Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SHEEPISHLY YOURS...


"One of the things I learned the hard way was 
that it doesn't pay to get discouraged.
Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life
 can restore your faith in yourself."
Lucille Ball

I write to encourage others as well as myself...it's good therapy for me and I truly hope you find something in it as encouragement for yourself or perhaps you can encourage someone you bump into or already have in your life.  I certainly need encouragement...so much of the time.  Admittedly, I lose faith in myself as well.  And almost lose my faith where I shouldn't...my bad.

Recently, I found it quite easy to fall into feeling sorry for myself...another bad thing.  Michael and I have been going to therapy for four weeks...four days a week for two hours each time.  This has profited me probably as much or perhaps even more than it has Michael in that I have a drive inside me that I've not had...and believe me, I desperately needed it 'cause I'd been throwing way too many 'pity parties' for myself.

  
We've seen those that have all types of physical problems...problems that take grit galore to deal with...much more than what M and I are battling.  It's amazing to see how much effort can be expended from someone who can barely move a muscle but yet they do their best to learn how and what they can do to regain something they felt lost. 


"Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen"

Wonderful things happen everywhere, all the time...one just needs to keep their eyes open, their ears clean and their awareness on.  And oh, watching the caregivers with their charges...woohoo!  Wheelchairs, walkers, canes...you name it and they're in use.  Some caregivers look tired and rightly so.  It isn't easy being a 24/7 caregiver but people do it...lots and lots do it.  Why?  Because they care...they care a lot.  Some are spouses, kids, grandchildren, in-laws, friends, neighbors, professional nursing people.  

I never thought that M and I would be in this situation...who thinks about things like that?  Most don't.  They call growing older 'the Golden Age'...and one thinks about retirement and vacationing everywhere...growing old gracefully!  Who thinks about things like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Cancer, Autism, Diabetes, Strokes, Pureed diets, Feeding Tubes, Dialysis?  Whew...that's only the beginning.  

Michael and I married and we promised to take care of each other...'in sickness and in health' was a part of our marriage vow and that's important to us.  I know sometimes people part due to circumstances beyond their control...but I pray that never happens to the two of us.

I saw this posted somewhere and it really grabbed my heart;
"I Promise...
I'm putting my promise into practice."

Keeping my eyes open, listening to others while watching my love working for all he's worth...I've learned such great things and broadened my thinking.  A new me?  Well, not quite but an improvement that should help me be a better person.

M and I do homework and now that the therapy is finished w/professionals it's up to me to be the coach.  Me, who is in no way athletic or agile...I'm a klutz deluxe but hey!  All this therapy watching has somehow helped me to walk w/o staggering.  Never would've thought it.  

M's ability to improve is on our shoulders; we must keep the momentum going.  We're charging ourselves w/daily tasks that we mustn't fail to do.  So, what is our retirement going to be like from now on?  Hmm...
gonna' be pureed diet for a spell longer...
gonna' be physical exercise regimen twice a day...
gonna' be ah-ing vocal exercises twice a day...
gonna' be memory challenges whenever the coach says...
gonna' continue being happiness & love 24/7...
gonna' continue walking with God...He knows all the right moves !!!

(Rights to use these cartoons purchased from Dennis Cox) 

"The more things you do,
the more you can do."
Lucille Ball 

A while back, every morning I would tell myself...aloud...
Vasca, this is a new day.
You have the choice of making it a good day or a bad day.
I choose to make it a good day and do my best to...
be kind, loving, compassionate, forgiving, serving 
and helping others as best I can.
God, please help me to be like you want and know I can be.

I became negligent; shouldn't have!
Tomorrow morning I plan to resume doing it...
it's something extremely important and helpful...to me!

From my heart...to yours, 
Vasca 




Thursday, May 11, 2017

FOREVER, EVERYDAY...YOU AND ME...


"It's not gonna be easy,
It's gonna be really hard.
We're gonna have to work at this...every day,
but I want to do that because I want you.
I want all of you, forever,
                                                   you and me."                Ryan Gosling, The Notebook...

                                 
Well now, I smile when I think about love...you know there's puppy love, first love, late love...all kinds of descriptive terms.  The one I'm writing about is the love Michael and I found in each other.  We were young...oh so fresh! 

We promised to love, honor...so many words we said together...and we've kept our promises.  Oh my, that was such a long time ago and the life we've had?  Out of this world; the places we've been and the sights that we've seen?  Never did we dream of such a life.

