This Caregiver’s Game

Saturday January 28, 2012

There’s a children’s game I used to play called Mancala. The long wooden board had six scooped-out cups on each player’s side and larger “home” pits on each end. It is based on a primitive game, variations played throughout the ages by children everywhere, in which the players fill and count their beans, stones or seeds into each cup. In the beginning you have one bean in the first cup, two in the second cup and so forth.  This simple game prepares you to think ahead (where will my last bean land?) and strategize (what can I place beans in the opponent’s way to mess up their count) and learn to count, add and subtract.

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Nature’s Path

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In December 1996, the Pacific Northwest, where I live, was hit by a huge ice storm. As “The Evergreen State” Washington is known for its beautiful tall forests of trees. At the time our hillside house backed up to several acres of undeveloped wooded property. It was semi-rural living close to town.

One night, as many people around here will remember, Mother Nature’s coldest rain clung to each of the naked branches of deciduous trees and greenery. Then it froze. Our entire community became an ice sculpture of itself as a gloss of translucent whiteness covered houses and lawns and streets, and of course, the trees. It was beautiful as only ice can be. But beneath the beauty and awe, danger waited. Ice is brittle, and heavy.
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Lost and Not Found

Saturday January 21, 2012

It’s almost noon, three days in the aftermath of snow, ice, major power outage, lack of back-up oxygen, wind and trees falling. I’m just getting my bearings. There is a fridge and both freezers to dump bad food and replenish. Leah’s watching TV with her dad. I called her to come spend the night after I couldn’t wake him for his evening pills. I wasn’t hysterical, but I couldn’t stop the flood of tears. I’m usually calm in the storm, but afterwards it all comes pouring out.  I had been exhibiting and feeling my calm for days. It was a scary moment, a-pull-up-a-chair-and-hold-hands-at-the-bedside-moment, and one I am sure will play out again. Change is definitely upon us. The world looks better today, only relatively speaking, but clearly our lives have shifted. The stress of the last few days has taken a toll along with the cancer.

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Going with the Flow

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nanette Griffin’s birthday. It is really much easier to remember the birthdays of people I went to elementary school with than the grandchildren’s. Why is it? Or do I just remember January birthdays because my own slides through, usually quietly, after the new year. (I also remember Ruthie Priester, Elvis and Richard Nixon. Once we get to Martin Luther King, I suppose, much like New Year resolutions, the dates drop off!) I was noticeably more honored on my birthday this year than in the past with the company of friends and family, phone calls, small gifts, plus dinner and lemon meringue pie. It is nice to be loved.

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Confusion Appears

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I understand that confusion is a rather normal symptom at the end of life. However, I usually find this attributed to the patient more than the caregiver. Dave has shown  bits of confusion, but I am beginning to think I have more than him!

I am confused. I am confused about Dave’s state of health. I confused about how to take care of my own self, even in knowing what I should do. I am confused by how grief is so distracting. I am conflicted about all the in-betweens.
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The Hardest Part of Life Right Now Is…

Monday January 2, 2012

(One approach to writing is using the what? so what? and now what? questions to lead through to a conclusion. So I gave myself a prompt to sort through the discomfort of how I feel today and what I can do about it.*)

The hardest part of life for me right now is….
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