About Me

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A child of Italian immigrants, born and bred in Australia during the 70's. At 24 I purchased my first apartment in the city of Melbourne. I scored a dream job sailing around the world on a record breaking, fast ship. I was the unqualified and only cook. King Neptune stole a piece of my heart and there are many times I wish my short stumpy legs were an elegant mermaids tail. Instead I became a Nurse, Reflexologist, Reiki/Seichim Master, Colonic hydrotherapist and First Aid and Occupational Health and Safety Trainer. My last real job was anonymously writing someone else blog. I live in Scandinavia now and have a lot of free time. I have always followed my heart, even the times it was beating out of tune, magic lies in mistakes too. Amongst other things, this is a love story.

6 May 2015

Reflections A - Z challenge 2015

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver. 
Remember to care for the carers.

A to Z Challenge 

REFLECTIONS 2015





As usual I use the Reflections post to give the A-Z challenge organisers some feedback as requested.

I also use it to link all my posts together, and give a little commentary on each.

Things I loved about participating in the 2015 #atozchallenge:
  1. I did it. 
  2. Caught up with bloggers that I haven't connected with since last year.
  3. Connected with new bloggers that are on a similar journey to me.
  4. Received supportive and encouraging comments that helped me finish the challenge.
  5. The process of writing, with a firm structure but loose boundaries, has helped me  become a better writer.
  6. The theme helped my healing process and seems to have given some other people an opportunity to share their own stories.

 Things I would like to see changed:
  1. Nothing. The host's/helpers and overall challenge are great. Sure there are plenty of people that sign up and don't start or finish the challenge... but your system of removing them is good enough, and done by a dedicated bunch. I have noticed over the last couple of years people seem to complain most about things that can't be changed... 
Things I would change about myself.
  1. Comment on and visit more blogs, I noticed a huge difference in the amount of visits to my page as a result of not blog hopping.  I do know it's one of the main points of the challenge... This years journey was just more personal.
  2. Get in early - I almost forgot to sign up to the link list.  
  3. Offer to be co-host/assistant.  I loved helping last year. It is a good way of forcing myself to visit more blogs. 

Here are the links to all my posts for this years challenge:


A to Z challenge Theme reveal.
I chose to write about the one thing I couldn't stop thinking about.

Anger and Anxiety
From the moment I saw the message that Mum had 6 months left to live, I have had a lot of reasons to be angry.  I think the main reason I did this years theme was to release what remained.

Bemused and Befuddled
Here's a fun poke at some of the baffling situations many carers experience.

Conflicted
How much good are we really doing when keeping someone alive prolongs their suffering.

Denying Degeneration
Maybe she was just a great actress - When her friends bid her farewell, she did show her movie star smile

Easter without her
If I had to choose a single holiday to start our year of firsts without her -  Easter wins.

Freedom from Fear
No I'm not a burglar, it's me your daughter.

Genes
Would you like to know how long you have left to live?

Hugs in Hell
When living on earth becomes it's own type of Hell.

Inhalation annihilation
Imagine your head underwater and only a tiny straw to breathe through - for months.

Joy - An ode to
Joy was her name.

Knowledge and Knowing
They are intertwined but there is a difference.

Laughter is the best medicine
Some of the bad jokes I used to tell her and how they make me laugh.

My birthday
Sharing my last birthday with Mum

Now or Never
Preparing for death.

Omnipresence
It doesn't matter what you believe in some things just can't be explained or understood.

Palliative care team
They are just like any other humans, some are better at their job than others.

Quibbles
When no means yes and hot means cold.

Respite from Rage
Even the strong need a place to rest.

Soup
A recipe of sorts.  This soup probably stopped her from succumbing to MND much sooner.

Thank-you
I am grateful - but why is caring for loved ones a privilege?

Undertakers
Rituals are for the living. I'm so glad I didn't let the undertakers take her when they first came.

Visitors
A list of do's and don'ts -

Worry Jar
$1 for every worry. She was happy to pay.

X - eXonerated
No-one imagined this rebel child would be the one to care for Mum. I knew all along.

Young again
What happens when you walk in your daughters shoes.

Zenosyne
Time flies faster the further you go.




I hope you enjoyed my theme. Click the link for more Reflections posts by other challengers...

See you for the 2016 #atozchallenge (if not before :) 




***


I use #atozchallenge when sharing my favourite posts.

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Learn more about:

 The A to Z challenge here.

29 April 2015

Zenosyne. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  



Zenosyne


Zenosyne: A sense that time keeps going faster.
Etymology: From Greek, Zeno is derived from Zeno's Paradox, which asks how a person can walk from one point to another if they must first carry out a series of ever-shrinking steps, + Mnemosyne, the personification of memory in Ancient Greek mythology. How can we live our lives while each passing year feels shorter than the year before? 

