When this world hurts me, and I feel trapped by the machinations of others, or the actions of society, or the political fray our country and the world lies in, the words of John Lennon’s song “Imagine” brings comfort. For weeks now, I have had no words to share, I have felt empty inside. These words matter to this world and are so much more than my trivial mutterings.

  • Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one
  • Writer/s: John Lennon, Yoko Ono 
    Publisher: Downtown Music Publishing
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Shadow Play

Words are vultures
come to gnaw the last
bit of meat from bone.
They strip away
all reason,
the seductive embrace
of imaginings.
Words are a shadow play
where the figures cast
are illusions, and the
substance of reality
is overshadowed.

Words are binders
in the glue.
holding tight one object
to another, locked
in contracts non-negotiable.
Tread carefully
when words are spoken,
your soul is up for sale
and will be gone
if freely given to . . .

Dealing with Difficult cases

Being a caregiver can be both draining and uplifting. The people I work with are often fragile. They have damaged bodies and/ or minds. Some have broken psyches. Yet it is a precious thing when you know you have made a difference one day at a time.

Working with the family can be challenging. They have expectations and different perspectives than you. This creates confusion and frustration at times. As an example, yesterday was my last day on a difficult case. The man had PTSD from his time in Vietnam. He had also lived alone for many years and had developed some antisocial habits.

This man was noncomplant with his medications and virtually every other activity of daily living. He had mannerisms that were offensive. He repeatedly spoke about wanting to die. Depression was evident. He is a heavy smoker. His mind couldn’t get past his difficulty walking due to a stroke. Not only that but he had Obsessive Compulsive behaviors. He was reactionary to most situations. His mind would get caught in a loop, circling around his mobility problems, focusing on the negatives, unable to see solutions, only concerned with his leg and his inability to walk independently.

As a caregiver, this case demanded fortitude and endurance. His Power of Attorney loved this man but didn’t see some of his more offensive behaviors. The chain of information was sketchy. For instance, she was upset because she thought I was complaining about the fact that that he hadn’t taken his medications and thought it was me who complained. She was told it was my last day and was upset. She reacted to the continuing medication issue. I hadn’t raised the issue that day but the physical challenges of not taking his medications was evident.

She was also upset that I didn’t make food for him, bring it to work and go food shopping for him on my own time the way another aide did. Mainly she was upset I was leaving when the client was happy with me. She was also upset I charged mileage even though it was stated in the contract.

It is rare that I give up on a case. I tend to like the people I work with. But I am learning it is okay to occasionally be selective. I need to do what is necessary for myself. And I have learned my needs have to come first because at the end of the day, I need to feel I have been a force for good.

I am not a quitter as a rule. I was on one case for 3 1/2 years where the Alzheimer’s affected woman would become violent when she didn’t want to do something like taking a shower. I loved this woman and was with her until her death.

However, I have learned there are always other caregivers to take over. I am not the only person who is competent. And I am more effective if I am happy in the case. I am less likely to suffer burnout if I feel like I am making a positive change. I always give my best, but life is a lot easier when you want to be where you are. Knowing your limits is essential. It is something I had to learn the hard way.

Staying Motivated when stuck

Lately I have been going through a period of indecision and lack of creativity. It is truly annoying and frustrating. I have been filled with discontent with my writing. My perennial insecurity has weaved itself into the fabric of my days. I don’t know about you but when I go through this period of abject moroseness I loose hope for a writing future.

I have spent my life battling insecurity. In the past few years, I have grown into myself, accepted myself for the person I have become. There have been many days of contentment. It was been wonderful coming from a lifetime of self-hate.

The problem with contentment is, for me, it doesn’t necessarily translate into productivity. Then, switching into a time when self-assessment is not that favorable, it is stressful and unproductive. I worry about the blog, whether I have lost it, if I can really move into content writing for a living.

Now I am waiting for the tide to turn. I went away for a few days to recharge. Hopefully, that will help although this morning it doesn’t seem to have. So please hang in there. I’ll get better. I worry about consistency in to future, whether my moods will determine whether I can work or not, but I also know this too shall pass. Be patient, something I need to learn for myself.

