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Archive for the category “Order of Appearance”

Twice A Child IV-Acceptance

This is my current situation; I am weak, my doctor has told me I need to take even more medication and now I cannot even escape my reality for a few hours by going out unaccompanied. What would you do? That seems an easy enough dilemma, I say. However, I forgot to mention a little thing I am 81 years of age. When presented with this problem at our own individual ages, we think what we would do at the only age we truly can identify with, we exist in the now. Therefore the solution I come up with, may very well NOT be the solution needed here.

I think get yourself healthy first, that means following doctors orders, resting taking your medication. Hey but I only have one prescription to take, once a day. Additionally, I CAN come and go as I please. Maybe the unorthodox way is not completely out-of-order. Sometimes in spite of things, we as individuals do know a little something about self. There is the basic underlying fear something bad or worse could happen if these restrictions are not honored.  However, we as the helpers have to put ourselves in those elder shoes and realize how the confined feeling would affect us. “Toss caution to the wind”.. well maybe sit it outside so it can gradually pick you up and blow along slowly.

Human Beings will do amazing, unusual, desperate things in order to make themselves feel some level of comfort/self-comfort. Our aging loved ones may hold onto items or a routine that makes them feel like their situation is not changing unless they themselves let/make it change (i.e. needing to pay bills daily OR using that as an excuse to get out of  the house).

Patience,vigilance, and understanding will prove to be your double-edge-sword. Perhaps you will do daily battles with it. Words of caution, you may not always win. Now is a time when vantage points and perspective take on an entirely new meaning, and my friends our is not the only view involved here.

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Twice A Child III-Denial

I disregarded the fact that she had just told me this same story the last time we talked and that was just two days ago. When she said the trash collector will be here today because he comes on Friday and it was actually Sunday, I barely paid attention. Then she lost her house keys, twice in a month. I rationalized, well I have lost my keys in my purse so that is no big deal. When she told me she had her purse stolen from the exam room at her doctor’s office I was furious! I called the head administrator, I called the local police department, we made out reports. Today I can look at these things and so many others and I know I was in denial. I did not want to face the facts. However, the facts may spare you and your loved one at least some undue duress.

Fact like the most typical early detection is CRUCIAL for diagnosis and treatment. Many factor are weighed in regarding diseases of the mind. All memory disorders are NOT dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease gets tossed around as the catch all for older people with some memory impairments but Alzheimer’s has some very case specific symptoms that separates it from all the rest. Other physical disorders can affect the mind like diabetes and high blood pressure. Pain exacerbates these conditions as well. In our effort to be PC and kind we are calling these conditions out of their name, and it not only puts you in the wrong state of mind it puts others and perhaps the ones you love suffering from these conditions in a misguided, misinformed state. Speak to a medical professional, do reading on your own, and KNOW your family history. The person you may be caring for now could easily be you in the years to come.

This not to say every little misplaced item or forgotten lunch date is cause for concern. One must weigh each situation accordingly; listen to others around your loved one and speak directly with them. Just because you are close to someone, does NOT mean you know all about them.That closeness can be the very reason you are in denial. As our group maneuvers through this era of our lives these are some of the realities we are faced with. Our parents, if we are so blessed to have them still, are in the “twilight” of their lives. Some may live on to their late 90’s. 100 is not as uncommon as it used to be. Some of them may never loose their sense of consciousness, others may look at us one day and no have any idea who we are, and then there are all the variations in-between. However, we are strong and we will get through this, too. Simply be aware.

Twice A Child II-Anger

When you fall from grace there generally is no cushion.  No matter how you brace yourself the landing is rough. A sudden abrupt thud. Examining the some of the stages we experience with this aging process, I think this is one of the more difficult ones, but to be honest one really isn’t better than the other. They are all emotional avalanches.

