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    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013 edited
    It was a house like any other house in the same way Cary Grant was a guy like any other guy. Even through the thick snowflakes and the snow covered trees that hid parts of it, you could see people moving about in the warm looking rooms. There was always someone at the lodge, something was always on the stove in the kitchen, and there was always a fire crackling in several of the rooms.

    People dropped by telling their stories; someone was always leaving or arriving; someone wrote a poem; there was room for everyone at the christmas lodge. It wasn't actually a lodge or christmas and it certainly wasn't on the edge of forever or even anywhere.

    It didn't matter. What mattered was that everyone was welcome and if there was such a place then it wouldn't really matter where it was or what it was called because what mattered was that everybody knew there was room at the lodge for them where if they chose to during the christmas season, they could come and sit by the fire and talk about whatever they wanted.

    That was the thing about the lodge. It was just always there. And whether it was Wolf stoking the fires and cooking in the kithen or someone else didn't matter either.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013
    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.

    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013
    Bah! Humbug!

    - Scrooge before being scared out of his wits
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013
    I'm going to both post some christmas related things and hang out here. I would welcome any christmas rants or sharing what you're doing or not doing. The bottom line is that christmas can be tough and the boards can get quiet so during these holidays I've volunteered to annoy the readers at the christmas lodge.
    Great idea, Wolf. I don't need to rant and as far as sharing: I have gathered together a lot of our "stuff" we have accumulated over the years and called in neighbors, friends, friends of friends - take whatever you want and/or need and if you know someone who needs any of it - just take it. I have totally cleaned out his closet of clothes and shoes - they were taken by people who could wear and appreciate them; his Toby Mug collection went to my 'angel' handy-man, along with watches and other jewelry. So much stuff we had and I still have more. Groceries that I knew I wouldn't/couldn't eat - my good neighbors got those and the rest went to the local Food Pantry. I think I'm on a roll but will have to wait until after the holidays to finish that up. Christmas Eve - awww - when my son was murdered - I'm going to the Community Dinner and help serve the less fortunate ones; but it breaks my heart to see the poor children. Christmas Day - have gotten many invites but can't quite do that yet, may have to go look for that lodge. Well, maybe not the lodge, but I'll have my fireplace going and egg-nog with Southern Comfort ready in case anyone stops by. And Millie and I will have a quiet, but Merry Christmas.
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013 edited
    Luv it Wolf. Christmas is a strong hurt in our hearts for most. The questions most have are...Will this be the last Christmas with my spouse? this the first or second Christmas with them alive but not at home with you?...Or this the first or another Christmas with them gone...period. All the above is sad when we should be filled with joy and happiness.

    This is the second year of a Christmas without my dh and it hurts like hell..even worse then the first one without him. I will try and drop in at the lodge most nights because I need the comfort of live persons around me.

    • CommentAuthorJazzy
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013
    This will be the first Christmas with my DH in LTC. He is coming to stay at my apartment from Tuesday a.m. until Thursday a.m.

    Problem is he is not the same person that I have shared so many wonderful Christmases with., but it will be the best it can be.

    Next year?? Who knows??

    If things get bad here, I may just drop into the lodge.

    A big Hug for all of you.

    The thing is...this place is the lodge. Always someone here to lend an ear or offer words of wisdom or just to be here for anyone else that stumbles in to get a little respite from the nightmare and loneliness of AD. Wolf, thanks for stoking the fire. It feels warm and safe here.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013
    All manner of folk show up during the holidays and some have very mixed feelings about Bing Crosby forever stuck in that lodge up in Vermont where snow, snow, snow and terrible costume design are repeated over and over and over. In fact some have no regard for any sort of religious holiday not out of any sign of disrespect; but, as a consequence of the life they lived. Like Robert Service the writer who went up to the Yukon for some unexplained reason (he was a Brit) and wrote this:

    There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
    The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
    The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
    Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.

