About Julie A. Fleming
When my beloved father showed symptoms of cognitive decline and later was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and later with vascular dementia, I became his sole care-partner. As his dementia progressed and he entered into nearly three years of home hospice care, I became primary caregiver. Despite our best efforts, supported by top-notch professionals at every step, the experience was difficult and marked by too many mistakes. I launched the nonprofit now known as The Purple Sherpa in 2015, aiming to serve dementia family caregivers and to make life easier for others than it was for us. I suspect that everyone who deals with dementia care makes mistakes; my hope is to share knowledge so that others don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did. The Purple Sherpa has a Facebook page followed by nearly 78,000 people and Facebook-based support groups for current and former dementia family caregivers as well as one open to anyone interested in conversation about dementia. I speak on dementia-related topics and hold my fellow caregivers as family.
I realized after my father’s death that nothing was holding me in Atlanta, and so I decided to spend the summer of 2019 in Wyoming. After living in Cheyenne for just over two weeks I realized that I was home. I never thought I’d leave Atlanta, and yet I’ve never been happier.
Being in Wyoming has allowed my spirit to expand in new ways. My intuition has reawakened, set free by the wide-open vistas and the quiet that’s easy to find, even at my home in the capital city of Cheyenne. I knew that stories and insights have always flooded in when I visited Wyoming, and since living here, that’s only increased. The words that you read here are those that the wind whispers to me, and I hope you enjoy.
About When the Wind Whispers
Although I lived in Atlanta from birth until I was 50 years old (except during college and one unfortunate year I spent in Orlando), I always knew that my soul lived in Wyoming.
Stories are at the heart of my Wyoming experience. As a child, I spent hours in the back of the car, watching Oregon Trail ruts cut across the Wyoming plains. My mother kept Robert Unruh’s The Plains Across next to her during those trips, along with a rotating set of other resources. The stories of countless pioneers and early settlers embedded themselves into my mind.
When I was in fourth grade, my mother decided to take a one-year professional sabbatical to research and write about how women first got the vote, which they did in Wyoming Territory in 1869. I started as her “give the kid a job so she doesn’t drive me batty” research assistant, and by the time I was in college, I was integrated into her work. Again, the stories floated up: Amalia Post, a woman of great independence and an early suffragette, Esther Hobart Morris, first woman justice of the peace, and William Bright, who wrote the woman suffrage act, among many others.
I learned stories as well about various points of interest in Wyoming – about characters larger than life, such as Buffalo Bill Cody, as well as those whose names have been lost to history. As a creative writing major in college, I felt surrounded by stories and did my best to capture them. And sometimes, when I would travel, stories would simply materialize. Whether they’re stories that I intuited or created, messages about others’ lives or my own, I was never sure… but their presence was strong.
This blog is to be a repository of all of those stories: the ones I’ve lived, the ones I’ve studied, and the ones that have become mine to tell. All these have come to me When the Wind Whispers.
Wind over lake: the image of Inner Truth.