Tag Archives: mothers

The Other Woman

Every night I pray for her.
In my mind’s eye
I so clearly see her.
My platitudes ill advised,
meaningless . . .

How can I justify our God’s plan?
Why should I be free of need
and she have anything but?

I know it’s stereotyping
but her swollen belly children
deserve an accounting.

Soon she will be gone –
disease stealing her strength away.
They will be orphans -alone –
under a tattered canopy,
thrust into begging to survive.

Just one more parent gone,
one more family destroyed
one more ten year old
parenting a large brood
under the blazing sun.

Why she – why me –
I who have nothing to give,
intimately knows every wrinkle
worn of care . . .

But I am here
babbling words to our Father
as she dies bit by bit
under the African sun
in a refugee camp
alone . . .

Idiot sayings of old

“Children should be seen and not heard’ and somehow that only applied to boys “- my brain smiled when I read those words this morning.  Still chuckling, I am remembering my sisters and brother, aged 5 and 7, climbing out the second floor window of the parsonage, creeping down the six-inch shelf along the second floor the distance of the home and climbing down the pine tree at the end, covered in needles and sap.  Not just once mind you, but a lot.  My mother never knew.  somehow, she was oblivious to all the shenanigans of my younger siblings.

Please understand, the demands of obedience were intensified being minister’s kids. That particularly applied to me, as the oldest.  My parents placed a lot of responsibility on me.  I was the quiet one by nature by I had my share of going out to pick my switch when I had disobeyed.  But my illicit activities where nowhere near those of the others.  Well, except for the time I was playing in the church while my Dad was counseling a couple in the parsonage’s office.  I inadvertently turned on the organ and music, of a kind, rang through the neighborhood.  I remember my Dad flying over to stop me but he could hardly contain the smile lurking about his lips as he chided me.I was about 5.

Although come Sunday morning, my Mother was yelling for us to get ready for church. When we were in church, it was the “whammy look” which brought us to heel. One of those was like the Death Star shooting rays at you – total  inialation. I have had countless nightmares involving the whammy look, even through adulthood.  Although I have to admit it was my adult years when I deserved a whammy look once in a while.

That rebellious, fiercely disobediant spirit lurked strongly in my son.  I worked from home, not the easiest of tasks with young ones about.  Once I was talking to a client and suddenly realized it was far too quiet.  Finishing my call, I went to check on my son and his friend Luke. I couldn’t open the door.  When I told  my son, Yori, to open it, there was no response.  I walked outside and looked through his window. Everything he ownded as crammed up against the door, including his mattress. (He was about 4 at the time). I gave him 5 minutes to put everything back.  When I walked into his room, I was surprised how far he had achieved that goal.  Later that night, I opened his closet to put clothes away and everytrhing tumbled out and on me.

Another time, while talking to a client, I heard chopping. When I finished the call, I went out to check on the boys (Luke again). (This is the boy who, at his wedding had his dogs carry the rings and act as best man and maid of honor)  They had climbed the fence into the dog’s yard, gone into the garage.  Took tswo hammers. And proceeded to chop large holes in the fence. Aghast, I tracked down the dogs and put the boys to work picking up wood. There were many such incidents in Yori’s childhood.  Needless to sday, the kids won, the 10 year old job did not

.So the saying “Children should be seen and not heard” was a misnomer in my famly heirarchy.

 

 

 

 

Caregiving challenges

His face a maze of rivulets and ravines, crutches help bear the weight he carries,
his feet heavy, movements ponderous. Yes, age has wormed its way into his bones
but more, he carries the years upon years of caring for a willful, capricious wife –
most times removed, caught up in her own world, with people and presences
no one else can share or know, leaving him alone with the battle of care.

Caregivers have a heavy burden even with the easiest people those with minds still clear, bodies more or less functional. Whose age or disease make the need for care, daily or occasionally, a burden, willing or not.

But for others, caregiving  carries a much different burden. When they must manage a violent or mentally challenged person, a person with bipolar or schizophrenic
episodes, one whose body has worn out, needing total care, it can make the caregiver
sicker than the person cared for.

That old man has cared for his wife since she had nervous breakdowns forty years prior, sitting by her bed every minute, ignoring all else, including his only son, alone, left to fend for himself, do the shopping, laundry, cleaning.

He has abided her demands, given into whims, defended her right to choose not to medicate. In so doing, she has chosen a tangled trail leaving her family to carry a hard burden of care allowing the right of self-choice to medicate and feel largely better or be “in control” of herself as she berates, hits, babbles, ignores him or
or talks gibberish. BUT always remains the center of attention.

The burden of caregivers is their lives aren’t their own, at the least for sizable chunks of time.  From bill paying and shopping, to bathing, feeding and all facets of self care,
they spend from Sunday visits to constant care for family or hired professionals.

