"Bridge over Troubled Waters"

Friday, July 17, 1998

My summer class has been over for about a week, and I've been trying to catch my breath. I think I've caught up on my email (let me know if I haven't--if you've written and I haven't answered--sometimes I have a hard time keeping up with my email), and now I can get busy updating this site. I have added just a few more articles in Alzheimer's in the News, and I've added a wonderful memorial site on the Grief Resources page tonight: Nina Baker's Site in memory of her son, Eric. It's a beautiful memorial, and Eric's wonderful poetry and other writings are shared at the site. Nina presented me with her Misty Blue Mountain Award, which I've proudly displayed on my Awards page.

I would now like to present to you all a new site for your respite: A Place for the Humanities. It developed as a place to move my American Poetry page that I did for a class project in the Spring, and my Library Links page that has been here for a year or so. You can also other American literature, Southern Literature, Children's Literature, and Writing Resources there. Eventually there will be art and music sites, too. But never fear, A Year to Remember will always be the site I will work on the most. The other one is just a place to put my bookmarks as I find them, to share them with others, maybe provide some respite for you, too.

Going to get busy checking the links and updating this site now...

Saturday, June 20, 1998

I'm supposed to be studying, but I've got to let you know about a couple of updates I have made. This month, on Father's Day, the Remembering to Care Award goes to Bob Hoffman, for his Hoffmann Family Homepage. I'm sure all of you who subscribe to the Alzheimer List know Bob and have appreciated his helpful posts. Bob has created an excellent web site which is a Mental Health Net Four Star Site, and he was chosen as a Caregiver of the Year for 1997. I think that Father's Day is an appropriate time to honor Bob, a wonderful father, husband, and caregiver for his wife.

One other thing I've just got to tell you about before I get back to studying-- this site: Undying Love. It was published by the Rocky Mountain News, and the story and photographs are by Patrick Davidson, the son of Viola Davidson, an Alzheimer's victim. It is complete with real audio of Patrick sharing his thoughts and feelings. It's a beautiful story of love, and a very professionally done website--I'm sure you'll want to visit it again and again--I know I will!

Well, I guess I'd better get back to studying now. I have an exam Monday night, then an assignment due Friday night, and then before the next four weeks are over, a second exam, a second assignment, and a research paper. I'm in class three nights a week and work the other two nights as well as eight hours a day. I know--sounds impossible. But last semester I took two classes and had to commute six hours one day a week to take them, as well as working 45 hrs. a week. Somehow, I made A's in both classes. I won't this time if I don't get back to studying. Goodnight, everyone.

Thursday, June 4, 1998

I know it looks like I haven't been doing much updating, but I have added a few links on different pages. I have moved my American Poetry page to Geocities, and I'm going to move the Library Links page next. I want to move everything not related to Alzheimer's, my mother, and family. When I move these pages off, I will make room for much more here, more links, more pictures, more of everything this site is about.

Speaking of moving, I'm doing something now I've been procrastinating about. My ISP is moving my website from the old URL at http://fly.hiwaay.net/~bparris to a new one at http://home.hiwaay.net/~bparris. At the moment it as at both URLs, but soon the old one will no longer be valid. Soon as we (I'm afraid mostly me) get everyone notified about the change, that is. I submitted the change, as well as I could, to the search engines months ago, but they don't all do the changes now like they used to. Some of them don't until the old page is taken down. Anyway, I've searched for my old URL, and according to Alta Vista, it's still liked that way on 388 pages! So I am in the middle of emailing each one, letting them know about the URL change.

I've probably started this project too late, as my summer class begins on Tuesday night, and with class three night a week, work the other two nights a week as well as eight hours a day--there won't be time for much of anything else. I guess I'll be pretty busy with assignments on the weekends.

Did I tell you--I got A's in both classes I took the Spring semester! :) One of my professors said my Bibliography for my Library Management class was so good I should submit it to ERIC. And the Humanities Reference class renewed my love for poetry and literature and made me want to read everything by and about the poets and authors I've discovered.

So many books, so little time. Speaking of books, have you read to your person with Alzheimer's lately? You can read on my Activities and Atmosphere page of how I read to my mother. She really enjoyed it most of the time, and it seemed to calm her when she was agitated. I don't know that she understood what I was reading or could remember from one moment to the next in the story, but she listened, and she responded--smiled, cried, laughed. Sometimes she thought I was reading a letter to her, and afterwards she would tell me about the people she thought had written the letter.