    Now this Robert may not have been into tangerines and walnuts the way the first Robert (Frost) may have been. It does my heart good though to know I didn't choose to go up to the arctic in the 19th century so I could eat walrus blubber and watch my eyelids freeze shut. It also does my heart good to know lots of things about December and winter have nothing to do with holidays and that I don't have to think in terms of what was only.

    I can think in new ways if I open my soul. I promise this example is true. I was thinking what I could ever do to bring the spirit of christmas back into my heart fully and my smart ass brain never skipped a beat. Serve the needy their christmas dinner.

    I reacted like give me a break. I know volunteering is good but I was thinking of being happy again. And then I realized what it would feel like to do that where I really would feel good inside to work hard on others' behalf like that in a group feeding people a great dinner. My mind knows much more about what feelings I would like to have again than I admit.
    • CommentAuthorAliM
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013
    After coming home from one of my granddaughters high school band concerts I had a message (dreaded checking it) from the NH that DH had fallen. When I called he was okay and sleeping. I came to Joans' site and read your post. The lodge was so comforting.The Robert Frost poem "Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening" is my favorite poem. My DD embroidered it on a scrap of cloth and gave it to me for Christmas when she was eight years old( Now 44). Of course I still cherish it. Reading it here was so comforting, so thanks, Wolf. Now I will just have to forget about poor old Sam McGee and drop back by the lodge.
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2013 edited
    I hope everyone finds a measure of peace and comfort this holiday season ((hugs))
    Ah,Robert W. husband knew that poem by heart. This is my first Christmas really alone since 1971 when I was stationed in Okinawa far from all family. This year I could not fly to TX to be with my brothers, the girls are on the East Coast or in Iceland and my husband is gone...
    I think I'll have a mug of egg nog...
    Thank you for the warm fire Wolf. This morning is the memorial service for DH. Just trying to get through the day. Our Christmas plans are Christmas eve service with both DDs, SIL, and my mom. DD boys will be with their father and this will be the second Christmas without the boys for DD. She was in Afghanistan this time last year. So I am planing to have them spend the night with younger DD and myself. I think it will help all of us in some way. Also she has two new kittens. SIL was only going to get one and somehow walked out with two, LOL They are coming to spend the night too. So I will have two crazy grand kittens to play with on Christmas day. My heart still breaks for what could of been. (((Hugs))) to all,Please pass the egg nog :)
    • CommentAuthorbqd*
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2013
    Wolf, thanks for opening the lodge this Christmas.

    Although I will be fetching our DD and DS to come spend Christmas Eve/Christmas morning with us, this will be a very different Christmas for us, as my DH continues to deteriorate, and the hours after the children are gone on Christmas Day will drag terribly.

    I expect I will visit the lodge often.
    Interesting that you should post this thread. I have been reading daily, but have not posted. Started about 10 times but I sound so pathetically sad, even I couldn't bear to read it. My DH fell the end of October, and after surgery (that went well), rehab fairly well, he is now in ALF where he will remain. I am beyond devastated. While I knew this was coming for the past year, it just seems so surreal. My husband knows me and our children, but every day he is somewhere else, Florida, our old home, etc. I cannot wrap my head around this emotionally. I cry every day. The holidays this year mean nothing to me. If it weren't for our grandchildren I would completely ignore the end of this year. I wish and long for the days of arguing, now when I leave him, and I visit every day, either he begs me to stay overnight, or worse, looks so sad and resigned to his situation, the pain is unbearable. If I thought I could manage, I would bring him home in a second. Every day is sadness, yet I try to put on a happy face and try to make the best of it for him. He deserves nothing less. Friends ask me out, want me to enjoy the holiday and don't understand why I just don't want to. I do what I absolutely must and then spend the rest of my time with him or miss him when I'm not at the facility. Today I picked out cards for my daughter to give him for me for Christmas and my January 2nd birthday and sobbed in the store. I didn't want him to not have a card to give me. He always gave me a half dozen cards this time of year. Sorry to ramble so. Good night for a pity party and NO one else but those here can understand.
    • CommentAuthorJazzy
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2013
    With this major ice storm that is expected, I will likely be alone for the first Christmas in my life, but for some strange reason I'm not upset or even sad. I guess I am getting used to being alone now.
    I expect that I will come to the lodge to curl up and read a good mystery and have some lovely hot chocolate and meet with some of you.
    It will be wonderful to have the fire as I may not have much heat here if the power goes out.
    Will there be Christmas Carols??