When it comes to Alzheimer’s, all bets are off. You are not often recognized for yourself. Hitting, endless paranoid pacing, constant distraction, inability to  voice thoughts coherently . . .it is exhausting. But it is also a means to give back, to make amends, to relish the moments you have because they may not be long.

That old man now must also contend with a son who believes his mother has every right to choose not to medicate, even though all who are part of her life are negatively affected by that choice. The son refuses to listen to his own children who have enough detachment to see the situation more clearly.

When the Father is overwhelmed, the son brings her, 600 miles away, to his home
where she sits alone, hour after hour, or wanders off with the dog, lost, unaware of where she is or why others are yelling at her to get off the street. It’s not care, not a solution, it’s an ill-chosen stop-gap measure that could hurt or kill her.

We need to be aware of the long-term effects of the decisions we make for our loved ones or those under our care. Sometimes the right solution is personal care by the family, sometimes it’s professional care within the home, but assisted living or skilled nursing homes may be the best options too.  Money is, of course, a vital component in decision-making, as is insurance coverage, and what the impact will mentally have for the person being cared for.

Perspectives

They yelled, shouted, screamed . . .
The old man with tears running
in the wrinkled rivulets of his skin.
The old woman babbling to her voices
giggling like a girl
or reigning supreme . . .
all attention on her.

The old man may too soon
buckle under the strain of her care,
under the lack of care to himself –
a good man, a kind man,
who wants the best
for a woman who would rather
listen to her voices
than be with him.

Their son firmly believes
in her right not to take medications
which would normalize her life
at least in fractions
of the beautiful woman
so terribly traumatized
by the Communist government
that over rid her land, her people,
making her beg for an egg for her child.

The triangle continues
but not as fierce as this
those watching hearing her secrets –
her hitting of a mate of 60 years
over and over again.
He sitting by her bed
for months at a time
when she was in crisis
and unable to rise and rejoin the world.

How her son snatched
roles of husband, father, son –
emasculating the man who deserves
so much more
by not respecting his father’s
needs, wants, care and pain.

While the old man’s tears course down,
and the babble of voices
inside her head
swirl madly around.

The Right To Choose Suicide

THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE SUICIDE

Suicide evokes such a rash of feelings and jumble of thoughts in me. Nothing is easy in this arena. I have always been a firm believer in a person’s right to choose the time of their death, and in the past couple of years, I have been examining those values as my personal health issues have made me increasingly aware of my mortality.

When I was in college, my parents owned a residential home for the elderly. One of the women in the home, Marjorie, was a quiet woman, someone who held her own counsel. She shared the bedroom with another woman and we rarely heard her speak. It wasn’t that she was shy necessarily; just that she had an economy of language. She had been in the home for several years when she found out she had inherited a disease from her mother. The disease caused a slow and very painful death. Marjorie refused to accept those terms. She waited until she had a full prescription of her sleeping medication. During the two days before, she quietly went to each person in the home and let them know how much they meant to her. Then, she swallowed the entire bottle. When we woke the next morning she was gone, but she looked peaceful and had the trace of a smile on her face. We all respected her decision.

I fear I may develop dementia as my father had. I have no qualms about choosing to end my life before it gets too bad or I become a burden to my family. My children have a right to their own lives and having worked in Memory Care units and private duty care of people in the early, mid, and late stages of dementia, I know I don’t want a life like that. It’s a very hard, often long, way to go. I want my family to know me in better ways even though, as my daughter said, God will not except me in Heaven. To which I replied – then I will fertilize flowers right down here.

Without A Voice

WITHOUT A VOICE

His touch whispered against her flesh,
softly, gently, weaving a pattern
of infinite acceptance
of the safety of his arms within
which she felt,
of the sanctity of their home
which they had built together,
and the murmured sighs
of the children they created . . .

Yet within the voiceless plea
echoed through her veins,
take me to freedom,
no more despair.

They had such looks for each other
sending others questing
for the secret so obviously born
in the passion they shared.
And gazing into his eyes,
she felt she was falling
into he liquid pools of green amber,
a falling away from herself
into ways of her choosing.

Yet within the voiceless plea
echoed through her veins,
take me to freedom,
no more despair.

For within the quietness of his voice
roared a rage which scorched her,
though rarely shouted,
its timber reverberated  through her body
causing the cells to bang
against each other,
the skin to break forth in bruising.

Yet within the voiceless plea
echoed through her veins,
take me to freedom,
no more despair.

Never did his arm raise to strike
but his words bore a power,
far greater than physical force,
for once the wound heals,
the mind forgets, and beatings
feather about the edges
of blurred memory,
but words give birth
to inflictions of the soul,
and lie manifest in bruises
born on the flesh,
as silent legacy
to what her own words
cannot speak.

