A podcast that listens, hears, and offers wisdom & hope from caregivers who have lived the experience.

A Supportive Podcast for those Dealing with a loved one with Memory Loss

Honoring & Healing with Paul Travers (Overcoming Challenges)

Honoring & Healing with Paul Travers (Overcoming Challenges)

00:00:01 – 00:05:14

Welcome to fading memories. A podcast with advice wisdom and hope from caregivers who have lived the experience and survived. Tell the tale. Think of us as your caregiver. Best friend when. I learned that despite eating as healthy as possible. We can still have undernourished brains. I was frustrated. I also live in a farming community. So i’m aware that our food isn’t grown as well as we need learning about neuro reserves relevant and how it’s formulated to fix this problem. Convince me to give them a try now. I know many of you are skeptical. As was i however i know it’s working because of one simple change. My sweet tooth is gone. I didn’t expect that and it’s not something other users have commented on. Here’s some truth. My brain always wanted something sweet now. Fruit usually did the trick but not always one bad night’s sleep would fire at my sugar cravings so much they were almost impossible to ignore you. Ever have your brain screaming for a donut. Well for me. Those days are gone. It’s been about six months since i started taking the supplement and i have no regrets. I believe in my results. So much that i’m passing on my fifteen percent discount to you try it for two or three months and see if you have a miraculous sweet tooth cure or maybe just better focus and clarity. It’s definitely worth a try. The discount link is in the show notes. All of us have crossroads in life challenges. We have to overcome those of us. Who have had the experience of caring for apparent with alzheimer’s seem to have more crossroads and more challenges coping with the disease. What it does to everyone’s life even the eventual end poses decisions and heartache. How can we are loved ones while also healing ourselves. Can we do this while. They’re still alive in this episode. I talked to paul travers author of dancing with the mountains inspired by his dying father’s dream of hiking. The appalachian trail. Paul hits the trail and finds a miracle. The healing powers of america’s sacred mountains more than travelogue. This is a love story about fathers and sons families battling alzheimer’s and the people and places along the appalachian trail sprinkled with humor and humanity. Dancing with the mountains is a spiritual story about love life and healing. Thank you for joining us paul. I have read the entire book. And we’re going to talk about that today. But i i. I’d like for you to tell the listeners about yourself and your dad because you did. This is about a six month hike. Six lasted over two years to injuries in two thousand nine. I was ready to retire from Employment with the federal government. And at that time. My father had been three years in a nursing home with alzheimer’s in late stage late stages of the disease and a by chance. I was going through my desk cleaning out my stuff and i found this old newspaper article from probably early eighties about pike in the appalachian trail and right away. That connected me. Because i i first chapter i tell about my father and i. We were to state park when i was nine years old and my father said one day. We’re gonna hike the appalachian trail. Here it is. i’m nine years old. You know. I got my crock at hat and i got you know. A pen knives Kane and i thought boy that sounds exotic. I had no idea what the appalachian trail was. It’s like daniel boom but You know the years passed and my father. Never got to hike because my father had a war injury sustained in the pacific. We’re almost lost his foot and it kind of hindered his dream of becoming a park policeman. He couldn’t become a mailman because he had trouble walking and he walked was strange gate so after that he settled for career as a window. Clark with the post office which is now the postal service. So i was at the point of retirement. My family had been battling alzheimer’s for about five years. Now with three years of my father in a nursing home in it it was wearing the family down especially my mother. My mother was crushed by psalmist. Is this was the darkest light of her sold at that tested her faith and religion to which foundations. So i said i said to my wife cathy. I said you know. I said i would like to find the give some purpose in meeting to my mother for this illness and i said appalachian trail hike said always want to do because i was always kind of a a physically oriented guy you know.

