This time last year it seems I was having a hard time related to the more difficult aspects of my job. I find it interesting that almost to the year I am experiencing similar problems. Last year I spoke briefly of the loss that comes with the passing of my residents. This year this is the loss I have suffered over and over again. I've actually lost count of the deaths in these last few weeks there have been so many. Heartbreaking. While I am merely a caretaker given the job, for which I get paid, to help folks at the later part of their life I have to say I am terrible at keeping it as impersonal as all of that. My heart would not be so sad if I was good at doing so and I probably should not be in my current position if I wasn't so bad at keeping things impersonal. I fall in love. I am a woman blessed with the gift of numerous honorary grandparent, essentially.
Knowing a bunch of people who have lived for more than 80 years changes your whole outlook on life. You learn that "this too shall pass" is such a true statement. When you look at life in decades from time to time rather than moment to moment you learn to truly appreciate the moment to moment. I can look into the smiling face of my children and appreciate that smile, teeth missing, crooked, with lips, cheeks, chin caked in whatever they were just eating and drinking and know that one day they will leave my home, make a life on their own, may find it difficult to get back home to visit, may even not want to get back home to visit, and know that this moment is to be cherished because who knows what the future might bring and this moment is our legacy to each other. Every person you meet carries with them a history in the making. If you take a moment to notice them, learn about them, connect with them they can shape your history, can change your life, can teach you lessons you may never have learned.
This is my memoriam for some of those lives recently.
One that wasn't so recent but not that far back was T.B. A kindred spirit from the moment I met her, though she was 97 when I first met her it was not at the care center. She was one of only two patients I created a heart bond with in my work as an aide at the hospital. I broke the rules and gave her my phone number when she went home and enjoyed her sweet phone calls and voice messages. I lost contact with her for so long I feared calling her would bring me bad news as she was 97 after all and in frail health at the time I met her. I saw her again at the center, I got to hug her and talk with her and meet her daughter in the month or so before she passed. It was a blessing if not incredibly sad. She was an amazing lady with a dedicated daughter who lived a long and fulfilling life. I thank God often for bringing her to the care center in her last days, so I could say goodbye.
In most recent days I've lost M.A. a hopeless flirt to the point of being offensive (to some) I found him completely harmless and a person who brought me great joy on a daily basis. You will be missed my friend.
W.H. I fell in love with her, her husband, and their beautiful love. It inspired and left its mark and for that I will always be grateful.
A.Y. The thought of your epic mood swings will make me chuckle for years to come. The love and dedication from your sons have taught me that a truly good mother will always be loved no matter what the sands of time does to your mind and body.
N.D. I still sincerely hope I am you when I get old and gray. Beautiful and sweet and hilarious at times. The joy your brought me every single time I saw you is the legacy you left. Your beautiful singing will ring in my ears for years to come.
This post could go on for some time and though I could continue on about K.K. and J.N. and M.B. and all of the others I will keep it at this. I appreciate the fact that I daily get to meet, talk with, get to know the lives and families of so many. I am so blessed to love these people and see them into their final days.
