Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Verve Project Parade

Have you had a chance to check out this month's Verve Project Parade over on the Verve Blog yet? As always, the rest of the Divas have been providing lots of fabulous inspiration so far!!

Today is my day to share my project, which is very special. Usually I just post a little sneak peek of my project and direct you to the Verve Blog for all the details, but today I want to go ahead and give you all the background details along with my sneak peek....

When I started thinking about this month's Project Parade theme - My Hero - my thoughts initially went to my favorite girlhood hero, my amazing father. I was always the quintessential Daddy's Girl growing up and from the time I could form the words until now, if anyone asked me who my hero was, my answer has always been, without hesitation, "my Daddy, of course". Many of you know of my family's heartbreaking journey the last several years as my too-young father (59 years old) has slipped into the end stages of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. It is very unlikely that he will survive the next year. I will spare you all the gruesome details of his traumatic story and instead focus on the surprise ending of my family's saga - the character who has risen up to shine through as the real Hero throughout all of this - My Mom. The courage and strength she has shown throughout my Dad's illness is unreal. Don't get me wrong, she's definitely had her moments - but they don't last long. For the most part she has continued to have her characteristic optimistic, sassy attitude throughout the last few years of watching her best friend, her partner, her lover, her husband of 37 years slip away from her - but not just slip away from her. That's the real kicker about Alzheimer's disease - you don't just lose your loved one, you have to watch them be replaced by someone else, someone altogether different - someone unappreciative, sometimes downright mean, sometimes even combative - but she's still there day after day - usually with a laugh - for a long time taking care of him herself (bathing him, changing diapers, feeding him, etc) and now making sure others are caring for him properly and just spending time with him so he's not lonely (even though he doesn't know who she is and won't know she was there). This is not how her "Golden Years" in paradise were supposed to be. This is not what they worked so hard to achieve in their early retirement. But she still does it. Because somewhere deep inside that man is the amazing father and husband she fell in love with and married, because that man is still deserving of love and respect and kindness, but in reality it's because the real Hero in our family is my Mom.

So anyway....I wanted to make a little gift for my Mom to let her know that even though my Dad is the one who usually gets all the attention, we really love her and appreciate all she does and all she is going through and all she is about to go through as we have another difficult but necessary transition in my Dad's care coming up in August. So I put together this little "Relaxation Bucket" for her.

I used the Verve Stamps Always on My Mind and Blue Skies on the project. You can read all the rest of the project details and supplies used and see more photos on today's post on the Verve Blog. And as always, PRIZES are up for grabs!!

9 comments:

Lynn said...

Jen,
A beautiful post about your mom and dad. May your mom continue to have strength. Your love for your family is very strong. Thanks for sharing with us. The relaxation bucket looks perfect and very much deserved!

Jackie Pedro said...

I'm glad I had a some tissues on my desk! Beautifully said, Jen. I can't imagine what your Mom has gone through! What a beautiful gift.

Vera W. Yates (Ling) said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mom. Beautiful, touching, heartfelt post. TFS the story and that relaxation bucket is awesome!!

Maureen said...

wanted to leave another comment here, Jen...your post really spoke to me as my mom passed away from Alzheimer's just after Christmas...I thought she would live another year or so, so it was a bit of a shock when it happened, but I was lucky to be with her the last 2 days and hold her hand as she passed. I remember the Alzheimer's event you organized a couple of years ago and was glad to be a part of that. My prayers go to you and your family as you help your dad. You are all heroes :)

Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs said...

Lovely project. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, too. I think about you and your family often . . . wondering how you are doing and all that. You are going through such a heartbreaking journey and I appreciate that you are sharing from your heart.

sarah said...

you always make me cry when you post stuff about your mom and dad...and these aren't even hormone tears!!! love the project, very hero-ish to me.

Julee (Vervegirl) said...

Jen, your post moved me to tears this morning. Such a touching post and an absolutely gorgeous project. My heart is with you and your mom.

Kathy Martin said...

Such a wonderful and thoughtful gift! :)

Anthonette said...

Girl, you just brought tears to my eyes! Your mom sounds like an amazing person. Your dad is lucky to have her. I'm sure she will love the bucket of goodies. I love that Tazo tea too.