Intentions Cause Action

The parking lot at the post office can get quite congested with people pulling in and looking for a parking place and those backing out of their spot and leaving.

How do people know who is going to do what?

It seems that people get clues from the actions of the other drivers. Some people just start moving, expecting others to stop and wait. Others stop and wait. It become quite a dance of cars.

What I find interesting is how a person’s intention is communicated by an action. People in a hurry don’t like to stop and wait. Instead, they push ahead. Others move slowly. Some people reveal their intention by a motion with their hand or their turn signals.

The point is, the driver lets other drivers know what he is going to do by taking an action.

This got me thinking. Does this simple activity in the post office parking lot apply to other situations where we make intentions?

The only way another person knows my intention is by the actions they see me take. I could tell them, which is  sort of  a half action or they could sense it. But the real proof is in the physical action.

It seems like a lot of people have good intentions. Intentions to eat more healthy foods, exercise, repair their car or their body and make more money. Some actually take action. They by organic foods, eat more fruit and vegetables, exercise or put in more hours working. An outsider can see what they are doing.

Many talk a good game but when it comes time for action, it just doesn’t seem to happen. They remain in their old habits or patterns of behavior. This could be due to limiting beliefs, conflicts between when they believe about themselves and what they want to do or any number of things.

The important thing is what actions I am taking. Where are they leading me? What intention am I fulfilling by my actions?

Relationship Reading On My Mom

I did a relationship soul reading between my Mom and myself before I brought her home.

It was a real eye opener!

What I noticed right off the bat was that the nature of our relationship was mostly adversarial. That explained so much. She was/ is a challenge for me, especially when it comes to my self empowerment.

This statement summarizes the majority of our interactions- from pre-teen onward.  I wanted the freedom to be my own person- whoever that was, and she was determined to mold me into what she thought best for me.

The thing about an adversarial relationship is the paradoxes  and inner conflicts it creates.

She is my mom. I love and respect her as a person. I am grateful for the gift of life she gave me. BUT I needed to make my own decisions, even if she thought they were stupid, harmful or dangerous. She had to allow me to be me. When she didn’t allow me, I took evasive action, which she usually didn’t like.

Even now, she is 93 and I am a grown woman in my late 50′s and she still tries to tell me about who I can be in a relationship with and what will people think if they knew I was in a relationship with my cousin. According to her, it is forbidden. She likes Tom well enough, but does not approve of our relationship.

Once I understood the nature of my relationship with my mom and how it challenged me, I looked to the results of our interactions.

It seems that when a person creates a challenging relationship at the soul level, they have set themselves quite a challenge. They had ‘upped’ the stakes, so to speak, of their personal growth learning curve. The person is being asked to step up to the plate and hit the ball. No slacking!

Some people don’t survive running the gauntlet. They cower under the pressure, surrender to the intimidation and challenge. Their life becomes filled with unfulfilled wishes and resentments from always doing the bidding of the dominating person. They are not happy and their whole attitude about life is skewed toward the negative.

I didn’t surrender. I fought back. I took another course of action. I had to become strong and decisive so that I would not succumb to outside control. I had to become strong willed, determined and find creative solutions.

I can’t help but wonder what it is like for Mom, who is the other side of the adversarial relationship. Does she learn the same things I do? Does she understand that she is playing out a role we decided upon when in the non-physical to challenge both of us; me to claim my personal power and her to allow me to do that and find joy in her life?

It has to be emotionally hard on her to have me rebel against her, not agree with her beliefs, resist her suggestions and abandon her to her own devices. I have to remind myself that she was a willing party and that this situation benefits her personal growth, too.

Even thought we don’t see eye to eye on many things, I made the decision to bring her home to live with me. Part of the decision was based on my eternal optimism that we could work things out and make peace with each other.  Which we have- sort of.

She still pushes my buttons- just like her comment last night about Tom’s and my relationship being unholy, but I have learned that I have to take charge of my reactions. When she gets on a volatile topic- like my relationship, I make some light hearted comments and walk away. I have to stop myself from justifying my position. After all, it is my life, not hers, I’m living.

Walking away doesn’t mean I don’t get upset or angry. It means that I process my rattled feelings away from her. I am learning to apply more wisdom and a broader perspective to the comments she uses to provoke me.

I have a mantra: She is entitled to her own beliefs. Who am I to know what is right for her.

I have also said this to her when she judges me or some other family member. How does she really know what is best for them. She does not know what they designed for themselves this life.

I don’t regret my decision to bring her to stay with me. It has been really challenging, but I am also learning about my mother and applying all I have learned through the years to understand her perspective. Well, at least speculate.  Also, by listening to her childhood stories, I am learning about a lot of beliefs I unconsciously collected from her in my childhood.

I find myself feeling sad for her. Sad that she has had such a tough (from my perspective) life, sad that she hasn’t allowed herself to enjoy the love I know my dad had for her or let go of her view of herself as a bad person who needs to be punished. But then, we made an agrement before we were born of the roles we would play for each others as agents in our spiritual evolution.

In contrast to the adversarial relationship I had/have with my mom, most of my learning experiences with my dad were peaceful, positive and easy. Instead of needing to fight for what I wanted, I got it by osmosis. I copied him. I matched his energy. I felt his love and support and I was willing to stretch and expand and grow. With my dad, I tried something new through encouragement. With my mom,  I tried something new as an act of rebellion.

It is tough when your relationship is filled with differences and both people are strong-willed. It takes determination and conscious choice of the part of both parties to keep the peace. It’s like the fast tack to spiritual growth to accept each other and allow each other to be who they are.

I’m still working on this……  and truth be known, I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much as I have if it was all nurturing and easy.  Or maybe this thought is the result of having to fight all my life for what I want……

Sharing My Home

Sometimes I feel like a badger protecting her den. My hackles are up and teeth bared.

It’s hard to always be positive about sharing my house with a number of people. After the kids left and headed off to college, I had  a relatively peaceful house, broken by spells when Tom came every week. He was easy to have. He didn’t demand things of me and he was either sleeping, watching TV or at the carwash or laundromat. Time together was comfortable, too. At lease half  of the time, I was alone with my pets, my work and my interests. This suited me just fine.