Reading to her, watching movies, listening to music, taking walks, looking at photo albums, letting her put away the dishes (though she asked me again and again where to put each dish)-- so many beautiful memories of some precious times. You are making memories now. Whatever you can do with that person...even when my mother was in the nursing home, just my holding her hand was another good memory. I just can't say it enough-- love that person, cherish each moment, think about the good things so much that the bad times won't bother you so much, make good memories that you will have after your loved one is gone.

Friday, May 22, 1998

I finally did it! I uploaded the picture I've been promising for so long! A picture of My Mother as a Little Girl holding a doll! I had been planning to add it as a part of another page of the photo album, and I thought that first I needed to shrink the size of some of my graphics and move some pages off in order to make room for more pictures. But tonight I decided, Why not just go ahead and upload that picture!. I can still have it as a part of a new page in the photo album later.

I forgot to tell you Wednesday, but I've also added another new poem in the Contributed poetry section. Krista Cunningham signed my guestbook a couple of weeks ago and told me she would like to send me this poem. Once is the title of this beautiful poem. Krista's grandmother has Alzheimer's, and her grandmother's mother also died with this disease.

I received my copy of Faces of Huntington's yesterday, and I am grateful to Carmen Leal-Pock for writing this book about one of the "related dementias"--one that my ex-husband's mother has. Four of my poems are included in this book, along with the poems and stories of eighteen other contributors and Carmen herself, who is her husband's caregiver. As she says at her website referring to Alzheimer's: "Thought the name of the diseases are different, many of the symptoms, caregiving challenges, and emotions are the same." For many of us, writing poetry, stories, or keeping journals has been a way of coping with caregiving, and afterwards, of coping with grief.

I will try to read Carmen's book and add a Book Review soon, but knowing me, well, you know me if you've been coming to this page long and know I've been promising that little girl picture of my mother for about a year now. Upcoming events: I have to get ready for training some people at work on Wednesday, this is Memorial Day weekend (it sneaked up on me), and before I know it (June 9) my summer class will start. I haven't really rested and recovered from the spring semester yet--or will I ever feel rested again?--with UCTD and FMS, I don't know, but got to keep on going. Somehow we do--we have to--nomatter what life brings us, don't we? It's comforting to know we aren't alone, that there's someone to talk to, at all the Mailing lists, newsgroups, forums and chats.

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

I'm still here, still trying to update, though I haven't taken the time to write here. Let's see...what page have I not updated? I think I've almost covered the whole site, though I really haven't found a whole lot of new sites, but mainly have taken care of the broken links. I have done this for all of these pages: Research Links, Alzheimer's in the News (sorry so many were broken on that page--I know I should be checking and updating it weekly), Alzheimer's Association Chapters, Alzheimer's Organizations Worldwide, Other Dementias and Related Diseases, and Senior Sites and Aging Resources. I still have a few more pages to go, and then I will try to go over it all once more and to find some new links to add before I begin my next class on June 9. One review of this site stated that my pages could be better if there were a brief description of each site linked. I had thought I might do that this summer, but I'm afraid there won't be time before school starts again. Maybe I will during my next break. I know I've also promised some more old family pictures, including an adorable one of my mother as a little girl holding a doll. Maybe I can add those in the next week or so. I've been trying to reduce the size of some of my existing graphics first before uploading those.

I presented the second monthly Remembering to Care Award on Mother's Day to Susan Grossman of Alzwell. I feel almost embarrassed with my little award, giving it to such great sites as Susan's. Her Alzwell has been highly rated and has received excellent reviews, like the one in Yahoo Internet Life's Touched by the Net. Susan has done so much for caregivers, with her web site and the Caregiver's Ring, which she began, but just as my site was my way of dealing with my grief, Susan says she did her site for herself--as a way of coping with being her mother-in-law's caregiver.

Just a couple of new additions to my site: A page In Memory of Cyrus A. Sibley, my father-in-law, who died in December, just before Christmas. And on Mother's Day, I added a Mother's Day Page, with another reflection on my time with my mother. If you follow the link to the Geocities page, you will see--if all java is enabled on your browser--a spinning cube full of pictures of my mother. Each picture can be zoomed in with a click of your mouse, and an addition click links each back to a different section at this site. I'm in the process of moving a couple of non-AD related pages to this second site to help make more room here for those old family pictures and more.