00:05:14 – 00:10:05

I used to run marathons had foot injuries. And i couldn’t run anymore so i said hiking the appalachian trail that connected me back to that incident at the state. Park my father. So i was a little leery about doing this because my mother you know she was battling illness with cancer and essence. I was a caregiver for my father. Will so i felt like maybe i was abandoned. The family doma mother. Bless this idea that you know dude this. You’ve got to do this. you know. And it was for the alzheimer’s association so that that that was the genesis of the seat of the hike. Let me ask a question about your debt when he said that someday. We’re gonna hike the appalachian trail. Was that just like a pipe. Dream like the whole time. I’m reading the book. i’m thinking. He only mentioned it. The one time and it stuck with you or was it something he talked about. You know and you said he. That’s not something. He would have been able to manage because of his war injury. So take me to that spot. That sparked your journey but i was always curious. I wonder why they never did anything. Even you know part of the trail. Or maybe i don’t know why he said a one time incident or event and my father was always outdoor oriented. I mean we would visit parks. We would go a national park but my father could not walk on distances. i mean it just. He couldn’t do it physically. Conduit and aga- said he walked with strange gate almost like a limp and that just for some reason it was like getting struck by lightning bolt Like the appalachian trail. It sounded you know like a pioneer thing like the wild west thing that was you know an american explorer thing just stuck with me and then afterwards In that chapter. I mentioned the fact that years later actually became a park ranger and this happened at a place called go state park which is just west of baltimore and i was assigned to protest to state park and it was like i remember sitting in a parking lot. You know my first couple days the drop Remember my father said. We’re gonna hike gap elation trails that that idea always stuck with me and then i you know being a park ranger you had friends who had high appalachian trail and i over the years. I had high various small sections in a west virginia maryland and pennsylvania but never really didn’t big chunk of it so you know then idea was always in tobacco my mind and most people when they retire. They want you know vacation in the bahamas or hawaii now. I talked my voice a the appalachian trail for it for that year. Two thousand one hundred seventy eight point three miles. That’s insane how far let’s see. I’m in california near in maryland. Isn’t that hike about the same distance from between us. I’m here with us. get your past. I guess denver out there. Yeah okay so we’ll get you the continental divide and at that point. It’s gonna get real tough exactly. I don’t know. I think still suggest united airlines. So you decided that you’re going to do this but you did it slightly before you retired. His he worked for the federal government. A few little hiccups getting to the retirement process. Do you wanna talk about that or okay because that was interesting considering current state of being i became kind of a counterculture road to the younger hikers. Because i was retiring. And i was part of. I signed whistle blowers complaint. Basically we had been denied financial benefits over the years. And where i worked. I worked at a government agency to grant security clearances and we were all civilian except for the management which was the command staff. Were all military so it was a strange hybrid. So i thought well i’m retiring. I’m going to go on lease. Yeah i’ll sign onto this never thinking other repercussions and then when we. When i was on the trail at five dan just entering the smoky mouse. I call home wife. Said you gotta come home. She said the fbi came to our house. They want to search the house for weapons chemicals or explosives because people in the workplace had made allegations of violent and abusive behavior workplace.

00:10:05 – 00:15:04

Westward never substantiate and the people i worked with people in media allegations i had never worked with which it was the trump situation. I had to come home. The trail for three days had to hire a lawyer meet with the fbi. A lawyer out eventually. The charges were Weber fall the allegations or the investigation was closed favorably. But the tommy lasted about The long arm of the government right you know people were out to protect their job because the military job or shifting over to civilian job so one day these people will doubt as colonel intended colonels the next day they were walking in and senior executive positions. So you know once. They had me out of the system. I had no recourse to address any grievances such as a financial misconduct in the workplace. So our normally talk sixty ninety days to retire toke made three. I met with my lawyer on wednesday after we met with the fbi. Agents said why. I said i gotta get back to trail so my wife was pushing me out the door because she was home by now so i give back on the trail that friday i call home and my wife said you gotta email from the office of personnel management Warranty saying as close of business today. You officially retired on the federal goal. So and then my lawyer told me that my case had the commanding general’s interest and at the time this would belong to the lady with two stars on their shoulder. So yeah this request for an inspector general’s investigation It garnered a lot of tension from the high ups in the military made for a great trail story. Got me a lot of free beers. All was the longest free beer run. I think maybe history of long distance hiking which that’s one of the things that i found interesting is all the people that fed you and i can’t say wine and dine but beer and dined doesn’t sound quite right but i did want to point out. My dad was also marine. My dad’s would have been eighty this year and so he was also stationed at camp pendleton. But he never he managed to sneak between wars and skirmishes and all the ugly things that we ended up doing some time. So when i read that in the book as like a high i know that play one of the reasons. My dad only lasted four years in the military. No i take that back. He wasn’t at kampen. he was a twenty nine palms. Okay my brain’s not working too well today. I don’t know he must have done stuff at camp pendleton. ’cause i had a connection when i read it but twenty nine palms was not his his ideal living environment. No twenty nine poems was. That’s not where you wanted to go because we do cam penalty utilizing we would do. We would have exercises at twenty nine fox though we call it. Go into the desert. You don’t wanna go to the desert at twenty nine paul. There was basically nothing there now he used to say. They raked the sand into grasp patterns. Yep and he never. He never liked it hot. There was even twenty nine. Paul twenty nine palm. Do you think of twenty nine palms aces with green screen. No nothing like that at all. So i thought that was kind of an interesting connects to look back through the family stuff and figure out where the camp pendleton connection is anyway. Just a side note so you decide to do this. Almost three thousand mile hike. That takes about six months and you were well. let’s see you are this is prior to your expedited retirement. You and your your wife never planned to do the whole thing. Because it was still working. At the time she had a retired okay but that was not her forte. Walk that many miles. No she just. God blesses you just want to be part of the hike. She wanted to hike the first one hundred miles in the last one hundred miles and it turned out to be the first fifty miles in the last fifty miles but my wife is you know i would say. She’s athletic but she’s not long distance hiker so she just wanted to be part of what. We called harms hype. That was the name of the hike. Now where exactly where i was going. So you decide to do her hike as a fundraiser for the alzheimer’s association you wanna tell us how you manage manage to raised. Your goal was ten thousand dollars. You almost got there just over. Seven thousand good money yes for basically.

