Monthly Archives: August 2013

Death

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DEATH

white-feathers-to-reflect-sunlight

“maybe death

isn’t darkness, after all,

but so much light

wrapping itself around us –

as soft as feathers –”

(quote from “White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field” by Mary Oliver)

     Catherine lay in her own bed, wearing her favorite nightgown made of mauve colored satin that complimented her silver hair and caressed her delicate skin.  A thin tube wound from her nostrils to a canister of oxygen beside the bed.    Earlier that day she’d insisted on turning off the oxygen and smoking one of her slim cigarettes, saying, “I’m dying anyway.  Why should I deny myself now?”

A week earlier she’d telephoned her daughter Helena and urged her to come for a visit.  “It’s time,” she announced, as if she were hosting a dinner party and about to ring the silver bell she kept on her cherry buffet to signal the serving of the meal.

Helena responded without hesitation, “I’ll be there, Mom. Just let me know what I can do.”

The following day, Catherine heard the hospice nurse, Betty, greeting Helena.  “Your mother’s resting now, so let’s have a seat in the kitchen and I’ll fill you in on her condition.  She’s been talking about you so much; I feel I already know you.”

Catherine glanced at the papers on her bed stand detailing the expensive policy she’d purchased for home health care several years earlier.  She recalled feeling happy she had the financial resources to do something to remove the worry and burden of her care from her children.  Now, she fumed, the company claimed she didn’t qualify for service because the nurse who’d assessed her a month ago reported her capable of independent living.

She hadn’t realized an affirmative answer to the patronizing questions about her ability to fix her own meals and attend to her own toiletry would disqualify her from receiving support. The nurse talked to her as if she was an imbecile instead of just being elderly. The condescending attitude irritated her, so she’d done her best to appear competent.  Evidently she’d overdone it.

Of course”, she mused, I didn’t realize I was going to die so soon.  It’s my first time.  She giggled softly to herself and thought Helena’s a lawyer; she’ll get them straightened out. 

Fortunately her doctor, Max, was an old family friend who supported the Hospice concept.  He’d assisted her husband, a fellow physician, in achieving the dignity and comfort of dying at home, in this very bed.  Now he was supporting her with the required pain medication and physician orders for Hospice care which included home health services.

When her husband was dying, Max had explained, “Death is very much like birth, a natural transition and doesn’t always call for a hospital.”

She’d discovered several of the Hospice nurses had worked on the maternity unit before changing to this less institutionalized position. Betty had told her this morning, “Maternity is about bringing a new life into the world, while Hospice helps people go through to the other side. It’s like a mirror image of the birth process.”

Now, Helena lay on the bed beside her and talked of the past in soothing tones. “Mom, remember when you used to make bread from scratch? It smelled so good. I loved sneaking pieces of dough while it was rising, just because you told me not to. I think you knew all along, because you always put the bowl on the floor vent where I could reach it.”

Catherine’s eyes filled with tears of joyful remembrance, she could feel the texture of the bread dough on her hands as if it was yesterday.

“How about some music mom?”  Helena found an oldies station on the radio and the sound of the Glen Miller orchestra stirred more distant memories for Catherine. Closing her eyes, she pictured herself gliding across the dance floor of the Queen Mary on the arms of … Who was that young naval officer she’d flirted with? He’d looked so handsome in his uniform, she was sure she was in love.

On the wall near her bed, Helena had hung several paintings, ones Catherine created herself.  She studied the intertwined gray and white doves that reminded her of the strange, trancelike sensation she’d experienced when she created it. She also remembered the fuss her husband made when she was invited to study in New York with a well-known artist. He’d given her a choice – either turn down the offer and stay married; or go to New York and get a divorce.

She’d opted to stay married, but how many times over the years had she felt anger boil inside her, anger from the frustration of wanting to explore her own talent and be a wife. The doves represented the struggle she’d felt.

Things had changed for the better in this new century. Helena had a stimulating career outside the home, and Helena’s two lively daughters didn’t even acknowledge the word NO. Catherine smiled again, remembering little Cathy’s words: “Grandma, I’m going to be the first woman president.”

Later that day, Catherine felt the pressure of Helena’s hand on hers, but her mind drifted in a timeless sea of memories.  At last she heard her own voice cry out a single word, “Mamma!” and her breathing changed to tiny gasps and watery rattles.

