Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Life Update

The college people are home from school for the semester and my son actually dropped out of school about two weeks before term ended.  He is job hunting now.  I'm not really worried about him.  I trust he will find his way in life, and probably back to school when he has tasted the joys of manual labor...just perhaps not Berea. 

Yesterday when I came in (after supper, in the evening) from a quick Walmart run, there was a small plumbing emergency happening in the kitchen:  the head of the sprayer hose on the kitchen sink had come loose.  Jamming back on was ineffective, since the water pressure kept pushing it off again.  We used lots of towels.  I finally shut off the water to the kitchen sink, and removed the hose.  10:30 pm saw me blearily wandering the hardware section of Walmart (it's right next door to my house...I walked) hunting for a kitchen sink hose/sprayer.  Those don't exist at Walmart, so I will have to go to Lowe's or Home Depot today to get the parts for that fix.  I don't mind fixing things, it's just that my day is already super busy. 

Christmas:  I suppose I should wrap stuff.  Meh.  Tree is up.  I bought a turkey to cook.  Meh.  The only thing I'm looking forward to about Christmas is Church. 

I miss healthy Wes.  Grief is a strange thing and plays ugly tricks on the mind and emotions.  Cancer took so much of Wes away from me before he was actually gone.  I don't miss the cancer and what it did to him, and I don't miss some of the ways it changed his brain....but I miss HIM.  Does that make sense? 

Things are pretty much settled after the move.  I have cleaners coming tomorrow to clean the townhome before I turn in the keys.  I still have one or two things to do there before that happens, but all my stuff is out, and I'm grateful I don't have to spend a few days there cleaning.  I can hardly stand to go over there.  I just don't like it. 

So that's my update.  I've probably been slightly dehydrated since early October or late September when Wes had his big seizure and needed constant caregiving... and life has been non-stop no rest since then, too...so I am very run down and am taking measures to take better care of myself so that I'm not sick in bed for Christmas.  I'm feeing fibromyalgia pains again and I've not had that in a very long time.  I have some other auto-immune symptoms (including more hair loss, actually) and I'm trying to figure out if I'm eating something I'm allergic to, or sensitive to, or if it's just general stress causing the flare. 

I want my life to slow down enough so that I have time and energy to work on some projects...sewing, writing maybe...something that moves me forward and is substantial, as opposed to the endless day to day cycle of life-basics-caregiving.  Did I mention that there was good news from Social Security?  Since Bethany is a disabled adult, she gets Wes' death benefits.  And since I am her caregiver, so do I!  Between us, we have a workable budget for our household.

Please add  your prayers that my son, Eric, can get hired somewhere and that he can develop some friendships with people at Church.  He also needs to start working on his driver's license.  Ugh.  I do not enjoy this single parenting solo gig.  I mean, I do enjoy parenting...but I miss Wes. He was so steady and kind.

Friday, November 24, 2017

After The Weight is Lost: Holiday Edition (a poorly written rambly mess of an article).

As many of you who know me on facebook know, I've lost "the weight".  My adventure began on March 11, 2016 (or was it the 13th?  I lost track) and since that time I've released almost 90 pounds, going from 2x/3x clothes to M clothes with a few items labeled S an a few things in L that I'm not letting go of yet.

It takes a new set of skills to lose weight and keep it off, and it takes consistent engagement with those skills and a commitment to keeping the lines in place.

I'll be open and say that my weight loss has been helped by joining Overeaters Anonymous, getting a sponsor and working the 12 steps and being "abstinent".  But if I look at that process through an analytical eye, there are certain things I am doing that can either be done with a 12 step program, or elsewise.  Recovery by any other name is just as sweet.  Likewise, there are things that I am doing that are not specific to OA (OA doesn't make any comment on specific food plans and whatnot) which I think most people who are successfully losing weight and/or keeping it off do the same.

As with most things, I will take a systems theory approach to my analysis and the skill set I have acquired.  My hope is that by breaking it down and sharing it with the world, it might help another human being.

So, the different components (modules, systems...pick your terminology) of weight loss are:

Physical...calories in/calories out. (honest:  I didn't exercise while I was losing the majority of my weight.  I lift weights now, twice a week, because I love it and I want to be strong. Unless I am climbing a mountain, I'm not that in to cardio...ymmv.)

