July 1st 2006

Here it is, July 10, and I haven't completed one journal yet this month. This is supposed to be a daily journal. That's what I tell myself and even some others. I'm not attempting to deceive myself or anyone else for that matter. I want it to be a daily journal and think of it as a daily journal. There are times when I journal, times when I do a couple journals and then times like this month when I just haven't been able to make myself want to do it. That's till today, and I'm not totally back yet.

When I journal, I enjoy it. It usually pours out of me through my fingers without much thinking about it. Then there are times when I get writer's block. Nothing will come and the will power to journal is gone.

I can see why those that try journaling and quit are many and those that continue journaling are few. Then there are those that think about it but never actually try.

What keeps me journaling is the fact that journaling does something for me personally and the positive feedback I receive from many who read my journaling. I have a need to share in hopes that it will make the world a better place for someone' some where.

Journaling stretches my mind, helps me explore, understand, put things together, and pushes me onward and upward. It helps me put down in black and white what's important to me and what has been important to me. At times I'm able to catch moments in my life before they disappear. It's a positive experience for me. So.....although it's a slow go at the moment, I will keep at it.

July 2nd 2006

Have you ever felt like bugs were crawling all over you? I have different times. Yesterday was one of those days. It lasted for hours. I looked for any insects that might have gotten onto me to no avail. There were none. I had take my shower that morning. There was no known reason for me to feel like I did.

Could it have been nerves? I don't know. I only know that it has happened on a few occasions and I want it to quit. I hate the feeling. I'm not afraid of insects. Living in Florida , we find them all over, even inside at times, but few escape my watching eye. I'm sure I'm not as careful as I once was but by golly, I am still the protector sort of guy that keeps an eye on what's going on and corrects it if possible. Lots of laughs.

I've never heard of other dementia patients having the feelings I've described. Therefore I don't think it's part of my disease. If this strange unwanted feeling continues, you can be sure I'll be asking other's about it as well as my doctor. Thank heaven, the feeling has decreased today., and I can relax a bit.

July 3rd 2006

One morning recently I slowly got up and shortly there after, made my way to my easy boy chair that I sit in. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a candle on the stand by the chair that was still burning. It had been burning all night long. I'm so glad there was no fire.

Before bed time I make my rounds, checking the doors, making sure the lights are off, etc., but I am not accustomed to checking to see if candles or out. Many times Sharon later checks things out but not on that night.

Perhaps I should not light candles that Sharon doesn't know about. Hope I remember that.

July 4th 2006

An American holiday. Many spend it with recreation, family outings and fireworks. We enjoyed some fireworks ourselves as a family. There's something about fireworks that makes one stop and look up into the sky at the beauty being displayed. To make it even better my family was with me.

I've been thinking about America for some time now. It's the land of my birth. I have received much from this land and I love it and it's people. It's the politics and corruption that I have a problem with.

Each night when home, I turn on the TV and watch the news of the day. I'm dismayed, saddened, shocked and angered by what I see. There are some channels of news that try to paint a rosy picture that all is well but it pays to dig a little deeper. Unless we bury our heads in the sand, we know not all is well.

I look at the crime, the corrupt judicial system and government officials that rule our dear land. I see the poverty, the abuse, the overflowing prisons, the homeless, the neglect of elderly, children and handicapped, those that can barely get by in life, the jobless and those that get paid less than a livable wage. I see the high divorce rate and abortion rate. I look at the high rate of teen pregnancies and the high drop out rate in our schools. I see high gang activity in even the remotest parts of our land. I see the drug and alcoholism. I see the empty churches. I see the infrastructure of our country that is crumbling around us and the apathy of our citizens and I cringe. I look at our war and the wars of the world. I count the young soldiers that are broken and those returning in coffins. Where is the America that had values? How did we get where we are and is their a way to bring us back from the brink of destruction?

Having dementia doesn't mean I only look inward and can't see beyond that point. If anything, the serious problems that our country has are only made more real to me.

The Bible teaches that for the one who has been given much, much is required. As American's we have been given much. My sense of reality is that we have failed miserably to following through on the requirement part. What have we given back in return?

America, I grieve for you. Only we can save our way of life. I feel America is worth the effort.

July 5th 2006

My wife Sharon has been canning of a storm. She's making jam. Our good friends, Trudy and Tommy have been doing the same. They are kind enough to share extra figs with us and a canner.

Sharon, having had previous experience with canning, has been busy for days making a variety of flavors of jelly.

Let me tell you from personal experience that this jelly put on either bread or ice-cream, makes one return for more of the same thing over and over again. Oh my....

