My stepmom, Jinny, passed away Sunday. She was 94. Just 6 months shy of her 95th birthday. I haven’t cried. I don’t cry anymore. Haven’t for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss her. I do. She was a part of my life since I was 8 years old. Even though I really didn’t get to know her until I was 40. She was kind and caring, strong and stubborn. She said what she felt and spoke her mind. She made tough decisions and lived with her choices. She lost her son to the Vietnam War and she gave her daughter up at birth. She stole milk off of people’s porches to feed her son and hoped that by giving her daughter up, her daughter would have a better life. Thankfully they found each other and reunited. They got to know each other and learned to love.
She enjoyed cooking and keeping her house in order. She knew how to play the piano. (Something none of us knew until a few months ago.) She liked tending a garden and going fishing. My dad and her loved to travel and they visited Hawaii, Alaska, and Germany, among other places. They both loved to go camping.
Jinny suffered a series of strokes in 2005. They didn’t leave her paralyzed, but they did affect her motor skills, speech, and swallowing. It was heartbreaking for her but she pushed on. She also had Macular degeneration disease and was about 90% blind. Which hurt her the worst. Jinny was talented in many areas, but her greatest talent was an artist. She was a painter and she painted many beautiful paintings.
I think one of Jinny’s biggest accomplishments was being married to my dad for almost 50 years. Now that’s an accomplishment!
May she Rest in Peace and be reunited with my dad and their dogs, Heidi 1 and Heidi 2.
I will miss you, Jinny.
I will sign off and wish all of you a great night.
See you soon. Hugs till then.
Virginia L. Marcus
7/7/1923 to 1/7/2018
It was the night before New Years and all through the house the creatures were roaming and scaring the mouse. Which caused mom to run screaming right out of the house.
The threadbare stockings, now empty of Christmas cheer, still hung from the mantle waiting for next year.
The moon was full and bright on this cold winter’s night, as I took my place on the couch to the right.
The reveler’s cups were filled with a spirit or two, but not the scary kind that jump out and say boo.
There was a boom and a bang and the dog yipped as if it were in pain, but it was just the illegal fireworks going off again.
They started the countdown as the ball began to fall and when it hit bottom they began to shout, “Happy New Years to all and 2017, it’s time to get out.”
We all have the power to make our own choices in life. We choose what to wear, where to go, who we see, and what we think is best. Not only for ourselves, but for others also. And our choices have ripple effects. We think that whatever choice we make only affects us, but that’s not true. We never know where our choices will take us or what effect they will have in the years to come.
Recently, my oldest son got into some trouble and at first, I was upset by the choices he had made, but now I blame myself.
I taught my son’s from the time that they were about twelve years old that there are some things that mom just can’t fix. I wanted them to tow the line and be responsible for the choices they made.
My oldest son was diagnosed with leukemia three weeks before he turned eleven. Having a child with cancer is traumatic. As a parent, after the initial shock of your life being turned upside down, you find you have to keep moving forward. You still have to work. You still have to clean the house, do the laundry, and cook. If you have other children they still have to be taken care of. They need you too.
All you want is for your child not to be sick and not to be in pain. You want them to be healthy again. And you make the choices to do everything possible to make their life easier. You worry about them. You pamper them and you spoil them. You want them to live.
But you can’t do everything. Some parents get counseling, some don’t. Some parents just walk away. And even though this is traumatic for us, it’s even worse for our children. My son has always been ashamed of having cancer. To him, it is a stigma. Maybe he feels as if he was being punished for doing something wrong. I don’t know.
What I do know now is that he should have had counseling to deal with the emotions he was going through. In fact, I think it should be part of their protocol right along with chemo, radiation, blood tests, spinal taps, and bone marrow aspirations.
The parent hurts for the child, but it’s the child who has to go through all of this. Even if you are right there by their side, they are still going through it alone, and that is the major reason for them to get counseling.
