November 4, 2011
Our first story from a caregiver comes from Sara- who cared for her mom with dementia along with her brother. While there were hard times, she chose to focus on the funny times she had with her mom. One story was about her mom’s hearing aids, which her mom didn’t always have turned on. One day, they were at the hospital and were waiting in the lobby for the taxi cab. A man in a wheel-chair came into the lobby and said “It’s the kids!” Instead of using a quiet voice, Sara’s mom loudly announced to rest of the lobby what she thought she had heard the man say- “That man said it’s the SHIT!”
Another fun story was about how her mom became an official “Jack Daniels Squire.” Sara’s mom enjoyed Jack Daniels on the rocks, and she would order one at the bar before they had dinner. One night, another man, who was a regular at the bar, noticed that she was drinking Jack Daniels and suggested to her that she should be a Jack Daniels Squire and that he would sponsor her.
A few weeks later, an official letter came in the mail from Lynchburg, Tennessee, notifying her mom that she was now officially a Jack Daniels Squire. The welcome letter came with a deed in it certifying that she was the owner of a one-inch by one-inch plot of land in Lynchburg.
Two or three times a year, Sara’s mom would receive mail from Lynchburg. The first letter might say:
We’re hopin you’ll give us permission to traipse ‘cross your land for the annual coon hunt that’s comin’ up. We’ve got our coon dogs and think we’ll catch the coons this year, the good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.
The next letter might announce the “News of the Holler’” explaining that
Uncle Rufus got the rheumatiz real bad and couldn’t git round for this year’s hunt but he’s promisin’ for next year.
Sara explained that even as the dementia worsened, talking about being an official Jack Daniels Squire could always get a good rise out of her mom because it was a shared memory with her friend and son and daughter. It was a happy time for her to remember and one of the few things she did remember. She said that it’s important as a caregiver to fill in the hard times with the fun stories too.