Monday, September 10, 2012

Slices of Life Aren't Always Easy




Tuesdays, the Slice of Life Community is hosted by Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers.



      Some of you know that my husband has Parkinson’s Disease with Lewy Body Dementia.  It is not a good thing to have. This past year has been very tough.  Because of his decline, I’ve had to place him in a nursing home because I could no longer care for him.  Most recently, he has been sick with a UTI (urinary tract infection), evidently the plague of elder people at risk with other health problems.  So the slice of my life since last Thursday has been in a hospital, helping with my husband’s care, especially trying to wake him up enough to try to eat something.   Then reading or writing while he slept, which was most of the time. 
      Hospitals create their own worlds, I have realized, with special rules and communities, people who wear badges hanging around their necks, and people who laugh when they can because much of the time they could be crying.  There are computers for each patient in the rooms and a phone that I can call the nurse with instead of a button pushed.  Each nurse and nurse assistant carry pager phones.  Tech has entered this world. 


     I write all this because I am a teacher/learner and I am grateful for and interested in the things that have been available to my husband and me as we take this journey.  Every little thing counts when all one wants is to make someone feel better.  However, I am also grateful for the professional staff that have cared for him and for me.  They ask how they can help me, what I think my husband needs, and then the next one who enters the room asks again.   I value their knowledge even more, but kindness means a lot too.
      And then there are those in the elevator, asking why I’m there, offering sympathy, and telling me their stories too.  I’ve seen newborns leave the hospital with deliriously happy, and already tired looking parents.  And one young man told me with tears in his eyes that his wife of nine months had just been diagnosed with cancer.  I see solemn families sitting around tables in the lobby, talking and hugging.  And I see happy families going to see the newest members of their family.  (I can tell by the gifts they carry.)
      Tonight, I browsed Facebook and a blogger friend posted the following with a beautiful piece of art, which I can’t share, but the words seemed like a gift to me, and perhaps to all of us slicers.  I love it, don’t you?

            September 10th was Mary Oliver’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Mary, and thank you for the words.
 
“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.” --Mary Oliver






photo credit: Lucid Nightmare via photo pin cc

28 comments:

  1. Linda, with what grace you walk the world. Thank you for sharing this. You and your husband are in my thoughts. I love the idea of hospital as unique world -- please write more about that. xo

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  2. Linda, thank you for sharing so much of yourself. You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers. Like Irene, I love your thought about the hospital as a unique world. When I visited my brand new niece there a few weeks ago, I had a similar thought.

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  3. I agree with Irene's words---what grace...You are truly one of the lovely people in my life who keep me centered. How can you do that from so far away, when we have never met?

    I am thinking of you and your husband. I hope he is on the mend and is able to leave the hospital soon! Take care of yourself. Continue to find the joy.

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  4. You're right about hospitals -- a world of its own where both human frailty and strength are on display all the time. Small kindnesses can go a long way. I agree with what others have said -- you walk with such grace, focusing on the positive, and when you share the tough times, you inspire us all. Thanks for the Mary Oliver quote -- you've shown many times how you live by those words. Hope your husband feels better soon.

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  5. I echo the others' thoughts from above me. You are such a remarkable woman, I strive to face life's challenges with the determination and grace that you exhibit. I love the words of Mary Oliver. I will copy those to read on a daily basis. Praying for you and your husband

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  6. That's a beautiful quote, Linda. Thanks for finding the time to slice, even though it isn't always easy. Wishing you and your family kindness at every turn.

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  7. Thank you, Linda, for sharing the Mary Oliver quote along with bits and pieces of yourself. I'm always astonished by the positive spin you find in even the most difficult of situations. You are an inspiration to so many...including me!

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  8. Like Irene, I am always moved by the grace with which you conduct your life - no matter what you may be experiencing yourself, you are always sure to take note of the kindness of others. It is a remarkable gift.

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  9. Echoing what Irene said, "with what grace you walk the world." That's so true Linda.
    I'm sorry Arvie isn't doing well. I hope his condition improves.
    Thinking of you.