When I brought my mom home, everything changed. I had to share my house with the caretakers and they don’t do things the way I do! It is a composite of small things such as leaving the sink strainer tilted so that food scraps could get stuck in the drain, putting the mop back so the door would not close or not cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen.

Cooking is a big sore point. I buy organic food for my mom. I’ve tried to provide a diet that she is familiar with and that agrees with her. We also grew up in a family that ate a lot of fruits and vegetables. (My dad was a wholesale produce dealer.) However, our modern society does not seem to grasp the value of lots of vegetables as a food source.  And the caregivers haven’t a clue about cooking with vegetables or feeding fruits.

Food was one of the big reasons I opted to bring her home with me. She was not used to institutional food, and from what I saw at the facilities, it was pretty heavy in the non-nutritive department. A lot of sugar, carbohydrates and dead vegetables- sort of as an afterthought.  Then the facilities give their patients lots of stool softeners and other unnecessary meds that good diet would resolve.

Mom doesn’t take supplements  except for a few we slip into her applesauce. Her food needs to provide her with the nutrition she needs. I have had to educate all of them about giving her more than an egg and toast with jam for breakfast or to add vegetables  and sweet potatoes to a meat dish. I get so frustrated when I buy perishable broccoli, spinach  and other greens, just to see them sit in the refrigerator and go bad. When I get them to make an omelet with spinach or kale leaves, they use six leaves- just enough for coloring. I keep telling them to use a handful. Leaves melt! They mix well with eggs!

Yogurt and cottage cheese or fruit are also not part of the average diet, and it sits in the refrigerator until either I feed it to her or give specific instructions. Oh how frustrating! People seem to think that meat and carbs are the only foods available.  This is demonstrated in the food they bring to eat while they are here- all junk food!

Then there is the computer. I have an iPad I set up for my mom to watch movies from Netflix and for Facetime with my oldest sister who lives in Ohio. However, the iPad is often used for the caregivers to play games. This rankles- I feel like they should be doing something else but on the other hand, there is a lot of dead time with Mom. And someone has to be around to help her with her needs. If they weren’t there, it would interfere with my schedule and projects.  The mornings I am on duty I don’t get anything done on my chores or projects! I have to admit that I would rather administer her affairs rather than spend the hours being her caregiver. I don’t have the patience and I don’t like to sit around all day talking, which some of the caregivers are really good at. Hearing a story once is enough!

There is a problem with the connection with the iPad streaming to the TV, so this morning, I connected my laptop so Mom could listen to Mass on Catholic TV. They like to use my laptop, too. And when the devices don’t work, I get the complaints.

I’m just complaining. I guess I’m entitled to complain sometimes. Most of the time, I notice the little things and either ignore them, make a comment or bite my tongue. The alternative is that I do all the work. That is more stressful to me than dealing with the differences in perception of the people that work for me! I would feel so trapped and I know I’d get really resentful. The vibes in the house would not be peaceful, like they are now.

So even though I complain, I am happy I do not have to spend hours and hours with Mom, entertaining her, getting her to exercise and other activities, feed her and clean up after her. By having the caregiver team, I still have my freedom to come and go when someone is here, do the work I need to do to provide for a home and time to rest and listen to my teleclasses. I don’t think I could keep her here without them.

It’s all choices. There are down sides to every decision. It’s all how we look at the results of our decision that matters. If I let the scales tip in favor of the down side of sharing my house for my mom’s care, then I’d be in a bad way. Remembering why I chose to have her here and noticing the benefits I receive by her being here helps me get through the shadow side.

 

Have I Lost My Kids?

My mom seems to think that I have lost my kids. She arrived at this conclusion because Heather and Kelly won’t be home for Christmas. Instead, Heather will be spend the Christmas holidays in Ireland with friends and Kelly will be enjoying a week on a Costa Rican beach.

Why, you might ask?

Well, since my divorce over 10 years ago, the holidays have become a stressful time for them. They want to spend time with both of their parents. Their dad is much more family driven than I am, and claims their time and wants to do things with them. He has remarried, and neither of the kids like their step-mom. I don’t think she is that bad…. but she is not their mom.

The last several years, the holidays have gotten awkward. Often they are required to spend time with their dad and his wife’s family. He has bank-rolled many of their activities so they feel beholden to him and don’t want to hurt his feelings because they don’t want to be cut off from the occasional funds for car repairs or snowboarding trips.

One year, Heather left the country in November and spent the Christmas season in Italy and New Years in France with friends, just to avoid family awkwardness.

Kelly wasn’t so lucky. He was still in college, so he would spend a day with me and then the rest of the time with his dad.

In the early years of  my divorce, I would get my feelings hurt. But now, they are both grown adults and I would rather they enjoyed themselves than have to be in a situation that they don’t like. I guess, I know that at some point in their lives, they will settle down and holidays will become a family social event again. A tIme when  they are not dependent upon their father for money……

I don’t agree that I have ‘lost’ my kids. I think my job as a parent is to give them a good foundation; a method to discern what works and what doesn’t. I want them to be independent, self-sufficient and responsible for their choices.  I want them to succeed.

I think both of them are doing a good job. Already, they are leagues ahead of me in their courage, their willingness to go on adventures  all by themselves, and their innate wisdom about themselves, human nature and people.  Both have talent and the possibility to make whatever they want out of their lives.

I see my job as their mom,  is to nurture and support their wishes and goals, put in my two cents worth and share my experience, but ultimately let them make up their own minds. Truth is, they are going to do what they are going to do irregardless of what I say. So why fight them. I think this is a concept that their dad doesn’t  quite understand.

My mom has a different perspective. I am not totally sure just what it is. It takes a long time to get a straight answer from her.  But I hear her telling her caregivers  that I made a bad marriage, that my father married me off because he didn’t want to pay for my college. Now she is telling them that I have lost my kids.

