Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day of the Dead, Halloween, or All Saints Day - What is Your Preference?

As most of my readers already know...I teach Spanish and I thought today I would give you a brief...or not so brief historical lesson on El Dia de los Muertos. I used this lesson in class today. Of course...after the boring notes part we did some fun stuff. We made masks and made papel picado. How fun was that? Anyways....What do you know about El Dia de los Muertos. Well...from someone who does not like our Halloween....this holiday has an appeal to me. Especially since I lost my dad a few weeks ago....but that is another story....All you wanted to know about Dia de los Muertos in a nutshell is this...More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico, they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death.
It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate. A ritual known today as Día de los Muertos/Dia de los Difuntos, or Day of the Dead. The ritual is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of the United States, including the Valley. Celebrations are held each year in Mesa, Chandler, Guadalupe and at Arizona State University. Although the ritual has since been merged with Catholic theology, it still maintains the basic principles of the Aztec ritual, such as the use of skulls. Today, people don wooden skull masks called calacas and dance in honor of their deceased relatives. The wooden skulls are also placed on altars that are dedicated to the dead. Sugar skulls, made with the names of the dead person on the forehead, are eaten by a relative or friend, according to Mary J. Adrade, who has written three books on the ritual. The Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual. The skulls were used to symbolize death and rebirth. The skulls were used to honor the dead, whom the Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations believed came back to visit during the monthlong ritual.
Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake. "The pre-Hispanic people honored duality as being dynamic," said Christina Gonzalez, senior lecturer on Hispanic issues at Arizona State University. "They didn't separate death from pain, wealth from poverty like they did in Western cultures." However, the Spaniards considered the ritual to be sacrilegious. They perceived the indigenous people to be barbaric and pagan. In their attempts to convert them to Catholicism, the Spaniards tried to kill the ritual. But like the old Aztec spirits, the ritual refused to die.
To make the ritual more Christian, the Spaniards moved it so it coincided with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov. 1 and 2), which is when it is celebrated today.
Previously it fell on the ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar, approximately the beginning of August, and was celebrated for the entire month. Festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The goddess, known as "Lady of the Dead," was believed to have died at birth, Andrade said. Today, Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and in certain parts of the United States and Central America.
The celebrations differ from place to place.In rural Mexico, people visit the cemetery where their loved ones are buried. They decorate gravesites with marigold flowers and candles. They bring toys for dead children and bottles of tequila to adults. They sit on picnic blankets next to gravesites and eat the favorite food of their loved ones. In Guadalupe, the ritual is celebrated much like it is in rural Mexico. In Guadalupe the people spend the day in the cemetery and they decorate graves.In Mesa, the ritual has evolved to include other cultures. In the United States and in Mexico's larger cities, families build altars in their homes, dedicating them to the dead. They surround these altars with flowers, food and pictures of the deceased. They light candles and place them next to the altar. On Sunday....I will be taking part in something similar...All Saints Sunday at my church. There will be an altar....there will be photos of loved ones and church members...there will be candles....there will be a celebration....and we will do When the Saints Go Marching In. It will be a time of prayer for those who have lost loved ones...not for the dead. Sigh....I build the altars at our I guess that means no incense, no papel picado in purple, pink and white....hummmm I wonder if anyone would know why my altar cloths are those colors on Sunday? Awww...I will keep it to the traditional white cloth...with simple sugar skulls or Dead Bread...although...we are having pita bread will be present. are wondering where I am headed with this...who knows...I am feeling a bit weird I am just rambling. Have a great Friday....and whatever you chose to celebrate this safe!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I've Got People!

I went to counseling this week...and learned something I already knew...but guess I needed a reminder of it. I have a great circle of support. I mean...GREAT! I have friends who will cry with me, laugh with me, love me, hold me, clean up dirty messes for me, mourn with me, celebrate with me. I am one lucky person and I am blessed. One of the other great things about my circle of support is that I have a God who is there no matter what. No matter how lousy I am, no matter how hurt, low, high whatever...He is right there beside me. How can I miss? I am a truly fortunate one! I am blessed for sure. I have been writing thank you notes for the past week and have been amazed at how they continue to multiple...why? My parents have people...and so do I...wonderful people! John 15:13-15 tells us that "13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." I have learned a valuable lesson lately and that is that Jesus set a level for love that in a word is supreme. Jesus loves me and everyone else with a level of love that we will never be able to fully comprehend. Jesus came to this earth with one purpose in mind, laying down His life for us. After all I have experienced with my friends lately...I believe He was right there in all of them...smiling and loving me really good. I hope that I can return the favor and be that kind of friend to each of them. I want to be intune to my friends/family. Being a Friend of Christ means that you have His sacrifice (13)Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. My friends(and that includes my family)...have love like that. I am glad. Gene Blair, a man I work with sent my dear Mary a you tube video by Michael W. Smith (a Contemporary Christian artist that I love)...the song is called...Help is On the Way....I want to share it with you right now...because it has become my song....I was drowning in sadness...but Help found me...because my friends were holding me til it got there. O Happy Day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coming Home and Finding Peace

