Taping My Mouth

Photo by Zoë Reeve on Unsplash

I love to read. But I haven’t mastered the art of organizing what I’m learning.

So I often read something, try it, and then forget it’s something I want to do. Like keeping my mouth closed!

Last year I was tested for sleep apnea and discovered I have a mild case. Sleep is much improved if I sleep on my side AND if I sleep with my mouth closed. I actually read the book Breath by James Nestor last year and learned so much about how we should breathe. It’s definitely worth your time.

However, like many things, I tucked the book away (or returned it to the library) and promptly forgot about it. When I was going through withdrawal for my headaches, I remembered that Nestor said headaches were often the result of sleeping with one’s mouth open.

I’m back to mouth taping and side sleeping– and it helps!

The larger question for me is why I struggle with doing what works. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself as I have developed a morning routing that -for the most part- I am able to stick with. Adding nose breathing back into the mix isn’t so hard. I am even trying to maintain this during my daily walks!

Today I am going to organize thoughts from books I’ve read in the past two years. I imagine I will find myself saying, “Oh, that’s right!!!” several times.

Still, better late than never.

Ten Years

When I was about to turn 60, I decided I should start a blog for 60-somethings, a journal of sorts to remember and share what I was going through. I couldn’t believe I was that old! Well, I think I managed one post before I abandoned it.

And now I am about to turn 70, which sounds about as old as 60 did ten years ago. The only thing that’s changed is how I look at the world, myself, and my relationships.

I will continue sharing what I’m learning here. I can’t wait until I am almost 80 to see if my topics have changed. Somehow I envision lots of posts about getting older, and that’s ok because that’s where I am. That 18 year old, sitting by the side of the road in Amsterdam with a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese, thinking she was all that and more, had no idea how her life would turn out. There have been many dark times, moments filled with regret, days when I wondered if I was losing my mind. And yet here I am, excited about this next decade and feeling grateful for all I have in my life.

Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end.–Gilda Radner

Stay tuned.

Learning to Live With the Loss

Anne Lamott said missing someone who has died is much like a broken leg that doesn’t heal well. You simply learn to live with the limp. Since my mom’s death on January 28, I’ve been learning to do that. Part of me doesn’t feel quite right, though the healing is happening. I still ask myself how she could have gone from being fairly healthy in this photo taken in December to dying at the end of January. But I am so grateful that if it was her time, she left us before this virus crisis.

She would not have understood why I couldn’t visit, why she would be restricted to her room to avoid contact with other residents, why I couldn’t be there to hold her hand. But I was there.

She wanted her ashes to be mixed with Dad’s, so I have the urn in my home. I can walk by and pat it, saying hello to them and staying close. Once we bury them together in Rhode Island this summer in a cemetery near their beloved river, I will miss them. I may grieve all over again. But I am preparing myself for what it will mean to no longer have them in my life.

Sabra Ely Carter, David Giles Carter

The Waiting

I thought I would be ready for this.

After being with my father during his death, and the long grieving process I’ve gone through with my mother during her Alzheimer’s, I was sure I could handle this.

But losing a parent is never easy, regardless of circumstances or relationship.

We are keeping vigil, watching Mom slip away from us. She has wanted this for some time, so I am settled and accepting. Yet, there are moments when I kiss her forehead or squeeze her hand that I am fully aware it may be the last time.

“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.”
E.A. Bucchianeri


Sleepless in Fredericksburg

Why is that light on? Have I had dinner yet? Is today Christmas? Did you ever know your Dad?

It seems that Mom is all questions these days. Her Alzheimer’s is slow-growing. Is that even a way to describe it? We first noticed changes in her as Dad was dying ten years ago, though we attributed much of it to grief and stress. A year later, we realized she had changed, and the long journey began.

These days, she does little for herself. Nurses provide her meds and daily care. Her food is prepared and served at regular times. She has given up solitaire, church, even friends. I visit nearly every day, volunteer — exercise, anyone? — and keep her room organized and supplies updated. Is it enough? Probably not in her mind.

That means I am often waking at 3am wondering if she is ok. Is her bed dry? Is she bored? Will it upset her if we bring her to the house for the holidays? And truth be told, do I even want to?

Still, I am glad she knows me. I appreciate (most of the time) events with her like the party at the assisted living facility where she now lives. She has a “boyfriend” who sits at her dining table, though she forgets about him once he returns to his own room. Soon, she will struggle with knowing who I am. She will retreat into herself.

I wonder if I’ll start sleeping again.