hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Archive for the tag “wisdom”

Short Time and Small Talk

When you are blessed with a  true friend, you’d better recognize what a treasure you have. Not trying to fill this blog with metaphors, but they are sometimes just appropriate. It had been a bit since we just had a simple conversation; not about the tragedies or disasters going on in each of our lives, no talk of turmoil at work. We have gotten to a point where we expect to leave a message rather than talk to one another and when we do hear a voice that is the first  thing we say,” I didn’t expect you to pick up.” Just another example of how life passes you by so rapidly and you look around and you wonder where time has gone.

It was good talking to my friend, it was good  just hearing her voice. When we hung up it felt a sigh of relief and my mind traveled back to another time, but I was still able to realize where I was/ we were and how very far we have come. I also was able to come to terms with the fact if you don’t make time to visit your happy places, you can easily forget where they are or that they even exist.

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Has God Abandoned You

Hopefully, you are not in a place where this question will even come to mind. However, life being what it is, you have been there or you will be there at some point in your life. Does Christian faith allow for such doubt, and even if it does not what of you if you find yourself in the grips of such turmoil?

We hurt, we become confused, and we grow tired. That is reality. We are in search of reassurance that our pain WILL be healed, our hearts will be restored and we will continue on. Yet in those moments that feel like a lifetime, isn’t it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The concept of FAITH in a world that bases worthiness and authenticity on guarantees, is a challenge in and of itself. Therefore you have to consider the rainbow; they are indications that a storm has happened somewhere, but it also shows you it is over and the path is clear once again.

If You Had A Choice

I remember a song by the Impressions from my childhood. I went to YouTube to make sure I was not imagining things and I verified it all. Time and again I remind my readers, I am a girl from Kansas City raised by church-going people. We moved to California and it was culture shock of amazing proportions.

I was questioned about my feeling towards a certain actress. I knew that I was not asked why I don’t like this performer randomly.. I love a debate but I select the ones I will participate in. This was my friend, so I bit. Before the discussion was over I was told( in so many words) that my feeling about this actress made my friend believe/feel/think we would not be friends if she had been born lighter.  I do not feel that way. I did not think my opinion of an actress was indicative of me, but it brought me to a point that I wanted to discuss and write about.

I am passionate about race. I also want to believe that in my lifetime the racism bulls%#@ will disappear. Is that idealistic or naive? Perhaps. However in the wake of a massacre in a church, in the midst of several states introducing bills/ legislature to ban a flag that throughout the history of The United States of America has insighted violence, implied white supremacy, represented death and destruction, I need to believe something positive will result from all of this.

I venture to say my feelings about being black is NOT unique. Some members of the white race may find this hard to believe or understand, but black people are proud people. Black people LOVE being black!The actress I spoke of earlier is “conveniently black”. My friend pointed out others, my response is the same for them as well. The difference being I have NOT heard of an incident in which the others have “tah-tahed” being black off when directly questioned. Is she(the actress) a coward or is she utilizing a special gift( the gift of the chameleon)? “If you had a choice of color, which one would you chose my brother?”Black people do not want what YOU(White people) have; we only want what is ours… YOU argue,” go out and work hard, pull yourself up by your boot straps like other groups”. Then I offer you a couple events in history and places where black people did just that, and the end results are Rosewood, Florida or  Tulsa,(Greenwood Neighborhood)Oklahoma massacres. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Undermining the efforts of the black race in America is a well thought out plan. We are not “belly-aching”, we have valid substantiated gripes.

In this time period, where so much information is readily available, the thought of someone passing for white is bazaar . Yet not so very long ago you had a woman who by most accounts is clinically white, passed herself off as black. How bazaar was that?  No job application you fill out now will fail to ask a question about your race, the difference now is you don’t have to answer. Once upon a time it was against the law to say you were one race when you KNEW you were another, now one must be cautious not to break the law by being too insistent in asking about someone’s race.

