Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winding Down

This week at work I had the opportunity to visit several long term care homes. Two of them were "older" homes and one was pretty bright and shiny new. All three of them were filled with precious souls - sleeping, staring, wandering, thinking and waiting. They are at the end of their journey, they are winding down to the finish line.
This is a difficult topic for me. We live in a society with the glut of them being elderly. We do not have the resources in place or the finances to meet the needs of this group. We live longer.
It would be nice if there was a comfortable affordable place where everyone still felt needed and necessary, no matter what age.
Long term care nursing homes can be a place that is warm and comfortable, still provide a feeling of being a part society and have the structure in place to meet the physical care necessary for those winding down.
They can also be places where we feel, forgotton and unneccessary, where we are just waiting. They can be very lonely.
We could look after all our family members at our own homes - keep them part of the family. But this is not always possible. Many of us need to work and there is no one at home to care for those who need to be monitored on a full time basis. In fact the burden of care can wipe out a whole family, especially if dementia is involved. Most of us don't have the finances available to make this a reality. Some of the elderly really have no one left - they are on their own, living in drafty old homes or lonely apartments.
The older nursing homes I visited were cramped. Filled with people and paraphenalia. Some rooms having 4 beds in them - little old people all sharing a tiny space. The newer home was roomy and bright - at the most only two beds in a room. They even came complete with little "porch" areas built out into the hallway where one could sit and watch the goings on of their world. But the warmth and sense of belonging was prevalent in all of them. I met "Tootsie" a little dog in one of the older homes that trotted around, visiting everyone. I met Oscar a dashing young man in his younger days, still very bright. And I met a lovely old lady who didn't say much, just followed us around, clutching her doll tightly. She was looking after her baby and had her nails painted to match her dress. Some of these people had jobs that were very important to them; folding up food bibs, helping to sorting laundry, delivering mail to residents. Something, anything to feel useful.
The elderly, those winding down, are such a vital and necessary part of our society. One we need to look after and honour. I know this is what God would want us to do. The question

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Did It!

Well....It's finally happened. I've taken the Leap, the plunge, turned the corner, crossed the finish line whatever you want to call it.
I finally found a new frumpy sweater.
One that's warm with long sleeves to cover my poor wittle wrists and a working zipper.
One with pockets for my endless supply of kleenex.
One that is Frodo friendly meaning if I pick him up his claws don't become permanently entrenched and I can easily put him down again and not have a big 15lb cat stuck to my chest all day.
One that is big enough to put on over other layers and definitely fits into the frumpy description.
You may wonder what happened to old faithful, the original frumpy sweater. The one with holes in the pockets, only a 2 of the 6 buttons left on it and has paint stains on the back. I couldn't quite let her go so I lovingly gave her a good washing and stashed her in the back of my closet.'ll be great for future messy chores when I'm still trying to keep warm but don't want to get my NEW frumpy sweater covered in paint splatters or dead leaves or whatever.
NFS (New frumpy sweater) was purchased for a phenomenal price at Value Village. You can't put old wine in new wine skins ya know. I'm definitely verging on the well-aged old wine vintage so a well-used wine skin is what I was looking for.
I'm wearing my NFS now, it's working good, I'm ready for the next 10 years.

Friday, February 12, 2010

That Beautiful Smile

She had the most beautiful smile and lovely bright eyes. She was young and full of life. Her picture was everywhere you went smiling back at you. And we all wanted her to come home. Collectively,
In agreement
We all connected with Jessica. All the parents longed for their lost daughter to come back, all the children prayed for their missing sister, all the grandparents ached for their precious grandchild.
And when she was found a profound sense of loss, grief and anger blanketed the entire region. The day they announced on the news Jessica's body had been recovered in the woods near Tweed a friend of mine was shopping in the mall. She felt everyone looked in need of a shower - dirty, tired and oppressed.
We are a small, quiet rural region and murders of this type are shocking and unheard of. Even worse, the accused murderer, a sexual predator and serial killer lived amongst us for many months preying on other women and responsible for the murder of another woman, Marie, less than 5 months previous.
A man of authority, Commander of our local Air Force Base no less.
We are shaken to the core and our trust is shattered. For the moment a man in uniform instigates a knee-jerk reaction in me of suspiscion.
Are you really who you say you are?
I don't like feeling this way and I know in time it will pass.
Jessica is safe now. No one can hurt her any more. She will forever be 27 with lovely bright eyes and a beautiful smile.
I pray for the healing to begin not only for Jess' family but for the whole region, for all those who work in the Armed Forces and everyone else who diligently cried out, insisting this darkness be exposed and justice initiated.
We have a long road ahead of us and still many questions in need of answers.
"But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Father God, we need you more then ever - open your floodgates of Grace and wash us clean with your Love. Amen

Friday, February 5, 2010

February Fallout

First, let me congratulate all my fellow northerners for making it thus far through winter. In another 6 weeks or so, this will all be behind us! FYI - last year on Feb. 9/09 I spied my first Robin. Not sure if I will top that but if anyone sees/hears one, let me know. All in all, it's been an easy winter in Ontario. Only one major snowstorm (so far) and a few nasty cold nights but nothing we can't handle.
And yet, there is palpable tension in the air. We are getting restless and listless. We are getting antsy and (let's put our cards on the table) bitchy. At work with the office under the pressure of trying to meet budget deadlines my coworkers are on the edge. I want to clean, I want to do nothing. I want fresh air, I want to hibernate. There is no rhyme or reason - it's just February Fallout.
So, I'm going to keep my wits about me. A vacation in the sunny south would probably be a great cure-all but as that is not possible I'm going to count my blessings and remember to be thankful for all God has given and provided, another great cure-all.
Thank you God for my beautiful family,
My excellent health
My job
My very good friends
The hope and hint of spring - I'm looking for Mr. Robin who you are sending my way
Thank you God for so many blessings and your constant provision....I'm feeling better already.
Thank you God February is such a short month - obviously You knew what you were doing.