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Community Care

Adventures with MAG and Min

I arrived at my mother’s church last Sunday, as previously planned, but MAG was MIA. When MAG has plans, she is religiously ready and waiting, but not this day. I called her and she declared, “I thought we were going to the movies.” Shortly thereafter, she arrived at church, completely apologetic, but I reassured her that it was okay.

My mother’s short-term memory loss has been a challenge for us and at times, the ramifications are not as easy to smile at (like forgetting she has diabetes and landing in E.R. or forgetting to take her medications, resulting in the same outcome), but forgetting about one of two activities that we had planned for the day is hardly a battle that I pick in this timeline.

My daughter (Min) helped MAG get situated on the pew and find her place in the missal. Throughout mass, Min showed MAG, line by line, where we were. You see, MAG has numerous challenges, including being deaf. Because Min was on her best behavior, I actually got to hear the sermon and I only had to shush them a few times. The best part? We got to sing “How Great Thou Art.” This song is one of my aunt’s favorite, so I sang a tad louder and reflected on beautiful memories of MAG’s eldest sister. I took a quick photo of the page we were on, so I could send it to my aunt and my cousin, her caregiver.

After church, we went to the movies and while we were walking to the theater, my Min saw a car approaching, so she waited for MAG in order to grab her hand. My mother thanked her profusely. When they got to safety, I smiled at them and I told Min how wonderful it is to see her helping MAG. Min told me that she was so worried that the car was going to hit her. Watching my daughter assisting my mother is a far better show than the movies Min routinely chooses. What did we watch? Picture Perfect 3. How do I rate the movie? I don’t. Instead, I focus on what truly matters – spending quality time with MAG and Min.

Categories
Community Care

Growing Up, Growing Down: From Eight to Seventy-Eight.

I am raising two children (eight and sixteen), while trying to cope with my mother (MAG) who is currently growing down. Strange term, I know, far stranger is the day-to-day of it. It was surreal the day I connected a parallel between events happening with my children and MAG.

I remember when we moved MAG from her old place to her recent abode. She had to stay with us a few weeks before her new place was ready. When it came time for me to take her to her new place, she was afraid – she didn’t want to go. She was crying; she was scared. She kept finding reasons not to leave my home. When I finally got her outside, before she got into my car, she asked to spend the night one last time – she told me she would leave tomorrow. My son is sixteen and although his timeline hasn’t arrived for such an event, in this distorted timeline, I was the mother, comforting a child who wasn’t ready to leave home. I was the one armed with the knowledge that things would be okay.

MAG has been settled in her home for several years now and even though she asks to spend the night as often as she can, she is doing okay in her apartment (a quick five minute drive from my home). Not long ago, my family was grocery shopping and there was a clown outside the store. MAG was so happy to see the clown, she begged for us to stop for a bit. My husband is leery of folks and chose not to indulge MAG, but this event shed significant light on my mother’s zeal and excitement for childhood treats. The last time my sister came to visit, she asked MAG where she would like to go. MAG said, “The Zoo,” so off they went.

These parallels have complicated making hard decisions for my mother. The primary one is her desire to live out her remaining days in the apartment she was so afraid to enter. We have had several hiccups during her residency, including flooding, break-ins, and extended hospital stays. My initial reaction is always to uproot her and place her into a facility offering skilled nursing and/or assisted living, but she begs me not to. Thankfully, her group of support extends farther than yours truly. She has a slew of doctors (including one that told our family she had three days to live – approximately thirteen years ago), another daughter and my husband, who happens to take better care of my mother than her own son. Collectively, we determined that MAG’s childlike zeal for life would be crushed by restricting her freedom and uprooting her, so we weigh the risks, one event at a time.

Things are okay this week. I haven’t received any telephone calls enlightening me otherwise. In fact, she called me while writing this blog entry. MAG wanted to know when I was going to take her to the movies again. I had previously planned a day for us, so I shared it with her: We can attend church together on Sunday and then we can have brunch and/or go to the movies. I will let you know how our day goes . . .

Categories
Writing a New Role

Sincerely, Planet Earth Paralegal

I have been billing time as a Planet Earth Paralegal since 1990. I know, I know, there are far worse careers to be had, but I long to be a paid writer. What qualifies me to be a writer? I have a Master’s in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. What hasn’t worked as much? Having an extensive work history as a paralegal. How can one transition from being a paralegal to a writer, or any other title for that matter? The first thing potential employers want to see is experience, but I can’t secure experience without the prerequisite – experience.

One great thing about writing is that regardless of my role, I must write. As a paralegal, I have written and/or revised content for attorneys, executives and companies. In my book (ha, ha), this translates into versatile writing skills. Yes, I can write creatively, but I am a business writer as well. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather write a short story; but as a paralegal, I routinely polish my writing skills. I have summarized depositions, handled extensive communications, promoted patent programs via internal platforms, created and presented marketing materials; assisted with branding needs for various products; created trademark guidelines for corporate communications; and designed copy for various departments. I could go on, but why? Isn’t that enough? What is another talent writers should rock? Research. As a paralegal, I spend a lot of time researching various topics, a skill that served me well during graduate school.

What else is a writer in paralegal clothing to do? Well, for starters, I have hired myself to write right now! This blog site? I created it. All content? Future product line, Push Positive Products? Mine, mine, mine . . .

Now watch me write myself into a new role!

Sincerely,

Planet Earth Paralegal

Categories
Community Care

We Are Not As Unique As We Think.

We are not as unique as we think and although this is sad on so many levels; it lends hope, that we can connect and soothe and grow, along with others suffering and/or rejoicing in similar ways. While I am a solitary being, especially when I fall into darkness, I challenge myself to consistently leave my dwelling and spend time with others. When I am in need of greater assistance, I seek out support groups. Support groups have helped me fight back a variety of darkened states: drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and work stress. Sometimes, I receive creative solutions in support of coping with a particular problem. Other times, practices that I know, but are hidden in my current film of darkness, resurface. What wakes my soul is when what I have to say resonates with the group and our light collides.

While we are given only one life, we are given each other. Even a solitary being such as this writer, needs encounters with others. My sphere contains a spouse, a son, a daughter, a mother, other family members, a few fantastic friends, wonderful neighbors, and a support group that is helping me resurrect my light. Social media is an excellent outlet for me as well. I get to socialize with a number of people, in the comfort of my fabricated bubble.

If you are like most adults, you spend the majority of your time at work. Work can be very stressful, but some of my greatest days spent there were because of some very cool and crazy coworkers. While some of us are lucky enough to win the work group lottery, others are not. I recall one particular workplace, where I witnessed a group of coworkers that were so tight, darkness could not seep in. They walked together to lose weight, celebrated personal and work-related milestones and were simply there for each other. Our company went through an acquisition, layoffs and numerous management changes, but they smiled and supported each other through our difficult times. Supportive souls abound, lending each other light so collectively, they shine brighter.

Let’s start reaching out more. Whether we join a march to fight bigotry, or call that friend we have been meaning to get coffee with. Plan a double date or go spend time with the animals at the zoo. If you need deeper healing, seek out a support group. If you can’t find a support group, start your own. This blog is as much for me as it is for you – ya, you – the one immersed in a darkness of your own – I see you.