Last week we talked about the best place to find ideas to write about. I shared with you a place where no one can look for ideas—except you. Look inside yourself. Fashion an idea from your own unique experiences, from your point of view, your emotions, your setting, and your passion.
This week I want to talk about how to expand the idea I shared with you last week concerning my father’s final years with Alzheimer’s disease. Last week I stated that one article idea that could grow out of my experience as a caregiver was, “10 Ways to Survive Alzheimer’s Disease as a Caregiver.” But where else could a story about this experience go?
Well, after watching my father battle this degenerating disease I would also like to write an article that could be entitled, “The Transparent Heart—Reconnecting With Your Parent During Unguarded Alzheimer’s Moments.”
My father never told me he loved me more in my life than when he was caught in the clutches of Alzheimer’s. His guard dropped like a curtain falls. He raised six children alone after cancer claimed my mother when I was a barely eleven. My siblings ranged in age from four to fourteen. And although he was always caring and protective, his mode was strength, not sentimentality. However, the disease slowly stripped away any exterior veneer and exposed his heart.
He willingly and warmly shared his love for me and my siblings before his memory was fragmented. In these unguarded moments, I wondered who was talking. Was it my father or the disease? I elected to believe it was his heart speaking freely for the first time. After all, I reasoned, Alzheimer’s stifles the mind, not the heart.
Another angle I could choose to write about from this one life experience is simply the length of the Alzheimer’s journey. My family and I managed his care for at least five years. I would like to write an article on this subject entitled, “The Long Road Home.” It would focus on the journey from “diagnosis until death” which can range from five to fifteen years. Caregivers need to know how to pace themselves to prevent burnout.
Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter, wrote a book on the former president’s battle with Alzheimer’s. Her title alone told the story. She called it, The Long Goodbye.
As I glance over my notes from this period of my life, I can think of multiple story angles from this single idea.
What about you? What article or blog ideas can you unearth from deep inside yourself? What story or stories lurk in your soul begging to be told? They are stories only you can tell with your unique perspective, passion, and emotion.
So, spend a few hours thinking through your life and the rich experiences you can share with the world. After all, if you don’t share them, nobody will.
The Writer’s Refuge blog is a place for writers, like you, to break away from your daily routine and for just a few minutes find insight, inspiration or simply a word of encouragement.
Blog entries are posted on Thursday.
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