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Part Two~

That night the real Helen, or should I say her alter-ego, the Screamin’ Demon (as in the terrifying roller coaster), emerged. It started when an aide abruptly turned on the light and spoke her name. Loudly.

She let out one bloodcurdling scream after another. No one could calm her down, and they pressed on with changing her, etc. Finally she began to yell for her Daddy, and did not stop till they put her in her chair and wheeled her out to the nurses’ station.

This went on night after night, sometimes she would throw things (like her teeth) at people; one night she hit me with her call bell, and began determinedly shaking my bed rail, all the while going through her family list (Grampaw, Gramaw, Daddy, Mommy) hoping someone would come to her aid.

In the end, they kept her by the nurses station all the time, unless she was in the dining hall, or at Bingo (a huge event here). They told me I could move, but they would not move her. So I ended up in the hospital. They moved her out while I was away. I found out later that she was quite a remarkable woman, speaking three languages, world-traveled, and a career woman! You just never know.

 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise. . . from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14 NKJV

My next roommate was Kristine. She had her marbles and could see and hear, but she was in tremendous pain. Her first room had been my old one, and her old roomie would come to visit.

She joined me on a Tuesday, having very little appetite, great homesickness for her two cats, and a boyfriend named Phil.  Kristine knew herself very well, and told us how she was far too selfish to ever have a child. Her health almost immediately took a nosedive, and I don’t believe she ever ate again. Oddly, she had cancer in her heart (and a DNR).

On Wednesday, I had them push our beds closer together, so I could hold her hand, and give her water when she wanted it, instead of calling an aide. Though the nurses were okay with it, the night aide threw a hissy fit and pulled the beds apart. Thursday they were moved a little closer, so I could reach her. By then she was in agony. Finally on Friday, she received liquid meds, but they didn’t help much; we all knew the end was near.

I pulled my wheelchair up next to her bed, held her hand, and read the beginning of Anne of Green Gables to her. Friends came in to visit and pray. I played her some gospel music, and began reading Scripture to her. I wished I could ask people to take their shoes off, because I KNEW we were on holy ground. As people finished their shifts, some came to say good-bye. Purification was running in the diffuser, prayers were going up from all over, including Australia! I sang Tender Shepherd from Peter Pan to her, and then sang along with some hymns. On the last few words of It Is Well with My Soul, she passed away. It was a good death. The part Cherokee nurse was glad to see the window open for her soul to depart.

 

Count It All Joy!

I got a new roommate today. Her name is Philomena, but she says, “Call me Phil”. She is quite unlike my other roommates! She has all her marbles, isn’t deaf or blind, and her hips are great! A tree fell on her house in the storm about a month ago, so she has PTSD, claustrophobia, and severe anxiety.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James 1:2-3

My first three, Phyl, Pat, and Helen, all had broken hips and were demented. I became quite fond of Phyl’s daughter, Marcia, who became my in-house bestie. We had a tremendous amount in common, and called each other Lucy and Ethel. She’s on a cruise to Alaska now. Phyl has full-time daycare.

Phyl taught me how heartbreaking it can be to lose one’s self, and how agonizing it can be for family caretakers. Marcia and I held each other up through some dark times.

Pat’s family showed me a different picture, one with more joy and happiness. One evening I had a marvelous talk with her daughter Kim about health care. I was stunned to see the very things we’d talked about, on the front page of Yahoo two days later.

Pat had an awful experience one night, to which I stood witness. It was enough that she transferred to a different facility immediately to complete her rehab, thank the Lord.

Helen was a completely different story. I have never been sure how demented she really is! At first she was just crazy, didn’t know where she was, or why. But then she let her freak flag fly!!

Every evening when Helen was put to bed, in her diaper and jammies, she would begin her ritual of getting naked, beginning by pulling the stuffing out of her diaper, followed closely by her jammies, and then the diaper. (In case anyone wonders, by 96, most people have lost ALL their hair.) Then she’d kick off the blankets and whine because she was cold. Le Sigh.

She also talked. A lot. But only at night. She’d talk to her husband mostly, but sometimes she’d talk to me.

There was a curtain separating our beds, which I kept pulled, as I stayed up much later than she did. She never caught on to the fact that I, Trece, was the person behind the curtain. I rather thought she believed I was Oz (“Pay no attention to the [wo]man behind the curtain”). She would talk about her parents and grandparents, asking if I’d seen them that day, or if I knew why Grampaw hadn’t returned from the train yet.

I’d been informed that she and I would be leaving our room, did I want to remain her roomie? Thinking of how disoriented she already was, I said yes.

Stay tuned for Part Two~

I read two deeply moving, inspiring and heartbreaking things on Facebook the other day. The first reads:

“Your journey is toward how you want to live your life, and having the courage to live your life.” A. Espiritu

The second, more poignantly states:

“”She’s gonna forever say, “I got this”, even with tears in her eyes.” SLMW

The journey quote speaks to me of hope and aspiration, the courage to try again despite falling several times. Thus far, I can attest to the truth of my life’s journey. I have crawled out of many a pit, and continued to climb the hill Difficulty. Through it all, my Lord has been by my side. I am now searching for my courage, or ‘muchness’, to live my best life, creating boundaries where I have had none, and defining my non-negotiables. Those of us who grew up without appropriate parenting have these troubles, and much of my work this past year has been to uncover my ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). This is how I began to hear about the neuroplasticity of the brain. Apparently, we can create new, healthier pathways, by retraining our brains and selves to understand our wonderful uniqueness.

