Archive | December 2012

A New Year is Coming

Tonight we will say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013. Although the numerals will change, life as we know it will be the same when we awake in the morning. It is my hope, that we will look back to the harsh lessons of 2012 and move forward into the new year with renewed determination to end the suffering in the world.

Our government is proving it is broken as it nears the final hour before we leap off the “fiscal cliff”. Let that be a lesson to all of us that we cannot elect men and women to represent us and not tell them what matters to us. We have to make our voices heard and hold them accountable. And, we need to push harder for term limits so that when they fail to listen, we aren’t stuck with them.

Our society has its own problems and I hope that we will set aside our differences and concentrate on our sameness in 2013. We belong to one race, the human race, and if we do not start embracing diversity, we will remain divided and face a bleak future.

My wish for 2013 is that we will end judgment, oppression, and violence and spend our time finding solutions to homelessness, poverty, and mental illness. And, I hope we will begin to be good neighbors to those who live in our communities and in other parts of the world.

It is a lot to hope for but I am confident that we have not forgotten that the strength and ability lies within each of us.

I wish each of you the best that the New Year can bring.

Advertisements

Remembering Newtown, Connecticut on December 21, 2012

We Will Remember!

We Will Remember!

Tomorrow, December 21, 2012, people around the nation will pause for a moment of silence as we remember the horror of the senseless killing of 27 innocent people in Newtown, Connecticut.

Can it be, that only a week has passed since the news flashed across our televisions and computer screens? It must feel like a lifetime for the parents, the spouses, brothers and sisters, aunts, and uncles, and other loved ones of those lost.

If only this was the last of the violence. If only we would learn from this one so that no other family ever has to face such violence again.

As we pause at 9:35 AM (EST) tomorrow, let us all make a personal pledge to wake up, to accept our own responsibility for being concerned, caring, and active participants in the raising of our children in a more healthy and compassionate environment. Let us be a beacon of hope, a light in the darkness, and the voice of wisdom as we guide our children towards a more loving and charitable future.

As we remember, let us also remember the first responders, the medical examiners, the press, and, our elected officials who have also been so traumatically affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we pause and remember, let us also say a prayer for peace, a prayer for healing, and a prayer for the courage and strength to do better and do more.

Newtown Shocks a Nation

It’s been six days since 27 people died senselessly in Newtown, Connecticut and our nation is still reeling from the horror. Mainstream media has brought the faces and stories of those killed into our living rooms and made the tragedy even more personal. We turn on the television and there are the faces of beautiful, loving, and happy children or dedicated educators, all who had a bright future just a few days ago. Our shock and grief is real, as real today as it was six days ago.

One cannot help but be touched by the outpouring of love and support that has been shown to the community of Newtown, Connecticut. Hearing the stories of compassion shown by strangers warms the heart and reminds us that there is still more good than evil in the world. Stories like the 27 wreaths that were sent to the first responders from a family in Oregon or the arrival of nine Comfort Dogs from the mid West help to restore our faith in the human race.

Across our nation discussions are taking place about gun control and the problems in our mental health system. Now, we have to step up and own our responsibility to help create the necessary changes. We have to act as a community of concerned citizens and let our legislators know that we will not allow partisan politics to silence our voices. We owe it to the children, all our children, to hold our politicians accountable for making the necessary changes, whatever they may be. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye and think it is someone else’s problem. We cannot continue to think it’s not our problem.

While my heart is still shattered, I am hopeful and committed to have my voice heard. Are you?

The Shattered Hearts and Broken Minds in our Society

Like so many others around the world, my heart has been shattered by the events in Connecticut, where 27 people lost their life in a senseless killing.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t wrap my brain around how someone can brutally murder innocent children.  I can’t begin to understand how a family picks up the pieces after such a horrible tragedy.  But, they do.  

Something has gone horribly wrong in our society.  The idea that violence is the answer to our problems has got to be changed.  Violence is never the answer.  There must be an answer for how a young mind can become so terribly distorted that it sees innocent people as the enemy.

 

The human spirit is strong and resilient.  We will go on and some will push for new laws and increased awareness.  Others will reach out to comfort those who are hurting.  Life will continue even though for now it seems that it is standing still.  

 

If we take nothing else from this tragedy, I hope that we will all realize how fragile and short life is and that we will make a stronger effort to say “I love you” to those that matter to us.  I hope we will see that children, all children, are the responsibility of all of us.  And, I hope we will see that we have to change our priorities.  

We can’t go back in time and change what has happened but we have to change the way we go forward.  It’s the only answer in this sea of sadness.  

 

The Crazies

It’s been a couple of crazy days, so crazy that the only thing to do is laugh about it.  Trust me, it would be easier to cry.  

