FOR GREGORY

Periodically I will add posts here if the sources provide additioanl informaiton on how to think about and deal with Dementia/ Alzheimer's Disease.

PLEASE NOTE:


SCROLL DOWN FOR TEXT and BIBLIOGRAPHY from DAI WEBINAR 2/22-23/2017. You can also find this information on my website: www.horvich.com


Even though this blog is now dormant (see info below) there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. My guess is that you could spend a lot of time here and maybe learn or experience a thing or two about living with and loving someone with Dementia/Alzheimer's or maybe come away with the feeling that "you are not alone" in YOUR work with the same!


• • • • •


THIS WAS THE FINAL POST TO THIS SITE BEFORE IT WENT DORMANT.


Happy New Year 2016. With a new year comes new beginnings and sometimes endings. If I am personally progressing and if I am doing a good job in my grieving Gregory's death; if I have been able to learn my lessons in living and loving someone diagnosed with Dementia/ Alzheimer's; if I am to get on with my life ... I need to bring this Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing has been dealing less with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and more with life after Dementia/ Alzheimer's.


Of course, I will always continue to work for and support fair treatment on behalf of people with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and may post here from time to time. Also, there are many wonderful posts here through which you may browse.


With this change, I will continue and reinvigorate my "michael a. horvich writes" blog which deals with grieving Gregory's death, life lessons, personal experiences, observations, memoirs, dreams, and humor in essay and poetry, as well as an attempt now and then at sharing a piece of fiction.


Please follow me there by clicking http://mhorvich.blogspot.com or click the link located on the right side of this page.


Finally, COMMENTS are always important to me and you can still comment on the posts on this blog! CLICK "Comments" and sign in or use "Anonymous." Leave your name or initials if you wish so I'll know it's you? Check the "Notify Me" box to see my reply to you.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Time To Review

Each night, when Gregory and I are tucked into bed and the lights are turned out, we hold hands.

I review the events of the day, beginning with "It was a good day." (Even if it wasn't.) I briefly name each significant event: for example: "We shopped for groceries. For dinner we had pizza. The Call The Midwives episode was wonderful."

Next I review the events for tomorrow, again very briefly. For example: "Tomorrow we have a slow morning, then we go to the opera at night."

To the day's event review, Gregory usually responds with: "Yes it was good." or "It was great." or just "Uhuhh."

To the tomorrow's event review, Gregory usually responds with something like: "Oh goodie." or "Nice!" or "Mmmm."

Over time I had to learn not to discuss the entire week, or anticipate out loud something that was happening in two or three days. Too much information was not only not remembered but it confused time even more than it was already confused. He would ask, for example: "Is the movie today?" When it was on the weekend. or "When will they visit?" When people were  going out to dinner with us mid-week. What he doesn't know doesn't hurt!

Works pretty well. Not sure how much he understands or remembers but it does give us something to talk about when we go to bed besides the always wonderful:

M: Good Night, I love you.
G: Me too!
M: Me three:-)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Milestones

Often times milestones mark achievements and celebration. I am sad to report that the milestone Gregory and I reached tonight is not cause for celebration.

We were watching a movie and I noticed that he was becoming agitated. Nothing about the movie would have caused that. I asked, "Are you OK." And he said he was not. "What's the matter?" He didn't know. I made my usual suggestion, "Do you have to go to the bathroom?"

"Maybe," he said and got up. "Where?"

"Go to the bathroom." He left the room while I took a few more seconds to stop the video. I followed him into the bedroom where he was standing holding his penis. "Pull your pants down and go sit down." He didn't know what to do so I moved him into the bathroom and as I started to help him pull down his pants, releasing his penis, he began to pee. On himself. On the floor. On me.

He was very sorry and very apologetic. I was very soothing and calm and loving. He finished peeing in the toilet and I began to clean up the floor, took his pants and slippers off, and wiped up his leg. He apologized again and I told him it was nothing to be sorry about, just that there were implications involved. "You didn't recognize the "feeling" as an urge to go to the bathroom?" I asked/stated.

