I am tickled pink to know that this website continues to be viewed around the world daily!  Through viewers’ posts and emails, I have learned what an immense relief it is to other caregivers to know that they’re not alone and what to expect with this complicated disease.

To offer better support and insight to caregivers throughout their ongoing journey, today we are proudly revealing our new website: www.FranklySpeakingAlz.com!

I hope that you will share and pass on this new site to others who are struggling with Alzheimer’s.  A new PROBLEM/SOLUTION format imparts the priceless lessons I have learned as a caregiver.  Plus, the new WEBISODE SERIES format starts at the beginning of my family’s story, revealing in much more detail the roller coaster ride that overran our lives, including footage of all my family members to demonstrate the complex dynamics of a family in turmoil.

Please know that, because there is such useful information here, I will continue to keep this Original Blog LIVE, but I will no longer be posting to it.  You can always find my Original Blog at www.FranklySpeakingAlz.WordPress.com or simply by clicking the bright red ORIGINAL BLOG button on my new site!

Good luck to each of you on your journey and please stay in touch by subscribing to my new Webisode Series at www.FranklySpeakingAlz.com!

Peace and love.

~ Joleen

Today was my 1st triathlon and a VERY BIG day for me!  Caregiver survives, Triathlete emerges…  [WATCH VIDEO]

I will be forever grateful to Karen Drew, Reporter, with the local Detroit NBC affiliate, WDIV-Channel 4.  She aired an AMAZING story tonight about my personal journey with Alzheimer’s and how I’m turning it into a movie bound for submission into Sundance Film Festival!

It’s incredible for me to see this vision that was born 4 years ago actually coming to life.  Amazing things happen when you speak your dreams.  Dreams DO come true!

Daddy-O would be SO PROUD!!!!!!!!  🙂


FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS:  Viewing: Monday, May 3, 1-8 PM.  Funeral service with Military Honors: Tuesday, May 4, 10 AM.  Location: The Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home, downtown Farmington (www.heeney-sundquist.com).

Suggested memorial tributes to Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter (www.alz.org/gmc) or for use in completing the movie, Frankly Speaking: Alzheimer’s™ – The Documentary (www.FranklySpeakingAlz.com).

(Real-time Entry)

Somehow the air seems so still these past few days.  A fog shrouds me at times, but inspiration from my dad forces me to keep moving and take action.

I woke up today at 6:30am (which is SO unlike me), went directly into my home office, and started writing an open to a movie about my dad.  I was feeling anxious and inspired.  I witnessed myself typing but was in disbelief about it.  The words were just flowing through my fingers with little conscious thought.  A movie was forming before my very eyes before the sun was even up!

My best friend, Jacquelyn, had planted this seed in my mind recently.  Once again, I found myself on her couch, crumpled and crying, barely able to sit up to talk to her, and she tried to help me out of my dark hole.  She suggested that I stop focusing on the impending bad parts of my dad’s life.  She suggested that I – and my entire family, for that matter – stop wallowing in a state of depressed helplessness and DO something to help ourselves!  I remember just staring at her, blinking, not comprehending at all what she was saying.  She went on to say that, with my talent and abilities, I should be able to turn this into a celebration about my dad – his life, the great man he is, all the accomplishments he has had, the wonderful family he has made…

I remember finally responding meekly with, “I don’t even know what that means.”

She told me to grab a camera, interview him and my mom, get our legacy on tape, relive our family milestones, talk about some happy times, celebrate the good life we’ve all had together!

That got through to me.  I remember sitting up, repeating what she had said to be sure I had heard her right, considering it and agreeing through tears to mull it over.

Then, I found myself sitting straight up in bed this morning at 6:30am, panicked and inspired to start doing something about it RIGHT NOW!  So, there I was, practically having an out-of-body experience watching myself type the opening narration to a movie.  Without thought, it even had a working title: “Honest & Frank”.  Initial Movie Script – Opening Scene

Then, in a split instant, I apparently decided I was done writing, that I had enough initial inspiration down on paper.  I instantly shifted into a panicked pull to get myself to the hospital right away to see my Uncle Jack!  Just a few days since I had seen him last, I was strongly feeling now like I had a very short window of opportunity to spend with him and that life was passing me by!  I raced to get dressed and just as I was nearing completion, the phone rang.  Uncle Jack had just passed away.

Complete meltdown.  OMG, now what was I going to do??  How eerie that I felt PULLED to the hospital right in the moment he was probably taking his last breaths!  Helplessness.  Panic!  Sobbing…

Then, a rational thought suddenly entered my brain and I decided in that instant that I had to immediately visit my parents and roll some video!  I ran to my car but was caught by surprise by the beautiful morning sun and the poignancy of the quiet early autumnal morning Mother Nature had planned.  I ran back inside to grab my still camera and spent a few minutes snapping pictures of my front garden glowing in the mystic autumn sun.  Then, what’s that?  A piece of white Styrofoam or something had blown into the garden…

What is that on the left?

What is that on the left?

I stepped into the garden to move a bush away to inspect the foreign object, and then I saw what it really was!  A cement statue of a Schnauzer, just like our deceased beloved family pet, Scruffy!  Well, how did THAT get there?! 

A cement statue of Scruffy!

A cement statue of Scruffy!

Sobbing, full of emotions, I dropped and broke my camera.  Then I proceeded to dial up some family and friends, asking them through sobs if they had left the gift.  When I asked my mom if it had been her, she said no.  I then told her I was coming over right now with a video camera.

When I arrived, I reiterated through tears the story about finding the Scruffy statue in my garden.  Crying, I said I didn’t know who would’ve done that!  My dad playfully said, “Well, you haven’t asked me.”  I said, “Well, I asked mom and she said it wasn’t you guys.”  To which my mom said, “No, you asked if it was ME and I said no.”  I looked at my dad in disbelief, said, “It was YOU?” and sobbed uncontrollably when he laughed and said yes!  I fell into his arms and told him how much I loved him and how sweet he is to me.

Once composed, I unpacked my camera, set up lights and mic’d my parents.  I sat them down on the couch and rolled camera.  I recorded my first interview for my movie.  Finally, I was DOING SOMETHING…