Lightning Strikes

Sometimes when you least expect it, a bolt of lightning strikes.  When it does you react quickly with a smile and a word, “hi” if you are meeting someone.   Once the greeting is over you know you need to smile and begin to understand why you felt an unwanted, shocking strike.  It is a time for you to cope regardless of what the moment brought to you.

Yesterday, we arranged to have lunch with our neighbor from where we previously lived.  We were neighbors for six years and the last time we saw them was a year ago in front of our house.   That day they each came over to bid us a pleasant good-bye.  We often chatted with them in our yard or their’s and rarely did we go into each other’s homes to have a  formal time with each other.  Even though we chatted under the mango trees or during a time when we helped each other we did get to know a fair amount about each other.

As I climbed out of the car my eye quickly stopped at the wife and then on to the husband followed by the strike of lightning.   During the next moment, I found it difficult to say “hi” and pull me together to act normal.  The husband‘s Parkinson’s worsened leaving his left-hand shake unmercifully.  His wife looked haggard and worn.  She appeared as though she was ten years older than she is.

Without too much delay she began to talk about herself and why her shabby appearance was due to her muddled mind.   We accompanied them as they walked into the house.    The husband still is of sound mind although his physical appearance showed that he had lost weight;  the weight that had been lost by an erratic diet.    later he mentioned that there wasn’t food in the house and that we needed to go out.  I felt bad and wanted to shop and make food for them. Yet he would never allow anyone to give them anything.  This is something I learned during our six years we were neighbors.

Over the next two hours, we listened as they each told us about her problems.  She was crestfallen and tired and conscious of what she felt.  She explained at lunch that the man across the table was not her husband, he was a replacement, one that she was not as comfortable as with her real husband.  He asked her for the keys she carried but she would not release them and we knew that she wouldn’t give them to him because she felt this new person might take the car or lock her out of the house.  She kept thinking her purse was missing and then back at the house she stopped us to look at the man in the tree.  Her purse was in her bedroom as it always is.  Back at their house after lunch, she said that there was a man in the tree.  There was no man.

As we drove away, we worried about both of them.  We tried to ask them for any information about  their son but didn’t get any.   The next day we located him and explained to him what we saw and understood.  We felt it was very important for him to go to them and see the sad state each of his parents was in.  At night, the wife gets very upset, goes to the front yard and screams for help for someone to call the police to protect her.  On the other hand, she has been a threat to her husband’s peace and he feels the same as her in calling the police.

Their son will be with them tonight and try to decide what must be done.  Unfortunately, both his parents need professional evaluations during a stay in a hospital.  There are many tales within the bolt of lightning and they must be sorted out by a professional.  I hope there peace comes to them and strength given to the son to make it happen for them. 

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To Say Good Bye to Hy

 

hy

In June of 2013 I wrote a blog about my brother-in-law Hy who had Alzheimer’s and was staying with us at that time, (If you wish to read the blog entry use the following link: tp://wp.me/p13BTS-xh.  His life was in an upheaval; not liking where he was living in assisted living, he called me to come and get him and that he no longer wanted to live in a place he didn’t like.   The days while he was with us passed quickly.  Each morning I arose very early to find Hy somewhere near his room.   Each time I motioned for him to join me in the kitchen.  After making coffee and preparing something for breakfast (pancakes were high on his list of likes!)  he and I sat together chatting.

Often he would tell me tales of his family based on youthful or adult memories.  Almost always, a twinkle formed in his eye as his yarn unfolded and even when I knew the story was slightly different it didn’t matter because the twinkle made me smile.  Not often did we discuss his disease, although at times he acknowledged and shared his worries about having Alzheimer’s.

At the early breakfast table chats I was heavy, as I am now.  With a little prodding and a joke from him I tried to explain my eating patterns.  He was adamant that I needed to change and in the meantime he nicknamed me “Big Boy”, a name that he always remembered.   Regardless of the conversation, soon we would break into singing old songs which seemed to bring the chat all together so that we each had an enjoyable time.  

After his stay with us,  he moved to a very nice apartment in another assisted living apartment building.  After a year and a couple of months  of enjoying his new home, his condition quickly changed and Hy passed away following a stroke.

The change began when he sustained a head injury a few weeks before.   The emergency room nurse told us nothing serious was found and that he was going home that same day.  During the next two to three weeks Hy continued to deteriorate until the day he had the stroke.  He was in the hospital a very short time and discharged to his home with hospice.  M and I saw him two times after he returned from the hospital.

He laid in a small hospital bed in the corner of his bedroom.  A hospice nurse sat in the opposite corner watching him and waiting to see any changes and to give him the regimented dose of morphine.  This first day, even though medicated and unable to speak he was able to let us know he knew us.  Once he tried to speak.  I could tell he was asking me about something.  Finally I realized he was asking what was wrong with him.  I simply told him he had a stroke which his left side paralyzed.   He understood and began to hit the bad leg.  It was clear his was upset and sad at the grave change in his health.  I think he knew that his living was over.

