Wednesday, May 16, 2018

IN LIMBO ...

"When you have heartbreak,
what's important is that you don't go halfway.
Go all the way down.
Don't take pills that keep you in limbo.
Cry out all the feelings.
Then your own energy for life will put you up again.
You become stronger."
Marina Abromovic



I have sadness in me.
I have anger in me.
I have heartbreak in me.

This trio of emotions has been a large part of me for many months...my heart has felt torn apart repeatedly until I thought I could bear no more.  But, as God would have it, He picked me up, loved and comforted me so that I recovered.  Such a blessing...oh yes, such a great blessing. 

Time and time again I failed to acknowledge the terror my loved one, Michael, was experiencing.  How was I to know, when I had never experienced what he was.  

Bless his sweet heart.  He would be talking to me coherently and suddenly his thought process would short out.  He would look at me with those beautiful hazel eyes...full of such sadness...and say, "I'm so sorry, I just can't...I can't...I'm sorry".  It broke my heart to know how much he wanted the words to come out but...they became lost somewhere, unable to be formed.  That's sadness, embarrassment  and frustration...all wrapped in his sweet person

This magnificent gentleman, who had always been a leader...a proud, humble man...now cannot pull things out of his mind as he once could and that hurts him so.  I try thinking of myself in his predicament and how can I...there's no way I can truly experience what he is feeling.  

The mind is something inexplicable...I believe God is the only one who understands it.  There are some mental conditions that are treated w/meds, so many conditions.  My youngest brother was bi-polar and he told me, "Vasca, I am never in the middle; I am way over in the pits or way over on the other end of the spectrum...never what I'd call normal."  The meds were difficult to keep in sync.  

Dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's has its' own form of Dementia.  Surely, hopefully there will be better treatments for these and other similar conditions.  Who knows?  In the meantime?  What?

                               
Michael and I daydreamed some...not a lot.  I don't know why...we felt we were 'spirit led'...I believe we were.  We wanted to visit Scotland where his family came from...so much interesting history there.  Instead, we went to Wisconsin to be 'warm bodies' for a mission congregation there.  By the time we returned from there, we were sixty-eight.  Still young enough to go to Scotland; instead we went to China.  Why didn't we fulfill our daydreams?  Because God had something else in mind; something He had trained us for most of our married lives...He put us together for a reason.  

Did we, do we regret not checking Scotland off our 'bucket list'?  No, I know neither of us ever felt robbed of that pleasure because our lives had undergone tremendous and improved changes.  It was all due to an awesome God and His plans.

When I was in my 50's-60's I had unhappiness in my life and I took pills to stay in limbo.  It took a long time and much effort from my family but with God's help, together we got through it.  I learned a difficult lesson from that experience.

Now, with M and I in this new way of life I have run the gamut...sadness, anger and heartbreak.  

I have not just cried, I have shrieked...screamed my sadness...I have had fits of anger (sadly angry momentarily at God) at myself and at sweet Michael...and I have had my heart broken in pieces again and again.

I think, I pray I have reached the point where I have re-charged my energies and am able to pick up the pieces of what I had shattered and move on as I should...as God would have me do.   

Michael needs my strength to shore up what remains of his.  Together we can make these days, this last quarter as he calls it...of value to others as well as ourselves.  Invaluable...lovely! 

No more sorrow...much joy!
No more anger...much love!
No more heartbreak...much encouragement!

From my heart...to yours, Vasca 





Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I'M STILL ME..YOU'RE STILL YOU...


I promise to always be there for you...
We are a team, you and me...
I am on your side, to support you and 
to build you up when you are feeling down.
I am here to encourage you and to cheer you,
to be your best friend and to love you.
You are my life and together we can make it through anything."
My Love by Karen Karlyle

I want to believe that I'm still me and Michael is still Michael...but often these days I more than wonder about that.  I seem to be lost; M seems to be someone else.  He doesn't understand me...I try to but too often fail to understand him as well.  After all, almost 66 years of a mostly happy marriage...it's sailing wildly on stormy seas.  I know it won't be getting better...Parkinson's Dementia isn't about improving...it's about shriveling away.  And not in a kindly manner either.  

There's much to be said about promises...promises, promises.  I remember all the times I closed my eyes and whispered; "I promise...Cross my heart, hope to die...stick a needle in my eye".  Oh, that's crazy.   Who'd ever think about sticking a needle in my eye?  Well, I hadn't thought I'd do that until I was approved for this research eye study and I get stuck plenty...smack dab in my left eye! That's okay though because just maybe this study will produce something that will stymie some forms of Macular Degeneration...let you know sixteen months from now.  

Back to 'us'.  Always there for you...that's comforting, isn't it?  Someone that's always there for you, no matter what.  Right there.  

When I promised those 65 years ago to always be there for M...we truly were a team...a team that didn't exactly match.  Truth is, we're opposites; we don't  think alike and that tends to cause dissension on occasion.  M is on focus while I am kaleidoscopic; at least I tried looking at more than one side. M is a slow processor...I process faster than a speeding bullet...well, here we are in a different place and time...say, out of our comfort zones...out of sync.  

The teamwork needs some lubricant these days; I've become rusty.  People change w/the times...aging process.  I don't know about you but my body isn't like a block of cheese or a vat of wine; those two become better with age...while I obviously have not.

What happened to our common thread that wove such a wonderful life?  Why did it fade and begin to ravel?  Why did such happiness and warmth slip away?  

