Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Love & Death II

Today is my birthday. I am well into my middle years and I wish I was 25 again. Yes, I would do it all over. And no, if I had the good fortune of taking my experience along with me, I would not do it the same way. I would try something else. Having said that, how could that possibly happen? I would have to be a completely different person. One change in personality would change the way I experienced life from infancy to adulthood. That would change how I perceived, assimilated and reacted to all the experiences I have had. I would be a different person and would certainly have lived a different life.
However, given my inherent personality and character, if one change (out of my personal control) in my upbringing occurred, say maybe, my father was not an alcholic, or maybe my mother was not depressive, or maybe we lived in a comfortable, respectable & respectful home, or maybe anything... would that have changed the outcome of my life thus far? Maybe & maybe not. It is very possible that I would be in the same place I am now, albeit for different reasons. With a different perspective on life, the outcomes would have been different. Then again, if I ended up in a totally different life, would it be any better? Could be worse for all that!
My mother has been gone for 3 months now, She did not have a happy life but it was hers to have and she lived it the only way she could. Even if circumstances were different, would she have been able to find some enjoyment? Personality is everything.
What do you think? Are we all screwed from the get go and we just have to muddle through life the best way we can? With a little luck, we can end up in our middle years saying, yeah, so far it is all good.
Peace out!

3 Comments:

At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:28 PM, Blogger AJ said...

Hello my friend. We miss you. Hope all is well and that you'll find your way back to Blogland sometime soon.

—AJ

 

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Love & Death III

Our good friend AJ' posted a reflection on the philosophical nature of maturity. AJ said, "Selflessness must be practiced over and over again in order to maintain its position of prominence in our way of thinking" (great sentence AJ!). To paraphrase: Selflessness = Maturity. I certainly agree, but who then is mature? Children can often display astonishingly mature behaviour, and adults astonishingly immature behaviour. Does that mean that given certain circumstances, everyone can be mature and immature no matter what their age? I think so.

I am usually considered a mature and reasonable woman. Even as a child I was considered "mature". Here I am, smack into my middle years but I recently made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Looking back at how it all transpired, I would like to think that this mistake was made out of misplaced "selflessness". However, I'm afraid it was selfishness all along the way. So am I mature? Yes, most of the time, but sometimes not. From now on, I will try to follow AJ's advice consciously, and practice selflessness over and over again. The following story is my personal fall from grace and subsequent redemption. My new motto: "Mature is as mature does".

My mother has lived in her old house for abut 50 years. Very little has been done to that house in all those years, so you can imagine the shape it's in. Over the years, we have tried to maintain it whenever we could. We could accomplish small tasks such as cleaning, painting, purchasing new furniture, changing fixtures. You know, all the necessary stuff that a house needs but our mom would not spend any money on. Even so, we could not keep up with the work, so the house today, in my opinion, is not fit for human habitation.

I have two brothers, one has lived with our mother for the past thiry five years. I will not go into why he never left home, because I am sure that any reason you can think of will be just as reliable as any reason I can think of. Nevertheless, he was there, and we were happy that he was. There are six of us and we all live in different parts of the country, so having our brother there with mom, meant that we could be free of any guilt about leaving her alone.

Now, this brother (John) we all love dearly. He really is a sweet soul. Except that he drinks. He does work, but he drinks. Even into her 80's mom would make dinner for John when he came home, washed his clothes and generally looked after him as she did when he was a child. He rarely lifted a finger to restore the house because mom never allowed him to do anything, except to repair something that requred immediate attention, such as leaky faucets etc. Mom's premise was that "this is an old house and I won't spend any of my money fixing it because it isn't worth it". Make any sense? No, but what can one do? So John just lived there, free of charge, no rent, no houshold bills and minimal amounts for food. For all this he was to "look after" mom, take her shopping, be around in case of emergencies and generally do what he wants. Not bad work if you want it. I certainly couldn't do it. My mom would have driven me nuts within a week let alone thirty five years. I think I can speak for the other four siblings when I say that. So, thanks John for all your years of filial duty.
Mom passed away at home this past January, and the six of us inherited an equal share of the estate. One of my sisters was the Executor of the estate and that in itself caused mamouth problems with our brothers. What was the selfish mistake I made you may be asking by now? Well, Sister & I put the house on the market for sale thinking that such an old dilapidated place would take months to sell. John would have time to get used to moving and all would be well. The house sold within two days and John had three months to move. The only home John has ever known and fifty years of family accumulation needed to be moved very quickly. The proverbial sh.. hit the fan and Sister & I were the family pariahs. It was a mistake from the beginning. I, in my maturity and experience, should have known that one must never make hurried decisions in times of emotional distress. In fact, I have even advised others of making such a mistake, but I didn't take my own advice. If I ever believed in God, now was the time to start praying for forgiveness and how to make restitution to our brother, a person who has always been kind to everyone. My next post will complete this story of selfishness, selflessness, maturity, and responsibility and brotherly love.

