My mother had an ingrown nail that, if not cared for properly, would curl and dig into her soft skin, creating conditions ripe for infection. I worried about that little nail, that little finger, that soft skin. I kept an eye on it, chided myself when I forgot to file it down, kept asking Mom … More Lesson #40: If I Had To Do It Over…
I watched my father at lunch last week, noting the grief etched onto his face, the shadow of sorrow in his eyes. It’s sad to see this 91-year old lion without his mate of 64 years. I get the impression he’s processing the loss of his wife a little at a time, because of its potential to overwhelm. Which is smart. And we are there for him, like spotters around a trampoline, our arms open. Helping him keep his routine, which includes lunch with his best friend every Friday. The two old cuties kept the chatter light and lively, a silent pact in the midst of grief. … More Lesson #38: How to Say Goodbye
I’m not good in a crisis. In my dreams, I’m this incredibly courageous woman who leaps tall buildings, laughing and bubbling with confidence. In my fantasies, I am an orator of note; able to express myself elegantly with witty wisdoms that make everyone shake their head in awe and agreement. In reality, I’m neither. I crumble with anxiety at the merest whiff of uncertainty, I cringe before the specter of responsibility, and I become tongue-tied and dumb with despair when confronted with a conundrum. … More Lesson #33: Crisis? What Crisis?
It’s not easy to share our health woes; there’s so much stigma in our cynical society. If you whine too much, you’re a hypochondriac. If you have something incurable, it’s all in your head. If you have something really wrong with you, you shouldn’t be out in public. Stop coughing and sneezing on us! Stop blocking the aisles with your wheelchair! Stay home, why dontchya? … More Lesson #32: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t
I want to dedicate this to mon cher Papa, who isn’t often the focus of my blog posts. He’s just so easy to care for that he factors less in the specificity of “lessons learned”, in terms of caregiving challenges. And yet I’m learning so much from him … More Lesson #31: Let Them Eat Cake
Happiness is a choice. Once you grasp the enormity of that, once you fully understand the implications of it, you can’t (and shouldn’t) let go. Because all throughout your life, at any given moment, in any place on this planet, no matter what the situation you find yourself in… you make the decision, consciously or not. … More Lesson #29: Hope Springs a Kernel
A decade ago, I had no idea what meditation was – beyond the ability to sit cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed. That in itself is a challenge for some people. And I admit that, even after practising meditation for almost three years (daily for about one year), I still don’t know what I’m doing. But I have come to realize the benefits of this activity, despite my ineptitude. … More Lesson #24: Sit Still, Be Quiet!
I’m putting myself right out there with other family caregivers today, and admitting that I’ve been fiercely protecting my “me-time” this month… those oh-so-valuable hours when I can push away my worrying, do something positive, take time to recharge, and shrug off the heavy emotions that weigh me down daily. … More Lesson #23: Guilt, Grieving and Giving In
I became interested in Zach Anner, an up-and-coming YouTube celebrity, because of my friend Christine. She, too, lives life from a wheelchair, diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Currently working on her autobiography, Christine’s memoir opens with “It was lonely being a child in a wheelchair. I was bullied.” In an online interview with Oprah, when asked to identify his biggest challenge, Zach makes a touching admission: “Figuring out that I’m worth this experience, because it’s hard for me to accept that I might deserve this.” … More Lesson #22: The Stink of Stigma
We think of love as an emotion. And it can certainly provoke a wide range of emotions, from the all-encompassing rosy glow of romance to the bitter burn of jealousy. But as the pioneering scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto tried to prove (still controversial, but amazing nonetheless), emotions are actually energy, produced in the form of vibrations. … More Lesson #20: Love is a Virus