Death comes/ a poem

The following was something that I wrote to clear my mind during my mother’s illness and subsequent death. I was thinking about it today and decided to share it.

death comes

It’s a funny thing. During my mother’s illness grief was present but it was hard to separate it from the other emotions… fear, panic, anxiety, apprehension, sadness, were all present. Grief was one among many. Now the others are resting..they crop up from time to time but not consistently. Only grief is consistent and somehow is easier to bear when there is time to see it by itself.

Illness, uncertainty                                                                                                          Decisions..choices

No time                                                                                                                                          Rushing                                                                                                                                          Home.. hospital.. work.. family

No time                                                                                                                                             Cant’ wait                                                                                                                                        Must go                                                                                                                                                Must do

On and on

So much                                                                                                                                                Feelings crowding                                                                                                                            Pushing                                                                                                                                        Jostling for position

One on top ..                                                                                                                                       For now..                                                                                                                                          Fear

Then shifting                                                                                                                                            Moving                                                                                                                                            Panic wins

No time                                                                                                                                                 To understand                                                                                                                                        Or sort

Weeping                                                                                                                                                  Sadness wins                                                                                                                                    And tears                                                                                                                                         Wipe clean

For one instant

A big question ?????

bad thingsFor those of us who are Christians the question is often asked “if God is so good why do bad things happen?” Unfortunately, this is the unanswerable question. I wish I could say that I know how to explain this. I don’t

Over the years many theologians have written about this question and some have attempted to answer it…. none to my satisfaction. Many people who question there being a God jump on this problem. If there is a God why doesn’t he/she do something about the many tragedies in the world? It always puts us up against a hard spot. To them, it seems trivial for us to say that we don’t know. It seems that we can’t defend our belief.

Why is one person’s cancer healed and another’s not? Why did a friend’s child die in a car accident? Why does a pastor friend’s grandson have brain cancer? How I wish I could come up with an answer that made sense.

To those in pain the statement that God/Jesus will be with us in our pain and suffering doesn’t help. The fact that Jesus also suffered is little consolation. So if we can’t answer the question what can we do?

fixedI long ago learned that I can’t fix everything but I can be there. I call it a ministry of presence. I can’t take away the pain but I can let them know that they do not have to go through it alone.  Not only does God promise to be with them but the community of faith is called to love, comfort, and sustain them through the pain. The caveat is that we have to be in a community of faith that companions those in need.

 

We need to search until we find that place. We have to keep looking and keep in mind that only if we offer ourselves to be part of that will it work. To just appear in church during the week and go home does not make you part of the community. You must open yourself to become a caring member. This may not be easy and it won’t work until you find your place but don’t give up.

Christian loveRemember, churches are made up of people and people have flaws. No church is perfect. No church has all the answers. Just find one that fills your soul in some way. It won’t be everything that you want it to be but it can still be home. After all, our families are also flawed and imperfect and yet still family. Find a church family with all that implies.

 

see more on this topic on https://wordpress.com/post/heargodinothervoices.blog/1028

Be thankful

povertyI have often said that anyone who doesn’t like living in the USA should have to live in a third world country for at least a year. We lived in Panama for two and 1/2 years and it made a lasting impression on me. There are so many things that I saw there that changed the way I think.

I appreciate that I can live in a place where the police and the military are not one and the same. I am grateful that my home does not have to be surrounded by walls with wire on top and the only yard is inside the wall. I am glad that the law does not allow me to be arrested and dealt with without trial or any recourse. I am grateful that there still is a semblance of a middle class and not just the very rich and the horribly poor.

child-funeral-2While living there I made a car trip across the isthmus from Colon to Panama City. In front of me was a small bus called a “Chiva.” Along the road the Chiva stopped and I stopped behind it to watch a family get in the bus. There were what appeared to be several generations from young children to the elderly. Several men were carrying a small coffin. The bus started up and continued on the road for several miles where it stopped at the entrance to a cemetery. There was a priest waiting at the entrance and the family filed off the bus with the coffin of a child and followed the priest to the burial site.

I was moved to tears by this incident. Just the thought of how this family lived and coped with everyday life was overwhelming. So poor that they had to take a bus with the coffin to bury their child.

Be Thankful For What You Have

We are so blessed with the life we have. I know that there are communities that suffer from poverty and sickness here. That is why, although I can’t help elsewhere, I am called to help where I can.

Luke 14:13
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delayed anxiety

eustressI am just back from two days away for the wedding of my grandson and a baby shower for my granddaughter. I have always been aware that when families get together whether for a wedding or a funeral there is always tension. Stress is in the air. In nursing we call this Eustress. (Definition of eustress. : a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being. … during positive stress) The thing they fail to mention in the definition is that stress is stress. Happy occasions cause stress. The reason for the event is good but just put whole families together and the fur can fly. So family gatherings are a combination of eustress and distress. I can, and does, go both ways.

