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Monday, May 22, 2017

Letting Go to Move Forward.

May is coming into it's ending days and I wish it Godspeed. This month has been a true test of my faith and sanity. May has been a bad month for me for eighteen years now. It is the month that sent me the call every little girl dreads; well this little girl dreaded. It is the month I lost my dad. My life came to a screeching halt the morning I got the call. At times I think when the brakes were slammed on, they did some major damage because my life just hasn’t worked since then.

My dad was my voice of reason. He understood me in ways no one else in the family could. We were alike in so many ways. Right down to most of our mistakes.I know what you are thinking why didn’t you learn from your dad’s mistakes? That is easy enough because I am a first born child with control issues just as he was. We were both made of the same material, which meant we never give up even when we know we are beaten. It just isn’t in our makeup. It was a strength but also a major weakness that cost him so much, and has cost me in the past. I am sure it will in the future too.

This past week has been an exercise in patience for me. I found out what I was told about my mom’s living situation was misinterpreted. Now we are in deep financial trouble. One thing I hate most in this world is a liar. I feel like the last two places my mother has rested her head have lied to me and misled me completely. I hope come Monday I will find a place that understands honesty. It will also bring mom closer to the family. She will no longer be cast off, so far away and hard to reach. I am going to have to learn my next life lesson. I have to learn to let her go. Let someone else take some of the responsibility. I am ready to do this, I just don’t know if I can. Like I said it isn’t my style to give up, and in a way, I feel like I am giving up.

I also suffer a moment in my health at a time when I could use it the least. After almost fifty years I spent my second stay in the hospital. The first time being when I was just three months old with Colic. I spent eight days there at that time. I had prided myself on the fact that I had avoided it since. I can no longer be proud. I spent a night in Cardiac Care to have my heart monitored. So far all the test come back pretty good, but at the time it was a bit scary. The worst part was knowing I had things I needed to do for mom. How was I supposed to do them from a hospital bed? Another failure.

As I have written many times. Writing is my therapy, and I didn’t even have that luxury while they had me hooked up to all of the machines. All I could do was lie there and run what I would write through my mind’s eye, hoping I would be able to remember it when I once more sat in front of my computer screen. I forgot most of it when I got out and started dealing with my mother’s life once more. The good thing was it helped me pass the time while I lay there waiting for the next blood draw, or test.
 It also woke me up to the fact that I was so busy worrying about her health, that somewhere along the lines, I let my own fall through the cracks. I can’t even tell you when my last doctor’s visit was. I think it was in the previous year though. The only medical personal I see on a regular basis is my mother’s or my allergist. I now know I need to start concentrating on myself.

Funny thing about all this is that it all came to head on the anniversary of my dad’s death. I had promised my dad I would take care of mom right before he died and here we are eighteen years later with me finally passing her care to someone else. I think I have fulfilled my promise. I hope I have because I have nothing left to give. I have fought with all my strength to keep mom in her own home, independent, in charge. Her health has now taken the reins and made the decision for all of us.Why do I still feel like I am giving up the fight?

These coming days are going to be a test in true patience as I work toward finalizing mom’s future home, while at the same time packing up and shutting down her old one. I am trying to pack up her life for the last three years in the short time span of a week. Going through her belongings and cataloging what goes with her into the next and what will be cast aside.

 It seems with each of her moves this process robs her of more of her life and memories.Then we wonder why she is forgetting so much. All of her memories have been left behind, in boxes, or bags. They have been sold, traded or given away. Because each move has been a downsizing of her life. This I have a feeling will be the final clearing.

So from now on, I  think I  will disappear, check out and just simply hide from the month of May. I am not sure I can take the next bad thing to happen during it. Hopefully, by the time of my next post, I can say progress has been made to the point where the keys have been turned into mom’s landlord. Hopefully, maybe, just maybe something happy might occur this week to help change my mind about this month. Until that time I hope you love fully and laugh often.

Monday, May 15, 2017

No Celebrations

There are some holidays that I would prefer not to even open some of my different social media accounts. Mother’s Day is one of them. I find it hard to feel all appreciative toward a mother who made my life at times a living hell. Add to that the fact that I never could have children, and I would prefer to stay in bed and just feed my face with chocolate while cursing all the lovey-dovey sentiments on both social media and my television.

I remember when I was little,  I was raised to think that being a wife and mother was the most important job a woman could have. The first games I played were house with my little school friends. We would argue about who would get to be the mommy. I always swore when I grew up and had kids, they would never be treated the way we were treated as kids. My kids would not have to go through what my brothers and I did. Funny how fate plays you a far different hand of cards.

I became pregnant when I was nineteen. By the time I actually began to truly believe that it was true, I had miscarried. I was almost in my fourth month. I remember being so ill afterward. I ran such a high fever, I was delirious for three days. My only memories are flashes. The first day I woke up lucid, I woke up with this deep seated feeling of emptiness. I would never be able to have children. I went into a cycle of denial that would last for years. In my mind I would have kids, it was what you did when you grew up. It was expected of you by your family. By your church.