I have gathered from bits and pieces that when her Portland house was empty of her children and my dad and all of us moved away, that she was really hurt and angry. I don’t think she ever processed it, because she re-tells the same stories over and over again.  I don’t know if she could not let us go, or what. She has attached a lot of anger to my dad and blames him. Of course, she would never admit that she had a part in our withdrawal.

What I felt from her as I was growing up was that she wanted us to have a better life than she did. She grew up  before and during the depression in Portland. Her mom made several bad marriages and was single some of the time. Survival was harsh. They would move in the middle of the night because they could not pay the rent. It is an experience that created a lot of beliefs, which she passed along to us, her children.

I often felt that she wanted us to be successful and that she measured her self-worth by how successful we were. She lived vicariously through us and our successes.  She didn’t have much of a positive opinion about men. She saw her mother beaten by her husbands and she was deathly afraid that her father would beat her.

She brought this attitude about men forward and filtered  and always nixed any romantic relationships of my older sisters. I remember my oldest sister bringing marriage prospects home and mom getting her in a corner and telling her what she thought about them. It usually wasn’t good. I saw this over and over again.  My oldest sister found a man during her stay in Italy and married him. She was out of Mom’s reach.

My other sister was not so lucky at finding a marriage partner. All her prospects were vetoed.  My brother had such limited dating experience and Mom made fun of anyone he brought home. He made a couple of choices that were not suitable matches for him. He has spent his life in search of the perfect mate.

I told you in another post what happened when I brought my marriage prospect home!

The good thing about my childhood experiences is that it helped me raise my own kids. I am pleased and proud of who they have become. I hope for the best for them. I trust them and when I worry, I remind myself of what a cousin said about worrying. She said that when you worry about someone, it means you don’t trust them.  How true.

I also know that I am energetically connected to my kids. I don’t have to see them in person to know what is going on for them. We are connected. I am part of them and they are part of me. I don’t feel I have lost my kids. They always call when they need something, especially money. : )

Did Mom Lose Her Kids?

My Mom has her ideas and interpretations about her life experiences. She believes that my father took her kids away from her. She says that he was mad at her and threatened to get even with her through the kids- by taking them away from her. It was a good threat, since her children meant the world to her.

As I see it, he didn’t take us away as an act of revenge. We left to get out of her sphere of control. My dad was a lot easier going and not so bossy. Things didn’t have to be done just so.

Now that I’m older and can reflect back, I would say that my dad also trusted us. My mom would say he didn’t care about us, that’s why he didn’t watch over our every move and manage our decisions. I would say that he believed in our ability to discern things for ourselves. He gave us the freedom to try new things.  I could be a tom-boy, getting all dirty and wearing ragged clothes, riding my horse, driving the trucks, helping my dad and riding on the cat. A total opposite to the civilized life in Portland where we were supposed to act like a ladies, dress properly, and have manners.

Anyway, we all felt the controlling influence of my mom and acted out our rebellion in different ways. My oldest sister moved to Coos Bay, a significant distance from Portland. My other sister fell in love with a horse and refused to return to Portland. My brother used the excuse that he was helping my dad and as soon as he got his license, he was gone. He started a trucking business that took all of his time.

I was the youngest and last to leave the nest. I envied my older siblings their freedom. I had to stay home with Mom and clean the house and help her with the bookkeeping. I had to find her errors in the ledgers so the sheets would balance. I champed at the bit, looking for any opportunity to experience the freedom to decide what I would do during the course of the day instead of being treated like a servant- at least that is what it felt like!

When I was 15 going on 16,  I met a fellow from California that was clearing some land with my favorite horse trails, next to ours in Yachats. I looked at him as a playmate. I rode my horse by and was a big distraction. He didn’t really want to work, anyway.

As the summer progressed, he became a friend and companion. When my mom, who remained in Portland until August found out, she was furious with my dad for letting me bring home a boyfriend.  My dad told her that I was old enough to start thinking for myself. That was not acceptable for her.

My new friend stayed with us the following winter, while he rebuilt a Diesel engine from an old TD18 crawler tractor at Portland Community College Diesel program. My mom took over the job of being his mother, too, but he didn’t go along to well. He was there because of me.

That summer, he had a falling out with my mom. She had decided that he was a druggie and needed help. That didn’t go over at all.

I worked the summer with my dad and the following year, my senior year at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, he lived in a trailer part a few  blocks from my house. He bought me a car- freedom number 1. I got an after-school  janitorial job at the Boise Cascade building a few blocks away from the school. Freedom number 2- I had money.  I spent a lot of time at his trailer, doing my homework and just hanging out. Freedom number 3- I was out of my mom’s influence.

All good things come to an end and one night when I returned home after work- about 10 pm, everything came to a screeching halt. Just after I had gotten into bed, I heard a knock on the door. It was the cops, coming to haul me away to the juvenile hall. I was shocked, stunned and angry. I had no idea why I was being taken away- no one would tell me.

That night was the most humiliating night of my life! I was a non-entity. I was searched, stripped, had to shower and given jail clothes. I called my boyfriend but I was so upset I didn’t make any sense.  This was such a contrast to the life I knew, where I was treated as a person, with a measure of respect and a measure of freedom.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night.

Next day, I met with a juvenile counselor and my mom. I wanted out so bad I was ready to agree to anything! I was so angry I was crying. It turns out that my mom had me hauled off because she thought she had lost control of me. I hadn’t broken any laws, so I am not sure just what the legal implications were. Mom had a list of requirements for me to do, such as give up my boyfriend, stay with her and I don’t remember the rest. I would have said anything to get out of there, but the counselor got my mom to agree that we should go get some counseling. That was the only condition to my release. I could agree to that.

We went to several sessions with a counselor. I don’t know where we got the referral. It might have been from the counselor at the hall.

I don’t remember much of the sessions, except for the last one. The counselor asked me to tell an experience I had at school. I did. Then she asked my mom to tell her what I said. My mom did, with her own interpretations, such as I wanted Mom’s help with whatever it was and that I wanted to spend more time with Mom. I was flabbergasted by the retelling, The counselor wasn’t. She told my mom that I was 17, almost 18. I was old enough to make my own decisions and live my own life. She had to let go.

