Nosy

Some years back, we had a male resident at my present job. He was visually impaired, stood about 5 ‘1, thin, and buzzed light brown hair. His room had nothing on the walls, dresser, or bed. He hung around one lady at the home. Once a week a man my age now, would take him out to eat. When doing my med pass one night I walked by his door. I saw him sitting on the edge of his bed. I backed up a few steps and stood there looking in. One because he was as still as someone with a Bee on the end of their nose and secondly because I’m nosy.

He started to pray

“Thank you for the trees and leaves, thank you for the birds that sing, thank you for the rain and the sunshine, the cold days and the hot days, thank you for the good days and the bad days”

Every night Until the day he left I joined him in prayer at his door. This may have not been the right thing to do but because what I felt inside his prayer it felt right. This past few weeks have been rough.

Ten years and this prayer has come back to me and many other times as well. I can’t help but think all those years he spent praying, was for me.
To bring me back to what counts in life. I’m so thankful for that time I was on the outside looking in.

Crying-Out-Loud

Last night cooking supper I noticed our bird hanging upside from his food bowl. I gave our parrot a smile and continued fixing our supper. When I walked by the cage again he was sitting on the bottom with his green feathers puffed out. I stood at his cage for a moment staring in on him. He usually don’t  sit in one place at the bottom of his cage. He either rubs his beak trying to get something off or he’s picking food off his floor. I read one time in a parrot pamphlet, “its abnormal behavior for them to be sitting on the bottom” I bent down opened his door and grabbed him out to take a closer look. When I put him on my finger he didn’t clinch it with his tight sharp grip, I embraced him in my hand and gently flipped him over to check out his feet thinking he may of hurt one, this was not the case. He did not fight me at all while accessing him and upon noticing this my heart started beating faster, thoughts racing and it was getting harder to focus. I then notice him opening his beak but nothing  was coming out, not a chirp or peck. There was a bit of food on his beak which calmed me down, for a second thinking this was the problem. Unfortunately, he was still struggling to breath. I put him back down realizing he was on his way out, opened the back door where my husband hangs out on the deck and chain smokes. “Steve the bird is dying, what the hell did you do to him”? My husband being his calm self “nothing” he continued to puff away as the door slammed! It took a minute to start rationalizing because of hurt and panic. I knew he was dying and also new that it was too late in the game to head into town to the vet. The last time one of my animals went into respiratory distress. I got to the office, handed him over to the vet, as he started toward the back to check him out, the kitten died. The vet billed me for the hand off…

When Steven came in, I shared my thoughts on the subject, he did not disagree. We took Saltine in our room to pass. I felt this was to heavy for Gabe to know and watch.”Salty” died minutes later. I cried the rest of the time cooking supper my husband called out my name which was a prompt to “get a hold of myself'” I still stood at the sink slowly washing dishes with my back turned to my son. He then started telling me a story and when he was done. He asked me a question about his story. When I wouldn’t turn around he started digging his way in front of the sink and me “mom answer my question” ( I would have if I knew what he had asked).

“mom are you crying over my story”

“yes with a loud wail”

A Different Perspective

I was talking on the phone with my friend Michelle the other day about what I wanted to do with my life. It’s always been a regular conversation piece with us. She’s grounded and always challenges my pipe dreams. I told her I was thinking about changing my career path in school. (which by the way I have never started) to Social work. I do lots of talking and dreaming, please don’t feel like you need to chime in and tell me I can do it or still have time. It’s not what I-am going after in this post.

“Shelley I think you should continue to counsel people like you have been doing most of your life I think once you go into that career there’s red tape, it might mangle your outlook and damage the angle you do take with people.

I would suppose there is lots of truth in what she said

As long as I can remember people have confided in me, not only sharing their ideas or rundavoos but tragedies, mistakes, and what ifs. In my middle-age years I’ve come to think of it as a gift. I believe I was given the gift of love. It’s always been easy for me to do, more than the alternative. I will admit sometimes I fudge up but I try to keep my eye on the ball. I made a pact to myself when I was younger that I wouldn’t call people names for what they looked like or what they did or didn’t have. As I grew older my pact grew.

When your younger it’s all about looks, what you wear, and money. In your older years those things do follow but people start damning you for your choices, thoughts, and mistakes. I-am not going to tell you that I sit and agree with everything that is shared with me. It’s not my place to try to fix or change anyone either. My place in this world is  to love and you can never steer anyone wrong with love.

One year in Two-Thousand-Three or Four, I was working with a cook. She worked every other weekend with me. On Sundays it was always just me and her working. She lived right behind the building we worked in. In the mornings from the dining room windows I would watch as she stumbled into work late.

