with our lives. For those that have had to place a loved one, there still can be life. Life and it's many decisions brings with it many challenges along the journey. Constant changes. Nothing can or will remain the same. Some choices seem easy but others...well, others are difficult, very difficult. We can live with our decisions when made which much thought and love. Life can and will go on if we climb those mountains in tears and in laughter, in good times and bad. We just have to keep on climbing, holding tightly to the hand of the Father above who will give comfort and peace.

April 27, 2006

I was just thinking about what will be said at my funeral. What a thing to think about..To many death is somewhere they don't want to go. They don't want to think about it or focus on it. Many fear death.

Now, I don't dwell on death but the older I get and the sicker I get, the more friends I have that have now left me. It always helps me to think that they are in a better place, a better world but still, I miss them and think about them. I wonder what they're doing.

Death for me is just another natural step in my life. I don't dwell on it but have prepared my self for it. For me death is stepping from this life down here on earth to another one described in the Bible. A place called Heaven. An exciting place filled with life and laughter. I have no fear of death but neither am I ready to die. There is too much too do on planet Earth. I love life and try to live it to the fullest. I enjoy the earth and all it's beauty. I love my wife, family and friends. People are special to me. I am on a high and it is life...but life goes on and on.

Maya Lin said that "our lives are given meaning by our actions--accomplishments made while we are here that extend beyond our own time." As long as there is life there is hope. We can still do those things we always wanted to do, make those dreams happen, and get everything in order. Use up that long good bye. I want my funeral to be a time of celebration.. a celebration of my life that was full and rewarding. A life that counted. A life that I chose to live.

If there's anything I need to do, I need to say, I need to set right, I want to tell someone, I want to give away, I need to do it now. If I do not believe in God in a personal way, I need to do it now. Today is all that is promised to us. Tomorrow may never come. Regrets can be lessened by actions now. Procrastination on our part is a choice we make moment by moment, day by day. I chose life.

I want to say the I love you's now. I want to ask for forgiveness and say I'm sorry now. Restitution may be in order. I want to say the things I need to say...now. I want to examine my heart and empty it of anything that is not right. Then, when it's time to celebrate my life, it will really be a celebration for all.

April 28, 2006

April 25 was Holocaust Remembrance Day. I remember some years ago, my wife Sharon and I went to Washington, DC to speak to congressmen and senators of our country about Alzheimer's Disease. It was a great trip and an honor to represent all of those who have dementia. While there we had some extra time to tour Washington. I had read about the Holocaust Museum in Washington and made arrangements to visit it. It's something that I'll never forget. At least I hope not. It made quiet an impression on me. It was a very moving and sobering experience for us, making the history of the terrible holocaust come alive. This memorial is in honor of the more than six million Jews who died between 1933 and 1945. As we walked into the building we had a sad feeling that was hard to describe as we viewed the graphic and heart-wrenching exhibits. One almost had a sense of being overwhelmed as you sensed the hopelessness and loss these individuals faced daily during those years. Having never experienced it myself I cannot fully comprehend the depths of suffering that occurred during thar dark time in history.

In the midst of this terrible tragedy, there stands a bright light. On one floor is a large wall listing the thousands of names of those who assisted the Jews during the Holocaust. These individuals offered hope during a time of despair. These individuals risked there very life and that of their loved ones and worldly possessions by helping the Jews but they helped anyway. I'm sure they counted the cost...but they offered hope in spite of what could happen to them. Love considers the cost but does what is needed anyway. Love is...it is active, it's not just a feeling we have. Feelings come and go. They are based upon our emotions. Love is based on choices we make.

In our day when there are those that deny the historical holocaust and the Jewish right to existence, I want to take my place in offering hope, prayers and the memory of the past...that it may never happen again.

I want to be involved with my world and move beyond my world, that the bright light of hope may transform a world filled with unbelief, hate and self interest, offering hope to all that I can possible touch. Awareness coupled with action can make a difference.

April 29, 2006

Please don't just tell me no. No may be a word used with very young children. I remember as a young father saying to my girls, "no..no. Hot" when it came to places they might be burned. There were other times that I was forced to say no because I loved them and did not want them to get hurt.

It's easy to think of those of us with dementia as children, youngsters..but were not. Were adults that can think, feel, reason, and understand in many situations. It's true that we do not have good judgment and that we forget and don't always make the best choices. Still, within limits, choices are ours to make.

Many times I can be reasoned with. I can benefit from brief explanations. I can still understand basic thoughts. I want to discuss things of importantance and even those that are not that important. Regular everyday conversation is important to me. There are times during the day like my morning fog and late afternoon sundowning into the evening hours that are not the best times to get into conversations at any length but there are many other times during the day for those who care, that I am open and desirous of conversation. Brief explanations are helpful at times but there are other times when a good listener and observer can tell that we need, and or want more than that. Do we not deserve what we feel the need of?

We are adults with limitations. Many of us with dementia know some of our limitations and caregivers in training can know and recognize other limitations we have and work within that frame work. It just takes want to and a choice. It may also take determination. It takes love, which is all about another's well being and success. There may be times the meaning behind a no needs to be addressed with us but not with one word. It can be a time of communication between two individuals that deeply love one another. Think how you would want to be addressed in this situation and go with those thoughts. When we treat others as we would want to be treated, the world is a better place for all of us.

It has been said that one cannot win a battle with someone with dementia. Using this bit of knowledge as a given, living in peace can be brought about in other more creative ways. Why does one feel the need of winning an argument in the first place?

April 30, 2006

The Viet Nam War began in 1965 and the last combat day was March 29, 1973. The anniversary was yesterday. This was the nation's least unpopular war. 58, 000 American's were killed and 200,000 were wounded. Records were not kept on how many female troop members were involved, but they were present.

This war was begun a year after I graduated from high school and while I was in college. It made a big impact on me. To this day, I hate war. During that time it became much more personal for me than a war I studied about from our country's history.

Kent State University was not far from my home area where I grew up and was raised as a child and teenager. My sister was a graduate of Kent State University and I have been on the campus on occasion.

On May 4, 1970, students were leading a peaceful peace march on campus when the Ohio National Guard under orders opened fire on them. There were 67 shots, 13 seconds, four dead students and nine injured students. Those killed were Allison Krause, William Schroeder, Jeffrey Miller and Sandra Scheuer. Heroes one and all. For me personally those that fight and live for peace are heroes.

On one occasion I was able to visit the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, DC. It serves as memorial for all the of the soldiers and personnel that were killed in this war. I remember standing before the memorial, running my fingers over many of the names listed there. It was a special moment as I thought of those who have given their lives for our country.

Today it seems that many of us seldom think of the wars that cost so much for those who fought our wars. These days of anniversary of end of wars are barely mentioned in our news and mean so little too so many. War is so easy to begin but peace and providing for the needs of the world without strings attached is what seems so difficult for us to attempt or accomplish. When we ignore those basic needs around the world, we are asking for resentment and hate. Misunderstanding. And then, we lash out with the same intense feelings. With hate, resentment and misunderstanding, costing us everything.

How many have to be killed and injured before we learn lessons from past wars and from the Christ of peace? How many? How many wars will be fought in the name of freedom? When war is glorified in our country, what can we expect?

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