Woo mom is coming home today. Well...not exactly home...but back to the Dadeville Healthcare Center. She is being brought by ambulance so that we are not associated with the placement this time. She has been doing well at Brookwood. The only aggitation they have seen is in the morning during bath time....and that is part of dementia. They do not like baths. I find that odd. The Social Worker, Kelly, asked me not to be there when she arrived so that she could be settled down from the move. She said she thought it would be a good idea for us to go and see her after work. That way she would know that she is loved. Loved? Of course I love her...she is my mom. I am a bit apprehensive about this afternoon. I love my mother....I just hope I will love the person that is inhabiting her body now. I hope I get a glimpse of the old be honest...I just want a hug. I want to feel my mom's arms wrap around me...and pat me on the back. I know that may not happen...but in my heart of hearts I hope today it does. Frank is going with me...and he too is apprehensive about this. At first he did not want to go...but then thought about it and decided he loves her...and would go with me. we will face this challenge together. We went to counseling on Monday. I was nervous all day long. We waited in the outer office for the counselor to come and get us...and then we sat on a couch and spilled our guts for the next hour....she would ask us questions...and we would answer. She seemed very surprised that we seemed so close. She said in her summation...that the past 4.5 years would have been hard on any marriage...but it seemed to have drawn us closer together. I knew that! Griefus. Many times during the past few years I don't think I would have survived without Frank. He has been a God send. What a guy. I don't know what normal is going to be for us...but the Counselor said we were going to be ok!....then she rephrased that and said we were going to be better than OK. I liked that concept. I left feeling OK....for the first time in a long time. Life will go on...and we will find a new normal. Pray that my mother finds peace and an ability to live without my father. Happy Wednesday to you all!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Time For Everything

I was reminded today by a former student that there is a time for everything. His mom shared with me an English paper he had written called, "Life Among the Dead" and it made me stop and think...alot. He began his paper with a quote from "Turn Turn Turn" by the Byrds. It was done as a protest song to the Vietnam War...back in the the Byrds, Mary Hopkins, and Pete Seeger...but today...I had nothing to it was simply a reminder of the turn of events my life has taken over the course of the last six weeks. You see, I too had stopped by a cemetary, Hillview Cemetary, earlier in the week to check on my dad...and eventhough the flowers on his grave were all brittle and dry they still had a strange beauty to them....the dogwood tree and maple near the grave were both splendid with fall foliage, the air was crisp and cool and the evidence of seasonal change was everywhere. I walked from my dad's grave over to my brother's and then across the little roadway to my grandmothers and the rest of the family....I noticed that some of the graves between point A and point B had no flowers or sported very faded flowers....reminding me to be better about keeping flowers on the graves for which I was responsible. My dad loved flowers...His most favorite were peppermint azaleas and camilias. Anyways, I am digressing....while walking I noticed that some of the graves had new shiny markers...reminders that someones holiday's are going to be difficult this year...mine included. As many times as I have been to the cemetary over the years I became increasingly aware of the sites and smells that were around me. The studied little bell tower and noticed that it was needing some loving attention. I noticed new fall flowers had been placed on a number of the graves...a sign that someone loved this person and wanted their final place to look nice. There was a little chipmunk sitting right on top of my dad's flowers. He looked up at me as I approached but did not seem the least bit afraid of me. His eyes were kind of if mirroring my own. It has been a little over a week...and life does go on. After reading Addison's paper this morning I must borrow a thought from him..."the cemetary's primary purpose is to harbor the dead, [yet] it also supplies a quiet home for surrounding life to prosper." Addison was right in reminding me that "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." There is a time to be born and a time to die...and I was also reminded that...I can become a living dead....or make my life dad did...and I know he would expect me to do the same. Life goes on. Obla Di...Obla Da!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A State of Emptiness....