"I guess so," he answered. For a while now when I sensed he was upset about something I sent him to the bathroom and he was surprised that he had to take a dump. This is the first time that urination was the culprit. Also he had waited so long that he had the "accident."

The implications are my needing to be more alert to his changing mood, might need to check every hour or so by asking and/or sending him to the bathroom, might need to begin using what I called "Protection Pants." You get the drift of my euphemism.

All I can say, is that reporting this here is helping me get through my numbness, should help you to keep up with our "progress," and is part of my continuing open and honest (if not brutal) documentation of our journey.

Honestly, I am so sad and numb and worried about the future that I don't know what to do.  Tomorrow we are/were excited about a Wagner opera: 1:40 Act 1, 30 minute intermission, 1:05 Act 2, 30 minute intermission, and 1:10 Act 3, then the drive home. There is a handicapped bathroom on the main floor (where we are sitting) so I will just have to be super alert.

Meanwhile, for tonight, maybe a short TV show in favor of abandoning the long movie and some popcorn?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Forest Gump

"Sometimes there don't seem to be enough rocks to throw!"

Friday, November 22, 2013

A New Language

As you know, Gregory has difficulties with language retrieval as well as generation not to mention connections between words and their meanings and/or associations. When he is focused on an item, no words or pointing can distract him from that focus. So if you say "Give me the fork," often he can. But if he is looking at or thinking about a glass, you can "fork" until you are blue in the face and you'll only get "glassed!" Got it?

Meanwhile, I realized recently that we have been creating a new language that we use more successfully. When he gets undressed at night, I stand at the closet to collect his clothes to be hung up for the next day. Often he puts the item of clothing being taken off on the bed ... or on the bench ... or on the floor. When I say "Hammy" (a verbally joined together combination of "Hand it to me," he seems to understand and hands me the item of clothing.

He will take off most of his clothing but then get distracted or not realize that he still has on his underpants, undershirt, and/or sox. So I say, "Take off more" followed by "Hamme" and he takes off the next item of clothing and gives it to me. I continue this until he is standing there nude. Then I hand him his night clothes and he usually knows what to do with them.

Often he takes the night clothes into the bathroom because it is warmer in there, puts on the top or bottom, depending, and comes out of the bathroom not realizing or knowing that he still has the bottom or top, depending, to put on. I point and say "You stopped!" and he gets it.

Why does this new language work? I do not know, but I will be more aware of it and see how many new words I can add to make our life a little easier.


Painting

Gregory continues to paint almost every Tuesday with Nancy Rosen at her studio in Chicago. He has completed close to 150 paintings (of various sizes) in a little under two years.

I posted the following painting on my Facebook page. It is one of G and my current favorites.

Our friend JY commented: It's like the sunlight filtering through a dense forest. Wow!

I replied: As you know, who knows what if anything the painting symbolizes. I think it is mostly abstraction and enjoying use of color that is rising from deep within Gregory but not necessarily with any connections or associations or at least ones that he could express. I know he did not start out thinking, "Oh I think I'll paint a forest" etc. He probably didn't have those thoughts anytime during the painting and maybe could only see the relationship when someone other mentioned what they saw in his work.




The whole process is, however, wonderful and amazing and I am so pleased that he enjoys the new found hobby so much and that we are fortunate enough to have Nancy Rosen (our Art Angel) support his efforts.

If you get a chance, be sure to visit Nancy's site http://www.nrosen.com  to see some of her amazing work. She is one of the most prolific artists that I know. I will advertise here for her next "Save Me From Myself Sale" which she has every December to move some product at good prices so she can create some space for next year's work!

Also, I will post a link soon so you can see Gregory's 2012-2013 work.


Associations

Yesterday, since I cannot leave Gregory "home alone," he went to therapy with me. He sits in the lobby reading while I am in therapy for one hour.