She was tall, skinny and had light-brown shoulder link hair, It looked like she didn’t brush it. I would open the back door for her and she would say, “It was another rough night Shelley”.  I would smile, say hello and act like I didn’t hear what she said, not because of conflict but because the heaviness in her eyes and the frown on her face told me a story.

I knew I would hear

We were taking a break in the living-room of our job one fall afternoon. I can still see the multicolored colored leaves on all the tress around the windows that lined the Living-room of where we were sitting. She was on one couch and I was on another one across from her. She slurred asking me “How my day was going” being so long ago I don’t quite remember what I told her, knowing me something light-hearted one of the residents did or said to cheer up the moment of awkwardness, we had going on since we hadn’t had too much conversation.

Her: Do you have any children?

Me: No

We sat in silence for a few brief moment after I answered my question. Deep down for some reason I didn’t feel lead to return the question but noticed her head dropped down right along with her face as I gave her a look and a smile.

Her: Do you want any?

“Someday”

Her:  I have three children my oldest are sixteen and eighteen, they’re in Foster-Care. We get to visit on Wednesdays if they want to see me, which usually they do.

“It’s nice you all get together”

Her: We talk about their sister who is three. She just got adopted. It’s an open adoption and in this open adoption they get pictures of her, and I don’t. They show them to me when we visit. We will spend our visit discussing the pictures. They’re a good conversation piece.

The couple who adopted her lives in the country. Before the adoption went through, they were nice enough to let me come out for home visits. After we had gotten acquainted. They have a nice big yard for her to play in, with one of those big wooden swing-sets, a pool and animals. She’s happy Shelley and that’s all that matters. As her voice cracked tears streamed down my face just like they are right now.

“I’m glad she’s happy”

Her: You want to know something? Some days I take a drive out where she lives. If she’s playing outside, I pull over and watch her. I daydream about getting out of my car, walking up into the field, stand there and see if she sees me. I wonder if she would come running yelling “mommy” Mommy” and remember who I am. I come back to reality. I have multiple addictions and have for years, I just can’t do it.

I nodded my head and told her crying, Thank you for sharing not only a painful but dark-side of your life with me, also for giving me a different perspective to an Open Adoption.

Towards the end of my Foster-Care Class, the teacher was on the subject of Open Adoption and asked the class “Could you be a part of one”?

I raised my hand and told her and the class the same exact encounter I had with this woman “yes I wouldn’t have made a life changing decision to be a Foster Parent without this mother of a child who forfeited her “happiness” for a lifetime of heartache and what ifs.

Apartment 116 Second Half

Dear Reader,

Do you remember back in April when I wrote this post? Please take a minute to read so you can catch up on this resident of mine. I like to refer to as “Emmet Brown”. You know “Doc” from Back To The Future”? The reason I have named this resident after “doc” is because of privacy laws, which is crucial in the medical field. I also want you to be able to imagine her, not just her looks but demeanor also.

Our facility is one level. I don’t know the square foot right off-hand. It is however a square, that goes in a circle. This way residents know where they’re going. The middle of the wall is lined with a thick wooden rail in case the residents need them for guidance, since they are without site or if they need a little support for balance.

“Emmet”used to do her laps (exercise) around the hall wearing her headphones with these Giant, black, circled sunglasses, singing Belinda Carlisle “Circle In The Sand” it goes something like this.

Sundown all around
Walking thru the summer’s end
Waves crash baby, don’t look back
I won’t walk away again
Oh, baby, anywhere you go,
We are bound together
I begin, baby, where you end
Some things are forever!
Circle in the sand
‘Round and ’round
Never ending love is what we’ve found
And you complete the heart of me
Our love is all we need
Circle in the sand
Cold wind, tide move in
Shiver in the salty air
Day breaks, my heart aches
I will wait for you right here.
Oh, baby when you look for me
Can you see forever?
I begin baby, where you end
We belong together
Circle in the sand
‘Round and ’round
Rising of the moon as the sun goes down
And you complete the heart of me
Our love is all we need
Circle in the sand
Circle in the sand
Baby can you hear me?
Can you…

Every time she sang the round and round part she would actually circle round in round. She’s a lover of music. I know this because of the fourteen years I have been there. I bet you would never guess that she used to teach piano, she has her bachelors in music, she plays the piano by ear, and if you want to know a name of song, person, or group who sings it just ask, nine times out of ten she can tell you. This is phenomenal, at least to me? We have more Helen Keller stories.