It has been a week since I posted anything on my blog. I have had nothing to give much has happened. Sunday, after the funeral, when most everyone had gone back home I knew it was time to return my mom to the nursing home. She was beginning to look confused and disoriented. So, Frank and I loaded her up, went by the cemetary, and took her to the Dadeville Healthcare Center...that is when all hell broke loose. The thing I was dreading most came to fruition and my mom snapped. I was going to bury my father...and lose my mother...on the same day. This is a child's worst nightmare. When we got to the Center...she refused to stay...she shoved me out of her way (and when I looked in her eyes I realized she had no clue who I was), kicked my daughter, and took a swing at Frank. The nursing home was not capable of dealing with her like we called in re-enforcements...Mary and Judy came...and spent the night with her. The doctor was coming to see her in the morning...and we were going to try and get her in a Psych ward somewhere. I sat outside the nursing home and cried....physically sick at my stomach...I had promised my dad I would take care of her...and now this was happening. Frank joined me on the curb...and I cried with him. We both agreed that counseling was something we needed to pursue. This whole adventure, from the missing parents to this was more than we could handle. After Judy and Mary arrived...we returned to my house....and slept wearily. Monday morning we got up and Barry and Joyce went to sit with my mom until the sitters could be arranged. Kat, Brian, and I went to see the doctor. He believed that she was a threat to herself and others and truly needed to be in a psych ward. They were all called....and there were no openings. We went home....worked around the house...and waited for a call. The call came at 5. We then had 2 hours to get her to Brookwood in Birmingham. Kat, Brian and Susan went to get my mom and bring her to Brookwood. Frank, Joyce and I went to Brookwood to give them my guardianship papers. We got there about 30 minutes ahead of them and made some arrangements. They arrived shortly after that and my mom was brought in....she was heavily medicated so she would be compliable. Once we had her 9:00...we all left and headed back. On Tuesday, Susan and I went back to Brookwood to take her glasses to her. Susan went in and saw her...and she wanted Susan to take her home. She kept insisting that nothing was wrong with her...and she could not understand why she was there. Weds. the social worker, Kelly called and said my mom seemed to be doing fine and she might get to go back to Dadeville on Friday after the Doctor evaluated her on Thursday...On Thursday morning I got a call from my mom...she beligerently asked me to come and get her...even after I explained that I was sick...she ended her end of the conversation with, "If you don't come and get me....I will just walk home." I told her to do what she felt she needed to do. An hour or so later I called the social worker and she told me my mom would NOT be coming home on Friday...she had tried to get out of the unit and had taken a swing at the tech when he tried to stop her. I was actually relieved...and I had known my not coming to get her would help her get the help she needed I would have done it on Tuesday. Friday rolled around and she called me and demanded I come and get her again. She said the doctor had said nothing was wrong with her and she could go home. I asked if there was someone there who could give me directions...and she gave me nurse, Shannon. Shannon said not to worry...she would not be coming home...the doctor had not said that...and that she was still trying to elope(escape). Kelly called later in the day and confirmed that it would be no earlier than Tuesday and that she would go back to the Dadeville Healthcare Center...via ambulance. She would not be able to come home...because she wanders. She would have to be in a locked down unit for her own protection. So here I is Saturday has been a week since my dad died...and was buried...and I would love to have my mom wrap her arms around me and tell me it is going to be alright...but you isn't going to be alright. My mom is gone and the woman inhabiting her body at the moment is a best friend Susan left for Knoxville a few hours ago...and I am alone for the first time since my dad died...and struggling with this. Keep us in your mom, my daughter, my sweet Frank, and me...death is a bitter pill to swallow...dementia...even more so. God Bless You all...and hug someone you love tonight and let them know you love them.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The End of an Era