There he or she is, they look remotely familiar at times they look exactly like this person you know and love, then something strange occurs. You tell yourself how ridiculous this is, how out of character this person is behaving, what you have to realize is they are no more in control of this change than you are. Oh how you long for the person you used to know. At times you may get a glimpse of that individual again, but as unpredictable as a gust of wind they will disappear on you. Then you must realize the look is what looks, are surface impressions and superficial. Your loved one is transitioning and for your own sake you had better try to as well. I am not talking exclusively about death here.

I warn you take you hearts off your sleeves, because these folks you were once so close to, will pull no punches. From nowhere the accusations fly, ” You talk to me any kind of way, You don’t care about me, You took my money, You don’t respect or love me, I wish I was dead.. Venomous hurtful things said for reasons unknown, but then you have to try to understand this is not someone who is completely in control anymore.  I cannot say that enough, because you will be challenged by this, repeatedly and you must be strong for it will take a lot out of you. They are floating in and out of awareness, without warning attitudes and temperaments change. The very next day they will not remember how ugly they treated you, so you MUST try to forget it as well.

I think because we live(d) our lives without being told or being taught it is okay to get mad/angry/be upset with people we love, we don’t know how. We fight back these feelings, we feel guilty about having them and grow frustrated with behavior of ourselves and them. If you have experience in “fighting fair” you MAY be better equipped, but note the word “MAY”. Furthermore, there is NOTHING fair about what is happening to your loved one. It simply is happening.

Try to be kind to them and yourself. Look at this experience as one that shall pass, for it will, and be able to share with another person information to give them solace as they travel the path you have gone down. My BFF is big on random acts of kindness; well the next time you see an elderly person who looks lost take a moment out and talk to them, they have something to say and your listening could make all the difference that is needed in their world. A stranger may have to help someone you love one day, find their way back to where they belong.

 

 

Twice A Child

I think about children running in a park laughing and squealing from excitement. I see tiny cute faces with smiles that light up rooms. There is a side that we see sometimes, when these same sources of joy do not get their way, and reality has to be put in play. These same beings with limited experiences of life now must be taught some life lessons. Then we move on to the next fun learning experience.

Now you have been primed for a discussion about something I truly hope none of my readers have to go through. I also know many of you will and many of you have or are going through this. I can only say, I am beginning to understand. When a loved one starts to loose touch with reality it is a process similar to the discovery of cancer. Many emotions and feelings surface. It is hard to describe the helplessness. Disbelief, Denial, Anger, Sadness,Confusion, and Loss; I believe I am scratching the surface here and the order may be different for we are dealing with individuals.

If I think about it long enough or pull out the obituary I can give an exact date, but the date is not important, the experience is. My grandmother was about 70 years old when she died. She suffered from dementia. I didn’t know a lot about her, she and I were distant at best. I only know of one grandchild she was close to and I didn’t care for him. This same grandson who, in her eyes, could do no wrong ultimately assisted with her demise. At the time Sammy was an easy target, he was all you want in a villain; unattractive, fat, not intelligent but a conniver. My maternal grandmother was an unhappy individual; she had nine children, I do not know that she ever embraced motherhood, for I saw her later in life. She was a stout woman about 5’3″, she had long silky hair and high cheekbones, her skin-tone had a copper red color to it characteristic of her Native American bloodline. I think my grandma was dutiful and of all the things a mother teaches her child if one thing/action/word gets to sum up the experience of being related, that would do it for my grandma and my mom.

Grandma helped out of a sense of obligation. This woman who taught me to cook and of whom I shared a room with, I know little more of her than the story she told of my uncle biting her which resulted in the end of his breast feeding. I cannot recall her saying she loved me or any of her grandchildren, I choose to believe that was because she felt this emotion was understood. I lived with her for seven years with my family. When she grew tired of us being there, she became mean and invasive. She never said,”Get out!” she showed it. Did she intend on being mean, that is debatable, what I do know/feel/believe is she was at a place that told her she should be afforded her way(willfulness much like that of a child) and if she did NOT get her way she was angry, she would pout, be unreasonable, or throw a tantrum. Yet in the end the child she treated badly, was the one who visited and tended to her at the nursing home everyday until she departed this life.