My mom didn’t like that and they argued. My mom is excellent at verbal bantering and we could never win an argument with her.  If we actually had a valid point, she would turn the tables and ask what was wrong with us or why were we so upset or something that would take the wind out of our sails.

The counselor didn’t back down and reiterated that I had the right to make my  own decisions.

I took her words seriously. Next day, without a word to anyone, I cleared out my locker and drove to Yachats. I found my dad at a customer in Newport and told him what had happened. I figured Mom would be worried when I didn’t show up after school and he could deal with her. I don’t know what happened. He never told me.

I had about 3 months left of school. I graduated from Waldport High School. I only needed two classes. I had more than enough credits from St. Mary’s.  Next day after graduation, I got married to my boyfriend, by a Justice of the Peace in Lincoln City.  My dad had to sign for me to get married because I was no 18 yet.  I had effectively thumbed my nose at my mom and didn’t have much to do with her for a number of years.

At the time, I felt a little bad about the way everything worked out. I was angry at her but I also loved her and didn’t want to hurt her.

She blamed my dad for making her lose her children. She also blamed my dad for marrying me off and not wanting to put me through college.  I didn’t want to go to college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I had seen what college had gotten my sisters. One didn’t like her job and the other was just a waitress and never followed the career her music degree offered. And I didn’t want to follow my mom’s agenda for me to marry a doctor or lawyer.

Even when I look back at this tumultuous time, I don’t have any regrets. I made what I thought was the best choice at the time. I wanted out. I wanted a different life. Getting married was my ticket out. I had a little more freedom; a different sort.

The funny thing about all of this is that now she is living with me and I am responsible for her care. Over the years, I have gained understanding of why she did what she did. And I have forgiven her and love her, which I don’t think she understands. She asks me now why I would say I love her.

I benefitted from my upbringing. When I had my kids, I treated them with the respect normally accorded an adult from the day they were born. I knew that strict control would drive them away, so I became their friend and confidant. In their teen years, when so many parents talk about their rebellious and uncooperative kids, we breezed through it. Oh, they did things I didn’t like and I worried about them. But I encouraged them to do whatever it was- drinking, marijuana, long distance girlfriend or whatever, then think about the experience and decide if it is something they wanted to repeat. Often, they did not.  I’m really proud of my kids.

To Care or Not To Care For My Elderly Mom

I brought my 92 year old mom home to live with me in Waldport, last March. She lived by herself in a big house in SW Portland, where she had lived with her mom and then her whole married and widowed life. We grew up in this 2+ story house. She had close to 80 years of memories in that house.

Needless to say, she was not happy at suddenly having to live in a different location and under a different set of house rules. The transition was a struggle for all involved, but we accomplished it.

I had offered to bring her to live with me in 2008, after she fell and hurt her back. She ended up in the hospital where she eventually agreed to have Kyphoplasty surgery on her spine to fuse some troublesome and osteoporatic vertebra.  She refused. She said she would ruin my life. Instead, I made her house safe with grab bars and handrails on the stairways  and cleaned up the clutter enough so that she could get around with a walker when she got out of the rehab facility. I took over handling her affairs with a power of attorney she granted while in the hospital. 

She was determined to continue living all by herself, like she had done many years before. We worked out a system where I could order her food online and it would be delivered to her. She couldn’t drive anymore and eventually we found a home for her little pickup.

During the subsequent years from 2008 to 2012 when I brought her to live with me, I noticed that her memory was going. She didn’t remember casual things like  what my kids were doing or whether a bill was paid. She didn’t remember if she had eaten or what she had eaten or what day it was. If you asked her, she would say she had eaten or whatever it was, but when pressed for the details, she could not supply any more information. I think she said things that she thought we wanted to hear. She had people from the church look in on her periodically and my sisters and I would call her up to check on her.

I noticed that she got upset really easily over small things, like the garbage bill. She thought she was being charged for the neighbor’s garbage. She was pretty good at keeping a log of when she ate and when she called for garbage pickup, but she would lose track of where she put the notebook or couldn’t remember what day it was.

She would get her wires crossed periodically. She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t paying property taxes on a piece of property that was sold back in the 70′s. Then she swore that she still owned it and that it was stolen from her. I went to the county and made a copy of the sales of that parcel. I had the deed where they had sold the property and had received payment.

No amount of cold hard facts could change her mind. She would keep bringing up the subject. She didn’t remember that we had resolved it the time before. Finally, when she would start in again, I’d tell her it was taken care of and get her onto another topic.

During this time, I didn’t really know what was wrong. It was really frustrating that she could not remember things and even worse when she would get stuck in one of her ruts. She had the property taxes deferred as part of Oregon’s program, and whenever they sent a letter, she panicked and would call me up very distressed.

Now she could remember everything that went on in Congress! How she hated the Republicans and loved the Democrats! Whenever she could pigeon-hole us, we would get our education on what was happening in the government. I dreaded those conversations as much as the ones she had about her negative perceptions of my dad. These conversations were like a stuck record. Over and over and over again.

About the last 6 months, I noticed that her food orders were declining. She was not eating as much as she used to. Eventually, over Thanksgiving in 2011, she fell again and ended up in the hospital with a raging bladder infection. I received the call from the Life Alert people and dropped what I was doing to go to Portland to take care of things.

The people at the hospital did not want to release her without some sort of care. Also, she had antibiotics to take. I was going to be in the Portland area for a few days, so I could oversee her meds, but I wasn’t staying at her house. I stayed in Wilsonville with my sweetheart.

I knew there was a problem with her mind when she could not understand about her medicine. Her neighbor, also her god-daughter, was a school teacher. Giving simple and clear instructions is part of her job. She had kindly picked up the medication and delivered it with the pharmacist’s instructions. It made perfect sense to me, but Mom just could not get it. Mom even wrote it down. As it turned out, after I left that night, she didn’t remember what day it was and she took some of the antibiotics when she was not supposed to. When I returned the next morning at pill time, she was confused about whether to take them or not. Finally, I told her not to take them unless I told her to.  I could see, then that she needed more help than she was letting on. Thank goodness she only takes one pill a day for her Thyroid.

