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Showing posts from 2015

Pink Flamingos and Lewy Body Dementia

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Creator of pink plastic lawn flamingo dies at 79
BOSTON (AP) — The creator of the pink plastic lawn flamingo, the ultimate symbol of American lawn kitsch, has died. Donald Featherstone was 79. Featherstone’s wife, Nancy, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that her husband died Monday at an elder care facility in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, after a long battle with Lewy body dementia.

June 23, 2015. That was story that showed up in my Facebook newsfeed. I clicked to read it because pink flamingos are very symbolic to me. They mean "I made it safely."

So why would pink flamingo's mean that? I promised a while ago I would tell you and after seeing the creator of the pink flamingo passed away from the same disease that took Mikey I figured it would be a good time.

Before I do I think that the pink flamingo should officially become the symbol to raise awareness for Lewy Body Dementia. 

When Mikey was deployed in 2011 he went on missions between COB Adder and Camp Garry Owen. I…

Go Rest High

This is not the best recording but I'm so thankful to have it. It's not actually a video of anything, I just needed a way to get the song to here so put his picture up and then the music.

Who Am I?

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Once upon a time I used to be a wife, a mother, a cook, a baker, a gardener and so much more.

Then dementia hit. 
Then I became a caregiver. 
Everything else stopped. Dementia took over every part of our lives. His life. My life. 
Anything that was done now had to be weighed against how it would affect dementia. 
I didn't mind though. The hours were long. The stress was high. I fought hard for his rights as a person that dementia had a grip on. When I thought I couldn't go on I somehow found the strength and determination to go just one more day. Then another, and another. 
Meals became simplified or non-existent depending on what dementia wanted that day or that moment. 
There was no more escaping to my woman cave to work on projects. Dementia made sure that as soon as I did get involved in something that it threw a wrench in. I finally just gave up. 
Being in the kitchen became a chore. Meals prepared that went uneaten because it's not what dementia wanted that day. 
Ta…

A forest for Mikey

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People have asked what they could do. I didn't know at first. I know that Mikey loved the idea of his ashes being grown into a tree. That was one of his wishes. (That's a real thing.) I'm in the process of working on that. He really loved trees. Magnolia was his favorite. Sadly that is one tree I won't be able to grow up here. (There is more after the whole forest thing, sorry this is so long but keep reading.)

Then a friend posted this in his memorial guest book:  "Mikey, it is said an Oak tree symbolizes courage and power. I will plant one in my yard this weekend to honor you."

So some friends are planting an oak tree. I thought there might be something with this tree idea. I went to Arbor Day Foundation and started digging around. It turns out they have a way to plant trees in memorium. (I'll get to that soon.) Even better they are planting in a forest that Mikey always found very beautiful. Chippewa National Forest. There is no way to describe the bea…

Probably Wouldn't Be This Way

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I probably wouldn't be this way. But I'm glad I am.

Because of Mikey I am a better person. He was so patient. I was so harsh. Over the years when my temper would fly he would calmly reword whatever it was I was upset about. He showed me that there were always two sides to everything. I still have a wicked temper. But after my initial outburst I can now analyze the issue and usually work through it much faster than before.

He taught me love. Not just loving him, that was easy. Loving mankind. So many people are what we feel undesirable to love. Those were the ones he loved more than any other. I may still not love as unconditionally as he did but I'm still better and that is because of him.

Strays. Human or animal. It didn't matter. If there was a need he did everything he could to make their life better even if there was no hope. I always thought I was a giving and generous person. I knew nothing about truly giving until I met him. He gave until it hurt. The coat he w…

Mikey Howard Eulogy

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Mikey was never one to put himself first. Even with a terminal illness, his pain was always secondary to his primary mission; taking care of the people he loved. He kept his sense of humor right up to his very last moments. He was loyal to a fault even in adversity. He would repeat a portion of the Soldiers Creed, “I will be loyal to those with whom I serve.” In fact in the eight years I served in the Army, Mikey was one of maybe two people that joined out of a sense of patriotism and a genuine desire to serve others. Mikey served everyone whether they were military or not. One of the very first things I noticed when we met was his kindness toward all mankind. He didn't care who you were or where you came from, if he felt someone was lonely and left out he would remedy that in a heart beat. There is no way to capture his total being in such a short time. Since Mikey was all about love and looking out for others I want to use some of his “profundities” as he called them as well as…

Mikey Howard Funeral Feb 14, 2015

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HD video on entire service.