How can you recover from that, will you ever be able to rectify this or even acknowledge you were wrong or sorry. I don’t know how my mother felt about her mother, there was a coldness to grandma and I think she transferred some of that coldness to my mother. Mom was sad and she cried when grandma passed, but as I look back it seems like it was the thing to do, to be sad. I know I don’t want my grandchildren to think about me like this way, and in some ways it seems to be in my DNA. I am here to tell you, I fight this attitude daily and consciously. I tell myself ,” Don’t be sour, no one wants to be around a mean old woman.” I love my family openly and freely..unless they suffer memory loss they will not think of me and say,” I wonder if mom/abuela loved me/us?” I tell them everyday and each time  I see them I tell them it more.

One can believe what one wants, but stress can kill you. Putting undue pressure on yourself regarding things that are out of your control is senseless, it drains the very life out of us. The older we get the more difficult it is for us to return to a normal state. Thus being older and angry is NOT a place you want to be. The good is hard to remember when the bad is slapping you in the face. We have no control over what ultimately will be our condition physically, but what we do have charge over, we should take very seriously and guard it with all that is in us. Be pleasant, smile and think happy thoughts. Once it is gone there really is no turning back; not for you, not for the ones who you love.

Love People

Sometimes I surf the internet. One picture will motivate me to visit a site next thing I know it is midnight.  I have been noticing over the past decades there are a lot of really gorgeous children being born.  Is it the grandmother in me? Perhaps, but I see these little happy folks and I cannot help but smile. They are the best of humanity, they are what we all are until life and cynicism ruins us. They look at a flower and it’s color makes them happy. They don’t run from or smash it because of it’s particular shade they adore and admire it just as it is. We adults in turn have nothing but praises for the babies, “aren’t you the prettiest, sweetest, smartest, most talented little one we have ever seen. And we don’t care who you belong to.

Fast forward about 15 years, those beautiful wonder-filled beings are now starting to make decisions and voice their opinions. They are now met with, “You don’t know what you are talking about, Why don’t you behave better, What are you listening to and What is that you are wearing?” They go from the Apples of Society’s Eye to Menaces to Society in less than two short decades. All the while their main critics forgetting they once occupied that very same place in life. The reason being no one wants to stay in that place of confusion, indecision, and turmoil. We wonder what is wrong with our children as they begin to mature. We love them always, but are challenged to like them. I recall a woman I saw many years ago at the mall in Alpharetta;she was neat and tidy, dressed in a suit, had corporate America written all over her. She was carrying a Louis Vutton purse and every hair was in place. As she approached the counter in the young men’s department at Rich’s(region department store now out of business) this surly, thin,  greasy haired young man dressed in goth-type clothing came to and stood next to her. I expected her to jump out of her skin because he was so far away from who she was, but after a moment you knew this was not just someone she knew, this was her child. The were a curious pair walking out of the store. I shook my head and thought, “You never know..”

These two made me think of how we judge and make decisions about OUR young people. We have issues with our own children, so it is hard to imagine us being any more tolerant of someone elses’ and guess what, we aren’t. Do any of you recall that time in your life? The time when your music basically made your parents or most any adult grimace at the very least. The time when self discovery was coupled with fear and insecurity. The time when your excuse of being young and not responsible was fading into, ” It is your fault, You know better.” The thing that MUST be taken into consideration here is, it was a time of transitions.

Time marches forward some more. Now we have an adult he may be in our workplace being difficult or perhaps she has gotten into trouble and landed herself in jail. The significant thing here in both of these cases is; once these throwaways, these social irritants, were adorable sweet faced babies that we  all loved to love.