We told him good-bye and  that we would see him the following day.  We left disturbed because he received only tiny dose of Morphine, an amount that  couldn’t even be labeled as a palliative dose.   We feared that with a minimal dose he would linger too long in this state and suffer each hour.

The next day’s visit was different.  The morphine dose was at an acceptable level.  We could tell that he would not last more than another day.  We bid our separate good byes to him and silently left with thoughts of him and his life running through our heads.  The next morning he died around 11:30 a.m.  

Death is not joyful, but at times death is better for the person.   He never wished to linger for death to arrive on some unknown future date and be tormented by a ravaged mind that could not understand it all.   Now it is over and the living must deal with his passing.  

Since we moved to Florida five years ago I have enjoyed having him at our house for small dinners and larger parties.  Years ago when M and I had a dinner party I realized there were two tables of guests that needed attention.  I took one of them to sit at and then put Hy and his wife at the other to make sure those guests were happy.  They were amazing at table talk and the guests enjoyed the attention they gave to them.   In Florida Hy became even more jovial and fun.   As his mind deteriorated Hy continued to enjoy life and be concerned about the people he knew.  So many times he called to find out how I was during the time that I had surgery, broken ribs, chemo, and a host of continuing problems. Yes, I shall miss him and continue to believe that to have been with Hy was to enjoy Life at the fullest.  Understanding that makes saying good-bye easier.

Through the Gray There Will Be!!

This post is warmly dedicated to

Shadowlands and Tauna

to each I send much love………

In my own way I am very determined to make my new path so that when I step within my Crepusculum,  I will be able to breathe a sigh and say, “You made It–You made it Your Way!!!”  And when I say that. I want to be able to jump, to wave, to sing, to laugh joyously, to know that at that moment I am happy and that I will continue to make my days happy.  Nor will I feel sad that I have entered that era of my life.  It should and will be a time to rejoice that I am that mature, that I have worked to be happy and that I am ready for what tomorrow brings me.

In this world of gray that I live, the one that will continue to jettison me to my renaissance, is a world that I have to remember there will  only be a few people close to me that say “Its good, you will make it, you follow your heart and do it your way!”  That’s the key of the gray because so many good-willed people forget that each of us, no matter how much we are nudged, can only do it ourselves.  The gray in life isn’t just the overcast sky caused by a dense cloud cover, it is much closer, it is the part of me that is overwhelmed, filled with thoughts and emotions and so thick that it is impossible to sort, sift or dispense with easily.  Then that gray begins to grow even more thickly simply because there is a lack of seratonin in me.  So many things causes the gray.  Each human’s gray is filled with different reasons, although some can be similar.  My gray, for instance,  is filled with ongoing grief, guilt, ambivalence in relationships, some friendships and not being industrious to set a groundwork for a personal legacy.

Months have passed and the majority around me urge me to just get on with it.  Its time you pulled yourself out from where you are, the time has been too long, they say.  Then there are others who wish never to acknowledge that there ever was something that allowed me to slide, slide pitifully into the densest of grays.  Its quite an experience if you have never been there.  You don’t think to well, you don’t care to write, thank god because the words just aren’t in the head.  Most days and hours you are not attentive.  You don’t care about anything even yourself.  Then  sleeplessness walks in, non-stop eating makes itself at home in your head and further withdrawal from sharing continues until it is nearly extinguished.  Yet for me, there remained two remarkable people who never expected more from me than what I was for any particular day.  Never did they coax me to change, yet their contact with me was always supportive in a wonderfully quiet way.  These two rare people know me the best of anyone because I tell them everything and they listen and   let me know they are always there.

Well, now there is a little break in that gray that wraps around me.  Yes I decided that I needed to begin living, but that does not mean that I give up and accept all the reasons for the gray.  I think perhaps what is unique that this little beginning of Renaissance in  life allows me to continue to sift and sort, heal and pamper all the emotions in the gray.  In fact, it gives me new tools to see and to evaluate and to come to terms with myself.  My two special people have unknowingly given me more help than anyone.  It is destiny I believe that brought each of us together.  One is like a sister to me who knows me so well and can tell when something is wrong, who has gone through more grief and pain than anyone should have  to bear and yet has always given  me continual support and prayer.  The other person, simply put has become my Sage, with enough wisdom to set confusing matters straight in a quiet way, yet also is plagued by many physical problems.  I think that is why they both are so special and their words are taken so easily to heart.  Each has their own pain in living but each have always been willing to give support by sharing their own adversity.

And, during this whole time of nothing, of pushing gray to one side only to find it coming back again, I continually thought what my Mother believed in so strongly and that was of Tomorrow.  Now I do think of tomorrow and also have noticed that when I see someone not smiling or not being pleasant I often tell them that smiling makes a big difference in life, smiling is like a ray of golden sun and if you share that ray of sun with others you will find you receive much warmth and understanding in return.