    • CommentAuthorBama*2/12
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2013
    Jazzy, if you want Christmas Carols I will wave my magic wand and you will have Christmas Carols.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2013
    I'm making a cake. Are ten eggs too many? I want it nice and fluffy but not expand outside the stove and rove around the lodge like that blob in that Steve McQueen movie. What was it called? Oh yes, the blob.

    Now the christmas lodge is just called that. It's really any lodge with a crackling fire that's always going. A Menorah and Dreidles are already in the lodge which doesn't have to be anything at all related to the holidays except the lodge exists during the holidays and then like Crickethollow, it seems to disappear into the woods.

    I've disappeared into the woods. Marigolds and Marinol were in the air that sunny day in the woods where I bent down to take close up pictures of a strange looking mushroom bright red with white dots just like Alice in Wonderland and with my close up lens I started realizing I was more like Horton Hears A Who watching a small city of critters going about their business passing the mushroom and my close up lens as part of their busy lives. Maybe it wasn't Marinol I was with, I think it was Mary Jane.

    And he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower.
    “This,” cried the Mayor, “is your towns darkest hour!
    The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
    To come to the aid of their country!” he said.
    “We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
    So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”

    Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top,
    The lad cleared his throat and he shouted out, “YOPP!”

    And that Yopp…
    That one small, extra Yopp put it over!
    Finally, at last! From that speck on that clover
    Their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean.
    And the elephant smiled. “Do you see what I mean?…
    They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.
    And their whole world was saved by the smallest of All!”
    At night when I try to get DH settled for bed at the ALF I read to him. I realized that he couldn't understand the humor in Mark Twain anymore, he couldn't follow story lines or characters, and at loss for what to read, I brought in Dr. Suess. Horton Hears a Who has become a favorite. He can follow the cadence, the story line (since it is repeated), and even the pictures. "A person's a person, no matter how small." Which reminds me, too, that he has feelings even though it is hard to express them now.
    • CommentAuthordog
    • CommentTimeDec 21st 2013
    Wolf, thank you for starting this. As I prepare to go to the hospital this morning I am so glad to have stumbled on the lodge for a visit first. You put a smile on my face.
    • CommentTimeDec 21st 2013
    "A person's a person, no matter how small." Which reminds me, too, that he has feelings even though it is hard to express them now. "

    Well, that made the ol eyes tear up.
    Lonely beyond anything I've ever known. I keep thinking there must be something -- someone -- someplace but there is only emptiness in my heart and soul. This is the second Christmas without dh although his last one he wasn't fully aware all the time where he was but he knew our family. Last year, as I said in another thread, I still had the "death insulation" as he had just passed in October. But now after more than a year I fully realize this is it. I have gifts bought and started to wrap this p.m. and just couldn't get with it. I've looked at recipes but need to shop for food. So much and no desire to do any of it.
    Thanks, Wolf, for the invite to the lodge. I'll be dropping in often this week. Is there coffee and hot chocolate? I'll bring the brownies I baked. What would I do without the "family" here at Joan's?
    Thank you for inviting us to the lodge. I would like to stay here. Dealing with things during the holidays alone is hard. My DH is physically still here, but not here to help me deal with family issues. I am excited about the first Christmas with our new grandson. He is one month old. Both of our daughters are here which should be great. Our youngest daughter has an eating disorder. It is hard to deal with. She is married and her husband is here with her. He is a wonderful man. But not only walking on eggshells with DH I am walking on them with her. No matter what I say it is wrong. DH doesn't even know what is going on. I would love to have his shoulder to cry on and talk to. Please let's not have any eggs at the lodge. I have a house full, but am so lonely. I cannot get her to get help. I am constantly worried about her health. I worry how long he can deal with her illness. I think he has it worse than I do. He is also a caregiver In my eyes.
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2013
    Florence: So glad to see you at the Lodge. I am in the same position you are since my dh passed in Aug. 28, 2012. This Christmas seems to much worse then last year. I am fighting the depression with all I have and it doesn't seem to be enough this year...I keep saying to this all there is??

