Lesson #37: You Just Never Know

My mother slipped last week into a hypo-active delirium; she decided to stop eating and drinking. It all happened rather suddenly, and her physician thought it might have been precipitated by the flu shot. At first, I was angry, wanting to know what had happened to cause this decline. Then I realized it didn’t matter. … More Lesson #37: You Just Never Know

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Lesson #36: Letting Go, Letting Love

We were standing at the cash paying for some fun purchases – fluffy blue slippers with sparkly pompoms, a snazzy blue and grey poncho for cool winter evenings, blue plaid pajamas, she likes plaid – Mom may not be able to tell me what she wants or needs, but we still enjoy shopping together. … More Lesson #36: Letting Go, Letting Love

Lesson #32: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

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

Lesson #26: No Apologies Necessary

My mother is angry and I don’t blame her. If you were to wake up every day not remembering anything from the day before, if your home of 40 years suddenly looked unfamiliar, if there was a continuous parade of strangers hovering over you and asking you to do things, and if you couldn’t remember simple things like how to swallow a pill… well, most of us would be royally pissed off.  … More Lesson #26: No Apologies Necessary

Lesson #22: The Stink of Stigma

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

Lesson #21: Death Be Not Shy

As Joseph Campbell† and countless sages have pointed out, all human fears circle endlessly around the topic of death. Fear of anything is, ultimately, a fear of dying. Whether triggered by spiders, poverty, speaking in public or being alone, it all comes back to a basic fear of being separated from those whom you love and/or that which is most familiar to you, which is life. … More Lesson #21: Death Be Not Shy

Lesson #17: Help Help Help!

The other day I walked quickly before a rainfall to secure a lone taxi. I was just behind a man who, as it turned out, also needed the taxi. A rare gentleman, he asked me where I was headed and offered to share his ride. As we awkwardly made small talk in the back seat of the cab, I mentioned that I had moved to the area to care for my parents, both with dementia and Alzheimer’s. … More Lesson #17: Help Help Help!