This week I have been sad. I don’t know if it was my birthday and getting older or the autumn and the darkness. It could be all of the above. It has brought to mind some things that I used to do and don’t any more.
I used to bake for Christmas. I made lots of sweets for everyone. I no longer have someone to bake for. The two of us have no desire to eat lots of Christmas sweets. My grandchildren are grown up (all except one who is in his teens) and not around to bake for or with. It was fun to make treats with my children and grandchildren.
For some reason I stopped sending Christmas cards. Our years of moving around made me lose track of many people. Our life is different now and it seems that there are many people who don’t send cards. In a way that is a regret. It was a job to get them done but a wonderful way to keep in touch.
I don’t have as much money to spend on gifts and so I try to be resourceful and creative in the things I find. This has been a plus as it has helped me to spend time on what really matters. It also reminds me of those who have nothing.
Again, life changes and we have to experience each phase. We can’t opt out if we plan to live on. Getting older can present challenges but so do other phases of life. To really live we have to seize each moment and know it will not come again.
Even though I have been sad sometimes sad can be a season of remembrance. It can be a time when we think about how different things are and plan to choose to live this moment. In this season of darkening skies and leaves falling life continues. Winter will follow and spring and on and on. The world is turning, time goes forward and I am still here to see it.
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.
Once 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
There 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.
Periodically I take time out to worry about the state of the world and especially the US. After the latest shooting I thought about how much hate is our there. How did we get to this? Like the song from South Pacific hate has to be taught. We aren’t born hating. It is learned. What went wrong in those families (or lack of) that taught so much hatred.
Hating people for their faith seems so unnecessary. However, it is not the only kind out there. Hatred seems to have spread so much faster than love. Are we so afraid of differences? For me, hatred is related to fear…fear that people like “us” will not come out on top. Fear that causes us to facilitate the eradication of any threat to our beliefs. Is my own belief so weak that the belief of others is a threat? We saw this before in Nazi Germany but it was more about purity of race than faith.
Somehow I am not sure that humanity should expect to survive forever. We will either annihilate ourselves or the earth we have raped will do it for us. After all, maybe we are not meant to last forever. We seem to be too flawed.
I worry about my grandchildren and great grandson. What sort of world are we leaving for those to come? If only we could learn the kind of interaction that most major religious leaders have taught. I hope it is not too late.
Today I have thinking about my dogs. The two of them are such a joy. They have me get up laughing and go to bed laughing. They are so loving and caring. No one else greets me at the door so excited to see that I am home. They sense when I am happy and when I am sad.
If only we could be as kind and loving as my dogs. Most of us realize how much of an example dogs are for us. It seems they are the best of us. They have been exposed to humans for so long that now we are seeing them with the same illnesses that we have. My daughter recently adopted two bonded dachshunds…Lucy and Cash. Both dogs must have had a terrible life. They are both so stressed that they are on multiple meds for anxiety. Lucy is afraid of everything…especially men. Someone was very cruel to them.
It almost seems that we humans created such horror for those dogs that they have PTSD, were abused and hurt beyond imagining. We humans suffer too when life has hurt us so badly. We also suffer when, for no reason that we can see, anxiety, depression and other forms of anguish cause us to struggle to cope.
My daughter and her family are working hard to have those two dogs understand that they are safe and loved. Life would be better for everyone if we could all feel loved and safe.
I have been struggling since I developed a cold prior to my husband’s surgery. The events leading up to the surgery (for over a year) stretched my coping like a taut rubber band. I think that is why I caught a cold. My immune system was low. The combination of the cold and the travel for his surgery pushed me over the edge. The cold is better and his recovery is continuing at home.
However, as usual when things are improving I didn’t. I am fighting the dregs of the cold and a major flare up of IBSD which brings on anxiety. I am continuing to fight both with stress reduction and medication. I am trying to rest as much as possible since I am completely exhausted. All of this means not a great few days.
Somehow I am holding on to the knowledge that this too will pass and once again “all will be well.” My strength to resist all of this will return and I will be able to move on. I am so thankful that we are both retired and don’t have to be anywhere on a daily basis. So there are gifts in the midst of this.
Today’s blessing: We both have time to heal.