Sunday, January 27, 2019
Any Other Name
In my generation, my first name was the most popular girl's name--ever. Most of my classes in school average six or seven of us with some variety of my name. When I became an adult, out of my parent's home, living on my own, I firmly introduced myself using only my first name.
There are family members, however, who still call me by both my first and middle name. Heh. If I call them on the phone or send them a letter without both names they don't even know who I am. Mostly, I shrugged off the irritation--surely a minor thing in the overall scheme of things in the real world--and moved on.
Then came that day when I was offered a contract for my book, that day when I could choose any name I wanted to represent myself. And the name I chose was Anny Cook. It has elements of my past and elements of my future. After eleven years, there are far more people who call me Anny than my birth name. Transition complete.
Except for my parents and family members. It was firmly impressed on me the last two weeks while spending many hours talking to family that I am still that young woman gifted with a name by my parents so long ago. And maybe because I have other options now, I found it wasn't nearly as irritating. So, at sixty-nine there's this epiphany. Whatever name you use, you're still yourself.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Almost immediately messages of support and comfort started pouring in. I cannot possibly tell you how touched I was by the words of virtual strangers who took the time to reach out with words of love and hope.
Words are so powerful. Yes, I cried. Yes, my heart was touched beyond measure. And somewhere in that nebulous space we call the Internet and social media, for a brief moment politics and disharmony disappeared while civility and compassion reigned.
Thank you to all who wrote those few words. Blessings on your day.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
No showers, no scrubbing the potatoes so we can bake them, no dishes, no laundry, no flushing toilets...you know, just the basics. How we take the basics for granted. We don't even think about power or water or heat until they don't work for whatever reason.
But suppose...tomorrow nothing worked. What if when we woke up there were no utilities? So no electronics. No communications. No phones. How would we find out what was going on? And what would we do if none of it came back on?
All over the world, there are numberless people who do without. They drink contaminated water from rivers and lakes. The heat their homes with dung and toxic trash. They light them at night with a fire. And communications? They don't exist.
In my warm apartment with lights and power, I reflect on how inconvenient it is because I can't take a shower. We used to call this a first world problem. But that's not really the truth because in our country we have thousands of people who don't have access to the basics. So perhaps, it isn't a first world problem, but a problem of the privileged. And we're so removed from it, we feel free to moan and bellyache because we have to do without for a few hours.
What do you suppose that says about us?
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Fountain of Youth
Last week, sitting in my doc's office, I commented that getting older wasn't for sissies. The nurse said she wasn't going to--she planned to find the fountain of youth. And of course, that had me wondering. Wondering if your current age would remain the same, even if you DID find the fountain of youth. I mean, who wants to remain sixty-nine years old forever? Why do we assume we'll go back to being young? It's like in the vampire romances...whatever age you are when you're turned is your forever age. Have you ever noticed that vampires don't turn old people into vampires?
In every instance I've ever read about someone who was immortal, they always appear as youthful. So I suppose that's our ideal. It's okay to be old, but we don't want to look old. That's a flaw in our culture. We don't honor or value those who have lived a while. We ignore the possibilities they may hold wisdom and memories we need. Instead, we brush off their importance to society.
And so, I wonder. If only the elderly could find the fountain of youth, would we still be anxious to search for it?
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Fear and Dread
Some folks run, refusing to face the possibilities. Me, well, I'm a born again coward, but life is full of risks so I'll go for the tests and figure any result short of death is a win.
But...that doesn't take away the fear and dread. And the longer you wait for answers, the greater the fear and dread. I also stress out more when I don't know what the process is. I really value technicians and medical personnel who explain every test in detail. I'm one of those people who like to maintain control, even if all that consists of is the illusion of knowing what to expect.
As you get older, you find your body fails in unexpected ways. Today I was supposed to give a urine sample at the lab. Except for whatever reason I couldn't pee! What the heck happened to the six glasses of water I drank prior to my appointment??? Fortunately, the technician handed me a plastic specimen cup with lid and suggested I take it home where I could work on my problem in private. I'm pleased to report I was peeing like a champ within an hour. Ah, life.
For all the folks out there like me who are facing the scary unknown, I offer hugs, understanding, and love. We'll make it through, one step at a time. No running needed.
Monday, January 14, 2019
They live in a tiny town in east Texas in the middle of nowhere with few resources. Last night I sat in my office talking to my Dad, hearing the terrible devastation and heartbreak in his voice when he said, "She's not here. And she's never coming back."
No, she's not dead. But it's impossible for her to go home. And the unpalatable truth is--that's a lesser form of death to the folks involved. She's there alone. He's at home alone. They are not together and will not be except for the hours he will spend driving back and forth to visit.
They have asked for a form of hospice as Mom simply wants to finish her life as pain free as possible. There really isn't anything they can do to help her. She and my dad have spent considerable time deciding what they want to do. And as much as I grieve for both of them, I support them in whatever they wish. They've certainly lived long enough to make their own decisions.
When you are young, you think your parents are indestructible. Nothing can hurt them. As you get older, you start to understand that isn't true. But when you start approaching your own senior years, you finally know real fear. With all the love and best will in the world, I cannot be there for them except at the other end of the telephone. I can barely navigate a grocery store or Walmart, let alone travel 1500 miles to be with them. And that is a devastating realization.
All over the country, this same scenario is playing out for innumerable families. So I'm asking for prayers and blessings for all of us. Heartbreak hurts.
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