What must it be like to wake in the morning and NOT be concerned about race. I have friends and acquaintances who have lived abroad for several years and what stands out about the experiences they speak of is the LACK of or down-right absence of racial incidents! I cannot fathom that thought. I want to see, feel, believe one day I will experience those things, right here in America. Back to the choice; what must it have been like to be trapped in a society and a body that threatened your existence because of your look….and to have a magic wand that could make all of that disappear, your own personal cloaking device. I imagine it was very similar to what we have STILL have in America. A great deal has changed, but a great deal remains the same.

 

Twice A Child V-LIVING

Okay,  here we are and we now know,  It is what it is.  Trouble is where do we go from here? What do we do, how do we cope now that life has changed on us, where are the solutions ?

This is a very difficult entry for a couple of reasons. Due to the fact it is the final entry for this series, as well as it is something that I am currently experiencing. I do not know how to feel from day to day. Am I guilty because I am not right there physically, in the “trenches” or does my guilt come from relief that I am not there in the “trenches”. Is my bravery and acceptance a disguise for fear and denial. Do I keep busy so that I am not in a state of constant infantile bawling, because the person I love, respect, need is no longer here with me. Yet an image and a sound-bite tells me different.  What is it like for her; trapped by her surroundings real and imaginary. Moments of being seemingly lucid only to be followed by complete confusion. She is angry, she is determined, and she is afraid.

The process of life gives you 9 months to prepare for the arrival of new life, yet when life ends it is a flash. Be it prolonged illness that feels like it will never end or a sudden unexpected accident, the truth is life still does stop in the cessation of one tiny breath. The deterioration of the mind is a cruel painful experience. Each time I see a lost soul walking down the street I fight the growing lump in MY throat, because I know that IS someones loved one.

Think about scenarios you have witnessed, someone speaking crossly to a poor soul weak and frail. Nurses and doctors along with family members  trying to hold down a silver haired being who is screaming and fighting with ever bit of their strength. The Aging Process can be cruel. You do not witness that poor frail person being spoken to in a cruel fashion telling their child how bad each and everything they try to do is, yu do not see the silver haired person fighting off nurses, doctors and loved ones throwing things when they don’t get their way or wandering off time and again without a trace. You don’t have the “luxury” of knowing the worry, the pain, the frustration, the hurt that WILL take it’s toll on an able-bodied strong human being. Try not to judge as an outsider, as an observer. As a participant, buckle yourself in this is GOING to be a rough ride. There it is life coming straight at you; yet YOU can be blind-sided, YOU can get the sucker punch in your face. There is no preparation for this experience.

I recall aging friends and family members who have been confined to assisted living facilities, convalescent hospitals,etc. I can clearly see the faces of folks I do not know lined up in the hallway or sitting in a chair in their solitary rooms. Some faces cry out for help, some stare blankly ahead. We, the ones left behind search for a glimmer of hope, a slight chance that the person we love will return.. Medical science has yet to  figure out a way to release the mind from the confines it sometimes finds itself locked in. Therefore we are left with that hope, that prayer the one we love will one day come back. How heartless would we be if we said,”They are gone forever”. How heartbreaking is it to know and feel that very same thing. I wish I could tell you how to accept,” My loved one is gone and I didn’t even get to say good-bye”. I cannot. Remember your heart is fragile and so is your soul. Try to keep loving them even if they are not aware, even if they are mean to you…try to remember the love.

 

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.

I Need God To Fix This

Having one of those mornings? Well how about”having one of those years”? Waking to the unknown of the day, feeling like throwing the covers over your head and asking the Heavens for a “do-over” long before you know what lies ahead.

Well you have been on this Earth for some 50+ years now so I imagine there have been one or two days like this during your lifespan. This middle-age thing we are experiencing daily is a trip all by-its-lonesome. I applaud those of you who proclaim you have remained steadfast and true to God. This is faith in it’s truest form; do not deceive yourself, for if it is not true your very beliefs will come back to haunt you. Having more than what I deem to be enough or my share of the challenges that make getting out of bed a task, I pondered about this place that I now occupy physically and mentally.

The realization of how every-little-thing was interconnected seemed to daunt me.  My problem solving skills were placed on screen before me. I saw the optimist, I saw conniver, I saw the escapist and I pretty-much saw them in that order. Life is cyclic and I knew that the individuals that I charged with solving my problems appeared in that order, not by chance but by choice. Choices I was making when I told myself, I had no choice.  Then the debate began between conscious and sub-conscious,  is the medication real or is it a placebo.