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  10. I always think of you on Tuesdays, Linda, even though I'm not writing or commenting. I can only imagine what you are experiencing. I, too, have been in a hospital recently, experiencing the anguish of my youngest son's 3 year old child,draining fluid from his brain due to spinal fluid build-up since a cancerous tumor was removed 3 years ago when James was 9 months old. He goes every 4 months to the Cleveland Clinic for a check up. The check-ups never get easier, but his progress is miraculous. He is as normal as any 3 year old and has become a special personality to our quiet family. He's a fighter, loves music and dancing. He knows how to live. When I'm in these dire situations, I cannot write about them. It's always too close for me. I need to take a lesson from you and write about all the astonishments of life. Take care and keep writing about your husband. Surprisingly, my son has a blog for his son--writing is all in the family. I

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  11. Linda, my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to your and your husband. As others have said above, you write with such grace and caring and I know that through your writing you comfort yourself and your family. Being in a hospital or nursing home is difficult and then some, but we can be so thankful for the nurses, doctors and other staff that help to care for your husband and you. The quote by Mary Oliver says so much in so few words. Thank you for sharing. Prayers and hugs to you.

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  12. This was so moving for me because my strong, handsome, loving tall best uncle had the same disease. It was so heartbreaking. My prayers are so with you. I love this line: communities, people who wear badges hanging around their necks, and people who laugh when they can because much of the time they could be crying. All of our lives can almost be summed up this way. xo nanc

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  13. As always, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, Linda! I admire the way you look at life and always find beauty and something to learn about. Thanks so much for sharing with us even when it's difficult. And thank you for reminding me to stop, look around, and be grateful for what I have.

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  14. You, my friend, are remarkable. I'm picturing you in a hospital room next to the man you love, a stack of books beside you, your notebook open and your pen scratching words. In the midst of this difficult time, you find the hope of writing, the joy of living, and you share it with us. Someday, when I grow up, I hope to be a light as you are. Thank you for the Oliver quote. I will treasure it.
    Hugs,
    Ruth

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  15. The Mary Oliver quote is a gem. However, what shines even brighter is the way you embody Oliver's words. Even in the face of unimaginable challenges, you are paying attention to it all--from your husband to the staff to the fellow patrons. You are being astonished and appreciative and reflective. And you are telling us about it by continuing to write through the joys, the pains, the life you are living. Grace indeed.

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  16. Those truly are beautiful words. Thank you for sharing them. Thinking of you and wishing you continued strength. You amaze me.

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  17. Linda,
    I'm thinking about you and your husband and yes, I had such a wonderful experience at the hospital with the staff there during my mom's last week. And I thank you, for being with me as well throughout my tough times.
    So good to have friends here and everywhere,
    Bonnie

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  18. I have missed visiting you lately but your story, your writing, always speaks to my heart and makes me want to pay closer attention to the daily details of life. Thank you

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  19. Such moving words Linda. That you can find time and such lovely words to share your heart with us is remarkable. My prayers are with you and your husband.
    Thanks so much for that wonderful quote - it is one we need to honour.

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  20. I think of you often even though I get lax in reading blogs and commenting. Your strength and grace are inspiring. I love the quote at the end. I continue to pray for you, your husband and family.

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  21. Thank you everyone for your wonderfully kind support. My husband has returned to the nursing home, is improving, and things are more settled, at least for a while. One step at a time!

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  22. Thank you for sharing, Linda. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  23. I'm just getting around to reading slices this week. I always start with yours because even in your times of worry you are always so uplifting encouraging to those of us connected to you. I hope your husband is better today, and your worries are eased, at least for a bit.
    My thoughts are always with you.
    Tammy

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  24. Thank you Maria & Tammy. It's always lovely to hear from you.

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  25. Linda,
    Super busy week and I am just getting to blog reading. Glad to hear that things are a little better. You are in my thoughts and prayers…

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  26. Linda, my heart is moved by this post. The Mary Oliver quote is especially apt. I always turn to poetry whenever the darkness threatens to engulf and there seems to be few silver linings amidst the shadows. I am glad that Oliver's words served to inspire and uplift you. I do hope that the love and positive wishes that we send to you across the miles would also make you smile. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Myra. My husband is improving, which is very good indeed. I appreciate your words so much.

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