Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankfulness is in the Eye of the Beholder

It's Thanksgiving and everyone in America is counting their blessings...and eating too much food and watching football!

For me, this is the first year Thanksgiving has become a pain instead of a pleasure.  Our family is experiencing problems that have created a rift and this holiday is forcing us to act normal.  I wish that was a true statement all around.  My niece has decided to not participate with the rest of us today because of this trouble - interestingly, she's at the center of the issue due to her immaturity and selfishness, and having no regard for her grandparents in their waning years.  I admit I am not unhappy she is not coming.

Because of this unpleasant situation, we are having our Thanksgiving dinner on neutral ground, being served instead of serving.  While its for the best, it's an affront to our traditions -- we won't have our homemade kielbasa and kapusta, nor Busia's pork dressing.  I will really miss the warm kitchen and fixing all the food.  It's a lot of work, but it's also a labor of love.

There is no love in the family this year, for which I'm not only sad, but devastated.  Even worse, I don't see a way to mend the fracture, I know this is one of our last Thanksgivings together.

Mix in my daughter will be spending the holiday alone in Chicago where she's in graduate school, and the hole just gets bigger.

My son put the exclamation point on the whole situation when he declared he loves Thanksgiving and this won't be it!  I hope his "Friendsgiving" last weekend helps make up for this sorry state.

Despite it all, I am very thankful for the way my life has turned out.  I have a fantastic husband and great children who make me very happy!  I love my job and am looking forward to many good things in the coming years.  I  only wish others in our family could realize how their selfish behaviors and misguided intentions has negatively affected us all.  But, I realize if this were possible, we wouldn't be in this strained situation.  My sadness about the disintegration of our family is shared by my father-in-law who keeps saying he thought we were stronger than this.

I thought so too, Dzia Dzia!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

RePurpose - Day 8

The sandwich generation.

Just got a big dose of learning what this mean from spending the past eight weeks carrying for my mother and helping her through three hospitalizations and two rehabilitation periods.

My mother and I have always had a different type of relationship.  If we weren't mother and daughter, we would not even be friends.  We just aren't very compatible.  Never were.  From the very start, Mom went right back to work after I was born.  My being born premature and spending my first month in the hospital may not have helped us bond.  And, I was colicy.  Nuff said!

While Mom went to work, my dad and I spent a lot of time together and I became "Daddy's girl." Five years later, my brother joined us and he aligned with my mother.  To this day, he is her favorite. And, I'm good with that.  I am happy she had him to give her the joy of mothering.  As a mother, I realize how much that means to a woman and I'd never begrudge my mother her feelings.

As things turned out, my brother has always been removed from us as his work moved him around and he left home as a teen to attend private school. I am the child who stayed close to home (though I always envisioned myself moving around and seeing the world!)  As I had my own family, we included my mother in all our family activities, resulting in her now having a close relationship with my son and daughter.  This makes me happy.  Another thing that is most wonderful is my closeness with my own daughter!  We have had our growing pains, but now are good friends.

One thing my mother did for me was ensure I was exposed to many things while growing up.  She believed childhood was a time to try new things and learn to test yourself.  My mother positioned me to become a strong woman.  As I grew up and started my career, my mother and I grew closer talking about challenges in our respective jobs.  She gave good advice and listened with interest to my tales, triumphs and blunders.  This began our nightly routine of after-dinner calls to talk about our day. More recently, the weekends have evolved into shopping trips together and finding new places to eat. I guess we were finally friends.

This health incident forced us to be together nearly all the time, in reverse roles where I am the caregiver, It didn't always go smoothly as we grew tired and our endurance was tested.  But, we made it... so far!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

RePurpose Day 7

I learned very early in life how to be still, quiet and patient.

Over all, these are highly useful skills, all necessary to be as observant as needed to scope out any situation.

My early practice was precipitated by my desire to get close to wild animals.  Ultimately, I became very good at stalking or awaiting animals and birds, then learned how to move through the woods quietly, then allowed my human energy to mingle with that of the animal to build trust, allowing us to share the same physical space.

