Monday, March 26, 2012

A Scary Afternoon - Wildfire! #27


  Slice Number 27 with Stacey and Ruth at the Two Writing Teachers March SOLC  

What a month it has been!  

My husband is now in a mental health behavioral center.  The goal is to stabilize his mental and physical health so that we can find a place for him that will be a happier place, most probably a nursing home.  It has been quite a time this past week, and I'm not ready to process all I have done exactly.  There are lists upon lists.  Finally a bed opened for him and he was moved from the ER to this center, a difficult move, but he is calm and progressing a little each day.  The head of the center just looks at me and says, "Linda, one day at a time, remember?"  I am doing that, but so much more. My son flew back to town and we spent (with daughter and son-in-law plus daughter-in-law by phone) time talking, planning, then making some priorities.  I am grateful for my children and who they are as adults, and am grateful and blessed they are coming with me on this journey.  


I get to visit my husband only one hour a day, from 5:30 to 6:30 late afternoons.  I go every day and my daughter goes occasionally.  This hospital is across the city from where I live so I'm getting to know that part of the city where I've never really been.  I know where the nearest Starbucks is, I know when the best time to cross the city is so I won't be bumper to bumper  most of the way, and I know where the Target is in case I have to bring something to my husband.  Things, routines, are falling into the rhythm of my life right now, and as I am always one to look for the positive, I really am thankful that it isn't winter.  This would be even harder if it was cold and snowy.  I am taking it day by day, step by step, and I am okay.  I stopped to talk to the people at the day center where my husband went on the days I worked.  The head nurse there told me that those dealing with dementia call it "the long goodbye".  I am sad, but I've been saying goodbye for a long time.  She is right.  It is a long time of parting.  
And in that journey, there are some little things that I have enjoyed.  I actually like the drive I am making with its beautiful views of the city and the mountains. Among the tough things, I am given beauty.   I started writing this to tell you all what has been happening since I first posted about my husband last week, but today as I started the drive home across the city, I was so alarmed.  My drive starts rather high in elevation, with a terrific view of the city all across the plain while the mountains are on my right.  I am heading south.  There, in my usual lovely view at about 6:45pm was the sun setting, a little faded, but it was there.  And straight ahead was this enormous cloud bank heading east.  I had heard there was a wildfire happening up a ways into the foothills, but when I saw this cloud, I knew it was more than a little brush fire.  It has been so dry and so warm lately that we have already begun watering.  Even the mountains, usually still having snow cover, are mostly dry in the lower elevations.     
Now I hear the news that over a thousand acres have burned, the fire is still raging and growing and people have been evacuated while some have lost their homes.  It is such a sad thing.  I have been to a site after a fire.  It brings tears to the eyes to see a forest so destroyed.  I found one picture to share.  You can find more if you are interested here.  I am hoping positive thoughts for the wind to die down and for the firemen to have success on Tuesday.  There many kinds of challenges people face in their lives, and I have sympathy for those who face this fire today and tonight.  
This big cloud is smoke, not the usual moisture-laden cloud.

23 comments:

  1. I am in awe of all the bits of significant meaning you have found in the world around you and included in this post--getting to know this part of the city, the weather being cooperative, the fire being a challenge to others (not entirely unlike your own), the long goodbye, the time with your children, who they are as adults, the layers of meaning are heartfelt and powerful here, Linda.

    The world is truly a better place for having you. I am a better person for knowing you through your words.

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  2. This is quite a journey you are on. It is good to take in the bits and pieces of it, step by step. I saw those fires on the news and my first thought was, I wonder if Linda is near those fires. Be kind to yourself.

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  3. This is such a full moment in your life and it all comes out in your writing, as Christy said so nicely above. That phrase 'the long good-bye' really got me - it is long, so we have time to adjust, but it is good-bye and that is so sad. I didn't hear about the fires till this morning. I'm a little too good at hiding from the world during vacation!

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  4. You are an amazing woman, strong and caring, going through difficult times day by day, noticing beauty and discovering new things, appreciating people around you, and then looking further from your life and into the lives of many who suffer because of the fire. I admire how your words flow and captivate me when I read.
    Thank you for writing every day.

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  5. Linda, my father has Alzheimer's disease, and my mother is walking a path similar to yours, but you are further along the path. She, like you, is s very positive person who looks out for others. I feel like I know you so well because of this. In your gracious words I see God's hand at work. May He continue to give you rich peace as you walk this long good-bye.

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  6. I wish I could accurately express in words in this little tiny box how much of an inspiration you are. I can't imagine how you are able to do what you are doing - I guess one day at a time is important to remember. I have never known anyone who has had to deal with what you are dealing with. It sounds like something from a book or a movie. I'm so glad you are sharing this part of your life with us, as hard as it may be. I find myself thinking about how life is fun and exciting but at the same time we never know what is going to be thrown our way and how what we expect to happen and what we hope will happen isn't always what happens.

    Have you read John Green's most recent book, The Fault In Our Stars? I can't remember if you have or not, but it's beautiful and I just love the title. I love how as much as we want to be with the people we love, it's not always in our stars. It's not always what is meant to be for us.

    I know I'm far away and we've never met in real life but I'm cheering for you. I hope my little cheer makes it to you and helps you along.