I promised to care for M always; yet here he is in a place he feels imprisoned in.  It breaks my heart thinking about it.  On the other hand he promised to care for me...yet here he is unable to do so.  Does that break his heart?  I have no clue because our communication is no longer normal...it has become our 'old normal'...replaced by our 'new normal' as in me trying to not upset him.  I know he must be trying to transmit his wishes to me; however, at times, his wishes seem to make no sense...no sense to me, that is.  Perfectly sensible to him...sometimes not.

Where is the M that I've known for so long...or...did I really know him?  

Where is the V that M has known for so long...did he really know her?

My mind jumps up and down trying to keep his life, my life on an even keel.  I've no control over his and oh my...at times I wonder what I'm doing in mine!  Life changes, of course it does.  

I discovered that I have not been working on this...that's why I'm rusty.  I sort of 'gave up'; lost heart.  My bad?  Oh yes.  I am capable of doing good things for my sweet one but I quit...that was/is selfish.  I'm working at improving and I am not/will not give it up! 

The bright side is when we surprise each other and end up on the same page...unison.  Those times are worth so much...oh, so much.  And there's a thread there that has become stronger with time ~ God is always with us...giving us strength for our weaknesses...giving us His love to carry us along when the way is full of pitfalls.  God is with us as we look at each other and guess what?  There's the love that we've had all the time.  I simply closed the door on it.  

M's there for me even when he's cloudy.
I am there for M even when tears cloud my thoughts...
And, most importantly...
God is always there for M and me...together.  Always. 

"Just being there for someone can sometimes  
bring hope when all seems hopeless"
Dave G. Llewelyn



Monday, March 12, 2018

TRADEMARKS.........

Your smile is your logo,
Your personality is your business card,
How you leave others feeling
after having an experience with you 
is your trademark.
Jay Danzie


For just a bit think about logo's and trademark's.  If you're anything like me you can name most of your favorite brands along w/their logo's, trademark's, their identity marks.  The catchier ones will hang w/you for a very long time.  One of our grandson's asked me if cokes, etc. ever really sold for a nickel and I sang the Pepsi song..."Pepsi-Cola hits the spot, twelve full ounces and that's a lot...twice as much for a nickel too...Pepsi-Cola's the drink for you."
And believe me, that is an old, old commercial...pre-television, etc.

Most celebrities are tagged w/trademarks...sports figures are on Wheaties boxes, sport paraphernalia...you name it and something famous is on the trademark.  $$$$

Okay, how about me and you...we're not celebrities but couldn't we have 'trademarks'?  I would think so...I began wondering what mine would be.  Ha, I ran thru' lots of thoughts..

I was out and about a couple of days ago; sat waiting to be picked up for my ride back to my place.  Lots of people wanted to 'help me'...then one cowboy walked by, smiled and said, "Have a blessed day. ma'am".  He left me with a big smile.  Good experience! 

Last night I sold a stamp to a new acquaintance; we're becoming friends.  Tried to just give it to her but she wouldn't take it unless she paid for it...so?  I accepted her money.

This evening I met a nice gentleman who is just 90, he told me many things about his life.  He's taking care of his wife and he said, "Today is the first day in a very long time that I've seen her face pain free."  Such a blessing.  We left each other smiling...good experience! 

A young TV tech was in my apartment this afternoon for quite some time.  That was due to his boss having him on long hold's several times.  The tech was very, very nice...still living at home.  We began talking about career opportunities; I mentioned Michael had served as Director for a hospital/school for children w/Spina Bifida and Cerebral Palsy.    He said, "My brother has CP from birth, he's now in his late 20's."  His brother's legs are badly crippled; he applies for jobs and when he goes for personal interview his handicap turns them off.  I'd give anything if I could help him; they've about exhausted every avenue for him and he's discouraged of course!  Difficult not to be; I'm going to pray for him.  We smiled a lot.

I want happiness and encouragement to be my trademark.  When I walk into a room, anywhere or anytime, I want to do it with a light...a smile that brightens everyone's moment.  I'm just one of God's ambassador's...just one and I am by no means a celebrity.  Gracious, I don't want to be seen as important.  

What I do want, is to be used...all of me by the time I die.  I'm reading a book, "The Last Arrow: Save Nothing For The Next Life".  Gives one something to think on.  

My sweet love, Michael, seems to have found his niche; his personality has always been based on serving.  Always serving.  His unhappiest times were the past two years when he felt lost...he didn't know or feel a calling for anything and he was miserable.

Such an unusual way to be called; serving in Memory Care...many of the residents don't know one thing from another but M is serving by shining God's light to all those he comes in contact with.  Hey, the staff can't miss him.  What is he leaving them with?  What do they experience if anything?  God only know but He is using Michael and M is a happy servant and is valuable.  And Michael is smiling at everyone...important. 


"The value of a man should be seen in what he gives
and not in what he is able to receive."
Albert Einstein

Okay, here I am...quite elderly...good grief, I'm old and as M says "Vasca, we're in the last quarter" and so we are.  Both of us want to be totally used when our time is up...we're trying.

I'm thinking about this as my calling card:
Vasca Beall
Smiling Encourager
At Your Service

Time is short, well it's flying so it's important that I do my best to use every bit of talent I have left for God's wishes...whatever they may be.  Whenever I encounter another person, no matter who, I want to smile and let them see God's light; the opportunity of a lifetime, who knows?  They might be encouraged...maybe pass it on?  Possibly!

I'm keeping my antennae up 24/7  'cause I never know when one of God's opportunities is going to meet me face to face and pow!  What an experience right?  Of course!  

From my smiling heart...to yours,

Vasca

Picture by Charles Schulz "Peanuts"