Alzheimer's Memoirs Parkinson's Disease

January the Bleak

I’m not going to blame January for my bleakness, but my present is bleak and it is January. Hubby passed away on the 16th, just after our 41st anniversary on the 12th and my birthday on the 6th. His suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is over, and his passing was peaceful, and for that I am thankful. I’m quite positive he is with the Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven, and for that I rejoice.

Jimmy Leon Coker

However, all that doesn’t make the quietness of the house any louder, the days any busier, the nights any cozier. It’s just me and Stella the dog rattling around this old house now. I am grateful that it’s only 1600 square feet and not 6000.

I don’t have to figure out what to fix for supper and I don’t have to defer to his television choices. I don’t have to do his laundry and I don’t have to clean up his messes. I can vacuum the floors any time I want to without worrying about disturbing him. I can leave the house and not worry about getting home because he needs me. I can eat and sleep whenever I want. This is all because I am alone.


People ask me how I’m doing. I think I’m okay right now. I’ve always said I would be fine alone. I’m an independent person. Will I feel the same way next week? Next month? Next year?

The great hunter

Only God knows what happens next. He knew my fears about not being able to care for Jimmy or afford to pay for care, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about that very long. He knows what tomorrow and the next day and the next year will bring. I trust Him to bring it to pass. I choose not to worry about it. I’m really not alone. He is here with me.

What will I do? I will continue planning Jimmy’s memorial service. I will continue making phone calls to insurance companies, government agencies, and the rest. I will treasure the memories I have of our life together, and I will spend every minute I can with my children and grandchildren. I will thank God every day for blessing me with 41 years with a loyal, devoted, loving man, husband, and father. And I will miss him every minute of every day.


A rare snow on our East Texas property just a couple of weeks ago.
Being a Grandparent

Letter to my unborn grandson

Dear Baby Coker:

In a few short days you will be here!  I have been longing to meet you in person since I heard last summer that you were coming!  How exciting to think–to KNOW–that I’m going to be a grandmother!  How strange to finally be here, at this time/stage in my life, with my own baby boy about to have a baby boy of his own!
My heart is full and there are many things I want you to know, things I want to share with you and your parents but cannot find the time, spoken words, or opportunity to do so.  I hope you will learn these things, read them often when you are big enough, and forever treasure them in your heart.
1.  First of all, YOU ARE A GIFT.  You were given to your parents by God, Who is trusting them to raise you “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:4)  You have and will continue to bring much joy to your parents and grandparents.  Oh, the joy when I first saw you, your tiny fingers moving on the ultrasound!  I wept!
2.  THERE IS NO ONE ELSE LIKE YOU.  God Himself “knit you together in your mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13), combining the DNA from your mother and father into unique sequences that no one else in the whole world ever had or ever will have.  You are the only you ever!  And you are precious in God’s sight as well as that of your parents and grandparents.
3.  YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.  God has created you to fulfill the plan He has for you, which will ultimately bring glory to Himself.  You must trust Him to guide you into fulfilling that purpose for your life.  Your parents and grandparents will help you as you navigate through the twists and turns of life.  When it gets rocky, we will help you over the rocks.  When you stumble, we will help you up.  When it gets dark, we will help you find the way.  
4.  YOU ARE SMART.  You will be compared to others all your life.  Others will be faster or slower, make better or worse progress, be stronger or weaker.  You will be urged to try harder in school or sports or other things.  Just remember that you have your own unique talents and abilities and you will move at your own pace.  And that is okay.  The only person you should compare yourself with is you.
5.  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.  You are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” according to Psalm 139:13.  Your mind, body, and soul were created by God Himself and, as many have said, “God doesn’t make junk!”  Your body is a marvel of different parts all working together so that you can move and think and dream and do things.  From your smallest toe to the last beautiful hair on your head, you are a masterpiece!  From your skin down to the tiny atomic particles in your DNA, you are the most complex machine in the world.  You are a miracle!
6.  And finally, YOU ARE LOVED.  I think it is safe to say that your parents love you more than they love themselves and would give their own lives to save yours.  So would I, and so would Pop, and probably your other grandparents.  You are a part of your mother and father, made from their own cells, and they were made of the cells of your grandparents. The kind of love we have for you is the highest love God has given to us.  It is the kind of love He has for His own Son Jesus.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)  When you feel as if no one loves you, as if the whole world hates you, remember this:  you are loved!
I already love you to pieces.  I can’t wait to meet you in person and hold you!  What fun we will have!