    I have been doing some baking and will have Christmas Eve here at my new home. 2012 has been a terrible year and I look forward to 2013 because it has to be better..doesn't it? I vow to make it better. I want to go some place..any place...but know that I will take my feelings with me so I must endure where I am.
    • CommentAuthorbqd*
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2013
    In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan
    earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone
    snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow
    in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

    Christina Georgina Rosetti

    I looked out the window this morning and decided that trying to go out would be downright dangerous -its still snowing and blowing, and freezing rain/ice pellets are predicted for later in the day. So an early morning call to the care giver to tell him not to venture out, as I don't intend to go anywhere - no socializing for me today!

    I don't know yet what the day will bring, my DH is still sleeping. I am glad that I can be safe and warm here at the lodge. Companionship of fellow care givers, past and present. A ray of light and hope in an otherwise grey morning.
    • CommentAuthorring
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2013 edited
    Ahhhh, the Lodge. I just need to have a short visit, put my feet up, sit by the fire and enjoy the company for a bit. I don't drink but since this a virtual haven I just may have a shot of something to warm my innards. Nah, I think the company is enough.

    So like a lot of other people the freezing rain is affecting our Christmas. Our son was supposed to fly home last night but his flight was cancelled. He is booked for today but I can't imagine that he will get here and since he has to work Boxing Day I am assuming that he won't come home at all. I'm sad because I really enjoy his company and of course love when the whole family is together.

    Our phone broke 2 days ago and since I was busy with Christmas stuff, didn't bother looking at it. I just didn't want to take the time for one more challenge. This morning I sat down and had a look at it and the plug was loose. And just like that, it's fixed. I feel like a bit of a fool for waiting so long but I know the people here will understand that sometimes "one more thing" is one too many.

    We got a dog last week. She's really sweet and I think she's going to work out great. The problem is she came from a house and we live in an apartment so I have been trying to teach her to use pee pads occasionally in the event of an ice storm or middle-of-the-night emergency. Well the ice storm is here and she has no clue yet what it is I want her to do and since I got a new hip last year I am too afraid to take her out because we have to carry the dogs across the parking lot/skating rink to the street, not allowed to put them down on condo property. I had hoped for more time to work on this before bad weather hit but here we are and I can tell you we are both frustrated this morning.

    The plan for this afternoon is to drive across town because we are hosting a get-together at our other son's house. We have an old car with bald-headed tires and I had said if the weather's bad I just won't go out in it but since we are hosting I don't know how to get around that. My husband says "just drive slow and be careful - you'll be fine". sigh.

    I had worked very hard to stay relaxed and enjoy this season and have succeeded but I'm ready for a visit to the Lodge (thanks Wolfe). I know everything will work out fine and if our son doesn't make it home so be it - he's only 5 hours away, not from another continent. I've got Leona Boyd Christmas CD on and the tree is lit up. Doggie is resting uncomfortably in her bed for now. One of us will have to give in soon. And I'm enjoying the fire and company here.

    Merry Christmas all.
    • CommentAuthorbqd*
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2013 edited
    DH has been up for a half an hour, and so far, so good.

    Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful
    And since we've no place to go
    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

    Seriously, I do feel badly for people with travel plans this weekend, like you, ring, and your family, and for others who have no electricity, like Jazzy. This has been quite a storm and the timing is terrible. This time of year is stressful enough without adding the added stress of bad weather on top of dealing with the holidays and our LO's.

    I think I will stay at the lodge for awhile.
    Wolf, could you pass me a glass of mulled cider please?
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2013

    We're in the ice storm. I've lost three big limbs so far. One hit the roof and landed on the patio table crushing it. The ice is still accumulating. I really hope this doesn't get exciting and I don't know if we're going to lose power. Everything is covered in ice.

