Handle With Care? I’m on to that game…

My mother’s bar was so high I lowered my standards. I grew up knowing that I would never fit her mold. Somewhere along the line and very early in my life I stopped trying. As a teenager I pushed her with all of the defiance my battered psyche could muster. Finally, as an adult, I see that the faults she found in me were merely a reflection of what she saw as fault in herself.


Eat less, smile more. Make sure you always wait for the gentleman to call, ask you out and open the door. Chuckle don’t laugh, ladies aren’t loud. Always wear dresses. No, that one is too short people will see your knees. I don’t see you advancing your career, you can’t hold a job in one place any more than five years. What will my friends think? What will they say? How can I make you as pretty as me? As thoughtful as me? As respectful as me?


Genetics has made me a carbon copy of her. Fortunately, I also had a Daddy who thought I was perfect just being me. You won’t see me cover my knees because hers were not pleasing to her own sight. My nose and cheeks do not have too many blood vessels and the ones I have are not too bright. The porcelain skin she would require is a Disney feature special to her and meaningless to me. I will cry and laugh out loud, I will sing off-key and dance.


Someone wishes to critique my writing? Please, be my guest. Your brutal honesty is all I ask for.  As long as one point is perfectly clear. Do not make your criticism of me a reflection of what you dislike about yourself. I am on to that game, and no matter the passive aggressive delivery, I will artfully dodge and roll away.




emergency pause

I put an emergency pause on in life to see what the winds of change will bring in the face of my sudden life change. It hasn’t been working very well. I am not healing in any visible sense. The feelings I am having are so different. They feel foreign and I am having to learn how to deal with them.


I miss hugging. Until I stopped giving them I didn’t realize the gift they were giving to me in return. The hugs I was giving compensated for the hugs I wish to receive. Now in my everyday life I can feel the need of my body to step into a long comforting hug. I can feel the anticipation of being held and safe. From the depth of my center right to the nerves on my cheek laying on a strong chest. I can feel the hug coming but I cannot imagine its completion. As if I am stepping up to the warmth of it and the arms do not wrap around me…I am just left longing.


I guess the point here is simply this. I have been down, I have been beaten up pretty well from a couple of directions…but I feel. Even if these are feelings I have to sort out, I can feel.

“Aww, I love ya.”

Dr. A was part of something amazing, cutting edge and little tried. Having looked at the literature he was supplied, he agreed to prescribe a medication used for one ailment (coughing) as relief of another (pba episodes associated with dementia)….and it worked!


Annie had a special PBA. When she wanted to say something she stuttered with the sound of a bleating sheep. When she was anxious it was worse and even at rest the sound would come out every few seconds.



“Baaa-ah-ah, Bah, Bah.”


Other residents were annoyed by her sounds. Her partner Bill and the staff were frustrated, knowing she wanted, but not knowing what she wanted. I did very well at getting our Annie and I could calm her down rather quickly having learned her cues. After reading an article about Alzheimer’s dementia I bought Annie a baby doll. When she was anxious the doll would calm her instantly because she would concentrate on taking care of the baby. Who, by the way, was very real to Annie.


There was little or no waiting involved at all for the newly prescribed medication to work.   Practically overnight Annie was talking albeit haltingly and the PBA was mostly GONE. Twelve days into the new medication her dosage was leveled and with no provocation she said my name. Calling me clear as a bell. I still get emotional remembering that afternoon. For sometime she was able to say what she wanted or needed. She said my name a lot and I adored hearing her call. One day she and a staff member named the baby doll Emily. The name was Annie’s choice and she never wavered on her decision. We wrote Emily’s name on a heart sewn to her outfit. She stayed on Annie’s bed waiting to be needed and loved. Annie liked to sort puzzle pieces and keep her hands busy.


While in the coming months the effects of her prescription would no longer work it bought time for us. We learned her likes and dislikes, we learned how to comfort her and calm her. Annie’s niece and nephew both had a chance to have one last visit with the aunt they adored. The AD dementia took over again, both stronger and faster. Hospice was called in and she was allowed to live out her days doing whatever pleased her. She slept when she wanted, was awake when she wanted, and ate comfort foods as long as she would. While I was still working there she would sit at her place in the dining room and watch me work. She did now and then call my name. Mostly when she wanted something or for assurance.


