It’s Like Comfort Food or Not

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Dark Cumulonous clouds rumble and growl.  White bolts of lightning strike downward.  From above a spigot opens.  It is like comfort food.

Living in Florida tests my premise and my enjoyment of storms.  In the last four days heavy rain has flowed from that spigot.  It is June and hurricane season must be planning a showy entrance with all this rain.  I tease M. that he should remember to water the plants.  He scowls and snickers at me.

Another issue to vex us is that with so much rain our roof is leaking again.  There is plastic sheets with flat trays topped with towels lying around the Great Room floor.  We thought that the roof had been fixed, but I guess if it rains hard enough it finds a way in!!

I have been here long enough to begin to see differences.  This rain is early this year.  Possibly, I should go out and buy canned food and a couple of gallons of water.  If the rain continues, even stronger and with wind, I will think about buying supplies.    If I do buy some supplies, M. will taunt and tease me.  I will tell him it doesn’t hurt to have the larder full!!   If we didn’t have food during a major hurricane I think I would not suffer, but he might need a little nourishment.  M. and I are like Jack Sprat could eat no fat,  his wife could eat no lean and so they licked the platter clean.

I prefer licking that platter when the downpour of rain and wind are like they used to be in the Midwest.  There, they were like comfort food, but here I am not sure!

 

To Say Good Bye to Hy

 

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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.

On Golden Wings of Doves

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Perched upon the white, undulating rail,  a snow-white dove coos at me from its beak of gold.   As it extends its wings for flight, the feathers change from stark white to a glistening gold.  Suddenly, I remembered how often this dove was in my life during the last weeks of Momma’s life.  I wrote poems, used the phrase “on the golden wings of dove” in my blog entries and even sat next to her carefully describing the wonderment of this dove.  Until I started writing, the connections to Momma, her death and how I used the story of a golden dove, was certainly not clear.  By the time I wrote “Perched upon the white, undulating rail, a snow-white dove coo’s at me from its beak of gold,” the past was also perched upon the rail.

For another moment, I contemplated my closure and wondered, could the dove be here for me??  As I sang part of the song, the one I sang to my Mother, I understood that the doves are a metaphor for coping with her last voyage and pleased that the doves stay with her as she departed this world for another.   Now, under my circumstance I feel they simply say, “You also are not alone.”

Think of it, though, within the context of my fantasies, to ride upon their  golden wings, particularly if they carry me through a galaxy of brilliant stars, can only be seen as a mighty, rejuvenating experience for me and as I awaken the good feelings of fantasy will keep me going for a long time.

Each time I write about the intangible I question if there are those who don’t understand  the uniqueness of fantasy.  I wish they could!!, but then I remember there are all the rest of humankind that does understand just how important a few moments away from reality can bring you back filled with cheer!

 

 

75 DAYS Left til 65!

Nope, not a saga of not wanting to reach my birthday, but rather a hope that the days pass swiftly and brings a new year filled with everything normal and nothing like the experiences I have had in my 64th year!!  Each day I look in the mirror and tell myself that my 65th year will be like all my other years and not copy or continue the escapades of my 64th year.

This past year, the one with 75 days left in it, has been one filled with sickness, pain, stupidity, shot hopes, drudgery to continue and certainly a plea that all stops such impediments stop on June 14.   First experienced were fevers that continue to this day.  Possibly they are caused by my bad sinus and their reaction to the Florida climate.  When a fever strikes I become lethargic and little work or creativity or enjoyment of life is possible.  Then, two surgeries (not major) needed time for healing.  The second one a hernia repair kept me inactive for over a month and a half.  Finally, I began feeling better for all my ails and thought I should start working in my garden.  I had gotten rid of the man who worked for me and was without one.  I decided I wanted to bring it in shape and then find a helper for the summer.  

What a good idea, work outside, make the garden look how I like it, use the work for exercise and reap a benefit by losing a pound or two!!  Every thing was going well.  I had swept from one side of the property to the other side.  There is about three quarter’s of an acre of garden and I have been known to weed, rake, clean, trim, mulch, etc. within 10-12 days.  I was nearing the finish line and I knew I could spread mulch the following day if on this day I could get the last area trimmed and cleaned, which included many trees.  I started working early in the morning.  By late morning I had gotten a lot done and had trimmed major branches from the trees.  All I needed to do was clear the area of the branches, rack it well and I would be ready the following day to mulch. 

Yes, that also was a good thought to work toward.   I began clearing the large branches away, carrying more than one at a time.  I didn’t notice one had fallen out of my arms and landed in my foot path.  I took one more step and my foot caught in the “y” of the branch.  The tug surprised me and caused me to topple forward at a very fast clip.  The ride down to the earth isn’t clear.  I only remember looking up to see the sidewalk and the brick edge to the garden about 6 inches from my head.  Wow, what luck!!  Then I rolled over and saw that my chest had landed on a brick.  Silly to have left it laying there.

