“That’s my job!”

One of our newer residents has fairly advanced Alzheimer’s ; very little short-term memory, lots of anxieties. He is very pleasant, though some days hearing his life story for the 10000th time that day can be trying. Life is stressful for him. He was an RCMP officer for many years, used to being in control and taking control in an emergency. (If I drop a pan in the kitchen, he will quickly show up to see if I am all right, or do I need assistance.)   Earlier this week, Joseph (not his real name) had to prepare for chest CT. That meant drinking lots of water on a specific schedule and waiting for his family to take him for his appointment. All of this is hard on a person with dementia. Every 5 minutes he needed to know why he had to drink water, when he was being picked up, who was picking him up, what if he didn’t drink enough water, do I need to take all my meds with me….His anxiety level was climbing, and I was falling behind in my other duties at work. Finally, I sat down with him, again, and answered all his questions, again, and said “Joseph, listen. Making sure you drink enough water is MY responsibility. Making sure you drink it on schedule is MY job. I am responsible for making sure you get to the hospital on time for your appointment. ”

“But the doctor always needs to see my meds…”

“I have talked with your doctor, with the hospital, with diagnostic imaging, with your son. I know how much water you need and when you need it. All you have to do is drink it when I bring it to you. Your son knows what time you have to be there. I have talked with him. You do not need your meds. I checked about that.  The thing is, Joseph, I get paid for doing all those things so that you don’t have to worry about anything. Worrying about those things is what I do. You can relax. Everything is under control.”

“You’re sure you can handle it?”

“Yes, Joseph; I have everything under control. Just trust me.”

And you know? He actually did! For the rest of the day, he never brought up the matter once! He even told his son, when being picked up to go, not to worry, the boss has everything under control.

 

And then later that day, at home and going over the mental list of things I need to do, hope to fit in before my holidays, feeling just a wee bit anxious or stressed, I hear that still, small but authoritative voice reminding me:

” I’ve got this. Let it go. You are getting anxious over things that fall under My jurisdiction. Rest. I have everything under control. Just trust Me.”

So I did.

Thanks, Mom

Mom has been gone a long time. 😦 I can still hear her voice; I can walk past something in a store, or stroll past someone’s flower garden and think “Oh, mom would love that!” I miss my mom.

Because I am not scheduled for work on Mother’s Day this year, I gave a card to each of the women residents at work yesterday. A little later one of them came to me and asked if my mother lived nearby. I explained that no, mom had passed away many years ago.

“Oh, I am so sorry,” she exclaimed, ” You are so young we just assumed you would still have your mother. We have been talking and wanted to give you a card to give to your mother, to thank her for doing such a good job in raising you to be such a caring person.”

Thank you, mom.

Thank you ladies. You made my day.

 

 

As one year ends another begins

2015 is almost over. Three hours left of another year. Where has the year gone? In chatting with some residents at work today, the consensus was that time flies by faster and faster as a person ages. It doesn’t really, of course, but it sure feels that way.

We also talked about our great plans for tonight – New Years Eve. And how the event assumes less and less significance the more birthdays we have seen. All the residents planned on going to bed early and enjoying a good night’s sleep. Good plan! and I am quite sure they will follow through, There was a bit of discussion on whether or not they should all wake at midnight and ring the call bells to wish night staff Happy New Year! but I strongly suspect sleep will win. 🙂

As one year ends another begins. 2016 will fly by as fast or faster than 2015. It will be filled with days that are each 24 hours long – no more, no less. What fills those days is for me to decide.  A few weeks ago I was chatting with a dear friend ad he mentioned a very old book he has-a book of poems by Frances Ridley Havergal. Many of her poems have been set to music and are some of our classic hymns.  Tonight I share the words to one of those, and prayers that your 2016 will be filled with love and laughter, adventure and rest, and an even deeper awareness of God’s love and presence.

ANOTHER YEAR IS DAWNING

Another year is dawning! Dear Father, let it be, In working or in waiting, Another year with Thee. Another year of leaning Upon Thy loving breast, Another year of trusting, Of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of mercies, Of faithfulness and grace; Another year of gladness In the shining of Thy face. Another year of progress, Another year of praise, Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of service, Of witness for Thy love; Another year of training For holier work above. Another year is dawning! Dear Father, let it be On earth, or else in heaven, Another year for Thee.

 

Almost Home

dragonfly 007 dragonfly 008

My heart always takes an extra leap of joy, after being away, to see the first glimpse of home. Oh, not really home yet, but close enough that it looks like home and smells like home, and I know it won’t be long until I am home. As a child, that timing would be Kalamalka Lake if coming from the north or east, and the south end of Okanagan Lake when coming on the Hope-Princeton. These photos are taken as the bus came down off the connector this summer. When I was much younger, I remember looking for the Rainbow Motel when we would come to Kelowna to visit Grandma. I knew it was only one more street until we reached our destination. Grandma and Grandpa Switzer lived in Calgary ( technically outside of city limits still when I was very young) and Calgary was big, but when we passed the brewery I knew we would be THERE in only another 5-10 minutes.  I suppose wherever you live, your heart and mind set the marker for when it feels you are almost home.

As a child of God, and follower of Jesus Christ, I firmly believe that this is not really home; my citizenship is in heaven and I long to be there. Are there “markers” for when the time to go home is near? Well, not visual ones I guess. But I received news this evening that a dear friend could quite possible be nearing home. The news is hard to take. Painful to accept. Remembering how devastated I felt when dad called to say my mom had very little time left, I am praying tonight for my friend, and for her children and grandchildren. While still praying for a miracle, I recognize that sometimes the miracle is release from the pain and frustrations and limitations of this life to wholeness and freedom in the presence of our Lord.

Almost home.

The Storm

Night fell. And a storm blew in

Setting doors and windows shaking.

I hear the noise but I sleep on;

No sense in my awaking,

For I am safe here in my room,

In the shelter of man’s making.

The storm can’t touch me here.

Within my heart, a storm blows in

And in my mind, I’m quaking.

Tense and afraid, I feel as if

My battered heart is breaking.

“Come hide in Me,” my Saviour says,

“Whenever your soul is aching;

My perfect love casts out your fear.”

A favourite hymn

This past week, one of the residents asked if I had -on CD or cassette – the song ‘Sweet By and By’. Alas, I do not- or not that I have found to this point of time. However, enough of the residents figured they knew it well enough for us to try to sing it together. Surprising how many did know the words! It is a hymn that was sung fairly often in church when I was younger; haven’t heard it for years though. And I think that is a sad reality. As we draw closer to the “end of life”, we need reminders of the joys awaiting us, This is a song that does just that. Won’t sing it for you, but will share the words.

There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar,

For the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there.

In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore,

in the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore, the melodious  songs of the blest,

and our spirits shall sorrow no more, not a sigh for the blessing of rest…

To our bountiful Father above, we offer our tribute of praise,

for the glorious gift of His love, and the blessings that hallow our days.

In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore,

in the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.

GONNA BE A BEAR

One of my coworkers shared something with our residents this afternoon. Everyone enjoyed it so I will share it with you. No author listed – if you know the source please let me know. Hope this brings a smile to your face.

bears

Gonna be a Bear

In this life I am a woman.In my next life,I’d like to come back as a bear.

When you’re a bear,you get to hibernate.You do nothing but sleep for six months.

I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you are supposed to eat yourself stupid.

I could deal with that.

When you’re a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while

you are sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs.

I could definitely deal with that.

If you’re mama bear, everyone around knows you mean business. You swat

anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too.

I could deal with that.

If you are a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling.

He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat,

Yup, gonna be a bear!