It is early Saturday morning and already so much has been done and yet, there is so much left to do. Friday was such a disjointed day...It started out good...last day of the nine weeks, day before Fall Break begins, was not bad...until 7:05. My dear friend Anelia Bruce came to my room yesterday morning and wanted to talk about my dad and Thursday's move to the Healthcare Center. I had so much to do and really sat there wishing she would leave...when Frank walked in...and I knew from the look on his dad's batttle with cancer was over. I felt as if I had been gut punched. I vaguely remember getting from my desk chair to Frank's car(which he parked in the bus line in front of our school...a no no!)...I remember hugging my boss, getting in the car and heading to Dadeville. The normally 15-20 minute ride seemed like hours. My mom did not know yet...they were waiting for me to get there to tell her. She was asleep when we arrived and looking so precious. I had a few moments with my dad and then we woke her up. The rest of the day is a blurr. We held the body at the Healthcare facility until my daughter, Kat got cousin Judy, Kat, our D.S. (District Superintendent), his lovely wife, Jeannie, Frank's mentor, Dee Dowdy, and Blue came...along with Carol and Bill Meadows (Carol is a Hospice volunteer assigned to my dad....and her brother and his wife)all arrived and Dr. Stryker gathered us together and asked if we could lift up Blessed Assurance. I started it felt so natural to be singing. Then he followed up with the sweetest prayer...and then the Healthcare Center called Radneys to come and get my father. The rest of us headed back to the house to begin to deal with the process of my dad's death and grieving. Judy and I, with the help of Kat and Mary picked out the stuff for my dad, got some pictures together, cleaned house and received guests. We went to the funeral home 12:30 to make arrangements and iron out all the details of the rest of the weekend. While we were at the funeral home we viewed the casket my dad chose...picked out books...and those of you who have ever been here....know what this is like. I can't even tell you much about the hour we were there...a sweet young man droned...and I tried to keep up. BUT...when the sweet little girl came in to talk with us about the little programs people pick up at the visitation and other stuff...I nearly laughed out loud. Sitting on a table were something she called memory candles...she talked about them...I half listened...until she told us that they were made from the flowers of the funeral....all of a sudden that seemed like the grossest thing I have ever heard and I looked at all the people at the table, Kat, Mom, Mark, Judy, Frank...and realized that they thought so too...I coughed to keep from laughing out was just one of those moments...that laughing would NOT have been the right thing to do. Who ever thought of a memory candle...come on! Anyways throughout the day people were called, people called, food showed up, the day came and went. I have to laugh because about 8:30 my mom asked me who all these people were in the house....I told her they were family and friends who loved Daddy and love her....she then followed up with, "Will they ever go away?" I had to laugh...we finally got her to go to bed about 9:45...and my sweet Mary and my sweet Judy told me they were staying the night because my mom might wander off...They talked me into laying down about 12:30. The visitation will be tonight at Radney's....from 5-8. We will all gather at the Methodist Church in Kellyton for lunch on Sunday around 12:45...Daddy will lie in state at the Kellyton Baptist Church from 2 - 3...the funeral will be at 3...and burial will follow at Hillview. My dad will be buried next to my brother. I want you all to know that I am ok. I am pleasantly numb right now. My dad died exactly as I would have wanted him to...he fell asleep and never woke up. He was so at peace when I saw him for the first time...he actually had a little smirk on his "Ha Ha...beat cha!" And beat me he did...yesterday morning...when I got dad was already sipping coffee with Judy's dad Wilson, his two other brothers...Cecil and Drew...and playing catch with my little brother. Mark, Drew's son...said yesterday that my dad, "Never let a lie get in the way of a good story." you see...I get it honest...Drew, Cecil, Wilson, Doug....they all had a story for you...and after yesterday I can't wait to share them with you. Bless You Real Good.

Friday, October 9, 2009

When You Become the Guardian of Your Parents - Something Ain't Right!

Lawd what a week this has been. Yesterday I blogged about the Dadeville Healthcare Center and my parents(duh bet that was a surprise huh? I mean I have been telling you parent stories for how long now?) I am feeling that you know something ain't right when you become the guardian of your parents. It is just not normal for the roles to be reversed this far....but guardianship is what I am seeking. Back after their disappearance I went to a local lawyer to see what I could do to get some kind of power of attorney for my parents. He was so nice and told us what all would have to be done and said he would get right on it. Welll....more than a month passed...He never returned my calls....and most of the time his line was busy. Now I am at a point of desperation. My parents truly need a I called our local Probate Judge, Gloria Sinclair, and asked her what to do. She told me who to call....I did....had an appointment the next day....within 24 hours had Emergency Temporary Guardianship....and working on full Guardianship. Now, how come he couldn't do that? I have never in my life had to use a lawyer...even when I got a divorce...he had a lawyer...I just went in and signed. I guess lawyers sometimes don't realize that the cases they are taking on....are real people....with real needs....and real feelings. I had needs and they were urgent and current. My view of lawyers because of this is a bit skewed...and I guess that is how we all take stands on things in our how it has touched us...or someone we know and love. Life is amazing. Don't you think?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dadeville Healthcare Center

