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the healing power of kindness



Ray and I have been away the past four days and it rained and it rained and it rained some more. Cold, wet, windy and gloomy pretty well describes the weather we have been having and I was so grateful not to be home and having to go out in it.


I have been feeling guilty as after going to Camp Breakaway twice last year we have been four times and it is only the end of July. It seems they had a quite a large grant of money earmarked for disabled children and people with dementia and their carers so they put on extra camps. As it is winter people have been turning down the invitation, most preferring to stay in their own homes.


Some of their regulars are in respite or unhappily now in full time care which is inevitable as their disease progresses so we got an extra invitation. I must say I am more than happy to go any time we are invited. It is such a good break away. For me it means social and physical support for Ray and for me three days when I don’t have to shower Ray, cook meals or clean up after him. It is a real bonus and does make a difference to our lives. I wouldn’t say I come home revitalized as I still have a to do a lot of hands-on care but I am refreshed by the kindness shown to us.


I am suddenly aware again of the healing power of kindness. I saw it in the melting of the two new couples who came full of suspicion and a kind of hopelessness and went off today faces wreathed in smiles and with a new spring in their step. As we know coming on here there is some comfort and strength in knowing you are not alone and that others share in your struggle with a debilitating disease. And the older you get the less energy you have to fight with. And love their partner as they might the caregivers know they will not be able to cope forever and a parting of the ways is close in some cases.


So if you missed me in chat on Tuesday or posting on the boards that was where I was, enjoying the entertainment like watching the marching band and listening to the skirl of bagpipes on Wednesday. Maybe you can picture me walking up and down to our cabin jumping puddles as I went, or walking in the rain and watching the mama plover defend her two little ones from the ducks and galahs who were enjoying the worms driven to the surface of the large expanse of lawn by the steady soak of rain. Just finding peaceful occupations to fill in four rainy days.


And on Tuesday we shared a special celebration with an older couple as we celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary and they celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. We had a grand afternoon tea party with a caterer’s sized caramel cheesecake and a black forest cake to be cut up among the 21 campers and staff. It is another special feature of the camp that we can celebrate the good times of life together. Some people we have encountered at camps we have known for three years now, for others it may be their first but we are all “kin”.


I had a look at the History Books and saw the newspaper clippings they have accumulated since the opening in 1987, so many people helped, some pictures of disabled kids reoccurring year by year as they enjoyed camps and the fellowship of staff and patrons. How many wonderful people have given their time as volunteers to make all this possible? Craft ladies who make and sell their goods from the Craft Cottage, the auxiliary members, the Rotarians who are the main fund-raisers and form parties of handymen to do improvement to the grounds. Then there are voluntary carers and paid staff who train them and extend their hours way past their “knock off” time. So many wonderful, wonderful people who give of their time and effort make it all possible.


I still have my cold, Ray still has the leg pains and the shakiness, but somehow we are “better”, renewed and strengthened by our sojourn in one of life’s most pleasant places.


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I am so happy that you had a break away. It is such a needed blessing. Kindness from others is such a gift!!

I missed chat because of computer problems. But, I have it up and running ...it took me 4 days of fighting with the computer and the router.


See you on tuesday.



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I am so glad you got your break at your breakaway camp, and I admire your strength that all this ongoing battles in life hasn't made you bitter. I am so glad it made you better and kinder person & we all are benefitting here at strokenet.



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Sue: welcome home. We certainly missed you. I am sorry about Ray's fall and the weather, but as Bruce calls them "soft, grey days" can also be a blessing. Our Plovers here are chasing the babes from the nest, Mom needs some time off. I saw such kindness this week: 80 year old stroke survivor swims with Bruce on Wednesdays. Her son brings her, but she dresses alone in locker room and fell. Another caregiver came and got help, Mom was fine and continued to the pool. They retrieved her son, who was then poolside when Mom got afraid and started crying, mid walking lap. My heart broke. I told Bruce to hang on-he's real good about that and proceeded to swim over to her and the Therapist started to her. I see this so much and I was so proud she calmed down and finished her session. Yesterday she was back in the pool, doing her thing. Her son thanked me and I said I just hope someone would do that for me if need be. Well Mom had a terrific day in the pool, big smiles and I mentioned it to her. She patted my hand and said you inspire me, I am only restricted by my own fears. I cried all the way home. As hard as it is for her, she took a moment to be kind to me. Talk to you Tuesday, Debbie

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