As Catherine inhaled her last breath, she sensed movement. She looked down and saw the startled smile on her daughter’s parted lips – just like when Helena was fresh born, taking her first breath.

White_Feathers_by_DemonKabuto

I wrote the above story several years ago and included it as the final chapter in my book – The Spiral of Life.

Since this month marks the anniversary of my first year’s blog about life after 60 and envisioning death is part of living  life, I am reproducing it here.

I am grateful to the women in this story who have contributed to my vision.

MOLSON REPORT

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MOLSON REPORT

Last report filed 06/08/2013 (https://gypsy4joy.com/2013/08/06/molson-on-the-go/)

Molson at door

GREETINGS ALL

         It has been a very productive August for Clan members.

I recently observed the installation of a flowing fountain that provides the soothing sound of falling water 24-7.  It put me into a deep meditative state.

Molson watching faoutain

Molson under plant

         I have also observed and recorded the laying out of a harvest feast of fresh vegetables.  I’m keeping the beets warm.  Note the abundance of butter.

Molson on beets

         Corn on the cob is a distinctive North American dish.  In Europe it is reserved for the farm animals I’m told.  I’m not sure if Canadians partake of this delicious dish.

Corn

         A New Mexico clan member recently added a basil plant to her garden yesterday.

Basil 1 New Basil Plant

         She fertilized the plant with worm tea brewed by her neighboring sister. The next day the plant had matured significantly and put all Texas tall tales to shame.

Basil 2 Second Day – after treatment with worm tea

         The sister in possession of the miracle growth plant was incredulous.  She suspected shenanigans from her daughters and nephew but was convinced of their innocence by their poker faces.  Finally, after she was observed calling the Pope to report another miracle in New Mexico, they confessed.

        The moral of this story is that you cannot measure success in inches.

I’ve requested a shipment of worm tea from NM.

Keep laughing,

Molson Reporting

Paper or Plastic

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Paper or Plastic

 CreditCardorCash 

 Remember when customers were given a choice at the grocery store?

The first time I heard a cashier chant ‘paper or plastic’, I thought he was asking how I was going to pay for my purchases.  Paper would indicate real money – cash and plastic was a credit card.   The question, though, was not about preferred payment method but how I wanted my groceries bagged.

Paper-vs-Plastic

         Some considered paper the natural green choice.  Others felt it increased the slaying of trees.  Plastic was shunned due to its harmful properties – it wasn’t natural.   I could never figure out all the arguments to consciously act –  So I gave each choice equal opportunity.

Imagine my surprise last week when I was not offered a choice of bags or even the use of a bagger.  My purchases lay sprawled on the counter waiting for me to claim them.

grocery_checkout

         The cashier had already diverted his attention to the next customer when I asked if the store was out of bags.  The look on his face was condemning as he informed me I was required to pay 5 cents for each bag.  It was the law.

earthquake

         How did I miss this change?  I couldn’t recall paying for bags before.  The simple encounter felt like an earthquake exploding my carefully constructed world into fragments.

What else has disappeared from reality?

CONNECTION – Linking Of People Or/And Things

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CONNECTION – Linking Of People Or/And Things

bunch of computer cables with sockets

         Big things like TVs, computer CPUs, digital cameras, and mobile telephones connect the world or so I believed until yesterday.

Last evening my streaming video of Stargate SG-1 abruptly stopped.  It had worked for the last 6 months allowing me to view content from my computer to my TV.  I had purchased all the parts – computer, cable modem, and TV from a National supplier with excellent warranty polices.  I had a guaranteed connection.

The TV monitor gave a hint of the problem.  It stated that my connection was no longer available and suggested I check the cables.

20 minutes later, I had unplugged and reinserted every cable visible with no solution.   The next step required communication with the retail store.

 Telephone call

            They said I needed to call the manufacturer despite my verification of purchase and refund rights.  The manufacturer gave me a claim # and told me to go to the store for a replacement part.

Driving-visibility

         Two hours later, I presented myself with connector cables and claim # in hand to the store.  The clerk verified my previous purchases again and gave me a new connector without testing it or asking for my claim #.

