Scary things

Today I am again using the Dragon software so forgive any grammar errors.

This has been a quiet day. I did have to attend the funeral of the young man with children who died. The funeral was a real tribute to him. There must’ve been at least 300 people there. Sad though it was his funeral was a celebration of his life.

Grief-1480

There is always something so much sadder about the death of a young person. We feel as if there are things that are unfinished. Someone told me many years ago that in truth the death of a young person is not a life unfinished. That each of us has our own lifespan. It is a lifespan set for us alone. For some reason that gave me comfort.

Death is something that we all come to. It is something that we all have to face. Many people fear death. For me death itself is not frightening. It is the dying that we don’t look forward to.

There are so many things in life that can frighten us. For those of us who suffer with anxiety it seems that we can be afraid of almost anything. Although I think each of us has certain things that trigger our anxiety. I know that some things that might disturb me might not be bothersome at all to someone else. I think each of us has to discover what are the things that set us off.

consistency
Over time with help we can learn management of our own triggers. The thing is we have to practice and keep up by exercising those tools frequently. If we think we can just use them when we are in a panic it won’t work. I think that is the hardest part. Reminding ourselves daily to meditate or pray or whatever it is that works for us to use it. Consistency is the answer.

No matter what we have to keep on going, keep on working, keep on hoping, and keep on living.

Accepted but not fixed

Last evening I had some sad news. A friend’s son-in-law is dying from cancer leaving a wife and two preteen children. I am so sorry about this. I watched my friend’s daughter grow up, get married, and have children. Now they have been fighting this disease for several years and he is on Hospice.

broken

I hate so much for that family to lose a father and husband. Life will never be the same. There are some things that change us utterly and immediately. Some things are slow in coming and give us time to grasp them. Death, no matter how we see it coming, is still not prepared for. Life moves into a totally different reality.

I pray for that family and will offer any help. Nothing, however, can fix it. There are things that can be accepted but not fixed

God’s creatures

butterfly-effectThis morning as I was driving out of my driveway I saw what looked like a small creature lying beside the drive. As I passed I could see it was a small, possibly baby, raccoon. It lifted its head and shook in fear as I went by. It was obviously hurt. I assume it was hit by a car. As I paused and watched it gave a last breath and was gone. Sitting for a moment to be sure he/she was gone and then went to my appointment.

This quick incident really bothered me. I felt so much empathy for the poor creature that tears were close. It had such a short life. I really saw it as one of God’s creatures and said a prayer for its passing. I saw the same imagery as with the dogs and pictured it moving over the rainbow bridge. I can’t help experiencing grief over any creature I see in pain. I wish I could have helped but there was nothing to be done. We will give him/her a decent burial.

Rainbow-Bridge-heaven

I can’t help but see all of creation being linked and the death of one creature, flower, tree, insect being part of the whole. I know I am epathic and can feel pain for the smallest thing but we all should feel that loss. It is what we have ignored for too long.

Go little raccoon, over the rainbow bridge and join those who have gone before you.

 

Danger, danger! -Disease outbreaks

This post looks at an issue that has been largely overlooked by the press and, as far as I know, anyone else.

The issue of immigration has been a hot topic mostly dealing with undocumented people flooding into the country. As a nurse I see a glaring problem that doesn’t seem to be a consideration.

outbreak

In recent months there have been outbreaks of disease connected with the influx of migrants who have been hurried through the system. There has been little time for proper medical checks to have been done resulting in some serious outbreaks.

The scary part is that the immigrants could be carrying things that haven’t been see in this country for generations. Today most people are not vaccinated for diseases like Typhoid Fever, Small Pox, Yellow Fever, Malaria (no vaccine) and others. I had injections against some of these but the vaccinations have been dropped since these diseases have not recently been a problem for us. Some of the diseases we have very seldom seen in this country such as Dengue Fever.

TB is on the rise with versions that are highly resistant. Since some people continue to refuse vaccinations there have been cases of Polio and Measles.

 

Our medical system is not ready for a major outbreak of diseases we have considered eradicated or not a danger.

We have no idea what diseases are coming into our country. It has not been talked about. Have officials even thought of this? There is no knowing. We could be facing an epidemic of epic proportions. Are we ready?

infectious_diseases

Below are news clips that document outbreaks that have, more or less, flown under the radar.

Florida:

As state health officials investigate the source, Hepatitis A continues to spread in Florida with 119 new cases in the last week.

The new cases bring the state total to 883, with most reported incidents of the disease in Pasco and Pinellas counties. Miami-Dade (13), Broward (8) and Palm Beach (5) counties now have a combined 26 cases, up slightly from 19 a week ago. Statewide, case counts in 2019 already have surpassed those in 2018.

(Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function.

You’re most likely to get hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.

Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccines are available for people most at risk.) from the Mayo Clinic

Los Angeles:

Government officials in Los Angeles are considering ripping out all carpets in city buildings amid a typhus outbreak that has infected workers.

The disease is typically caused by infected fleas, which hitch rides on rats, and their feces. It can also be spread by cats and opossums, according to health officials. Downtown Los Angeles has been battling an outbreak since October that was linked to homeless street encampments, officials said.

(Murine typhus, also called endemic typhus or flea-borne typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi. Murine typhus is spread to people through contact with infected fleas. People get sick with murine typhus when infected flea feces are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin. In most areas of the world, rats are the main animal host for fleas infected with murine typhus. Murine typhus occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world where rats and their fleas live. Cat fleas found on domestic cats and opossums have been associated with cases of murine typhus in the United States. Most cases of murine typhus in the United States are reported in people from California, Hawaii, and Texas.) from the CDC

Texas: This one hit the news only because of a death. I haven’t heard if the type of flu has been identified. “Flu” covers a lot of illnesses from not dangerous to deadly.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped taking detainees at its main processing center in McAllen, Tex., after identifying “a large number” of migrants suffering from flulike symptoms, the agency announced late Tuesday. The move comes one day after a teenage migrantwho had been held at the facility died after being diagnosed with the flu.