Now canning is almost a lost skill. One may tend to think of canning as some hard work done in previous generations. My Mother use to can. In fact she would can food for a whole family of seven out of her garden and an orchard. This canning would provide adequate food for the entire family for a whole year, when she would can again. I'm sure it was not easy for her then or for my wife Sharon now, but the worth is what comes out of those canning jars. Food items purchased at the local store could never compare.

I remember some of Mom's canning. Oh me....Nothing like good home fresh, canned food prepared with love and a smile form one's mother. Even after all these years, it brings a smile to my face.

July 6th 2006

Our Grandson Brian just stopped by to mow our yard. I'm glad he came by with his mower. I am no longer able to mow grass myself but yet like my yard to look nice and mowed. Thank God for Grandchildren. I have seven and they are each so special to Sharon and I. Wouldn't trade them for nothing.

Anyway, Brian had an ulterior motive to stop by today. It's heading toward the weekend and he has a girlfriend who he wants to take to a movie. Papa, that's me....likes to pay my family for the jobs they do around our home. I like to think I'm teaching the kids the work ethic and rewarding them with some funds that they will enjoy spending on what they want. I also enjoy watching my Grandchildren grow up.

There's a special smell to freshly cut grass. Not that many years ago, I enjoyed mowing my own grass with a push power mower. Made me feel good and the smell of the fresh cut grass was almost addicting. Now, I'm afraid even if I got the mower started, I wouldn't get much grass mowed.

I think back to the days when I helped my Dad mow our rather large country yard. It took two lawn mowers and about a day to make it look like a park. It seems that not much after we got the grass mowed than it needed mowing again. Grass grew fast in those Ohio summers of long ago. I enjoy stepping back into time on occasion, just to relive if only for a moment or so, memories of long ago

July 7th 2006

As a younger adult I was never one for a hat. Don't know why. I just wasn't. Since I moved here to Florida, I've changed my mind.

Living in a different climate has made a big difference for me. One of them is that I need a hat to cover by slightly balding head. It keeps me from getting skin cancer on it, which is a real problem here where the sun shines so brightly much of the day.

Now, I've tried all types of hats. I tried the ball park hat, the fishing hat, the hat that covers your neck, almost any type of male hat I could find and the winner has been the old fashioned broad rimmed straw hat. I've had a couple so far but found one recently that I really like. On the sides of the straw weave are air vents. I think I've found a keeper. After four years of Florida, it's about time.

July 8th 2006

I was sitting in one of the many lobby areas at Jacksonville Mayo Clinic recently, waiting for Sharon. I had taken along one of the books I've been reading with me. Occasionally I would read a few words or paragraphs and then close the book, after losing interest and focus. Many individuals were coming by in the hallway near by. Some were staff but many seemed to be there to receive care for some condition they had or an evaluation. Mayo is a wonderful place for medical care. I've been there many times. At times for Sharon and at times for myself. Were fortunate enough to live close enough to Mayo that we can make a visit and a round trip in one day's time.

There was a Steinway piano sitting over in the corner near by. I had noticed it but had not paid much attention to it...that is until a teenager came over to it, pulled up the piano bench, sat down and began to play. The teenager looked so young, but the music that he played sounded like he had years of practice. He was a musician playing beautiful classical and semi classical music. As the music filled the area, I began to calm down and enjoy it with so many others who were stopping by. I had been depressed for a few days and was just coming out of it. The music had a soothing affect on me as I just sat back and relaxed, watching the pianist who was playing with such ease and talent.

After a time, and I was the only one left in the immediate area, I ask the teenager how old he was, his name and a little about himself. He was only 14 years old and had lessons since he was 12. He came to Mayo each week to play the piano for the patients and anyone who would care to listen.

I observed expressions of those busily passing by. Some would nod and smile at the lad. Some would continue on their hurried journey and others..others would stop and take in the concert that was being offered.

For those of us that are affected with conditions, disease or just the cares of life, if only we would take the time to stop and enjoy some of the music that we like. One can actually feel stress melt away and a stirring within as the beauty of music awakens our inner selves to the beauty of life and some of what it offers.

July 9th 2006

I had two more friends with dementia pass away recently. Chuck Petty and Joe Timassey. Chuck was a friend from a wonderful support group I was part of while living in Ohio. Joe was a fellow traveler I met on the computer that became a friend.

Both will be greatly missed. They offered so much to those that surrounded them. They both were so full of life and gave those of us who knew them much, asking for nothing in return.

I like what Vance Havner had to say about our next home after we leave planet Earth. Vance said "I find the last miles to be the best. When it's twilight on the trail, remember that the other side of the sunset is sunrise. The other side of evening is morning; beyond death is life. One hour in heaven, and we shall be ashamed that we ever grumbled."

Lord, please keep me from grumbling. Amen.