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Love & Death

My last post was about my mother's stroke just before Christmas. Two weeks after being admitted to hospital, mom was assessed and sent home to recover. She was not admitted to a recovery faciity as none was available in her town. Had she been "at death's door" (so to speak), some poor old soul would have been bumped from the line up and mom would have been admitted. We were informed that long term health care philosophy was to send patients home with some public support systems. It would be the responsibility of the family to look after their ailing senior. Primary support would be expected from family members, secondary support would be visitations by a homecare worker, and tertiary support would be a weekly/biweekly visit from a nurse. This sounds highly expensive and it is. However, it is actually much more cost effective than hospital care.
Sending mom home seemed inhumane at the time - mom couldn't walk without help, she had lost her voice, and her house was not suitable for an invalid (we thought). I now think that the policy is a good one as everyone wants and needs the security of their own home and if they are dying, that is where they want to die. Some make it and live a while longer and some don't. The point being that at least they are at home.
The main problem with the system to my mind, is that not everyone has loving family members who can provide loving support. Then again, they may be the lucky ones. They are taken care of in their own homes by professionals visiting a few times a day, who then leave them in peace to lay there until such time as the next visit. Maybe a radio is left on for the poor soul to listen to. Quite likely social service volunteers come and stay with them. Now, the lucky patient with the loving family members, is lying in bed and listening to the loving family members who are all in the house quarreling about what is best for the patient and fighting the same old family feuds. Lucky indeed!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What Life Brings

My 87 year old mother suffered from a small stroke recently. My daughter and I flew out west to see her. She is recovering but of course nothing will be the same anymore. It is very unlikely that she will be able to live on her own anymore. Medical cutbacks have made it impossible for her to be placed in a care facility so she went home. We (the 6 siblings) will need to take our turns in staying with her. We all live in different parts of the country so that means a lot of travelling etc. Somehow, we will work it out. Things seem to be falling into place but that was not the way it all started out, and I am sure that there will be a lot of trouble yet, concerning our mother's wellbeing, her financial situation and the tug of war between brothers and sisters.
They say that fiction mimics reality and the drama played out while our mother was in hospital would rival any paperback novel. There is nothing like the responsibilty for an ailing parent who will not return to good health, to bring out the worst (& sometimes the best) in a family. Right now one of my sisters ( & that's a story in iteself) is looking after her until the 28th of December. My daughter will be flying out again in the 1st week of January for about a month, after that, we shall see.

I wish all my friends in Blogland a peace filled and loving Christmas with their loved ones. Thank you all for your caring and I will continue when I can.



4 Comments:

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Hey Maddy. I have seen many families have to deal with all the cutbacks in care facility funding.

They want you to put your loved ones in places where they aren't even allowed to pick you family up off the floor if they fall.

When and if they get kicked out of one of those, they may finally be granted a stay at a nursing home.

But it is a difficult and tumultuous time for all.

I sure hope things are going well. I also hope you guys are dealing with social services in your mothers' home state. They may be able to help a great deal.

Good luck. Email me if you want, I miss having you around!

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Maddy said...

Thanks Jamie for your info and support. Will look into S.Services etc. I will try to post again. Hve fbeen through a tough time (marriage wise) this year and trying to figure things out. Love to you and yours...

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

I sure hope your doing well. Sounds like things have been rough for you. Since you were the first to ever comment on my blog, you will always have a spot in my heart.

I will think of you, and if you need to you can email me. I can't tell you what to do, but I can be an ear if you need it.

You would do the same for me, I know.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger AJ said...

I would just like to sit here in your comments to remind you how much you are missed and also be somewhat of a "bug in your ear," encouraging you to return to us soon.

We love you Maddy...

:)

 

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Street Legal Part VIII

At the hearing, each member asked Sally a number of questions. She had to explain herself and defend her position. It seemed to me that as the questions and answers progressed, they were geared to culminate in a bad showing on Sally's part. Some of the time, I felt that she was being railroaded into answering negatively and other times I was afraid they were going to say she was just fine, needed a good dose of tough love and sent on her way. One of the final questions was asked by a psychiatrist, regarding hanging from her toes 5 stories above the ground. Until then, Sally's actions seemed to be regarded as highly self destructive. This doctor said, "By the way, have you had any gymnastics training?" Sally replies, "Tons, I was enrolled in gymnastics every year from the time I was 5 until 16, and I am particularly good on the parallel bars, would you like me to show you some of my best moves?" After we all had a good laugh, she was asked why she did it, her reply was that someone dared her, she needed the money and knew she could do it. She ended with "do you think I'm nuts? I wouldn't do anything on a dare that could kill me, would you?" It was funny at the time, but it did put into perspective that although her behavior was dangerous, it was less dangerous for her than for someone else and at least she was thinking, maybe not well, but still thinking.