Before she was discharged from the hospital, I lined up with the Visiting Angels agency to have a person come out 1 day a week to help her with chores, meals and cleaning. Mom fought the idea tooth and nail, but I didn’t back down.  Mom liked to talk to the lady that came out but would not let her do more than clean up the kitchen and bathroom. Mom kept everything and everything lay on every possible surface and floor around the house. She refused to let anyone touch it because it might be important and heaven forbid if someone was to throw it away!

Her days were numbered. She was able to go back to her regular schedule, which was watch CSPAN day and night, eating bananas as her primary source of food and cooking very little. We actually discouraged her from cooking on the stove. She had ‘killed’ most of her pans by setting them to boil and falling asleep, allowing the food to burn.  She also heated with a wood stove and electric heaters. We made sure she had an easy supply of wood on the porch so she could start a fire without too much effort.  She tended towards staying up all night and sleeping in the daytime off and on. So many times, I’d call her up for her food order and she didn’t know what day it was or whether is was morning or night!

About a week into January, I got another call from the Life Alert people. This was late at night. She had fallen and broken her hip (and had another bladder infection). I rushed into Portland again, only this time I knew that there had to be a new plan. I started talking with my brother and sisters about options and alternatives.

She was lucky and only broke the femur and not the hip joint. The surgeon put pins in her thigh bone and the neck of the hip bone. This time, the hospital social worker wanted a care plan. I lined up for her to rehab at the Marquis in Wilsonville, which was convenient for me and a nice place.  Everyone said that she could not go back to her home and stay there alone. Period!

The next few weeks were crazy, with many trips back and forth, calls, research and conversations about what was the best plan. Since none of us lived in Portland, it was not feasible to oversee home care for her there. And it would have cost about $15000/month. I had contemplated moving in with her, but that would mean I would have to give up my work in Waldport. I would not have an income source and it would be hard to be with my sweetheart. Also, I knew I would go nuts caring for her, especially since there would not be anyone to give me a break.

After much soul searching and discussion, my sisters and I agreed Mom would get the best care living at my house.

I was frustrated with my brother. I could not get an answer out of him. He just gave me the pat Abraham answer: “Let it unfold the way it will” as he was driving to Arizona with his girlfriend.

That wasn’t good enough for me. I like a plan. I like to know where I am going, how I am going to get there- at least within reason. I had already given this a lot of thought and run many scenarios in my mind – another talent of mine. I had decided that I would give Mom my bedroom because it was the biggest room and had a bathroom very handy. I would move either into Kelly’s room or onto the porch that I planned to enclose. It turns out that I moved my office into the new room created by walling in the porch and I set up my bed in Kelly’s room. It was closer to taking care of Mom.

I would hire my sister and another person I knew who was an experienced caregiver and I would pay myself a salary for nights and taking care of her finances and other affairs.

Just a few days before I was scheduled to bring Mom home, my brother surfaced and put in his two cents. He wanted to have her go to a local assisted living home. It would be cheaper than what it would cost to hire the caregivers.  I was not pleased. Why didn’t he tell me when we were in the planning stage. I had already started the carpentry on my porch and I had the stamp of approval from the Marquis.

So I ignored him, after agonizing over whether I had made the right decision or not.

Elder care was totally new to me. I didn’t really know what to expect. I just figured that I could work it out. And something had to be done. A decision had to be made. Mom was drugged up at the facility and I could see that she could not really get better until she could get off the huge array of meds and start eating a healthy diet.

I talked extensively with the different therapists at the Marquis to get an idea of what kind of care she would need when she arrived here. This is when I found out about dementia. The therapist clued me in to the short term memory loss, the inability to problem solve, the lack of initiative and to prioritize. Physically, her hip that had the surgery was healing well. She would get more physical therapy to gain strength. Her vital signs were strong. Physically, she was healthy. It was her mind. She would require someone around to keep an eye on her all the time. She was not mentally able to take care of herself.

A couple of days after I brought her home, I had indigestion like I have not had in years! I threw up all night. Now I have pretty well worked past the germ theory, which was thoroughly taught to me by my mom. Instead, I have learned to ask myself what is going on that I can’t digest or can’t even swallow?

It turns out that even with all my careful planning, I did not fully realize the impact of the choice I had made. I had help, thank goodness, but the full weight of responsibility for my mom was squarely on my shoulders. And I would never have a peaceful and quiet house again while she was here.  I had been preparing myself, but preparing and being immersed are two different things.

Once I understood what my body was telling me, I stopped throwing up and was able to get a little sleep. Next day, my stomach was really sore, a reminder of the change to my life I had just undergone.

The next few months saw marked physical improvement in my mom, but she thought that she would be able to go back to her house in Portland. That was not part of the plan.

By providing 24 hour care, I was spending thousands of Mom’s money every month. Payroll costs took a huge bite out of her savings every month. I worried a lot about how long her money would last. I checked into Medicaid, but Mom had too many assets to qualify. I had to spend them down. And so I was!

During these first few months, we worked through a lot of emotions, changes and I had to make a lot of hard choices and decisions. Mom didn’t like that I turned the TV off so that I could sleep at night. She was used to having it on all the time. She wanted to watch politics, but I blocked that channel on her TV. The OPB news hour is enough politics for me!

I started out being very easy going about her watching TV in the living room, but soon I had to change that. She would plant herself in front of the TV and refuse to move, be it to go to the bathroom and especially when it was bed time. She so ignored our requests that on several occasions I had to turn the TV off. This made her furious.  I didn’t know how else to motivate her to do the things she needed to do. It was like she was a little child, again.

Then there was the power struggle. Our roles had reversed. I was the mom, now and she the child. However, I was her youngest and she had always controlled all of us. She gave the orders and we were supposed to obey. Now the roles were reversed. She felt like I was telling her what to do- which I was in as nice a way as possible. She would rebel, dig in her heels. I couldn’t reason with her. I would get frustrated and  just walk away. In a little while, usually she would forget about the incident and I could cajole her into whatever it was she needed to do.