I will end this post with my most recent loss. The hardest yet. My grandmother, Virginia. She was a strong woman who lived a life that was not always easy but who endured. I was not born into her family but was given the gift of being made a part of it no questions asked. I met my grandma when I was 5 and I never could have known then how important she would be in my life. My dad met her daughter, Tommie, in a silly and dramatic way which is a hilarious story all its own but I was unaware of the dramatics at that age. What I knew is that my dad had met a woman who with her presence brought me to safety when I was living in a situation no little girl should have to suffer through but sadly one in four do. I felt safe and warm with Tommie and she immediately introduced me to her parents, Vern and Virginia, who immediately took me in as their own granddaughter, loved me and I would even say adored me...I felt it as a child their absolute delight in knowing me. There were no strings attached. It often made me feel confident and always made me feel loved. Grandma was the type that had us over for weekend sleepovers, took us to church, taught me the love that God gives, and helped lead me on a path of being a good person with morals and who knew right from wrong. It was pretty clear what was right and wrong because she would certainly tell you what you did was wrong if she thought it was. She believed love included teaching and rebuking when necessary and while Grandma's rebukes were not usually welcome they were usually worth taking note of as her opinions and advice were grounded in the bible and her firmly held religious beliefs. She didn't try to hurt your feelings but if she thought you needed to hear the truth she would tell it whether it was going to hurt your feelings or not. She did this because she loved. Her advice, lectures, and all the rest were all given with love. Her love was so big she gave without question and forgave without it being asked. As I grew she was always there, watching and assisting whenever it was needed. She believed in me and that is probably one of the greatest gifts you could give a person. I graduated H.S. and she helped me find a way to make college happen. She co signed my student loans allowing me to pursue dreams without stress. She paid on those student loans after I graduated until she simply could not afford to do so any longer she did so even though it disappointed her that I was not paying them myself. I felt that disappointed in every part of me. It made me feel ashamed and sad and like I was not worthy of her love. She kept on loving me anyway. Even when that shame and guilt led me to not visit as often as she deserved she still would love me and appreciate the times I did come. She prayed for me always, I know it. Since she passed I keep asking myself, whose going to do that now? In the days before her death she was in the care center. While it is not my ideal place for any of my family I feel again it was a blessing for me. A chance to see my Grandma daily, the way I hadn't in years because of my own feelings of guilt and feeling as if I must be a constant disappointment to her. What I know is that in her last month, she never once mentioned my student loans to me leaving me to feel as though it was a speed bump to her that I perceived as a wall and that I let it get in the way of precious time I could have spent with this amazing woman. The day before she passed my grandpa Vern who was also in the care center was ill and needed to be sent out for an assessment. Grandma was so scared, I could see it even though she tried to appear calm. In that moment the only thing I could think to do was pray with her. I knew if there was anything that would ease her mind it would be this. I prayed with her, holding her hands, asking for healing as she whispered "lord please I can't be without my husband now," I prayed for calm for her and calm for me as I was quite panicked myself, never having seen my big strong grandfather so vulnerable and fragile. My prayer made her laugh (as my panic was quite obvious and the calm was certainly needed). I left her that day with the promise (that I hoped I could keep) that Grandpa would be back before dinner was served and that he would be ok. I left her with a smile on her face and chuckle on her lips because I told her how everyone was just gushing over how adorable she and grandpa were and how I was certain everyone wanted the love that they had. The last thing she said to me was she loved me. Due to my own shortcomings that may not have been the case if she wasn't at LCC when she passed and so I will always be grateful for her being there. The legacy she leaves started with the simple act of loving the little girl I was, teaching me by example what romantic love looks like, teaching me the love of God, showing me how love endures through good times and bad, that forgiveness is love, that teaching is love, that rebuking can be love, and her last words to me expressing an unending love for her husband and her love for me. Thank you Grandma for all of your love, I hope that I was able to show you at least a little how much that meant to me, how much you meant to me. I love you and though your body will be missed your legacy will remain in my heart for as long as I am alive and I only hope that I may pass your legacy on to others so that it will always live on.
Every person has within them a history, a legacy, a lesson you can learn, don't miss it. It could change your life!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
To say I have a stressful job is an understatement. This week has been especially so and harrowing and at times heartbreaking. It ended with great news and a little hope but I question how long it will last. My job is one of the most heartbreaking I've experienced. As an NAC it was hard bonding with and reaching a connection and often times loving amazing beautiful human beings who are closer to the end of their life than the beginning. Losing them is sometimes devastating. But as the Social Worker for the same population sometimes my heart is broken for people who haven't yet passed, who may still have years of life left but they only feel sadness at the thought, people who have lost a loved one but because memory is fickle at this age they ask where their loved one is and wait expectantly for them to show and all that you can do is say "I don't know Mr. or Mrs. when you will see them again, hopefully soon, and if I see them first I will send them your way."