When I arrive, Dr. D brings him a glass of tea and they exchange hello's. At the end of the session, Dr. D comes out to say goodbye.

This time Gregory wanted to tell him something. In hind sight, I think Gregory wanted to tell the Doctor that during his wait, he had finished reading his architecture magazine.

Instead it sounded something like this, (with hand motions scooping the horizon,) ... I just ... the ... the ... and ... but ... and ... but ... oh this is hard ... I was able to ... just ... but ... the entire thing.

Dr. D's comment to me later was an interesting one. "Gregory had all the connecting words but no connections." In essence this is Alzheimer's. The ideas and thoughts are still there but the associations between words, meanings, events, experiences, feelings are not.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Interesting

The other night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I realized that my life has no major concerns! "What do you mean by that?" you may ask. Isn't Gregory's Alzheimer's a major concern? Doesn't it cause me grief, sadness, depression, anxiety, frustration, not to speak of hard work 24/7/365?

Well yes, dealing with Alzheimer's is no easy task but when it comes to life, there are no major concerns. No career path to worry about. No college entrance exams. No papers due. No classroom lesson plans, no parent meetings, no report cards. No aging, ill parents to help. Financially we are doing OK. I have my health as does Gregory. I do not have any large projects that I am NOT looking forward to completing. Very few shoulds our oughts. No one is "on our case!"

Besides the 24/7 "caregiving," my life is fairly easy, simple. Monday's obligations: Metra downtown, lunch out, opera dress rehearsal, dinner, TV.

Tuesday's obligations: Walk the neighbor's dog, pick up lunch, take Gregory to Nancy's studio for an afternoon of painting,  photo document his paintings to this point, dinner, TV.

Wednesday's obligations: Easy day, Shannon visits for coffee and cookies plus the usual.

Thursday: Dr. DeMuth for therapy plus the usual.

Friday: Ivanca cleans, Aaron Brady and Isla (the new baby) visit, Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies downtown Evanston.

Free open weekend, maybe the Botanic Garden.

Monday night: dinner downtown and Parsifal Opera night performance.

Through out the week: Besides the 24/7/365 craziness of Alzheimer's there is grocery shopping, keeping up with e-mails and bills, working on getting my second collection of poetry published, straightening around the house, doing the laundry, thinking about Christmas details, getting ready to visit G's family in Battle Creek for Thanksgiving, surfing the internet, keeping up with Facebook.

When I allow myself, some time is spent with worries like our future, Gregory's progression, the ever present health possibilities, getting hit by a bus. But for the most part I do not worry much. So see what I mean! No major concerns.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Compassion II

GREAT COMPASSION IS PAINFULLY REASONABLE

With great compassion, because you have developed clarity, you do not have doubts and you are not unreasonable. You realize that the best way to be skillful is to be reasonable. When you are fully reasonable, actually reasonable—and to a certain extent, painfully reasonable—you begin to experience the genuineness of situations and act accordingly, in a way that is appropriate to the situation.

—The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume Two, by Chögyam Trungpa http://www.shambhala.com/the-bodhisattva-path-of-wisdom-and-compassion.html

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

E-Mail Communications

In response to the last post our niece asked:
 http://mhorvichcares.blogspot.com/2013/11/e-mail-to-friend.html 
Do you think there is a breaking point?  Is that the point when he doesn’t know you anymore?  Will that make it “easier” to make tough decisions?  Man I feel for you. 

XO
I replied:

C

Yes, a definite breaking point will probably arrive. Do not know for sure when that will be. If I were to become ill or incapacitated myself would be one. G's not being aware would be another. G's incontinence will probably figure in there somewhere. My physical inability to lift and care for him would be another, whether his physical needs increase or I get too old to push and pull. 

Steps before the breaking point and needing a memory care facility? My continuing to grow and understand how to work with him. My continuing to love myself. Continuing with my creative outlets. Continuing to take time for myself when G is with his companion. Possibly adding to the hours that a companion is with us. At some point needing a better trained companion. Buying the condo next door and having live-in help.