July 10th 2006

So many times in life, I'm tempted to complain. I'm not only tempted but I can do a pretty good job of complaining when I set my mind to it. Some time's my mind has nothing to do with it. I just open up my mouth and let it fly.

Some where on a bulletin board in our home is a small decoration saying, "Thou Shalt Not Whine." I just went to check and see if it was where I remembered, and sure enough...there is was, buried behind many notes of cares and worries that were there covering it up.

Complaining can also be known as grumbling, whining or belly-aching. The dictionary defines it as "an expression of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or discontent." This thing called by various names can find a big place is our lives as times get difficult. We are not content and don't like where we find ourselves. Complaining can just amplify our frustration and discontent at times. At other times I think it can be a healthy outlet for us. I know it is for me.

Lord knows, we all have enough to complain about. Some times it's raining and at other times it just pours on us. There are times when those flood waters seem like they are almost going to overflow our lives. I don't know anyone who does not have problems or trouble in their lives. I never feel alone in this area but there needs to be a way to express...to voice our discontent and keep it from building before we explode or become depressed. At times too much is just that...too much and we need to let it out.

I try not to talk to myself about it. There are already those that wonder about my status. Fortunately I have a great mate that cares and listens. I also have a few friends that are close enough that I am able to share with. A good counselor for those of us with dementia is another place to share. Support groups both locally and on the Internet are available to us. The Alzheimer's Association has a 24 hour life line for us. Then there's prayer. When we pray, God is there for us, listening to each word, and able to act on our behalf.

Were never alone. Someone is always there beside us, willing to listen to our concerns. There is a big place for sharing our burdens, our cares as well as our blessings and good times. Were never alone. Just reach out.

July 11th 2006

I use to laugh more than I do now. Don't know why. I try to laugh with the kids when they're around and a few friends. When I'm together at support meeting with my dementia buddies, we do a lot of laughing..together. I think at one time, I instigated laughing and now...now I need someone to instigate the laughter for me.That's where a good caregiver and good friends can come in handy.

Jordan Rubin talks a little about laughter. He says among many other things, "Always be the perosn who laughs first. Laughter is the social glue that holds our society together. Laughter creates a ripple effect of good vibrations and positive feelings". He goes on to say that where ever one finds themselves, "be the person who laughs first." "It's good for your (and everyone's else's) health."

There are a lot of speakers and books out on laughter therapy. One of them is Karen Stab's book, Sometimes Ya Gotta Laugh-caregiving, laughter, stress and Alzheimer's Disease. She commented in her book that "people with Alzheimer's or dementia do not lose this ability -laughter-, but their sense of humor may change with the progression of the disease."

In Stobbe's book she mentions a Dr Katari that says,"while laughing, we do not have any conscious thought process and all our senses naturally and effortlessly combine in a moment of harmony, to give joy, peace and relaxation."

The book lists sites by person's with Alzheimer's Disease that include Tim Brennan, Morris Friedell, Mary Lockhart and yours truly, Chip Gerber

Karen Stobbe's book can be ordered on her website at: www.in-themoment.com

July 12th 2006

I've read that those of us with dementia do not get enough liquids. I know it's true for me. I just don't think to drink enough liquid. Perhaps it's an old habit. I don't know. I tend to need some taste to what I drink. I've decided on Power Aide, Gator Aide and Sweet Ice Tea along with some water. And then of course, there is water in the coffee I drink. Now, if I can remember to keep a glass of whatever by where I'm at, my need for liquid should be met. It's the remembering followed by the doing that will get me there. Sharon, my mate, gives me liquid but I can't expect her to provide for all my needs. She has her own unique set of needs to take care of and I must work on doing what I can for myself. It's so easy to let everything up to another person when I can still do many things for myself.

July 13th 2006

Lewy Body is the second largest dementia disease in the United States. Yet few know about it. This is my diagnoses. It was changed from early stages of Alzheimer's Disease some time ago.

I've discovered that Lewy Body Dementia Disease has a Helpline at 1-800-539-9767. Just leave your name and number and a friendly caregiver volunteer will call you back. Please pass this onto any one you may know with Lewy Body Dementia or those that work with dementia patients.

When one has dementia of any type, questions always seem to come up. In addition, support is essential and one can never have enough support in this long, lonely battle.

July 14th 2006

I got up early this morning, about 8:00 AM, trying to beat the humidity and heat. 8:00 is early for me. With one eye open and the other only partially open, I got out of bed, got my clothes on and headed outside to plant some new plants. I dug in the rich Florida soil and sand as quick as I can and put the plants into the soil. I was already beginning to sweat and I knew I had a window of about a half hour before it would be too hot for me to be outside gardening. As I hurried along, I spotted an ant hill near by where I was working. I had just destroyed some homes in my small flower garden the day before with some Ortho Fire Ant Killer. My garden is no place for these pesky biting ants but it seems some of them survived by efforts and moved to a new location a couple feet from where they had been earlier. After a few bites from them, and oh how they can bite, I put some additional Ant Killer, this time, on their new home. I finished my planting in about 45 minutes, it seems and none too soon. By that time the sun was beginning to beat down on me and the humidity was making me sweat profusely. Besides that my sinus began acting up big time. I put the tools back away and slowly went back inside to the coolness of our air conditioned home. A shower was required before I could set back and catch a second breath.