 

 

 

 

 

Bipolar I or Bipolar II?

THE DISEASE

My moods have been a shifting morass of muddied feelings based on circumstances beyond my control of late. People outside my body have been making profound influences on me. Or on my deductions and inferences.

Every part of my life seems under attack. Work, family, money, it never seems to end. Its affected my disease as well. I’m beginning to think I have bipolar I, not II. Food consumes me. I buy as much as I have money for. Living below the poverty line but spending $200+ one week and $150 the next for 1 person. My fridge, freezer and pantry cannot hold more. And its not like I can eat it all, so all that food is wasted. I am globally conscious of the ramifications of too much versus too little food. I just am not aware of the expense and overload while the impulsiveness lasts.

There are so many expenses I have and have coming up. A friend has suggested I get a caseworker. It makes me feel like I am backsliding. Some of the people in my apartment building have caseworkers, I did too a long while back. God, I HATE this Disease! I feel so alone with this but if nothing else, this blogging has shown me I am not alone. I belong to a Bipolar clubhouse. They are great people but some are so sick its scary.

My trouble is I’m too smart for my own good. But is it arrogance or fear that keeps me separate? And how do I resolve myself to this being a life thing? Day by day? Sometimes truisms just don’t cut it. Sometimes you just need to know how to successfully negotiate today. Good idea – just wish I could remember it when I need to.

In the end … We only want not to be forgotten

https://TheCommons.wordpress.com/writeanythingwednesdays.

Lately, whether I’ve been feeling sorrow at the huge holes in parts of my life or the fact I’ll be 60 this year, I’ve thought, off and on again, about the likelihood of my being remembered when I am gone. I’ve moved about 15 times in my life. Most I knew have forgotten me, of that I am sure, even when I have not them.

I have lived alone for the past 20 years and am a private person. Who will remember me? With a gentle spirit, one who doesn’t waves, do I have a presence? Does a pond, clear as glass, with nary a ripple to mar it’s surface, have a presence?  Unless the fishing is really great, will others choose

We all want to think we have made a difference in those we knew and hence, the world, in ever expanding ripples. My mother was a fiercesome, generous, loving, gregarious woman whose death filled our large church. My Dad,a quiet,gentle soul, had fewer people even though he had been a beloved pastor there in years back. My mother died at her desk of a massive heart attack. Believe me, she could give people heart attacks, me so on a regular basis. But she was also generous, pro-active, and a self-starter who created her own businesses, one of which still runs through my sister. My Dad drifted away into demensia for the last 12 or so years of his life, loosing his presence word by word – a sin for such a smart, wise person. But who do you think I have thought so much more of? The person I had the most issues to work through … Mother.

My children are fabulous people who have been achieving successful, happy, fulfilling lives. But it is their Father they will remember more. Not only is he nearby, but he can do the most for them. I love them with every breathe I take but in the end, it won’t matter. I am the passive pond, 3,000 miles away, with nothing to leave them when I go.

There is no real end to this piece. Only the future can answer these questions. A homeless, mentally impaired, nonviolent person will likely be forgotten before he even dies. I’ve worked with the elderly, in these later years, within Memory Care units and I can tell you, most of them are obligatory marks to be checked off the calendar on certain holidays or birthdays. And many have been warehoused there and forgotten. Nursing homes are even worse.  People can be mere chattel there.

I once knew a wonderful woman who died at 104. She lived in my mother’s residential home for the elderly. Her many progeny lived all over the valley she lived in. In the years I knew her, I knew of 2 people who visited, extremely rarely. That was over a 17 year period. She was gentle, Godly, and kind .. . and forgotten.  Another woman I knew had been placed in a mental hospital with a nervous breakdown. Her husband died, she couldn’t be released unless to family but all her family was in Sweden.  Although fully lucid, gentle, Godly, she was forgotten in a ward of 40 women – all stark raving lunatics and forgotten as well.

So in the end, are we forgotten? Most of us, yes. The detestable or the famous ones who created much good in the world, theirs are the lives which will go on with a resounding ring. We push our heads out of the earth, blossom, and provide our smell and beauty. And then die. But, like a single blossom, quickly forgotten. I guess the world and its people must always be future facing for our race and the world to continue. So cheers to the forgotten ones. May many blossoms grow where they lie. https://TheCommons.wordpress.com/writeanythingwednesdays

Program for Parents with Young Children

Somewhere in the world it’s still Wednesday . . . right?  Hoping so because I can barely remember what week it is – scratch that – I Can’t remember what week it is much less what day it is.  I judge the days by whether it’s a work day or not.  I work part-time so that is an easier judge for me.  Nevertheless, I have trouble in this area.