I don’t want to take anything away from Keller but did you know her teacher Johanna “Anne” Sullivan? Who also was legally blind? She contracted trachoma a highly infectious eye infection, when she was eight years old which left her blind without reading or writing skills. Her mother also died around this same time and her father abandoned her because he felt he could not raise her and her brother on her own. They were sent to an almshouse in Tewksbury Massachusetts, her brother suffered from a debilitating hip ailment and died as well. She remained at Tewksbury for four years. She had eye operations that offered relief for her eye pain but proved ineffective. I-am not going to  plagiarise the whole story. I just want to give you the background of another phenomenal person who walked a step behind, read the story when you get time. I read it with another resident of mine a few nights ago. We both were taken back by what we didn’t know about Anne.

The home has offered me more than a laugh and I hope I gave you that clarity in this post, Also a part of the world that you miss and I don’t. Have you not felt that way in your life? Where you asked yourself why can’t everyone experience this?

The other day in Emmets room giving her, her medicine she informs me she is “Pissed” I do a double take because she is not a social person except to the voices in her head.

Me: Why are you “Pissed”

Emmet: I called Recycled Records to ask him when Charles Hardin Holley (Also known as Buddy) Birthday was? He told me an a firm voice, “I don’t know call your local library and ask them”

Me: Did you call the local library

Emmet: I called the operator and she didn’t know the number to the “local library” nor did she know when Holley’s Birthday was…

Me: Emmet what made you think of this question

Emmett: I was listening to his song “Think It Over” and starting thinking over his Birthday….

I always ask questions. You learn from them. My residents have taught me things I didn’t  know or thought about and these things I will take with me and not forget because of the way they tell the story.

Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959)

Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy (April 14, 1866 – October 20, 1936) She died holding Keller’s hand. What started out as a “Job” being a teacher ended in a life long friendship…

Apartment number 38

Hi-ho-eighty-body

Describe your last nightmare. What do you think it meant?

All last week I was busy, with my regular job, side job and spending time with family that I haven’t been able to sit-down and write. I couldn’t wait until today. I have a few hours for myself. I had planned on writing to all of you but my slate was blank. Then as I was looking at my reader my eyebrows raised up from the dead!

Nightmares: They have stuck by me my entire life. I can’t say that I have never had a good dream because it would be a lie. I wrote a poem not so long ago about windows which didn’t actually turn out the way I seen it but was one of the most symbolic dreams of my life. Do I believe dreams have a meaning? Yes, sometimes it’s a direct line from god to you. Go ahead and chuckle. We all have gifts and it says so here.

My dream!

My friend Christy decided to move to a gated community. She asked me to think about moving in? I decided to pop in for an unannounced visit one evening! It was spitting rain, foggy and only a few cars sat in the parking lot. I got out of my car to no voices, no birds chirping or wind blowing. I walked up the steel stairs to apartment number thirty-eight and loudly knocked! the door opened slow as she peeked her head from behind it, bleakly staring at me without a word. She walked over to her card table. On top of it was a black rotary phone. The phone rang and startled the crap out us! She answered hello in a mono tone voice. she answered yes, no, and said Thank you? After she hung up she informed  me she was going to step outside. I watched her walk down the stairs, pass the parking lot, to a vacant, dusty, storage unit. I decided to head down there. Upon arrival, my friend of twenty some years was holding a cigarette and trying to hide it. After all these years? I was just about ready to say something. Then out of nowhere I heard my name being called. It was muffled and faint but it was my name. I squinted my eyes looking around for whoever it was. Then over by the stairs I saw  what looked to be an old man with a brown, dirty, tattered cloak that covered is head. He barely made my name out as he motioned me over. The closer I got I noticed he or she was cradling something in his hand. When we came up on one another I could barely see his face to make out the sex of what was in front of me. The small baby he cradled in one arm looked like a blow up toy that had just been deflated. He held the baby out as to offer me to take him, I wept over his lifeless body as I wrapped my arms around him for a better grip. He opened up his mouth and took a bite out of my arm with his three sharp pointy teeth, I pressed through the pain without loosing a stride. We walked over to the storage shed, and went inside. The light rica shade off the glossy tiles making them look like porcelain, the showers were on and a blanket of clear water covered the tiles and my bare feet. I lathered the baby up with soap, hugs, and kisses over and over with each piece of affection his lifeless body begun to fill up. He became the full, beautiful, thriving baby he was created to be all because of love life was restored.

 

 

Stanley

Day Two: A Room with a view. Today’s Prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

The man in his room on the edge of his bed

A glare on the floor from the light overhead

No pictures or paintings on his four corner walls

No radio or t.v from my view in the hall

One braille book on his pale white chair

The glare from the floor piercing my stare

He started to pray about all he had

He said thanks for the good and bad

The halls were quiet no soul in sight

The peace was different in those halls that night!