You know how you didn't want to mention TP so as not to add to my burden (and I chastised you and said I'll let you know when it is too much:-), sometimes I feel like I add to your burden by sending my depressing (and sometimes but seemingly less often uplifting and loving) missives your way so often. You do not always have to read them all and/or comment. I know that both of you are there for us.

That's why You Love Us More,

m



On Nov 13, 2013, at 12:28 PM, Colleen Maire wrote:




E-Mail to a Friend

N

Gregory had a great day painting after two weeks of not being there. I didn't mean to be mysterious when we arrived but I didn't know how to respond to "How are you?" Simple question but no good answers. Lately I have been very sad, more lonely, and even with all my creative endeavors ... bored with life. Day by day G has more difficulties with more things. I am not sure that there is anything he can do consistently on his own anymore.

Maybe it will make me feel better if I "unload" a little but also wanted to bring to up to date on who Gregory is now a days besides the handsome, loving, kind, good, person he has always been.

He can barely get himself dressed and undressed and soon I will probably have to take that over totally for him. About 50% of the time he needs a reminder about how to brush his teeth. Showering works if only because he does so when he goes swimming with the companion so I don't have to deal with that.

Bath-rooming gets more and more confusing for him. At least he recognizes the urge but sometimes it takes a "Do you need to go to the bathroom?" from me when he is pacing around the bedroom while I am working at my computer. He needs coaching with cleaning up after a bowel movement. (Sorry for the bluntness.)

Reading at night is almost out of the question. If he does't loose his place in the book he seems to get hung up on one page not realizing that he needs to turn to the next page to continue reading. He "pours" over his newspaper each morning but I am not sure if or what he gets out of it comprehension wise.

Theater, opera, events etc are getting more difficult for me to navigate for him. Eating out is difficult. Bath-rooming at events is difficult. Timing is difficult. Falling asleep during the performance is somewhat problematic. Not sure if he is able to follow the story, also not too problematic but it means we cannot discuss the event afterwards.

Watching him eat is painful so dinnertime is not a fun-time. He is confused by what is on his plate, how to eat it, how to cut it. He uses his fingers mostly (OK by me) but I may have to begin cutting his food. He cannot help with prep or cleanup so I do it all.

He is not at all available to me emotionally, intellectually, sexually. He cannot communicate except by showing up where I am and looking confused and stumbling over words. Sometimes he will beckon and say, "I can show you." But then he cannot explain when I go with him. I do all the talking all of the time. I do not think he has spoken a logical, comprehendible, complete sentence is months (maybe years?)

When I am with friends I have to remind myself not to talk all the time to fill space, not be in charge all the time, not make all the decisions, not monitor everyone's behavior!

I continue to give up more of who I am and what I do so I can be available to help and entertain and feed and dress and maintain him 24/7/365. Sleeping is relatively OK but he is up and down during the night so I sleep lightly to be there for him. (And now and then the cats get crazy and keep me up a good part of the night.) Luckily he is sleeping longer and more and I can take naps. I have an alarm on the bedroom door so he does't wander during the night if I do sleep deeply, there is one on the closet in case he looks for the bathroom in the wrong place, there is one of the front door in case I want to nap during the day.

For now he knows that he doesn't cook, make his own coffee,  do the laundry, take out the garbage, drive, use the garbage disposal, help himself to snacks, prepare meals, clean up after meals, put dishes in the dish washer or put them away when clean. This makes it a little easier for me but that means I DO IT ALL. If he did try to do these kind of things he would most likely mess them up and cause me more problems. Or he would break things. Or he would loose things. Or he would hurt himself. 

With the door alarms, and the fact that I can "lock" most of the kitchen appliances my life is a little easier but sometimes I worry that he will FORGET that he doesn't REMEMBER. Any day he might think he can still cook. Or drive. Of course that wouldn't happen because he couldn't find the car or the keys but I still wonder when that day will come.