    Time for a drink. It's 11 o'clock somewhere.
    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2013
    What a lovely idea the lodge is -it sounds so welcoming. I'll have a coffee with a little Bailey's, please.
    I went to church alone this morning (as usual), but a terrible feeling of being lonely in a group of people came over me. I thought I might cry - the church looks so lovely decorated for Christmas, people were there with their families (kids home from college, etc.) & I felt overwhelmed with "aloneness". I thought to myself that this must be what it feels like to be a widow.
    I wish D. had gone with me - he is still physically able, but mentally,he just doesn't seem to able to get it together. He would have loved the singing & the beautiful decor.
    Wolf, you sound like a well-read man. I so enjoy your posts.... I might be dropping by again!

    I want to share my experience at church this a.m. When we stood to sing I thought the seat of my pants felt wet. I thought, Oh no, surely not!! I was thinking maybe I should just slip out while everyone was standing. When we sat down I heard the man behind me say "my pants are wet". Relief! We had a big rain storm last night and although I was not sitting by a wall there is a window (2nd story) above where I was and it must have leaked onto several rows of the padded pew and I didn't notice it when I sat. So no accident from this old lady ;)
    Mim, I understand your overwhelming feeling of loneliness at church. My husband doesn't attend any longer either. I go to a very large church and it just amazes me how gripping the loneliness is in the midst of hundreds of people. Hugs to you!
    • CommentAuthorring
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2013 edited
    What a day. Glad to be here.

    Drove across town - the roads were as bad as I thought and while I have never been a nervous driver, today I was so tense I was in tears. DH had a fit because I didn't want to hold hands with him while I was driving - I explained the roads were bad and I needed both hands and to be able to concentrate. He screamed at me for about 15 minutes while I was fighting to keep the car on the road, every time I slowed down or stopped at a red light he tried to get out of the car, he wasn't going to the party, everything that was wrong with his life was my fault, he wished he was dead....etc.

    We got to our son's house, DH went in, smiled and schmoozed with everyone and when we left to go home said "what a great day, I really enjoyed the party'. Meanwhile I am worn out and resentful.

    Other son's flight was scheduled and re-scheduled today, then cancelled again and he may possibly get here tomorrow afternoon.

    So....can I sleep here tonight? I don't want to go home.
    • CommentAuthorJan K
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2013
    I was supposed to have outpatient surgery this morning at 10:30. I worked all last week (while dreading the surgery) to get everything arranged for today, and for the rest of the week after the surgery. I think everybody knows the kind of planning that goes into something like this, when we have a spouse with dementia. A kind friend planned her day today around giving DH and me a ride to and from the hospital. Friday night, late, I got a call from the hospital, saying that they noticed that my surgery had been rescheduled for 6:30 tonight. (I had never heard of having a scheduled surgery at 6:30 at night.) Guess the doctor's office didn't think that I needed to know about the time change, because they hadn't bothered to call me. It could have been a lot worse—if the hospital hadn't called, I would have gotten there this morning, only to find out that my surgery had been moved, and had no way to get home for several hours. But I just couldn't shift to the new time, what with DH and arranging another ride. So anyway, no surgery today, and I think I'll be looking for a new surgeon.

    I think I'd like to spend the night here in the lodge, too. Or at least sit by the fire until I warm up a little. Right now I think it will take a while for the warmth to get all the way to my heart.

    p.s. Could we have a rule that whatever we eat or drink here at the lodge wouldn't have any calories? And could we please extend that to include anything we eat or drink while reading about the lodge, too?
    • CommentAuthorFiona68
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2013
    Jan, so sorry that your surgery plans fell through but really love your idea about the calorie free food!
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2013
    And so it was decided that henceforth all food at the lodge shall be calorie free.

