Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July Project Parade - Day 7

Hey there Verve fans! Jen Tapler here with Day 7 of this month's Verve Project Parade. As always, the rest of the Divas have been providing lots of fabulous inspiration so far!!

When I started thinking about this month's theme - My Hero - my thoughts initially went to my favorite girlhood hero, my amazing father. I was always the quintessential Daddy's Girl growing up and from the time I could form the words until now, if anyone asked me who my hero was, my answer has always been, without hesitation, "my Daddy, of course". Many of you know of my family's heartbreaking journey the last several years as my too-young father (58 years old) has slipped into the end stages of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. It is very unlikely that he will survive the next year. I will spare you all the gruesome details of his traumatic story and instead focus on the surprise ending of my family's saga - the character who has risen up to shine through as the real Hero throughout all of this - My Mom. The courage and strength she has shown through my Dad's illness is unreal. Don't get me wrong, she's definitely had her moments - but they don't last long. For the most part she has continued to have her characteristic optimistic, sassy attitude throughout the last few years of watching her best best friend, her partner, her lover, her husband of 37 years slip away from her - but not just slip away from her. That's the real kicker about Alzheimer's disease - you don't just lose your loved one, you have to watch them be replaced by someone else, someone altogether different - someone unappreciative, sometimes downright mean, sometimes even combative - but she's still there day after day - usually with a laugh - for a long time taking care of him herself (bathing him, changing diapers, feeding him, etc) and now making sure others are caring for him properly and just spending time with him so he's not lonely (even though he doesn't know who she is and won't know she was there). This is not how her "Golden Years" in paradise were supposed to be. This is not what they worked so hard to achieve in their early retirement. But she still does it. Because somewhere deep inside that man is the amazing father and husband she fell in love with and married, because that man is still deserving of love and respect and kindness, but in reality it's because the real Hero in our family is my Mom.

Whew. Sorry about that. I might have got a little carried away. So anyway....I wanted to make a little gift for my Mom to let her know that even though my Dad is the one who usually gets all the attention, we really love her and appreciate all she does and all she is going through and all she is about to go through as we have another difficult but necessary transition in my Dad's care coming up in August. So I put together this little "Relaxation Bucket" for her.

Ever since I can remember, my Mom has taken a nice long bubble bath at the end of the day - that's always been HER TIME, even when we were kids. She still does this today. So I included some little bath beads and bubble bath in some Martha Stewart test tube things along with a little votive candle and some of her favorite tea, all inside a little tin bucket I picked up on clearance after Easter at K-Mart.

I stamped the "Hang in there" sentiment from Always on My Mind on a small label for the candle and added a little button. I also created a tag that I attached to the tin using some Maya Road chipboard (it's actually a page from a Luggage Tag album, just cut down to make it a little shorter) and DP from the Thrift Shop line by October Afternoon. The sentiment, butterflies, notebook paper and flourish stamped on the tag are all from Blue Skies. Some stitching and scallops finished it up.

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As with all of our project parades, there are prizes!!!!

1. Play along with us and link up your new My Hero creation (posted July 12th or later) to the linky widget on the DAY ONE parade post before midnight on July 30th. One lucky stamper will win a $30.00 gift certificate to the Verve Store. Verve Stamps are not required, but we LOVE to see ‘em!

2. For another chance to win, be sure to give the Divas a little shout-out in the comments section as we parade our My Hero creations. One lucky commenter during the course of the parade (July 12 ~ July 28) will win the Verve stamp set of his or her choosing!

44 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about your dad, and I can relate to what you've shared about his illness and how your mom has coped. My father is fast deteriorating with alzheimers as well. But I so am glad you have wonderful memories of times spent with your dad - that's so precious. I'm sure your mom will be so pleased of the thoughtful gift you have made for her. It's such a beautiful gift. God bless.

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  2. Lovely, Jen. I'm so sorry your family has to go through that. Your mom is lucky to have you. Best wishes...

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  3. Jen,
    Great project. Many blessings to you and your family, your Mom is blessed to have you!

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  4. Your mom is an amazing woman...she had to be to raise someone as caring as you. Sorry about your dad. You have so many wonderful memories and it's nice that you cherish them so much. Your project is terrific, and the perfect thing to brighten your mom's day.

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  5. Sorry about your dad and what your family is having to go through. Your mom is lucky to have you. Great gift. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  6. Best wishes to you and your family. Cool project.

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  7. What an inspiring story, and I can see why your mom is your hero. Last summer I read the book "Still Alice", about young Alz, through the eys of the pt. If you haven't read it, I recommend it to see what is going on through your dads eyes. (though it might be a little difficult to read right now because its so fresh for you).
    All the best, and hope your mom enjoys your lovely gif to her!
    Diane Cooper
    diane7@rogers.com

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  8. This is amazing! What a great care package!

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  9. Bless You, your gift will be enjoyed to the fullest. Love your sentiments..Our family has just undertaken somewhat the same situation. Your understanding will help me, thanks for sharing. Stay Strong, stand by your mom, and May God Bless You All.

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  10. Jen, what a great project! Your mom will definetly love and appreciate this gift. A great way to say "I Love You".
    Best wishes to you and your family!