I will close with my stock description of our life right now: Gregory is happy, content, enjoys his life, is and feels safe with me. And I cope (although sometimes this takes more energy than I have.) And it only will get worse. I probably haven't seen anything! And I die.

P.S. You are one bright spot in his, my, our life!

Love ya,
Michael

Monday, November 11, 2013

What Friends Are For

Communications with a friend.

Here are a few photos of the home of my favorite gardening blogger, Margaret Roach.  Reminds me a bit of your various homes & projects unique blend of magic, authenticity and spiritual grounded-ness.  
I looked at the photos of Margaret Roach's home. WONDERFUL! I so miss having my own garden (although at this point probably could not manage one) and while I love our condo, I really miss living in a "used" antique space. Also I really want a room of my own. Well when our ship comes in...
m

Knew you would  appreciate Margaret's home.  Your condo is magical...retains the magic of Poplar 1 & 2 ... but also pulses with your current energies, passions & downtown - connectedness.  Also, condo continues to reflect a blend of your aesthetics + Gregory's.  Your energy & incredible ability to create magic & warmth + Greg's instinct for calm. Like art, literature, nature & gardens, your home opens up spaces within oneself.  What a gift for this you have, m'Dear!  Btw...when ship comes in, here's my prescription;  keep downtown connection by living in the condo...but also rent a studio of your own, preferably in a "used antique space," wherein you create a garden ... on miniature scale ... ie. bonsai collection....or a teensy terrarium ..with teensy lawnmower & hedge-clippers?    

Lol about the miniature lawnmower and clippers! The idea of a studio is in the picture. Thanks for your wonderful analysis of our home, it is always interesting to hear how it is perceived by another (especially when the perception is complimentary:-) Interesting that you talk about Gregory's aesthetics when in fact he has none left. All of it is me. So I guess I have been creating for him. His influence on my desire for and understanding of calm and solitude and minimalism (or relative minimalism) continues. 
m

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Theater Follow Up

RZ, in response to yesterdays post, wrote:
i think you were reading my mind, i was trying to figure out a way to suggest maybe greg can no longer go to such events, i was very attuned to both him and you and i know you want to give greg every opportunity to participate in life but it seems like its getting to be where the focus is getting smaller, i talked with MS a bit and had planned on saying something. oh michael it is just shit, im so sad and at the same time know you make his world continue to be special. much love to you both RZ

My Reply via e-mail:

Or maybe you were reading my mind:-) I think the unusualness of the swimming pool etc and maybe a "bad" day is what we were experiencing. Besides the "focus" I have never seen Gregory that tired at a performance. In traditional settings he still seems to do well enough but the Pool was definitely too much ... for him and for me to monitor. 

When we go to the Lyric or Goodman it still seems to be OK and I always make sure we sit on the aisle. That seems to help. Also when it is just the two of us and I can give all my attention to him instead of visiting with friends, it also seems to go better for him. 

I have been aware for a while that this "skill" is now in the "comes and goes" phase. What happens is that there is a period of time when he still does well enough that change is not necessary, then I begin to be more supportive, then the skill returns, then it leaves, and finally I decide that it is time to discontinue that particular activity. 

One of my gauges for future theater decisions is also "does it disturb those around us." At the pool I think it did but at other venues on other occasions it doesn't seem to. So at this point I will probably not take Gregory to theater with friends but he and I will continue to go when it is just the two of us. He enjoys the experience and the music so much that it is worth my continued efforts (again as long as it does not disturb those around us.) We are, however, certainly on the path to theatrical extinction. 

Thanks for your feedback, your support, your love. And yes ... IT IS JUST SHIT!

Since you mentioned MS, I copied him so he could be part of the conversation. Thanks to both of you.