Listening when you need to be heard

“You are a great listener” she said. It is true, I know the value of listening but not always for the pleasure to hear. Sometimes I listen as the words clog my throat, choking me, dragging me into an abyss my placid exterior belies. I want to be there for the other person, but my need to be there for myself goes unobserved. A straight jacket encloses me – tight, threatening, suffocating.

As a caregiver, I spend much of my days listening. People need to be heard, especially those who live lives of silence with no one to hear them. The elderly have so very much to share. They are wise in the ways of the world. I love hearing them share their histories, to match the history to the person speaking it is sometimes incongruous and always insightful.

But then there are times when the words impatiently wait their turn but my voice box doesn’t work well enough to share them. I go through long stretches of time when I can’t speak my feelings. It is frustrating and anxiety producing. My lungs concave, the words lie restless and smoldering.

Some words will continue to lie unobserved. They would threaten relationships and circumstances. It is lonely and disheartening. I may smile and nod my head in approval but within I am churning. I crawl into my bed and pet my cat in mute appeal.

Women – what a wonderful mix

There are no limits on the number of fabulous women in the world.  In doing the research on my book, I am coming across so many women I wish I could focus more completely on but who don’t fit the parameters in my subject area . . . women who have gone through, traumatic, tragic experiences have become great and are doing great things as a result.

It has three parts. A tragic event occurs.  The person overcomes it or moves through it.  And because of the event (s), achieves greatness and helps others in the process. The thing I am experiencing is there are so many fabulous women in this world, doing remarkable things to help others.  Many are enabled by their status in the world to help whether they be celebrities who can attach their name to bring focus on a situation, or are from privileged or “normal” families and have not experienced the trauma of the magnitude I am looking for. To those, I have much admiration and gratitude for their services.

But I am finding these women who have been subjected to tragedies that would flatten most of us and went ahead to achieve brilliance.  Normal people faced with extraordinary experiences.  Women who have started out with hard lives faced more trauma, and gave their lives to making a better world for women or humankind.  I am humbled.

I look at these women and think of my own life, wishing I could have that extra something to do the things I always wanted to accomplish and never had the where with all or courage to reach out and work toward attainment.  But I am one of the millions who strive to do their best through their days, having ups and downs but walking onward.  Having little accomplishments that build upon each other.

Reading and writing about these women energizes me, fuels me.  Each time I find a new one I am like a parched and weary traveler who has found an oasis.  I drink of their accomplishments, of the terrors they have faced, of their energy and ability to sustain where others can only marvel.

Not to take away from men, but women desperately need leaders of their own sex to spur them onward, give them hope.  There are still too few true female leaders out there for us to latch on. They have to be world-renowned.  They can be becoming.  They can be carving out that nitch that needs exposing.  We can have History books devoted to what Women have achieved – about how History has been changed or impacted by the actions of Women.  Or, dare I say it, History books that equally represent the actions of women and men.

Take, for instance, Shirley Johnson in Tallahassee, Florida.  She began being raped when she was eight years old. At ten she became pregnant. At seventeen, she was the mother of six, married in name only.  By the time she was 27, she had 9 children with two husbands.  The first husband was the church deacon who was one of those raping her, whom she was forced to marry at age eleven.  She had to drop out of school when baby number six came along.  She was shamed and ridiculed within her church, the pastor of which was one of her rapists.  Her mother publicly accused her of lying about her attackers.

At age 56, she has found her voice.  She is fighting hard to make Florida become the first state in the Union to pass a law outlawing marriage, for any reason, before the age of eighteen. She is a caregiver, something she knows well how to do.  Nothing of privilege, she is only now receiving support in her endeavors from organizations for bringing the bill forward through the legislature.  To me, she is great.

It doesn’t take much to make a stand in this world.  You need only have a voice and be willing to use it.  You can be a ripple in the pond, sending other ripples outward.  Or be the butterfly’s wings in the Sahara that creates a hurricane in the Americas.  You can be like Mairead Maguire, who stepped out of her house to join a protest passing by and became a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her work bringing peace first to Ireland and then to other countries.

It only takes a step . . . .