Grateful for laughter

Grateful for laughter

Waking every morning at my age is a gift and not to be taken for granted. I awake feeling laughter I made it through another night. And blessed.

In the last while I have been a part of a caring group that has enabled me to create the habit of writing morning letters of gratefulness. For me, this practice of feeling grateful has reawakened awareness and mindfulness I had almost forgotten amid my daily caregiving challenges. Most the time what I write is for myself, but sometimes I share because something so deep about the gifts others add to my life has to be acknowledged.

This morning being grateful for laughter brought some beautiful memories. I love to giggle, to chuckle and laugh, but seldom thought about who or what would I be grateful to for making me laugh? I mean I like sweet laughter. Laughter that comes from a happy place of joy and delight. Laughter that takes your breath away and wears you out. Laughter that leaves a smile on your face and in your heart for a long time. Laughter that makes you want to hug the person you suddenly feel so connected to. Such wonderful laughter.

Unhealthy laughter, on the other hand, a sneer, a smirk, even a jeer, any laughter at the expense of another, really is a substitute for crying inside, and does not come from a place of goodness and does not feel right. When I find it hard to laugh on the outside, I am usually feeling bad on the inside. That is not the laughter I want to encourage for me or for you.

My mother loved to laugh, and my sister and brothers, my children and grandchildren, contagious laughter that made tears roll down our cheeks. I loved when we had a good belly laugh, releasing whatever we had so tightly held inside. Nothing was more binding than being able to laugh together. I miss that.

I innately try to laugh with people every chance I get when talking with someone. I generally try to bring laughter into conversations so maybe this morning’s letter can show gratefulness to me for keeping laughter in my life.

I even try to laugh with my loved one, but these days it is always a test because so often he cannot connect the dots to create a reason to laugh. I try to find TV programs that might be funny to him. But even that seldom works. But if I laugh, sometimes he just laughs because I am laughing. Surely, it must feel good to him, even if he is just laughing with me.

It seems that in the pandemic, with less social contact, opportunities for laughter have been replaced with solitude. We’ve zoomed ourselves silly, but the craving for connections, a touch, those real-life hugs, the meetings of the soul still loom unfulfilled. I wonder if others, too, notice that laughter is a missing ingredient.

We can bring laughter back into our lives. Have you ever just laughed because your soul needed to feel the expression of joy moving through your entire body? I have escaped into laughter sometimes just to confirm I have not become a robot living on an island. I am grateful for laughter.

In lieu of real people, some the the cartoons posted online can generate sweet laughter. But laughing to myself, laughing alone, while it may bring a warm smile, does not create the happiness of laughing, even giggling, with someone else.

I notice I’m laughing more about the things associated with the craziness of the aging process, wonderful behaviours of animals, and natural antics of children than about anything personal. Just this week a friend from my high school days…sixty-one years ago…wrote on my Facebook page that one of his best memories was the two of us laughing together. And when I read it, I could almost see him and hear his wonderful laugh. I so wished we could laugh together again.

I am not a comedian, I am not really a comic. But I really do enjoy laughing.

The two ladies from local health organizations who have phoned us for the last forty-six weeks of the pandemic have become friends. Inevitably we find topics that make us laugh together. Stress release is healthy medicine for us all. Find a way to get laughter into your morning routine when you set the tone for the rest of your day.

I hope you will look for situations where you, too, can laugh, out loud, let yourself go, and allow the tears to flow. Enjoy that wonderful feeling of happiness that laughter brings. Feel the blessing that you have this day that you can laugh.


Grateful for Laughter (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone

Mini Caregiver Tips Cards

Mini Caregiver Tips Cards

Accepting the Gift of Caregiving is not just a book series, and is not just the name of a blogsite. It is a process that we caregivers go through by the caring experiences we live, from the desperation, and sometimes even despondency, we feel until we reach awareness, insight and understanding and eventually acceptance. It is not an easy journey. My purpose in writing Accepting the Gift of Caregiving is to be encouragement as caregivers make their way from desperation to acceptance, from anxieties to courage.

On your journey you may wish to have a little reassurance handy, to realize others have been through some of the same experiences, felt the same emotions and it might bring calmness to your hour or day.

Print these out and put them where you can refresh your commitment to caregiving once in a while.