    I want four loaded lobster sandwiches served with fried crab cakes and two pounds of calamari with a tub of sea food sauce. I'll let you know when I'm out of fish ideas and ready for my second venue. I also want a bucket of Boston clam chowder served with fresh rolls out of the oven and butter with a side of molasses baked beans. I'm just warming up here.
    • CommentAuthorbqd*
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2013
    My, its nice and cozy in the lodge tonight! I was planning to serve poached salmon tomorrow night - I'll make some extra for your seafood extravaganza, Wolf! I think I would also like some cods cheeks and tongues and a glass of Pinot Grigio, and maybe some cole slaw, just so that I can convince myself that what I am eating is healthy! :-)

    DH has spent most of the day in front of the bowl of Christmas nuts, cracking and eating, cracking and eating and its beginning to drive me NUTS. No wonder he isn't hungry at mealtime! I had to persuade him to take a shower this afternoon before we went out. Because of Christmas and New Years, there is no respite or day center this week or next, so I'm looking forward to having the kids here tomorrow. They can take on care giving responsibilities for a few hours and I can have a break.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2013
    On that fall day in November 1863 where the famous orator Edward Everett had just spent two hours displaying his skills in the art of over the top oration, a tall skinny man got up and said these three paragraphs:

    "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    Afterwards, Edward Everett the snoriforous bore retired from public speaking and became a soda jerk in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Just kidding. Nobody cares what he did after the Gettysburg Address.
    I have been in and out of the lodge, secretly leaving little treasures of snacks and coconut for you all. I can feel the warm crackling fire, the yummy menu makes my mouth water, and the no calories is really hard to ignore. I will see you all in a couple of days, I am off to my darling's "lodge", to love him up and share with him. Despite the challenges, please try to enjoy some little things. I like to think that that wonderful guy who came in to the world for us over 2000 years ago, would smile when He sees our cozy place and shared love.
    • CommentAuthordivvi*
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2013
    also spending a quiet day in company of my dear husband here at the 'lodge'. making roast pork tenderloin, wild rice, veggies, sweet potatos,, and apple betty for dinner. a hot apple cider with a shot of that southern comfort of vickies:) will help add a bit of cheer. may all of you find comfort and a bit of peace during the holiday. its good to come to a lodge where everyone knows you and shares in your happy and sad times.
    Wolf--what a wonderful idea the Lodge is--------
    I wish everyone could come over this afternoon
    because I think I really live at the Lodge
    We live in the mtns of TN, have a fire in
    the fireplace, horses out in the field and
    deer and rabbits running around in our woods.
    My husband is probably in the moderate stage-
    he is building a fire outside just now---I'm
    thankful for each tiny thing he is still able to do.
    We (daughters and family) are having beer cheese soup
    tonight and a lovely brunch in the morning.
    So nice we can all be together in spirit as
    we share our struggles thru this long maze.
    Merry Christmas everyone
    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2013
    I was playing around on Tumblr & Pinterest this past week - saw a couple of pictures that would fit what I think the "lodge" would look like - warm, cozy, welcoming, with softly falling snow & a silence that only snow can create. So peaceful, but much love going on inside. I might come back to visit after D. goes to bed, so just have the Christmas tree lights & a candle burning for me......
    • CommentAuthorAliM
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2013
    I finally found my boots and made it here to the lodge tonight. Coco, I should have guessed it was you leaving those delicious coconut treats I've been nibbling on. Mim the snow is gently falling, the candles are glowing and the Christmas tree lights are twinkling. I am curled up in the big chair in the corner just watching the snow fall and enjoying the calmess. Merry Christmas to all. Thanks again Wolf for this comforting lodge.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2013 edited
    So the doctor walks in and says they have to amputate your leg at the hip. The operation will take five years. Chin up!

    I'm thinking of starting a clinic. It's for newly diagnosed AD couples. Only the spouse gets to go. The entire time is spent hitting the spouse with a nerf bat until the spouse gets really angry. Then I explain that I'm teaching them to get beat up without reacting normally because that's the skill you need. In fact it would be helpful to stop thinking of yourself as a person for quite some time.

    The really useful thing would be to find the switch so you could turn that back on again but it doesn't work that way although psychiatrists, anti-depressants, and therapy can help.

