Nursing Home Musings

I’ve been going through a lot of old papers stashed away for years, mostly unfinished symphonies. 😉 Among them was an even longer version this poem I’ve decided to edit and post. (I remember now why I never finished it before. 🙂 )

Having worked in seniors’ homes over the years, I’ve seen various sides to this issue. I’ve seen parents whose children do visit often, and parents whose children, for some (often valid) reason, don’t. I’m curious to know what you think as you read this senior’s musings. Do you think her complaint’s valid, is she forgetting how often her children do visit, or is she whining too much?

Where Are My Children Tonight?

I’m lonely tonight in this old nursing home,
wishing that one of my children would come.
The visitors passing glance down but don’t care
to speak to the woman that sits in this chair.
I see them arriving; they come with a smile
to visit their parents and chat for awhile.
I do hope my children come see me tonight.

I’d love it if one of my boys would drop by
to talk of old times, even just to say “Hi”;
or my daughters—they surely could think of their Mom?
But it seems so long since anyone’s come.
I wonder what they are all doing tonight?

When Dad passed away, the children were good
to come to the service and cry like they should;
they took care of the will and the funeral, too,
and they said, “Mom, don’t worry. We’ll look after you.”
Be nice if they’d drop in to visit tonight.

They said, “Mom, you’re too frail for living alone.
The best thing for you is a good nursing home.”
And then we won’t worry that you’ll get sick or fall
So they came to admit me and signed papers all.
I’m safe in this place, but where are they tonight?

When my children were little I was busy all day
I had so few minutes to hear what they would say.
Now I have all this time and would love to just sit
and gather my brood for a good long visit.
Oh, please let my children come see me tonight!

We gave them so much—all we could afford—
and I marvel to think of the money we poured
into their schooling, fed and clothed them for years.
Now they’re busy each day with their friends and careers.
No time to drop in on their mother tonight.

Do they think back with fondness on their childhood years?
How should I have raised them so they would be here?
Now I’m just an old woman sitting here in this chair
hoping they will remember and show proof that they care
for their mother and still come to see me tonight.

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What I’ve Learned

Yesterday I went through a lot of old papers I’d squirreled away — and did a lot of shredding in the evening. 🙂 Also keyed in a number of items, including the following. I’ve no idea who wrote it, but it sounds like simple, yet profound, wisdom for life.

I’ve learned that…

— you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

— it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

— you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

— you can keep going long after you can’t.

— we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

— either you control your attitude or it controls you.

— heroes are the ones who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

— money is a lousy way of keeping score.

—my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

— sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.

— sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

— true friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance. Some goes for true love.

— just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

— maturity has more to do with what sort of life’s experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them, and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

— your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t always biological.

— no matter how good a friends is, they’re going to hurt you every once in awhile and you must forgive them for that.

— it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

— no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

— our background and experiences may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

— just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean that they do.

— we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

— you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

— two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

— your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

— even when you think you have no more to give when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

— credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

— the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

Mr Google has helped me out yet again, directing me to a slightly longer version at this site: Roger Knapp.com

Books to Fall Asleep On

I read once that if you’re having trouble falling asleep, start reading a rather boring book. Then, of course, someone else disputed this. Take an exciting book that will hold your attention and get your mind off the events/problems of the day. What do you think? Have you followed either of these suggestions and found success?

After a day of heavy caffeine intake, last night I wasn’t falling asleep like I wanted to, so I thought I’d start on a rather boring book, The Man Who Was Thursday, by G K Chesterton. I’d picked it up one time and hubby suggested I read it, so I read the first chapter Wednesday in between bouts of rearranging the living room book cases.

(Is anyone familiar with the Father Brown mystery series by G K Chesterton?)

Chapter One started in that old-fashioned “proper English” style and I assumed it would carry on in the same rather boring manner. But it got rather interesting at the end of Chapter One — and by the end of Chapter Two I was hooked. This daring young Scotland Yard detective infiltrates a cell of British anarchists and gets himself elected to a very important post. He’s about to sail off and take his place in the “Inner Circle” of seven, each one code-named after the days of the week, the organization’s head being “Sunday.”

I didn’t read further or I’d have been awake all night finding out what happened to him! There’s a hint in the beginning that he thought from time to time about the girl he met in Ch 1 and that he met her again at the end of his adventure, so of course I’d like to know how that panned out.

In contrast I downloaded a free e-book last week and read the opening a few days ago. It starts off with this preface: a lonely, destitute old man, broken by life. But it wasn’t always this way. He thinks back to his youth as a gentleman’s son, to the times when he had everything going for him.

Did I want to read the book and find out the bad choices he made? How things went wrong, how he ended up in this sad state? Nope.

This is a decision an author makes, knowing that it’ll kill some sales. Some readers may be eager to hear the story. For me, if I know the ending why should I read the book? What about you? Does this kind of opening make you curious to read the book, or do you find it rather off-putting?

Back to the topic. I’ve rarely found fiction I could fall asleep on. I need something like an account of the life cycle of a miller moth, or a recap of the War of the Roses.