00:15:04 – 00:20:02

This was a grass roots movement. I had some local publicity. Unfortunately i couldn’t go on her any national publicity events were promotion. I try my darnedest. That’s the way things work out. But you know i felt then. I met some people on the trail on after the my hike that had done raises for Various i would say charities And diseases and they said they said paulie pretty good. They said you did real good. They said you were averaging like free dollars a mile like three. I think it broke down like three dollars and fifty five percents or so. He said you know. You should be proud of that fact. And i have to say that the fact that i was hiking for the alzheimer’s association i had little cards at hand into people. It roy opened the door for me. A lot of people’s lives in a lot of people stories on the trail so yeah it was a good thing all way around. It kept me. Motivated know in times of Despair when you’re a mostly mentally physically drained exhausted because the trail becomes at first. It’s physical A you’re halfway through it. It becomes a mental battle Every all the miles the the same after a while until you get to the white mountains and then you know you’re in the mount because they say once you reach new england you done eighty percent of the trail but only twenty percent of work and i said well i thought maybe it’s ninety percent of the trail only ten percent of the work because of one once you hit the white mountains. Do you get the macintosh. It was it was very difficult. Strenuous hard hiking but The rewards of being up on the mountain ridge lines or you know what had vision from the store that was my himalayas. Mount washington was my mount everest and it was. It was a joy to hike in the white house. it didn’t sound like it or read like a joy it sounded extremely terrifying and difficult and there was many times you were by yourself which also doesn’t sound super it doesn’t sound like that’s the ideal way to go about it. No if i tell people if you want to hike. At as section. Mike take three months one section. Come back the next summer. Like three one. But you know since. I was hike and for the alzheimer’s and i got hurt in two thousand nine. You how i felt. The kind of pressure was on on made made to complete to hike. And i deliberately left early because i wanted to be one of the area what they call. No boats northbound irs. Because i wanted to stay at the in the white mountains where you can work for stay. That was an interesting section of the book of the journey that you could do that and it worked. Well i got to stay. I think because. I was an older guy right on pushing sixty years old now back then i would go to one of these huts sign all stood normally. They only take maybe five seven people. But since i was one of the early hikers i i was always a short waiting lists so i would joe and your job be like washing dishes sweeping floors this cleaning out a freezer but i guess people debating one of the crew there man by the crew the cro. And they’re just college kids and they do a tremendous job with these huts and hugs for basically for taking tourists and then in the evening the crew puts on a skit or they fewer everything under there. There’s no sacred cow gets so when evening would come. You would work. And then you got to eat the leftovers and also you’ve got to sleep endorse but new orleans At eight sign me too sweeping floors or washing dishes in. Maybe fifteen minutes later so might combined paul. That’s okay you donna off. Okay you’ll get something a couple of the heights. I begin ready to lay my sleeping bag out on the dining room for which was a community room community area and some of a tap on the shoulder and say you know. We have a bunk into bag. If you’d like you can sleep in. The bunk saw my hats off to the appellation map club people on the huts because they really looked out for me. And it’s not as it more freesheet denosov bit me on the trail and then when you woke up the next morning if you want to stay after breakfast you have breakfast leftovers most hikers.

