Sunday 31 January 2016


I just read some interesting quotes on WORRY. Interesting enough they were quotes for the most part from the more senior generation.

When you research the word worry from a Gen-Yers perspective, you find  a completely different view of worry. They are concerned about how they are going to pay the bill this month. Why are they with the person they are with, when they know they aren't right for them? What do they want to do with their lives? How can they ever know what they want to do if they are stuck where they are? Do  they spend enough time with their family? Should they YOLO or not YOLO (You only live once). I hope we just didn't get pregnant? Is Monogamy really for us? The world is such a mess, what can I do about it?

The Gen-Yers seem to be a generation that want it all. A society has been created for them that has brought inconsistencies and contradictions. The lines between good and bad have become blurred. What used to be considered as stupidity and vanity is now  held in great esteem in the media.
There seems to be an atmosphere of entitlement. They are entitled to a nice home, car, a job that pays well. They want it all the good and the bad.

With all the good and the bad; anxiety and unhappiness is growing. Depression and suicide is on the rise. Folks of all levels of society are turning to yoga, self-help, headspace, mindfulness, to calm the anxious thoughts. There is also an epidemic of medications being subscribed to people of all ages.

What else can we expect when the media bombards us with a mirage of choices, from diet plans, to toilet tissue. Levi's has 233 types of women's jeans! That is enough to make anyone depressed!

Now let's move from the Gen-Yers to the Silent Generation and the Baby boomers. The greatest worry is money. Will we have enough to retire? Baby boomers are being blamed for being the worst generation. In spite of the fact they were raised by the  greatest generation, those who fought in the World War 11,they somehow parlayed the wealth of the greatest generation into creating  and overweight narcissistic, tuned-out, video game players!!!

Regardless, how you look at life and worry, the following are some facts we need to consider.
-Worrying about the future is a phantom.
-It will empty your strength for today
-Whatever will be will be in spite of our worrying
-Tomorrow promises us nothing so enjoy the flowers
-A day of worry is useless and exhausting

As a caregiver of a husband who is slowly slipping away with the terrible disease of Lewy Body dementia, I quite often drive away from the home worrying about weather he is comfortable.
He is so dependent; can he turn over at night? He has a terrible cold, can he blow his nose?
Can he ask for a drink if he is thirsty? I know the answers. I also know my limitations. I have also learned to trust in a loving God who knows all things. So I put my trust and confidence in him.

Do not worry about your life, what diet you will follow or what beverage you will consume as long as it is healthy for you; or about your body, or which of the 233 style of Levi's you will choose. Life is more important than food and what you wear.
Who of you can add a single hour to your life?
Check out the lilies and the sparrows, see how much they spin and toil to get to where they are.
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will look after itself. Matt 6:25-34 (Ruth's version )

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Another Year Another Christmas

It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone.
It is time for the Christmas Party at the home where my husband is a resident.

It is a big event at the home. The choir has practiced, along with the Bell choir and the
rhythm band. I help get everyone situated in their proper places. I place my husband in the last row against the wall. He is now in a broda chair. His only method of movement is now with a lift. We more than likely will not get any eye contact. However one never knows when Lewy will let him have a moment of himself. And sure enough for just a brief moment he lifted his head and endeavored to sing,making movement with his lips. Then he was gone again. That's just like Lewy, unfortunately he is in control.

Most of the time it seems to take awhile for him to recognize me but who really knows. The other day I was teasing him about not giving me eye contact. " Look at me, it's your wife, Ruth."  "Are you mad at me, then of course you have no reason to be mad at me, right." He responded,"precisely."So I endeavor to carry on a one sided conversation as if it is normal, and really when you come to think of it, it is the 'new normal.'

Tuesday 13 October 2015


It has been a very emotional week.
Our Son flies into Edmonton, Alberta from Phoenix, Az. every Thanksgiving weekend to visit his dad.
Lewy is beginning to take up more and more of Steve's time. For the first two hours of the visit, he came and went like a revolving door. It was this way for most of the weekend.
Jeff was flying into Edmonton and out of Calgary in order to get a quick visit with his  sister and brother-in-law who live in Okotoks. Our plan was to spend a couple of hours before heading south. I finished feeding him his breakfast and took him to the lounge. Our son Jeff, talked with him, bringing up good old memories, like where we were when we heard Elvis died. We got an emotional response from that, which gave us some indication that he was with us. Jeff read from the Bible and prayed with him and again there were little rays of responses coming through. Within a few minutes he left with very little sign of returning for awhile, as he seemed to fall into a deep sleep.

I came back today at lunch hour and his responses were very positive. I knew he recognized me and wanted to say something, which I only understand as a mumble.

The Telford singers ( a choir of 40 some voices), were coming to perform later. I fed him his lunch and we went to the lounge for the performance. Steve is very musical, however he has shown very little response to music as of late. Today it was different. He was emotional through every song which also made me a basket case!!

The group sang the song 'I love you to,' by Tom Hall.
It just made life so simple, and full of pleasure at that moment that I want to share it with you:

I love little baby ducks
Old pick-up trucks
Slow moving trains and rain
I love little country streams
Sleep without dreams
Sunday School in May and hay
And I love you too.

I love leaves in the Wind
Pictures of my friends
Birds of the World and Squirrels
I love coffee in a cup
Little fuzzy pups
Bourbon in a glass and grass
And I  love you too.

I love honest open smiles
Kisses from a child
Tomatoes on the vine and onions
I love winner's when they cry
Loser's when they try
Music when it's good and life
And I love you too!

What a beautiful view of life!!

Monday 5 October 2015


Doctors, neurologists, mental health nurse, home care; are all there to serve you and your loved one.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Good family doctors usually know the bases of many diseases and are skilled at knowing when to refer you to specialists.