Too bad we don’t get to transform ourselves from beautiful-adorable baby to upstanding-citizen adult. However, that is  not our reality. We are human and we are flawed. Your flaws look a lot more serious than mine because I am judging, but then I must consider that door swings both ways that I am also on the receiving end of judgment. My son often speaks of loving without condition; from a Christian point of view, this is a difficult goal but at least it is a goal that is presented to us on a  weekly basis( although it should be a constant basis). Perhaps if we ALL task ourselves with this loving one another without condition on a regular-targeted basis, we could get closer to the goal as well. As human beings if we aren’t challenged we vegetate and die, so it is with ideas and concepts. Take the challenge and make your contribution towards solving the problem of just Loving People without condition and stipulations.  “Shoot for the moon” here, people “because if you miss you will still land among the stars…”

Yes It Can And Does Happen In Your Neighborhood

Listening to the crickets chirp, watching the lightening bugs float around the night, a slight hint of gardenia in the air, and sporadic sounds of life. We have several family of deer living among us; rabbits and chipmunks try to stay out of the way of the cats, various dogs walk their owners during daylight and night time. Tonight an eerie shadow is cast upon us, the inhabitants of this safe enclave  just a little north of Atlanta. I look down to the end of my block and the un-naturally  lit, lifeless house serves as a reminder of the events of the day.

How many times have you watched the news and heard someone who is interviewed say,’This kind of thing doesn’t happen here. This is such a nice neighborhood”. I cringe each time. I say, ” What are you thinking idiot, your community is immune to bad occurrences?”Today I would have been that idiot. While I may have not verbalized my feelings, it certainly was my thought pattern and behavior as well.

I  heard the beeping sound of a truck backing up at 6:30 A.M.; it is trash day, but still early. The blue and red lights flashing  from various police as well as fire department services illuminate the block. Yellow tape surround the house in question, that is NOT a good sign. About a dozen officers enter the location and about five minutes later they emerge, but there is an odd scene as a woman being rolled out in a sitting position follows. I see a few familiar faces down the block but cannot get to them because the police have created a barricade on my block.

Later we would find out there was a murder and a home invasion. Later we would find out the two children who lived there survived but they we not unharmed one physically but both impacted psychologically. Later we would find out the perpetrators were still at large. Later we would find out it was the first and only murder that had happened this year in our fair city. However for now we are in a state of shock, denial, and disbelief.

You might ask, why are we all so disheveled;  I have many times when I was simply an observer of others in similar neighborhoods. What makes us think that simply because we live among those we deem to be upstanding citizens, people who keep their lawns tidy and their houses painted, that their lives are as spotless as these home’s exteriors. We bought into an illusion and in that illusion good people you live next door to don’t argue, don’t have abuse going on, don’t hoard animals and debris. The people we live down the block from mind their own business, but they look out for their neighbors. We can leave our doors unlocked, parcels can sit on the porch or in the driveway without  the worry of someone who does not belong here entering our places or taking our things. We wave at passersby so they will know we are good folk, but we are watching you.

We have all allowed ourselves to forget the common denominator, we are all just people not immune to the flaws and frailties that make us all human. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in our kind of community, but somehow it just did.

My Life Through Malls

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As I sat watching my husband and granddaughter ride the merry-go-round I was transported back  through time and space to Torrance, California;  her father was about 3 years old riding this imported merry-go-round with his “Auntie Jennifer” (I even have a picture) at the “Old Towne Mall”. That mall housed old fashioned shops, glass-bowers, etc. ; it never caught on, it survived for decades but it slowly disappeared into oblivion like the “Carson Mall”, “The Hawthorne Mall”, “Gwinnett Place Mall”, to name a few I had encounters with. However, even before that as a teen when the mall phenomenon was just catching on my life-long friend(i.e just like a sister, only our parents are different) Kim and I spent many Saturdays at the nearby malls. We would spend hours there with money that would barely buy lunch, no wait  a cookie and a drink now…

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What Is It About Richard?

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I woke to the sound of birds singing, bright sunshine and cold! Ah yes but Spring is here. The music that is playing in my mind is “Under The Bridges Of Paris” the instrumental from Shall We Dance.  “What is it about Richard”, I ask myself.

Come on now, we all have these imagesof what the ideal romantic mate would be like.  Richard Gere is mine. It is fantasy, and it is fun! I loved and lusted after the likes of Billy Dee Williams, Denzel Washington, Boris Kodjoie to name only a few. No one can hold a candle to Brad Pitt in the looks department and he is/has become basically a saint in my eyes now. However Richard… he will always make me believe what I want to believe, that love/amour is like the scent of  jasmine flowers floating past you on a spring day, unforgettable.