 It's a made up word by John Koenig over at Dictionary of obscure sorrows here's the Facebook page. 

I found him when the article "23 Perfect Words For Emotions You Never Realised Anyone Else Felt," appeared in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday.





The best example I have for zenosyne is that the 2015 A to Z challenge seemed to fly by much faster than my first two. 

I can remember them both in a blink of an eye, this year's theme about my Mum will be with me for a while.

Soon my time with her will feel like a fleeting moment.  

At times when everything was an effort she would often say 'It's terrible to get old." I'd always reply 'There's only one thing worse... and that's if you'd never got old at all." 

***

If you have followed along and commented thank you for keeping me motivated. My stats show that many more people have read my blog this month, I hope you enjoyed my words and thank you too. 

***


I use #atozchallenge when sharing my favourite posts.

Like Reflex Reactions on Facebook

Follow @ReflexReactions on Twitter

Add me to your circles on Google+ 


***

Learn more about:

 The A to Z challenge here.

Young again. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Young again.



Her flawless skin, laugh and smile made a lot of people think she was younger than years.  

Her attention to detail, strength and loyalty made her seem older.




That's her sitting in the middle. 18 years old showing off the green dress she sewed for herself, in preparation for her migration to Australia.

Even after the Doctors, therapists and everyone else told her to stop wearing them - she wore shoes with high heels.  

I lent her my boots when we visited a farm once. She said she felt like me. Then she hopped and jumped like she was young again.



***

I use #atozchallenge when sharing my favourite posts.

Like Reflex Reactions on Facebook

Follow @ReflexReactions on Twitter

Add me to your circles on Google+ 


***

Learn more about:

 The A to Z challenge here.

28 April 2015

X - eXonerated. #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  

X - eXonerated 







So many of Mum's friends said they would never have guessed that it was me that would take on the role as her carer:

Me the black sheep.

Me who taught her how to swear.

Me who fought back and returned the key.

Me who greyed her hair.

Me who travelled far away.

Still they say I'm hard to understand. 

All the frustration, tears and pain I caused in the beginning 

eXonerated

by the love, support and care they witnessed in the end. 



***

I use #atozchallenge when sharing my favourite posts.

Like Reflex Reactions on Facebook

Follow @ReflexReactions on Twitter

Add me to your circles on Google+ 


***

Learn more about:

 The A to Z challenge here.

27 April 2015

Worry Jar. #atozchallenge. Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Worry Jar





"Please Mum, don't worry"

"I'm your Mother, it's my job to worry."  Of all the misguided lessons she'd learnt this was the most destructive of them all.   

I started a worry jar. One dollar for each worry. Repeated worries cost double. I told her it was the easiest money I'd ever make. So entrenched was her duty to worry, she smiled and said she was willing to pay. 

I tried to show her what an empty jar looked like. 

Worry gave her a purpose. Her creative imagination wasted on wrestling anxiety and strengthening sorrows.

'Why worry?' I'd recite what I remembered of the Irish philosophy stuck on her fridge as we were growing up. '...Either you are healthy or sick... if you're healthy you have nothing to worry about.  If you are sick you will either get better or die....if you die you have nothing to worry about' - or something like that.

Every afternoon around 4:00 o'clock, she'd worry about where the kids were. The neighbourhood's kids had become adults decades ago. I asked her all sorts of questions. 'Whose kids, how many of them, how old are they, where were they before..?' I knew she meant her own babies but still I tried to move a mind that had lost its way in 2012, and lingered at times in long ago. 

In the end I stuck to reassuring her that everyone she worried about was happy and safe.  

"Thank-you. That's all that matters." she'd say.

One morning I wrote her a note. Anything written down was important and trusted. It worked better than the worry jar. I gave her the same note almost every day. It would have been better without the date. 

"2014?" she'd question. 'Already.' I'd say.






***

I use #atozchallenge when sharing my favourite posts.

Like Reflex Reactions on Facebook

Follow @ReflexReactions on Twitter

Add me to your circles on Google+ 


***

Learn more about:

 The A to Z challenge here.

26 April 2015

Visitors. #atozchallenge Care for the carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  

Visitors



Mum always welcomed visitors with some liquid stimulant or courage -espresso coffee or strong liquor in delicate glasses. Children could eat as many sweets and biscuits as they dared. No belly left her house, less than full. 

25 April 2015

Undertakers. #atozchallenge Care for the carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Undertakers






I remember asking her Doctor. "What should I do when she dies?"