My son isn’t the first childhood cancer survivor to get into trouble and I’m sure he won’t be the last. And now I believe that it’s very important for them to get counseling while they are going through their treatment. Will it help? I’m not sure. But it’s a choice I wish I would have made.
I will end this with my philosophy, “Treat every day as a new adventure because you never know what tomorrow might bring.” It worked for me 30 years ago and it still works today. It keeps me strong and keeps me moving forward.
And I’d like to add to it as we leave 2017 behind. “Take one day at a time, stay strong, keep the faith, be careful what you wish for, don’t make promises that you can’t keep, and make your choices wisely.”
I will see you all in 2018.
Hugs till then!
Happy New Year!
I have been working on a children’s book series titled, Kiley’s stories.
The first book is out and it is, “Kiley Wished for a Puppy”
This is a new experience for me. And I am finding it to be a lot of fun! So now I am working on the second book in the series titled, “Kiley Visits the House of Mirrors”
Not sure exactly how I want the cover yet, but here’s a preview.
I found this version a little plain so I added a tree. But my biggest critics (my sons) say it needs to be different. So I will keep trying different ideas.
So we will see. 🙂 I will keep you posted.
Hugs till next time!
Today I want to talk about journalists and the news media. Growing up I learned a valuable lesson about not believing everything you read or hear about in the news. As a child, my family lived next to a freeway overpass, and the off-ramp ran parallel with our yard. Many times cars would come speeding off the freeway lose control on the ramp and roll down the hill, landing in the culvert.
My mom had a favorite story that she would tell about one of those times.
A woman lost control of her car. It rolled down the hill and landed upright in the ditch below. Her windshield was blown out, her car banged up, and the tires flattened. (Thank God this was in the 60’s because cars were made a lot sturdier back then.) The car that had been behind her stopped, the gentleman jumped out and ran down the hill to see if she was okay. My mom had heard the crash, ran outside and saw the car. She ran back in and called the fire department. (There were no cell phones or 911 back then. ) The man who had stopped helped the woman out of the car, and she laid down in the ditch in front of her car. Why she took her shoes off, I haven’t a clue, but the man placed the woman’s shoes on the dash of her damaged car. The emergency vehicles arrived and a journalist from the newspaper.
We were a small town and boy if anything happened reporters were there. (Police scanners, maybe?) In the paper the next day the story read, (I can’t quote the story, word for word. This is just the basic gist of it. Besides it happened almost fifty years ago.)
Woman loses control of her car and rolls down the embankment landing in the culvert below. Being ejected through the windshield and landing in the ditch, her shoes were ripped from her feet and lay on the dashboard of the car.
Okay, well we know that isn’t how the story went, but evidently, journalists like to make it a little more exciting. And it sold papers, right?
I always thought that journalists were supposed to give the facts. Investigate, interview, dig a little deeper, and write the true story. But throughout history, it seems that stories are embellished and sensationalized to get readers attention. They don’t even bother to get both sides of a story, good or bad; they just run with it.
And in today’s world of the internet people are tried and hung out to dry based on just one journalist’s opinion. Frankly, I thought that a person was innocent until proven guilty.
Now you know why President Trump bans certain reporters and news agencies.
But this isn’t about him it’s about all of the people everywhere. People whose lives get turned upside down just so a reporter can get a story or a newspaper can earn a buck or two.
One last thought. My heart goes out to all the people whose lives have been impacted by the California wildfires. Their lives have not only been shattered by the fires, but also from the news agencies showing their houses burning to the ground.
That’s it for now. Hugs till next time.
Dad passed away in November 2017 (Can’t believe on the 22nd it will already be a year.) and my step-sister moved Jinny to Oregon at the end of April this year. My oldest son said he didn’t want Jinny moving to Oregon and when I asked him why he told me he didn’t want me going through what I did after my mom passed away. Frankly, I never knew he noticed. You see after my mom died, I went through a deep dark depression. But I reassured my son that I had plenty of things to keep me busy. Things that had been set aside while I was busy taking care of dad and Jinny.