 

To follow up on my blog on the 12th of December, it was my “Other Dad” that showed up.  There were two physician appointments that day and my Other Dad was wired.  He was in a hyper-happy mood and he never stopped his silly chatter.  By the time I got him home, I was worn out.

Grooming is our biggest issue for the moment.  As the Alzheimer’s disease slowly steals my Dad, it is also stealing his ability to maintain his appearance.  He has become resistant to shaving and haircuts.  My Other Dad was disheveled and unconcerned and that, breaks my heart.  

His physician officially ordered my Other Dad not to drive anymore.  This was something we have been trying to accomplish for some time.  It would be easier to ask him to give up eating.  The past two days have been riddled with angry outbursts.  It is difficult to remember that this is not my Dad; not the Dad I have adored for almost 60 years.   

Thank God our family is close and supportive of each other.  This beast called Alzheimer’s disease is trying to devour us but it will not.  We will not let it.  

Anticipation

It’s going to be one of those days, I think. Yesterday was a bad day for my other Dad. That’s what I call the man that surfaces on a bad Alzheimer’s day. You see, my Dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease, still has some good days. That’s when I still call him “Dad”. On those good days, he’s fairly lucid and is easy to communicate with. But then there are the bad days, when this man I don’t know surfaces. This man gets angry and frustrated and is starting to have outbursts that just rip my heart to shreds. That’s why I call him my “other Dad”. I can’t think of him any other way because it hurts too bad.

My “Dad” is a gentle man. He has always been kind and loving and until the Alzheimer’s disease came to stay, I had never heard him raise his voice. This other man is someone I don’t know; don’t want to know but, he is living in my Dad’s body so I can’t ignore him. I still love him but I don’t really know him. He is the stranger that now lives with our family.

So today, my Dad has two appointments, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The change in his routine will create chaos and turmoil. I’ve learned to expect that whenever the routine changes. He will ask repeatedly where he is going, when, and why and, I will answer him repeatedly, as if he had never asked before. It’s just what we do now to keep things stable.

It’s early still and I think I will have an extra cup of coffee. This may be the last little bit of serenity in this day. This beast we call Alzheimer’s will determine the rest of my day and as it is always unpredictable, I am a bit anxious and just hoping that it is my “Dad” who shows up today and not the “Other Dad”. Venturing out into the world has become a liability and I won’t rest again until we have returned home safely and without incident.

    Click here to read about why Alzheimer’s disease can be a liability.

If you are living with this disease, this beast called Alzheimer’s, know that I am thinking of you today.

Thoughts on the holiday season ahead

Even though it’s only a few weeks before the Christmas holiday. I don’t have much to do – thankfully. Our family keeps it simple since my Mom’s stoke. We don’t exchange gifts anymore. Instead, each of us puts money into a fund that we donate to a local charity, as a family. We know how blessed we are and that gifts don’t make us any happier than we already are. But for someone who has nothing, a little help makes all the difference.

I don’t have to look very hard to see that there are a lot of families struggling this year. With so many lost jobs and rising prices, families are having a pretty hard time. Young children don’t understand why Santa can’t fill the space underneath the tree. They don’t’ understand that you can’t buy new lights for the tree to replace the ones that burned out last year when things weren’t so bad. Children don’t understand that look in a father’s eye when he hears them tell a friend about the new game they’d love to have but that he can’t afford. And, they don’t understand why Mom is so sad. She just doesn’t know how to tell them they won’t be able to travel to Grandma’s this year.

Yes, life is hard for a lot of folks right now. As the season approaches, I am reminded of those who have lost a loved one this year to illness or accident. It will be their first Christmas alone with all the memories of past seasons and happy times. This will be a lonely holiday. I find myself thinking of the elderly in nursing homes, lost in their old memories of times gone by. Will there be anyone to hold their hand on Christmas and offer a smile while listening to their stories?

My mind wanders today, to the soldiers far from home and the families praying for their safe return. And then there are the first responders, the medics, the firemen, the police, who will spend the holiday helping others while their families celebrate without them. I think of those that are sick, knowing that this will be their last Christmas with loved ones. How do you smile when your time is so short?

It would be so easy to be sad but I can’t be. I have so much faith in the human spirit; the goodness in people, and I know that around the world, people are reaching out to make the holidays a little brighter for those in need. As hard as things are these days, I am encouraged by the people I know who are generous and caring and who I know will be doing as much for others as they do for themselves. It gives me hope for the future.

The holidays will come and go but the compassion I see all around me will go on. It tells me that there is far more good in the world than evil and that is what feeds my dream of a brighter tomorrow for all the world. Yes, I am a dreamer but I’m not the only one.