We were blessed that there were very few negative moments but there were a few. Not to mention the stress involved in putting on an event of this kind and two of them within two days. The rushing around was frantic and although my role was minimal (thank goodness) I ended up with anxiety today. I suppose the combination of travel, excitement, some disagreements, business, completing tasks and I can’t think of what else finally got to me this morning with resulting IBSD issues. I received the blessing of support from family who have similar issues. I appreciate their love and understanding without any flap.

good dogsI am back home, tired, wrung out but better. Now I can pet my dogs and get the extra love they give and relax.

Those of us who deal with mental health issues can be pushed over the edge by major events. It doesn’t matter if they are good or bad. I was glad to be able to meet the expectations of me without alerting anyone to my stress. Instead I managed to help with the stress of others and crash after it was all over. (My usual defense mechanism.) I am grateful that I usually respond that way. I hope it continues to work for me. Maybe it needs to be named delayed anxiety reaction. 

Sorry I have missed blogs over the last few days but will catch up.

Today’s relationships

My grandson is getting married this month. He and his fiance have actually been together since high school. Now both of the them are gainfully employed and have just bought a house. This event has made me think about relationships in the 21st century.

relationshipSo much has changed since I was their age. So many people live together rather than marry. I don’t know if it has to do with being unwilling to make a long term commitment or just not wanting to go through the legal issues. If there are no children involved I don’t feel as if it matters one way or another. Also, so many marriages end in divorce. Something has changed in how relationships are viewed. Does everyone think that relationships should be excitement and  passion forever? That’s not to say that some marriages have that forever but usually not all the time. Marriage is about growing into a deeper relationship. At least mine has been and I am grateful for that. There seems to be the attitude today that people begin thinking “if this doesn’t work we’ll just end it.” Starting that way puts an “if” in it from the get go.

It concerns me that the real losers today are children. Children seem to do best when parents are in a long term relationship with an eye to building something lasting. The focus on children is also part of the picture as it seems the children have become the primary people in the family. We have forgotten that a marriage needs work and time spent enriching it. Parents should be the focus. When this happens the children win. The children should be loved and cared for but not the focus of everything.

parentsI hope to write something similar to this to give to my grandson and his fiance. I plan to make my thoughts clearer in the hopes that they will start off with wide open eyes about living together “until death do us part.” The good and the bad happen but God willing your love will last.

Each moment matters

life happensI have been out of the loop for several days and have just caught up reading blogs. I’m sure I didn’t get to them all but at least managed to dig into some.

The past week was hectic and somewhat nerve wracking. With doctor’s appointments and other things I missed time with my support friends. None of us got to see each other and we all feel the loss. We make an attempt to keep ourselves sane and when we don’t all bets are off.

On Friday I had to drive three hours to my daughter’s home for a co-ed shower for my grandson and his bride-to-be. The trip is not long but back roads and boring. The kicker is that on Saturday immediately following the shower I had to leave to drive back home for a dinner put on by the West Point Society for the founding of the academy…my husband is a graduate. When I arrived home after the dinner in a zombie like state I went straight to bed. THANK GOD!

I keep forgetting that as active as I am age still plays a part in my physical resources.

Looking back over my life brings memories good and bad. If I really try I can almost look as if from above and see the patterns. I can see the places where things took a turn that altered my ability to find the skills to cope. I can also see where something that I had learned in the past allowed me to keep moving forward. Yes, sometimes I have struggled and fought the demons of anxiety and depression. Sometimes I have felt joy and happiness. Both mattered.

wisdomSocieties view of those of us aging is so judgmental. We have learned so much on our journeys through life that could be shared. It is such a shame to lose all of that wisdom. An informed life is wasted on obsessing about looks and being young. Life is so much more than that…..so much richer. To continue to seek wisdom and strive for wholeness makes each day a miracle. The beauty around me is breathtaking. I can see the blue and gold of the sunset against the dark outline of the trees. I can see the movement of the water in the river in front of the house. Each day and each moment matters. Don’t waste it trying to hang on to youth. Embrace the years and be grateful. Life is worth living.

If only

if-only-life-was-simple_4There are times when I wish I lived in a bubble and the world outside didn’t matter. Inside the bubble would be love, joy, peace, calm. All the things I long for now. I should add that I am blessed to have love but I could use the others right now.

The trials that I have had in my life were mostly mine to deal with. Something that I could do something about. The trials I have now I have no control over. I can’t fix any of it. I would share the problems but since they belong to others I don’t feel comfortable doing that.

Yesterday I did have to go with my son to put his beloved dog to sleep. My pain was not only for the dog but for my son and his family. The sadness of losing a pet is heartrending. I can’t fix that pain but I was there to share his grief. That seems to be my role at the moment. I can share the pain but that is all. And I can pray.

Sometimes when I pray I just sing the song:

Jesus, Jesus, let me tell you what I know

You have given me your spirit. I love you so.

 

prayer in heartIt is so much easier when it is your own problems. At least then you know that the choices are up to you for good or bad. We have all made bad choices in our lives and suffered the consequences. The world will continue on that way. Bad choices will always be made. Let us just hope that good comes in the long run.