Farewell, Goodbye 2014

For 41 weeks I posted poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou, on Sunday’s. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

As we say farewell to 2014, I thought I’d repost her poem, Farewell, Goodbye.

Farewell, Goodbye

Farewell, goodbye

So long, see ya

‘Til we meet again.

So many ways to

Acknowledge that

One is leaving

Anxiety, emptiness

Pressure, excitement

Depression, uncertainty.

So many ways to deny

One’s inner feelings.

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Bettie Lou and Johnny, early 1980s.

Take Care of Your Brain

With this year’s Memory Walk just around the corner, I’ve been receiving email from the Alzheimer’s Association regarding not only the walk but information on their research and other programs. In addition, there have been numerous stories about Alzheimer’s research on the news of late.

First I heard a story about a “smell” test that may predict the development of the disease, and then last week I saw a report about how a test performed by your eye doctor can be used as a predictor of problems 15-20 years in the future.

However, the news that most interested me was regarding brain health. I’ve been bombarded by stories on television, the radio, and from the Alzheimer’s Association about real, effective steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and that’s the message I want to know more about.

Four areas identified to maintain a healthy brain by the Alzheimer’s Association include:

  1.  Be active. Not only does an active lifestyle reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, but it’s essential for good blood flow to the brain something necessary to encourage new blood cells. Thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can make a difference.
  2. Eat healthy. Getting the right balance of nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts, while limiting food high in fat and cholesterol appears to protect brain cells. Good nutrition also prevents high blood pressure and high cholesterol two more risk factors for the development of dementia; and maintaining a healthy weight significantly reduces the chance you’ll develop the disease. Eat well and in moderation.
  3. Spend time socializing. This sounds like a good excuse to enjoy time with friends. Social interaction improves brain health. Volunteer, join a club or community group, enjoy sporting or cultural events, participate in religious activities. Even engaging at work is beneficial.
  4. Use your brain. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, use it or lose it. Well, that applies to your brain. Engage in mental activity that stimulates your brain. Read, write, do puzzles, play games, learn new things. All of these activities provide the mental exercise your brain needs to thrive.

If diagnosed with a disease, we’re all anxious to get help. We’ll take off work to visit the doctor or schedule surgery. We’ll spend money on prescriptions or medical devices. However, until a problem occurs, many of us claim to be too busy to take care of ourselves – no time for exercise, no time to spend with friends, no time to read or eat properly. We claim it’s too expensive to eat healthy, yet it’s not as expensive as medication to control the problems caused by failure to care for our bodies.

Be active, eat right, spend time with friends, and stimulate your mind. It’s the least you can do to take care of your brain.

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Mom

Remember, this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala will take place on Saturday, September 6th. Register to participate or click here to support me as I walk in memory of Bettie Lou. Donations assist the Alzheimer’s Association in their mission:

To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

 

I Don’t Fear Death

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

I Don’t Fear Death

I don’t fear death.

I don’t fear hell.

If I go to sleep.

I will be well.

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All I See is Weeds

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

All I See is Weeds

All I see is weeds.

Why can’t I see the heron,

            The ducks in a row?

Is the sky blue? Are there

Diamonds in my lake?

            Not for me—

            Only weeds—

            Do I see.

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Last Night

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Last Night

Last night out on the porch

I heard crickets

And frogs

Blue jays, cats and dogs

And then there was a siren.

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Reach Out in Love

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Reach Out in Love

Perhaps we reached out in love—

            Instead of fear.

In giving love, we shared love—

No fear of hurt or rejection.

            An experience of love, joy, and hope.

I want that again.

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Birthdays are Sad Days

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Birthdays are Sad Days

Birthdays are sad days after death days.

Why can’t the energy required to grieve be used to remember the happy moments:

            the birthday cake with the proper number of candles—

            the “Happy Birthday to You” song—

            the silent special wish before the candles are blown out—

            a request for a trip rather than a “store bought” gift—

reminder from a son that “Mother gave birth to us because she wanted children. She didn’t need them.”

a quarter horse that was the most special horse in the whole world—

boats – motor boats, sail boats, and more boats.

So many happy days.

So few sad days.

Why do the sad days possess me?

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Today Feels Different

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Today Feels Different

Today feels different.

It must be special

Maybe it’s the weather-

Wind hit me smack in the face

            As I walked

I remember such a felling

Many years ago.

It wasn’t the weather, but

Absolute materialistic comfort-

A white Lincoln – air and stereo

            Working at top efficiency.

In those days I could sing

            All six parts—

            At the same time—

            A sextet from Lucia.

I’ll do it again—

            Without a white Lincoln.

Maybe this is what she had in mind?

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My Well is Dry

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

My Well is Dry

My well is dry
But not my eyes.
I’ll wait ‘til morning
“Tears flow through the night
but joy comes in the morning!”

Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor
Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor

Come and Bring Your Dog

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Come and Bring Your Dog

Come and bring your dog

            But not your past

I told you that I love you.

What more do you need?

Bring your dog

            Not your fears

Reach out in love

            Without fear of rejection.

We don’t own love

In giving love, we share it.

Let’s go for it!

            An experience of love, joy, and hope.