00:20:02 – 00:25:02

You know they’re in a hurry to get out the door. Put some miles on on on the trail. But i usually stayed for breakfast hoping for some bacon but by the time people went for second and third the baking was all gone. But you had plenty of pancakes. Well my husband and i are cyclists and the the most strenuous cycling. We’ve done as sixty five mile rides. Most of those are charity rides which compared to a t you know. Sounds like a ride around the block which it’s not but you gotta fuel up properly and pancakes is a good way to fuel up. But you’re going to have the protein to keep you keep you going to at least lunch but i laugh because i’ve got two golden retrievers and the older one is the girl and holy man. That dog she loves her bacon. And you know we’re we’re getting a little older husbands on blood thinners now you’re trying to really our nutrition or diet was pretty good bacon not really a great thing to eat. The dog is disappointed on us because we cut back even further on our you know three or four pieces of bacon in a week so it’s cracked up you are h- you’re hoping for bacon and i just immediately thought of the dogs there. The table like please feed me some big. That was one of the mantras on trail. People would say you got fuel. The machine Up and i lost quite a bit of weight and it got be noticed by towards the at the end of nine when i fell in vermont. You know people are saying you seeing you yourself. Pointedly and i started off by weighing after sitting behind a desk drinking coffee doughnuts for thirty years. I was weighed about one. Three or four. And when i got home and after i fell in vermont i weighed. Oh just on one hundred sixty pounds so that was my wife. Said she says my god she says you got the muscle built of a ten year old. Boy you lost. All this muscle mass. The upper chest. And i did. Because i got the point where i was continue. I was constantly hungry continuously eating yet. I couldn’t seem to put on a come on anyway. ’cause opposite barney calories off so much all of with all the hiking again it. It’s not like i mean there’s like hand over hand climbing up rock. Kinda high is not just. All walk in there was climbing. it was some rough sections in there. But i want to back up a little bit before we get to the injury in vermont. That sidelined you for one season or the the remainder of the o. Nine season is probably a better way of putting it. This whole journey was very very spiritual for you and you are with us. You’ll always like to say a former ultra boy and that was that was my when people say it will cause i. You guys read the book. I met a lot of religious people whether it be pastors ministers. And when they say would you background. I would say old as soon as i said all the boy they knew you. Roman catholic s questions Further and found. I stood nonwhite roman catholic. I said polish catholic. Instead you know. I said the pope polish. You don’t get any more than that they would just laugh but Yeah i think that was my response to people was old the boy in immediately. They know what i was talking about. So do you wanna talk a little bit about the spiritual part of this whole journey. Because i’m not sure most people could do this without having some of the experiences that you had. I think i don’t know it’s not a journey. I wanna attempt so. I will live vicariously through you because i i started off with the idea of raising money but he also susan back on my mind. I was going to prove this sixty was the new forty. I realized i was one of the older hikers out there. But i never gave it much thought about a spiritual journey probably until i started meeting people. Oh jeez within the first week i met this gentleman more jordan he was up to. I quit who’s on first trail magic for my wife. And i who went by the name of rainbow bright which was of bright so he had candy bars and some coke some stuff in the water and he. He was a big burly guy and he had an army field jacket on and he had a puppy in his hands. And he’s wearing long pants and he’s got the Sandals with socks so we’ve got the talk and he was a former army ranger it billed himself as a christian warrior and a trail mystic. So he says. Paulie said you’re going to be out there said alone with your thoughts. He said for six months. He said you’re probably gonna relive every detail in your life over a bad ten thousand times which would probably estimate he said you’re going to get out there and start asking yourself questions about. Why are you here. Why you’re on the trail which the purpose of your existence and life and that was star. And then i got to my wife.