It is an incredible blessing to be a person such as myself and work with others who are the same, to be a source of love both for and by people who will only be in your life for months or years at best. But imagine having a beloved grandparent and watching as their health declines, their memory fades, and life leaves them...then imagine having that happen with such regularity it just becomes a part of your life. You learn to shed your tears, mourn your loss, and get back to work because there are others who haven't passed yet who need your love, your care, your help. Despite the constant heartbreak you carry on, you keep loving, and you learn the value of family, what it means to respect your elders, and the delicate state of human life.
What people who do not work in the care of elders industry ought to know is this: Even the strongest most inspiring and larger than life humans (if they live long enough) will become smaller, weaker, vulnerable and in need of assistance and care from someone else. Even if your loved one can not remember your name or that you are their only child (or 3rd or 5th or 11th child) if you continue to visit them and show them your love they will trust that feeling and will know that love until their dying breath. Love them for who they are now as well as who they used to be and if you weren't particularly fond of who they used to be love them anyway now because they do not have much time left in this world and every human no matter how bad deserve to feel the love of someone. Sometimes as people get older and their mind slips away from them they act in ways you have never experienced, the most docile man can become violent and angry, accept that this is not their fault and not always something that can be changed and love them despite this, as a caregiver some of the folks I love the most call me names upon sight of me and will just as soon hit me as smile at me but oh when they chuckle at my lame joke it doesn't even matter that their actions which they can't help anyhow may have been unpleasant or hurtful just 10 minutes ago, for them to have even moments of joy in their life is worth it all. If your loved one is in a care facility in their old age spoil them with the basic having lots of clothes to wear and cute hair ties to wear and a weekly visit that includes a meal means the world to them and provides frequent reminders that someone out there cares enough for them to make sure they look good and feel loved. Most importantly be an advocate for your loved one or family member, there never can be too many advocates and as people get older they need to have someone watching out for their best interest because they often are not able to do so themselves and are at risk of being taken advantage of in so many ways. Life is a circle we start vulnerable and in need of protection and an abundance of love and we all to often end the same way.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
We'll start small then see if we can go big. Although I think this has been tried before with failing results. Last time I wrote I was the mother of two beautiful boys and just finishing my NAC. Now I am the mother of 3 beautiful boys and the Director of Social Services at LCCPT. So there you have. Life has a way of going its own way. I'm fairly certain I'm just along for the ride. Although the ride is not always smooth it is always exciting. Join me...if I remember to bring you along that is...
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Tomorrow is my last day for clinicals. Then final testing and applying for certification, 4-6 weeks later I will be certified and yay! I am 99% certain I will be hired on at Life Care Center which will mean a transfer to CA Life Care Center will be plausible when we get to that point in life. Woohoo. Boys are good and adjusting well to me being gone for several hours out of the day again. Ok so tired, just thought I should stay in the habit of updating otherwise you wont be hearing from me for a couple years or something. Now that that is done.....
Sunday, August 7, 2011
I am at it again...time since last post...somewhere around 2 years. That has to be a record in poor updating skills. Whooops.
In light of my new interest in blogging again I have done a revamp. New title, new theme, new everthing...though not layout or color scheme as I am too lazy...so not everything, I guess, eh?
So yeah two years...this means Pierce is now 2. Woot. The boys, amazing, lovely, crazy, stubborn, beautiful, unique little buggars!
Silas will be starting preschool next month, oh my I am so excited and a little sad at this thought. He is so ready for it, at least now that we have had a nice talk about how it is only for a few hours a day, mommy and daddy can not come with him (even though he really wants us to), and that he may have to play with other kids but if he chooses not to he wont get in trouble...I think this is the scariest idea for him. He is still so desperately shy, the idea of having to interact with a bunch of kids is terrifying. I know though, that he will get the hang of it and will just love having friends once it is normal and not just talked about.
Pierce, he only pretends to be shy sometimes. Really though he is just like his daddy, loud, stubborn, outgoing, and a little bit of a trouble maker but he has that sweet soft side that melts your heart to mush! We are currently working on potty training and really only successful if he is naked...which he LOVES to be. Otherwise he uses "I have to go potty" as an excuse to get out of going to be or to get out of being in trouble. He is too smart for my own good sometimes!
