Monday, December 11, 2017

Just Use the Damn China


I don’t know if it is age that has caused me to slow down a bit and take notice of certain things, or if it is the experiences that I’ve had over the last few years, or, for that matter, a combination of the two, but something has finally changed in my way of thinking and I thought it worthy of sharing with others.

I do remember a time in my life when everything didn’t seem so rushed. I remember during my first “real” job, by the time I got home, it felt like a really long time until time to go to bed - and I was actually getting home later then than I do now. I also remember taking time to do different things. To try new restaurants and foods, to have a new experience of some sort, to just enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life. I am not sure when that changed for me. Life during the week has become a series of get up, go to work, come home, do the chores, fix dinner, clean up kitchen, go to bed, then repeat the next day. By Friday, I’m dragging and cranky and Saturday and Sunday are usually spent trying to catch up on things that weren’t done during the week and somehow in there rest, relax, and decompress so I am prepared when Monday comes rolling around to do it all over again. There never seems to be time for slowing down or enjoying things, at least not like I used to.

This year has been quite tumultuous. From normal ups and downs, to bouts of emotion and uncertainty, and everything in between. But, like most valleys in our lives, this one has caused me to pause. Pause long enough to appreciate little moments. Where I used to get frustrated when driving (not saying that I don’t anymore because there seems to be a bunch of nuts with driver’s licenses out there), but now, I try to remind myself that traffic is going slow for a reason. That there is some purpose to me not being able to drive as fast and as hard as I usually would. Sometimes I struggle with this, and I suppose I always will, but, it’s at least progress in slowing down. It has also caused me not to be the aggressive driver that I once was, hopefully preventing a stupid accident because of my stupid driving. And it’s also allowed me to notice scenery in our area that is beautiful that I’d never taken time to appreciate!  I now take the time to appreciate the color and beauty of a sunrise or a sunset. To stop and watch the deer as they munch on the grass around our place. To appreciate the blue of the sky and the whisps of the clouds in it. Some days, this is harder than others, but, to be still for just a moment and watch, is totally worth it. I take time to enjoy time with my animals. The sweetness of kissing a horse’s nose, being nuzzled by an affectionate kitty cat, being pounced upon by an overjoyed dog, being “Eee Awed” at by a silly donkey begging for treats, even being pecked by a chicken happy to see me, well, it just don’t get any better than that. And after all the funk and the fakeness and stress that the rest of the world seems to be full of, the pureness of the love of an animal seems to clean up a lot of junk! I take time to appreciate hanging out with my husband. He is my best friend and I thoroughly look forward to coming home to him every day and sharing my day with him, or just being together. We don’t have to do anything special to make a moment special and worthwhile. And that my friends, is the beauty of love and marriage! I take time to appreciate my parents a little more too. That I still have them and can go hug them and see them, even with the difficulties that they have, that’s huge. Every moment, good or bad, is so important and they are moments that I cherish and will hold dear, always. I take time to appreciate my family. Without them, through some of the craziness of this year, I don’t know what I would have done. Family is precious and family doesn’t have to be the kind you’re born into. Family is sometimes those who choose to be part of your life when you need them the most, when things aren’t pretty and they love you anyway. Family can be related to you by blood or by choice.

All of these things, and I guess the events of this year, got me to thinking, and I’m sure you’re wondering by this point in my post what in the world all this has to do with fancy dishes. Well, I’m getting to that point, just hang on. My Granny Carbary, was an interesting little lady. We used to joke in the family about what one of us needed for Christmas or for Granny’s birthday, because if we got her something, she’d inevitably give it back to one of us, or she’d pack it away in a drawer to save it and not use it. She was saving it for a special occasion, or something to that effect. I think in our lives anymore, we’re saving so much for a special occasion, but we’re not making time for those special occasions to happen. Those special occasions should happen every day that we’re blessed to draw breath. We shouldn’t need a special dinner in order to use the fancy dishes. Break those suckers out of the china cabinet and use them! Enjoy them! They weren’t meant to be stashed away and only used for Thanksgiving dinner. And if you break one, it’s ok - not the end of the world. Put that pretty tablecloth on the table and enjoy it. So what if you spill something on it - it’s a sign that it was used and enjoyed. Use the “good sheets” that you only save for special company coming over. Put the “good towels” out and use those too. Don’t “hoard-up” all of those “special things,” only to wake up one day and have regrets. Or worse, leave those “special things” for someone else to clean out of your house and not have any memories of you ever using it. “Things” are just that - things. “Things” break, wear out, tear up, and even decay. “Things” do sometimes hold memories for us, or rather us remembering those things brings up good thoughts of a specific time or person. But “things” are just that, they’re “things” and do not last. I think sometimes memories are a more lasting legacy (in some cases). Even as hectic and crazy as the days are now, there are ways to have special moments or make a memory or use something you were saving for a “special occasion.” Life is far too short to have those regrets and those most important to you in your life are far too precious not to make those lasting memories!

