Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Favorite Necklace

This necklace lives in
a special box. A box that
was given to me by a friend
of the family when his mother
passed away.

Jane had Alzheimer's. In her
early years she was a very capable
RN who had lived in Panama
before coming back to live in
York, Pa as a neighbor and
part of the family to Warren's
Grandma Charlotte. Her son,
Jim, and Warren's Mom, Georgia,
were raised almost like siblings.

The families did many things together.

I first met Jim and Jane up at Potter
County at the cabin. I liked them both

It was so sad when Jane began showing
signs of Alzheimer's. She would turn
burners on and walk away or walk to
the Fairground in her Sunday best at
an odd time...planning to attend a

In the later stages, Jane, became violent.
Trust me when I tell you that it was the
disease. This was not anything like the
Jane we had known for years.

It became impossible for Jim to get
her out to a hairdresser. Jane had always
been an immaculate dresser and her hair was
always coiffed just so.
It was hard for Jim to accept that she couldn't
be allowed to look as she had.

He asked if I would mind
coming in and
cutting her hair.
I did not mind
one little bit.

It took three of us.
Two to gently restrain Jane, as she would
attempt to pinch or bite,
and I would wash and cut her hair.

It was never as it would have been
had a professional done it.
Even if I had been a professional there
was always the fact that I was working
around Georgia's hands while she held
Jane's head to keep us safe.
But I know that Jane had to be more
comfortable with her hair washed and
manageable. So we did this on a
fairly regular basis.
Hearts breaking
at the decline of
our dear friend.

After Jane was released from the
disease to her eternal resting place
Jim gave me a box containing
some of Jane's jewelry.

Now this box also contains
jewelry that once belonged to
Grandma Charlotte.

These ladies,
so intertwined in life,
now their jewelry mixed
as it waits to be worn.

I don't wear much jewelry.
I frankly just don't think
to put it on, but I do pull
these pieces out and look
at them.

Occasionally I will
wear a necklace
from this

I did on Sunday
and I was thinking
of these special
friends as I did so.

Alzheimer's is a horrible
disease. It is a thief.
But, there is so much we can
do to make its victims more
comfortable and to assist their
families. It is exhausting to
be a full time caregiver to someone
in the advanced stages.

If you know someone in this situation
I do hope you'll feel free to offer
help. You just never know how some
of your time to sit and visit while
that person gets a small break...

They'll be able to tell you what
would be helpful if you are sincere.

Hope you are having a wonderful
and rewarding day.

I am making candles to help raise
money for Haiti. A local church has
asked to sell them for this purpose.
I'm putting a little extra love in
each one...



Mrs.Rabe said...

How wonderful to have special things to remind you of your friend.

Karen said...

That necklace is very pretty! What special memories it has, too.

I enjoyed getting to share your memories as I read your post.

Vee said...

Oh I can not imagine... And, unless the Lord granted me the mercy and grace, I wouldn't be capable of doing what you did. It's difficult enough to deal with mild dementia. But oh how I admire those who can and I admire their faith when it might be easier to be cynical and hard. Jane sounds like a very special lady and I know it is comforting to know that she is well and whole now.

Tracy said...

What beautiful beads! And how very blessed Jane was to have you as her friend, making sure she was comfortable and cared for even when it was difficult for you to do.

Both of my dad's parents had Alzheimer's, and it is so very sad to see the people you once knew as loving and gentle turn a different way, and not recognize you at all.

Elena said...

That was so sad to read about what happened to your dear family friend. The necklace is beautiful. Blessings to you today! Hugs, Elena

Freda Marie said...

Becky, you are a Saint even though you deny it...what beautiful stories you share....wishing you only the very best.

Sandi@ My Yellow Door said...

Hi Becky,
So very nice of you to drop by today. I always enjoy your visits. Thank you for sharing the story of your friend. I know all about Alzheimer's; what a cruel trick it plays on those we love! I'm so glad you were able to help your friend Jane and now enjoy some of her jewelery. Have a wonderful day and I know many blessings are coming your way as you make those candles!


Miss Sandy said...


We went through this heartbreaking disease with my mother-in-law. It is a robber and a thief and the care giving is exhausting. You are so precious to step in and lend a helping hand. Your necklace is just stunning, I love the texture of the beads and the color combination but more than that I love the honor you give the one who wore it before you.

LV said...

A wonderful story although very sad. That is a terrible disease and it changes their whole personalities. I am sure she would be pleased that Jim gave the necklace to you and would be proud it means so much to you.

Kelly said...

What a pretty necklace.

Alzheimer's is an awful disease. I watched my grandmother dwindle to it. However, I was blessed that she didn't forget who I was right up until the day she died. We were always very close, and though it's been about 10 years since she's gone, I still miss her. She was a very special part of my life and I have great memories and a few special trinkets that have great sentimental value.

I'm glad you have a few special things to remember your dear friends by.

Jerri said...

What a beautiful post. The necklace is sound like you were a very supportive help to Jane.


Tracy said...

I work in a nursing home with aalzheimers residents. It is a sad thing.