The evaluation was that Sally was not psychotic, nor was she normal. She required behavior modification, drug rehab. and a good dose of introspection. It was recommended that Sally check herself into a 6 week program (at the same hospital) with a followup in 3 weeks time. Sally said yes. Both her mother and I were very relieved to hear this because by the time she would be released, it would be fall, and too cold to go back to the streets. Maybe she would go home.

Sally stayed in hospital for 2 weeks. I came to see her everyday during the first week. Sometimes she was in good spirits, others not so good. Most of the time she was like a little child needing her mother. I did what I could to help her, mostly it was just bringing her pretty underwear, a teddy, chocolate and cigarettes. The second week, Sally started acting out aggressively. I saw her twice that week at her request. The week after that, Sally was back in the park. Some of her park friends arrived for a visit and she signed herself out. She was gone.

It was now the end of September, and most of the park kids had gone home, after all, summer fun was over and school was in session once again. We didn't hear from Sally for another 2 weeks, then one day, she phoned and said that she wanted to go home. I purchased a bus ticket for Sally and put her on the next bus for home. I was relieved to see the last of her I confess.

Sally went home, tried to work for a while, but then left again for the coast. She sought out a "commune" and has been living this lifestyle since then. At the commune, each member must be willing to carry their share of responsibility and at the same time, there seems to be a sense of personal freedom associated with that lifestyle. I think Sally found her spot within the commune, at least I hope so. We don't hear too much about Sally anymore. She keeps in touch with her parents from time to time, so I guess no news is good news.

One beautiful fall day, I was in the city on business, and out of curiosity, I thought I would drive over to the park to see if anyone was still hanging out there. I parked and took a look around. All the homeless seemed to have left. There were one or two old fellows lying on the grass, but mostly, the park was just that, a park. I was about to leave when a group of 6 girls arrived. They were wearing the uniforms of a closeby private girls school and had school backpacks loaded with books. One began swearing like a sailor into her cell phone. Now, I've heard colorful language before and used it myself from time to time, but I never heard such verbage as that from the mouth of this "upper class" girl! She, a privileged 16 year old along with her privileged friends had come to the park to buy and sell drugs. She was upbraiding her dealer for being late for their appointment, and if he didn't get his #&%xx!ass over there within 5 minutes she and her friends would be dealing with his rival across the street forever! After that her voice changed and I heard, "Hi mom, yeah, we're in the park hanging out, what are we having for dinner? yeah, I'll be home soon, love you too". I left. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Peace out!

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Comments from last Post

Again, I have to respond to my readers in a post as I have more characters than alloted. I would purchase further capacity if my bloglife was not covert. It is so I can't. Thank you gentle readers for your comments.
Kevin,
Thank you for your comment. I thought the same way before all this happened, but I have found over the years that one can never judge how another reacts to life events. Our life experiences and our personalities (mindsets) dictate our reactions to events in our lives. We all have a breaking point and who knows what it takes to reach that break. Some lucky souls may never experience that point in life. The rest of us, well, who knows how we will react. Peace to you..

Vader, why do some people manage to survive terrible life circumstances and others do not? Why did Frances Farmer self destruct? Why Jim Morrison, why Jimi Hendricks, why Kurt Cobain? why anyone? And why do other survive? Gods grace or personal integrity? Either way, we will never know, just hope we are one of them. Love to you..

Jake, my friend, thank you. All this is now past and eveyone has moved on to new circumstances. Whether or not the circumstances are better depends on each person. Father - new marriage, Mother - still smoking up with young people, Sally - unsettled lifestyle, Brother - hurting but ok so far. xxoo

Jamie, no Sally didn't have chance. I think she did the best she could in an abnormal household. No one was in charge, so the child takes charge. Tried to Link to mental health site but its all messed up. That's what I get for trying to think I am so smart! Love to you and hope your mom is doing well.

Leese, thank you for caring. And thank you for all your support. You are one fine lady. I dare say that you would have done the same in the same circumstances, as would have most of our friends here. Love...

Thanks Esther, yes, all has turned out as well as could be expected. Everyone is still alive and living their lives the way they want. xxoo

Aimee, funny how life is. Yes, it seems that we all follow the path laid out. I have always been a non professional 'caregiver'. It's not a role I would have liked (I always wanted to be a pampered bitch eating chocolates and doing my nails in bed) but there you have it. Everyone is always telling me how "wonderful" I am, but I don't feel that way really. Most of the women I know, you included, do much more than I do. I am always looking for advise and have found it in real life and here in Blogland. I have probably told all of you too much already. One funny thing about me is that most people will sooner or later tell me everything. I wouldn't say I'm a great listener, but I try. Another thing, I forget the details of all this personal information, and that's probably good because then I can't go repeating stuff. Yes, I am strong, but only until my son takes a turn for the worse, then I'm a mess. So far, he is doing well but it's always an up and down existence for him and for us. Thanks for your loving comments. xxoo

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