Teacher Tuesday: Worth Remembering (FOLK Magazine Journal Challenge)

Today marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover, and FOLK Magazine’s 2013 Journal Challenge urges us to reflect on the importance of remembering.  It has been said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.  Remembering past mistakes and making corrections is critical for eventual success.
But what about remembering family and/or religious traditions?  Are those important?  The Jewish and Christian faiths place great importance on remembrance of religious traditions.  The Passover itself was instituted by God as an annual remembrance of His deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.  So is it important to remember family or religious traditions?
I say, yes, very much so.  Just as the Christian church observes traditions such as the Lord’s Supper, baptism, singing familiar hymns, and having Sunday School classes, families observe certain traditions as well.  What would Christmas and Thanksgiving be without traditions?  How many families do we know who put up a Christmas tree every year or have a turkey dinner every Thanksgiving?
Are these traditions important?  I believe they are very important, especially to children.  They provide security–a constant in an unpredictable world.  They provide connections to previous generations, and opportunities to spend time with people we would ordinarily not take the time to visit.  We often do not even realize that we are creating traditions with our families when we really are.  
I started a simple tradition in my home to help celebrate our birthdays.  One year I bought a cheap foil banner with the words “Happy Birthday” and placed it across the top of our entertainment center over the television.  I had gotten into the habit of placing birthday cards received on the top of the entertainment center and thought a banner would be a good way to show them off.  I have done this every year for each birthday since the children were small.  One year I couldn’t find the banner, and my daughter asked where it was.  I dug a little deeper in the drawer where I keep it, and there it was, so up it went.  Traditions do matter.  Our children count on them.
What traditions do you feel are important?

AT HOME MONDAY: To the East Coast from a Southerner

Today was not a good day for those on the East Coast of the U.S.A.  Tomorrow may be even worse farther inland.  Hurricane Sandy wobbled into our homeland today, and she did it with a vengeance.  Not only that, she chose the most heavily populated region of the country to make her appearance.  The cities along our Eastern shore are even collectively called Megalopolis because it is like one huge city, especially if you see the lights of our Atlantic shore from space.

The images on TV don’t begin to explain the devastation that is being felt.  As cameras record the collapse of homes, roads, businesses, and beaches, I wonder about the people whose lives are represented by those properties.  For many who evacuated as advised, there will be no home to return to, no work to report to, no road to drive, no “same old same old” to resume.

I guess my message is this, and it is to myself more than anyone who might be reading this:  when I complain because my floor coverings need replacing I need to remember that at least my floors are not covered with three feet (or more!) of filthy water.  When I complain about my raggedy furniture I need to remember that at least it is still dry and comfy.  When I dread cleaning my house I should remember that at least I have a house to clean.  And when I complain about the endless little things that irritate or annoy or require something of me, I should remember that I have a warm home, a car to drive, clean water to drink, and grocery stores with full shelves.  

We have so much to be thankful for.  And not that we should be boastful, but that we should be deeply grateful for what God has given us today, for the blessings we have today, because we don’t know what may come tomorrow.  We don’t know when our homes might be washed away, when our food and water may run out, when illness or death may greet us.  These thoughts would be scary indeed if we didn’t know the One who promised to be with us “always, even unto the end of the world.”  (Matthew 28:20)

So, I would say to those along the East Coast who are facing loss, injury, and devastation:  turn to the One who gave you all that you have.  He will see you through.