    I can tell you an apparently deep secret which you can prove for yourself over the years to be right. We are going to become what we believe. We may focus on the walls around us and some people exist largely in that physical world and if they're going to the tennis club and chatting it up, they're partly covered already. Don't get me wrong - that's exercise and contact and it IS healthy.

    It's just that most of what this is has nothing to do with the physical world in my opinion and has nothing to do with how active we are and how many social engagements we're keeping. I see that as busy work which again I think is good in itself - just that it's symptomatic - not causative. In my view solving emotional issues by keeping busy is really a strategy of keeping busy while time passes.

    The shorter distance is less travelled because it's messy and gritty whereas keeping our chin up bravely lends such an elegance while our actual feelings fend for themselves.

    I've won a lot of arguments for one main reason. I think I'm right and like a lawyer in a courtroom I'm eager to prove it or learn why I'm wrong. The other person almost always evolves into emoting over conflict itself. People are so fragile they feel their self worth is threatened when challenged and many people in response to challenge begin emoting. That's like calculating stable orbits by kissing someone. Two different things.

    The information is that normal people dislike feeling conflict - whereas conflict to me is insulting or hitting someone while argument is subject matter that someone feels should be gone through.

    I've been kicked into another world where whatever direction I go into, it will be new. Time to more deeply understand what I actually believe. Not as a thing to do; but, because that is where I will end up. No one lives in 'reality' which few agree on anyway. We all live in the world we believe.

    Everyone is a victim of something. Some of us have gone through some terrible events not AD related. Whether we remain victims within our self reality as a core perception is ultimately our belief. Some are victims of abuse where abuse comes in different forms. What we believe about ourselves is the central definer of how we see that. The confined often try to take ownership of the abuser's dysfunction as a means of continuing.

    Understanding is a conceptual relationship. It is never tangible. To know is not to solve what is happening - just to understand what is happening. To solve requires belief.

    I know that I'm deeply angry and bitter inside. I have plenty of evidence. I know I've been hurt so badly the truth is I'm afraid to really trust again unless it's safe in some way. I'm angry at my friends that turned their backs on us yes; but, the deeper truth is I never want to be hurt like that again. That led to the truth that I've always known what my friends and family are and I've always accepted their strange ways until life threw me off the train. When it did they changed. No. They would always have reacted to Alzheimer's that way - so might I have. To excuse myself from that unknown because it's me that became the alzheimerspouse is expedient and unsupportable. Not a thought most people have but something you stumble upon.

    My real struggle is to learn to feel more deeply again and in a balanced manner. Finding a new life for myself isn't the biggest challenge even though it's sizable. Like I've said before, I know how to meet women. Buy a Porche, park it in a public place, and lean on it. Bring a pad and pencil because you'll need it.

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Always the worst day of the year for me but Jim Carrey is being the Grinch on the TV downstairs, I am making a fresh pot of coffee at one in the morning, and like the rest of my fellow warriors, I am not going without a fight.

    Merry Christmas everyone. Or bite me. Whatever suits you at the lodge.
    • CommentAuthorLFL
    • CommentTimeDec 25th 2013
    I've been visiting the lodge quietly for a while. What a warm, welcoming, comforting place to visit with friends, just talk, be who you are and rest a while. The raging fire has warmed me - even the cold, hollow places in my soul so I feel renewed and able to go out into the cold after my visit. Ahhh Coco, I knew your were the coconut elf, so sweet and kind to keep us supplied with decadent goodies. Wolf, your seafood feast sounds wonderful...only coconut shrimp for us last night, but will be looking for lobster in the lodge kitchen. Perhaps even enjoy a glass of no calorie Chardonnay with it. Well, it's time to face the cold outside...may you all have a wonderful Christmas day.
    Christmas Day-thank-you for the REAL reason for this day. But I for one will be sooooo glad when we are not in holiday mode!!! Would like to curl up at the "lodge" by the fire and just forget all the day to day troubles and just remember all the wonderful Christmas's past. I have tried but the real world just keeps popping up.My DH is doing well and so far no new issues but the joy is not there for him either,as he was trying to open his gifts you could not see any excitement or joy in his eyes, only a look of " I can not even do this right anymore" as I had to help him with each package. Our daughters tried to make it a nice time but even tho they bought lots of gifts ...the one gift I prayed for and know will never get is "just to have my husband and my life back" as they were before this AZ devil took control of our lives. So much for my rant on Christmas morning!!!!!! Hope you all have a peaceful day... And if I was a drinker I would just get drunk at the lodge tonight and sleep till New Years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • CommentTimeDec 25th 2013
    Lynn upon seeing me: (with passion in his voice and eyes full of life)
    "Lord I love you, so very much"

