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

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!

Fill-in-the-blanks Novels

My mother-in-law once told me that she’d like to try her hand at some pottery. Ceramics were quite popular at the time and she had thought of trying that, but she decided, “Ceramics is too much like a cake mix: add water; beat; pour into pan. The decoration is the only difference. I want to actually design something.”

Not long ago I got a list of several new books; among them was a blurb for a new cozy mystery. I read it and thought, “This sounds just like the write-up for dozens of other books I’ve seen.” I have to think of Mom’s comment about ceramics. The decorations change: names and professions vary; relationship to the detective and to the victim varies. Otherwise the blurbs are interchangeable.

Ditto with most romance stories written these days. (Another topic for another time.)

Just fill in the blanks and go:

Main character __________ (choose name, Nikki/Mikki/Kelli, etc)
a successful ___________ (profession, lawyer/ chef/baker/wedding planner, etc.)
discovers/hears about her ________ (client/ boss/ ex/ competitor/ neighbor)
_______ buried/floating/scrunched, in/at/on/into a ________.
Now she must team up with __________ lawyer/ male friend/ boss/ ex
_______ (name — Jake being the most popular by far),
to solve the mystery of who killed ______ (victim’s name)
before Detective ______  (name) a drop-dead gorgeous hunk/ grouchy bumbling misogynist arrests ___________ her/her BFF/her ex/her new boyfriend for the crime.

Our MC knows the detective’s set his sights on an innocent party, but someone has done it. So she must become an amateur sleuth (if she isn’t already) and find the guilty one before her efforts make her the criminal’s next target.

Like Mom with her preference for pottery over ceramics, I’m one who doesn’t care much for plots all coming from the same mold. I like originality.

I like stories with believable characters living their lives, where the crime (or romance) isn’t the be-all and end-all, the only focus of the main character. Where she has some life apart from interrogating suspects and ogling the hunky cop or irritating the grouchy one.

Another thing I applaud is a story with team work, rather than a one-woman show. And I dislike an amateur sleuth belligerently demanding answers from suspects — because it’s not believable. In real life people are going to clam up or blow up when pushed like that. Having suspects tell all under pressure may save a serious investigation, but it’s cheap melodrama; a writer sacrifices credibility.

That said, I plan to review some books I’ve read where the main characters lead interesting lives, that happen to include a mystery, a romance, or both. I’d like to lift out  some writers who, I feel, know their craft and avoid the stereotypes.

Short Time to Travel Together

One day a young girl on her way home boarded a city bus and took a seat. Mary enjoyed the ride for the first few blocks, but then a large lady sat down beside her, taking up most of the seat and squashing Mary up against the window.

Worse yet, the woman was hanging onto several big packages; these bumped Mary in the face whenever the bus jounced or the woman shifted in her seat. She was thankful when the woman finally reached her destination and got off.

Later she told her brother about her ride home and he became indignant on her behalf. “Why didn’t you just tell her she should move over and stop crowding you. After all, you were in the seat first.”

“Oh, well,” Mary replied. “We had such a little way to travel together. I thought I could bear it for that short while.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At times we feel we can hardly put up with certain people, co-workers or relatives. Their attitudes or behavior just grates on us. We’re all into the moment and think this will never end. Then in a short while they’re gone from our lives and we carry on, a bit relieved. Later we may even look back and appreciate some aspect of their personalities, or some lesson we learned from them. If we adopt Mary’s attitude, the ride can be less irritating.

In the end we’ll see that we had such a short distance to go together.

“Our understanding of how to live with one another is still far behind our knowledge of how to destroy one another.” – Lyndon B Johnson

A Morning Prayer

Surf and sand.OR.jpg

Heavenly Father, am I too satisfied with what I’ve already
learned of You? Am I too content to rest in the knowledge
I’ve already gained? Bless me with a thirst to know more
of Your will, to gain yet more understanding of your ways.
There’s so much more for me to learn
of the depths of your grace.

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven…The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.”
Job 11:7-9