Today is Thursday and I went in to work...but did not stay. By 9:00 the Dadeville Healthcare Center people, Hospice, and the Lakeshore Community Hospital(where my parents were) had all called to tell me they were moving my parents to the Healthcare Center today at lunch and I needed to be there. I had forwarned my boss and his Administrative Assistant that this MIGHT happen....WHEW! I called downstairs and gave them a heads-up, went into Substitute plans mode, and prepared to leave school for the rest of the day. I picked up Frank enroute and we drove to Dadeville for the big move. When I got to the hospital I talked with my mom about what was happening...somewhat. I told her that Daddy needed some extra special care and that the hospital was sending him to the Healthcare Center and that they arranged for her to go too....I omitted the part that she was GOING too. We all have views of things because of things that we have experienced...or someone we love or know has experienced and I am no different. When I was a teenager I worked for a real-estate agent in Florida. Our office was next door to a nursing home facility. I used to park and walk by their open windows and have them call out to me in their little frail voices..."Help Me! They are hurting me! They are burning me!" One day...I got to work and shortly after I had arrived the F.B.I raided the place....and guess what...they were being hurt, burned, malnourished. They took all the little residents and placed them in other nursing homes...but the mark was there. Shortly after this incident my sweet neighbor Dobby and her sister Barty were placed. I was getting married and Dobby was not going to be able to attend my I took my dress to them...modeled it in the cafeteria....for Dobby, Barty, and a host of little ancients I had never met. They were so excited and I loved being able to do this for them...but one of the little ladies never uttered a word. I asked the Director about her...and she told me that she was one of the transfers from the raided nursing home. She had been scalded many times...and had never spoken since she got you think I have a colored view of nursing homes? You bet you bottom dollar...and here my parents are going. I have been beside myself this week...well...we got them placed...and I stayed long enough to see them both settled, feed my dad lunch, love on them both and then I had to go. I guess I got home around 3:00. I believe in my heart that this is best of them. I know it is best for my dad...he is past the stage of being taken care of at home...but it does not make it any easier...I have feelings of failure...My head knows we are doing the right thing...but once again my heart is in a quandry....darn that rascally heart. I wish it would get with the program!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Granny McCain

My Granny McCain lived with my grandparents in her later years. She was a pistol ball. Everyone needs a great grandmother like this one. She was a straight razor toting kind of woman with a viporish tongue. I have a memory of her that is funny now...I am sure it was not so funny when it happened...especially to my grandmother. When I was about 5 or 6, Terri would have been 4 - 5, Amanda 3 -4 and another grandchild was involved...I just can't remember which one. My granny McCain had this trunk in her room at my grandmother's house full of stuff little girls like...old dresses, gloves, hats, know little girl plundering stuff. Anyways...we were not allowed in her room unless she invited us in....and we were all standing at the door...longing for an invitation to plunder in the trunk. She sat in her chair...and smiled at us....she knew we were there...but she did not invite us in straight on. Finally, after the puppy dog looks...she held up some chocolate...and asked us if we wanted some. We all said yes and rushed to her side for a piece of the prized chocolate bar. It tasted heavenly. Back in my day...chocolate and cokes were special they are something kids expect everyday. We all ate the chocolate square and asked if we could have another one. Granny doled out another square around...patted us on our heads and sent us outside to play so she could take a nap. It did not take long for the CHOCOLATE to do its magic...and all of us were very sick. My grandmother's house only had one bathroom...and we were all in it. Two of us were sitting on pails and one on the toilet. I cannot remember ever being so sick. My grandmother did not know about the chocolate treat we had had...and when she found out...she was furious with my grandmother...who sat in her chair and looked very indignant because she was being fussed at. Moral of the may look like chocolate, taste like chocolate...but may be Ex-Lax in disguise.