We believe God put us together for a reason; there was a plan and we stumbled along with it.  You remember we had a 'rocky' first meeting when Michael announced to his friends, "That's one girl who will never set foot in my car."  Indeed?  'That girl' ended up owning half of everything Mr. Michael owns, to this day.  Me, the shy one, knew what I wanted and with God's help I got just that.  M happily ate his words...he's smart.

I suppose there are marriages that are perfect; I don't personally know of any and ours certainly hasn't been.  But...we worked at it 24/7.  People have asked me how we've stayed so happily married for such a long time.  My answer has always been that we worked for it...24/7 and each of us gave it 100%. 

Argue?  Of course we argued; we continue to this day...oh brother, do we ever challenge each other.   But...we choose to try to make the best of every situation...Life 101?  Sure helps.  

This caught my eye the other day:          "What is Life?
They say it's from B to D.
From Birth to Death.
But what's between B and D.
It's a "C".  So what is a "C"?
It is a Choice.  Our life is a matter of Choices.
Live well and it will never Go Wrong."
 

In life we have choices of all kinds...all of us.  Life can go along quite smoothly, no bumps in the road and for me, the bumps I had were taken with a smile.  That's the way I have always been...I could be on my death bed and 'how are you, Vasca?  Oh, I'm fine...just fine'...must've been born smiling! 
Michael is a magnificent leader; I believe he was a born leader.  No bumps for him; never any health problems...until?  A double whammy...Amyloidosis followed by Parkinson's; quite a boulder rather than a bump. 
Health blips are frightening...you know that from your own experiences.  I've had two encounters with near death; M says God wasn't finished with me, that He had things in mind for me yet.  I believe that must be the case.  Someone said "You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it."  I don't know who's responsible for that but it's applicable.

Here I am, here's Michael...we are together and we're between B and D.  We're in C as in
Choices.  Talk about choices, oh my!  Every day begins with a choice...I think it's more 'the choice'.  I choose this "Create a vision that makes you wanna jump out of bed in the morning" and do my best to make it a good day. 

I realize every day is in no way going to be goody-two-shoes happy; but...but...I set the tone for the day and I can make it or break it.  It's up to me; sure Michael is here but these days I am and must be the stronger one. 

I have 'foot in the mouth' disease; try as hard as I can my mouth just doesn't cooperate!  But I also apologize...my sack runneth over with apologies and Kleenex.  But...but...I'm doing a little better each day...day at a time.
The two of us have reached a clearer understanding of what life demands...each of us must give as we also must take.  Is it easy?  Are you kidding?  No such thing as easy between B and D.  It's harder than hard and I suspect/expect it will become more difficult with time.

However, God works wonders and gives strength as needed; I trust Him that He knows when and how much we are going to require. 

Michael rises many mornings with a song on his lips and how can I do anything but make the happy choices when my love is singing the Hallelujah Chorus, Star Spangled Banner, Hello Dolly, Old McDonald, the scales, Santa Claus is coming to town (in May?). 
Kinda' makes me wanna' jump out of bed and sing along.  You oughta' see us sitting on the patio, drinking Hazelnut coffee (my mom was a Hazel...she wasn't a nut), petting a little baby bunny while watching the wren's tending their babies in M's planter.


And...I remember,
"It's not gonna be easy,
It's gonna be really hard.
We're gonna have to work at this...every day,
but I want to do that because I want you.
I want all of you, forever,
you and me."
My mission's cut out for me; I accept...it's beautiful and God, I thank you for it.
From my heart...to yours, Vasca

Sunday, April 23, 2017

LICKIN' IT...


 
"Life is like an ice-cream cone,
you have to lick it one day at a time."
Charles M. Schulz

I began writing a blog because I love to write; I love to encourage.  But my conscience began digging at me and I thought, "You know Vasca, you write all this positive stuff...happy endings...etc.  And here you're doing the opposite of what you've encouraged others to do.  you're in the pits.  That's downright hypocritical, you know!  You'd best fess up and get the beam out of your own eye, don't you think?  Well, yeah...I think." 

So, this is for you...from my heart.  And then you and I will be on the same page of music. 

My sweet mother often told me, as well as others, that I was born asking questions...I might add that I've never stopped asking questions.  I've always wondered and wondered...about almost everything.  How much information or data can a person's mind hold?  I wonder about that because I have a wonderful memory that just piles up stuff like crazy!  I hope I can hang onto that as long as I live.  I am now also Michael's memory!  How 'bout that?

Something I never wondered about though...
was what my life, what our life together would be as we grew old...
and finally when we actually were there...old...actually old.  
I didn't wonder about that...I really never gave it much thought.
  