He said, 'Take your time. She won't need an ambulance. Just ring the undertakers...there will be no need to rush."


She died the death of a saint, they said. She got up to pray, then died in her sleep.


I don't remember who called the funeral home.

23 April 2015

Thank you. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Thank-You






First of all thank you life.

Thanks for all the situations I've found myself in that help me know what to do.

22 April 2015

Soup. #atozchallenge Care for the Carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Soup





Your soup will never taste the same as this soup. It's my Mum's Minestrone. The ingredients change every week, but if you follow the basic instructions it will still taste good.
  
First you need a garden with soil that has been receiving an entire family's compost for over 50 years. (alternatively find a supermarket and buy all their sale items) 

21 April 2015

Respite from Rage. #atozchallenge - care for the carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Respite from Rage.







My family have always had some problems with me. 

20 April 2015

Quibbles. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Quibbles




The Doctor told me to treat her like she used to treat me when I was child.

I remember her being gentle but firm.

It was important that she maintain her own independence for as long as possible.

18 April 2015

Palliative Care Team. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  

Palliative Care Team





Palliative care is a speciality field of mostly non curative, system management. 


Mum had a multidisciplinary team including staff at a Hospital and The MND association. A Neurologist, GP, Nurses, Pharmacists, social workers, occupational therapists, physio's, a dietician, speech pathologist, a volunteer hairdresser and more. None of them knew her.

17 April 2015

Omnipresence. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Omnipresence





They say the departed surround the dying. If that's true then Mum saw and felt their presence often.  

16 April 2015

Now or Never. #atozchallenge Care for the carer.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Now or Never.




It was a bit of rush to organise Mum's Last will and testament. Her memory had got so bad she even had bank accounts she didn't remember existed.

My birthday. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


My Birthday, not hers.




Mum and I are both born in January, thirty years apart.  I have often wondered if the closeness in our birthdates contributes to our empathic connection. 

15 April 2015

Laughter is the best medicine #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Laughter is the best medicine.





Mum always had a great sense of humour. To pass the time I'd google search non jokes or anti jokes and read through dozens of them to find one's that she understood. Most of these jokes she didn't find very funny, but every so often she would giggle and say 'that's a good one.' So I would repeat it. 

13 April 2015

Knowledge and knowing #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


When I did my first clinical placement in a nursing home I knew from the start that I never wanted Mum to spend time in one. I also made a habit of treating patients as if they were my parents.

11 April 2015

Joy - an Ode to - #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.

Remember to care for the carers.  



JOY






My Mother's name is Letizia - which means Joy in Italian.

Laura Sullivans's Ode to Joy, from the Album Feasts of love and joy, was playing gently in the background as Mum's coffin was carried out of Sacred Heart Church. It is the most beautiful version I have ever heard.  

In joy - Enjoy

10 April 2015

Inhalation annihilation #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  



Inhalation annihilation.





We never found out which type of MND (otherwise known as ALS - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - or Lou Gherig's disease) Mum had. 

9 April 2015

Hugs in Hell. #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  

Hugs in Hell




I knew she was having a hard day when after the third time we had got up to go to the toilet she refused to get out of her walker again -  I asked her for the twentieth time "What do you want to do... Where do you want to go?"

8 April 2015

Genes. #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease (MND). For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  

Genes


Nobody really knows what causes Motor Neurone Disease or Alzheimers Disease.

Mum had both, and as far as I know no-one in her family has had either disease.

Freedom from Fear #atozchallenge Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Freedom from Fear







One of the early signs that Mum had a progressive disease (or two) was the increase in her fear of almost everything.  Fear of the dark, fear of driving at night, fear of falling. She was also fearless.  

6 April 2015

Easter without her. #atozchallenge Care for the Carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Easter without her.


November 1st is All Souls day. Last year I attended the international mass held at the cemetery for the departed each year, with both my parents for the first and last time.  

4 April 2015

Denying Degeneration. #atozchallenge - Care for the Carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.



Remember to care for the carers.  


Denying Degeneration




One of the symptoms of Alzheimers/Dementia can be denial, it is also a defence mechanism. 

Conflicted. #atozchallenge Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer, a privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on some of the stories and emotions that presented themselves during this time. 


Remember to care for the carers.  

Conflicted.




At some point I realised:

Encouraging her to eat was more like force feeding. 

2 April 2015

Bemused and Befuddled #atozchallenge Care for the carers

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.



Remember to care for the carers.  


BEMUSED and BEFUDDLED





You can expect a look of bemusement if you tell a carer that they should 'never be a slave to anybody.' (Accusing them of martyrdom has the exact same effect.)