July 15th 2006

I've been a gardener for many years now. For a few years after my diagnoses with dementia, I slowed down but since moving here to Florida, the sunshine state, I've begun to garden again. I enjoy digging in the soil, planting flowers and then watching them grow. I can't say, just sit back and watch them grow because they need lots of tending...basically fertilizer, weeding and watering, which all take lots of time. The watering is every day to every other day when it's hot. Now, that's from mid Spring on into October when it cools down a bit for us. It seems like a long time for me and a lot of additional work in addition to the daily chores that I already have on my list, but....it's worth it. When they begin to grow and bloom in all their varied colors and size, it's worth it. Just don't ask me about it's worth when I'm out there working on them in the heat.

My Mom, before me had the nicest flower garden for many, many years. When I was still at home, I was her helper in tending the garden. She had what many would call a green thumb. I think I inherited one from her.

July 16th 2006

I've been reading a book by Elie Wisel called Night. Elie Wisel is a winner of the Nobel Peach Prize. This is one of the books from Oprah's Book Club that I've heard much about.

It is Elie Wiesel's "testimony to what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again."

Elie was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 at Sighet, Transylvania to the Auschwitz concentration camp and then onto Buchenwald.

I don't read many books like this one. This book is almost to real, tearing at one's heart but still, I highly recommend it.Should one hide his eyes from history? Night tells us the unbelievable evil that is capable of mankind and the horrors of the holocost,. The world needs to know the facts so that this horror can be prevented from happening again. As a result of this book, and my concern for the land I love, this journal is written.

So many don't know or deny that such a terrible thing as the holocaust took place, but it is history. A terrible war was fought over it. Recently on nation wide TV a national leader of another country said that the holocaust never happened. I wonder how many in America believe the same thing. I think one of the problems we have as individuals is that so many times history is painful and therefore we stay away from reading about the pain.Many of us don't know our history and can't remember facts very long.Elections show this to be true. We don't get involved. America seems to have dementia and be unable to function.

As the Constitution of the United States of America becomes meaningless to our political system and our government is bought and paid for by our enemies. At a time in our history when corruption rules and were told that wrong equals right, when evil seems to have taken over, it's good to take another look at a country called Germany, it's history and what can happen when wrong rules.History can repeat itself and often does. As America sleeps on in it's apathy, it could be too late when we finally do awake. Oh God, have mercy and awaken America from their slumber. God, please bless America again. Amen.

July 17th 2006

How can someone with dementia read? There are different stages to dementia. Many times the stages last a long time, going back and forth. There are stages that some of us can still read. Now, remembering what we read is another story.

For many years now I have had an interest in books. I've surrounded myself with books. Two of my favorite places for me to go is the library or a book store.
I think it started years ago when a book mobile would visit our local school. Students were permitted time to go to the book mobile and pick a book. I enjoyed my early reading classes in school and therefore would gladly borrow a few interesting books, returning them the next time the book mobile came to our school.

My sister Anna was an elementary school teacher for many years. I enjoyed staying with her at times in her apartment. Anna would read books to me and my interest in reading and books grew.

A favorite school teacher, Gladys Earl taught geography and made the world come alive through reading.

For those who taught me how to read and how to enjoy reading, I am forever grateful. Life has been an adventure from a young age because of the printed press and even as I experience dementia, it's still an adventure. Just as a much slower pace with lots of stops for rest in between the words, paragraphs and pages.

If a book catches my interest, I may well read it, or more these days, surf or skim it. By surfing or skimming, I can still get enough of the meaning that it's worth while for me to spend time with it. It's taking more and more time to make sense of and get through a book, but it does not stop me from trying. I once took a college speed reading course and some of it's principles are still working for me.

July 18th 2006

I can hardly believe it. I've been journaling for six years now. Sharon, my wife and caregiver told me that I began journaling six years ago today. Where does time go? It does not seem like six years.

Many individuals who journal chose to give an accounting of what they do each and every day but I have chose to give a collection of my thoughts, feelings and reflections on my journey with dementia. Journaling has enhanced my life by assisting me with exploring my feelings, my strengths and weaknesses, my hopes and despairs, my joys and sorrows. It has allowed me to look at my past from my present setting, to explore the present and to look into my future with hope. I firmly believe that there is life after being diagnosed with dementia.