Thursday, May 6, 1998

I'm back! The semester is finally over, and now I can concentrate on getting this site updated for a month until my summer class begins. I've worked hard on a few pages tonight, and I see they were in pretty bad shape, with lots of broken links. A lot of sites have dissappeared. But there are many, many more new ones, and as soon as I get the broken links fixed or removed, I will add more links. I have added just a few as I worked on the Caregivers Resources page tonight. I have also updated the Other Personal Homepages page. There are a lot of new personal homepages that I've found recently, and I will be adding them soon. I've gotten so behind in the last few months. So many of the old sites have changed and so many new ones have begun, and it's really exciting to see it all. Two years ago I searched and searched to find a few links for my main page (it wasn't divided into sections then except for the poetry and the beginning entries of the journal), and now--there's so much I'm sure I'll never catch up and reach my goal of linking everything about Alzheimer's. The internet is an amazing resource. Tonight I even checked for my grades for the semester on the internet. Only one of the two was in so far, and it was an A! And it was in the class I wasn't sure I'd get an A in--I'm almost certain I made an A in the other class. Well, it's almost midnight and I'm feeling like I'm going to pass out, so I guess I'd better go to bed. Goodnight my caregiving heroes!

Friday, April 24, 1998

Again, I apologize for not updating. School is almost over, but the past few weeks have been the busiest time of the semester. Almost everything was due this past Wednesday. The rest is due next Wednesday. I gave my American Poetry Presentation on Wednesday in my Humanities Reference class, and next Wednesday, I give the one on Managing the Cataloging Department in my Library Administration and Management class. I have been working on those and other assignments past midnight many nights, and then going to work eight hours (sometimes 10 1/2 hrs. when working both jobs) the next day. That and the six hour commute once a week for class--well, it's a bit much for someone with fibromyalgia and some kind of undetermined connective tissue disease, which I was diagnosed with about a year and a half ago. I'm not feeling well at all lately, and that happens much more when I don't get rest. But there's just one more week of school, and then I will have a month off. And I'm taking only one class at a time the next two semesters (I will be through in December), because two at a time is just too much with everything else I'm doing.

So again, I'm sorry for not updating my page (except for the Poem on Apr. 23 - that was the day my mother died, two years ago.) I have lots of plans for updating (and catching up on email--sorry about being behind on that, too) during the month I'm out of school (though I do still have two jobs to work, and for my health sake, I've got to make it to bed before midnight). Thank you for being patient with me.

Monday, April 6, 1998

It's my mother's birthday, and I don't have much time, but I just had to do something special. I've been thinking about giving an award for a long time, and I've also had in mind for a long time the person that award would be given to first. The very first Remembering to Care Award goes to Diana Friel McGowin for sharing so much of herself with us. Diana is an early-onset Alzheimer's victim herself, the author of Living in the Labryinth, and she is LILAUTHOR1 at her AOL chat group for early-onset Alzheimer's victims. Congratulations, Diana!

Saturday, April 4, 1998

I'm sorry for not updating in so long. I knew it had been a long time, but I didn't realize it had been this long. Tonight I have found out there are a couple of new books that you and I may have helped a bit with writing. I have updated the links to them in Other Homepages and have added one to the Bibliography. Many of you may have participated, as I did, in the survey done by Pam Haisman. That book is now published as Alzheimer's Disease: Caregivers Speak Out. Soon as I can, I'm going to order my copy, and then I'll add it as one of the Book Reviews at this site.

Another book has been published. Carmen Leal-Pock has written The Faces of Huntington's Disease, also gathering some information for it through her website. Carmen is caregiver for her husband who has this hereditary dementia-causing disease that usually strikes people in their forties. I have some experience with Huntington's Disease, too, as my ex-husband's mother has it, and all of her children live in fear of it, as many of us do of Alzheimer's.

School is coming along. This week was Spring Break, but I had no break with all the projects I have due and regular assignments to still complete as well. My presentation on American Poetry is due in my Humanities Reference class on April 15. I have an annotated bibliography (30 sources) in Library Administration and Management, and a presentation in the same class the next week. All of this plus a case analysis or some other assignment in one or both classes each week, and a book review on the last week. All of this plus two jobs and commuting six hours for classes once a week. Needless to say, I'm very tired.

It's not the first time I've been this tired, though. All those nights sitting up with my mother were so tiring. Many of you are doing that for someone you love tonight, and my thoughts are with you.

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