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Grief Encompassed Me

Since coming back from my husband’s funeral in June things seemed ok. I was preparing to travel with my daughter’s family on a trip to Canada. I became more and more anxious and time ticked away and a week before the trip had a melt down. I had been crying daily and getting more and more upset.My anxiety had reached a level where I knew I had to do something. Discussion with my doctor’s Nurse Practitioner helped me to see that I wasn’t ready or able to take that trip. Fortunately my daughter had wisely taken out insurance that allowed anyone to cancel for any reason. She completely understood my decision. The minute my decision was made a weight was lifted.

I was really unaware that I would be so affected by the trip to Savannah with the funeral, visiting the city and seeing friends. After his death over 14 months ago I had no idea that it would cause me to react so strongly. I should have remembered that we were together for over 58 years.

Not like “Waiting for God”

They used to say that nothing stays the same but death and taxes. I have decided that as right as this is something supersedes these and it is change. Change is always with us. It comes when planned and when unexpected but it always comes.

Since fall of 2020 my life has been the perfect example of change. With two moves, losing my husband and my home (had to sell when moving), living in a completely different state(one that acts as if it is its own country) and living in an Independent Living Retirement place, change has become normal. I just expect it and keep going.

Living with others who have retired and seeing mostly grey hair around me has been interesting, challenging, disturbing and comforting. There is sometimes the feeling of living in the British comedy “Waiting for God.” It can be hard to accept living where (supposedly) you know you will die. You have to develop a different mind set.

In some ways it it like living in a college dorm. As a community, there are rules that must protect us all somewhat like those in a HOA setting. For those who have been independent and masters of their own choices it can be frustrating.

Those are some of the negatives. It is wonderful, however, to have 3 restaurants on site and cook only if you want to. It is so good to have conversations with people who remember the things you do and understand your references to events and people of the past. (Some young people are so clueless it make me wonder what is being taught in school.) It’s a miracle to have my apartment cleaned once a week.

Soooo, although life has been challenging with lots of changes, it has also been interesting, stimulating, and life enhancing. There are so many things to do. We are connected to the University of Texas and can attend things there as we want. Events and activities are fun and improve minds and bodies. Life is good. You just have to reach out a grab it.

To be vaccinated or to not be vaccinated

Some may find this post against their beliefs and I beg forgiveness if my thoughts are offensive to anyone. This is the post of an 81 year old nurse whose grandmother was blind due to measles. As a young girl her life was changed forever. It is evident to me that we have lost many wonderful people in the last few years due to their fear and reluctance to be vaccinated. It hurts to see their lives cut short. Know that I respect that others have a right to their own beliefs.

Today I read the most incredible article in the New York Times. It is about the growth of the anti-vaccination trend. It is titled “The Anti-Vaccine Movement’s New Frontier.” The article shows that those who previously were concerned about vaccines causing autism were started by a English doctor whose study was not scientifically done and studied only 12 children. This number is not a base for conclusions.

Obviously data from this study was disseminated without any scrutiny and was actually funded by a lawyer wanting data for a lawsuit against the vaccine company. Beginning with this misinformation many parents were afraid for their children. The fear of this continues.

There was already a background for fear of vaccines when covid appeared on the horizon and questions about mandates for vaccines brought the whole issue into the political arena. With other issues under debate including gun laws it was easy to link into this and let it be part of human rights.

The problem now is that with many choosing to not be vaccinated or vaccinate their children and politics finding ways to enlarge it all we may be looking at epidemics of diseases we considered controlled by vaccinations. Outbreaks have been reported in recent years with children…some dying. This is a frightening thought. Propaganda is a viable weapon.

Our nation is so divided over many, many issues and we are ripe for believing disinformation of any kind. God help us.

Oh when will we ever learn?

With so many crisis to think about it is hard to put together cohesive thoughts. Between the various shootings and the war in the Ukraine the world seems so chaotic. Sometimes it is so hard to not be angry at those who want more and more power….that includes Putin and also those in power in this country who are so blinded by ambition that they can’t see the state we are in. We are the only country with so many massacres. Yes, let’s stop calling them shootings and call them what they are …massacres.