00:25:02 – 00:30:11

I got we climbed. We came down blood mountain after almost being washed down the mountain light before in our tent at the wally see year. Which is a map now. Sitters and there. We met a lady by the name of suzy. Miles who had a trill ministry and she was cooking hamburgers for hikers. So we got to talk about you know. Her trail ministry and i told her Then when she was asking my trail name. And i said well. I said it started out rainman because thought like the rain waffen rain but after the first sixty days forty two were in the rain people said. Now you’re not rainman. Do not rain dance. You don’t have a name yet. So i said it’s just paul. I said i thought about paul on the road to damascus. Little pretentious right down in the south there and she said she said i like that she said it is paul on the road to damascus. And she says as you go down and trail. She says not connecting the dots in your life and that would eventually end up becoming the cosmic dot said your life which came your cosmic portrait in your life and at the end. You know. I came to firmly believe we’re all connected life and that’s what i preach to my mother. Once i got home and my father passed away at the very end of a book. I call it the wednesday with any kind of take off when tuesdays with morrie famous bestselling book and my mother. I would just sit and talk now like father in some way to wolf friends. Who had journeyed many years down the road of life and we talked about nothing was off the table. Whether you you know what you did as a teenager your former friend your former girlfriend anything and my mother would always say you know. I’m ready to die. I’m dying from cancer on the white gods take make throughout his always. I can’t believe that god will let bad things happen to good people like your father and finally. When i got done i would give the answer. I say mom. It’s because we’re all connected in life. Everything is for purpose. We may not see your understand that purpose here but it is. I said there may be one person in the nursing home that was affected by you or cough. i said. and that’s what i call. The cosmic connected back get goosebumps. You’re talking about that. Because six my mother was when my father went to nursing mother little bit into spare in. What can i do. My mother became a nursing home. Became kind of her own personal ministry. And i tell people my mother little polish lady right. Anyone mother stood probably about five foot. Four she was maybe one hundred pounds soaking wet which she approached that. Would i call her. The energizer bunny because she was always at the nursing home comforting or helping people in any way that she could you know in addition to my father. So you know the spiritual part of the journey for me was was seeing my personal journey. Seeing my father’s journey in his battle with alzheimer’s will one note on your mom she was rosie the riveter during world war two. Yes it was a here. Here’s a little sides. My mother was working a machine and got her hair caught and my mother was always proud of her hair so they had to stop the machine and cut her hair. Get her out of the the my mother you know like i said the Ice to joke about a little polish lady she was toughest nails and and she weather storm with my father’s disease bound a purpose and kind of her own personal ministry at home and and i think at the very end you know. She was just she was assigned to say. You sound like you’re hippie. Friends from you know the sixties and seventies. She’s like a new age mystic esser. Now i’m i said i said look she’s and then she would always talk about. She said a wonder what is like on. I know because you know this was Still affair with my father. And i said i said well look i said you know being at nature i got was said. Look what god does was nature. I said imagine what he can do with your dreams. I said heaven is ju- treatment is and that. I think that really struck a nerve for her because we we would banter back and forth joke lead. I’ll bet oh yes. You’re going to be loved ones and icy bombay-man tightness of personnel whenever loved Tiny dicey goes. I says what apple talk. That’s what i would say to. Heaven is made of drinks which i really liked not being a religious person. Sometimes people’s i don’t wanna say opinions because that sounds that doesn’t sound right their belief in what they think. Heaven is doesn’t doesn’t float with me and doesn’t jive with wi- thoughts but that one does. I like like that when i’m going to hang onto that one and i had a quick question on ’cause you use the term trail magic but i wanted to tell the listeners that you found this suzy who did her trail ministry by following your nose because of the hamburger smell which i really liked.

00:30:11 – 00:35:02

’cause i know when when you’re out there riding your bike or hiking you smell. I mean i always know. It’s time to fill up with my. You know i’ll be pedaling. And it’s like cheeseburger cheeseburger. Geez it’s like okay. I need to feel up because the brain is brain is telling me something and it’s always burgers. It’s really i just. I thought that was really funny. But there’s trail angels in trail magic you wanna tell the listeners. What that’s like for those people who are never going to venture onto eighteen like you did yes trail angels. Are those people who you meet along the trail. Who do you kind of do a favor. And that or favor is called trail match and a lot of time that the intersex people couples families whatever they would set up tents the canopy tense. They would have the grills out and they would be cooking hamburgers hot dogs. As they’d have you know array ups of salads for hikers Soda ice tea. Water desserts for you so whenever you got a major like I would say county voter state road. You know you’re always look out man trail magic or people would leave coolers alongside the road with bags full of goodies. And yeah that was always highlight of your day when you found real magic and i was the recipient of a lotta trail magic you know in various forms along the trail us. Go ahead if your if your listeners ever get out to one of these trails the beginning. Oh pacific crest connell. Divide appalachian drone. They wanna do a good deed. You know get a styrofoam cooler. Some air put some candy bars or cookies narrowly but aside the trail and put a little sign on their trail magic. And it’s for for great makes your day. I believe it. So you said pacific chris trail. We’re going on a three week. Road trip up the west coast so might have to do that. Yes you’ll be paranoid. Certain parts of the pacific crest trail. Yeah okay well. I will definitely look that trail up and whenever we connect to the right places. I’ll see what i can do about spreading my own trail magic that’ll be. That’ll be fun. I like to be a tree angel. I like it as as opposed to my typical heavens devil persona so you also met some pretty unique characters. I would say one step removed from some famous people who who touched you the most and why because the this whole time you just keep seeming to have like spiritual revelations in a lot of times it was tied into who you met or who you thought you meant other than the guardian angel incident without. Tell her to by the book. Guy back my gordon. Angel and clinton’s don’t want the incidents that touched me. The most you know where i fill unto laurel creek and thought i had drowned and met this woman in a woods who i thought with mind. Deceased aunt who was a non passed away in nineteen forties with touched me the most with the people. I’m at that were affected by alzheimer’s and they’re seemingly every state i go to I run into somebody who was affected by the disease and the first incident happened in Run hiawassee a snowstorm. It closed in mountains so trying to drama business for the height and ended up this pawn shop and it was like out of the twilight zone. Woken or nobody’s there and it was all these stringed instruments top rate. I line instruments guitars. Banjos fiddles mandolins. You know fender gil martin. And i’m not a musician. Liked that. But then i hear this. Can i help you young man. So carol underwood came from behind a door and he’s always said license coffee so we had some coffee. Says he says come on back in the garage of auto garage. I go in the back of the garage. He had created like mini grand old opry stage and i was there around lunchtime in different. People came in with their instruments. They were just having a jam session so he said. Did you play in high. School played a little bass guitarist that they got me bass guitar on. I plunked along. And when i got done it passed around the hat because he told people i was hiking for. Y’all some association. I think i’ve raised like fifty something bucks and from a handful of people and that was leaving this big burly guy. He had hands like tetris minutes. Right and he’s probably in his late seventies so Doors he says paulison gonna talk to your for sure thing. He said he Almost had tears is he.

