Thursday, November 16, 2017

3rd Annual Purple Boat Float

Last Sunday was our 3rd annual Purple Boat Float. If you've missed my posts about it in years past, it is a beautiful event put on by the Commission of Aging here in Riverside. People come together and sign/dedicate a boat to their loved one who has been affected by dementia. At dusk, we take the boats out into the lake and light tea light candle in them, launching them out into the water. It is a very sweet evening.

It started after a group of us came together to start the Purple City Alliance, which helps bring awareness and training about how to deal with dementia to businesses, making our city a dementia friendly city. I only attended the first few meetings (mom's care had become too involved to continue the meetings), but it is a great thing that our city is doing! The woman who started the Purple Boat Float actually sits on The DEANA Foundation's board now! :)

This year, dad was unable to make it to the boat float. My Aunt (his sister) was throwing a surprise 60th birthday party for her husband in Northern California, so my dad and all 5 of his siblings went up there for that event. I'm glad that he was able to go and have a fun weekend getaway with his siblings; they are a lot of fun when they are together! But, the boat float wasn't quite the same without him. I felt a little "off" this time around, I suppose because it was the first boat float where Mom hasn't been alive. Still, it was a beautiful event. It has grown considerably since our first year and I have no doubt that it will continue to grow more each year.

As always, I set up a booth for the foundation, giving information to anyone who might need caregiving help. I'm usually the only person running the show (along with Jeff, of course) but I was lucky to have a friend (and also board member) join me this time.

Something special about this year was having Mom's brother and sister-in-law join us. My sister, along with Mom's sister (Aunt Claudia) joined us last year, and Uncle Mike and Tia Tina joined us this year. My hope is to have more and more family members join us each year!

I was a little bit worried going into this boat float that I was going to fall apart. I had a really rough week last which included two big breakdowns (right when I thought I was getting better!) I was just recovering from all of those emotions when it was time for the boat float. Even though I wasn't feeling my absolute best (emotionally), I held it all together and made it through the night. It was a nice evening and I was so thankful to have family there with me. I don't think they even understand what that means to me right now, but family support helps me get through the days!

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