On this day when we choose to honor those who gave their lives for this country can’t we show respect to them by tightening gun laws and stop at least some of the violence. My husband loved this country. He would have given his life for it and almost did in Viet Nam. Yet then and now we send soldiers to fight wars that can’t be won because politics make that impossible. We arm youngsters and fanatics easily with weapons and even body armor so they can kill more people. Logic has been totally lost in both situations.

For some reason I was reminded of this song. “Oh when will they (we) ever learn.” This version by Peter, Paul and Mary brings the full sorrow. Even the audience feels it.

Life is not boring

Last week was stressful. At my age any medical issue makes you immediately think “this is what will take me out!” The system for getting medical issues resolved is wonderful here. Saw a nurse practitioner on Monday. Got results from that on Tuesday. Heard from a referred physician on Wednesday and had an appointment on Thursday. I had to wait til the next week to get some testing done but now know that I have several small kidney stones. I haven’t had any of those for 50 years! Oh well. That’s life.

Knowing what is wrong has relieved my stress and now I just need to move on. The hardest part about most medical issued is the not knowing. When you have discovered the problem then it is easier to accept and keep going.

Life is never boring.

and life goes on

I’m feeling more comfortable where I am but life keeps giving me lemons and not letting me make lemonade out of them. Now I am dealing with some medical issues that will most likely be fine but still have to be dealt with.

That is the important thing. I’m grateful to be alive. At my age life will continue to be a challenge but I’m still here and I will love and grow and learn and change until my days are done.

CTE and sports: a continuing decision (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy)

I have just watched a most interesting film called “Concussion” Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu the doctor who discovered the injury incurred by hitting heads in football. Ever since this began to be talked about I have been scorned by many football lovers who don’t want to believe there is a serious problem.

Having managed head injury cases in my time as a nurse I know how devastating they can be and understand why many who end up with this problem called CTE end up committing suicide.

I have frequently told football enthusiasts that we should go back to wearing the original helmets football used. When playing with these the players were not told to bang heads like the sport does now.

At least now those who choose to play football know the risks. I still do not approve of small children being taught to charge hitting heads together. They are not able to make a decision for themselves. The parents should but many won’t hoping to see their child go to college on a sports scholarship. Many they should switch to soccer. While there is some evidence that injury can occur it seems to be less of an issue.

Will Smith and Dr. Omalu

A fun flaming misstep.

It is hard to realize that it has been so long since I have written. I don’t know what is wrong with me that I can’t get organized.

I have been thinking a lot about my life with my husband and the various stories he shared with me about his growing up. His father was a colonel in the Army and he was on Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He remembered things about that day even though he was only four.

One of my favorite stories let me know that he was not an angel when young. One day he waws playing alone and was bored. He decided that it would be fun to make paper airplanes and throw them out of the upstairs bedroom window. That was fun and he watched them as they drifted down to the lawn below. However, after a while just watching them float down began to pale and he thought of how he could make it better. Finding matches elsewhere in the house (being careful to not get caught) he sneaked back upstairs with lots of paper and matches. Lighting the paper planes he watched happily as they drifted down in flames. Having been a very dry season the grass was quite parched.

He watched with joy as one of the planes caught the grass on fire and the fire began to spread. Realizing that this might be a problem took his attention away from the next plane he had lit that was still in his hand. In panic he dropped the plane catching the drapes on fire. He stood dumbfounded trying to decide what to do. A glass of water from the bathroom put out the drape but there was still the fire growing on the lawn. Racing downstairs and outside he found his visibly upset mother putting out the lawn fire with the garden hose.

Reluctantly he shared the problem with the drapes and faced the wrath of a woman whose husband was currently in Arabia. He had plenty of time to reflect on this incident in the time he spent restricted to his room.

Since my husband was a rule follower, careful and meticulous it was fun to learn that he had a streak of choosing danger in his make up.

Moving Ahead

Because of covid we had to postpone my husband’s funeral. Now we have it planned for June which is the time that my family can come. Today I sat down to plan the service. After working in churches most of my life I do know what my husband would want done. I will do my best to see that he has full military honors since that was a large portion of his life. He was a graduate of West Point and lived his life according to their motto “duty, honor, country.” I want his being put to rest to reflect his life.

You would think that this would be the hardest thing to do but it was a sort of closure to me without all the emotional baggage that day will bring. Since I am so familiar with the liturgy it is good for me to think about the words and make good decisions about how to best honor him.

This has been a good days work and one that is comforting in some ways.