14 Comments

  1. Rosalee Zipp
    August 18, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      August 23, 2016 @ 7:45 am

      Dear Rosalee, thank you so much for your encouragement. It means a lot to me that my post meant something to you and that you care enough to communicate. I wish you all the best for your dreams and for the people you love.

      Reply

  2. Judy Williams
    August 18, 2016 @ 10:27 pm

    Hello, Gerda, Marty Williams is my son and he told me about you. My husband is haveing problems with dementia and it is a very sad thing to watch him go downhill when he was always on top of things. He still plays golf and does some yard work. He doesn’t drive anymore because he would make mistakes while driving. He came home one day and announced that he wasn’t driving anymore. I said okay and that was that. I was grateful for his making such a wise decision on his own. Anyway, I have very much enjoyed reading your article and it helps me to understand what he is going through. You show such great courage in your walk with dementia. Thank you for putting it in words.
    Sincerely, Judy Williams

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      August 23, 2016 @ 7:57 am

      Dear Judy, It is so lovely to hear from Marty’s mom–I have known him for so many years–only a few of them, alas, in the same town, but I so much admire his writing and his work in the literary community. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. There seems to be a lot of similarities between me and him–for one, that he voluntarily stopped driving. I did that two a few years ago–I had a scare when I bumped into a parked car out of sheer spatial disorientation. That was the last day I drove and I changed my driver’s license to and ID document so I would not be tempted. The fact that he did not fight the driving issue is, to me, a sign of insight into his disease and a way of showing some acceptance. I believe acceptance is the only way to go–without giving up the things one can do, which sounds again like your husband’s continuation with golf and gardening. I know, too, that stopping driving creates an enormous burden for the person’s partner. I am so aware that I need Peter’s help to do all the little errands I used to do by myself–doing my errands in addition to his interrupts his “free” time for working on his own retirement projects. I imagine your life has changed similarly and I thank you for being a caretaker–one of the least appreciated jobs there is, especially if the person with dementia goes downhill and understands less and gets cranky and demanding ( I confess that I do that sometimes, even while being ashamed of being so different from the person I want to be.) Thanks so much for your kindness to me. I wish you just all the love and perseverance and goodness you need for continuing your enormous job of caring for your husband–of course you already have plenty of those qualities–and a lot of wisdom, as your response so warmly shows.

      Reply

  3. jafabrit
    August 20, 2016 @ 11:45 am

    WOW! What a post. I left comment on your fb page, but wanted to wave a hello, glad you are safe, and well WOW!

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      August 22, 2016 @ 10:53 pm

      I did get your most kind comment on fb, Corrine. And for being in touch here too. Thanks so much for your nice words. I have been wishing for your in-the-flesh company, because I am involved in a craft for which I really do not have the skills–something right up your alley–especially since I saw your healed and redeemed tattoo doll! I’m so impressed. As you know, I have an alter ego, the crazy Dona Quixote. The other day Peter came home with a physical manifestation of the that he had found at the Mormons’ second-hand store–a recycled (plastic) skeleton about the size of a five-year-old child. The minute I saw her, I knew she was me in my second childhood, aka Dona Quixote. I am now attempting to dress her. So far she is just wearing one or two pieces of jewelry she pilfered from me. I used to sew whatever I needed, but I can’t do it any more. I can’t work my sewing machine, so I am sewing everything by hand. Amazing how those skills one attains first as a child stick around longer that later ones–I only started using a sewing machine in elementary school, but mostly still sewed by hand. I don’t make things from scratch if I can help it. I bought a childsize princess-type dress in black, red, and gold, and I am now altering certain portions of it to fit the Dona. It’s a struggle all the way–your doll inspired me a lot, though, and I’m getting back to the job tomorrow morning when I’m fresh. Will eventually post her pictures in a post. Her first outfit will be a Dias de los Muertos skeleton-figure type outfit, but then she will gradually take over more and more of my style. (NOt that day of the dead outfits are not my style–I adore them, just haven’t worn them!) Will keep you posted!

      Reply

  4. Shauna
    August 20, 2016 @ 9:31 pm

    Sheesh I’m so GLAD to know you’re ok! Such tremendous compassion! You teach me so much in so many different ways…..THANK YOU! Lunch soon? XO

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      August 22, 2016 @ 10:42 pm

      How lovely to hear from you, Shauna. Thanks so much for your kind (and over-the-top) words! I would LOVE to have lunch. Let’s e-mail about that soon. I have tons of things to ask you about your trip to Paris. xoxox

      Reply

  5. Lawrence Coates
    August 21, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

    Very moving and beautiful. You are a treasure.

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      August 22, 2016 @ 10:40 pm

      Dear Lawrence, So happy to hear from a multiply published novelist of your stature that you liked the piece. Thanks so much for your support and friendship over the years.xoxox

      Reply

  6. Debbie Ess
    August 21, 2016 @ 10:40 pm

    Gerda, whether what you did was safe or not, it was loving and compassionate, and THAT is what Humanity needs.

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      August 22, 2016 @ 9:59 pm

      Debbie, you are so kind. Thanks so much for your lovely words of support–I make so many mistakes every day that I second-guess every decision I make. Having people as wise and kind as you confirm my judgment that sometimes compassion must triumph over fear means so much to me. I miss you–we should do a girls’ lunch again I so much appreciate you being in touch.

      Reply

  7. Ellen Kuhlmann
    August 24, 2016 @ 11:31 am

    Hi Gerta–we all wonder at times if we do the right thing, and often the answer is not clear. What you did was help a fellow human being in need. People with dementia can still do extraordinary things. My mom has dementia and she saved my sister’s life two years ago. Mom lives with my sister, and for two days running she called my brother saying “something is wrong with Ann and she needs to go to the doctor”. The 1st day they came over and Ann seemed fine, but the next they realized she wasn’t making complete sense. It turned out sister was having a hemorrhagic stroke. She is fine now, and remarkably had little damage from what is often a fatal type of stroke. I know you will continue to have doubts about some of your decisions, but feel the one detailed above was likely a good one.

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      August 30, 2016 @ 9:03 am

      Dear Ellen, thank so much for your supportive comments. I second-guess myself all through the day about my decidion-making capacity, and it is so lovely to get outside confirmation that this decision, at least, was a good one. I find your story about your mother saving your sister’s live moving and fascinating–I had a similar experience with my mother, who had dementia, who recognized someone’s odd behavior, which I had rationalized. She was right. Stories like these are important to me because they illustrate that people are not just sentimental or indulging in wishful thinking when they say that a loved one with dementia retains something of the core of their former selves, like the movie title “Still Alice” indicates. As I stare down the path of losing pieces of my self every day, I am skeptical that something recognizable to others will remain in the end. YOur mother’s story is a testament to that. Thanks so much for sharing your family experience. I wish you all the best with your mother and also your sister’s ongoing health. I really appreciate you getting in touch.

      Reply

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