Physiological:  what type of calories are going in and how does YOUR body respond to them?  (in other words:  get off the sugar.  Yes, you.)

Psychological/Spiritual/Relational:  What is driving the overeating?  How can this drive be released/reduced. Is your over eating driving a wedge between you and God?  You and others?  Are you over eating to numb your feelings or stuff them down and deny them, even to yourself?  Are you controlling others (or attempting to control others)? Are you codependant, resentful, wounded?

The 12 Steps really really help to address the Psychological/Spiritual/Relational aspects of over eating, and I would highly recommend to anyone who struggles with this to dig in to those.  Since this program is solid and it exists, I won't re-invent the wheel.

Surrender is VITAL.  What happened to me on March 11, 2016?  I DIED.  I died to the cake, the pie, the bread the cookies.  It was a spiritual work of God in my heart.  That's the only way I can describe it.  I died to the things that were my trigger foods that would lead me into over-eating.  At long last I acknowledged that binge eating could be a series of micro-binges, and was not always the magnified dramatic type of binge that gets shown on TLC.  Binge eating can be a series of cozy, comfortable habits that don't feel like a binge at all.  Because a person can binge on "Just one"..."just one more...".  Once I was able to be honest about MY habits and to see them for the excess that they were, instead of justifying myself and how I was eating, I was able to start recovery. I had to let go of trying to have my cake and eat it too....in this case, I had to let go of the cake. A wise friend pointed out to me one time that whenever I started a new diet, the first thing I did was figure out how to make cookies or brownies or cake within the parameters of that diet.  I got really good at low carb baking, grain free baking, gluten free baking, baking, baking, baking.

I had to stop baking.

Ok, so lets look for a moment at the physical/physiological aspects of long term weight loss and maintenance and conclude with what that means for the holidays.

A good book that repeats some helpful information to consider is Bright Line Eating.  There's nothing new there, and the author borrows heavily from OA concepts.  I think what Bright Line Eating delivers is some clear guidelines about food quantities and types which OA does not address.  I think those of us with more success in OA are the ones who find a food plan that is similarly strict, and that our definition of abstinence has some "bright lines".  Mine does.  It is not necessary (IMO) to pay money to join BLE when the same support can be got for free via OA.  But if paying money helps you, then by all means, do it.  I will say that, for me, the BLE food plan is too strict and restrictive.  It would not be a "forever plan" for me.  Not enough calories.  But I am tall and muscular, and it IS enough calories for my more petite sisters.  (The BLE food plan is somewhere in the 1450 calorie range.  My own calorie needs have been more or less 1700 calories a day when I count them...some days a bit more, other days a bit less.  The excess weight has come off gradually and in a healthy way...but looking back on the last 622 days, it seems an astonishingly fast transformation.)

So...the boundaries (bright lines, if you will)...defining abstinence....that is going to look similar and different for each person.  My own personal lines are rather strict:

I don't eat sugar or artificial sweeteners except for Stevia and Truvia (a stevia/erythritol blend). No honey, no molasses, no maple syrup, no white sugar or brown sugar, no aspartame, no splenda...none of that...no coconut sugar or agave nectar.  If I take a bite of something at coffee hour and it tastes sweet (why do they put sugar in salad?  yes, it happens.) I pass on it.

I don't eat baked goods.  No bread, no muffins, cakes, cookies, pies...nothing with that fluffy melt in your mouth mouth feel that these thing afford.

I do eat some gluten free pasta in measured quantities, and I do have corn tortillas from time to time at a restaurant.  I don't eat corn chips because I have identified a tendency to munch...more on that later.  I do occasionally have french fries if I am at a restaurant and I need a gluten free carb.

About the corn chips:  I started out and they were on my OK list of foods, beside the corn tortillas  and the potatoes.  I was OK with them for a while and then they started creeping up on me and I wanted them more often than prudent.  Another bright line I have is that I am utterly willing to let go of ANY FOOD that I see is becoming a problem food for me. Any food.  It's just food.  If I a desirous to over eat it, out it goes.

And no alcohol.  It is a sugar, basically...and for me, it lowers my inhibitions enough to where I am face deep in a pile of food if I drink. "Don't mind, me, one more won't hurt a thing..."

