My story

In 6th grade, I wrote these morbid love poems on my red World Geography folder. I’d go to the Arlington Heights Library and sit on the floor for hours searching for stories that spoke to me. Human stories have power. Power to heal. Power to hope. Power in the laughter that comes. Power in the tears that well. A simple Amen in your mind. Words on a page can become the window and mirror for the writer and reader.

When my Mom’s Alzheimer’s became this backpack of sadness that I’d lug around, I started writing.

I had to.

Here’s the thing: We are ALL incredible beings. Sometimes our circumstances though are a tough pill to swallow and make us feel less than incredible.

My Mom was and is an incredible woman.

With Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, I tend to speak in both the present and past tense when talking of my loved one. She’s here, but not herself.

After I’d break down in tears following a change in Mom’s personality or her new inability to recall my name, Dad used to say,  Jod, she’s your Mom, but not your Mom. It’s the Alzheimer’s, kid.

Alzheimer’s is one long goodbye. At first, you might count all the-she-can’t-do-this-that-anymore.

Then you learn. Embrace the small gems. The small moments. Hold tight to those.

The she-can-still-smile-now-and-then-or-she-looked-right-at-me-like-she-knew-me.

They matter.

And you, my friend, matter.

So, I started this blog to write, to grieve, to pay tribute to my wonderful Mama.

Then, things changed. My dad got sick. My dad who took care of Mom.  It’s a sobering statistic-85% of those who care for someone with ALZ or another form of dementia die first. It’s the last thing we expected, but it happened.

So, like so many adult children, I changed my plans. FMLA+quit my job+moved back home+navigated care+adjusted to my “new normal.”

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Now, I work directly with families, facilities, area stakeholders, and those impacted by ALZ/other dementias to provide advocacy, supportive services, and training.

My mom worked all her life to create and cultivate memories for those she loved, only to have these memories become elusive once the amyloid plaque and tangles invaded her brain.

My hope is that through this site ya’ll can find comfort, knowledge, and strength in the stories, resources, and services outlined here.

Best,

jodi@sparkasoul.com

 

 

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