It is the second quote that breaks my heart. This could describe so many, many women – far too many in my family tree. We are parented by people who were not well-parented themselves. Consequently, when our children are born, we make different choices, hoping that the abuse (or ACEs), will stop with us. When we believe that we must be defective or unworthy because of something thoughtlessly said or carelessly done, there is no one available to explain. As our parents did their best, so did we, not knowing how to do better.

I have needed to search out and befriend my Inner Child, take her in my arms and let her know that she is SO loved. As I hold and rock her, my tears mix with hers. I tell her that nothing that  happened was her fault, and that the choices she made (no matter what they were) were made to survive the traumas.

Each of my children carries a different Mother Wound. I would give anything to help them heal, so I gently place them in the Everlasting  Arms and open hands of the One Who loves them far more than I ever will.

 

 

 

Well, hello there!

Many things have changed in the 4 years since I last posted here, lots of changes in the world, in the blogosphere, and in my family. Our country is unrecognizable, so much hatred and lack of tolerance; it breaks my heart, as I am sure it breaks God’s.

Many people have moved to posting on FaceBook (Amy Ferris), turned to Instagram (@artilleryavefarm, @kimberlyannprice) , or morphed into a new iteration. Here’s my short-list (in no particular order) of some of the people whose blogs I follow now: Liz Lamoreux, Hannah Marcotti, Danielle LaPorte, Kate Dorsey, Andrea Schroeder, Kristen Lena, Debra Smouse, Dawn Paoletta, Mordechai Weiner, Dr. Z and Mama Z.

My family has grown again. DD36 will be 37 next week. She gave birth to X-man, my youngest grandchild, in January; the Polish Princess is now 6! DD32 is now engaged; they have 2 dogs. DD29 and her family celebrated my younger granddaughter Gigi’s 2nd birthday in May; Spud is now 8! My husband will turn 70 tomorrow. He has 2 new knees, and a new hip!

I’ve been in either Saratoga Hospital, or a nursing home, since October 8 of last year. Well, I was home for 4.5 days in March, just before I went back to the hospital. It has not been an awful year. I have done some deep diving into my traumatic background and uncovered some marvelous bits of myself. I have been watching many great webinars, learning about stem cells, the brain, cannabis, toxins in my environment, and Depression, Anxiety and Dementia. I also watched Transcendence, after I watched Remedy. I recommend them all heartily, as I do Dr. Z’s upcoming 10 parts series on Essential Oils.

While I’ve made a few collages, my heart has been in my writing, more than art, this past year. And crystals. I love crystals. And Amazon Prime.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you’ve been reading, writing, watching, loving, making since we last spoke. You are part of my family, too, you know. I care about you. So please write. xoxo

I turned 64 today. I have learned something about myself and my life.

“You think you can do these things, Nemo, but you can’t. You just can’t”.

I have done virtually nothing this month, art-wise. I am paralyzed into disabling discouragement by our upcoming move. My physical health, like that of my DD28, has taken a nosedive.

The sad and bitter truth is, I like to think I can do these things, but I just can’t.

Barring acts of God, we are 22 days out from moving. DD28 has had no improvement in either the shoulder or the knee. She did go to the Urgent Care. They said rest and ice, take Tylenol or Motrin. I personally think she has a rotator cuff tear. Maybe not complete, like mine, but enough to sideline her for a time.

I just hired the movers. Yikes!! Looking at about $1,000, but we are long past a DIY move. The packing will be key. I have enough cat carriers, I know what will go in our survival kit, and I know who will be on-site.

Now for my confession: I have only packed 1 (one) box.

May the odds be always in our favor!

Let the games begin!!

11/11/1918-11/11/2015

Armistice Day commemorated the end of the Great War. It honored those who gave their lives in the War to End All Wars. No one at that point expected one generation later that they’d be fighting World War II.

Both of my parents served in WWII, my dad as an Airman, working with radios at Scott Field, and my mom as a WAC, I believe. I never heard her story.

In 1966-1967 I lived through the military take-over of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the event that made it Zaire. I heard some stories, and knew that my folks’ best friend was a mercenary, but that was mostly outside of my sphere. What I did know was the 6 Day War. All of my friends were Jews, and all of them had family in Israel. We sat together, and prayed for victory, and for the family members to all be safe. God heard our prayers. He also made sure that my family was on the last plane out of Zaire.

I protested the Vietnam War. Went to Washington, and New Haven, marched on the Federal Building here. I felt as though we had made a difference, in making our voices heard.

20 years later, my views had changed. I gladly prayed for all those serving in the Gulf War. Many people I knew had someone involved. And then we moved.

I was living in West Virginia when the planes hit the towers. I ended up at a friend’s house, watching TV and praying. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anyone that day. But a nurse at the health clinic I went to, did. My family and I instinctively headed for our church to pray. New York seemed so faraway, and we felt so helpless. Many WV folks have a tradition of military service, and so it was a comforting place to be, surrounded by those who cherished this great nation and felt that serving was a privilege.

Memorial Day, which began as Decoration Day, after the Civil War/War Between the States/The War of Northern Aggression, is now the day we honor all those who died serving our country, all conflicts included.

Today we celebrate Veterans’ Day, honoring all of those who have served and are serving. Please take a moment today to thank a vet for his or her service, to thank a military family for the sacrifice they make, when they let their family member go. We sleep safely at night under the blanket of protection that they provide. Please pray for our veterans, for those currently serving, and for their families.