At the moment I was pain-free.  I pushed the branches aside, got  up, dusted myself off, grabbed the branches and continued on to the lawn rubbish pile.  As I tossed the branches forward I knew I wasn’t the same.  Something was moving in my chest.  Stubborn as I am I didn’t want to think about it and decided I must clean up everything first and then about what might be going on.

Finally done and still not admitting much I decided to take a shower.  While in the shower the pain began.  It was in my chest and in my left hip.  Within a very short time the pain got worse.  I knew I had to call M. to come home.  I called and simply said, “I think I broke a rib!”

I broke two ribs and twisted my hip severely.  The pain was gruesome and remained that way for many, many days.  This became the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Little by little I realized how much this pain and injury was bothering me and I felt that to climb back to what I was before would not be easy.  It has been more than difficult.  In fact it is down right depressing.  I am now struggling to climb back up that hill and find if I push too hard it makes me slide back down the hill.

If I find  that after the 75 days pass and I am continue experiencing new pitfalls I will be unhappy!

I have decided that what ever ills needs to happen to me must happen within the next 75 days.

I Wonder: Am I There??

My original blog at WordPress, which I still leave intact, focused on a time in one’s life that is considered the twilight of life and how that period can affect you.  When thinking about a name for my blog I chose “Within Crepusculum” which in meaning comes from the ancient word “Crepusculum” for a place or feeling that is no longer clear in vision or thought.  The contemporary equivalent, crepuscular, used mostly as an adjective, carries almost the same meaning, yet with it you identify a particular thing with a noun of choice.

Crepusculum became an actual place to me, where one day, when I have experiences particular life changes that leaves me bound to being assisted to continue living, or less traumatic, a place just beyond a threshold, where I will only pass through when I know my physical or mental condition has changed enough and that I believe I may never be able to recoup from the change.  After entering, this place, within my own crepusculum, I begin a journey of unknown length, nor do I know what I will meet along the path that will lead to the part of life that I am not capable of caring for myself.

A definite age does not mean you enter.  Circumstance does matter.  Mental worry and concerns are paramount.  They will determine if you will move beyond the threshold.

Up until this last year I never experienced any thing that made me feel I could change and not return to how I felt on any of my days.  This year, from the time I turned 64, I began collecting new experiences that signaled a difference in me.  First, my sinus’ became much more bothersome and during this time I started to have fevers.  Rounds of treatment never stopped the fever.  It came and went as it pleased even though the sinus’ were fine.  No other cause could be found for the fever and slowly I began to identify with FUO, (fever of unknown origin) a condition quite difficult to treat.  When the fever came it was always accompanied by my being lethargic and miserable.  So often I sat staring into space.  When the fever went down I returned to reality.  Then one day I realized it was gone for two months.  Then two months more of freedom passed and now they are back.

Next,   I experienced a terrible hernia and while waiting for its repair, the pain began to intensify.  I spent hours lying on the floor to relieve the pain.  It had always worked.  This time it did nothing and finally I gave up and went to the emergency room.  I was surprised to hear that it wasn’t my hernia, but that I had an appendicitis.

Finally, the hernia surgery was scheduled and afterward I was limited in what I could do for over 6 weeks.  Even after that time I often had bouts in discomfort and was told this would go on for six months.

The fever, two operations and recuperation’s left me feeling that to regain my strength and fortitude  would not be easy or at times I felt I could never return to how I was.

Slowly, I found I could do more each day.  Eventually I could function physically as I wanted.  I could return to my large garden and lawn to work it as I used to and inside the house any new project was possible.  I was thankful that I had uselessly worried.

Then, three and a half weeks ago, following a morning of trimming tree branches, I fell by catching my foot in a large branch and tumbled forward with such surprising force, that when I landed with my chest on a brick I looked up to see the cement walkway just inches before me.  Without thinking I got up, started to move the branches, saw the brick lying there on the dirt and continued to clean up the area.  Within a very, very short time some pain began.  Regardless, I put all the garden equipment away, then took a shower followed by pacing around not wanting to accept the pain was getting worse.  Soon, I gave up and thought I had better call my spouse home to take me to the emergency room.  I had fractured two ribs, twisted my hip and had an abundance of soft tissue, muscle damage.

After returning from the hospital, the pain intensified and my ability to move easily deteriorated.  The next three days the pain was gruesome and I became helpless when I tried to get in or out of the bed.  To be helped out of the bed worked, but the pain stabbed me at such a degree that I actually cried out for mercy and soon became paranoid in selecting a way to sit, rest, how to stand and walk that many times I felt the path now taken was one that would never change its downward direction.

It is still difficult for me to move, to find a way to sleep, to have the stamina to keep going because if I do more the pain returns to haunt me.  I realize I will reach a day it leaves, but I question that in the aftermath, will I once again return to my normal strength and fortitude.

Too much, To much for my sixty-fourth year.  In a couple of months I will be sixty-five.  Let medicare come if it must or let the Scooter Store continue to send me brochures and let my sideburns show my only touch of grey at the very bottom, but PLEASE, PLEASE let the happenings I have experienced this past year not continue with new ones when I turn sixty-five.  If they do,  I will not be able to stop questioning if I have crossed my threshold.

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.