As the world crumbles around me, I see myself standing in the middle of the road dodging debris falling around me. Lots of near-misses. In an out-of-body way, I wonder why do I bother moving. Surely one quick hit and all of my problems will be no more. The answer is so very simple and basic. I WANT TO LIVE! I am NOT unique that is what human beings are about.

It is NOT in our nature to give up, that is why we fight so hard, for so long, for so many different things. If we had it our way the easy way would, chances are, be the only way. We have been raised in a society that strives to have it quick and simple and why is that so appealing to us? Well that is easy, so we can go on to do more things with the time we already do not have enough of/for. Yet when things don’t go our way, we revert to the childish behavior we were constantly told we have to abandon when we became adults. Sometimes our brains don’t get the memo and the blanket goes over our head, again.

However, we were born to accomplish one great thing and given plenty of time and resources to complete our task. By-the-way YOU don’t get to be the judge of what is determined great. Now beaten, now lost, now confused, where are your tools?  God has given us all we need but he has also allowed time for the distraction; the distraction to teach us the importance beauty, patience, and rest. In the midst of the storm don’t look away, look toward.

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

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.

Channeling Negative Energy

I felt like I was going to explode! Pressure coming up my esophagus, my chest slightly tight, the awful grimace in my face. I tell myself I want to be happy, but it seems there is a dark cloud hovering. How do you make yourself feel good when you are feeling bad? My thoughts were of all the things that were not going right. I need my little ray of sunshine, but I will not see her for a couple more days. Then the feeling I often return to..escape. I think of how would it be to just walk away. When you find yourself beyond the half century mark, your mental state is so controlling of your physical state. In youth heart palpitations were exciting and generally directed toward an “object of affection”, now you may really be having a heart attack.

Here come the challenges again. They are in my small intimate world and the big pubic one. My “golden years” are set to begin in 11 short months( I can say 9 because I get to start the ball rolling next August). Am I expecting and anticipating too much? What if it is a disappointment, what if I cannot survive on the monthly pension, what if I have to work… I ask these questions and then I give myself a psychological shaking. There is good here, there is something/plenty to look forward to.

No matter what happens each day you are afforded another opportunity to make changes, because you have by the grace of God awakened.That should be viewed as the gift it is. I won’t allow myself to be captured and controlled by this negativity. That means somehow I have to be able to interject some positive. I have to channel that negative energy and put it to work for me. As bad as it makes me/you feel demonstrates it is strong and can therefore be utilized.  Prayer, meditation…helps clear that wonderful organ and allows it to work on what it was designed to do; think, figure out problems, or just calm our systems down and return them to the intended settings, in order for us to function properly. You have to sometimes walk yourself away from the things that are going on, even if it is just in your mind, and let your soul feel better.

October-Fest

Well my Libra friend and I have discussed over the years we have known one another how terrible our shared birthday month generally is. I thought it was just me, but my Libra -sister affirmed it was not a good time for her either. We still wanted to believe it would be better and held onto the hope of such an occurrence. However maybe this year, the year of the “double nickles” for us may be changing things, at least for now and perhaps from now on.

ILoveAutumn; the temperatures start to drop, the leaves begin to change, I am reminded the holidays are on fast approach and I feel renewed. I always attributed this feeling of overall good, to the fact I made my grand entrance to the world during this time of year.  October is my month and I love everything about it from the birthstone, the opal legend says it is bad luck to wear for anyone other than a person who is actually born in October, to Halloween. There is Oktoberfest for beer lovers, I do happen to hate beer though, but whatever, anything to sing the praises to my month! Pumpkin-Patches popping up all over everywhere; I am magically transported back to a place where I can clearly recall the first time I watched “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and now a joy I now share with my granddaughter.

In three short days October will disappear for another 12 months, and this year I will miss my month with all the bitter-sweet events and memories. However, I will be able to say there was far more sweet than bitter this time and I am looking forward to seeing you same time next year.

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