About

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Though our labour soon devours all that lies within our powers
Soon it’s late and all our hours into past’s abyss have tore;
See, the light of Heaven’s fire pales both fame and funeral pyre;
Earthly glory, gain & hire lose the glimmer that they wore
Light of heaven pales the shallow grace and glimmer that they wore;
Now they sway us — soon, no more.

For we find in all the ages, men whose passing life presages
Life beyond our dusty cages, light behind that darkest door;
May we, as we end this chapter, freed from earth, our sometime captor,
Hail the advent of an apter sphere for all our souls to soar;
Hail, in death, the ageless God whose sight will make our souls to soar,
Dying as we lived before.

“Soar” by Joel Dueck

On September 24th 2006 I began caring for my grandfather. He was dying from Alzheimer’s. As a writer, I began chronicling the journey, both publicly and privately. On July 30th 2008 some of my writing was brought to the attention of Jane Gross, a NYT blogger. When she asked permission to use some of my writing I realized I needed to collect all my relevant material into one place. Thus this website was born.

The reader is encouraged to start at the beginning of the story here. The posts in this blog were written as events unfolded, often late at night after a long and very tiring day. The attentive reader will notice that spelling, grammar, and sometimes even coherent thoughts have suffered as a result. Some posts are better written than others. Some are more interesting than others. Those not of interest can easily be skipped.

[Note: I took the material of this blog and used it as the beginning material for a book. In June 2015 that book was published, titled “The Sea is Wide: A Memoir of Caregiving.” If you have appreciated this blog, please consider getting the book and sharing it with others. For more about the book, and my work supporting and encouraging other caregivers, please go to: caregivingreality.com. You can also find the book on Amazon where you can purchase both paperback and kindle copies.]

This website chronicles the journey of an Alzheimer’s patient and his caregiver. But it is more than that. It is about living, and dying. How we live speaks to how we will die, and how we die is a reflection of how we have lived. On the most fundamental level, how we die is not defined by what means it comes–whether it be Alzheimer’s, cancer, or congestive heart failure–but in what manner we face and undertake it. It is not the externals that ultimately matter, but what is inside us.

Truly, we will each die as we lived before. We need not ponder how we will die, but ask rather how we will live.

About The Author

Author

 

Born in November 1981 and homeschooled until graduation from high school, Rundy has told stories since before he could write, and has been writing since he learned how. In 2006 he began caring for his elderly grandparents. When not involved in elder care, he continues to write. At the beginning of 2007 he self-published The Stuttering Bard of York, a humorous and light-hearted fantasy novel.

When not writing, he enjoys reading, designing websites, painting and drawing, bicycling, spending time outside, taking photographs, buildings things and putzing around—not necessarily in that order. He revels in his eccentricities, and presently lives in upstate New York.

His professional website is Creative-Vapors.com.

About The Patient

Grandpa

Known here as Grandpa.

Born the last day of December 1927, Grandpa was raised during the Great Depression, a middle child of ten. A country man, and a quiet man, he never thought he amounted to much.

He has seen his number of trials in life, but in the end he faced the greatest. Father, grandfather, great-grandfather. Husband, son, brother. We loved him. After losing his mind one peice at a time, he finally lost his life to Alzheimer’s Disease on September 11th 2009.

Other People

An explanation of a few people:

Arlan: One of my younger brothers. For several years he lived with my Grandparents while attending college. In the summer of 2007 he moved out to be closer to his place of employment. At that point he still came down one day every weekend to give me the afternoon off.

Doug: Sometimes called Uncle D on this website, he is an older brother of my Grandfather. He lives very nearby and tries to come visit once a week.

Gene: An older brother of my Grandfather, with whom he was closest. As my Grandfather’s condition has worsened, he has begun calling me Gene.

Melinda: A cousin. Sometimes referred to as M or Mel on this website. She lived with my grandparents from early summer of 2006 to early summer of 2007.