00:35:03 – 00:40:03

I had to put my wife in a nursing home for alzheimer’s two weeks ago. He said he said i applaud. What you’re doing. he said. Remember this failure is not an option on your height johnny. Oh boy here comes the pressure now. So that was one incident and it seemed like there were a number of incidents as i went through the hike. One of the touching mon was. I was up in connecticut. The falls village and it was early morning. This lady was out for a walk. So i stopped there as i said you know like a coffee shop around A cup of coffee and donuts so we started talking about the hike sudden tears tears streaming down her face and she reaches out and she grabbed me in a bear hawk. Jeez i said you know. And then she steps away an apology. Says i’m so sorry paul. I’m so sorry. She said my father was diagnosed with alzheimer’s she said six months ago and committed suicide and it was like it was like for the rest of the day. Those tears were stained on my shirt. And i i could not get thought this woman out of my mind. I thought about her everyday. That’s because later on the day. I met a woman in a few would probably in her mid fifties and she was with her mom and dad. They will hike and taking a short hike. And i recognize the lady. I just looked at her. I knew because she says she says my mom has alzheimer’s she said i to get around sides. He enjoys this and it was like. Wow here’s both end of the spectrum. No woman a caregiver for her mother gets around a trail itchy active as as much as she could. And then you have a gentleman who decided you know. I can’t live with says to season. Took his own life. There were there. Were a number of incidents like that. Here here’s my funny one. I’m climbing. i’m a new york climbing. Dan bear mountain ready to go into the zoo. And these two older ladies pull up in a mess. They had to be early eighties silver-haired ladies and he said young man they said. Can you go directions. The west point. And i had been to west point a number of times when i worked for the government and my daughter went up there one time to visit the campus. I knew a little bit about the area. So i give them directions and one lady she says. Do you mind if i ask your personal question. I got this a number of times. She’s a little old to be out here doing. This told her about her website raising money for alzheimer’s so they said okay zone. Watch them they did. It was a big parking lot because it was a nice sized state park there. So monsoonal and i told them the term right to get allen road and turn left the head north. They turn left. I call him back around. Apartment says jesus said packet they understand the instructions so they pull up the me again. They roll down the window in a lace. A want you to have this gene me a twenty dollar bill and she said my husband is in a nursing home for alzheimer’s she said i will pray every night that you successfully complete the height all they want this time. They turned right towards the west point but there were numerous stories like that of people i met. Whose families were you know affected by or they were doing the alzheimer’s disease. Well you could tell from my background. I’m part of the alzheimer’s association as well. But i connected tremendously with the story about the the woman with her parents. Because i used to take my mom to a regional park nearby was about a ten minute drive from the care home that she lived in. She was advanced alzheimers. So a ten minute drive felt like forever for her so any further was it got stressful for the two of us so as we’re very blessed because there’s two regional parks one of which is pretty flat as a pool. We’d go watch the following summer like this is twenty eighteen. We’d go watch the kids in the swimming pool. Always tell people where like the creepy old ladies watching the kids only. I’m not old anyway. But yeah i used to take her to the regional park. It was even though some of the trails had minor slope upwards. She could handle it but she got to. The point where her visit processing was so bad she would try to avoid walking on her own shadow. Which was hysterical and frustrating all to save time and. I’m really glad that we managed to do that. And i took her out all the time we like. I said we’d go to the park and watch kids. It got harder so thankfully we started going to a park. Probably two miles from where she she lived and we just watched all the kids. And i i’ve told people last year and this year i was so blessed.

