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The Ribbon - Care for Caregivers
Volume 6, Issue 18
September 8, 2002

1104A Murfreesboro Pike
PMB 114
Nashville, TN 37217-1918

In the last issue of The Ribbon, Jamie thanked everyone for their support recently as she has cared for Grandmother, who just had a stroke. Well, this weekend, our dear Jamie got a double whammie....Nanny has suffered what appears to have been a heart attack and has passed away. Jamie has been caring for both ladies as well as her own mother for many months. It has been very difficult time for Jamie and her family. The funeral arrangements are incomplete as of this moment except for the location:

Woodlawn Funeral Home
600 Thompson Ln
Phone# 615-383-4754

This weeks issue of The Ribbon will be abbreviated and we thank you all for your understanding.

This article appeared in The Ribbon over a year ago. I think it is very appropriate today....

Celebrating Mother's Life

by by Mary Emma Allen

Although I was expecting my mom's death, in her eleventh year of Alzheimer's disease, I still felt a loss when I received the call that she'd passed away quietly in her sleep. At her funeral I wanted friends and family to remember her as the vital, giving woman they once knew and to celebrate her life by recalling good memories.

I wanted them to realize, too, that even though Mother had been afflicted with Alzheimer's, she still contributed to the lives of her family and the staff at the nursing home.

Learning to Appreciate

As I cared for Mother midst this devastating disease, I learned to appreciate the person she was at that time. Even though she might not know me, might not remember our life in the past, she still could respond in a limited way. At the sound of a friendly voice, she smiled and often tried to talk. With a kiss or a hug, she beamed. When we wheeled her outside to see the flowers of spring, she seemed to appreciate this attention. At an Easter egg hunt at the nursing home, her eyes followed the antics of the children as they gathered their goodies. As I cared for her, I learned a greater love that comes with serving. We realized she still was a person, even though she was much different from the mother I'd known.

She Taught Great Grandchildren

My grandchildren, her great grandchildren, learned from this elderly lady. They enjoyed visiting her at the nursing home and looked forward to the tea parties we had in her room. Even when she could no longer participate, this ritual had meaning for the children. They learned about caring for the elderly and infirm and knew that Great Grandma could respond in a limited way to our overtures toward her. The children learned to have no fear of nursing homes and know this often is a part of the cycle of life. Even though Mother didn't realize it, she taught her great grandchildren and gave their life value.

She Brightened the Staff's Day

"We enjoy your mother's lovely smile," the staff at the nursing home often told me. She brightened their day and made them feel better because she was there. A friend, who gives piano recitals in nursing homes, said that caring for the elderly often enriches the caregivers' lives. She agreed Mother still had a purpose in her life.

She Leaves a Legacy

Then when God decided Mother had taught us well, he called her to different life. When we remembered her at her funeral I hoped friends and family could celebrate the 91 years of this lady's life. She will live on in our memories, our traditions, and our heritage.  She leaves a legacy for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

(c)2001 Mary Emma Allen

(Mary Emma Allen has chronicled her mother's journey through Alzheimer's in "When We Become the Parent to Our Parents," in hopes of encouraging others as they care for a family member. More of Mary Emma's stories will appear in "Finding the Joy in Alzheimer's" by Brenda Avadian, to be published by North Star Books in September. Mary Emma has other stories in the archives.

Visit her web site:

As a reminder, The Ribbon Web Site continues to grow. I hope all of you are taking advantage of all that it has to offer these days....The Dedication Garden, The Recipe Corner, The Bookstore and so much more. If you have not visited the web site recently, please do so and let us know what you think. The only way The Ribbon continues to grow is by receiving feed-back from our readers....we need to know what you think and what you need to know about from us.

As always, we, the Ribbon Staff, thank you for your support,

Hugs and Peace,
Karen and Jamie

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