My website manager is Marsha Penington: ( aka Taylor Austin ) Marsha accents my journal with beautiful designs and music. Without the assistance and generosity of Marsha, my daily journal would not be in existence. For her acts of kindness I am forever grateful.

Marsha Penington has a site at Alzheimers Outreach. You will find her at:

The last time I checked my counter, I had 116, 023 hits on my site. I am thankful for those who have stopped by my journal, for the many notes of support and encouragement from so many of you and of being able to share my life with you with hope that it might encourage you, bringing hope for you and perhaps those that you are involved with.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of you life. I plan on continuing my journal until I am no longer able to do so.

July 19th 2006

As a young child in Ohio, I looked forward to the warm rains of summer. If there was no thunder or lightning, I was allowed to get into my swimming suit and run out into the rain. At times that was my bath for the day. Oh what fun I would have standing and running through the rain, playing in the puddles that it made and just simply being alive.

This has been a dry hot spring and summer so far here in Florida. Recently it began a nice gentle rain and my wife Sharon ran out into it, enjoying it thoroughly. I too have done that even as a grown up. To brave the rain and look up into the sky, allowing it to soak me through to the skin.Enjoying it to the fullest.

Running through the rain reminds me of life's problems and the situations we find ourselves in. Some see the rain coming and begin to worry, seeing only the dark clouds over them, hearing only the wind, the thunder and perhaps seeing some of the lightning performing a show off in the not too far distance. Perhaps looking out a window or a door from a safe location. Afraid to enter into the rain itself.

For those of us with dementia or our loved ones supporting and caring for us, it may seem that the rain will never quit coming down. There have been many times when for a few quick moments, after a storm, I have been able to see a beautiful rainbow. But...I had to be in the right spot at the right time. The rainbow would remind me of God's promise that the world would never be destroyed by floods again. Rainbows remind me of God's promises and goodness.

There are times that I have had to step out of my anger, my pain, my self centered me, walk through the rain, inspite of all that was and is going on round about me, and feel God's gentle embrace. His calming touch and comfort is there for each of us when we reach out to Him, but we must take that first step.

July 20th 2006

These are the hot, humid dog days of summer here in Florida. Much of my time is spent in our home, out of the heat. Inside, I feel the nice cool air-conditioning that's immediately noticed upon coming inside from the outside.

Air conditioning is a must here in the South. After living here for over four years now, I'm still not accustomed to the heat and humidity. I sweat profusely in a matter of minutes after being outside, covering me with sweat. At times the sweat runs off of my face into my eyes, burning them. After coming back inside of our home many times I must take a shower. Oh, how refreshing it feels after forcing myself to do what must be done outside.

One cannot stay inside all summer. In fact our heat begins before summer in early spring. I have always loved being outdoors, but in these months of heat, any thing I do outside must be done quickly. When going out for activities I must hurry to the car and then impatiently wait for the air conditioner to turn on. At times it takes some minutes of discomfort before I feel the right coolness.

I can remember back years ago when we did not have air conditioning, only fans too cool us off. How did I ever survive those days? Well, survive I did, and I will continue surviving, with my friend, the air conditioner on about 79 degrees or so.

July 21st 2006

I was just thinking to myself. Where do emails go that seem to just disappear from my computer? I get lots of mail. Daily mail. It seems almost hourly mail, perhaps even more often yet...email.

It's a mixture of personal notes, items from being on someone's mailing list, things I have signed up for and many things that I haven't signed up for. I'm sure I haven't signed up for panty hose or purchasing a house in the desert or some of the sick offers for sex that I receive. How do these people get my email address? Thank God for a delete button but I don't tend to use it daily and my email backs up. I'm told I can have 1,'000 emails before they are those over that amount are removed from my computer. It's hard for me to believe that I can have more than that many emails at one time on my computer, but I have. Many times I'm sure items disappear way before I've reached the 1,000 mark. Perhaps you know what I'm talking about. I just didn't get enough emails off my computer, or that's what it seems. One might call my problem procrastination. There's times I look back on my emails...at times way back to something I really wanted to save and it disappeared. No one seems to know where it went but...it's no longer on my computer, at least that I can't find it.Even with my Sharon's assistance and she's sharp when it comes to computers. E mails that I intended to respond to are gone without a trace. So, if your one that never heard back from me, please understand and try me again. It was not intentional.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today." A Spanish proverb says," Never put off today what you can put off tomorrow." And then there's one I really enjoy by someone unknown..." One of these days, is none of these days."

Simply put...I procrastinate. Our lives are either spent in "doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do" said Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Yet I complain, boy do I complain...at moments....of the shortness of time, and yet I have more time now than I've ever had in my life.