Depending on the age of the individual, it is just not good enough to have your loved one assessed by having them draw the hands on a clock, count backwards in three's starting at 100, remember the objects, etc..

Some 10/12 years ago when the neurologists called up and said; according to the symptoms he is showing, your husband has Lewy Body dementia. My response was silence, and his response was, " you more than likely have not heard of this dementia." And my response was, "no I have never heard of such."

I went immediately to the internet, and came up with a wealth of information. I passed some of this information along to our family  doctor who seemed almost as unfamiliar with the term as I was. I gave him some information I had copied from the Mayo Clinic and The LBDA and he was happy to take them.

The best advocate for your loved one is YOU. Your are the boss and the health care professionals are  a part of the team. Educate yourself. If you feel that there has not been a proper diagnoses than you need to advocate for more tests

While I highly respect the staff at the Extendicare from the laundry to the manager. I am the boss in terms of my husband's care and I don't say that disrespectfully and neither do I abuse my boundaries.

Arm yourself with knowledge for KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Saturday 5 September 2015


My husband Steve could sing the" Lord's Prayer" like no one else I know and give the benediction: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV)

I recall a member of the congregation saying to me, "When the pastor walks out on stage, he brings such a sense of peace with him that all my anxieties seem to go away." That observation of him articulated the kind of individual Steve was. Without a doubt his life's purpose was fulfilled in helping people find peace with themselves, with others and with God.

Then we were visited by a subtle, invisible presence called Lewy Body dementia (LBD). He was having difficulty reading scripture, and forgetting things.
His physician labeled these incidents as symptoms of burnout. After all, public service is one of the higher stress-related careers.

Our invisible intruder continued to take away more of Steve's ability to function, and he started to lose interest in his work. In 1995 at the age of 49 he was forced to resign his pastoral position and took a year off.

As a result, in 1996 we made a move across the country to pastor a smaller congregation. This in itself should make things easier. Not long into the first six months, I knew we were facing some major challenges.

These challenges resulted in more tests, Ct scans showing scar tissue, evidence of mini-strokes.

In 1998  the storm continued to increase and at the end of that year he packed up his books for the last time.

It took six more years of CT scans, MRI's and cognitive testing to come up with a diagnosis. They were years filled with denial, frustration, self-pity and fear. When the neurologist informed us that the closest diagnosis he could come up with was a neurological disease known as Lewy body dementia, my reaction was silence. I had no idea what he was talking about.

The content of this blog is taken from an article I wrote for the  Sept/Oct issue of the Testimony Magazine. It contains a paragraph explaining  Lewy Body Dementia. I will not repeat this section in my blog as I have already done so in previous blogs.

LBD showed up like a thief in the night.  It slowly peeled away Steve's independence. It robbed him of his life's calling and sense of self-worth. He lost his ability to dial a number or use his bank card. His driver's licence was taken away. One of the greatest losses was his music. Steve was known for his outstanding musical talent and played for conferences all across Canada.

Now it is a special occasion when I begin to quote a Scripture and he can finish it. For several years we did this. I would say; "And we know"....and he would continue,"...that all things work together for good." But as time goes on, his memory is becoming more and more distorted.

Changes in life are inevitable. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Every day is precious. Joy comes from living in the moment, with thanksgiving for God's abundant grace and love.

Taken from page 15 of the Sept/Oct issue of the Testimony Magazine, the official publication of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

My journey of these events has been published in my book "WHEN TROUBLES FALL LIKE LEMON DROPS, which can be obtained from my website;

Monday 3 August 2015


This is a story which my husband used as an illustration in one of his sermons some twenty-five years ago. His sermon was based on the theme 'In as much as these'.

Today my husband sits at a feeding table and this story often comes to my mind as I gently help him direct is feeding utensils to his mouth which for the most part is a real challenge.


A frail old man went to live with his son, and daughter-in-law, and four year old grand-son.

The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table.

But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon unto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milks spilled on the tablecloth. The son and the daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

"We must do something about Grandfather." said the son; "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.

There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed the dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear or two in his eye as he sat alone.

Still the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four year old watched in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly , "What are you doing?"

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food when you grow up."

The four year old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless.  Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate with the family.

And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth got soiled.

....A child shall lead them.

Saturday 4 July 2015

The Emotional Roller Coaster

There are some very good articles written on dealing with dementia. For the most part they expose the part of the caregiver's role that is very much under control.  They may voice that there are times of frustrations but very seldom expose to the reader just what those frustrations are.

In my book,' When Troubles Fall Like Lemon Drops,' I talk about the emotional roller coaster that one experiences. The seasons of life that one is experiencing at the time will ultimately determine the challenges that one is faced with, A family with young teenage children, whose loved one has been smitten with this devastating disease, will encounter losses that are quite different from those who are affected later in life.

Here are a few of my confessions, taken from the chapter The Emotional Roller Coaster, page 56.
These are excerpts from my journal 2005-2013
...I am angry and resentful today, and very self-centred,. It is not only his life that is put on hold but mine as well. My kids don't have a father, I don't have a husband. I sometimes vent this in little innuendoes to him, I know it is not right but nothing is right.
...I will not confess, in writing, my thoughts and anxieties today. They are very real at this time. I suppose everyone has a chapter in their story that they would not revel.
...It's the long weekend. I feel selfish today. Would love to go away for the weekend, take long walks, have a good conversation, have a picnic, enjoy company, someone to take care of me, drive the car, get the gas, take out the luggage etc. etc. etc. OK Ruth, you know the difference between wishful thinking. For the moment it is pleasing to imagine.
The transition from being a wife to a caregiver does not come easily. We must remember that we are all on the same journey to our final destination and there are different roles for different times. Sometimes when the role changes at a young age it can be more challenging.

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