Writing Wings For You

Marie Lukasik Wallace ~ # I LIVE Poetry – I'm passionate about life and writing and all things creative and poetic!


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I Live Poetry

#‎Ilivepoetry‬

It’s poetry when you get to play
This little piggy went to the market
With your 77 year old father and he
Gets all excited for the wee wee wee
All the way home part.
(He does it by the third toe
and scares you.)
And then 2 days later hear
The same song is sung by a mom to
Her 2 year old and hear the child
Say “again, mama, again.”
And imagining your daddy
Being that 2 year old saying that to his mama.


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My Daddy

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Many of you know that I am writing my daddy’s story, a Junkman’s Journey.  And you know he is a vaulted man with Alzheimer’s and that the journey has not been an easy one, but we have found a beautiful road together and we have been finding the gold in each other.

Yesterday, he had a stroke, and he will be in the hospital a few days at least…maybe longer.  What is difficult is that the left side of his body is not responding well, and his speech is slurred.  But he’s hanging in there.  I have been beyond blessed having the time I have had with him.  The hard part is “Will I get to know more about him?  Will he still have his memories?”   I cherish any and all time I have…so I hope you know I’m not complaining.  It’s just not easy when you finally get a peek in the vault and there’s a possibility that it will close forever.   The good news is that I’ve gotten a chance to see the treasure, and I’ve gotten to have a chance to have more of a relationship that I ever hoped.

And lastly, the good news is that I had just sent him a couple of my chapters of his story for him to read.  He said that it made him cry and that I described things in a way that made it seem I was there.  It brought him back to the exact moment and all that he felt scared and happy and all were present when he read it.  That feels good to know you have honored someone in a way that they deserve to be honored, especially when you are telling their story.

And for the first time, he said, “I’m proud of you.”  No matter what, I have been so blessed to have these tiny moments of time with him that I never would have had, had I not asked those first questions.

Love on your people…all those precious people in your life…and ask them lots of questions!

Namaste my friends,

Marie


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Alive Inside –

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WATCH HENRY COME ALIVE!

 

Hello my friends!  I’m almost back.  I missed you so.  I’m recovering from the start of school and will be back on Sunday after a nice reprieve near my favorite nature, water.  Idaho has the best rivers and offers respite for the weary soul.  Just wanted to say a quick hello and tell you about an awesome movie that might not be out long in case you’re thinking of going to the movies this weekend.

An independent film, Alive Inside, was playing at a small theater in Boise this week.  It was part of a great kickoff in our community to raise Alzheimer awareness and how music can bring back and awaken a soul.  Being in Poetry Therapy and also very interested in finding ways to communicate with my dad who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and trying to gather stories from his vaulted heart, I was intrigued and had to see it.

This documentary is very well done with case scenarios that show how music has assisted Alzheimer’s patients around the world and how they are working to get music in EVERY nursing home.  I hope you can see it.  If nothing else, watch Henry; he will light up your heart.

My daddy was excited about using music and has been helping make a list.  It’s been fun going over music with him and he’s been calling me.  He lives off by himself, so I worry that he won’t get the music or use it because there’s no one to give it to him.  But even if he does it for a small while and gets benefit and joy from it, I will be happy.

I’ll write more Sunday and come a visiting you!   Have a blessed weekend my friends.  Marie


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A Father’s Story in honor of Father’s Day