Also, please read the extensive list of CAREGIVER TIPS that
other caregivers have contributed,
or send us your tips if you wish to contribute tips yourself.


ACCEPTING THE GIFT OF CAREGIVING
Memory-loss caregiving Tips

TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS
Remember, you are doing the best you can at the moment.


You are welcome to download front or download back, if you like, or print screen them. Please do not sell them or use the text as your own. If you use them online or print them, please give credit to Judith Allen Shone.

I would like you to use them to feel reassured and encouraged. ~ Judy Shone


Mini Caregiver Tip Cards (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone

Support for “The Loved Ones”

Support for “The Loved Ones”

I have noticed that when a discussion page on social media included both the caregiver and loved ones, there is confusion on the perspectives in both questions and answers. It did not go unnoticed by the members of the nearly 2000 member Canadian Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Group who actually included ‘the loved ones’ as well as caregivers.

I used this picture because it is their cover picture and then you could recognize it.

After recognizing the need for a place where loved ones could express their thoughts, because, after all, they are the ones with the diagnosis, a new (a private group that you join) Facebook page (I call it a spin off) was created for loved ones specifically: THE LOVED ONES: A Place For People With Dementia & Alzheimer’s.

Their ‘About’ message:

“Welcome! This is a private group for people living with Dementia & Alzheimers. This is a safe space to speak freely about the challenges, successes and worries that you are facing and to share your experiences, good and bad, with others. This is your group. I will not comment or post but I may provide links to stuff once in a while and I will take care of all the stuff behind the scenes. If you have questions, please feel free to message me.” Once a member, then you can message their admin.

The feeling was that sometimes loves ones felt more comfortable discussing with those who they felt understood because of experiences, not observation. Point well taken. Loved ones are still members of the original Canadian Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Group if they wish to be.

If a loved one would like a special page to talk with other loved ones, rather than be in a ‘caregiver exchange,’ this new page was started for THE LOVED ONES, a spinoff from the Canadian Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support page on FB, which is a FB page for both caregivers and loved ones with memory loss. Look at this new page

I did not have anything to do with this new page. I just felt the value was great enough to let people know it is there.


“The Loved Ones” Support (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone

Tee-hee happiness

Tee-hee happiness

As I have aged I have discovered how important it is to walk my talk. My words mean nothing if I don’t live them. My life has been driven by my words, converted from my thoughts that, admittedly, have changed throughout these years.

And so on this Valentine’s Day, the one following nine long years of caregiving where I have truly learned the meaning of ‘love,’ I consciously, on purpose, walked my talk, and followed the motto that is on every page in this site, that is the theme of my life.

Do something each day to make others smile and your heart sing!

In keeping with the story I wrote yesterday, Little Love Letters, today I created little heart messages, printed them and cut them out. I took thirty with me to the grocery and pharmacy on our bi-weekly outing we have been limited to during the COVID pandemic.

I put some on shelves, others on top of canned goods, and cookie packages. I placed the four inch paper heart into grocery carts where no one was around at the moment. I gave them to the pharmacist team, to the cashier and assistant who bagged my few things. In the parking lot I slipped one into the pocket of the boy pushing the carts back into the store. I put one in the hand of the young man monitoring how many customers had gone in and out of the store, another practice resulting from distancing requirements during the coronavirus period.

It was interesting to observe those who did see me. Suspicion was evident on their faces. After all, I was wearing the protocol-required COVID mask, plus a winter coat with a scarf wrapped up around my neck. I did not know most of the recipients and they certainly did not know me. One pushed my hand away, another looked at the paper first and began not to take it, although she did in the end. One saw the heart on their egg carton and looked around to see where it came from. One thanked me. Two women put them in their pocket ‘to take home’ to their family.

I, on the other hand, felt rather giddy. I felt what my sister called ‘tee-hee happiness’ doing something so much fun. “A flashmob of one” she called me. I did not sign the hearts. I just cautiously watched others turn a glum face into a smile. THAT felt really good! It made my Valentine’s Day much more special than any I could remember. I will probably do something similar another day…another holiday, another excuse to make people smile.

It was fun. I encourage you to find a way to do something that gives you “tee-hee” happiness.

Do something each day to make others smile and your heart sing!


“Tee-hee happiness” (C) 2021 Judith Allen Shone