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Archive for September, 2010

Aging leaves

When the fall comes and leaves change colour we are so taken with their beauty. And, they are truly lovely. I thought about what makes them so appealing. Of course, who can deny that the vista of reds, golds, orange, yellow, green shades truly create a unique palate of delight. It’s enough to take your breath away sometimes.
The truth is that the leaves are really in the last stages of their life. The ground is contracting and the life force is leaving them. Even as they dry out ready to fall to the ground in death, we see them at their most beautiful and vibrant. Why don’t we feel the same about our elderly. Their bodies are contracting into death, more rapidly as they age but they are still vibrant. Their hearts and minds hold so much knowledge and information. They deserve our admiration for the awesome contribution to this world and what we will lose of their life experience when they are gone. Not eveyrone writes an autobiography. Who will remember their lives?
After a long drive through country lanes bright with the shades of autumn, I attended a party where the oldest was 90 years old and the youngest just a few months.
The little one was often the centre of attention. He is delightful and engaging and yet our utmost respect should be paid to the elderly lady, well past even the autumn years of her life but still shiny and beautiful with all her colours glowing much like a very late harvest. Every time I see these shades of the changing seasons, I remember someone elderly who has taken the time to share a little of their life with me.

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I have never been one to take drugs. Hate what they do to me. I am not, however, against its appropriate use for others who need it. I have worked with women for years and seen the long and short term effects of abuse and mental health problems on thier lives. Clearly the safest and speediest choice is MD moderated medication. I am too chicken. Maybe I just didn’t need it but I could have been wrong.
I tried to drown my sorrows by drinking lots of water. It helped. I wasn’t thirsty anymore but I was still sad. I tried to write myself out of depression. That helped but then I became antisocial. Writing takes a lot of time away from human interaction. What to do?
I did my research to find people who were happy. What did they do?  The most pleasure seemed to manifest when people were eating and not just eating regular food. The most blissful personae seemed to be those who were devouring chocolate.  That had also been off my agenda.  I couldn’t let  go of the vision of devouring a delightful piece of chocolate.  There must be just the right chocolate for me.
In my research, I finally  found a product which fit the bill. I needed something round, to give the appearance of taking a pill….(psychological uplift).   I wanted something dark….(more cocoa – intense response).   I needed a  little treat at the centre….().  I thank the kind person who introduced me to the best resource.  My supplier even had an address close to home.
Ever tried those Lindt balls? Lovely. I will now take one or two, depending on the level of distress per day. To avoid taking an overdose, i asked my husband to dispense them daily.
Ahhhhhh! Definitely the better option for me.

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Signs and Omens

I do seem to spend more time writing than reading. I think I even spend more time buying books than actually sitting down to read, something which is troublesome but mostly due to work restrictions. Even if I only scan a book quickly, what is important is the message. I scanned a book about signs and omens. It would have been one of those that would have been lovely to read. I get its message. Really, just pay attention to things which happen in a day. There is always something to be gleaned from it, or something which will have importance.
Today, on one of my shortened forays into the big city, I did my usual round of hairdresser, dentist, shopping and just idly noting all the changes in my old neighbourhood. Towards the end of the day, when I dropped of my hubby for a long overdue haircut and I went to the Occult shop to browse for the 15 minutes it would take to trim his hair. By the end of the day, four things which hold some significance melded together in a message I need to assess.
In a newspaper my husband picked up earlier there was a story about the great Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila, my olympic hero. It was the anniversary of his olympic win. Imagine 50 years celebrated on September 10. How lovely to see this honour for him. Kip Keino would be my other hero. Their courage and stories were so inspirational to me as a young girl.
The Occult shop had an interesting book called Hekate Soteiro. It was expensive. I was told by the sales girl that it was Sarah Iles Johnston’s PhD paper. I had to buy it. Hecate is my current hero. Although not new, I noticed for the first time, the Crow’s Magick tarot deck. My book, The Will to be True/In the Shadow of the Blackbird depends heavily on the myths of the Blackbird, raven or crow in part two. An image of the crow sits on it cover. Finally, I have wanted to be a JP for a long time. I applied before and was not successful but they are looking for candidates again and I will try again.
Four signs/omens – things generally important or special to me. Where this is going I don’t know. Lately, I feel change, a need to retire from nursing and move into something else. Maybe all these signs are omens pushing me towards the realization that this is the time to make change.

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Grief and Loss

Recently, I was asked to prepare a talk for an upcoming workshop on Bereavement. It’s been a long time.   Back in the 1990’s, as a perinatal nurse and grief counsellor,  my whole existence seemed to revolve around helping mothers and families suffering from the losses experienced in the period from conception to birth. It was a challenging time for the parents to learn to live with terrible unexpected losses in the perinatal period. I can tell you that no school I ever attended was able to help me understand, and no loss of my own could put me in the shoes of another’s person’s grief.

I started in that job at the same time my mother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s. My own aching heart was sympathetic to all profound loss but not as empathetic to the loss of a child or the loss of potential inherent in giving birth to the perfect child, because that was not my experience.  I was, however a good listener and sensitive to the wave of feelings which overwhelm us when unexpected and final change happens.  As I listened and gathered stories, I understood that sharing those stories was a way of helping others.  A frequent question in the grieving process was any version of  ‘am I the only one?’
While preparing for my talk, I realized that  this opportunity to share, with the participants of the workshop, is a way of putting many of those stories back out there.  My hope is that the situations are unique to each individual but not unique to life.  It will help others to know that. 

 It also helped me to realize that their stories and my own triggered the desire to write as a way of healing.  The Will to be True was started at the time of my mother’s passing and finally completed as I learned to come to terms with the loss of a dear friend.
A while ago, I picked up a book called Writing as a Sacred Path. As an Ordained Minister, the title called to me.  Even more, the idea of serving the needs of the soul through writing and teaching appealed to me immensely. To ‘be the voice of human experience’  is indeed a worthy and immense responsibility but the learning potential, both for authors and readers, is vast.

My grief and loss will not leave me ever. Losing those I love to the finality of death is painful.  No circumstance will ever mitigate that final goodbye.  Yet, like the clients, patients and friends with whom I share this intensely personal fact of life, our ability to validate and learn from each other’s grief is the cornerstone of love.  

I have always thought of my book as a love story in which the characters defy the odds to find happiness.  Defying the odds is simply putting our grief and loss on hold and allowing trust and love to override its paralyzing effects and be the great healer.

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