I’ve been feeling an overwhelming need to contribute  to the world.  To volunteer, to write something, anything with meaning to someone more than myself (Not that this is).  I’m hopefully going to start a group for parents and children at my church.  We are a poor, small, and largely elderly lot in a colossal, stone church with magnificent Tiffany windows that is also elderly and in need of repairs.  It is my hope that younger families and children will become interested in joining although that is not my primary focus.

Young, stay at home parents are frequently isolated, lonely, full of questions out of answers  and bored with the daily routine. When I was younger, there was a program in our town where parents would meet once a month for a program while their children were babysat.  The program each month would focus on a different aspect of importance to parents. A speaker might talk for 20-30 minutes, followed by a question-answer period. Topics could include: Saving for College funds, When to get a tutor for your child, First Aid, Budgeting for childhood expenses.  There are plenty of relevant topics to draw from.  (If any of you have suggestions, please let me know).

Children would be in a separate area with minders who have been background checked. Activities would be provided for participation. At the end of the parents’ time, there could be a potluck lunch.

Out of this, a couple of programs could evolve.  First, a babysitting co-op could be developed.  A parent needing a few hours off could find another parent in the co-op to babysit.  The parent would then owe the co-op a number of points which would need to be eliminated by babysitting for someone else in the group.  A small steering committee would keep track of the data and ensure quality care was being given. For instance, if a babysitter talks on the phone or works on a computer the entire time, watches inappropriate (adult, violent) shows,  or is using drugs or alcohol during babysitting sessions the person could be eliminated from the program or warned, depending on the severity of the issue.

Another program I would hope to see emerge from the program would be playgroups that met weekly or every other week at different parks or places in the area. My children were in a playgroup from the time my oldest was five months old until he entered kindergarten.  The playgroup mothers continued to celebrate births or other special occasions after the kids went to school.  We even had an annual mothers’ weekend away at the beach.

There are a couple of more ideas I have for this population but they can wait a while.  The nice thing is, once started, my contribution would be obtaining speakers while all else could be run by the parents.  I’m past those years so it would not be appropriate for me to be involved any more.  As I said, suggestions are welcome.  Puleaseeee . . .

 

 

Target . . . Me

I was reading a new blog, Awkword and what Michelle has asked us to do in choosing a target audience and I realized not only do I not have one I am aware of, but I don’t know who the target me is.  I have lived alone for 20 years. No dating, not a really active social life, and though there are some reasons why, I also find myself saying, once in a while, why not?

My writing can tend to be somewhat, or very, on the dark side.  I have a low to mid grade bipolar condition.  It keeps me more on the depressed or withdrawn section of life.  I also have a boat-load of physical issues and have for all those years and before. So I suppose I might draw people who have similar issues.  These can range from the conditions: once I was on O2 for 2 12 years and have had asthma, chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, and emphysema in greater or lesser strengths for all my adult life.  Fibromyalgia dogs me. I lost more than 3/4 of my intestines and gall bladder when I went septic and my systems shut down and was in a coma 3 weeks.  When I woke it was to complete loss of muscle memory.  This past year I had back surgery which didn’t help. I’ve had a migraine most of the last three months.  See what I mean?  There is more but that alone can make for a target audience.

I have Traumatic Brian Injury – caused during the coma, but which creates its own set of problems.  My memory is not always reliable. I suppose it is an understatement.  My sister calls it CRAFT – can’t remember a fucking thing.

Because of these factors, I am legally disabled. Work is hard. Complex assignments are too hard to process. Simple assignments bore the crap out of me.  I can’t work too much because Medicaid and my body won’t let me.  So I have been a caregiver for numerous years. I started off as a Business Management Consultant with clients all over the country.  Quite the let-down.

I am a mother of two twenty somethings 3,000 miles away from me and happy that way. They are living their lives well and that is the most any mother could ask.  But I live near my sisters and my 8 year old nieces are my delight.

Oh yes,  I am a recovering drug and alcohol addict – and food.  I have been sober from alcohol for more than 35 years with a 5 year break for a 5 year addiction to prescription pain killers which ended 11 years ago and had a horrible effect of my kids, especially my daughter. So there’s guilt and shame I can’t seem to let go of.

AND – I’ve wanted to be a writer  and missionary all my life.  I’ve been published a few times and I have an opportunity to go on a mission in 2017.  Until then I do what I can here.  I write a lot of poetry, some memoir pieces, and non-fiction articles  about women who have achieved greatness through tremendous adversity.  I write about what I know and want to know; what is inspirational to me and religion and spirituality.

So if you can find a target audience in all that, except that I probably sound very self-involved . . . playing with my navel and all that; let me know. And I still have to figure out pages, widgets, you name it.  Learning to be a good blogger is taking a long time . . . did I tell you about my TBI?

I welcome tips and comments.  I truly want to grow. So give me a hand why dontcha’.