Monthly Archives: April 2021

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This morning the phone rang at 7 am. Dave was already up and meeting with his ‘Bible guys’ and I had thought, I might get to sleep a little longer, one of the most exciting things about being retired, but no… my daughter seems to love to talk before dropping her kids off at school and her workday begins.

I cleared my voice, and pulled off my CPAP before answering. “Hey Em, on your way to work?”

“No… almost out the door. I want to tell you something funny? You know I’m turning 38 next week.”

“Yep, our crab apple trees are almost blooming— they always remind me of your birth. Is turning 38 funny to you?” I thought to myself, gee whiz, my oldest is close to 40. That makes me feel…

She interrupted as usual, “No, but I feel like every day lately I’m turning into you and dad!”

“Just yesterday John just called me, Little Nanc, and this morning I told myself, I almost don’t want to go to Colorado next week because I’ll miss my peony bush blooming and it just makes me so sad inside.”

For the record, I’ve always had trouble getting Dave to cross the Illinois/Iowa border for fear that a bush would bloom without him present.

“Oh Em, that is a very, very serious problem you’ve inherited. But you can work on it because you are living in a state that has flowers most of the year, come on.” I sighed, loving that she is pretty much all her daddy’s girl. I suddenly asked, “Why did John happen to  call you Little Nancy?”

“Well, I don’t think I should say, you might get mad.”

Hmm…did you trip and roll your ankle? Did you put on something and attempting to squeeze your bod into clothes you should no longer be wearing? Did you sigh and moan looking for something in your junk drawer that was precious to you? Did you scream, hurry up, we’re going to be late and this family is never late!

I said, ” Come on honey, you’ve got to tell me?”

“Oh, I’ll tell you eventually, mom— I tell you everything. Love you, gotta go.”

“Love you too.”

In the background, I hear,

“Samantha, and Juliette — grab your backpacks, we’ve got to leave, NOW— You both need to realize that this family is never late !”

As I walked to the lake I smiled happily, humming, “cat’s in the cradle with the silver spoon— she’s grown up just like me.

Em’s tree, partially blooming will be all set for her birthday. Oh how I love this girl.

…going back, please

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I just want to, okay?

I want a time machine just back to when we could easily move my dad from place to place. When our little grands were littler and things just felt so black and white and not as confusing. To when we at least had one of our daughters living close, to a time when wearing masks seemed laughable.

That time machine would also go back several years to when refugees were easily brought to our country, and people desperately wanted to work with seniors who needed help navigating their final days on this planet. For two years we have been in caregiver crisis mode. My dad, Bob, is pictured with our daughter and girls only two short years ago before Christmas. He had had a big fall the summer prior to this picture, but only needed help in the morning, and at night in his home where he still lives independently.

That all changed this past fall. He went down after rolling his ankle, had surgery with pins and plates on his birthday, and a horrible rehab experience that didn’t allow us to visit for eight long weeks. His memory, his cognitive abilities are now so diminished. It has been so very hard. In the midst of this he has lost two extraordinary caregivers, one young man from Uganda and then another wonderful woman from the Philippines. After his hospitalization we have had a parade of people come and go for about three months. We have been living in caregiver crisis.

I can’t understand why our care organization can’t get someone steady and faithful to work with this sweet man who just needs help getting up and down from his chair to his walker. Our caregiver from Uganda was deported. Our caregiver from the Philippines blamed herself for his fall … she was not at fault. We begged and pleaded. All we want is a person to live with him faithfully, and treat him with respect and dignity.

And I am exhausted.

And I just want to see my kids and grands who live in other states (now that we have shot #2).

I know everyone says that refugees are complicated and difficult to bring into our country. This is true because our past administration drastically cut the numbers allowed. Many say that people from our country are out of work and we need to employ them first. I agree in part, however, from my perspective, it doesn’t seem like too many people want to care for needy 96 year olds either.

Refugees are trying to escape desperate situations— crave steady work, and have made the difficult decision to leave their beloved homeland. Many are ready, willing and able to offer companionship to the elderly, and hopefully our new administration will open our borders very, very soon. Many of us also want our country to wade into the murky waters, and offer a clear path to citizenship for the people in our land who have come illegally also.

On Friday, I met a new caregiver for my dad. She came to the states as a refugee during the genocide in Rwanda. I haven’t heard her entire story yet, but has worked with another older person for ten years who just died at age 109. The woman she cared for out lived her own three children. When I met with her she was still grieving the loss of her American mama.

By her words and countenance I could tell she was tender, respectful— full of love. I only pray that she will stay with my dad until the Lord takes him home.

PS If any of you are interested in helping with the refugee crisis there are many organizations that so this wonderful work. I am partial to these two: World Relief and my daughter-in-law works for Lutheran Family services. Check them out to learn more.

Spring Wildness

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SPRING—Geese.

Honking geese,

Hissing geese,

Red-tongue waggling geese.

I take aim with my laser pointer. The pair does not exit to water. Anger, springs.

I use words. Go to the island. That is your home. You are not welcome here. You are messy; you do not listen. You never fly south. You terrorize.

Now up close, I raise my wings, become large.

One sits solidly on the bank, but the other, raises up to his enemy,

Me.

Still determined I press forward eye to eye we face off.

I shoot the laser in his evil goosey eye,

He does not blink.

My arms grow weary. I fold them in front of me in praying surrender, and start to back away.

The two geese switch positions quickly,

As I continue to stare, I know there is only one reason they would switch positions.

Eggs,

Five fat eggs will be hatching,

Mama and Papa fiercely protect—

Spring, on Pine Lake.

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