00:40:04 – 00:45:00

She fell and broker leg and that was the last straw for her body dealing with the alzheimer’s and she passed away march. Thirty first twenty twenty. And i did not have to figure out what i was gonna do for her with her. I mean there was not not kids in the park. You could not go to the library. I mean everything we did was gone so i’m very grateful that we didn’t have to deal with that and i don’t even know i didn’t see her. The last two weeks of her life. I did hear the day before. I don’t know what would have happened. April may june of twenty twenty because we all know it was just it would have been a huge challenge. But it the coverted yeah. I can’t imagine a families who couldn’t see their loved ones. Was you know no one. I advocated a lot last year for especially once we got into the summer of two thousand twenty. Is that you know. I understand taking precautions to prevent them from getting coverted because covert on top of alzheimer’s is definitely a death sentence in my my humble armchair physician opinion and it just i understood that but the isolation was so bad for them and i the people that were taking care of loved ones in home who are also now their caregivers were coming in the adult day programs were closed. I mean it was like they were all walked in solitary confinement. It was just horrible for everybody. And i am hoping and i hope i can somehow be part of this process in some way. I don’t know exactly which way yet to basically say okay. That was really ugly. Let’s figure out a better way to handle something like this. My mom’s community had had a really big flu outbreak in the winter of two thousand eighteen. And shinya they were. This was one of the typical assisted living memory care communities. It was so bad they had to shut the dining room down in the assisted living portion of the community and serve everybody’s meals in their rooms. Which is what they did during kovin which okay so they kind of had a trial run but you know to keep people out of the care homes. I did go back to my mom’s care home the day before. Halloween and i delivered handmade greeting cards and little treats and little fun things and so they did let me in so that was obviously in the fall. Well before we were passed the really bad part. So i don’t really know what their protocols were but we can’t we can’t lock them up to keep you can’t lock them away to keep them safe from one thing and kill them with isolation so we got to. I’m hoping that we’ve learned a lot of things about community and in not being isolated in my brain is trying really hard not to remember the opposite of isolation the connections the human connections. And all that. I think is so important some hoping that we find better ways of dealing with these kinds of things and i hope i’m fifty four. I hope that. I don’t have to deal with this again for wrestling. That will that’s a goal at my paternal grandmother lived two hundred three. So i’m very convinced that i have you know another fifty years to go so i. There’s some jeans there yes sir. My maternal grandmother lived to ninety one with vascular dementia. So i’ve told people that stubbornness is genetic on both sides of my family. So you know you’re stuck with me so let’s see there was a question i was gonna ask you that we say guede and i love it when my brain does this what what did you get out of this. This hike that you’re taking with you as you as you live another thirty forty years while maybe thirty ’cause that was about twelve years ago when we didn’t really talk about alzheimer’s and it still kind of taboo subject which we have to also have to fix at what i tell. People kinda spurred this book on i. I had a childhood friends who married and they were. They were going to be married Other going to celebrate their fortieth anniversary and she came down with alzheimer’s in her late fifties. Bill passed away a couple of years ago. And i’ve known these people cheese. Since i was like ten years old and it really struck me that okay. It wasn’t toy after my mother’s death at the pieces started to fold together for the book. And then i was. I was kinda ambivalent about doing this because in people what we got enough said. It’s not a trailblazer said. It’s a love story. I said set against the background or love story set against the background of the appalachian trail. So when this lady came with dan with alzheimer’s and her husband you know he kept their home until the day she passed and it was another tremendous love story.

