Why Hot Dogs and Marmalade

It all began the summer of 2010.  I stayed with my parents part of each week during that summer in the hope of being a help to them.  My mother has Alzheimer’s.  I wrote a note on Facebook during this time that described it. (It’s published now here: Looking Ahead.)

One day, my mother smeared orange marmalade on her hot dog for lunch.  “There’s the title for my book,” I thought.  However, I probably will never write a book.  I can, however, write a blog.

My mother came to stay with us a few times in 2011 to give my father a much-needed break.  I was reminded repeatedly of the importance of keeping a sense of humor.  So I attempted to find humor in the odd situations that arise with a person suffering from Alzheimer’s.  If I wrote about her attempting to call someone on the television remote or putting orange marmalade on her cereal, I was not laughing at her; I was laughing at the strange situations.  I was laughing to keep from crying.

My mother passed away in 2015, surrounded by family. Then, I stayed with my father in the house where I grew up. He died in that house in 2019, again surrounded by family. It was such a privilege to help care for them both.

I’ve kept the blog as an outlet for my thoughts, a way to stay connected with family and friends, and a discipline that comes and goes in spurts. Many of the early posts are now private.

Why Hot Dogs and Marmalade in the first place?  My hope was that it could be an encouragement to others.

12 thoughts on “Why Hot Dogs and Marmalade

  1. I found your blog by way of the Blogging A to Z Challenge, and I can only hope to make enough time in my days to read everything you’ve written since 2011. You have a lovely voice that takes the reader with you – like a magic carpet woven from language. Wonderful!

  2. Sally – I have nominated you for the Sunshine Bloggers Award. You continually care for those around you both physically and otherwise. Thank you for all the direct and indirect encouragement. You brighten my days, and I consider that a very sunshiney-trait indeed.

  3. I came across your blog by recommendation from someone in alittlelight.ca. After reading this page, I am just silently sitting because my mom has dementia and every sentence you right came to life before me. Also, are you on Instagram? I want to follow you there!

    1. I’m so flattered that someone at alittlelight.ca thought to recommend me! I’m on the east coast of the US, but have family and friends in British Columbia.

      I do have an instagram, but post infrequently on it — mostly pictures of sunrises. My username is something original: sallyzaengle — all one word.

  4. I feel sorry for your mother, Madam! I pray for her well-being along with the that of yours and your family.
    I feel humbled that you visited my blog and liked a post! Thank you so much!!! 🙂

  5. I have an Aunt with Alzheimer’s so can relate to your mums funny situations. I just found your blog today, and I’m following your for more Faith filled posts. I just read your Allegory on Truth. It is actually brilliant, and unfortunately true. Stephen.

  6. My mother had Alzheimer’s and recently passed away. The disease does not get better, but it does crack open now and again to allow a peek at the person inside, the one we remember and love. Your words and memories are comforting. I pray that you and your family find the strength to help your mother, and each other.

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