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  7. Linda, I can only agree with all of the comments above. You are an incredible woman to be able to write and share your thoughts and difficulties with a community of slicers. You and your family continue to be in my prayers, not only in dealing with the unknown, but with the wildfire. Be safe.

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  8. Beautiful, yet scarey pictures. I'm glad you've updated us about your husband. It is a day by day thing. I'm glad you have your children by your side. Take care of yourself.

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  9. Thanks for updating us about your husband and for showing us what strength and positivity are all about. Yes, it's a day by day thing. Long goodbyes are the hardest, but you're managing to recognize moments of beauty and express gratitude for what is there in the moment rather than dwell on what is being lost.

    Sorry to hear about the fires. Devastating for those families. Be safe.

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  10. It's astonishing that it's only been a week since you first posted about your husband. There have been many difficult changes for you and your family, Linda, but your positive and love-filled spirit shines through. You are beginning the long goodbye, but there every day and connecting with the good people who you've entrusted to care for him. You have a long journey, but you have found ways to make it nourishing for your spirit - the Starbucks, the gorgeous view. You are uncertain about the future, but making the very most of the present. You are an admirable woman, I am am glad to know you.

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  11. Wow, the fire sounds scary! I'm so amazed that you focus on positives and other people at this difficult time for you -- thinking of those affected by the fire and considering the new things you are experiencing due to your journey to the hospital. Your thoughts are truly inspirational! I can't imagine how you are feeling, only getting to see him one hour a day in the "long goodbye." I hope you continue to find beauty in your days, and I know I will hug my husband a little tighter when he gets home tonight.

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  12. Linda,
    It is so good to hear that your children are there, that you're making decisions together. It is also so good to hear the strength in your voice, the insight that allows you to take each day as it comes. I am inspired by your attitude and your ability to show concern for the hardships of others when you are experiencing your own struggles. Inspired, but not surprised, because you have shown that side of yourself in all of your writing.
    The long goodbye . . . I had a very short goodbye with both my sister and my dad. Goodbyes are never easy, short or long. I hope you continue to share your experiences here with us. I'll tell you what my students told me when I sent them that blog letter: We're here for you. We'll help you get through this.

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  13. I went to the slide show of pictures. Amazing how beauty can be found in such tragedy. After Katrina, photographers made art with the tragic photos. What makes us want to do this? Poetry about 9/11. It's a spiritual way to deal with things, a way to recognize our powerlessness as well as hopefulness. I am happy you are finding art in tragedy, hope in loss, love in the face of such despair. You are a blessing to many.

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  14. Linda,
    Your words bring so many comfort, yet I'm sure that you don't realize that your words do that for others. I think of you and I am sending you thoughts of strength, peace and comfort!
    I'm glad that while you drive for your visit that you find these comforts along the way..
    Thinking of you and admiring your strength and courage!

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  15. "I am given beauty." I was so touched by that line. With everything you have going on in your head, around you, everywhere you are still able to recognize beauty. I too am so glad that your children are able to support you and make you so proud. They too, I have no doubt, are proud of their mother. So much to be proud of.

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  16. Linda,
    It was you I thought of when I heard about the fires on the news. I am relieved to know that they are not endangering you or your loved ones. You have so much strength, I hope to emulate you should I find myself in your situation in the future. It is wonderful that you have the support of your children. Take care of yourself too.

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  17. I love your perspective on life. In the midst of what I know is a trying, confusing, scary time, you find beauty. What a strong woman you are. Keep taking care of yourself. Thanks for trusting us enough to share what is going on.
    Deb

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  18. In the middle of all going on in your own life, you took the time to notice, think about, and send good thoughts to those going through something challenging. You are beautiful.

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  19. I am amazed each day as I read your slice. Every day your story is uplifting and so positive. I'm very glad your children are on this journey with you. Your collective strength will carry you through whatever lies ahead. Take care and may you always be able to see the beauty around you.

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  20. Linda, as all of these wonderful people have already articulated, your writing constantly has me in awe. You have so much going on but thought of the others in danger of the fire. Wow. I'm so glad your children can be with you and hope each day brings you countless blessings.

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  21. Linda,
    I continue to think of you as I know this is a tough journey. Your line, " I am sad, but I've been saying goodbye for a long time." really tugged at my heart. It is a powerful sentence about the challenges you and your husband have been facing of late. It is good you have your children to walk beside you at this time. Your description of the city as you drive to visit your husband was full of details that helped me to feel like I was riding in the passenger seat beside you.

    Your last line, "There many kinds of challenges people face in their lives, and I have sympathy for those who face this fire today and tonight." really brought the two stories together.

    I have to agree with Pettit as I too admire your strength and courage. Thinking of you.

    Cathy

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  22. Linda, you blessing others as you are going through your journey. I find myself thinking and praying for you. I thank you for being so open in sharing with us. You are beautiful and take each moment at a time.

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  23. Linda, I can't imagine what you are going through. I continue to life up your and your family. Remind yourself that it is not just a long good-bye, a time a parting, as you said. It is also a time of mourning. Mourning is hard and unpredictable. Give yourself space and grace. Hugs, my friend.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!