She also didn’t like Tom, my sweetheart. When she first arrived, l iet her commandeer the sofa. She didn’t just sit there in one spot, she had her papers, clothes, food tray and other items that left little room for anyone else. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until she had made her nest on the sofa for a few days.  I realized that when Tom came to stay, he would have no place to sit. When Tom and I  talked about how having Mom come to live with me would affect our relationship, I promised him that he would have the sofa and the TV in the living room. I didn’t want to change his routine because of her. And I knew from her behaviors that moving her off the sofa when he came would cause a problem for all of us. So better plan ahead……

So the hard part came a couple of days later, when I realized what I had started, that I had to find a new place for her to claim. I set up another small futon chair with pillows and told her that this was her new place. She wanted to know why, so I was open and honest with her about the sofa being Tom’s place and sorry I had made a mistake in letting her think that she could claim that piece of furniture.  She was not happy, but she relocated.

She let everyone know what she thought about Tom, though, when he came a day or so later.  He slipped into the house  in the evening after Mom had gone to bed. Now she would begrudgingly go to bed, but she would lay there with her eyes open, thinking.  Tom has a smoker’s cough and Scooter, my Italian Greyhound, thinks Tom is his bosom buddy and abandons everyone in favor of sleeping on Tom.

I knew something was up when she closed her bedroom door. She had never done that. Next morning, she was all upset, saying Tom was going to make her sick, that he had pneumonia. I explained that is was a cough from smoking. That didn’t phase her. She had her mind made up. Later, when Scooter came in to sleep with her, she made the caregiver wipe him off with an antiseptic wipe before she would let him near her. I knew there was going to be trouble over Tom.

Mom was very good at meddling in her kid’s lives. She didn’t approve of my marriage, and even though she thought Tom was a nice man, she didn’t think he was good for me. I can be just as strong willed and I was determined that she would not come between Tom and myself. We had this conversation one day, not long after that. I waited until one of her more lucid moments and told her in no uncertain terms that Tom had every right to be here in my home and that she was not going to come between us.

Time has gone by. I have had to be strong and make hard decisions. I’ve had to withstand a lot of double talk from the caregivers, little dramas created by one or the other to stir the pot and get a little excitement. I was so stressed with the responsibility  I didn’t get much sleep because Mom was up a lot at night. To begin with, the doctor required that she have support whenever she walked. I’d get up 2-3 times a night. As soon as she seemed stable and had her balance and would use her walker, I started letting her go to the bathroom alone. I still listened for her.

Another struggle we had was in getting her to use her walker faithfully. She had developed the habit of ‘furniture walking’, where she would totter along hanging onto furniture or the wall. This was one of the rules that we would not let her break. She tried to sneak around without her walker. In fact, when she was upset and distracted, she would forget to use it.

Soon after she arrived, I had to do something that would alert me that she was going to the bathroom during the night so I could give her the support she needed. She wanted to sneak from her bed and I would lay away all night listening for her to get out of bed. I had a set of small windchimes and attached them to her walker. She didn’t like that, because it betrayed her getting up at night. Also, the dog would sleep with her and when she would get up, he would come and get in bed with me. She would try to hold the wind chimes while she walked, but I always heard. She couldn’t understand how I knew she what she was up to. I told her I was psychic!

Then she had bad dreams. I’d be startled awake by cries and gibberish of a little child. Sometimes she would leave her room in the middle of the night, in a panic, saying something had happened to my sister.

There were the daily lives of the caregivers. One was having problems with her husband. My sister felt like her life was put on hold to care for Mom and was really put out about it. She didn’t like taking care of Mom, but she needed the money.

I had my own feelings. I was doing a lot: I had night duty, I was overseeing the caregivers, taking care of all the things that happen because of her new living situation. I had to be paid. I could not do this for free. I had already taken a pay cut when I delegated some of my duties to one of the employees at the carwash. I found myself not having time to do the things I used to get done. It took me 4 times longer to do simple tasks. I was constantly being interrupted to play referee with my mom. I had to be the sergeant when she dug in her heels with the caregivers. She was particularly cantankerous with my sister. I still had two months of the tax season and was fitting in tax clients. I had my hands full!

We had to tackle her house in Portland. The house was 2 full stories with a full basement and attic. At it was full of stuff from top to bottom! I dreaded the job of cleaning it out and getting it ready to sell. But it had to be done. I organized a team. It was not a task for one person. Everytime I entered the house, I felt overwhelmed.

We started clearing out the house in June and finished in July. By August, I had the house sold. Mom was furious with me for taking things out of her house. I brought down all of her papers, her ledgers and a bunch of her books and other things I could handle. The rest, we sold at an estate sale or gave away to Goodwill. She was really upset about what was happening to her house. She didn’t shed too many tears, but she certainly lashed out at me every chance she got. I felt guilty and sad. She said I was heartlessly destroying her history. She didn’t want anyone to touch her stuff, and it was heart breaking to have it gone.

She went into a depression. She still ate. We brought her meals. But she refused to get out of bed, do her exercises or anything . She refused to take a shower for 3 weeks. One caregiver was really frustrated with her and said she thought she wanted to die. Mom lay awake day and night, with her eyes open and staring off into who knows where. I seriously wondered is she had lost her will to live. She stopped being angry, but laid on the disappointment really heavily. I felt horrible for what I had done. But I didn’t know what the other choice was. Then she started saying she wished we had waited until she had died before we sold the house.

During this time, Mom was acting out a lot, especially about TV rights. She made it very clear during one discussion that we were too different to live together. She is a night time/ politics person and I am a daytime/no politics and find the good side person.  She wanted her own place. I looked into the assisted living place, took a tour and had the evaluation nurse come by. At one point, Mom wanted to go there. She said she was upsetting me and was an undue burden. She didn’t like that she had to live within my house rules. She wanted her freedom and independence.