What is the funniest thing when I think back to those days? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I sighed a breath of relief with each month I could say I had failed once again. I didn’t have the time or patience for children. I had a step child with my husband who I loved with all my heart, but in some dark place, I was glad she lived full time with her mom. Her dad was all the child I could deal with at that time. I know I sound cold-hearted but I had been caring for my brothers since the day they were born. By the time I was in my twenties and had moved out of my parent's house I felt I could finally have some freedom. It wasn’t to be but I had that dream.

Did I still mourn the loss of my unborn child? Yes. I would sit in the quiet sometimes and wonder what he would have looked like. Would he have taken after me or his father? I thought about how he would have had his grandpa wrapped around his little fingers. I pictured him with his grandpa’s lopsided grin. I also came to understand that God had a reason to calling him home. He was to give me a glimpse of what could have been so I could move on to what was to be.

I would not have been a good mother. I was too busy trying to build a life with little education, and a disabled husband. I was working a full-time job, sometimes even a second one to make ends meet. There were times I met myself coming and going out the door to work. The only way I got to see my husband was when he would visit me at work.Can you imagine bringing a child into the mix? I was a mother though. I was the mama to a household full of cats. At one time we had eleven cats running around underfoot. That’s what happens when you have to pregnant females who have kittens within a short time of each other. I was in heaven.

The kittens soon found their forever homes, and we settled down to our regular crew. That was my family. My husband and our cats were our kids. Along the way, we adopted the wayward kid who was on the outs with their folks, or a young adult who had fallen on hard times. Our house became sort of a home away from home for a number of friends.They always knew they could get a hot meal and a place to crash for the night. I never knew who would be at the house when I walked in at the end of the night when I came home. I was just glad to have a place to call home.

On Mother’s Day and on Father’s Day, I step back from the happy celebrating. I don’t find any joy in either day. I even tried to call my mom today to be the dutiful daughter and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day the call went straight to voicemail. If I could make that call come June to my Dad, it would get answered with a cheerful “what’s up, kid?” Too bad there aren’t cell towers in heaven.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Life & Possibilities

May, the precursor to summer. The month with the most beautiful birthstone in my opinion.A month blooming with new life and possibilities.New hopes flow as the flowers grow. There are no limits to what can be accomplished. The only thing that can bring you defeat is yourself. In lack of preparedness, lack of doing, .and the lack of belief. Makes you wonder why we set ourselves up to fail most of the time. Is it so we can be surprised when we succeed, or has it been so ingrained into us to fail, that we know no other way?

This past few weeks have given me lessons in miscommunication, trust, education, and belief. As I watch my Mother move into the next stage of her illness, I have been misled by those attending her. Had our trust betrayed in the thief of a something precious to my Mom. I am still in the process of being educated on this next stage of my Mother’s life. And lastly my belief that God has a plan is as strong as ever, and he never gives us more than we can bear.

I will elaborate on each of these lessons. The first one. The miscommunication. At first, I felt that her health care team at the hospital were keeping me well informed as to her care. Each procedure they performed, they were kind enough to call me to let me know the reasoning for said procedure and then they would inform me of the results.This was the case right up to the point when they discharged her. Where did they fail to communicate with me you may ask? First, they were to inform me when her insurance approved her care in a skilled rehabilitative center. How did I learn of the approval? I learned it the day that I found out that she was no longer their patient.

A care coordinator for Mom’s insurance called to ask how Mom was doing and I informed her that Mom was still in the hospital. She said she would give my Mom a call and see how she was feeling. About twenty minutes later I receive a call back from the woman asking if I knew my Mother had been discharged to a skilled care facility. I told her she knew that answer, I had told her that Mom was at the hospital. This is all on a Monday morning.

 I had been at the hospital late on Thursday night but had not been able to be there during the weekend. I had plans for going as soon as I finished my work for the day. The insurance lady told me that my mother had been discharged late on Friday night. I had spent a whole weekend thinking my Mother was still in the ICU of the hospital I had left her in late Thursday night. And she hadn’t been there but in a whole new town further away from me.

I sat at my desk in shock. How could the hospital have not informed me of them moving a woman to a skilled care facility just a day after she had surgery to remove fluid from her lungs. Who had spent the last five days practically unresponsive in the ICU ward? I told the woman I would contact the hospital and get to the bottom of it. My next call was to the skilled care facility to find out their side in the story. They were a bit put out by the manner in which my mother became their resident also. They were not prepared in the least for her arrival so late at night. I thanked them for their help, and that I would be there later in the day and hung up.