DRIVING

An hour later I returned to the store paper work and connector in hand.  It didn’t work.  The new clerk informed me I would need to bring my computer unit in to test the connector.

driving 2

         Two hours later after eating dinner, I returned with the connector and my computer.   The clerk tested it on their TV and concluded that it was working OK.  Therefore, the problem must be in my TV.

computer-tv

The Suspects

         An hour later I returned with my connectors, TV and Computer. The signal still did not go through.  The clerk determined that it might be a different connector part – the actual cable – that was at fault and sent me off to find a replacement.

IT WORKED.

         The clerk reported experiencing similar problems with connection cables, even new ones.  The cost of replace was ZERO $, four human connections and seven hours of my time.

Things to consider:

  • Without the ability to connect the ‘big things/people’ do not function.
  • Warranty polices (written contracts*) do not guaranteed continuous connections.  (* Examples include marriage vows, employee contracts, academic diplomas as well as electronic cables.)

72 hours in Phuket – Not just a beach vacation: August 2013

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Delightful blog that expresses my feeling as well re: travel.

The Wanderlust Carousel

I typically enjoy a beautiful beach destination, as I find the water and sand to be the most replenishing.
– Elizabeth Berkley

With a super 4-day long weekend looming, it was too tempting not to go anywhere. I decided a beach vacation was exactly what I needed. Phuket seemed the best choice after witnessing a dream wedding there.

So in an impromptu chat with a girlfriend who also needed the ‘I want to get away, away and away’ holiday, we literally chorused, ‘Let’s just go’. Before we knew it, we were booking air tickets and it was not easy since it was a rare marriage between 2 public holidays and the weekend and the whole island was practically going away for short getaways in Asia. But it was really too good to miss!

I intentionally avoided Patong Beach where the action was. I chose a resort on the quieter Kamala…

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Cultural Revolution – Thought Illusions

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Cultural Revolution – Thought Illusions

thinging-bubble

         Imagine memorizing large amounts of material to pass your educational institution’s final examination.  A passing mark will secure you employment and future prosperity.

Now conceive of circumstances that reveal everything you have learned is false.

What do you feel, think, and do?

Does this read like the plot to a Fantasy novel?

         Years ago, on an academic trip to China, my “guide” told me this personal story.  The Cultural Revolution had produced many state sponsored books with stories consistent with the current social culture.

nihaocapitalists

     After the Revolution, there was a transition period of rewriting educational material.   My guide was caught in the gap.

During the same trip, I was asked to ‘teach’ classes to the University students.  One of the topics presented was “How do you teach infant care?”  My first impression of the assignment was to produce a list of actions required in infant care. The medical director quickly dissolved me of this interpretation and refocused my thoughts to the “HOW DO YOU TEACH” request.

One of the side effects of the state run education was to discourage collaboration of thought and admittance of problems resulting in an inability to synthesize information.  In other words the state system had discouraged critical thinking.   Students at the University level were able to repeat word for word from their text and lectures.  They were able to pass the state run exams, but they were NOT able to pass some of the Western style National examinations.

The students did not require more information.  They needed to learn ‘how to’ acquire information’.  Least you blame China for a repressive system, remember it was the Medical Director requesting my intervention.

Within most cultures, including the USA, there exist similar ‘Red Books’ on cultural approved topics that inhibit critical thinking.  Hopefully our institutions are also filled with Directors willing to be the change needed.

change-process-yoga

RETIREMENT – The Invitation

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RETIREMENT – The Invitation

happy_retirement

The land of retirement always seemed like an illusion, a state of being that had certain requirements I could not fulfill.

I had tried on other states of being through the years such as student, wife, mother and nurse – midwife.  I struggled to fit in each but always felt as if part of me was extending outside the pattern.  It was not comfortable.

tight-clothes

          As I aged, I sought to create something different by changing my employment circumstances.   In other words, I focused on my environment to relieve the constriction.

         I worked in a variety of settings – prisons, rural and foreign countries, part time, temporary, public and private institutions. Finally, my last place of employment asked me to do something that violated my core beliefs and I joyfully resigned.

confusion

The world I thought I knew became incomprehensible.

Ball_of_confusion

         Out to the confusion came the strange attractors of Quantum Consciousness (giggle) leading me to the state of Retirement.

The Retirement I thought I knew with all its requirements of financial resources and struggle faded.  Quantum Consciousness displaced my beliefs and presented alternate views.

Click to read about one example http://homefreeadventures.com

Now I know Retirement is a climbing out of old patterns – an opening to new ways of being.

constriction

I embrace Retirement and flow in its natural contours.

Come join me.