“To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the [Central Processing Center],” CBP said in a statement. “Individuals apprehended in RGV Sector will be held at other locations until this situation is resolved.”

Medical staff at the center identified migrants in custody with high fevers and exhibiting “signs of a flu-related illness,” and they are now receiving medical treatment, CBP said.

 

 

 

Each of us matters!

Today is a much better day. Partly due to my mindset as I got up. Even having to go to a funeral was not a downer. Lutheran funerals are not depressing. Their theology is it is a celebration of the life lost and a trust in God’s promises. Usually lots of happy hymns are chosen…especially Easter ones.

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Today the funeral was at a funeral home and the organist was used to playing dirges. The first hymn, which could have been lively, was dragging. That’s the way it goes. It made me decide that if I can’t have someone who plays a joyful tempo I want guitars and drums. Guess I better pass that on to my kids.

Funerals can remind you of your own mortality. The truth is I don’t think any of us can imagine a world without us. We know death is inevitable but still can’t see not being present.

cant live forever

Most of us live in a world where death can feel as if it won’t touch us. Our medicine improves every day and life expectancy is so much longer. I was watching an Amazon series called “The London” which is about the hospital during the 1800’s. Life expectancy is 45. That is just half of what we expect today.

When I am ill and approaching death I just want to feel that I have lived. I want to be able to see my life as having had some meaning. Life doesn’t have to be grandiose for that to be the case. Have I helped others? Have I raised my family the best that I could? Have I been true to my core beliefs? Have I have worked the best that I could with what I have been given? This is really important. If I had a disability or struggled with mental illness or developed a long term illness did I do the best that I could? If I can answer yes I can be confident my life mattered.

Hey you YOU MATTER

Remember, none of us is perfect. We are only meant to do the best we can. Don’t concern yourself with your limitations just work with your strengths. That is what life is all about.

 

Could we remember?

Birth – Death

 

enjoy the journeySafe in the womb

the pressure rises

forcing us out

 

There is life now

there is no escape

no way out

 

When do we know

When do we understand

life is a journey

 

a journey

that only ends

in death

 

if only

I could remember

the journey into life

 

I know that

the journey into death

will be the same

 

Will I be as

reluctant

to face death

 

As that infant

in the womb

facing life

Nightmare and grief

Do you dream? Do you remember what you dream? I dream a lot and I often remember the dream…at least for a while. The bad part is that sometimes I have nightmares. I had one last night. Mine are not about monsters chasing me or falling off a building. I wish they were. I could deal with that better.

dream

My nightmares have to do with trying to help my mother and my aunt. (both deceased) The dreams are sad and frustrating. I struggle to solve whatever is going on with no success. It makes me wonder if this is some leftover guilt for something I regret not doing for them. I cared for them in their last days and was with each of them when they died.

Brian-Tracy-Quote-Never-Regret-You-Past

As a part of grieving we tend to guilt ourselves for being human. Of course I have regrets but my care for them was the what I was able to do. I did all that I could. Sometimes we just can’t let it go. I remember crying hysterically in the dream ….so frustrated that nothing I tried worked.

Now wide awake I have to understand that grief comes in waves when we least expect it. This time it surfaced in my nightmare years after both of them died. It is still there and will crop up again. Loss becomes a scar but sometimes the scar hurts. That is normal.

Stupid words

words can hurtThis is a re-blog of something I wrote a while ago. It came up recently and so I thought it needed to be said again.

 

People can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.

 

You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)

God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)

 Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)

I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)

God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)

Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)

Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear

Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?

I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?

I am so sorry

I will call you soon (only if you really will)

Give a hug

Cry with them

Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.

compassion-is-a-verbMost importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something…..do something!

 

In the midst of life we are in death.

In the midst of life we are in death. This phrase is often heard at funerals. What does this mean? It is a reminder that life and death are linked. From the moment we are born we are dying. That is not morbid it is just the truth. In fact, from the moment we are conceived we are dying. We are set into motion like the winding of a clock. At some point it will wear down and stop. In our world it can be snuffed out by an illness, accident or crime but nevertheless we each have an expiration date.

laotzu1-2x

Some cultures accept this fact easier than those of us in the western world. We worry about death. We can feel fear and panic just thinking about it.

Before I was a nurse I had ideas about death. I never wanted to think about it or be with someone at their death.  After being at many deaths I have changed my feelings. I have seen people in so much distress that death is a friend.

Most of the people I have been with just slipped quietly away. No anxiety, no visible fear. Some spoke to relatives on the other side. Whether they really saw them I don’t know but I would like to think they did. Some expressed peace.

A long time ago I complained to a minister friend that I was upset about the death of a child in an accident. I fumed that her life had been cut short. He said he had a different perspective. He viewed each person’s life as a candle that burned until it went out. That could be when the candle is completely burned or just after it is lit. Each person has a life span that is different. This view was a comfort to me and still is.

einstein3

Death is not something to fear. When we remove that from our minds life becomes brighter. It is not easy to do and we may waver from time to time. It is difficult to imagine not being alive and can produce sadness when we wish we would still be around to see grandchildren or great grandchildren marry and have children of their own.

 

No matter our age and the length of life no one wants to be gone. Life is beautiful in spite of any trials we face. The important thing is to treasure each moment and when we come to the end say “I have lived!”

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So many questions..so few answers

quote-if-we-know-how-much-passive-violence-we-perpetrate-against-one-another-we-will-understand-mahatma-gandhi-86-66-56Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.

I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know

so many questionsThere are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.

I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.

So many questions…so few answers.