UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
IT HAS BEEN QUITE A JOURNEY
THANK YOU FOR COMING ALONG WITH ME
I first decided to start this blog on a whim. It was post-Christmas holidays, I had my usual seasonal blues and I had writer's block. I thought that committing to a blog would be a good writing exercise. My motives were completely selfish. I knew I had a lot of caregiving experience to share but I had no idea anyone would actually find my blog - let alone read it.
On Thursday, January 9, 2010 I posted my first blog: "Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself". I began with an introduction to me, my life and of course my dear mother Adelaide who was in late-stage Alzheimer's disease. I would continue to write about family memories and introduce my readers to my family members. The main focus was always my caregiving experiences but I also added "Foodie Friday" weekly recipes and food stories. To date, my foods blogs continue to have the widest readership.
From the beginning I was surprised by my growing followers. I was thrilled when I became searchable by the big internet search engines. I was often touched by feedback posted to my blogs and private emails I received from all over the world. It seems that my little writing exercise was reaching, touching and helping people.
Being able to share my thoughts was predictably cathartic. I was going through some pretty tough human situations and emotions. Knowing that I could be of some help or comfort to others somehow made me stronger and more resolute. I was able to look at challenges differently. Not only was I being of some help and support to others, but I was gathering so much support from you. In life but particularly in caregiving there is strength in knowing that you are not the only one in the world facing the everyday problems and sometimes life and death situations.
2011 was a year of a gathering storm. My mother's health was certainly deteriorating and there were so many up and downs and twists and turns. My emotions were mostly at fever pitch. There was no way I was going to admit to myself or anyone else that the end of my mother's journey was approaching. After 18 years of increasing levels of caregiving - from keeping an eye on things all the way to total and complete care - I had the amazing gift of holding Adelaide in my arms with my sister Patricia at our side, when our mother passed away.
I had imagined scenarios of my mother's passing for many years. I lived in fear of going into her room for our morning rituals and finding that she had died during the night. Every time I left the house or went anywhere I worried that something would happen while I was gone. The possibility I feared most was that my mother would pass away during a hospital visit - alone and scared.
We were spared all of those alternate endings. Her passing was beautiful. She was peaceful, without pain and surrounded by love. We should all be so lucky when our time arrives.
The pain of loss was palpable. I was sick with grief. I was also relieved that her troubles were over. I was also relieved that my job as caregiver was over and I felt guilty for feeling that relief. Shortly after my mother's death, my sister and I discussed how we had dreaded this for years, the time had arrived and somehow we were still standing.
Life is miraculous. The human mind and soul have limitless abilities to heal and rebound. I am on my new journey in my new life. It certainly has not been an easy path but it is moving forward and it is good.
I can hardly believe it but we are close to a year since Adelaide's journey ended and my journey began its new course. I still have some private weepy moments and I will always miss my mother. I will be forever grateful for the time I spent caring for her and learning about love, life and myself. I will always be proud of my caregiving years and of sharing my experience through this blog.
I'm writing again. I'm working as a social media consultant and writer. My "block" is long gone and so I am working on a book about my caregiving time and maybe someday I'll even finish it!
Thank you for your readership, love and inspiration. This is probably my last post on this blog but I will be leaving this one up...for now. I hope that other caregivers will find my old posts to be of some help. I hope readers will continue to find my recipes and try them out on their families. My email will remain active as I will always be available to answer questions or to listen to any caregivers out there that just need to share their stories with me. Don't be strangers.
Thank you again.
Christopher E. Lanni