I started writing this post months ago. As for wasted time, well, there have been days. 🙂 But, other days have been good and productive. I am still working (procrastinating) on “Wisps of Words”. So close and yet so far away. Or so it feels.
I also wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book. Oh, the trials and tribulations of that! Right now I am waiting for the proof in the mail. Oh, the waiting is so hard! I only ordered it yesterday. Haha! Being the first time at attempting a children’s book, illustrations, formatting, worrying about getting it right, is stressful! But! I have high hopes and goals for Kiley. Kiley is my creative baby with many stories and adventures. And I’ve learned a lot and yet have so much more to learn.
But I still find myself wasting time. Staring at the walls. Even though my brain is still going full force. Taking a nap. Wandering around and procrastinating. Putting everything on hold and not accomplishing anything because I know I should be working on ‘this’ and not ‘that’ and yet my heartstrings are pulling me towards ‘that’ so I don’t work on anything! Do you have days like that?
Well, anyway. let me introduce you to Kiley and her story about how she wished for a puppy.
Hope everyone is having a productive day! Did you remember to turn your clocks back? Happy Sunday!
I will return! Hugs till then!
Back on October 2nd. this year I created a Go Fund Me page. You can find it here.
My goal was (and still is) to raise $10,000.00 to help pay for caregivers so my dad and step-mom, Jinny, could stay at home until after the holidays. I thought that if all my facebook contacts, twitter followers, and family and friends donated just a dollar each, I could come really close to my goal.
And then my computer crashed.
Just before that I had written a post titled, Dementia and in that post I had told you about my dad being in the hospital and that they had to tie him down. Must have been a horrible experience for him. I took pics with my cell phone of his hand over a week later and want to share them with you.
My dad passed away last night at 10:09 pm. He went peacefully in his sleep. He was at home under the watchful eye of loving caregivers. Caregivers who have become part of our family. But now, I need to reach that goal more than ever on my gofundme page. Jinny still needs 24 hour care and with dad’s passing she will lose half of his social security, the Veteran’s pension amount will be reduced, and we will lose the Veteran’s homemaker program. It is where the Veteran’s contract with a caregiver agency and send a caregiver 16 hours a week at no cost to us.
I don’t like asking for help for me, but this is important to me. I know we all have our own problems that we face every day and money is tight for each and every one of us. Even if you could just share my blog and my gofundme page, it would be a great help.
My dad’s best friend and neighbor told me that someone had told him to always count your blessings. I agree.
Even though Thanksgiving isn’t until tomorrow I want to share with you a few things I am thankful for today.
I am thankful that I got to spend the time that I did with my dad. I am thankful for the many phone conversations we shared, because those will be what I miss the most and I am thankful that he is at peace now.
I wish you all a Thanksgiving filled with much love, many hugs, and blessings that you will treasure forever.
Much love and hugs from me, Karen.
Dad Called Today
That’s the title of the memoir I am writing. “Dad Called Today” it started out with me wanting to share the daily phone calls between dad and myself. Phone calls that made me smile and laugh. Some that made me sigh or cry. While others had me banging my head on the table. But somehow, somewhere along the way, dad developed dementia. And more than likely, Lewy Body Dementia.
(The other day I heard on the news that Robin William’s widow wrote an essay for a neurology journal about Lewy Body Disease and you can read it here, http://www.neurology.org/content/87/13/1308.full )
Dementia is a debilitating disease of the mind. Most people associate it with forgetfulness, but there is way more to it than that. Dementia patients might get confused and have a hard time focusing. They get agitated and angry. They might yell, scream, cuss, and some get violent. They can have hallucinations. Many nights they act out bad dreams, hitting, kicking, moaning and yelling during sleep. But underneath all of that, they have their own personalities; Years in the making. So, dealing with a dementia patient can be hard. There are medications that can be prescribed, but even then they can still have outbursts.
They need help. But, putting them in a convalescent home isn’t always the right answer.