The two boys are almost like night and day but it is so amazing to see them together. They sure do know how to fight, but oh when they play it brings me so much joy. They are and I think always will be partners in crime. If one is doing it the other one probably started it is how it works in this house.
I think all my avid and dedicated readers (;-}) know all about me but alas I will just give the update. Jordan and I got married, oh yes we did, right? July 3rd 2011. Wow. Almost six years and 2 kids later it was about time. We kept putting off the wedding because financially things are tight and we kept hoping for greener pastures but alas they didn't come and we decided enough is enough and we are going to do it no matter what. It was pretty amazing because one thing led to another and we had a pastor to do it for free (plus a new church home), a church to wed in for free (the church I went to as a child so it was a full circle feel to it which is a nice feel for the start of a marriage), a whole church family who pulled together to make a lovely reception for us (for free) I found a dress I could make pass as a wedding dress for $25 which was crazy and nice.
And because it was so casual and laid back we didn't need to put out all the stops on invites, save the dates, or anything. It was a come if you want last minute sort of thing and I have no regrets. I appreciated the family and friends that could make it and did and most of those that can't let us know how sorry they were they couldn't which was nice, we had no expectations because we gave such last minute notice. So even if someone didn't come because they didn't like us we didn't know about it because we didn't expect as big a turn out as we got. It was lovely as if we had gone through all the trouble and someone didn't come just because they didn't think it was worth their while I would have been devastated. In this case ignorance may have been bliss! :-D Heh heh.
We are doing pretty well. I am doing CNA training right now because it is a job that is in high demand and I can do anywhere. So it will be useful here and when we make the move to Cali for my schooling. I actually love the idea of helping the elder population to start and am considering looking at positions in the mental health field for later so that I can get my foot in the door for said schooling. I am a Registered Nursing Assistant at this point. At the end of this week I will have finished my clinicals and am really hoping to be hired on at Life Care Center where I am doing the training shortly after that or even better while I am still in clinicals. We'll see though.
Getting jobs are our priority right now so that we can get a place of our own because of all the areas in our life right now our living situation is the one that leaves something to be desired. And tha is all I have to say about that.
Jordan is doing just fine. He is keeping busy with the boys while I am doing my CNA stuff. He is adjusting to being married pretty well. I think he thought he would never get to that point but alas he did, SUCKA! Heh just joking...sorta. Meh we are just doing what we do, like always.
This will probably be one of the longer posts you'll ever see from me but there was a lot of ground to cover. And now it is done. So yeah...
Friday, August 28, 2009
Clearly I still suck at updates! But alas, Pierce Obadiah arrived at 12:26pm on July 17th. He was 9 lbs 6 oz and 21 in. long...now he is just ginormo. Heh, he does not look like the tender 6 weeks that he is. But he is a great joy! It is a bit exhausting with the breast feeding as he wants to eat, especially in the morning, all the time! But he is starting to smile a coo a bit which wipes away any tiredness I am feeling!
The birth went pretty smooth considering it was scheduled and such. At the end of my pregnancy I was incredibly uncomfortable and had no idea why (obviously it was because I was carrying a giant in my belly). But hindsight is 20/20. We went in to start the procedure just before 12, at that point I was given a shot with a needle that was shoved into my back which pretty much made me so numb I did not even know, until everyone started gauking over the shear size of him, that we had started the procedure. Seriously. He is and was beautiful and healthy and had the cutest pre-cry scream I have ever heard.
Silas was a bit afraid of him and the whole situation at first. Really it was because of all the tubes and such hooked up to me. Because as things were removed from me the more comfortable he became. And before we left the hospital he was calling him "my bebe" and giving him kisses. Now Silas still loves his brother but does have his moments of jealousy.
We are all doing great and enjoying our sweet little surprise. He is a blessing and a joy! And is currently preparing to cry out, probably for more food. So that is all I've got!