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  11. Mary (Happy Now)July 20, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    What a post... Sending warm thoughts your way!

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  12. love it. very nice project. prayers for you and your family.

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  13. What a wonderful tribute to your mom!! I loved reading about her devotion, especially in a world that so easily tosses marriage out the window when the going gets tough. What a wonderful example of true love and commitment. Brought tears to my eyes and makes me want to go and give her a huge hug!! Your gift is so thoughtful, I'm sure she will truly appreciate it and you.

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  14. I lost my dad in a quick way. Can't imagine what Jen and her family must felt. Make you realize to always appreciate your loved ones rigth now. Beautiful and thoughtful gifts!

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  15. OH, Jen, this is perfect...got a little teary as my mom passed away just after Christmas from Alzheimers...your mom is a true hero...thanks for sharing.

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  16. Wow, incredible, heartfelt post. How wonderful of you to remember your mom like this. HUGS and I love your project

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  17. So sorry to hear about your Dad's health issues. I know how hard it is to have someone close to you be so sick. I lost my Mom at a young age. You are such a good daughter to remember your Mom with this lovely gift. Bless you and your family.

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  18. What an incredible story, Jen - thanks so much for sharing it. I'm so sorry for all that your family has been through with your father and glad that your mom has been able to provide such wonderful care.

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  19. Jen my love - this is simply beautiful! Your mom is amazing and her strength is inspirational - your sweet little present for her is just gorgeous - thinking of you and sending you all love from my heart and big hugs!!!
    Sankari :)

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  20. Your mom is an amazing woman, a true hero. You have made a beautiful gift, blessings to you and your family.

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  21. What a gorgeous gift. I just love the note paper stamp, but the whole thing is really lovely!

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  22. Awesome project jenn. Your family is so lucky to have you .

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  23. What a great project and tribute to your mother. Sorry about your dad and this terrible thing your family is going through. Sending your prayers and hugs.

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  24. Oh, Jen, I am so sorry to hear about your sad situation. How difficult and heartbraking this must be for you and your mom. I am sure the beautiful gift you made your mom will warm her heart and take her away from her troubles for a brief time. Hugs to you and your family.

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  25. this is an awesome "hero" project Jen, your Mom is a real hero. My best to you and your family.

    enjoy *~*

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  26. Oh Jen, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. Your Mom is definitely a hero - my grandmother passed away from the same terrible disease and until you experience it first hand it is impossible to appreciate the strength of the family members who provide care as their loved one slips away. I am sure your Mom will love your thoughtful gift.

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  27. Oh Jen... such a tragic disease... one that is so heartbreaking for family and loved ones. Your love and understanding will help give your mom strength. Such a perfect sentiment for such a thoughtful gift. Thank you for sharing.

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  28. What a wonderful gesture and I am sure your mother deserves this. I am sorry to hear about your father....... this is a beautiful gift.

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  29. I am sorry your dad is not doing well. It is hard to deal with illness. It is good to stay strong, and if you can't get support from your fellow crafters, who can you get it from? I am sure your mom will love this relaxation gift! It is beautiful!

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  30. A wonderful idea and so wonderful to remember your Mum. I'm sorry to hear of you family's trials. How often from something terrible something amazing comes to light. All family members are so special. Best wishes to you all - treasure your memories!

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  31. HUGS to you and yours during this emotional time. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us - your mom sounds amazing!

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  32. How wonderfully touching. My mom was the hero too. I hope she reads your tribute to her. She sounds awesome!

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  33. What a wonderful gift for your Mom. I have been following your Dad's story and wish you and your family strength during this time.

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  34. What a sweet and wonderful gift. Your Mom will love it.

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  35. Such a special gift...I love the Blue Skies stamps...they're so inspiring! I'm sure your mom will love it! Best wishes to your family...

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  36. What a very thoughtful gift - I watched my grandmother suffer from this horrible disease and my mom was also very strong during that time. Great little gift! Hugs,

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  37. Well, Jen, I was due for a good cry and I thank you, truly I do. Went thru the exact same thing with my father. Luckily, he didn't have anger issues. He was funny. I maintain there was still some vestige of his "regular" self until the day before he died. On Christmas Day. Yes, our moms are Heroes and they are teaching us well. You're a Hero, too. You're taking care of your mom . But I have to stress the fact you need to take care of yourself, too.
    Have Faith. Let me know if I can help. Peace, Becky Johnson

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  38. Touching Jen, love the sentiments you chose to create with. I am sure they will help lift up your Mom and let her feel how loved she is.

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  39. What a special way to show your mom how you feel. I'll keep your family in my prayers.

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  40. What a touching post and an awesome gift for your Mom.

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  41. What a brilliant gift this is. I'm so sorry though to hear about what your family has gone through. Take care!

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  42. Thank you for sharing your story! We watched a very similar thing happen with my FIL a few years ago. It's so very hard and your mother is a true Hero for managing the whole thing! What a lovely gift set for her!

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  43. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with us. Your mother sounds like an amazing and strong woman. I'm sure she will be touched by your thoughtful gift. I will keep all of you in my thoughts!

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  44. Such a great little bath set! I sure wouldn't mind receiving it. :)
    I love the colors you used as well.

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