Oh, I forgot to mention:  I have food allergies.  So, no gluten, no dairy, no peanuts, no tree nuts, no chocolate, no shrimp, no sunflower seeds.  I carry an epi pen.  yes, I do.  So none of those things are on the table for me.  I'll be honest:  the food allergies help me avoid temptation.

But I do eat carbs:  oatmeal, rice, the occasional corn tortilla, beans, fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes.  I am not on a low carb diet.  In fact, I feel better when I have a balance of carbs, fat and protein.  I low carbed for years and never lost the weight (was eating too many calories) and burned out my adrenals in the process.

I'm also not on a low fat diet, but I have learned that I have to measure my fats in order to keep my fat percentage around 35%.  I was eating a lot more fat before, since I have a liberal hand when it comes to cooking and portions.  So I have learned that even with measuring my fats, I still don't fall into the definition of "low fat"...

The other line I have is on portion sizes and weighing/measuring my food. I had to become willing to use my weighing and measuring tools consistently at first....and I am still willing to use them daily, and I do if I am at home.  At this point, some days I count calories and some days I don't.  On the days I count calories, I have a bit more flexibility on when I eat...sometimes I end up having some air popped popcorn in order to meet my calorie target at the end of the day.  Sometimes I don't. Often those days consist of a series of tried and true meals for which I have already counted the calories in the past and I know they fall within my lines.  On the days when I don't count calories, I still measure my protein (4 oz. serving), my fat (1/2 T. serving) and my carbs (1 cup rice, pasta or potato). On the no calorie counting days I have another strict rule:  Three meals, no snacks.  And at those meals, I eat my normal measured portions, no seconds.  I MIGHT have a piece of fruit (included in my meal budget that I eat a bit before dinner to keep my blood sugar from tanking).  I know myself well enough to know that I will always need to measure protein, fat and carb foods...the only time I don't measure them is when I am out at a restaurant.  I will be honest and say that:  The number of places I eat out is countable on about one hand, and I always order the same thing off the menu, so I've looked up the nutrition information on those meals in the past and I insert them into my day, eat and move on.  It's about the fuel aspect of food.  It's not really about the deliciousness, although it generally does taste good. I don't measure my vegetables strictly.  I tend to eat a lot of vegetables to get my meal volume high enough to be satisfying.  One cup of pasta and 4 ounces of meat is paltry.  Add 2 cups of steamed veggies to that, and it's enough food.

When I'm at a Mexican restaurant and I'm waiting on my meal, it IS hard to not eat the corn chips, especially when I am very hungry, and if I were not very hungry I would not be there to eat a meal.  But God gives strength.

So, if you have made it thus far through this rambly mess of a blog post, I want to address the holiday aspect of weight loss and weight maintenance.  It IS possible to have a festive occasion, and even have special holiday foods without crossing the lines and making exceptions.  I screamed like an angry toddler every day for a week when I was detoxing from sugar, and let me tell ya...I ain't doing that again.  No thank you.

I do NOT miss the almost 90 pounds I've released.  I do NOT want them to find me again.  The pie is not worth it.

So, holidays:  Meat...that's easy.  Eat some meat.  Turkey, roast, whatever.  Have some.  for my part, what would a holiday menu look like within the lines I have set:  meat, rice seasoned with sage/onion/mushrooms, perhaps, or mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce made from scratch sweetened with stevia, pumpkin custard (the crust is a nope...but if you made something with a nut crust that might work if flour stuff is off your list), if you aren't allergic to dairy you could make a sugar free cheesecake...you have more options than I do.  Cinnamon apples, kale salad, sauteed green beans...the possibilities for healthy side dishes are almost endless.  Many traditional favorites CAN be re-imagined to fall inside your lines.

And so it's meal time, and I eat.  I measure the potatoes, I measure the meat.  I eat liberally of the veggies.  I measure the apples.  that is my dessert.  I am full and I don't get seconds.  And by the time supper comes, I am hungry and I can have another meal.

The day after Thanksgiving breakfast tradition of pie is replaced with putting some sugar fee cranberry sauce in my oatmeal instead of my usual banana.  I add cinnamon.  It is special.