Love ya,

m

P.S. While I was at the computer writing this, Gregory finished shaving and was getting dressed. I glanced over and saw that his underpants, undershirt, and sweatshirt were on so far ... and all three were backwards. Now I wish I hadn't intervened and waited instead to see if he would have gotten his sweatpants on backwards also. But that would have been mean :-) In the past, I have told him, "Since you get your clothes on backwards so often, why don't you just do it wrong. Then they'll be on right." He laughs. I smile (and die.)



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Theater and The Full Disclosure

Yesterday I posted a fantasy about Gregory and me. I thought it would cheer me up to not tell the same old sad story. It did cheer me up for a while thinking about fond memories but the problem with fantasy is that it is NOT reality. And in Alzheimer's case even reality is often NOT real.

Last night we went to the opera "Orpheus and Euridice" by Ricky Ian Gordon which was presented at and in the Eckhart Park Pool. It was given as a free performance by the Chicago Opera Theater (to which we are subscribers) as well as the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago's Classics in the Parks.

Obviously the swimming pool setting was unusual. And Gregory had a difficult time of it. He kept dozing off and when awake his face was somewhat blank. Possibly he was not registering the action of the opera. I would point his face toward what he should have been watching and I could not tell what his eyes were doing.

I enjoyed the opera but sat there for 70 minutes without an intermission wondering if we would get through it and what would happen if we had to leave since the exit was on the opposite side of where we were sitting. And the action was all around us (including one exciting moment when the dry ice "fog" started filling the entire pool floor area from under our seats. We made it ... but with a mental note to consider future performances and wondering how long we would be able to continue our active theater and opera life.



  
  


FULL DISCLOSURE SECTION

This morning after he took his morning dump (announcing as if it was a miracle) he stood to pull up his pants. No you did not hear me mention the part where one cleans one's ass with toilet paper and then a moist wipe. And one cannot assume that took place.

So I popped up from the computer to check the "pot" and sure enough ... lots of shit but no toilet paper. When I mentioned that he forgot to wipe he did not know what I meant. "You need to clean yourself." Still no comprehension. So I went into my, "Sit back down." Which he did after repeating myself two more times. "Use the paper (pointing.)" Which he did several times and miraculously monitoring how many more wipes he would need.

"OK, how did I do?" he asked.

"OK, I replied," thinking "Sad."

This scenario has repeated itself a number of times recently so I am beginning to think that I need to monitor every time he uses the bathroom. I guess I should be grateful that he recognizes (not always) the urge to visit the bathroom most of the time. Sometimes he will get agitated and his face will tell me something is wrong. I will inquire to no avail and usually then suggest he go to the bathroom and that seems to settle him down. Don't know if in effect he needed to use the bathroom or if the distraction allowed him to forget what was really upsetting him.

I don't even try to figure these things out anymore (except here to process for myself and for your benefit.) A SHITTY story don't you agree :-?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stories I Have Seen

This morning I was gently awoken by Gregory, "Michael honey, breakfast is almost ready. I decided I would make Oatmeal for us today."

I rubbed my eyes, smiled, and got out of bed to get dressed. By the time I got to the kitchen, I could smell the warm nutty oatmeal finishing up in the microwave and sat down at my place with the waiting bacon, orange juice, and coffee.

After breakfast Gregory cleaned up while I spent an hour writing. He finished reading his New York Times while I worked on my children's story. By now it was late morning and we decided, at Gregory's suggestion, that we go to the Botanic Garden to see the Autumn leaves.

In the car from the passenger's seat, I enjoyed seeing the highway's tribute to Autumn fly by as we discussed  last night's theater. We saw "Wicked," which for both of us was amazing since we have read all of McGuire's books on which the musical is based.  It was fun to pick out the details from the original Wizard of Oz that McGuire was able to make bigger and give a new interpretation without "ruining" the story we loved so as children.

As we walked around the Botanic Garden, Gregory reminisced about similar trips we had taken while we were courting and getting to know each other some 37 years earlier. He took at least as many photos as I did and it will be fun to combine our joint efforts.

