Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Heartfelt Thanks & An Update

Thank you for your prayers. I have been so touched by your comments and sincerely appreciate each and every one of them. I have been blogging for a year now and in this time it never ceases to amaze me what a caring community we belong to.

Since my last post, my sister had surgery. Her brain had begun to swell as a result of the stroke and it was necessary to remove a portion of her skull to allow more room for the swelling to occur. Once the swelling goes down, the doctors will re-attach it. Unfortunately she is still unable to speak or move the right side of her body. One day I called the hospital and my brother-in-law held the phone to her ear so that I could tell her we were praying for her and loved her. It was kind of strange not to hear her voice, but at the same time nice to be able to make some kind of contact. On a more positive note, she was able to begin her physical and speech therapy yesterday. She has received many, many flowers and cards and visitors. Her sister-in-law told me that even though she can't speak she feels like they can still have a 2 sided conversation.

When I called one of my cousins in Michigan to tell her about my sister she said she had just finished reading a book about a 37 year old lady who was a brain scientist and had a massive stroke. She recovered and wrote a book telling about her experiences.

Yesterday I checked it out of the library. I am hoping it will give me some insight into what my sister will be going through.

Before my sister got sick my husband and I had reservations at a Bed & Breakfast in Virginia. We were planning a little getaway to celebrate our 28th anniversary. I came real close to cancelling as my heart just wasn't in it. Somehow it didn't feel right to be vacationing while a family member was suffering. My husband reminded me that right now there wasn't a whole lot we could do and what we could do (pray, send cards, call the hospital, etc.) could be done from Virginia. We are planning to go to Michigan to be with my sister as soon as her family thinks the time is right. Her therapy is expected to take several weeks.

My husband's logic won out and we did go away for a short bit of R & R.

We spent four nights here. It is in Waynesboro, Virginia.

A 100 year old home that was originally owned by a doctor. We slept in his wife's former bedroom.

A very cozy room which was beautifully decorated

The perfect spot to rest and relax.

There was also a very welcoming front porch.

In the evenings we often sat here and read. It was in a charming neighborhood with a church right across the street and lots of friendly people walking by with their dogs stopping to chat for a few minutes.

During this time that my sister has been sick and unable to talk and my mom is able to talk, but not understand I often feel an empty spot. I guess because throughout my life if I had hard times to face I could always talk to my mom about them. Since mom has been sick and slowly slipping away I have been able to talk to my sister about the never ending things that are happening to my mom. Alzheimer's isn't easy to understand. I never know what to expect when I visit my mom. Yesterday she didn't seem to know who I was. Every time I asked her she said my sister's name. But the strangest thing that she was doing was saying many words that didn't make any sense and most of them began with the letter E. I am learning that the brain is an amazing part of our bodies and when it doesn't function properly very strange things can occur.

I think one of my favorite parts of our getaway was coming out of the bedroom in the morning and smelling coffee and delicious breakfast foods. As a kid I always loved waking up on a morning that my mom had made pancakes or coffee cake. It was wonderful to lay in bed and look forward to a yummy breakfast prepared with love. The breakfasts at this Bed & Breakfast were fabulous and presented so beautifully. The owner had lived in England and collected many beautiful dishes and antique pieces.

While it can seem almost impossible to carry on with day to day life when those closest to you are suffering, it is necessary for we really don't know what tomorrow will hold.


  1. Kim, I'm so sorry I missed your last post. We've been having computer difficulties. I will be keeping your sister in my thoughts and prayers. What a shock to your family. Keep us posted.



  2. I truly believe that when we nuture our own souls, we are better able to cope with our issues and dilemmas. I hope this proves to be true for you as well. Still in my prayers. Thanks for the update.

  3. GM Kim...what a beautiful post my friend...I am so glad to hear Sis is doing better..and your poor mama...mine also had Alzheimer's and it was so sad when I would see her each week and sometimes she didn't know who I was...I could tell my the look on her face...My Mama could not talk the last 5 years that part of her brain just shut down...we could look at her face to see what kind of a day she was having..But girl I will tell you she always smiled that big smile of her's...May you have a wonderful Fourth my friend and doing something good for yourself the rest is in God's hands...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  4. That's a lot to deal with and I know it's hard to not think about everything and everyone but I'm glad you got away for a few days. The B & B looks lovely!

  5. I'm so sorry to hear of the trials you and your family are facing. My mom had a stroke when she was only 34, and was frustrated that she had such difficulty communicating...she will learn again, hopefully and in the meantime can develop a conversation "shorthand" perhaps. As for your mom, maybe you can visit during different times of the day and she will react differently. Sundowning at the end of the day is typical for Alzheimer patients right? So maybe a different time will be better for your visit? Glad your getaway was kept and enjoyed. I'll say a prayer for you girls.


