Help where you can!

Yesterday I didn’t write which is unusual for me. I spent the afternoon with my friend while someone came to get a history on her husband and help to evaluate her husbands mental status. He has had such a devastatingly physical journey that it has taken its toll. It took all afternoon to get it all down on paper.

She wanted me there because I have been on a good bit of this journey with her and could help with the history. Just having someone write it all down made me realize what an extensive and harrowing time it has been.

I feel so humbled by how she has weathered this whole scenario and my heart aches for all she has been through with him. I don’t think anyone can appreciate the level of exhaustion and stress seen when a long illness puts their partner into the caregiving role.

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It is so important for caregivers to have time away from the situation. Without it their physical and mental status is at risk. It is a blessing when help can be afforded but in some cases that is not possible.

Most people just keep going and hate to ask for help. Frequently there are friends, neighbors, church members or others who would be willing to sit for a while with the ill person. When they do it is important for the caregiver to do something for themselves…..meet friends for lunch, go outdoors away from home, or whatever rejuvenates them. Too often they take that time for errands and tasks that must be done. This may be necessary but even a short while doing something they love will help.

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If you know someone who is a caregiver take the time to offer help. Be specific. Tell them you can sit for them or run errands or, if they can, take them out. Caregivers need all the help we can give. It is so easy to continue with our own agenda but remember those who have no time for themselves.

How will we cope?

Life can be so demanding. The things that happen not only to us but to others can be devastating. I have friends who have suffered with long term problems that are just there day in and day out. I honestly don’t know how some people manage to keep going.

coping long term

The friends that I know who are struggling still greet me with a smile and a sense that things are ok. I don’t see the stress that I know is under the smile. They are not putting a smiling face on as a false mask. Occasionally they will share the devastation that is part of their lives but they don’t allow it be in charge. I so admire that ability.

positive attitudeAttitude is everything. The ability to assess life and accentuate the positive is a gift and one that I hope I would have in their circumstances. We can be bombed by the things that happen to us but we have to learn to adjust out attitude. Life is for living not for bemoaning. We are entitled to spend some time asking ourselves “why me?” We need time adjusting to a new life but when that is done hopefully we can be like my friends, and no matter the tragedy, have some time for smiles.

Tears fall

I am sad. Lucy has not been found yet. I am sad for my daughter and her family and sad for Lucy. This is not the end anyone wanted for that poor girl dog. She had such a bad life before. These things happen in life and I think they remind us that everything does not always go the way we want.

Life can be challenging. There are times of joy and times of sadness. Both are important because they are joined. There is not one without the other. I don’t think we would understand how important our good times are if there were not bad times.

The older I get the more empathy I feel. Tears come easily but I don’t mind that. Tears can be cleansing.

rain drops

Tears

Tears fall easily

their drops wash

my face

 

Etching the sorrow

my heart endures

as they fall

 

washing some

of the pain

from my soul

 

each tear

offers solace

and cleansing peace

 

Share yourself

Our society expects us to maintain a facade. We must never seem broken or fragile. Society sees this a weakness. Underneath all of that the reality is that it is frightening. If you are shattered maybe that will happen to me.

Think about how we greet people. “How are you? I’m fine.” We may be suffering but oh dear we better not share it. I have heard people respond “not okay” and the other person doesn’t even acknowledge what has been said. Too often we don’t want to hear it. It might draw us into the pain and suffering that we don’t want to see.

In truth, most of us are balanced on a precipice and feel that a little shove might push us over. We wouldn’t want anyone else to see this as that would diminish us in their eyes.

Most of my life people have sought me out to share their fears and their pain. I don’t think I am at all special. It is because I have never hidden my own wounds and am willing to open myself to others. I’m not sure why I am this way but it is who I am. Being this way is not always comfortable but it has given me the opportunity to show compassion and love.

Never be afraid to share your true self. Some will turn away but it is their own fears that cause that. Showing others how you have learned and continue to move on will give them hope.

 

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Life has meaning

I read a blog today that was an interesting discussion. There was much back and forth about life and death. It was quite technical. At some point a meaningful life was mentioned and it seemed to me to most participants completely let that drop for more esoteric thoughts.

life meaning

I am totally concerned about life having meaning. At this time in my life I have no doubts that mine does. This may be hubris on my part but over the years I can see where something that I did or said changed something or someone. I have had people that I don’t even remember who they are come up and say that I changed their life. I can’t remember what I said or did but that doesn’t matter. Somehow, at the time, I was blessed with the right thing to say. Does this mean that I am special? No way. I was just a catalyst…a stop on the road.

For me, these are the things that make life meaningful. Was I able to help someone? Was I in the right place at the right time? Did the right things come to me out of the blue? Yes! It was not me. It was God, or a higher power, or coincidence. Whatever works for you. But this is what helps me to understand how our lives are meaningful.

sharing love

Loving, giving and sharing our stories and our pains helps others along the path. Because of this I can know that even when I messed up my life has had meaning. I plan to keep on loving and giving until the day I die.

We all see differently

One day, a while back, I was at the beach and in the bright sunlight I happened to look at something with only one eye open. I saw the color of the object clearly. For some reason I closed that eye and looked through the other one. The object’s color was a different hue. It could still be called the same color but there was a remarkable difference. That’s when it hit me that not only do we each see color differently but our eyes can see things differently.

different

None of us sees things in the same way. Each of us brings with us our lifetime of experiences. The things we have seen and been through have given us our own perspective. So how can I expect someone to grasp a problem in the same way that I do?

