When we look around us we see so many people suffering. I recently saw a map marked with all the mass shootings in the US in 2018 (so far). There were red dots showing up everywhere. The disturbing part for me is that we don’t hear about this sort of violence elsewhere. It may be there but I don’t remember hearing about it.
The violence we see every day leaves behind it a path of suffering. The people who died no longer suffer but those left behind do. Life changed for them in a second and will never be the same.
As I think about all of this I grieve for those remaining. Most of the time they have no real answers. The person they loved went to school or a party or a concert and suddenly they were in the midst of terror.
Thankfully I have not experienced losing someone I love to violence but in this climate we never know. The country seems to be falling apart from the inside. Abraham Lincoln said that as a country we would survive unless we self-destructed. It seems to be coming true.
I am only one person but I am one. I can only do so much but I can do something. If each “one” would chose to live a life of love and compassion we could change things one person at a time.
We must each be the “one.”
One of my word press reads talked about having a 26 hour day. It reminded me of the book about Alzheimer’s with that name. Living with someone whose mind is slipping away moment by moment is excruciating. It is hard on those who are losing themselves day after day but it is harder still on those who are watching it happen. Losing the person you love until they no longer know you is beyond terrible.
I have worked with families dealing with this crisis and it is so difficult and painful. It is so hard to cope when the muddled mind changes reality. Caregivers want so badly to correct the thinking and this exacerbates the situation. We want so much to bring them back to who they were and caregivers have to learn to live into the persons reality. I used to visit someone who thought he was living his 20 year ago life. When we talked I had to accept his viewpoint and talk with him about life as he was living it. This is much more difficult for the caregivers.
As the disease progresses management at home can become impossible. Frequently the patient has something called “sundowners.” This means that they are alert when everyone else needs to sleep. A friend of mine’s mother climbed out a window in the middle of the night to “go home.” How can the average family cope with someone who could leave the stove on starting a fire or turns on the bathtub faucet flooding the house? Caregivers are stressed and exhausted.
In the USA the other problem is the cost of care. Many people have to manage care at home with little help. Their day becomes the 26 hour day. Be kind and compassionate for those who are care-giving someone with this illness. Help where you can. Their life is disintegrating one moment at a time.
When we are willing to share our woundedness it allows us to connect on a deep level with others.
This is a poem I wrote about that.
The pain is near
Close inside my soul
It holds my essence
The past that is me
It holds the secrets
Things not always shared
But given freely
To ease distress
The pain others fear to share
Pouring out over the torn
And bleeding hearts
Joining our souls
Connecting our depths
We are together
Melded by God
The place of suffering
The place chosen to connect
Suffering and pain
With no restraint
Feeling the aloneness
Ever after to pour over
The oil of compassion
Everyone matters. It is so easy to dismiss people as not being worth our notice. I have frequently visited nursing homes with many patients in wheelchairs sitting the hall. I have noticed that most people pass them by without comment. It is as if they don’t exist. How terrible to be relegated to such a position. I have always made it a point to speak to each resident and smile. Most of them are so happy to have someone reach out to them and I receive lots of smiles in return.
I live in the South of the United States and there is a big difference just walking the streets of the town I live in. People routinely smile and speak as they pass on the street. The city has a large Art college with lots of students and it is easy to tell that some of them are startled when passers by speak. You can see them wondering whether to respond. I am not sure that this is routine in all southern cities but it is in many that I have visited. It is nice to acknowledge people and have them respond.
However many people do not speak to those who are obviously homeless. They choose to not acknowledge their existence. So even in a place where people routinely greet another person they still attach a stigma to those less fortunate. I do continue to speak to them and usually get a smile in return.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel as if you don’t exist. I know that has happened to many who suffer from mental illness. They certainly know what it feels like to be deliberately ignored.
I hope that we can learn to see each person as a human being deserving of being recognized. I wonder how thing would change if this were so.
Understanding. A word that means so much. I think that each of us longs to be understood. I know that I do. Each of us is an individual. We have our own past, our own values, and our own lives. Many of us have issues with mental health. This makes it harder for people to “get it.”
The other problem is that most people (including us) don’t really listen. If we take the time to stop and really hear what someone is saying it makes all the difference. No one can be understood if they are not listened to.
Maybe that is why we do feel that we are heard on Word Press. If someone is reading what we have written no one is interrupting. When we are talking with someone that may not happen. Too often we spend time deciding what we will say next instead of hearing the other person. Maybe if we really listened then it will encourage someone else to really listen.
Talking is over rated. Listening is the key.
Today a dear friend brought us a meal and stayed to eat it with us. It was a wonderful gift. Not just the meal but her presence. Friends are such a blessing. Since we are more or less trapped in the house it is wonderful to see a loving face.
Those of us who have people to turn to when we are deep in a hole can save our lives. I am so blessed to have those people in my life. It is a terrible thing to be alone. I do mean completely alone with no one to turn to.
So often, with mental illness, there is no one who understands. Even the therapists we turn to for help. There are some who have suffered the pain that we feel and understand. It is important to find someone like that. Some therapists, even though they have not experienced it, have enough empathy to join with us in the emotion. A empathetic therapist is a gift. That it is why it is so important to find the right one.
My current isolation is trying but important to me. To be able to help in my husband’s healing lets me give back some of the love he has given me. I know that soon we will find that “new normal” we’ve been working toward.
When I was young I thought that aging was almost a worry free process. I don’t know how I could have thought that! I must have been really naive. Aging brings tremendous challenges but also wonderful gifts. You may be able to see the fulfillment of your dreams for you children and the amazing people they have become. I am not talking about monetary gain or major status but just seeing them as loving and caring adults.
God’s grace has been with me and will continue to be no matter what!
Today’s blessing: my children
Today is the first day that I have felt somewhat normal. I developed a cold just before taking my husband to Mayo and was stuffy and miserable while there. At last I am beginning to see the light.
When we don’t feel well nothing seems right. Things that we would normally take in our stride become big hurdles to overcome. Most of the time I felt like I was sleepwalking. Feeling better is wonderful.
We were blessed to have been bypassed by the last hurricane but I feel so deeply for those who are suffering through the aftermath. It is bad enough that the storm floods everything and the wind blows trees over on houses but afterwards is horrible. Days and days without power. No clean water, no lights. no place to be comfortable. When you are allowed to go home you find a damaged roof or a tree through your bedroom and the nightmare continues. The rest of the world is moving on unaware of the struggles you face.
People who are not at risk for hurricanes or tornadoes do not know that insurance companies now set the delectable on damage differently than they used to. If it is a “named” storm the deductible is a percentage of the estimated damage. Some percentages are quite high. For $30,000 damage you could pay upwards of $3,000. Sometimes much more. This can hit hard and from the storms we had some people have not been able to have their homes repaired and have done what they could on their own.
After Florence fades from the picture most of us will continue with our lives. We must, however, remember the enormous toll those affected will be paying for a long time to come. Help where you can and pray for those left with their world changed forever.