She passed away last week, my Annie. Her time here was through. Now there is another angel watching over us. Annie will be a great angel. She was caring, loved her family and friends. She was fun and while I never knew her as a young woman I could see that laughter was the key for her. It was in the pictures her family brought. It was in the stories they shared with me. It was in our daily life together. Many, many times, even in the grips of her dementia, she would try to make me laugh by doing little things there in the view from my office door, while she sat with Bill doing a puzzle or talking to Emily when Bill became frustrated at the same puzzle for the umpteenth time. I will not miss my Annie. She taught me more about pure love than anyone else in this life and the times we had together will be forever part of who I am because at my best or at my worst her comment was always the same….


“Aww, I love ya.”





care of crazy as it is…

When you are thinking of me the feelings come through. Maybe not at that moment in time but they do. There is space to travel, time to bend and feelings to capture and recapture along the way. I react to your thoughts of me and it causes me to think of you. I miss you. When you are thinking of me the feelings come through and they bring with them longing and futility in need, both mine. When you are thinking of me the feelings come through. Finding them mid-air makes me sad. I do not want the feelings, I want you.   Stop sending the thought of me out into the World, is a drastic plea to be made. Considering you are not hearing my plea to be seen, it is the only recourse left to be. I keep trying not to think of you and I poorly don’t succeed. Perhaps the key it lies with you. All locked within your need. Please play fair and pay the fee of using me. Hand forth the feelings (flesh and real) fulfilling both our needs. For thought of me may be game and gauge to you of how you heal; to me they are floating free to be captured from the wind on wings. With no arms to soothe me they have no substance, only need again it be mine. If having only days of imagery is good for you, consider please the power as it affects my id…and send respect to have the care of crazy as it is…


Reflection of My Life


How does one brace for the emotional storm,

when the looming clouds scream for relief

of their own heavy load?

Is it better to know what is coming?

Are we strong enough?

Have we loved enough?

This heart may need extra care,

caution and protection this time around.

It’s cynicism in loneliness

causes more fragility in need.

It matters not how many times

we must say goodbye.

Each time is its own

and will not be forced

or planned…

in its waltz of evolving reality.

Leaving you before our dance had concluded

adds deeply to my despair.

Our time filled with friendship mattered.  



I have started this blog as a place for my own reflection of life. A place for publishing some of my creative writings because for some reason my mind wraps around my drama better when written metaphorically.


The poem above was adapted from an excerpt of my personal journal. The original writing was about sitting hospice with a friend a few years ago.   These words very well captured events in my life recently that caused me to lose connection with more than 20 ALF residents, that I was caring for on a daily basis for over a year, in an instant.


Try wrapping your head around the last sentence of the previous paragraph using my deep heartfelt emotions. I lost them all. In a fit of frustration I opened my flood gated mouth and I lost my job. I probably could have groveled and pled my way back, but I chose not to. With my own heart breaking in the process I allowed all of it to unfold. As result of my decision I live daily wondering how they are and who is making sure they are each loved in their own special way.  I have left facilities before but when I did it was with planning and goodbyes not walking out the door in tears at lunchtime. That is really my sore spot here I didn’t get to say goodbye, I didn’t get to take one last look in their eyes and tell each and every one of them that I love them…I just walked away.


Right now I am taking a breather in life. My family was the factor that held the most weight in the evaluations of what to do about the job I lost. They held me together in the first 48 hours. I went into a manic depression the likes of which I NEVER wish to see again. They guarded me and protected me. They held me while I cried and they let me work through it without comment on what to do next. When I was finally able to hold conversation with them they told me what they thought. They wanted their mom back. They resented the hours I was giving to my job, the long days, the extra days, the phone calls 24/7. Their biggest resentment was that my obsessive compulsion to make my boss happy was sapping the fun and spontaneous mom they knew. They missed me.

So, with their support I am healing and with their encouragement I am on a quest of discovering who I want to be as I move on. The depression is not gone but I am learning to put it in its own place with small baby steps. The future does indeed look bright. This is not all about morose sadness, it is about finding peace within myself and learning how to enjoy life as I make a difference. It is about accepting that I can give everything I have and it still may not be enough to hold together what is not meant to be permanent.