Years ago my husband and I went to marriage encounter. It is a wonderful program to enhance good marriages. We were taught a tool for getting closer to what someone else is feeling. It is hard to describe but is like bouncing back and forth “Does it feel like” until you find a common emotion to describe an event or issue.

For example I might say: does it feel like going to a friend’s funeral and the other person might respond no but it feels like your beloved dog died. I might then say I know what that feels like. It is frequently is a longer process but that is the idea. The whole things is based on discovering feelings.

I once knew someone who had great difficulty accepting a male image for God. I later found out she was abused by her father.

Getting to the root of someone’s feeling helps us to understand them. We can develop a bond with those who have suffered similar problems. That is why support groups work.

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Here on Word Press we find support from others who really understand. The community is important. Thank you to all those who share feelings openly and offer support and understanding. You are important!

Education at home and in the world

What we are taught from childhood on is what carves us into the people we are now. Children absorb not only what they are told but also what they see. Their world is their home and family. What happens there sets the path.

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Have we been teaching children to think only of themselves?

Have we taught intolerance?

Have we taught hatred?

Have we belittled them?

Or have we taught love?

Kindness?

Caring?

Education is not just what we learn in school. That is important and the more we learn the more we can understand about the world around us. The more we learn about the lives of others the less likely we are to be intolerant. However, learning in early childhood is crucial.

Every kind of education is necessary to make the world a better place. We must help families to teach their children well. We need to marry what we learn at home with what we learn of the world. The more knowledge the better. Never stop learning.

 

 

 

 

Today’s ramble

rest-dayYesterday I spent down in the dirt so today was a rest day. Altogether a nice day. I still hate the time change and it will take me at least a week to adjust. I got up at my usuall time although it was an hour early. That is the only way I know to adjust.

Lately I have found myself prone to tears. I seem to weep at anything. It is not depressions but almost an acknowledgement of the sadness I feel for others. Being sensitive to other’s trials and pains is sometimes a difficult road. It does reduce me to tears on occasion and lately more than usual. That is probably because I am seeing more pain around me. Not just those I know but in the world at large.

weep for the world

 

As an elder I worry about the world that will be here for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I hope that some of the abuses, anger, going too far in many things will swing back to reason. We have pushed the limit on so many things. Here in the US sexuality has become such an issue. Why do we have to be so concerned about the private lives of others.

Admittedly we see too much on media that is painful and disturbing. I have to turn some of it off for self preservation. Sometimes there is enough to handle in your own space, Many are in overload and it is no wonder that depression and anxiety are rising. A friend of my grandson spent the first semester of his college term not attending classes and obsessing. He has threatened suicide and his parents and having trouble finding appropriate care.

Life today is not easy. As I have said before it seemed easier when I was growing. Was I living in a bubble or was it really easier?

Anyway that is just my train of thought for today. Hope everyone had a good day!

Fired into beauty

swan 2

This is been a strange week. For the first time in forever I didn’t write at all for two different days. Both times life was overwhelming and it just didn’t work. For someone who is retired it seems strange that I have had very little time to do anything. Things are slacking off now and I hope to see a more normal pace. Is there any such thing as normal?

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have one trauma after another and others seem to drift through life unscathed? I just want to shake my fist at God and say unfair! unfair! It just doesn’t seem right. To make it worse sometimes the ones who have just floated through are also the worst people.

Looking at these things from the outside is probably not logical. Who can really know what is going on underneath. It’s like the saying about the swan. Serene on the surface but paddling madly underneath.

Glaze_BeforeAfter

Maybe the people who have been through the fire have been formed into beautiful vessels. Most of the ones I know have so much more compassion and ability to care than others. With all their trials they can still support and care for those around them. You can actually feel the vibrancy of their empathy. It radiates from within.

No one knows what form us. Some can be broken by events and some make finer. When that happens it is a beautiful thing to see.

Be there!

There are some things we can’t fix. I have written about this….I know this and yet I don’t want to accept it. My friend is in an untenable position. It is amazing how events can transpire in such a way that there is no way out.

No matter what we do sometimes life boxes us in and there are no good choices. Only ones that bring pain.

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Sometimes I wonder why some people seems to have more sadness and challenge in their lives that others. Is it because they deserve it….no, no, no. Sometimes the worst person has the best come to them and the best person gets the worst. We just want to yell at God and say NOT FAIR. But no one ever promised that things would be fair.

For me it seems at least sudden catastrophes can be gotten through. The long term, every single day, on and on things become an impossible burden. It is amazing to me how there are those who cope each day and go on. Think about the ALS patients (Lou Gehrigs Disease). Day after day…on and on.. each one failing a little more. Those that I have known have been amazing. Keeping faith and a positive perspective through it all. How do they do it?

Life is a precious thing and maybe just waking each morning makes it worthwhile. I can see that but what about the person for whom life has no meaning left, no joy? They may not know that dawn comes each day. How do the families face the next day? How do you manage when each day brings no change but only sameness?

supported

 

The only thing that I know to do is to be there in those times. There is nothing that can fix it but my presence may give some solace. This is what we must do. See around you the people who are in pain…emotional or physical. Reach out to them. Let them know that someone cares. You don’t have to know what to say. Just presence in enough.

Everyone has pain in life. Some immediate, some long lasting. Don’t forget to be there whether supporting them on Word Press or in person. Be there!