Lucius went on to say, "We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them."

I've promised myself so many times that I will no longer procrastinate, but I keep falling off the band wagon. It's sort of life a new year's resolution type of thing. I mean well, I start well, but some where in between, even with good intentions and all, I don't finish well and that's what counts. Finishing well.

After today, I will stop procrastinating....tomorrow.

July 22nd 2006

I was thinking about my friends. I have one highschool buddy yet, and a group of friends I had while living in Ohio. Quite a few that I appreciate and do my best to keep in contact with. Then there are friends I've made since moving here to Florida. Friendships are so important. They don't just happen. There's something that usually occurs to bring individuals together. Neighbors, church members, members of clubs or associations. School, college and work. Recreation and sports or. volunteering. These are all places to find friends. Be open but not desperate.

There usually needs to be a connection that puts us together and a connection that keeps us together.

I was thinking back through good friends that contact me on a regular basis. Then there are those that contact me infrequently but we seem to easily pick up where we left off and then there are those that I thought were friends that I never hear from. All of us need friends. No man is an island, it has been said. Life is not meant to travel without friendships but a friendship is a two way street. It takes two individuals to make a friendship and keep a friendship. If we are interested in others, we will soon find many friends.

For those of us that are aging, handicapped, special, have dementia or are caregiver's. Friendships are important to have and worth the time and effort to begin keep. I don't feel that I can ever have to many friends. The more the merrier. The more the better.

To have friendships, one must show them selves to be friendly, open, available and trust worthy.

Friendships are a joy.

July 23rd 2006

I was just thinking about the number of relatives I have. These are from both my father and mother. Cousins by the dozens,neices and nephews, quite a few and then there's two sister's and a brother. I'm thankful for all of them. Those I know and those I don't.Those that I have contact with and those I don't.

I came from large families. Some of my relatives are close to me, and some not so close. In the past families would usually stay close together, living close by each other but in today's world, this is usually not the case. Perhaps I know those that remained close to the old home Gerber farm the best and of course, those I was raised with being my siblings.

Family and relatives mean a lot to me. The immediate families pictures surround me in my home. Picture boxes hold pictures of many others.

I enjoy family pictures and enjoy going through my albums and picture boxes on occasion. Seeing their faces and surroundings bring many happy thoughts back to me and help me once again connect even though many of them live far far away from us.

There are those occasional phone calls, emails, cards, letters and pictures that Sharon and I both really look forward to. The years fly by and all of our situations change, bringing distance between us but in our heart, my family still lingers there.

Distance can be close or far. It matters not, when we can still connect in some way. Thank God for families and relatives.They add so much to life.

July 24th 2006

I was in a group situation yesterday for some time when one of those present wanted to share her difficult, hard times with us. It was a joyous occasion for those in attendance....except for this person, it seemed. They would share with anyone with ears their sorrows if they were listening or not. They just seemed to have a deep need to share their pain with little attenion paid to their surrounds. One could feel that there was great disappointment with their life.

There's a time to weep and cry, there's a time for sharing, there's a time for healing and getting on with life, but there are those that are stuck on the sour notes of life. And because they are stuck, it seems they can never really move on with life. It's repeat...repeat, harbor those negative feelings and hold them tightly, so tightly.

In life I've had grief, I've had discouragement, I've taken a step forward and two backward many times. I've had losses. I know what it is to be down and depressed. I know personally that it's not always easy to let go of bad things that happen to us but early on in life, I learned that one must let go...let go of the hurt, the pain, the mistrust, the who did you wrong in the present or past and move on into healing and then change. There have been times on my journey that I've needed to talk, to share, to get it out in the open. There have been times I needed to forgive and yes, ask for forgiveness. At times this sharing has been with a friend. At times it was with a group. There were times I needed a counselor, a pastor, and there were times I just needed to take it to the Lord in prayer. There's no one that understands like Him.

Taking it to the Lord or anyone else for that matter involves honesty, humbling oneself, knowing when to talk and when to listen, letting the burden there and moving on with new confidence, peace, a much lighter load and a refusal to go back and pick the burden back up again. This can take negative living to positive living and make life worth the living.

I want to travel light in life. In order to do that, there must be times to share that heavy load were carrying with others, clear the air once and for all and then move on with the joy of life.

July 25th 2006

I was thinking of some of the old church hymns that we don't seem to sing much or at all today.

I was picturing my loving, saintly mother, aging and with dementia sitting in a church service at the nursing home she was living at. They were singing some old hymns that Mom knew well from her past. Even though it seemed it had been years since she sang much and her memory was failing greatly, when the old hymns were sung, she'd begin to sing along. At times she would clap, at times she'd raise her hand to the good Lord above. She was in the midst of something far greater than what was going on round about her. She was singing to the Lord. I have no doubt He was listening to her.