I was agonizing over whether to give in to her demands or to stick to my guns. I wanted to respect her wishes and have her be happy. At the same time, I worked during the day and needed to do things that made that possible. Otherwise I would not have a nice home for her to live in. In the end, I decided to respect myself and my needs, put them above her wishes. My house rules stood. She had the choice of staying or not staying.

About this time, I started asking my team of angels and guides to create a peaceful and happy environment and a win-win for all of us. A short time later, the caregiver with the husband problems quit.  She just texted me about 5 minutes before she was due to come on shift and said she quit! I had a busy day planned and appointments for the next day. I had to cancel everything. I was not happy. In fact, I was down-right angry and hurt. Throw in a little righteous anger…..I would have liked a little warning……

I got a new team in place and shortly after that, I noticed that Mom was a lot more agreeable. She actually tried to get along and do what she needed to do. I also stopped trying to control the care situation. It was too much to maintain.  Soon  I noticed that the house was much more peaceful, Mom denied ever wanting to leave and wanted to stay here with me. She cheered up and became chatty with her caregivers. I would try to take some time to sit and go over things or ask her something about her childhood that was relevant to something I was pondering.  I had gotten my wish. Thank you Angels!

I dont’ know how long this equilibrium will last. One thing I have learned- change always happens and often it is unplanned. My life turned upside down when I brought my mom home. It will turn upside down again when she departs.

You see, I’ve gotten spoiled. One of the perks of caring for Mom in my home is that my house is cleaned regularly and many of the meals are cooked. I don’t alway like what is cooked, but then I have a choice to make something for myself. And I have a dog sitter when I have to be gone for the day. And the dog and cats take care of Mom, too. Even though I took a pay cut from the carwash, I have additional income from her care. I made an office space that i absolutely love. The dog, cats and I spend a lot of time in the room that was once a porch. I had the money to replace my roof instead of just repair it after windstorm damage and had a tree climber remove several threatening trees. I even have started building up my saving account! I’d say it is a win-win situation.

There is always a blessing or something good that comes from whatever we do. We just have to look for it.

 

Fears Of Revealing Myself

Revealing myself by writing to this blog is scary for me. With strangers, I’ve always been quiet, withdrawn, try to keep the lid on being too expressive with the hope that I won’t be noticed or put on the spot. For my close friends and family, I am more expressive and chatty, but I do like my quiet times where talk is not necessary.

Writing what goes on in my inner workings is a uncomfortable. It’s like revealing to all that I am just like everyone else, with fears, wants, wishes and desires. No way to mask and hide the things I don’t want others to know about me. By allowing the real me out, I fear what other people will think. Even though I know I’m not supposed to care what other people think…..

Oh well. I’ve heard over and over again from many teachers that the only way to get different results is to do something out of my comfort zone.

I will survive. In fact, I’ll be just fine. Because it really doesn’t matter what others think. In fact, people will come up with all sorts of things to think about me writing about myself and my perceptions.

All fear aside, I am delighted to freely express myself. I don’t have to conform to a certain set of writing protocols nor do I have to stick to one set of topics. I’m happy to express my opinions and perceptions of our world and the people in it.  I do have my favorite topics, the ones that bring me energy, fill me with life force and these want to share. I don’t spend as much time editing either!

I ask myself how much is Ego playing into this diary. I have to be frank and say there is some. But my intention is more to share my wisdom so that other’s lives can be easier, than to demonstrate how much I know or how good I am. People who put on too many airs turn me off. That being said, a person who knows their stuff can come across as arrogant and think they are hot stuff. So there has to be a balance point- the right amount of confidence in expressing what is expressed and enough humility to not come across as “I am better than everyone else”.

I think the biggest fears I have about being so open and forthcoming in these writings is two-fold. One is I don’t want to sound arrogant or better than others. The second is fear that I won’t be liked and accepted.

I am aware of my fears and at the same time, I trust I will write what is best in the moment.

Onward Ho!!

 

Soul Realignment™:A Big Step To Self Discovery

I found my Soul Realignment™ with Andrrea Hess absolutely fascinating. Later, when I worked with her and took all of the Soul Realignment™ trainings, I got a more indepth picture of who I am as a Divine Being. My divine attributes became even clearer when I went to her first Money and Abundance training.

You see, all my life, I had these inner urges, like wanting time alone, a drive to be self-sufficient, independent and free to run my own life. However, as a child raised in an era where children were to be seen and not heard, they must obey their parents and strong Catholic overtones, freedom to run my own life was something stolen when my mother’s guard was down.

My father was not so limiting and restrictive as my mother. I felt warmth and companionship from him and that he respected me to do the best I could. He used disappointment in me as his tool to encourage me to hold up my responsibilities. As the last child of 4, I think he was mostly focused on silently carrying the responsibility of providing for his family through the work he knew best.

He had a wholesale produce route that served restaurants and stores between Lincoln City and Reedsport and east to Siletz and Mapleton. He had a truck garden near Yachats, where he raised cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, artichokes, strawberries and a number of other berries and vegetables. He spent all of his time working. It was hard work, but he always seemed content. He whistled while he worked most of the time. We kids had horses at the Yachats property.

My mom, on the other hand, kept me under lock and key at our Portland home. I didn’t have friendsWe went across town to Catholic schools. Until I found out that I am energetically wired for freedom and independence and to make my own choices, I never understood my desire to very quietly provoke a raised eyebrow by some quiet and passive rebellion. I didn’t want to outright rebel. That was too threatening to my security. But stirring the pot by some outlandish costume I created or a provocative book on witches or psychic abilities or the supernatural or something similar was very entertaining. Remember, Catholics believe psychic stuff and witches are the work of the devil.

I was a very shy child. I wanted everyone to like me, so I went along with what they wanted. But I couldn’t keep up the facade and every now and then I’d break free for a few minutes of basking in what I wanted to do. Then I would get a spanking. Oh the beliefs I created as a child about pleasure and punishment! But that is the topic of another posting.

