A Tribute to My Namesake

I have been frustrated for quite some time by the blank page of the first blog post.  How do you start a blog.  What do you say?

So this is the first post…A tribute.

On April 10th in the early morning, the man which inspired the blogs name passed away.  The sadness that fills my heart is still very present.  This I know will pass, it has already gotten much better in the month that has passed since I began this post.

I have know C. for about 30 years, but it has been in the last 10 years that he changed my life.  As I have told many of my friends, there are events in your life that change “who” you are.  C. changed who I am.

For the last 29 years C. had been my father in law.  My inlaws were fine.  Lived in a different state, saw them once or twice a year, called every other week.  Then about 10 years ago they decided they were getting older and wanted to be close to us and their grandchildren so they moved here, about 1 mile away from us.  It was fine.  Saw them most days and developed a good relationship with them.  Then we found out that C. had, and it had been a while, dementia.  It was never really diagnosed as Alzheimer’s but it is a lot easier to say that because people understand what that means.

As time passed, my mother in law passed and then the fun and games began.  Watching a man with dementia reestablish a relationship with a woman from his past, pushing his children and grandchildren away.  All for the illusion of stability with this former love.  By this time C. could not be left alone.  He was like a child, but an angry child.  This relationship lasted about 2 years before I found him walking alone down his street and found a note saying that she would come back and get him in a few days.  Well No….you don’t leave a totally dependent man alone for days without supervision, but she did!

My husband and I took him to live at our house.  Let me make it clear….Dementia is no way to live.

C. lived with us for just over a year.  His days and nights were mixed up. There were daily outbursts of anger because of his lack of understanding.  He would stop eating, because everything on his plate was “burned”, he refused to eat anything that was brown.  He would have to be in the same room as me, or he would walk around the house yelling “where are you”.  It was a lot like having a toddler but without having any of the joy that surrounds a child.  It was when my husband and I could no longer care for his physical needs that the painful decision was made to put him in a nursing home.  He lived there for the last year and a half.

Needless to say, I now have very strong opinions on just about every issue surrounding the care of adults with dementia and the death and dying process.

It was during this time of my life that I met the most inspirational women I know.  These women are the women of the Fort Collins Modern Quilt Guild.  Although we started the guild with only three of us, we have steadily grown over the last few years, and each new addition adds to the group.

It was during one of these meetings that I said flippantly that I didn’t have a blog, but if I did it would be SewDemented, it was truly how I felt at that time.  Although I have many friends, and had been really involved in leadership at the church, much of that went away during the time that C. lived with us.  It was these women who gave me a lifeline.  They didn’t expect anything from me, made me laugh, and gave me a supportive place to go and a chance to “get out” once a month. Not to mention inspired some great sewing!

So here it is. The first blog post, and I really hope the last post of this kind.



9 thoughts on “A Tribute to My Namesake

  1. You really poured your heart out here, and no one commented. Allow me. My husband’s uncle had Alzheimer’s and his wife cared for him all the way, with some live in help. Otherwise I don’t know how she would have been able to do it. I still don’t know how she did it, even with help. That is a generation that really lived by ’til death do us part’ ‘in sickness and in health’. My own father passed away from ALS. My mom, also from that ’til death do us part’ ‘in sickness and in health’ generation, cared for him all the way, with no live-in help. After watching my father live through ALS, I could never really decide which is better: living through a disease and being totally cognizant of your condition (ALS), or living through a disease and not realizing what is happening to you (Alzheimers).
    I hope you are well and will be back to blogging. I only found you via Craftsy and your lovely zipper pouch. It’s on my wishlist.
    Take care.

  2. I’m sure you’re in the healing process by now, but I’m here, with you in this post. I just wanna give you a hug Michelle! I can not imagine what you and your husband have been through. I’ve only heard stories such as yours. I am trying to find a qg here for my peace, fun and my time in the midst of my life’s chaos.
    I’m intimidated by your bag, but I’m getting it today to have it on my table, so it can poke at me and say “do me do me do me”. Lol

  3. I only heard about you today when my friend mentioned your Sew Together Bag, so I looked at your Instagram and found myself here at your first blog post. It caught my attention because of the blank page of a first blog. Mine is still blank after 2 years. You have inspired me.
    Thank you for sharing your life. I was particularly taken with your comment about your sewing friends not wanting or expecting anything from you during this time in your life, but were just there for you. I am so happy you had/have these women in your life.
    I am lucky to say that I too have ladies in my life and who are a part of a sewing/stitching group, who have always been there for me and expect nothing in return. I have suffered severe depression for many years and have needed to be hospitalised at times for treatment. These wonderful girls help me keep my craft alive. When I’m not well, there is no pressure to see or join in, just an acceptance that I am there and present, even if just by phone. They text, they phone, they care. They poke fun (like we all do of each other) and make me feel wanted and valued as a member of our group, even when I can’t contribute. I’m glad I have them and are thankful for their support and acceptance.
    Again, thank you for sharing the story if your namesake; I feel privileged that you chose to share this with strangers. I’m looking forward to reading your other posts.

  4. I too, was just looking for you after purchasing and making your wonderful sew together bag. I had no idea of your life and what you went through until now. While my dad (92)is in care now he is lucid most days and for that I am grateful. Caring for our parents is not how we thought our life would be but it worked out that way didn’t it? I just want to reach out and send you a big hug. Thank you for sharing your story. Stay blessed my friend and remember to laugh out loud everyday.

  5. Just found your blog tonight, and had to read the starting post. It left quite an impact on me, as I’ve seen and endured the same. Yes, my quilting friends helped me the most. If at all possible, sending a hug from San Diego.

  6. Gracias por compartir tu historia yo solo buscaba el tutorial para la bolsa, pero comparto tu historia yo vivo algo muy similar pues la madre de mi esposo padece de alzheimer.te envío saludos y un fuerte abrazo.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story, there were many similarities to my story. My Mom just passed away from dementia 3 weeks ago. My siblings and I cared for her at home with the help of loving caregivers the last few months.

    I too have a group of quilting friends who are wonderful and I treasure their compassion and understanding. They are all great ” listeners” when you need to talk or just be there when you don’t’ want to talk.

    I purchased your pattern a few months ago and will finally be delving into construction of the bag this week. Love your creativity. Thank you!

  8. I also found you after purchasing your pattern. I and my husband & daughter lived with and took care of my grandmother
    with Alzheimer’s. It was so hard on us. It is such a difficult thing for everyone. My grandmother has passed and I know she is in a better
    place. Thank you for sharing I agree we need to laugh out loud everyday.

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