Creek Mother

Turquoise, I believe you to be. Indian features tell of Indian ancestry. Turquoise, blue-green colors, blended expertly together to form one. Just like you and dad. Turquoise, bright and beautifyl, laced with silver. Your silver hair laces your face; beautiful to behold. Each turquoise stone is as unique as you are. Creek mother or gitano, whoever you are, turquoise is the color of your very being. Turquoise, I believe you to be, my very favorite stone.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Our House

On the outside it was just an ordinary house. It had four walls, windows with jalosies, a roof and two doors.Inside it was so much more than just an ordinary house.
It was a refuge from any sotrm, protection from all the world's evils,
a comfort, and a haven for rest.
This house was our house.
The place I grew up in, fell down in , loved in and was loved in.
My parents had big dreams when they bought this house in 1959.
They planned to raise their two small children with Christian values and neighbors.
Yet, this was not meant to be.
In 1963 the family was abbreviated and then there were only three.
The house was an empty place now.
While the people inside mended, God took care of this smaller family.
Within the house a healing took place.
This house was full of love; shown by my parents.
The house was full of God; taught by my parents.
The house was the kind of plae where a child could grow up,
make mistakes, and still feel loved.
The house is gone now, gone to dust.
Time marched on and the little house was unable to keep up.
The tools of today erased all of my yesterdays...
I learned a valuable lesson with the disappearance of the house.
A house was all that it was.
A building, brick, mortar, no more.
My HOME is wherever my parents are.
They are the lessons that I learned as a child.
They are the love that I have felt throughout my lifetime.
It is said that home is where your heart is,
and there was always a heart in my home.
My parents are God-fearing, God-loving, hard-working, family-oriented people
and this kind of person is hard to find today.
My father still loves my mother and she still loves him and I....
I love them both. For all the things they have taught me....
even when I did not want to learn.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Respite Units - Terminology I Wish I Did Not Have To Know

For most people and that includes me, Karen, daughter of Fred and Wilma, the thought of dying or caring for a terminally ill friend or family member has raised numerous fears and questions as old as humanity: I have asked myself what is a “good death”? What appropriate preparations should be made? How do I best support my dad as his life draws to its close? Yesterday, the Home Health nurse called me at school and told me that they could not do any more for my father and that they were referring him to Hospice again. The Hospice nurse, Ginger, who is a love, called me shortly after that and scheduled a meeting for this morning at 9:00. I arrived at the Meadows at 8:45 and found my mom sitting beside my dad, who was in the bed asleep, she was holding his hand. She looked up and told me he was so sick, had not eaten, and was so tired. I took her place beside him and held his hand while she went to return his breakfast plate, untouched, back to the kitchen. The two aids came and asked us to leave while they fed him an Ensure, changed, and prepared him for the day. Mom and I went to the TV room and waited. Ginger arrived a few minutes before 9 and went back to the room to see what was going on. Mom and I went to the Sun Room and talked a bit about stuff...why they could not come home, why her car was not fixed, what was wrong with daddy...on and on she droned. I told her sweetly at first that they could not come home just now because daddy needed more attention than we could give him....Hey...I have to work. I am not afforded the luxury of being a SAH caregiver. I told her the car was not fixed because she could not drive right now because of the Arecept. She balked on that one and got rather testy about her abilities to drive. She MAY be able to drive good...BUT...I can't take the chance that the alzheimers will cause her to pull another stunt like the last time I may not be so lucky. I then told her that there was something wrong with daddy....did she not remember he had cancer? "Oh yes," she responded..."but it is all better now." I came back with, "No it isn't momma. He was not able to finish the chemo and the cancer is back." She was oblivious to my words and I was frustrated with her oblivion. The Hospice nurse came to the Sun Room and told me she would need to speak to me as soon as she talked to her supervisor. The aid from the Meadows said that Peggy, the manager, wanted to speak with her I waited...knowing what was coming and hoping I was wrong. I was not parents had to leave the Meadows...and could go home...with 24 hour care....which we were not able to provide this weekend. I don't know what it is about people dismissing them without some kind of warning to me. All my mom heard was that they could go home and she was off and packing all their things...and loading them into my car. While she busied herself with their things, I signed all the Hospice papers again....this time I signed a DNR (Do Not Resusitate). Do you know how hard it is to sign your name to a DNR for your father? It was tough but I did it. AT 10:30 he was moved, by ambulance, to Lakeshore Community Hospital in Dadeville, AL to a respite/palliative care unit. They are giving him morphine to keep him comfortable and if he lasts the weekend it will surprise us all. By the time we got there they had him in a bed and they were taking his vitals. There is no drip, nothing piercing his skin, just oxygen. The morphine is oral. His skin is so thin. He has several nasty lesions on his legs and back where his skin has just torn. I left my mom with him at the hospital and came home to start getting my house ready for a hospital bed and their return....possibly on Monday if we can get everything in order. This is the end of the 9 weeks at school and I HAVE to work. I am already far behind where I normally am at this time of the year. I NEED to work. My sweet friend Mary came over and we cleaned...great therapy...and almost as good as retail therapy. Her precious son, Casey, came over and hauled off an old couch, a treadmill, an old desk chair, and a rug that my dachsund has ruined by being an alpha male. The room is now very sterile looking....waiting for a hospital bed...and its new dweller. Kat and Brian went by the hospital and then came by....we ended up grabbing some supper and going back to the hospital. My dad had eaten some...they physically fed him. He slept the whole time we were there...oblivious to the fact that he had company. So now life is on a minute to minute mode. I truly do want him not to hurt anymore. I know he wants to not hurt anymore. I am a big girl...and I will survive this. Now, if only my head would tell my heart. Sigh!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hard to Say Goodbye