There's a balance to be created between "this is just an ordinary day" and "this is a feasting day"... and it's possible to make special occasion dishes that fall within the parameters of one's food plan.  Because, in the end...it's not about the food.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Day

We got Wes' diagnosis the day before Thanksgiving in 2013.  So yeah, this holiday is forever basically ruined for our family.

And he's only been gone 6.5 weeks, and so today is shitty shitty shitty shitty hard. 

We are trying to ignore the holiday, but the work of ignoring it means there's an awareness and so it's actually impossible to ignore.  You know how it goes. 

Not cooking a Turkey (none of us LIKE Turkey enough for that).  But people still gotta eat so there will be food, I suppose.

Going to see Thor this afternoon.  We went and saw Justice League yesterday.  This is a special form of torture for me, but I love my peeps, so I will do it.

Yeah, holidays are crummy for the bereaved.  I didn't make it to Church this morning for Divine Liturgy because I couldn't muster the energy to climb over the steaming pile of my grief and:  get dressed, say prayers, be hungry and go to Church.  Not to mention being the energy force that supposedly gets the millenials up and out the door.  Nope.  Trying to learn to not do that.

My motto in life is:  I don't control people.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


Very often I stand in my icon corner and I just wail at God: "He died!!!" 
Like I am in shock and astonished and dismayed and surprised that after all the anticipatory grief, the thing actually happened. 
The fact that it is so jarring has come as a surprise. 
"He died!!!" I cry. 
"He died!!!" 
It is all so wrong.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Widowhood 101: Unclogging the Sink

Tonight the kitchen sink was clogged up with some herbal stuff that a certain someone decided to send down the garbage disposal.  This device is NOT meant to deal with leaves, herbs and twigs...So I tried a snake, and I tried a plunger, to no avail. I had my hand all up in there, picking twigs and leaves out for a very long time... Then I decided to get radical and I took the pipes apart under the sink.  And I removed the gunk.  And then I put them back together.  And then I had to do it a second time because there was more gunk I missed the first time.  So I did.

I did this.  Successfully. 

I didn't call a plumber. 

I didn't have to discuss with anyone what to do. 

I didn't have anyone disagreeing with what I thought should be done. 

I just saw what needed doing and did it, because that is now I am.

I saved a bunch of money. 

It is scary and awful to be alone, but unilateral decisions that turn out well....kinda nice.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Sad Sack Report.

I guess a couple of weeks have gone by in my sad sack life and I failed to update my blog.  Everything is quiet and I'm supposed to be resting.  ha.  I was really sick and now I'm just run down and I can't dislodge a certain pile of congestion in my chest. 

What, you ask, have I been up to day to day?  Well, living peacefully with Bethany and making food in smaller quantities of highly nourishing variety.  Today was lentil stew with spinach.  I creamed it so she was able to eat the spinach without any textural challenges and we both liked it.

On Sunday evenings B and I have been driving down to Berea to have supper with the college people.  That's always nice.  I'm trying to let go of that sense of doom I have about whatever it is they are doing or not doing, and only worry about ME and my own repentance and let them carry their own selves, while still being a loving and supportive presence in their lives.  It's hard to know how to be a mother of young adults.  They don't come with a manual at this age, either.

Lots of paperwork when someone dies...so I have been running around doing paperworky stuff.  Today was print off and fill out some forms for life insurance policy that Wes had through his job, and then take it and fax it and then mail a paper copy just in case.  I also made a photocopy for my records because it seemed to me that that would be something Wes would have done and he was very good at the paperworky stuff.

I've signed up for medicaid for me and the kids.  I've had long conversations with them trying to be supportive and encourage them in their depression and grief, to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I've prayed a lot.  I've been to church.  I've gotten groceries.  I've sewn a dress for myself just for fun,  and started knitting a boring hat that no one needs.

Often, I run out of energy mid-way through the afternoon, and I have to go home and lie down.  I've had some nights where I hardly slept, but the past two night have been good sleep.  I have had some really bad dreams processing the cancer and Wes' death...trauma stuff.  Next week I start seeing a hospice grief counselor...so that's good.  I need that.

So, yeah...I'm a bit of a sad sack.  Wiser heads than mine have commanded me to wait until January before I "do anything". Ok...January. 