    And just like that I believe in miracles all over again...

    Wishing peace and comfort for our weary hearts to all and leaving extra ((hugs))
    • CommentAuthorCarolyn
    • CommentTimeDec 25th 2013
    Just reading different comments. They are comforting. It was tradition we go to my daughter's on Christmas Eve. I didn't have a clue how I'd be able to do that. Knew he could lay down once we got there, but no hand rails on their beds so afraid he would fall off their bed. Incontinence was another factor. The "noise" of a lot of people. DH's eating habits. My cooking food to take. The cold weather, My daughter and my granddaughter were having disagreements. And so on, and so on....... Then, on Christmas Eve Day, people dropped by our home at different times to visit. I was so tired. So was DH. I made the decision to cook for us and us stay home. I called and told her. She understood. Guess sometimes it's best to think and do simple.
    • CommentAuthorabby* 6/12
    • CommentTimeDec 25th 2013
    I survived Christmas Eve!

    And, I had my doubts. I have been reading this topic but this is my first visit as a poster. Landlocked now, I am hoping that Wolf's seafood feast is available to all. My mouth just waters; it's the stuff my dreams are made of.

    Of course, Christmas Eve was not always like it was last night. Until 2006 or so husband and I celebrated the day, and this whole season. Both from New York, we almost always flew to NYC via Newark a couple of days before Christmas Eve. We had our traditions. The first dinner was always at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, in the dining room. My husband always looked gorgeous in a suit. We stayed in a hotel near St. Patrick's and always went to a service there. Also among traditions was walking around the Roc.

    Since we had each lived there before and shortly after we met, there were some bars and restaurants that we enjoyed visiting. On our way out, we visited the Metropolitan Museum to see the tree and to do some last minute shopping for gifts, and for us. Crowded and buzzing and we loved it. No longer residents, we were NYC tourists.

    Then on to his family, up the Hudson. Their traditions included Christmas Eve Day breakfast at a restaurant owned by their close family friend, a huge open house in the evening, featuring seafood, opening of gifts between family members and a Midnight Mass.

    Yesterday, it was me and the kitties. The second year since his death. Like Judith KB and Florence wrote, this year was more difficult than the first. The shock must have worn off. This is real and it is forever.

    Thank you who read this for letting me share my memories. Some of my tears are happy ones. I really had a partner and I really had that life.

    Wishing you all a time of blessings.
    • CommentAuthorLFL
    • CommentTimeDec 25th 2013
    abby*, yes you had that magical life and I know you cherished and loved it while you were living it. You had a partner who loved you and who you loved. It was real. I am sorry this season is so difficult for you but believe it or not, you had a wonderful husband and life. sometimes it's hard to see through the pain and I wish that you will be able to do that some day soon. I can only imagine the sense of loss and sorrow you live with but I do pray that as time passes, memories of your too short charmed life will bring happiness and not tears. My dear friend, you are strong and brave. Come into the lodge, have some eggnog...I am waiting to greet you and sit down for a long chat. I've missed you.
    I love this thread-thanks Wolf. Abby* yes-I think the second year after is harder as the shock has worn off and the finality of being alone sets in. I would love to visit and lodge and meet you all. I have some left over truffle from dinner that I would like to share. I joined three other widows for dinner. Not very jolly as they seemed to want to only discuss their illnesses. Life still has value-but in a different way. We have to recreate ourselves and that is not easy.