So I gave up on sleeping last night, rather turned on the computer and did more DropBox sorting. Normally a repetitive task tends to make one sleepy — except that I kept finding stories & poems I wrote some years back and have forgotten the names of. By 3am and after a hot chocolate I was ready to sleep.

They say not being able to sleep is part of old age for some people. It’s definitely hit me. 🙂

Housekeeping the DropBox

Good morning, World!

I woke up very early this morning — 3:45 to be exact — and finally got up just before 4am. For the past few days I’ve had a cold and have been taking medication to clear up my sinuses. Makes me sleepy in the daytime and I had a couple of long naps yesterday, so I guess it’s fair if I can’t sleep the whole night.

Of course as soon as I was awake, so were the cats, and Pookie wanted to go outside. Yesterday was a milder day, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt him to take a small jaunt outside. But when I opened the door I felt something you don’t want to feel here in February: rain. More like spitting than real rain, but enough to give the roads a nice coating of ice.

The rain has since turned to snow. Checking with Environment Canada I see the temp in Saskatoon is -1C or 30F right now and supposed to drop a couple of degrees during the day, so I’m very glad we don’t have any place we have to be early this morning.

I didn’t get up and start the vacuuming or the laundry, such as one might do. I’ve rather spent the last three hours doing housekeeping in my DropBox files. Over the past six years of blogging I’ve amassed this huge assortment of poems, stories, articles, etc. — and I’ve filed them all by name. Note to new writers and bloggers: this is a NO-NO — unless you don’t write that much or have a fantastic memory.

I’ve spent precious hours searching my thousands of files for a story or poem I once wrote, either to reblog it or to include it in Silver Morning Song — and never could find it. The fact that I have 300-400 haiku mixed in among all the other files hasn’t helped. Maybe a year later I open a file with an unfamiliar name, and here’s the thing I was looking for. Why did I name it that?

So for the past month or so I’ve been renaming all my files — with category first. That way I know if I’m looking for a poem I’ll find it in POEM, the stories I wrote are all in the STORY section, articles in the ART section, etc.

Oh, to have done this all along! As the old saying goes, “Little and often makes a heap in time.” Take a tip from one who’s learning her lesson late in life: when you don’t do that little bit of organizing every day you end up with a big heap to sort through.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” may be an old cliche, but the older I get the more I see the golden glow in this wise advice. I’m battling memory loss now as well as general clutter issues, which means I spend far too much time wandering around the house looking for something I need RIGHT NOW, trying hard to remember where I last used it.

So I consider the past three hours time well spent and I haven’t made a lot of racket to wake my husband up. My next organizing project is to redo our two main bookcases with books placed alphabetically by author’s name instead of loosely by topic. (Yesterday I resolved to get started with this project, as I was looking for a book by Francis Schaeffer and couldn’t spot it on the shelves.)

It’s 8am now and the sky has turned a pale blue. So nice to see our daylight hours getting longer! The snow is fine, but it’s really coming down. Now I’ll go have breakfast and then probably take a long nap before I tackle any more housekeeping. (I did. 🙂 )

Note:
When I went to post this, I discovered we had no internet. 😦 (Heavy clouds often block our internet access!) So, better late than never…

Enjoy Inspirational Romances?

To whom it may concern: 🙂

I’ve just received an e-mail from an author I follow, informing me that she and a number of others have gotten together to host a Book Giveaway via BookSweeps. As a tribute to Love, Hearts & Flowers, they’re giving away 35+ inspirational romances. If you are interested in entering your name or just checking out the site, Here’s the link: BookSweeps

Scrapping

Sparrows

They squabble like humans,
these sparrows tussling over
fallen seeds under my feeder.
Silly birds! They can’t comprehend
a big bag of feed in my garage

poured out fresh daily,
Food for all, yet they threaten
and buffet each other;
little warlords disputing division,
eyes fixed on the last crust,
while fresh loaves brown in the oven.

As if there’ll never be enough,
as if each one must have it all
or starve. Or do they simply enjoy
scrapping? So much like people!

Other Side of Nowhere

Book Review

THE OTHER SIDE OF NOWHERE
by Max Allen

In this book wildlife biologist and photographer Max Allen takes readers on a naturalist’s journey into the prairie, sagebrush, and sandstone cliffs around the Yampa River, a 250-mile long tributary that squiggles its way westward across northwestern Colorado to join the Green River in Utah.

According to the writer, the Yampa “is one of the very few rivers in the area remaining un-dammed and free flowing. The river offers many recreation opportunities from rafting to fishing, and of course wildlife watching and photography.”

Mr. Allen includes with his photographs descriptions about some of the settings where he took them, plus camera details. As he writes in his notes, most of the animals he’s photographed are not unique to that area, but he’s gotten some great shots of them living their “everyday lives.” For my part he could have included more about his own involvement in that region, too.

I found the book very well edited and would recommend it as a coffee-table book, gift for a nature-lover, and a nice addition to a reference library.

In the fall of 2015 I received a free copy from The Story Cartel in exchange for my honest review, then purchased my own copy. This Review is reblogged from Christine’s Reflections post, Dec 3, 2015.

Max Allen has since put out another photographic journey, also for sale on Amazon:
The Itinerant Photographer: Photographs from Five Years of Wandering with Wildlife and the Stories behind Them