Case in point: Thursday morning, Dad woke up screaming that he couldn’t breathe. Dad also has congestive heart failure. The caregiver gave him a breathing treatment, called me, and then called 9-1-1. The paramedics were told that he had dementia and were given his medication list. When I arrived at the hospital, I told them about his dementia. About an hour after my sister arrived the doctor decided to admit dad. I had Joyce put a mark next to the three medications that dad takes for his dementia and told her to make sure the nurses made a copy of the list and that they needed to be aware of his condition. Ten thirty that evening I got a call saying that dad wanted to talk to his wife so I called the caregiver who was with Jinny and gave her the message. Due to Jinny’s limited speech and dad’s hard of hearing, the phone call did not go well. Dad started yelling and cussing and he threw the phone at the nurse. Jinny’s caregiver called me and the hospital called Joyce. They told Joyce that they were calling security. Joyce asked them, wasn’t dad given his meds? And the nurse replied, “What meds?”
Dad is 92 years old. He was weak and couldn’t even get out of bed and yet they put him in restraints like a common criminal! And the nurse he had didn’t even know that he has dementia and on top of everything else she didn’t know how to deal with the situation. This is a hospital where 80% of their patients are elderly. Doctors and nurses are supposed to be professional people and yet…There’s more, much more for me to tell, but it will have to wait for another day. I need to get ready to go visit dad.
Till then; HUGS!
Last month I had problems with my computer. UGH! So I picked up flash drives and began the process of pulling off the impossible task of, “The great save.”
You know how it goes, “Oh no! Do I have enough room on this flash drive? No? Darn.”
So you put these files here. Organize those files there and you get, “Are you sure you want to save this file without its properties?”
“What? Wait! What file?” And then you get the same thing for the next 151 files. “Yes? No? What do I do?”
It’s frustrating. Most of those notifications have to do with pictures. Book covers. Photographs you’ve purchased to use on book covers. Photos that my son had painstakingly cropped to use in creating some of my book covers. UGH!
On the bright side, I have had these problems for quite some time and had started the process of saving everything to DVDs about six months ago. Not sure how much I actually got saved but…
Then I closed my eyes and crossed my fingers and let my son reset my laptop back to factory settings. Kinda cool. It’s like getting a new computer. The downside is trying to figure out where everything is on the flash drives. (I did make sure to put all of my writing projects on their own flash drive and using red puffy paint; I put a heart on it.)
But I am still having glitches along the way, and my son says the next step is nuking it. So we will see.
Okay, Now for updates. I am still working on getting the outside of my house painted. I am finally making some progress. As long as the procrastination bug doesn’t bite me. (I’ve been working on it for over a year now. Haha.)
I have also been working on my short story collection, “Wisps of Words.” Editing. Rewriting. Adding new stories and I have taken out three stories that just don’t fit the theme. The stories are more about losing the ones we love and how we deal with the loss and the three stories I took out are about finding love. I will hold onto them and eventually put them into a different collection.
I have also been working on my memoir, “Dad Called Today.” When I first started, “Dad Called Today” it was to be about the everyday phone calls that my Dad and I shared. Calls that made me smile and LOL. Calls that made me sigh and sometimes want to cry. And then there are the calls that make me want to bang my head on the table, throw up my hands and say, “Huh?” But somehow, somewhere along the way my Dad developed dementia, and the book has turned into so much more. I still hope to make people smile when they read it, and maybe they’ll shed a few tears, but overall I hope it sheds some light on dementia and will help people understand. It isn’t a self-help book. It’s not a book on advice. Heck, I’m muddling through it just like everyone else who has dealt with it or is dealing with it. Everyone is different, and there are no right and wrong answers.
I’ve also been reading and will be putting up some reviews for Eden Baylee, Chris Ward, and Robert Pruneda, over the next week or two.
Okay, so those are my updates. Stay tuned for more! Till then; HUGS!
It’s my anniversary here on WordPress! I can’t believe it’s been 5 years! My how time flies.
This is the notification I received.