A Novel about Family

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Although this book’s subject matter focuses on caring for family members with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, it is also a story about the way we address the challenges in our lives, and how resilient we truly are when doing so.

I was my father’s primary caregiver during his transition from this life to the next. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. This novel spotlights my experiences.

Baby Boomer Resilience

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How resilient are you?

How readily do you bounce back when you’ve been cut off at the knees?  when you’ve experienced a long streak of bad luck?  when your hopes and dreams are just that: hopes, and dreams?

I am inspired to write this brief piece today because of an extraordinary act of resilience that I witness about this time each year.

Eleven years ago my daughter opened up a bridal party business that was very successful.  She started the business in August 2003 and the Grand Opening of the store occurred in March of that same year.  One of her vendors, a custom jewelry designer, sent her a live plant in celebration of her store’s opening.  The sweet smelling floral plant was appropriately named, Bridal Veil (stephanotis floribunda).

I had the privilege of working at my daughter’s boutique from its inception, and then off and on when she needed extra help with the bridal parties.  Approximately two weeks after her store’s opening, the Bridal Veil plant had come to its seasonal end so I took it home and planted it in my backyard, just underneath my kitchen window, cutting the greenery down to the dirt.  Flower resilienceAnd every year about this time, the Bridal Veil shoots break through the ground and seem to announce, “Spring is back and so am I.”

I am certain that you know people who have exhibited far more heroic and miraculous resilience than this silly plant’s arrival each year – so have I – but I still can’t help but be impressed and pleased, each and every year that it does.  It has survived 100 degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures and 10 degree temps, not to mention a blanket of snow that manages to cover it when the snow starts falling around Washington State.

But each year, it comes back, and each year, I’m still surprised and as pleased as Punch! Definition: feeling great delight or pride.

Many of us would give up at the first degree of scorching heat and we certainly might throw in the towel when the snowflakes start to fly.  I don’t want to be less resilient than the stephanotis floribunda.

Do you?

How’s your rubber band?

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I don’t know about you, but I need a dose of resilience right now.  I may not need it next week, or the week after, but I need it now.  I have a certain degree of the stuff, but I think some of it seeped out of my being.  As you’ll see in the very well-written article attached above, resilience means to jump back.

Rubber Bands
(Photo credit: Larry Rosenstein)

Taken a bit further in its definition, resilience is the ability to bounce and not break when difficulties weigh you down.  Being elastic; that sounds like a worthwhile goal.  Until you start feeling the inability to bounce back, you may not even realize that some of the stretch has gone out of your rubber band.

I also need a bit more courage: courage to do all that I need to do, want to do, and plan to do while I’m still able.  Courage comes from the Latin word, heart; to have rock-like inner strength.  Sometimes we go through life thinking that our courage is completely intact until we discover that it’s been compromised due to some event – or string of events – that have come our way.  Do you think that perhaps the only way to know if we’re fully stocked with the stuff is to undergo this sort of testing process?