Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. Eleanor Roosevelt
Several months ago my father, who was one of the hardest working men I’ve ever met, was diagnosed with advanced dementia. With all the changes in health care that have taken place since the George Bush Jr. administration, putting him in a memory care facility was financially out of the question (My parents could have bought a small island for the price they would have had to pay for the memory care alone.)
This meant caring for him at home was their only other option. My mom is 91 and weighs all of 100 lbs. soaking wet.
Since I’m the single one in the family, it fell to me to help. A task I was/am happy to do.
It also meant huge changes to lives – both theirs and mine.
If you’ve ever experienced what it is to live with an Alzheimer or dementia patient, then you’ll know that everyone’s life will be turned completely upside down. Days become nights (they need to have someone caring/watching over them 24/7), your home becomes a virtual prison (they are geniuses at escaping), its easy to become isolated, and if you’re a writer like myself, the battle to stay focused on the work becomes a feat of Herculean proportions.
To finish a chapter deserves a celebration.
To finish the first draft of your next novel, a feat worthy of Olympic recognition.
Marketing your books, keeping up with social media, as well as writing articles for your blogs and or newsletter – you can have nightmares just thinking about it.
On a good night my shift begins around midnight and ends sometime after 7 AM. On a bad night it starts even earlier.
With coffee in hand I begin my day (12 PM being the new morning) by helping my father with whatever his current needs are, then sitting in front of my laptop trying to get through the blogs and social media sites I follow; Tweeting, Retweet and or Facebook sharing those posts I find interesting or noteworthy before buckling down – or trying to – to the task of writing the next chapter or scene in my book.
Except for the time factor (I used to get up around 3 or 4 AM) and caring for my dad, this would actually be considered a normal routine.
But since this new change in the stratosphere of my life, those kinds of uninterrupted nights are now further apart than together. Generally my writing time is divided between my dad’s needs (either because he’s had a bad dream he thinks is real and needs me to make him feel safe again, or because he’s convinced its day instead of night and therefore time to get up) then, if the stars align, getting back in the groove of whatever writing project I’m currently working on.
Let’s not forget my own trips to the bathroom to rid myself of the umpteenth million cups of coffee I’ve ingested.
Needless to say, the last couple of months have been an adjustment. Particularly with the writing. Let’s face it, its hard enough to block out distractions when life has no interruptions. Throw in disrupted sleep patterns, elderly parents one of whom has dementia, moving (Did I forget to mention I’m in the process of helping my parents downsize 50 years of married life into a smaller place?) and the endless doctor appointments –
My goal is to finish book two in both ‘The Remnant’, as well as ‘Keys of Destiny’ series, by end of June.
Maybe. But I’m hoping by setting myself a deadline will give me the incentive to keep writing. Especially on nights when attending to my father demands all of my time and attention and writing a complete sentence seems like an insurmountable task.
*If you have elderly parents, you owe it to yourself, and them, to read Alexandria Szeman’s (aka. Sherri Szeman) ‘Only With The Heart’ (read my review here) A brilliant novel that tells the story of a son and his wife who make the choice to keep his mother (who has developed Alzheimer) at home, rather than put her in a nursing care facility. Told from 3 different POV’s (the son’s, the daughter-in-laws and the mother’s), Szeman takes her readers on a journey of the heart that begins and ends with love – including all the emotional, physical and mental pain that happens in between.
Reading this book helped me see life from my father’s point of view in a way I don’t think all the doctors and social worker visits could.
By the way, tonight looks like its going to be a quiet one, so I’m off to work on the next scene in ‘The Exodus’, (Book Two The Remnant). Wish me luck.
Sharing the journey,
©Reigning Press; 2015 All Rights Reserved
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