25 Comments

  1. Carole White
    August 30, 2020 @ 2:40 pm

    Dear Gerda – I have just read through your detailed account of your hospitalization during COVID-19 and once again facing the reality of dementia and your end of life plans. I will never forget the week-end we met you last June in San Antonio. You left a mark on me that impacts on my work with families living with dementia. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 1, 2020 @ 5:18 pm

      Dear Carol, thanks so much for your lovely note and for being in touch. I think of you so often and the really wonderful time I had with you and your colleagues in San Antonio. Thanks so much for still doing your much-needed work in these difficult times. I wish you and yours everything of the very best.

      Reply

  2. Shauna
    August 30, 2020 @ 3:33 pm

    My dear sweet Gerda…. my HEART is with you and Peter! He was so good to let me know about your surgery! What a crazy time to have to go through all of that. I’m sorry it was so awful, but GLAD to know that you are on the mend, and especially that you have Peter. I loved reading your blog! I hope that next time I’m up in SLC, that we might be able to see each other for a few minutes! Take care and know that I LOVE YOU and respect EVERYTHING about you…. I truly do! LOVE Shauna XO

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 1, 2020 @ 5:16 pm

      How wonderful of you to be in touch, Shauna. I think of you so often and it means so much to me that you wrote to Peter after my surgery and now again here. I’m glad the hospital stuff is over, and it’s lovely to by home. Just working to get my energy back! It would be lovely to see you any time you are in SLC. So glad to know you are happy and living your wonderful life with your new (and old!) family!

      Reply

  3. Anne L. Critchfield
    August 30, 2020 @ 3:42 pm

    What an ordeal this most recent hospitalization must have been! I know it may sound totally ironic, almost perverse, but personally I always find your comments – when you are able to voice them – clear and reassuring. You achieve a higher level of reasoning and meaning, Gerda, through the written reassembling and analyzing of lost moments. It helps me (all of us, I feel) to see a bigger picture. It is a good thing in these less than good times and for that, I thank you profusely. Oh that others in the world would only talk and walk and act with such clarity!

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 1, 2020 @ 5:13 pm

      Dear Anne, Thanks so much for being in touch and for your kind thoughts. Your comments on my writing are very precious to me, even though they really are over the top! But I do cherish them. I wish you and yours just the very best in your lives. xoxox

      Reply

  4. Hilary
    August 31, 2020 @ 7:09 am

    Love you ❤️

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 1, 2020 @ 5:12 pm

      How wonderful to hear from you. In a week or two when I have my energy back, I’d love to take you up on meeting somewhere for a live talk. Lots of love to you and your wonderful family.

      Reply

  5. René Engelbrecht
    August 31, 2020 @ 8:12 am

    Ek dink so baie aan jou.

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 1, 2020 @ 5:10 pm

      Baie dankie, René. Dink aan jou ook en die te-min tyd wat ek in SA met jou gekuier het. Mooibly, en baie liefde.

      Reply

  6. Ria Saunders
    September 1, 2020 @ 8:24 am

    So glad dearest Gerda you still have each other and the children to lean on. What a hard time you both had with the sudden hospitalization. I send healing, loving vibes to you and Peter. Ria

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 1, 2020 @ 5:09 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind note, my dearest Ria, and your good wishes to us. I am doing a lot better, though the energy is slow to come back. For the first time in my life I have spent many hours watching videos! Mostly just listening to audiobooks. Thinking of you so much and love your so much.

      Reply

  7. Joan Wright
    September 2, 2020 @ 2:33 am

    Dear Gerda,
    I do not need to tell you how much I love you ,because you know that.
    I admire you for your great courage and honesty my special friend. Even my own life is not the same since Derek’s passing four years ago. It is very difficult living without him. He was just SO special and I miss him SO much.
    When I think of you I am surrounded by your wisdom ,compassion and a friendship of 58 years.
    Much love always.
    Joan.

    Reply

    • Shauna
      September 2, 2020 @ 8:27 am

      So beautiful and rational and inspiring.

      Reply

      • Gerda Saunders
        September 7, 2020 @ 5:21 pm

        Thanks so much for your lovely remark, Shauna. High praise coming from a fellow writer! I miss you. Maybe we can dare a walk or distanced chat when the weather gets a bit cooler!

        Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 7, 2020 @ 5:24 pm

      Dearest Joan, I have known from very soon after I met you until now that you love me–and I love you too. Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog. I cannot even imagine how you must miss Derek–the two of you were always so close and loving each other visibly all through your marriage. He was an extraordinary man–and the perfect partner for you. I so treasure the times we visited you over the years and particularly your visit to us. Precious memories that live in my hear. Much, much love, my dearest Friend.

      Reply

  8. Sheena Steedman M Steedman
    September 2, 2020 @ 1:24 pm

    Gerda – you are my hero. And while I know that no day is promised, I hope I will have the opportunity to run into you and Peter at the coffee shop again for a little chat.
    All my love to you and yours.
    – Sheena

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 7, 2020 @ 5:20 pm

      Dearest Sheena, how wonderful to hear from you this way. I can’t wait to frequent the coffee shop again and as a big bonus find you there. Hope everything is going well for you in these uncanny times. I wish you and those you love all of the very best. My love to you.