Titi: One of my sisters. Her proper name is Talitha, but we call her Titi (pronounced Te-Te). She now comes down once a week to clean and watch over the house while I am out doing the weekly shopping.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Felice Lozano August 12, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Hi Randy, I just want to say that you are an awesome soul! Wow are your Grandparents and family lucky to have you! You will be always protected and love by the Lord, and the world would be a better place if everyone was as kind as you are! Your story touched me as I have a Grandmother who is slowly dying also has Dementia, and cannot really remember anything anymore. I know as time goes on it is going to get worse and I just pray that she does not have to suffer! I will pray for your Grandparents and for you as well!
I will be reading your blog and thank you for doing it for all of us to read your story!
God Bless you,
Felice Lozano

Matt August 13, 2008 at 1:48 am

Karma+ for your doing.

Thanks for sharing.

Matt, from germany.

kate August 19, 2008 at 5:34 pm

I’m 30 and caregiving for my parents–my dad has heart failure at 73 and my mother is an alcoholic with a rapidly progressing disease. This is just to say that I relate to you; in this last read, I particularly took note of your questions about ‘caregiving as best for Grandpa, or caregiving as best for me (?)’ This thought process seems important, if only for the fact that you are aware of what might possibly be and really processing your role. I have asked myself the same questions. I think ultimately, hindsight will provide the answer. I’ve been in similar situations, and I sometimes tell myself, ‘Well, if it is best for me then that means I can better take care of Dad/Mom.’ It may not be an even score at that specific moment but I think in the long run, good caregiving depends on the balanced caregiver. Does that make sense?

Please keep up this inspirational record of your experience. From my perspective as a reader, it makes me feel less alone in this journey. It can be quite difficult.

Rundy August 21, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Kate,

Thanks for commenting. It’s nice to hear from other young caregivers out there. You seem to be very articulate and thoughtful in your care giving. I hope all goes well for you, and there are people supporting you in your life.

I will try to keep up the writing, but I have a lot of demands on my time, so it can be hard. It is for people like you, who feel less alone in the journey, that I share what I write. Unfortunately, there may be times when the posts come few and far between.

Thanks again for writing, and the encouragement.

Rundy

sara baker August 27, 2008 at 8:44 am

Rundy,
I also found your blog through the NYtimes blog. I read your story and honestly, felt like you were my kindred spirit. I am also a young caregiver, to my mom, who had a massive stroke nearly a year ago. Please, if you have time, I would love for you to read my story.
http://caregiversupport.wordpress.com
and thank you too for sharing your experiences.
~Sara

ps- Kate- I would love to hear from you as well as you a young caregiver like myself.

Rundy August 27, 2008 at 11:00 am

Sara,

Thanks for writing, commenting, and sharing your blog. I did go and read your blog. I’m sorry I wasn’t more prompt in replying.

Reading about your trials and experiences reminds me that no matter how difficult our own situation, someone else is struggling with worse. I am only taking care of my grandparents, but you are taking care of your own mother, and had to move halfway across the country besides and deal with all sorts of legal and medical hassles which I have not. You are clearly a very loving and dedicated daughter to drop your own life and come take care of your mother–not to mention a very strong young woman to successfully handle all the challenges thrown your way!

I really hope you have local people who can support you during this time in your life. Burdens can be so much lighter when they are shared–if not the actual work, then at least having someone who is there to listen and encourage you.

There will be very hard times ahead, but hold fast and don’t forget that what you are doing is right and good. The love you are showing your mother is probably the greatest joy in her life right now, even if she doesn’t express it. I hope you both get the chance to take that trip to Ireland that I saw mentioned in a comment.

Also, when you commented on my blog you mentioned wishing to hear from Kate. I’m not certain that she will look at my comments again, so she may never see your request. However, she has a blog at: http://forgottenmemorials.blogspot.com/ If you leave a comment there, or send her an e-mail (address found on her profile) she is more likely to see your communication.

Take care,

Rundy

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