What…

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Looking Forward

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It was that time again, the annual physical.THANKFULLY! Now I am not one of those folks who dreads doctors and hospitals. I have been a rather healthy individual. I have had bouts with weight, but other that that I have been blessed. I was also blessed to be back in a “situation”that allowed me to once again have health care benefits.

I start the process late January early February. I did the vision, dental, and medical within days of one another. Everything was as I suspected. I got contact lenses for the first time and I had a couple of cavities to be filled.I came through the annoying/uncomfortable female screenings with flying colors. All in all for someone who has not been under a doctor’s care since 2009, I have to say I was happy.

Now the fact that I could lose 15 to 20 pounds did not make me…

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For Your Own Good

Famous last words; generally followed by something the recipient cannot actually see that way (i.e. foul tasting medicine, an impending spanking, etc.).

Yet in retrospect the hard lessons teach you how to be resilient. As we progress through these 50’s the most prevalent thing I notice about our group is the need to do what WE want; much like the way we were some 45 plus years ago.

Such a good feeling right; doing what YOU want, having it YOUR way. “Be careful with that pistol folks it loaded.” I watch this older guy(and I won’t call him a gentleman because his behavior was not demonstrative of one) thrash about a parking lot as though he was going to a fire. Now we all know in a parking lot, just as on the street, there IS a speed limit. Well no one told “Mario Geriatric” OR he chose not to adhere to this knowledge. I watched as he pulled into a parking space like he was going to drive through the car in front of him. There were people in the  other car he came so close to and an altercation ensued.  Maybe they threw him a dirty look, maybe there was a jester of “what are you doing, watch out”, or another infamous one that calls for the use of one’s middle finger. The seasoned race car driver hopped out of the car cursing and belligerently egging on a rather tall, fit, obviously younger man. Young men are generally not lacking in the testosterone department and seemingly this old guy was going to show he still had a drop or two in him. Happily, I can say this ended in only ugly words and dirty looks. Logic and reason prevailed, THANK GOD!

Yet the questions are raised. Why did this happen, who was wrong? Well if we start with the older guy we have to say a couple things; you are NOT as young, fast, or alert as you used to be. Things happen in split seconds and then what.. you are sorry or in trouble for something that could have been completely avoided. I imagine that same guy is someone’s grandfather, maybe a veteran and adored by those who love him. He has paid his dues, and he deserves respect, and he feels justified in doing what he wants. He still has to realize there are consequences for everyone and retirement, paid dues, etc do not give you free reign.  Someone, somewhere has given you bad information.

We grew up being taught to respect our elders, well now some of the ones who would be deemed elders, are behaving in fashions NOT worthy of respect. Now they do not get  pass on their bad tempers and fowl mouths simply because they are old. If that younger man had hit that older guy because he has a temper too,  how wrong would he have been.  Hey we are  approaching older and we are still doing it like we are in our 30’s and looking good in the process of in many cases. Have we learn our lessons, did we get enough of the for-your-own-good experience or are we going to venture into territory that will lead us to a sea of regret.

I anxiously await 2015 when I can retire and do what I WANT (of sorts). If I continue to work, I am no longer ambitious or goal driven. Depending on the job or manager that can be a Catch 22 thing.  My focal point is ME. I do NOT want to be “the employee who..”  I also don’t think working 40 hours a week will sit well with me either. I also don’t want to sit around and watch daytime television.  Employment issues are only one aspect of what is in store for those in our group. The one sure thing is it’s all about me.

Suffice to say the ME concept is well ingrained.  I will bear in mind, simply because I have reached a milestone in my life there are others who still must hustle to get to this stage,and their speedometers are set at a faster rate. Rather than be run over by someone moving too fast and my lifeless body is the proof, Ima simply move over and let them pass by me. This I feel, will be for my own good. Besides I am where they are trying to get to.

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