One of the old hymns I remember is by John Peterson and is called No One Understands Like Jesus.

The words are:

No one understands like Jesus.
He's a friend beyond compare;
Meet Him at the throne of mercy;
He is waiting for you there.

No one understands like Jesus;
Ev'ry woe He sees and feels'
Tenderly He whispers comfort,
And the broken heart He heals.

No one understands like Jesus
When the foes of life assail;
You should never be discouraged
Jesus cares and will not fail!

No one understands like Jesus
When you falter on the way;
Tho' you fail Him, sadly fail Him,
He will pardon you today.

And then the chorus....

No one understands like Jesus
When the days are dark and grim'
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus--
Cast your ev'ry care on Him!


July 26th 2006

I noticed that normally I am unable to walk away from situations where I have had to much stimulus. The situations may be upsetting, to stimulating, to loud, to active, or just to much for me. I know how to deal with these situations but fined that I am unable to deal with it at the time. It may be causing aggravation, strong feelings or I might even begin to act out. These feelings or not like me. In the past I enjoyed lots of activities around me and was very social and outgoing, joining right in with what was going on.Being overly stimulated was not a problem for me and I was able to deal with life well.The feelings I have in given situations are not normal for me.My feelings begin to be felt slowly and then pick up pace after some time.When stuck in an unwanted situation, I can easily lose control of myself. At times the " some time" mentioned is quicker than others and I can resort to remarks that I'd just as soon not make. These strong feelings that occur and remarks that might be made are later regretted when remembered, making me feel sorry and at times filled with regret.

Sadness can accompany this experience which can lead to depression. I would just as soon not go there. I am prone to depression, dislike it intensely and never know how long I might be locked into it.

What is needed is for someone to observe me and make sure I don't just sit in pain through disturbing times for me. I hate to say it, but an observant caregiver can be very helpful to us. It's not like they have nothing else to. There are many times I just hate to ask them to do one more thing for me. It has to be someone who knows me well and can watch for signs from me. It might be facial expressions, words that I am using, silence on my part or possible no sign at all. Someone who knows me and that I trust can really be helpful in these situations and quietly help me make an exist to a safe place for me to calm down. No explanation to those present needs to be made in front of me. This might well embarrass me and increase my already overwhelming feelings.

Caregivers and family members. Friends. Please help those of us with dementia survive the day. We can't always tell you what we are needing at the moment but must depend on your care and attention to help us through our day. Please be there for us.We appreciate it if we can share that with you or not. You are loved and appreciated.

July 27th 2006

Sharon and I enjoy a good detective or mystery on occasion. I don't enjoy gory, blood and guts movies but I do like a good story, one that involves me to the point where I try to come up with the ending before the end of the movie. There are movies on TV that my conscience will not allow me to watch but there are those that are well done and allow me to enjoy and at times even get my emotions and faltering mind involved.

There's presently a move on TV called Without A Trace. It has to do with individuals disappearing, like the name of the show....Without A Trace. The FBI gets involved with the investigation at times finding the person who has disappeared dead and at other times, still alive. I prefer the actors being found alive really. I know it's just a show but I don't believe in killing and I just prefer that they be found alive. OK?

It's always bothered me that the TV producers and or channels show reruns constantly around holidays such as Christmas and in the summer months. Perhaps they think that viewers are away from their TV sets during these times or that we like reruns. At Christmas and during the summer, I am still watching TV and resent the fact that attempts to show me reruns or made over and over again. If other's enjoy reruns....good for them.

Now, I'm not as sharp as I once was and occasionally a rerun gets by me and I don't recognize the fact that I've already seen the show, but many times, after seeing the beginning of a say...good detective or mystery, I begin recalling some of the scenes and before long, many times I have put the story together way before it ends. This is disappointing to say the least.

I do not like reruns..There are too many movies and films that I have not watched, would like to watch, and I don't usually have the patience to go through a repeat. The hours I am able to enjoy TV are becoming less and less for me, so please producers, be a little more creative and show me some movies or films that will challenge me as well as relax me. It would be appreciated.

July 28th 2006

Sixty-one years ago I came into the world in a small town hospital in Ohio. I was the son of Mary and Andrew Gerber, the fifth child to be born into the family. I was born on a Friday at 1:30 A.M. I weighed eight pounds and eight inches. I was 21 inches long. Dr. Hiscrich pronounced me to be a male. For some time the nurses didn't know what to call me. My parents disagreed on names for me and were a bit slow in naming me. The nurses began calling me Chip.This is still the name I prefer other than my given name. Many don't even know my given name, which is just fine with me.Just some facts of interest.