I have no idea what I'm doing.  But tomorrow already has a small to do list waiting, of necessary tasks that must be done and I'm sure that by the time I do those things and deal with food and any errands B might need, the day will mostly be done, and the energy will certainly be used up. 

And so one more day goes by... I cry a lot. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Widowhood: Week 1

Today B and I went for a hike in Berea, after I'd dropped off a bag of forgotten-at-home items with one of my college kids.  The mountain we climbed was the same one Wes and I hiked about a year ago, and I could not help but think of him often.  I can't remember if our hike was before or after his brain surgery last September 28.  At any rate it was a very difficult climb for him that day and we had to stop and rest frequently.

Today I was very pleased with my own fitness improvements since last year, which made getting up to the top very easy indeed.

Yesterday I screwed up my courage to visit Wes' grave.  It was there, a mound of dirt.  The funeral flowers were in better shape than I had expected them to be, probably thanks to the rain we got the other day.

My days feel...calm.  The fear that went along with the anticipatory grief has lifted, since the thing that I was dreading has come to pass and is behind me now.  And for some reason, some of the fears that I had about this future I am now in (which I knew in my head were unrealistic fears) are no longer with me.  I've just been calm and sad.  Oh so sad.  The numbness lifted a bit last night since it was Monday night last week that Wes died, and I had my first REALLY BIG sobbing session.  I told God that crying would have to do for my evening prayers, and I crawled under my weighted blanket and fell asleep eventually.  So, yes, evenings are hard.

I was going to go out to a movie with some friends this evening,  but am staying at home with a head cold instead.  B and I played scrabble on our first evening at home alone after the others went back to college.

I've been managing.  There are tears.  I've been very intentional about long walks in nature, working out at the gym, reading good things, and staying hydrated....and making very very very specific to-do lists each day so that I don't just drift.  Wisdom tells me to rest and recuperate after what I've been through.  Part of me thinks I should pick up seasonal work with the holidays approaching.  I'm not interested in internet advice on that score.  I'll figure it out.

Mostly, I miss Wes.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Asleep in the Lord

My beloved husband, Wesley, fell asleep in the Lord tonight at 11:17 pm.  He had valiantly been fighting grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer for the past four years. 

I am grateful that I got to be his wife.  I am grateful for our kids.  I am grateful for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am grateful that he is no longer suffering this terrible illness that he had. 

He never ever complained. 

Glory to God for all things. 

Death has been defeated, for Christ is risen!

Still He Sleeps

Wes is "actively dying".  He has been sleeping almost non stop since last Monday night.  Last food he took was last Tuesday morning, and that only a few bites.  Only sips of water and now only sponges.  I try to give him more but he won't take it. 

Yesterday was his "rally" and he woke up.  We had the kids fetched from their college and hugs all around.  He received communion and many prayers were prayed.

Today he sleeps.

His body is showing definite symptoms of the death process. I won't go into details.  You can google it, and if it is on the list, you can imagine it is happening here. This death thing is ugly and stinky and I hate it.  And I have absolutely no control over how long or short it will take. 

And I have absolutely no idea whether to send the kids back to college for a few days, or whether that would be superfluous and just require turning around to fetch them again. 

I am not good at waiting.  I have NEVER been good at waiting. 

So I pray that God would show me what needs doing.

And I wait.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

An Update

Wes has been on hospice almost three weeks now.  His decline seems very rapid.  Today he is sleeping and will barely rouse to be fed.  He slept through a bath, unresponsive with no memory of it. 

I asked him earlier if he was seeing angels and saints yet, and he wouldn't say, but got a very smirky sly grin on his face.  All morning long he kept saying over and over how happy he is. 

He is not in pain. 

Glory to God for all things. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Circles of Caregiving (based loosely on the Ring Theory of Grief)