As I write I smile because during all this gray I have begun to grow from within.  There is much more compassion, much more logic than before and possibly if I look hard enough I will see that wisdom has rested with the walls of my heart.  Yes, there still is so much more that I need to do, to work on.  But only in the last few days has this begun to happen.  I know there will be more that I will be able to understand and a fresh willingness to want to explore life.  It will all come in good time and only when I am ready.  But for now I am pleased that I have my little beginning to a Renaissance at it will lead me to the next stage where I can grow just a little more.

To those who are uncomfortable with me and my gray I promise to be more cautious with whom I share my life.   Some people just can’t handle my past and current emotional state.  That’s fine with me–because I do believe that through the gray there will be life.

It is Time—

Yesterday, Shadowlands not only gave me awards, but described my blogs in the most complimentary way.  During the time before my Mother died I had received a couple of other awards.  At that time, my days and nights were clouded and I didn’t always have the time to acknowledgement the kindness shown me.

The awards are very much appreciated, but even more important are the people who gave them to me.  Your responses to what I write allow me to know I am not alone in the world of grief or on my journey toward the twilight of my life.  Every step of the way all of you have been there for me.  There never is a limitation to the time you give to express your thoughts about caring or even to thank me for giving you something to think about that usually, you haven’t wanted to think on.  It is time that I thank you–

Instead of responding to my wonderful awards in the usual manner, I prefer to give back to who gave to me.  In other words, I have begun

The First Annual Frank E. Bell Awards

So, imagine you are now walking out of your home dressed in some fine, formal garb, hair and nails freshly fixed or if you are a guy you have trimmed your moustache and put on your patent leather dress slippers, tux and red silk bow tie!!  Sure, if you are very creative you can already see the dinner table set at the awards with a black faile cloth to the floor, Baccarach glasses, sterling silver flatware, silver opera chairs with black cushions and a breathtaking arrangement of multi-white roses and white dendrobian orchids in the center of table.  Since this is a fantasy, just order whatever you want to eat.  Relax and enjoy every tender morsel of tenderloin, lobster, rack of lamb or other special dish that you want.

Carefully pat your lips, sit back because now you are to receive your awards.

The awards for this occasion are yours and need nothing else done, except to realize how special all of you are!!!  Without your support my blogs would never have been recognized on Technorati or WordPress, but your support went much further than having my blogs on Technorati.

lShadowlands

I have been touched by Shadowlands’ strength and courage  and ability to give me her time when my heart was hurting so badly.  She walked me through the darkness one feels in the beginning of grief and guided me so that I understood that grief has many paths and many parts to travel through.  We each are still journeying to the day we will feel more settled and secure in our feelings.  God provided her with many talents–writing is one, but compassion for others is paramount!  Is thank you enough?

CroneandBearIt

During those first days in November I always went back to the computer to the blog surfer checking to see if Linda had posted.  Her stories, particularly about herself or EmmaLou brought a smile to my face, regardless of how grey I felt the day.  I am sure there were times she was busy at school, but whenever I could post a poem or thought Linda answered with her support and love.  Thank You.

Sparkle

And one day I went to see Sparkle and from that moment I learned about her life which parallels mine.  One day I realized Sparkle was grieving for the Mother she never had, while I was grieving for the special Mother I had.  Together we have compared our feelings and walked down a path of grief with a special understanding for each other.

Lyndapix

During that last week of my Mother’s life and on from there Lynda sent me many emails letting me know she was there and praying for me.  I am in awe of her and the rest of you  because without your prayers life may have not been so good.  Lynda is unbelievably accepting of people and opens her heart to them.  She takes some great photos–I miss seeing them on her blog, but she will begin again when she can.

Dahlip

Early on I found “The Clock Struck One”, Dahlip’s success at sharing his story about how his life changed after his stroke.  He writes truthfully and tries also to include helpful hints for other stroke victims.  He is to be applauded for his work.  If you haven’t visited his site, please do so…….there may be a day when you can suggest to a stroke victim to visit his site.  His story paralleled  my Mother’s thoughts and fears after she had her major stroke.  She was happy to know some one was trying to tell people how stroke can cause you to feel alone, depressed and worthless, but that there are ways for coming back and having a life.

Oh, yes, sometime soon you will have dessert.  Use your imagination again, or better yet go to your kitchen and whip up a souffle.  EmmaLou is waiting for hers Linda!!

For Shadowlands

In the early days of my being on WordPress I visited another blog. Back in those days I am sure I fell upon the blog by accident since everything was unfamiliar to me. I remember reading the first post that came onto my screen. It was one part of a women’s account of her husband’s journey toward the sunset of cancer. Not only did I read about this journey, but while doing so I realized the bond between these two people was very special.

In the weeks and months to follow, Shadowlands has been supportive of my exploration of preparing to enter my twilight and I continued to read hers to be a part of their journey and gain from her some peace from her strength.

Her husband has taken his final journey and no longer will need to live with the constant, unrelenting pain of cancer. On the other hand Shadowlands will begin her own new journey. She has many, many wonderful followers that have been with her all this time and we will continue to be there for her.

I would like to dedicate this post to her and her strength and to her husband’s memory. Shadowlands my heartfelt thoughts are with you..