Later, I used this "power" to watch other humans without being noticed, something that enabled me to control the situation once I did engage.  It was amazingly easy.

This is one of my lost abilities I wish to regain.  I've begun practicing with animals, and have some success recently with deer.  Oh, I can feel myself getting stronger!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Health Care Observations

I've spent the last 5 weeks assisting my mother with health issues, hospitalizations (two) and taking care of her affairs while she was in rehabilitation.  This had been an experience for us both as neither of us had, thankfully, been sick for any true length of time.

Being the sole caregiver for this period was something I did without reservation.  I've always stepped up when needed, so they're was no hesitation.  Being in this situation made me realize you need to be your own advocate for your family member who is institutionalized. 

Seems health care in general is about treatments converted by insurance and by Medicare.  Mom is entitled to visiting nurses, home health care, in-home physical therapy, and a bunch of stuff.  Well, that's just great.  Does she need all this?

Medications were switched around from place to place until it was so confused I didn't know what to do.  That's the real help we received from the visiting nurse today, helping sorry that out and calling doctors on our behalf.  It worked! 

Length of stay seemed designed around coverages, but in truth that worked out too.

I'm ready to return to life as normal, but that'll be another week or so.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

RePurpose - Day 6

I love the sound of rain on the roof.  It reminds me of summer rainy nights at camp as a child.  This sound is so restful.

Hearing is such great sense, one I am very aware of as I now need hearing aids to get along.

I have always enjoyed listening to nature and learning what creature originates each sound.  Just the other day, I sat by the local reservoir just listening.  Yesterday, I laid in my hammock, listening.  And, now I'm laying in bed listening to the gentle train on the roof.

My quest is to be attuned to my surroundings.  Listening is la major tool to make this happen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

RePurpose - Day 5

Technology, can't live without it... Or can we?

Until you lose power, you don't realize how dependent upon electricity and our many technical objects we have become.

Even though I work in the IT field, I think life had become too easy, making humans lazy and put off touch with the rest of nature. 

Growing up, I spent all the summer days outside, even learning camp craft to be able to track using the sun, build fires using only one match, and living of the land.  When I return home from camp, I couldn't adjust to the noise and all I wanted was to be back in the woods.

I value nature and treasure my camp experiences.  If I were the only human in my house, I wouldn't own a television.  I would install solar panels and get a rain barrel.  I'd have a garden and I'd hang my clothes outside to dry.  But, could I give up my computer? 

No!  I believe in the good that's come from our technology.  I'm struggling with what it will take to get everyone to share a cousin of our future where we use our brain power for global good.

I fear that will be the collapse of our ecosystem.  I hope to be prepared, but I haven't yet started.  Pray there's time...

Friday, October 17, 2014

RePurpose - Day 4

Family is something wonderful that we often take for granted.  Everyone dis, it's natural.  Family is one of those things you really miss when you don't have it anymore.

I come from a small family, and a small extended family.  As a child, we'd gather with all the extended family just to get a good sized crowd gathered.  For some reason, we tend to start our child rearing later in life, so all the adults in my early life were already in mid-life.  By the time I graduated college, they were staying to pass on to their heavenly rewards.

As the result, I've had few relatives, and must of them have loved in other states.  So, I adopted my husband's larger immediate family and his really large extended family as my own.

Tonight, one of my the first cousins can into town from Louisiana, and he is staying the night with us.  It's so good to have a blood relative here, it's something i cherish.  We have family ties and shared memories very few other people have in common with me.  It makes me happy because I really miss all those good souls from so long ago... My grandmother, aunt, uncles, father, and all the loving folks who made me who I am.

I never forget them, I recall their stories as I travel places they once occupied.  Several years ago we celebrated the hundredth anniversary of our family church - built by four families, all German immigrants, from which my grandmother and grandfather were descendants.  In the first organ peels and voices raised, years stand down my face as all the monitors of my beloved family members who say in those pews and sang the same hymns came flooding into my awareness.  Oh how I miss them all!

Oh how much appreciate having my cousin here tonight.