M and I watched his parents as they struggled with his dad's Parkinson...finally succumbing to its dastardly character and leaving the anguish behind.  His mother had a very short respite from caregiving but that was cut short by cancer.  My father died when he was just into his 60's...mother lived to be almost 95.  Thankfully neither of my parents had a crippling disease/illness. 



The Golden Years ~ ah, that sounds pretty nifty, right?  Well, yeah...it does but here's something else.  I read something like this, "Life is hard and not always fair". 
It's true, life is hard...and some of those hard things are...well, hard is hard.
The definition of "hard"...requiring a great deal of endurance or effort. 
I say that pretty well nails it...that's my understanding.


I never wondered about being a caregiver...I really love being a dependent.  I have been M's dependent from the day we married, living all over the world...he as the leader, me as his follower the dependent.  I loved it ~ I guess I took it for granted that would be the way our 'golden years' would go...ha! Fast forward into the throe's of the Golden Years...I am no longer the dependent, I am the leader and M is my dependent.  Wow, what a switch. 
But here's just a bit of what I can do about it.  Practice, practice, practice...practice what? 


Top of the list has to be PATIENCE.
I tell me...this adorable, gentle, sweet loving man deserves the best I can put out...my best.
So I pray about it...go over and over it in my head full of memories and wonders and do it.
Whatever it is...I do it.  Now...you see...sadly I have crash landed more than many times but I read this that a wise one, Confucius, said,
"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop."  I'm not about to stop

I would say GENTLENESS is way up there...gentleness.  A soft voice, a kind voice...
John Wayne said, "Talk low, talk slow...


Of great importance is CHOICE OF WORDS...it is so easy to let frustration spew out before I rein in my tongue...oh my!  You can see the hurt in a loved one's face.  And I remember the rest of the John Wayne quote "and don't say too much."  Vasca, do not...do not say too much...some things...many things...are best left unsaid. 

For goodness sakes...NO PITY PARTIES...get over it before it ruins everything.  Life goes on and on!  It does no good for me to dwell on my list of 'what I have' ~ it isn't a contest to see who gets the most attention, etc.


Our repartee goes something along the lines of what one of our physician's told M when he first became his patient.  M has a long, long list of 'what's wrong with him'...and it's legit.  His new doctor became a tad antsy and finally he put both hands on his hips, looked at M and said, "You can only have three things wrong at a time".  And that?  Was that.


Now when M gets carried away I put my hands on my hips, look him in the eye and say, "Okay, Michael.  You can only have three things today...which three will you choose?"  That brings a laugh, a big grin and that's the end of that.  Laughter is good and healthy!  Much better than weeping 24/7.  Right?


Granted I have made too many of our days...well, disastrous!  But I've decided...just Friday as a matter of fact, it's in my hands to make things better...I can make or break it...it's true. 
I have a ton of grit...I mean a ton of it.  Each time M was away...I mean away...I had a major medical problem.  It was just me and the 4 precious little boys...I smile thinking what all we weathered and did it in style...all the way.  God held us in His arms and we made it.


God knows what I'm capable of ~ I know what I can do and I am determined to do my utmost to make each day the best day.  How do I know?  Because...after I determined this on Friday things changed.  I don't tell M everything...there are things he really doesn't need to know...he has enough on his mind w/balancing his physical being. 


When I changed...things changed.  We're like the Michael and Vasca pre-Amy and Parky!  The lights are on, there is a change in the atmosphere...I know, I know.  You're thinking it probably won't last...we'll have the blues...the bumps.  I have no expectations of our lives being sappy happy...but they are going to be as God wants them to be.  Caring, loving, tender, thoughtful, smiling and meaning it.


I love music...oh, I do love it.  I keep Pandora radio playing my favorite artists most all day; it totally relaxes me.  Well, last week Michael had been in the other room a long time and he said, "You know, I really like that music...it totally relaxes me."  I'd not considered it affecting him at all.  It's the little things that count, yes?  Indeed.  


I caught Michael watching me Saturday while I was in the kitchen and I'll tell you, the look on his face sent my heart into overdrive.  He told me things that were...way up there...way up there.  That's love, that's the love we all should have.  And the tears that are falling this minute are tears of joy, of love.  I so appreciate what I have, what God has given me, us and what He continues giving. 


Tell you what, I do not intend to disappoint Him...not in the least.  I'm giving this my all.
And now, I'm wondering...I fell in love and I feel like I'm falling in love all over again...
I wonder, is that possible?  My goodness.  Or I wonder, maybe I'm growing in love!


From my loving heart...to yours, Vasca