So, my mind is going a million miles a minute, analyzing my current experience w/ Wes being on hospice etc. So I'm going to keep stepping back and writing about it in neutral, general terms. The things I am thinking about are general principles, social scripts and dynamics, and appropriate boundary issues...stuff that is uncomfortable because it doesn't get talked about and our culture (as I've said before) lacks solid rituals surrounding these areas of life (well, I think we do have them, but each of us feels like we are reinventing the wheel...because they are unspoken rituals. I am here to speak of them).
I've posted before, the article  about supporting a grieving person, with the concentric circles...that one vents outward and supports inward. So, based on the same model, where the person who is dying is at the very center and their spouse next to them, and kids...and then concentric circles of intimacy moving out from there, let me say some things about support, friendship and how to walk with a person/family who is going through end of life stage:
1. If you are Pluto, do not try to be Mercury. When a person is getting ready to die is NOT the time (generally speaking, there are always exceptions I suppose) they are going to want to be building new relationships. If you have barely acknowledged their existence in your life up 'till now, but your heart goes out to them in this situation, add them to your prayer list and move on. Don't invite them to coffee or out to dinner (they won't have energy for that anyways) if that is not already what you have been about, as a friend.
You might think to yourself "Oh, but my offer is kindly meant and they will see it for what it is." As an insider to such a situation, currently, I can say: Your offer IS kindly meant (acknowledged), but it is also a source of stress for the person/family. Any time the center is put in a position of having to say "yes" or "no" it is stressful. It might be only mildly stressful, or be more stressful depending on your relationship...but know, there is stress involved in each interaction. This stress is unavoidable, but it can be reduced. I am pointing out this stress, not to tell the world to go away...but just to teach about the energy/relationship dynamics going on in such an intimate life-phase.
2. There are wonderful not-too-intimate ways to help a person who is dying, or their family. Cutting grass, running errands, giving rides to other dependent family members, bringing meals...This is what love looks like from a community. Support at this level is invaluable and relieves the family members to do the heavy emotional lifting (and physical) required of them at this time.
3. The same is true for the main caregiver: If you don't already have a close relationship, now is not the time to build one.
4. If you give, give freely. The family of the dying is in emergency mode, and is exhausted. Do not get offended if thank you notes are not forthcoming, or are completely forgotten. The gratitude is there.
5. The best analogous event in our culture that we DO have social scripts for, is the birth of a baby...only this is analogous in an opposite way. Who gets to be in the birthing suite? Who will be there when a person passes? Who is changing diapers? Who is dropping off meals? Ask yourself: If these people were having a baby, what would I do for them? That is the same level at which it is helpful to participate in end of life community support, based on your current relationship.

What to Say when Someone is Dying

Imaginary scenario: Someone you know is on hospice and sick unto death. You have no idea what to say because...shit, right? So, allow me to provide you, world, with some appropriate social scripts to use for when someone you know is preparing to die:
How is your day today? ...Oh, I'm so glad. ...Have you been able to enjoy any of this sunshine? //...oh, dear. that must be so hard. Is the nurse taking good care of you, though?/Is there a way to make things better today? (pain levels, etc)
Are you in any pain? ^^^ see above sub scripts.
What are you reading (or watching)? follow up questions as per usual with such conversations.
Are you able to eat? ...oh, that's good. Anything good on the menu tonight? // I'm so sorry you aren't feeling well enough to eat. to the caregiver: can I run to the store and buy juice for you?
The hospice patient may or may not be able to answer. That is OK. Lots of chatting might be too much. Or it might be OK.
The caregiver will likely be acting as the gatekeeper. If you are greeted on the front stoop when you bring a meal or stop by, please do not be offended. Sometimes it is nap time.
Life becomes immediate and very very daily and so mundane.
Hospice is not a vacation from work. It's not an "are you enjoying your time off?" type of an occasion. It's not a "kick back and live it up" time in a person's life. The hospice patient is ill unto death. If they look good, that does not mean they are fine.
They are likely to be dealing with physical things that they wish to keep private. That is to be respected. If physical care must be given, expect to be escorted right on out.
I speak in generalities here as a follow up to my observation that our culture does not provide good scripts surrounding death and dying. I will likely be posting about things to say to bereaved people, too.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Hospice means comfort care.
Hospice means focus on having good days.
Hospice means treatment is cancelled.  Done.  Finis.
Hospice means the decline is here.
Hospice means a very supportive team coming into our home to make those good days happen.

I am exhausted.
I am numb.
I am relieved to have the help.
Mostly, I am exhausted.

I'm not going to say more than that.  Our story is not misery porn.

Sunday, September 03, 2017


I made that word up.  The greek word roots for tongue, speak, and fool.

You know, you have heard it:  A person addressing a small child or a very very elderly person in a slightly loud, slightly slow, sing songy condescending way?

