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This issue will be a bit short and sweet. My grandmother has now been moved into my home and we are adjusting. This comes after she started a grease fire Thursday evening in her house. Luckily she wasn't hurt and the house wasn't hurt, just a load of smoke to clear out. The monitor between houses worked fine but now it's time for her to have the 24/7 attention.
We knew the time was coming and I had said I wanted to wait until after GOF to do this. The fire let me know that there was no more delay. I am truly grateful that I was able to have my "respite weekend" with all my caregiving friends before the move. I am much more relaxed and I'm able to deal with the problems that are arising.
This issue will be about the "Gathering of Friends" and what it all meant to us. We hope that someday each and every one of you will be able to attend a Gathering.
The weather in Nashville on Friday, October 5th, was not the best. Some flights were delayed because of it but the rain could not dampen the spirits of those arriving for the Second GOF. We put our fears behind us and boarded flights that day. Air traffic and airport security was dealt with and for good reason...we had to go to Nashville!
And once again, we would not trade the experience for anything. We had some new faces, and some familiar ones. There were some surprises...the lady at the phone booth at the airport turned out to be our dear Tracy1952, who flew from Spokane, to surprise Photoljt...and a surprise it was!
The Ribbon Staff ( Karen, Jamie, Linda & Kevin) met for the first time...pictures to follow soon. We are about to begin the 4th year of The Ribbon and this was a thrill for all of us.
On a crisp, fall morning, Saturday, we loaded up and headed to Greer Stadium for the Memory Walk for the Alzheimer's Association. We all had our "Jane's Angels" shirts, banners on the cars....thank you Linda, Teen and Jamie for driving. I must say it was a well organized and well attended Walk. We did 26 laps around the stadium. Thanks to James and Neal for carrying our banner, they were real troopers! To our surprise, we lead the walk....what an honor! In all, over $100,000 was raised that day. We thank all of you who contributed....Jane's Angels donated over $3,000.
Jamie and her family hosted a bar-b-q on Saturday night. Thank you, Nick...you are one awesome chef! Everyone feasted!
As is becoming a tradition...in Jamie's backyard, we released teal balloons...and one purple one, for Jane. This Gathering was Jane's dream and she didn't see it happen but she was with us. For those of you who did not have the privilege of knowing Jane, go to The Ribbon web site, click on "Reading Room", and there you'll find access to a special edition of The Ribbon about Jane, the Caregivers' Caregiver. She was, and will always be, our Special Angel.
Sunday we had a delightful brunch at the OpreyLand Hotel. We spent the day strolling thru the lovely gardens there, taking pictures, talking, and laughing. So much laughter....it was wonderful.
Sunday evening, the first to depart...Kevin and his family...had to say good-bye. That was tough. The time went so fast. After meeting Debbie & Danny we understand why Kevin is the giving, caring young man that he is....great people!
Those are the facts. What I find so hard to describe is the feeling of love that we all shared. So many people think that the Internet is a bad thing but for us, it has been the doorway to an extended family. People from California, Maryland, Texas....so many far off places that we may never see....but this plastic box and it's connection enable us to reach out and become friends, life lines...we are so blessed.
In the weeks to come we will be sharing photos from the GOF. You will be able to put faces to the silly names, and hopefully, share some of the fun we had in Nashville. There will also be some new and exciting additions to The Ribbon web site. We'll keep you informed as they develop.
It was unanimously decided that we will be having a GOF every other year. This time next year, we will begin to plan for GOF'03...to be held ??? Suggestions??? We'd like to hear from you on that. One suggestion was Branson, MO. A fun place, central location...a possibility, for sure.
Words seem so inadequate to describe the feelings we all returned home with. We have all been affected by a terrible tragedy in our lives. We all have loved ones who struggle daily with the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease and yet, because of this tragedy, we have also been so blessed to have found a medium that allows us to reach out and share, to find strength and comfort with people who understand. It is what keeps us strong.
To those who attended the GOF '01, I offer my deep and everlasting gratitude...you have all enriched my life. To those who did not attend....I look forward to meeting you in the future.
Jamie and Karen:
Karen and Linda,
Karen, you probably are looking for stuff we did like the walk, and surprising Linda, driving vans around the lot, the cool BBQ, or the great time of sharing and laughing fellowship in the rooms, but the following is what i keep coming back to as my impressions of GOF. hell of a lot of love...hugs teen
A Hug, A Smile, A Tear, A Laugh
full of love, smiles filled with laughter,
firstname.lastname@example.org (teen thorn)
Gathering of Friends
There could be no better name for a weekend than this. Even though many of us had not met "face to face"....we were FRIENDS in the truest sense of the word. We were grinning from ear to ear as we greeted one another at the airport...and we shed many tears as we bid farewell on Monday. Each and every one of us was able to take something "home" with us...maybe a physical momento of the weekend, like a tassel, but more than that was the sense that each and every one of us had been able to tap deeper into the well of friendship. A "well" that is bottomless as I have come to learn. For those of you who could not make it....you missed a grand time.....and were missed....but....we will do this again....and I truly look forward to,YES, even the tears shed on departure day. Because that is the truest measure of care....caring enough to let it show!
Gathering of Friends
There seems to be no words to express the emotion which I felt this past weekend in Nashville. What I noticed mostly, was the love that overflowed from every person there. There was the caring love and the sharing love, the love they showed to each other, and the love they had for the person they were caring for. This devastating disease has brought us all together to form everlasting friendships. We are all different in personality, but our hearts are bonded and have the same purposes.
behalf of the Alzheimer's Association's Board of Directors,
Advisory Council, volunteers, and staff, thank you for making
this year's Memory Walk so successful!
I am now going to include an excerpt from Jan/Mina's journal. I think she has a great suggestion included.
Today I had a great day. I, along with over 6,000 others, participated in the Memory Walk for Alzheimer's Disease at the Irvine Spectrum. We walked for an Association that is "Someone to Stand By You" - it has been an honor to stand up in support of them.
CHAT SCHEDULE: Updates for October
Enter the chatroom from the front page of either website or at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm. All times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5). Topics are suggested and NOT required. We always focus on the issues and that our members want to discuss. Please remember that we have a new chatroom. If you had trouble using the old one, please give it another try!
Our current chat schedule is posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm
October 17 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."
October 17 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."
October 18 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "ElderCare Answers:" Host Rich O'Boyle leads a discussion on quality of life for caregivers and care recipients.
October 23 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Parent Caring:" Host Brian Duke leads a discussion group for people caring for aging parents. New session every other Tuesday!
October 24 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."
October 24 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."
October 25 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."
October 31 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."
October 31 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."
A major decision came forth at the GOF. The Gathering Place Support has been under The Ribbon umbrella for a while now. We were separate entities under one roof. We are proud to announce we are now one. Linda, will continue to be the Chat Coordinator, Karen and Jamie will still be co-editors of the newsletter, and Kevin continues to be Site Manager. None of that changes...we will be working on a new logo that incorporates the newsletter and the support chat.
There are other changes coming about from great minds and lots of suggestions during the loving as well as productive weekend. We have such terrific readers who always keep us on our toes with their great ideas.
We will keep you posted as things start happening! Remember to go to the website occasionally to see the changes.
www.TheRibbon.com As soon as we can get them organized and up on the site, you will see pictures of GOF 2001.
Remember as always The Gathering Place is open 24/7. It is
hosted Monday thru Friday 9-11pm EST. www.TheRibbon.com/GatherPlace