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What qualifies a person to write another man’s story?  For a life is not a life unless it is fully experienced and lived, and the writer can hardly capture the essence, let alone tell a full story.But the one who has done the living is a tired soul and his hands are feeble and in pain, and his heart has been in pieces and it’s difficult for him to sort out.  And so it is that the writer must be the one to document whatever he/she can. For once a life goes, so do their libraries of stories.Two years ago, I felt the calling to get to know my dad when I walked in a Hallmark store and found a book called, “My Father’s Legacy.”  In the book are “get to know you questions” about family history, not just dates, but celebrations and dreams and memories. There were so many questions I didn’t know the answer to for my family, even basic questions of family tree information. You see, I have always wanted to get to know dad, but his life and his feelings have always been vaulted with at least a hundred locks and a secret code.  As I examined the book, I realized there was so much more I didn’t know, and the questions seemed simple enough.  So I thought to myself, “Let’s give this a try.”I introduced the book to my dad and told him I’d like to document family history and some traditions for posterity. “Hey Dad, maybe I could ask you some questions?” Dad said, “I think that’d be all right.”   When I would visit, I would ask a few questions and then I’d randomly call him and ask him some more.  However, if the question became too personal, dad would quickly close up and withdraw and suddenly had to go “feed the critters” or eat, even if he just called me!The next step on our journey, my dad then began to accept that if the question was in the book, then it was legal, and I could ask it.  It would make me giggle because he would look in the book to check if the question really was there.   What this phase allowed me to do was gain his trust.  He would feed me tidbits to see what I would do with the information.   Because my intentions were honorable and how I handled his information was honorable, he began to trust me.  From there, we could go a little deeper. There were times I would call, and he’d have to get through the roughness of his day, (Alzheimer’s has people living in fear and worry), and then I would get tidbits of information.   Other days after finishing his stories he was just done and hung up.  It was disappointing, but I knew it was part of the journey. Through patience and diligence and ears bleeding getting through the toughness of dealing with someone who is closed and stubborn and sadly going through mind games of his own, we began to forge a new relationship.  He began to look forward to my calls and sometimes called me.  The darkness was revealed less and less and the pep in his spirit was back.This week I got to visit him in Texas.  I came prepared with a list of questions in various areas, because I never know what he will be open to answer.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of the prepared questions answered, but fortunate for me, I was open to the experience and whatever he had to offer me.   Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised more than once.We went on an adventure to visit his hometown of Georgewest.  He got lost, and I didn’t catch it because I had my head down taking notes…But the best part? GETTING LOST WAS A BEAUTIFUL THING. Because we were in the car seven lovely hours without phones or computers or people clamoring for his attention, we just got to laugh and be ourselves. Sometimes we didn’t talk at all.  And we can’t forget the Dairy Queen!  We both enjoyed our most favorite treat, icecream just like little kids!Daddy woke up the next day ready to take on the world.  He even talked about feeling inspired to write.  He said he had a dream that I didn’t just “come to Texas,” that I was “sent to Texas” to inspire him. I got a brilliant idea to create a feast for Father’s day.  I used a sheet as a table cloth, because daddy didn’t one, and I picked flowers from his garden and put them in his favorite mason jars.  It takes very little.  And twenty minutes before people came over, daddy gave me the most real, the most honest that I have ever seen him.  He was unafraid, and gave me the advice of a lifetime in regards to alcoholism…but I will save that for another time because it’s a most wonderful story all by itself.The trip wasn’t all peaches and roses, but it was time I treasured and got to know my daddy better. The focus was on being present and noticing. I will never know how much longer I have with him, so I embrace what I have.  Smile your silly smile dad and enjoy.

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LOVE you!!!


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Calling all Writers: What is Your Burning Question?

I have the privilege to write my dad’s story. For most of my life, he has been vaulted, and is still very guarded and sometimes avoids questions on the phone. But this week,I get to visit him in person, and will be able to be face to face to ask him questions. 

If I only get to ask about five to maybe ten questions, what would be that burning question you would want to know about his life?

He may our may not answer, but sometimes when his curiosity is peaked, he will dig deeper, or mull it over a few days.
Keep in mind he has Alzheimer’s and lucid days come less and less. It may be that I just get to keep him company, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

One of my friends asked this question:

“When you are face to face with Jesus, what will you tell him is your most proud moment?”

I know you have the best questions so shoot!


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Blogging Tour of the Writing Process


I first met my blogging friend Rhonda Blackhurst on the A-Z tour and really enjoyed reading all of her challenges because she writes passionately and from the heart, and I like that.

Rhonda Blackhurst asked if I could join her on a blogging tour of the Writing Process. I enjoy learning how others write so I can get clues and improve on my own writing process. I can’t wait to hear what works for you! 

 

1.) What am I working on at the moment?

I am currently working on writing my dad’s biography.  He has always been a closed man.  I call him a “vaulted” man.  He has Alzheimer’s and is a recovered alcoholic.  Through various techniques, like Poetry Therapy and my education experience, I am learning more about my dad and developing a relationship with him.