      Reply

  9. Mary
    September 4, 2020 @ 11:05 pm

    Dearest Gerda. I love your blogs. Your words paint these incredible visuals in my heart long before they reach my head, if that makes any sense! I ponder them for days, weeks even. I’ll find myself out throwing the ball for Belle and realize that my mind has popped back into one of the intimate and touching stories that you have had the grace and courage to share with the rest of us. It’s then that I feel, every now and again, that I’m actually walking a bit of this road along beside you and Peter, in the true and loving sense of family. We are missing you both and sending our love.

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 7, 2020 @ 5:18 pm

      Dearest Mary, thanks for your super-special response to my blog. You could not say anything about my writing that I’d rather want to hear than that my words reach both your heart and your head. And thinking of my stories when you’re out with beautiful Belle just pushes it over the top in the happiest way! Plus that you feel you’re walking part of this road with us–we feel you there all the time. Thanks you so much for your love over all the years. We miss you too–but our zoom with you calls are a great comfort! We can even walk a little bit of the way with you as you bring up your oh-so-smart and cute puppy!

      Reply

  10. shen
    September 6, 2020 @ 8:03 pm

    Brave. Brave. Brave.

    Love you so much. Shen

    Reply

    • Gerda Saunders
      September 7, 2020 @ 10:42 am

      My dearest Shen–not brave. Just in denial that it’s ME who’s writing this. Easy to put it on Dona Quixote. The best about your note is that it affirms you’re back home! My heart is happy.

      Reply

  11. Joan Wright
    September 25, 2020 @ 2:29 am

    Hello Gerda,

    Dearest Gerda,

    Thank you for your reply I was so pleased to receive it.

    Yes ,Derek was perfect for me. I must agree with you on that. I am wishing you a wonderful 71 st birthday for the 26 th September. Know that you will always be my friend even when you become a precious memory.

    You taught me SO much my precious friend. I admire your honesty and great courage.
    Much love always.

    Friends forever.
    Joan.

    Reply

  12. Joan Wright
    September 26, 2020 @ 5:58 am

    Happy birthday to you dear Gerda. You are beyond special and I hope you are having a wonderful day. I admire your courage and honesty. You are a very special human being.
    How you welcomed us to your home will stay with me forever. So will all the other times we spent together when we were just teenagers. You taught me so much.
    Rich blessings and love to you.
    Joan.

    Reply

  13. Kimberley Carlson
    January 17, 2021 @ 8:06 pm

    Gerda,
    Greetings from the neighboring state of NM. I don’t know if you remember me, but I have visited your blog many times and even commented once in the “Reply” section in the fall of 2019. You emailed me back, which was ever so kind.

    I am so sorry that the isolation due to the pandemic was so painfully felt by you and Peter. I am also sorry you suffered and had to have emergency surgery, but I am glad you recovered and are home.

    I will now try to present a few questions.

    In 2019 I shared my mother had Alzheimer’s, and I lost my mother to dementia last January (2020). We were fortunate that we were able to bury her as a family and even have a memorial service prior to the shutdown due to COVID-19.

    Unfortunately, I did learn at her memorial that Alzheimer’s runs in the family; my maternal great grandfather, my maternal grandmother, my maternal great aunt, my maternal great uncle, and my mom all suffered and were lost to this horrible disease. As you can well imagine, my anxiety and fear were given great momentum following my learning of this familial history. I am doing my best to cope, relying on family, continuing to work as a school teacher, walking each day, attending counseling sessions, and learning to quilt with the help of an amazing friend.

    I know this seems like an odd email. Please know I do not mean to intrude or step on any toes by sharing my thoughts and feelings or by asking questions. Just know that fear sometimes leaves me feeling so alone with the thoughts and questions I have about the prospect of facing the disease that took my mother away from us. I totally understand if you feel you cannot respond or answer the questions I pose.

    I have considered death with dignity, as offered by Switzerland’s Dignitas. Yet, I know others would judge me for such thoughts. I grew up in a Christian home and am struggling to come to terms with my own beliefs about God, a higher power, life, suffering, and death. I am in a physical desert in terms of where I reside and a spiritual desert due to what I fear may be in store for me in the future.

    I just now read, “While Hazarding the Hospital for a non-COVID Emergency, Dona Quixote Revisits Her End-of-Life Decisions” and rewatched the video about the plans you have made with the help and support of a lawyer and your family. I wonder how you have “figured out a way…to obtain a legal assisted death when my quality of life drops down below a level that I find acceptable.” Are you saying you now have figured out a way in which you can access legal assisted death in the United States? I was wondering what you meant by that, as I don’t know of any state that allows for legally-assisted death for those with a neurodegenerative condition like a form of dementia. I was wondering if you would be able to share further in regards to that part of the article.

    I have admired your artistic talents, most assuredly the words you write and speak. You are a lovely lady with so many gifts. I wish I could hug you, as you encourage so many with your bravery and fortitude along this journey. And perhaps the wish for the hug is somewhat selfish, as I so need one from someone who would not judge me for my anxiety and fear.

    Thank you for at least reading my email. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for sharing your gifts. Many blessings to you and yours–Hozho–
    Love,
    Kimberley Carlson

    Reply

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