  6. My sweet Kim, I missed your last post! I am so sorry!You all will be in my heart and prayers! The doctor told me that this cancer is stage 2 so I guess that is a plus! I will try to check for updates when I can.Love you! Faye

  7. Oh Kim ~ I'm still praying for you and your family. Yes, the brain is an amazing and complex organ...and more often than not, we don't understand what is happening within it. I'm praying for your mom too...Alzheimer's is such a difficult disease to deal with.

    I'm so glad you decided to go away on your was definitely needed!

    Big hugz,

  8. Hi Kim,
    So glad to read your update. No doubt you made the right choice. What a lovely place to rest, relax and spend time together with your husband. How surprising to read that your sister needed! It's wonderful that you were able to at least speak words into her ear and heart. That book sounds fascinating and undoubtedly insightful as to what lay ahead for your sister's recovery. I am continuing to pray. You're so right about the miracle and marvel of our brain. Alzheimers holds so many peculiar ironies. Your Mom will remain in my prayers, as will you and your family.


  9. I sit here today with my sisters and my mother, and as I finished reading your post, I paused and thanked God for the right now...this moment that I have them. I can't imagine what you are facing in this journey. Thank you for the update and for sharing your time away with us. It looks like a lovely place to relax and in some way, enjoy. I want to read that book. My great grandma had a stroke at a young age,and I often wondered what happened to her brain when she had it. I will continue to pray for you and your family during this painful time.

  10. Yes, and isn't it funny how the 'little things' can make a difference during a time like this. I'm so glad to know that your sister's condition is promising. The situation with your mom will not get easier, but just hold onto the memories and remember she is in there somewhere. My mom would often 'pop out' and surprise me when I thought she was no longer there. I'm so sorry you have these troubles now Kim. Lean on the Lord, He's awfully big. I'm learning to appreciate each day that doesn't contain bad news.

  11. I think you were wise to go on your little get a way. Your sister and mom would have wanted you to I'm sure. It looks like a wonderful B & B.
    Loved the big front porch. That is one thing I miss from my old house.
    I continue to pray for you and your family.

  12. Hi,
    It was good that you and hubby were able to get away and enjoy each others company. When are dear family members become ill, it brings life into a new light.
    Don't miss out in spending time with the ones we love and to enjoy each day the lord has made for us.
    I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. I am so glad that you and your husband kept your reservations at the B&B. He was so right and you did so well allowing him to make the decision for you then. How well I know what you mean about it not feeling right to enjoy something when a loved one can't. But what would your loved ones tell you? To do it!

    Hope that the book you learned about gives you many insights and that it might be shared at some point with your sister who will be blessed to know that someone has already been where she is and came through.

    Continue to take good care of yourself and everything else will take care of itself.

    Keeping your mom and sister in my prayers...

  14. Glad you got a chance to get away. Your sister has a long road ahead of her, and prayerfully, there will be LOTS of time you can be there for her! You have a lot of things on your plate right now...try to relax some...I KNOW it is hard, trust me...but you need it too!!

  15. Thank you for the update on your sister. I will continue praying for her. I am so glad that you went ahead and had that time of relaxation and celebrated your anniversary. It's wonderful to know that your mom and your sister are in God's care every minute. Twyla

  16. Oh Kim, I really feel for you having so much going on with your sister's stroke and your mom's Alzheimers. How tough it must be for you. I'm glad you and your Hubby got away for a few days. You needed that.

    Both my grandmothers suffered with Alzheimers and Mom and Dad and I had to watch them slowly fade away. It's such a devastating disease, and we feel so helpless.

    Thank you for your sweet encouragement for my MIL. We are just beginning our journey with her. I will be praying for you, too, and your sis and mom.

    One of my grandmothers forgot our names in the last stages of her illness. But she knew that we were someones that she loved. I'm sure your mom knows that, too, down deep inside. She may not remember your name, but she loves you. I'm praying for a complete recovery for your dear sister. I have only one sis and I know how much I'd be upset if something like that happened to her. May God bless your family, Kim. {{hugs}}

  17. Hi, Kim - glad you got away to such a beautiful spot. sounds like just what you needed. I heard the doctor who wrote that book interviewed on NPR, and it was fascinating - I think you'll like the book a lot. Hoping your sister continues to improve. All the best, Barbara

  18. Kim, my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry. I will keep you and your family in my prayers and hope things get better. How hard this time must be for you.


  19. Just met you through Stacey at Poofing the Pillows. So sorry about your sister and mother. But I'm sure you did the right thing in getting away to the B&B and nurturing your soul. We all need to do that more. Love your homey blog. You sound a lot like what I'm about.

  20. I will continue to pray for your sister...that her speech will come back...and that she will make a full recovery.

    I'm sure it was good for you to slip away to your B&B for a few days. How nice to feel pampered for even a little while! Soon you may need to be there for your sister.

    Blessings to you face life daily...with both a mom and a sister who are very needy at this time.


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