The senior song has been announced and it is kind of is a song from several years ago....a very profound Boyz to Men. I think I loved this song the first time I heard it. I was sitting in my classroom and pulled the video up on you tube and when I heard the words it made me sad for a multitude of reasons. The biggest is all that is going on in my life....and the second is the fact that at the end of this year I will lose another group of kids I have grown to love. Sigh! When I get them as ninth graders I can never believe that I will survive until they are seniors and then one day....BAM! I wake up and they are picking out graduation invitations...Where did the time go? Every year I feel that same way...about different kids. I rejoice in their successes, pray for them when they are hurting, I hug them when they ask for one, I miss them when they are gone....ahhhh the life of a teacher. It really is sometimes so very hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Orchids - People in Disguise

I love orchids. I would have to say they are one of my favorite flowers. The other favorite would be Gerber daisies. Most women prefer roses...and don't get me wrong, I like roses...I just like orchids the best. There are so many kinds of them and they remind me of my childhood. My mom used to raise them and so did Susan's mom. I loved walking into our backyards as a kid and seeing them all dancing in the South Florida breeze...and yes, they do dance because the bloom is on a stalk. The orchid in my picture is one from a friends backyard. It is called a cattelya orchid. What do you know about orchids? Well as a kid I actually went to the library and researched my favorites. Dendrobium, Cattelya and Phalenopsis are my big three of favorites. What I found out about them was that "orchids belong to the most diverse family of plants known to man. There are over 880 genera, 28,000 species and well over 300,000 registered cultivars currently documented. These numbers only begin to tell the true story behind the evolutionary success of modern day orchids. Orchids are the most rapidly changing group of plants on earth and more new species have been discovered over the last few thousand years than any other plant group known. Orchids are also one of the most adaptable plant groups on earth. Some Australian orchids grow entirely underground, and many tropical jungle orchids grow in the upper branches of trees. Tundra, rainforest, mountain, grassy plain, desert and swamp environments contain numerous orchid species. Orchids produce seed pods with literally hundreds of thousands of seed that are released and scattered by the wind. Orchid seeds must establish a symbiotic relationship with a special fungus to survive its first year of life. The fungi gathers water and minerals for itself and the seedling, and the seedling shares its sugars from photosynthesis with the fungus. Only one or two orchid seeds will ever germinate and survive on that perfect crevice or depression that is both moist and has the fungus present. Even then, its chances to survive in the wild long enough to bloom are slim." So with that knowledge I came to respect the orchids that my mom and Susan's mom grew in the backyard. I discovered they are a lot like people....some of us survive where we bloom, others of us whiter away and die. Some of us die due to disease and starvation, yet...when we do bloom...we are matter where we are, no matter what species, no matter what color, no matter what. Orchids are one of God's most beautiful creations...but mankind is his most perfectly beautiful....because we were made in his image. Genesis1:27 (New International Version) tells us:" So God created man in his own image,in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And sometimes when down I am down on myself and think I am not worthy, I love to pull out my orchid pictures and I smile, I smile because when I look at them I know I AM BEAUTIFUL just like this orchid. God made me that way. Have a Terrific Thursday!