00:45:00 – 00:50:13

And i said wow i said i gotta i gotta finish this book. Tell my story just to give some hope and comfort defamatory affected by alzheimer’s and in essence tell them that there’s the purpose why their loved one came down with his disease i had mentioned earlier. We don’t know what it is you know. But we’re all kind of universally connected integrate cosmos. Here you know we’re getting back to the spiritual thing you know heaven and hell no personally. I don’t think so any warrant. We go back to whatever the creator. No whatever that. I don’t know what that may be. Could you read that. You read the chapter ed. Mcgaw the code medicine man and he. He was always call embrace the mystery. Because that’s what book religions today and he was talking about white man’s religions who said you know. They have a book to explain everything he said. No that’s that’s not what to native americans believe he said we religion to us from the heart not necessarily the head. We embrace these mysteries of the universe so it was like. Oh that that was. That was an experience meeting the eagle man and at the crazy horse monument. Let’s start. i liked that that that chapter supposedly. I have a three times. Great grandmother on my maternal side. That was a native american now. She didn’t show up in the dna testing my daughter. And i did now the twenty three and me. So i don’t know but it was recent family genetic tracing that my mom and my grandfather did in the late nineties early two thousands so it’s not one of those family lowers that you hear people say i you know great. Graham was a native american now they. They ran into trouble tracy in the family tree. Because apparently you know. Native americans don’t have government papers. I gonna to talk to me. So i don’t know i thought about redoing it not a priority at this point off to talk to my uncle. My mom’s younger brother but my mom always said things like everything happens for a reason when i was much younger adult like in my early. Twenty s sheets. Everything happens for a reason. It’s like lady if you tell me that one more time punch in the head because she always said that when like you got laid off from a job everything happens for a reason. While i’m not seeing a good reason for this thank you. Oh well you know. And she wasn’t wrong. That also was super irritates. Lady always said that was so irritating and yet you’re right it was. It was also irritating. Slow but i really third days. i think. I wonder what she’d say if she you know now she’s gone. Looks back and says well the reason. I got alzheimer’s was ex-. I’m kind of hoping i find that answer or someday know that answer. I might have to wait until after. I’m gone but that was kind of one of the things throughout reading the book was you kept saying connect the dots and we’re all connected cosmetically and just kept coming back to everything happens for a reason. I could’ve said that sound too good. You know and. I don’t know if that’s like you say it. And it’s a self appelt self fulfilling prophecy because you’re like obviously you get laid off so you have to find a new job. That’s a new path or whatever challenge you get tossed you gotta deal with it because apparently you can’t wait for the challenge to go away ’cause that what will happen so now i always kinda wondered. Is it really you know. Is it like the universe writing. Nope nope you’re on wrong path. We’re gonna go over this way now and this one of these days i gotta find an answer that question so i told people since. We’re all kanaya. I tell we’re here to serve other people. You may not know what the reason is. And it’s I stayed at the hostel called the greasy creek friendly. I remember that with the latest She was She had just founded a new church and she was on a own spirited and she was about a little younger than me so it was nice to talk and converse with somebody that you know about the same age so during our congress Sent her a couple nights because we got weather den and we were just talking. I was talking about my spiritual journey. She was talking about her spiritual journeys she said. Always remembers you. Go up the trail. She said you are the answer to someone else prayers. Wow that’s what it’s all about you know. Yeah if i can touch someone in a compassionate way you know in my daily life than that’s my purpose for being here so that was kinda that was kind of a mantra. I i go to sleep late i think. Yeah you’re the answer. The somebody’s prayers. Somebody you’ve met. Everyone you meet is is waging a battle facing a bowel daily life whether families battling with some kind of disease or some whatever some kind of substance abuse or some kind of personal emotional problems in it was if you can be the answer to somebody’s prayer.

00:50:14 – 00:54:10

Well that’s one of the reasons. I continue this podcast. Because i have learned so much from my listeners when i started i thought i had lots of advice to share. It didn’t take long to find out Maybe i didn’t and after my mom passed away you know people ask is still do the podcast and this in the middle of the pandemic. I didn’t have anything else to do. I basically retired from my portrait photography career. Because you can’t see people can’t take their pictures just seem like a good time to make a shift and you know that’s that’s kind of how i my husband. I my dad his father while rotarians so we all have heart service. And that’s just kind of you know. I have nothing better to do but to help as many people’s can’t so i kind of like they. You’re the answer to somebody else’s prayers. Although my initial reaction is oh please no not me yes you i. I ended the ball with the word. Nama stay that’s someone. Someone preached that to me on the trail. One day i was like i recognize devine’s or a divine spirit the divinity in you balance of that. That was like here it. Is you know the the old altar boy you know raise steeped in catholic ritual catholic tradition. Yeah mama stay. That sounds like of you. Limit this. Your program is the end of somebody who were reaching out and touching people. That’s you know. And i i. I salute june. I applaud you for that. The work that. You’re doing no for alzheimer’s families i hope to do more. That’s my plan. My next chapter to still try to figure it out a little bit. But i like nama stay and we will. We will end it there. Okay sounds good. It’s been a pleasure life after noon to speak with you. And i thank you for the invite. I hope this chat has made you interested in reading. Paul’s book dancing with the mountains. The link is in the show notes. I do this to help. Support the authors who give us their time to be on the show. I hope that some of them are interested enough that you also help support them. Coming up next week is a repeat guest roz jones. And she’s going to be talking to us about the differences between telehealth doctor’s appointments and in-person doctor visits when do one versus the other and all things doctor appointments. It’s definitely something you’re not gonna wanna miss so make sure you are subscribed or following depending on your podcast platform of choice and as always i will be in your ears again. Next tuesday. Coming up little blurb for me about something new coming down the road. Are you looking for relevant trustworthy. Health wellness and lifestyle information. I’m joining the launch of retreat. Retreat is a first of its kind free social media app that focuses solely on health wellness and lifestyle content. The platform hosts live interactive audio chats. Let only bhai vetted health experts while allowing experts and users to post and share videos pictures and thought pieces users can also meet others that share similar health and lifestyle challenges informing communities of like minded individuals. Retreat wants to empower people to share their experiences with others to guide them on a journey to better health and living. I’m joining. Because i wanna less crowded space to build a community of listeners. Caregivers and other experts watch my current social media feeds for more information about their official launch. Date think we’re all gonna love this new platform.