Condensed pictorial version of the service. (I do not know where the entire clip went, I'll investigate and fix the error as soon as I can.)

The songs that were chosen all have very special meaning. Home, the version you hear was one he watched over and over and sang just as often. We made it home honey. Promises fulfilled. 


What Next?

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Life is such a disaster around me I just sit here and stare. Right now it's easier for me to leave the house than to sit here in it and figure out what to do first. I simply do not know.

Until January 30, 2014 our plan was to move to Ecuador. We had big plans. A little place in the country. Fruit trees, gardens, animals. It was years of planning that we put into this dream.

His diagnosis changed that instantly. We couldn't move so far away from family knowing he was terminally ill.

It then changed to Florida so he could be near his family. I searched homes every day looking for one that would work. His family would go check on things. I thought we had found one but Mikey hated it. It was out. This went on for months. It was frustrating.

Mikey would sit in his room and sing "Home." Just the chorus. Over and over. It broke my heart because I was doing everything I could to get him home.

In November 2014 he called me into the room. He said he didn't want to go to F…

The Ammonite.

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This little Treasure is One of My Favorite Things in the Whole World!... It's A beautiful Little AMMONITE
(This story was told to us the night before leaving Texas to come home to Minnesota.)
This sweet little guy is REALLY old (this one is about 280 million yrs); which is really cool, and really important. So much is often said about the wisdom that comes with age... And about many things getting better and more beautiful with age and the passage of time... This sweet little treasure for sure proves those statements to be true. As you hold it up in the light you can see its graceful curve and you can see that its outer coating has changed over time to be kind of softly iridescent. It didn't start that way. It was already wonderful. But as it drifted toward the sea floor dying, it probably could never imagine that death would have no power to wipe away the truth and the glory of its existence. That it would forever continue to display God's amazing artistry. …

The Fog

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Everything and everyone around me sits in this thick fog that I have to cut through. Fake smiles covering overwhelming pain. Emotions that are all over the place. Never knowing exactly how I feel versus how I should feel. I don't know what to do next. Trips to the store for needs and the anxiety that hits me while I'm there to hurry and get back home so I am not away from him for too long and the reality that hits me that I no longer have to hurry back because he is no longer there.

Mikey took care of so much before he left and there was not much left to do but even those few things were so hard to figure out. They MUST be perfect. Misprints, errors, typos, rumors. He would have been so upset by them. They have upset me. My grammar brought him to the brink of insanity and he would frantically edit everything I wrote. My editor is no longer by my side shaking his head at my written words and questioning my meaning of saying something a certain way.

He was not only my husband. …

Mikey Howard Obituary

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(I am tired of the errors in his obituary so I am going to post it in it's entirety. I just feel that Mikey's life deserves fewer errors and omissions. Please still visit and sign the guest book.)

MIKEY HOWARD March 6, 1968 – February 8, 2015
            Mikey Howard, age 46 of Park Rapids, MN, formerly of Lynn Haven, FL peacefully passed from this life into eternal life at his home with his loved ones at his side.

            Mikey was born on March 6, 1968 in Lakeland , FL to George and Patricia (Rocher) Turner.
It was in Lynn Haven that he attended public school and grew into manhood.  In 1985, he entered the United States Army where he proudly served his country as a member of the 16th Infantry of the lst Division as a Specialist Class E-4.  Upon receiving his honorable discharge in 1988, he worked as a vocal entertainer and disc jockey.  Mikey reentered the Army in 2008 where he served as an army combat medic.  He was deployed to Iraq from July of 2009 to July of 2010 with…

Waiting for death.

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This post is about the last hours I spent with Mikey before he passed. I wrote it using my phone as I waited and finished my thoughts later. I can't speak with my mouth right now without crying. I need to write to heal. This is the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life. 
It is raw, unedited and real. We have been open about our journey, this post doesn't mean the journey is over. It simply means that Mikey is as rest and no longer tortured by pain and memories. The journey will continue. 
2:00 a.m. I haven't been able to sleep with Mikey in a long time. Tonight I have positioned myself somewhat under him. I feel every tremor and hear every labored breath he takes. I'm here because I'm scared. I'm here because there is nothing else I can do. I'm here to make sure he feels my presence in his last moments. I should try to rest. I do close my eyes. Then there is a tremor that goes through his entire body, a sharp intake of breath and a release. The…