At the time of my birth for a few days I've been told, I lived in a small rural log cabin with my family on the edge of my Grandfather, William Gerber's property. With my arrival my family needed additional space and moved to a house in a small uncorportated town not far away from where I was born. I lived there through the third grade before we moved to the country where we remained until I graduated from high school and decided to leave home, to live with my sister, Norma and her husband Paul, while I worked and raised money for my college expenses for the coming fall.

Just thought I'd share a little bit about the Gerber baby on my birthday. Now circle the date on your birthday calendar for next year and send me a birthday card or note. Ok?

Happy Birthday dear Chip
Happy Birthday to me.....

July 29th 2006

My youngest daughter, Mary Ann once stitched me a beautiful picture with words saying, "Bald is beautiful..God only made a few perfect heads and the rest he covered with hair." Bless her. It was framed and went on my bedroom wall. What a gift from the heart. My little girl telling me that bald was OK.

My hair has never been thick but at one time it covered the entire top of my head. I'd say over the years it's been getting thinner yet and no longer covers the entire top of my head. I remember back in the sixties I had a fro or so. By doing this to my hair, it seemed to make me have more hair than I actually had. Sharon had a fro too. We have a picture or so of us both with our fro's from that great time in history to be alive, the 60's. When I look at those pictures I can barely believe that it is us.

My Dad began having thinning hair sometime after I could begin to remember. It wasn't always that way. I've seen pictures of him as a younger man with a full head of hair. I think I inherited my balding pattern from him. Thank you very much, Dad.

Really I don't mind. I like to say that my daughters made me lose my hair. Now that I have grandchildren...seven in all, I seem to be loosing more of my hair. Before it's all over, I'll probably be totally....without hair. Lots of laughs.

My grandsons like to tease me about my hair loss. I wonder how many of the boys I passed my hair loss gene on to? Lots of laughs

I believe that bald is beautiful. I'm not quite there yet, but fast approaching. Hey, I could probably do something about it but why hide something that is part of my handsome looks?

July 30th 2006

A few journals back I mentioned my conscience and that there were some things I could not do. Well, I could, but for me, if I did, it would not be right. I do have a choice in the matter. Got me to thinking about my conscience and what it is. The Oxford Dictionary defines conscience as,"a moral sense or right and wrong especially as felt by a person and affecting behavior (my conscience won't allow me to do that or and inner feeling as to the goodness or otherwise of one's behavior (my conscience is clear; has a guilty conscience)." Conscience is then something that tells me right from wrong.

I want to have a clean conscience as a person, a human and a Believer. I think my conscience is based on what I've been taught by my parents and what I feel God tells me in the Bible that is right and wrong. I cannot base it on my society in which I live because many times, society is so wrong. I also feel that at times the church which I love is wrong.

I feel that I can harden my conscience by going against it and disregarding my belief system. I don't think about this all day long or before every action. My conscience is within me. Early on as a young child my conscience was developed. I was taught right from wrong. As a teen I tested the waters of life, exploring and on into college, where I had to decide for myself what I believed, why and use that as building blocks for my life. I looked at what I was taught through life up to that point. I was fortunate because I was raised in a Christian home.Still...things that were not based on what was right and correct according to the guide I was using for my life was discarded. Other things were added and my conscience was strengthened. I feel my conscious is sensitive to right and wrong based on a higher authority than myself. I go against my conscience at great cost to myself and sometimes others.

Frank A. Clark said of conscience, " A man's conscience, like a warning line on the highway, tells him what he shouldn't do-but it does not keep him from doing it."

As one having dementia, I am grateful that at a young age, my conscience was built and that now as I go through those dark years, I will continue to use it. There may be times due to my condition that I act out in a way opposed to my conscience, but it is not of my will or intent.

July 31st 2006

The last few days I've noticed my moods have been higher. The depression seems a thing of the past and I'm just happy to be alive. I catch myself humming a tune, singing a few lines of a song now and then and even whistling.

There are times when I get down, but friend, I'm not out by a long shot. I allow things to get me down sometimes. I know better but still, human as I am, I allow thoughts to linger too long and down I can go. Then I mutter and sputter and dwell on the negative things that I cannot change. It's not all that difficult to get down, even though I have a pretty happy disposition. Dementia individuals are prone to depression. One more than not finds me laughing and smiling more than frowning or with a scowl on my face. It's not fake. It's real...it's me. Why be sad and unhappy when I can be high on life? There's a joy, a peace, a calmness that comes with knowing your God. I don't think I'm overly religious or a fanatic of some kind. I'm at peace with a close relationship I made a long time ago and that relationship is still growing and changing. In order to know who Chip is, one has to consider this very important part of my life. This personal relationship I have has changed my life and as I go into the long good bye, it assists me with living out my life with fullness and peace.

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