That's what this word means.  Doing that.

People with expressive langue deficites also get spoken to in this way sometimes.

Such as people with autism or people with brain injuries.

Just because someone is slow of speech or aphasic does NOT mean they can't comprehend or are slow of thought.

We must be very careful how we speak to others.

For the most part most people are so good and I do believe that this speech pattern is unconsciously done in response to a person who is slow to speak or having difficulty.

This has been on my mind today because I see it happening to Wes and my wifey-bear self roars to life to defend him.

That is all.

Friday, September 01, 2017


Stuff has shifted around a bit this week.  I'm more "on duty" now that Wes' right hand is useless...so I''m doing basic stuff for him more like cutting his food and tying his shoes.

Today we went to Walmart and we bought some shirts that don't have buttons.  And ice cream.

But all this and I watched him in determination figuring out how to tie the top of the trash bag with one hand.  He is absolutely determined to do whatever he can for himself.  And yes, he's still working.

We are figuring it all out and communication can be hard at times.

So I joined a gym so I can do some strength training...because it would be foolish not to do so, knowing there's some heavy lifting coming my way pretty soon....

Being a caregiver is HARD WORK.

Sunday, August 27, 2017


This is the time for laying down my life.

Yesterday we went to the park and I pushed him in the wheelchair on the paved walking path.  It was lovely weather, a lovely breeze and we had a very nice. time  For an hour or two I was actually not sad.

And then something hurtful was said,  the bubble burst and I had a good loud sobbing cry. We ate supper, and went to vespers.  Confession afterwards.

Church this morning was like being in a fog...or something.  That feeling in the pit of my stomach of fear, like I'm on a rollercoaster.  Just constant terror. I can't escape it.

A very quiet afternoon.  I spent some time writing letters to some pen pals and then I cooked a very very nice meatloaf supper.  We ate in front the TV watching Armageddon.  I wish a giant asteroid WOULD just hit us all.  Stop the pain. Might be nice.

Am contemplating the merits of a goth phase.  Am listening to very loud (headphones) Latino music which lyrics I understand not at all.

It's like my days are mostly alone, or running errands, interspersed with getting my feelings hurt by someone with zero filter.  Brain damage. I hate it.

The brain bleed goes on.  Everything has changed.

My only task is to lay down my life and serve.  And not get my feelings hurt.

And not get my feelings hurt.

And not get my feelings hurt.

I must be superhuman.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

"...blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."  (Mt. 5:4)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)

These verses give me lots of strength and hope.  Or rather I should say the voice of God speaking to me through these verses strengthens me.

If you had to choose between being comfortable, or experiencing grief and loss but drawing closer to God in the process, which would you choose?

That's just something to ponder.  I do.

Sometimes I think God is merciful in that He doesn't give us the choice.  We tell Him that we want Him, even as we are completely tied up in our earthly lives and we have NO IDEA what we are asking for...but there's that inner spark of love for Christ, and we want God.

And so God begins to rip up apart, with our permission...but ripping nonetheless.

And in return for clay and ashes, God gives us Himself.

And in the end, the losses are not really losses at all (except that that they so are, paradoxically)...because we find ourselves in God and we find each other in God as well...

I say this as a broken woman in the throes of anticipatory grief who is losing her husband to cancer...

God be glorified.  that is all.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Managing Social Media

I used to blog quite a lot, and when I got onto Facebook about ten thousand years ago, the new social media platform killed my writing on here.  I am purposing to change that, even though I know without a doubt that personal blogging is a bit...yesteryear.

I'm OK, with yesteryear.  The problem that I have run in to is that I have too many facebook friends whom I don't actually know in real life.  I like writing for people, but on facebook, I write as though I am writing to friends when in large part I am actually writing to strangers...and then I invite unwanted comment into my life because I am not editing myself as well as I should.  

On blogger, I know for a fact that I am writing to the whole entire universe, and I can edit my words accordingly.  And I can write with more focus, intention, and purpose.  

I want to share some of my thoughts and my writing with people, but I don't want to bare my soul to everyone. I hope I can write about more than just grief, but I don't know if I will be able to do that for a long time to come.  

Welcome to my new old blog.  I hope you follow me here.  I will be purging my friends list on facebook rather extensively.