So the point of my story here, my advice to you as well as to myself - Just Use the Damn China! Make every moment count! Don’t hold anything back to save it for a special occasion. That special occasion should be every day we’re able to wake up and go about living.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Dementia SUCKS

Dementia Sucks

May 5, 2017

Dementia SUCKS. There are no “if’s,” “and’s,” or “but’s” about it. It just plain SUCKS. It’s a thief - a sneaky, cruel, conniving, vicious thief that not only steals the lives and memories and minds of it’s victims, but it also robs husbands of their wives, wives of their husbands, children of their mothers and fathers, sisters of brothers, and brothers of sisters, and on and on it goes.

There is no rhyme nor reason to it’s destructive path. There is not even a true predictor as to whom will become it's next victim. Dementia is a death sentence, although not an immediate one. It makes it's victims linger in an unknown state of confusion - sometimes for years. Loved ones are forced to watch the gradual decline and disappearance of those whom they have held dear until the person is nothing like they have known and loved. It completely makes NO sense. It segregates. It alienates. It isolates. It confuses. It hinders. It changes. It takes the common, everyday way of life and turns it upside down. It makes the familiar strange, the known unknown, and the easy difficult. And just like death, dementia is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t care who it claims. It doesn’t discriminate by gender, race, religion, origin, or any other type of politically correct difference. It takes whom it wishes and leaves disaster in it's wake. It leaves it’s victims locked deep inside their own minds. So far so, that they can’t recover from it. So yes, Dementia SUCKS.

It causes every day tasks to become monumental obstacles. It causes personalities to change as drastically as complete opposite; so sometimes those who were once meek and mild can become violent and cursing at every breath or vice versa. It causes it’s victims to lose control of their own body. Motor skills diminish, vision changes by way of depth perception and hallucinations. It even causes the loss of speech and the loss of control of one’s own bladder and bowel functions. It takes the victim from a functional adult, down to smaller than a little child. It changes the familial roles sometimes. It makes it necessary for children to become the caretakers of the parents whom they always looked to for guidance and support. And sometimes it requires support and care from professionals, outside the home to make sure the victims are properly cared for. It even causes it's victims to not be able to realize that they are in pain or to communicate that they’re in pain or discomfort. So, yes, Dementia SUCKS.

It causes loved ones to watch as their parent, spouse, sibling, etc., slowly slips away. To look into the eyes that were once vibrant and full of life and realize that the light is on but there is no one at home any more. It makes you have conversations with your loved one that make absolutely no sense to most people. It causes you to learn not to be completely reactionary when something comes up out of the ordinary or something necessary within the house goes missing. It causes you to reevaluate the things you once thought as most important - because when you have a stretch of good days, where things seem at least partly whole instead of crumbling all around - that’s huge and a tremendous blessing. It teaches you patience, because for whatever reason, certain voice tones and facial expressions can set a dementia patient off. So you learn to be patient and try to take everything in a smooth, calm manner. It teaches you to rejoice on the good days and to find something to laugh about on the not so good days (which eventually becomes the norm) because if you don’t, you will lose your own mind. It causes you to question why things like this happen, even though there is a purpose to everything that God give us and puts in our path, it still causes the questioning. It causes pain and anguish, not only to the person suffering with it, but also to those closest to them. So yes, Dementia SUCKS.

Like many diseases we are faced with in this life, it sucks the life right out of it’s victims. I don’t know that any one disease is worse than another. All of them are horrible. But I think this one, that dementia is possibly the worst of them all because you completely lose yourself, to not know anything of or from the world you’ve lived in for so many years. To be scared and confused because you can’t understand what’s happening around you. To lose knowledge of who your loved ones are. To become just a body with a beating heart - a shell of the person that once was. To me, this seems horrendous.

So, yes, Dementia SUCKS. This evil, conniving, vicious thief, absolutely and completely SUCKS.