 

Off on the side, I am writing poetry and essays and other fun tidbits to keep the writing muse going.  I’ve always loved writing and getting to know people, so the blogging world has been perfect for me.  I used to do a blog about ten years ago and really enjoyed the community.  I also aspire to do a variety of other book projects that are budding for me.

 

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

 

My current writing shows a developing relationship between a daddy and daughter, putting aside all the years of heartache and hard roads and differences from living with an alcoholic to forge a new relationship, leading from a soberly life.  I’m also hoping to offer ways for others to assist their loved ones in living a more quality life if they have Alzheimer’s.

 

3.) Why do I write what I do?

 

My dad’s biography began as an adventure to gather some family history and seeking to know him better as a person.  Throughout my life, my dad revealed very little of himself unless it had to deal with the weather or fishing or other activities as part of his outside world.  I found some questions in a book that daddy allowed me to ask which opened a door for us.  Through a lot of patience and tender loving care of my daddy’s feelings and life, he began to trust me enough to work on building his biography.  Through the encouragement of a dear friend, I went from a 3 page essay to taking on the writing of a biography. Writing this way is truly a challenge and an adventure, but I’m truly enjoying the journey!

 

4.) How does my writing process work?

Because my dad is a vaulted man and has Alzheimer’s, it’s a delicate thing to gather information and to write about his life, especially linearly.  Life stories don’t come to him that way.  Often times I will get the same stories over again, but with new details, so I have to really be on my toes. And there are some stories, I can’t seem to access yet.  So, I’ve developed a system of interviewing him daily and taking notes and saving them in folders by category so as to access them later.

If you have questions, please fire away!

Here are some fellow bloggers who have agreed to be on the tour with me.  I know you will enjoy their work.  They are truly personable people  with a passion for writing.  Be sure to visit them when they post their answers on June 2nd!  We have a lot to learn from each other.  Enjoy your day my friends.

Writing Can be a Rough Road

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Writing Can be a Rough Road

Don’t you wish there were a warning sign like this to point out a “Rough Road” in life?” Not only is there a sign, but a pink flag waving in the wind!

My daughter pointed this sign out to me on our way to school one day. It made us giggle because we were going through some tough times. Lately, the writing road has been a tough one for me….mostly time because my day job, teaching is really busy now. But honestly, the toughest part is working on my dad’s story. Dad is locked up tight inside again.

Alzheimer’s is a nasty beast to the patient and to the families. It is confusing to know what to say and what not to say because they are so caught up in fear and paranoia that often we don’t know what to say. I can’t even hardly talk about what he’s going through on this post for fear that it will get back to him and somehow hurt him. And I’m not trying to hurt anyone. I’m just working for understanding, and writing it to you gets it out of me.

You see, what Alzheimer patients are going through is very very real to them. As my dad’s story unfolds, I realize more and more where his fears come from. He is afraid of people attacking him because he was jumped daily on his way to and from school. He feared for his life often because he knew the guys who jumped him carried knives, and he didn’t know when they would pull one on him.

Rush forward to the present, dad feels this same fear of people wanting to harm him and fearing for his life. Like I said, it’s REAL to HIM. His reasoning skills are waning, so I can’t reason with him about what is real. The most I can do is find ways to comfort him and refocus his energy on positive things. And sometimes I just listen because he needs a way to get the ugly out of him.

I won’t give you details because it will feel like airing dirty laundry. It’s not like that. It’s just that I want you to know there are others out there who understand what you are going through and maybe we can talk strategies together.

Sometimes poetry works with dad because he had such a love for words. And words can be healing. We’ve even written some poetry. For a little while oils like peppermint and orange worked, until he was afraid that the oils were something that would harm instead of help him. Everyone says to use music, but he doesn’t like it and doesn’t have a player. I know through interviews there was music he liked fondly. I’m hoping this summer to bring a CD player with me to visit him with some of those songs to try this out.

The good news is that these episodes go in cycles with some really bad days and then clear days just pop in. I must always be ready because I never know if “today will be the day.”

But I do know this, I never know how much time I will have with him, so I cherish each moment and every morsel of him that is revealed, the good, the bad and the ugly…because he’s my dad…he’s a part of me, and his history is part of me, and I want his grandchildren and great grandchildren to know this man better than the “vaulted man” I knew most of my life. I want to get as many locks off as I can.

Nemaste dear friends. ~Marie