In the Garden Cafe we had trouble deciding what we wanted for lunch. Neither of us were really hungry so we chose to share a large salad. I let him pick out which one to get while I got the waters, plastic wear, and napkins. He paid for lunch and found me at the table by the far window overlooking the pond and beautifully colored Willows.

During lunch we began planning for our annual fall get-away. Should we go to New England again or go to Charleston to visit Liz and LS? Maybe we should just lie low and stay home in Evanston as we look forward to visiting the Michigan Maires during Thanksgiving.

And while we were talking about November, how could we not dream about December and our upcoming Viking River Boat cruse to experience Christmas along the great rivers of Europe. We were so looking forward to that trip.

Gregory went off to find the bathroom while I got a head start at the gift shop. By the time he found me there, I had an arm full of books on gardening to add to our collection most of which we often refer to as we create and maintain new beds of flowers, vegetation, bushes, and trees at home. We so love gardening and have decided to add as many bulbs as we can this Fall in anticipation of the coming Spring.

The trip home was a little slow as Gregory patiently got us through rush hour traffic. We stopped at the grocery store and Gregory double parked so I could run in to pick up a steak for dinner.

I was a little tired so lied down for a nap while Gregory began dinner. It was so nice that it was a "cook free" day for me. I always love when it is my turn to plan, shop, and prepare dinner but I also love having nothing to do with feeding us except assuming the role of cleaning up after dinner.

While I cleaned the pots and pans and put the dishes into the dishwasher, Gregory played piano. I went into the living room and even though he wanted to watch a little TV, I encouraged him to continue his practicing.  He was in the middle of learning a new piece and it was coming along nicely. I have always said that my ideal image of "home" is lying on the couch while my love plays the piano.

Instead of watching any TV, we ended up going to bed early, enjoyed a little bit of the "nasty," and read for a while before going to sleep snuggled in each other's arms. Another ending to another wonderful day.

I am so content, my life is so ideal, and I am so in love with my man.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just Let Them Sit

This one strikes me as a little complicated to read but none-the-less with an important message.

By Pema Chödrön
November 6, 2013

WE USE OUR EMOTIONS

We use our emotions. We use them. In their essence, they are simply part of the goodness of being alive, but instead of letting them be, we take them and use them to regain our ground. We use them to try to deny that in fact no one has ever known or will ever know what’s happening. We use them to try to make everything secure and predictable and real again, to fool ourselves about what’s really true. We could just sit with the emotional energy and let it pass. There’s no particular need to spread blame and self-justification. Instead, we throw kerosene on the emotion so it will feel more real. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Caregiving

Gregory, as reported by his companion, cried a lot the other day. Crying, sobbing, big tears. But seemingly tears of joy. Perhaps remembering our time in Paris while listening in the living room with the companion to the singing of Edith Piaf.

Same night, Gregory and I watching "Send in the Midwifes" a PBS series about post WWI England, poor section of town, lots of children and pregnant mothers as served by four nuns and four midwives.

This episode was heavy, not only with child but also with one of older nuns who has Alzheimer's, one of the pregnant mothers who is black and shunned by her neighbors because of her color, and an older wife who is emotionally abused by her husband.

The episode ends well with the Mother Superior supporting the nun with Alzheimer's who is praying that she be protected from the devils that attack her. "There are no devils here Sister Monica. Only angels. And when you forget things, we will be here to remember for you."

One of the other pregnant white mothers who almost falls down the stairs is caught and helped by the black mother and the barriers of race hatred begin to fade. Later when the black mother is having birthing contractions and cannot contact the midwives, the white mother helps get her to the convent for help.

Finally the abused mother spends a lovely lunch with her grown son who is visiting, for the first time standing up to her abusive husband telling him, maybe for the first time, what she thinks. When she returns the husband has realized how important she is to him and prepares her dinner. A new softness has arrived.

Through Gregory's sobbing at the end of Send in the Midwives he was able to say, "I want to be able to help ... others." We rocked and I assured him he does help others and listed how many and in what ways. It was an impressive list.