Instead of calling the hospital I chose to find out in person why I as next of kin was not notified of my Mother’s discharge and subsequent move. When I walked in I asked the woman at the desk to tell me what if my Mother was still in the same room that she had been in when last I had been to visit her. She looked at the registry and told me what I already knew. She was no longer a patient. I asked to speak to the discharge coordinator. The lady at the desk made a call, and that is as far as I got. I spoke to a charge nurse for ICU, who blamed it on the fact that the morning of her discharge she had been moved from ICU to another floor. I have yet to know for sure what floor that was.

It became a circle of the blame game, most of which was that I wasn’t notified because of the lateness of the hour, but I should have been the next morning. That is when the excuses that it was the weekend came into play. I am still not certain of all the details. I have moved on from those days.Let me move on to the education in trust. This one I am truly at fault for but when you consider the stress I was under it is understandable why I failed to protect something of such importance to both my Mother and myself.

My awakening to the matter of trust was the loss of a piece of jewelry. It is a necklace my Mother is rarely without. I bought it for her as a gift for Mother’s Day a few years ago. It was an elaborate filigreed silver cross. My Mother was wearing two necklaces the night she went into the hospital. For some reason, they removed the butterfly she was wearing but left her cross. It was probably at my Mother’s request, as I said she rarely took it off. In her confused state, she doesn’t remember. My niece and I both remember seeing her wearing it the day before she had surgery. She wasn’t wearing it when she arrived at the nursing facility.

We have searched through all of her belongings, and it is gone. I know that it found a new owner inside the hospital, I just can’t prove it. As I have said it was my own fault. I should have taken it as I did her other belongings when she was admitted but it had become such a part of her I didn’t register her wearing it. Now she is heartbroken over its loss.

My education is expanding into the realm of long-term care for the elderly. It is time to place Mom in such a place now. She can no longer live on her own, and because of my own living situation, she cannot live with me. Even if I had the place to have her stay with me, my disability would prevent me from offering her the care she needs. I knew this day would come. I saw it come for my Grandmother. When it happened to her, I wasn’t the one making the tough decisions. This time I am.

I have always been a researcher. I like to make informed decisions. I like to know the pros and cons before I make my final choice. Those earlier decisions were nothing in comparison to the decision I am faced with now. I am learning how much it cost to care for an elderly person in today's world and economy. And believe me, it is scary. I am learning of all the factors that go into placing your loved one in a facility for them to be cared for. So many decisions to make in such a short time span. You have to learn quickly. At times I have felt the overwhelming need to scream or pull my hair out. It just depended on the day and sometimes the hour on which.

This leads me to my final lesson. Belief. The last three weeks have taught me that sometimes you just have to put it in God’s hands. If you don’t you will worry yourself sick. Now I’m not a church-goer. I don’t stand around preaching my beliefs. I am a spiritual person, who listens to his will. I know there is a higher power than myself out there. One has only to look at the cosmos to know the wonder of his creation. When I sit looking at the sun setting for the day I hand over my worries. I put my faith in God that he has a plan for not only my Mom but also myself. That with his guidance, I will make the right decisions for my family.

Isn’t that what each and every one of us does each day. We just try to do the best that we can without that small ingrained failure button being pushed. We work to prevail and accomplish our goals. To do the best that we can. I know that is what I do. I hope this finds you living your life fully and you laughing as often as you can.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Glimpses of the Blogging Kind.

This week I want to introduce you to some of my favorite blogs. I have learned a great deal from most of them and been inspired by them as well.

I wish that I had half the talent found in this list. They each bring something special to the work they do. I hope that you will check them out and find their choices of topics something you will enjoy also.

The first author is a beautiful woman by the name of Jenna Moreci. Jenna brings her sense of humor to each blog as well as her popular vlog series. I have learned so much about the artistry in story telling. You can check her out on her blog: Count Blogula or on her YouTube channel.

The next lady is Jennifer Blanchard. She is so inspirational and has taught me so much about story structure. She runs one of my favorite writing groups on Facebook, and if you want to be a published author she is a great source to help you reach your goals.

Joanna Penn has a great blog called The Creative Penn. She not only gives you writing and marketing assistance, she also shares helpful writing aids along the way too.

With her blog, Inky Wings. Vanessa Preston helps you find your voice as an author as well as letting you in on her pursuits as a writer.

The Writer’s Life by Theresa Jacobs invites you into her life as a writer, and what she has discovered along the way. She is one of my biggest promoters and I thank her for everything she does.

I would also like to give a shoutout to one of my best friends in the world. We have been friends since high school and it was her encouraging words way back when to pursue my writing that sent me down this beautiful road. She sat beside me in study hall as I began work on my first manuscript. With each chapter, she would wait patiently to read it. Usually followed by “are you done with the next one yet?” Even today she is the first person I run a story idea by. She has a nascent blog of her own that you ought to check out and encourage her with her own words. “Are you done yet? Cindy”. The blog is A Minute of Your Time.

There you have my list stayed tuned next week when I introduce you to some of my favorite authors. Until then, love fully and laugh often.