I also have an ability to match people’s energies. When I was with my mother, I would  act like her.  I agreed with her beliefs and attitudes, talked like her and walked like her. When I was with my dad, I was a different person. I acted like he did. I took on his attitudes, his postures and his sense of responsibility.  I even took on the behaviors of my pony; that wily temperament, way of moving and even ate like he did. I loved to eat his oats and hay with him. I got an additional benefit because my mom would be appalled by my undignified behavior! I even adapted to my ex-husband’s attitudes and beliefs, thinking like he did, acting like him. It is like I became a mirror of him.

Now all kids are good at pretending and copying their parents behaviors. However, this was totally unconscious. The disadvantage is that when someone would ask me what I liked or what was important to me, I would spout off whoever I had most recently adapted to.  This ability is closely tied to empathy; being able to feel what someone else is feeling. I began to notice this energetic adapting quite a few years ago, when I would be feeling just fine, but after talking to a person who was very nervous, I’d find my hands and knees shaking. I began to recognize that this was different from what I had just been feeling. Until my reading I never understood that this was was actually a great gift.

The good side to this ability to adapt energetically to people is that I could connect and relate easily to people. It was a way to insure my safety and survival, although only superficially. Over time, I learned that my safety and security come only from within myself. Everything else is an illusion.

The older I got, the more bits and pieces of the real me surfaced, although I just thought they were more of the random identities I assumed. It was really very confusing. I didn’t know what I wanted or why. I found myself wanting to spend more time alone although as a young person, being alone felt threatening to my security.

It wasn’t until my late 20′s, after my ex and I purchased a septic tank pumping and portable toilet rental business, that I started to claim a little of the independence I wanted. After a few weeks, the person we hired to do the portable toilet route quit. I was scared to go out by myself, but eventually I found that I could drive the truck, pump out and clean the toilets and deliver and pick them up. The work became totally boring, but I had control of my day- at least as far as how I would structure my route or which day to deliver a new toilet. I also started making new friends. And I had hours alone in the truck and on the route to think about things. I had started reading a lot of nutritional and self growth books. It didn’t take long to train my body what to do, and the other part of my mind was free to  engage elsewhere.

I tasted freedom. I overcame my fears. I learned what to do and made decisions- albeit little ones- all day long. I dealt with customers, did the bookkeeping and billings. I counted the money- something I always enjoyed.

Very common question  in personal growth books is answering, “What do you want?” and “What is important to you?” It seemed that  I was still very confused about what was really important to me and if someone asked my values were, I would reiterate the values of my ex. But I had started on my path.

I also learned from my Soul Realignment™ reading that I operate best with some structure. I like to have a plan. Now this seems like a paradox. One part of me desired freedom, the other liked a plan. This concept played out throughout my life.

I resented the structure my mom placed upon me. But I also found stability and security knowing I had a plan. But when I would make a plan, like pick the strawberries for my dad’s business in the morning, clean the house and then be free to go for a ride on my pony or horse, I could only keep to this schedule for a few days. Then I’d be off. Often, I broke from the schedule out of frustration. I would have my little schedule running just fine and my mom would come along and throw me a curve ball. She would tell me I had to do something else, or do my chores in a different order or keep making a mess in the house so I could never complete the task! I never appreciated the challenges she offered me then!

So I learned that I like and need structure, a plan of attack, but it has to be flexible. In other words it is a guideline, not a strict protocol.

What I find interesting is the time it has taken for this information to sink in. I’ve been so many energies, that it is hard to settle on one set. And then there is the shiny object syndrome where I want to be like someone else.

I easily understood most of my energetic nature from an intellectual level. I even understood some of my behaviors, understood what was motivating me, but to fully embody my divine gifts eluded me. It has taken several years of being conscious of my abilities, actively observing myself in action to make an association between an intellectual knowing and believing that I am that energy. It takes time to appreciate what I am.

It just goes to show. People can tell you something powerful and life changing about yourself,  but until you feel it, know it to be true in your being, it’s not real.

Let Me Introduce Myself

I was born Elaine Marie Dollowitch in August, 1955. I currently go by the name Elaine Correia, a gift from my ex husband.

I am a Leo, a Goat/Sheep in Chinese Astrology, (a lucky sign, according to a Vietnamese store owner.) My moon is in Aquarium and I have a Sagittarius rising. Most of the planets are in the 8th house. I’m not quite sure what that means, yet. Whenever I would have my chart read at psychic fairs, the readers would shake their heads and say how unusual. I don’t know what they think, but I know I am always questing for knowledge and new insights, love to dig to the bottom of things- only to find there is no bottom and it just keeps going. But that is what makes things fun for me.

One of my astrology books said that Leo’s big mission in life is seeking to answer the questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do?

Well, that sums me up pretty well. I want to find out who I am, what i can do- which keeps expanding, and what I am here to do. I know I have a purpose. Why would I be so curious about what makes me and by extrapolation, other people, tick.

I also have a mission this life. I am not exactly what it is, but it has something to do with the dawning new age and the awakening and balancing of the Divine Feminine.

I am a seeker of knowledge and wisdom and like to share it with others.  (A Sagittarian trait.) I have a analytical mind and love to ponder upon deep topics. I am very empathic, picking up thought and emotional energies very easily from people. I didn’t realize until a year or so ago that I also adapt my energies to whoever I am with, like an energetic shape-shifter.  It took me a long time to figure that out. I would take on the patterns of behavior, the thoughts and even ways of talking and postures of those I identified with. That makes for a confusing life. I never really knew who I was. I always thought I was like the person I was with!

I also didn’t realize how intuitive I am or how I depend on the support, friendship and guidance of my angels and spirit guides.  I travel easily between dimensions, but up til now, it has only been for my entertainment and to escape the mundane. I’ve kept that in the closet. After all, we psychics were burned at the stake or worse! I have come to realize how important these non-physical abilities are and would feel really lost and alone without them.

From an early age, I read all sorts of Science Fiction, supernational and magical-psychic type books. My dream was to heal people with a thought. I didn’t have a clue how to do that, then. Just knew it was magical and possible. Now I am beginning to understand the mechanics of how this long term desire is possible.

I love music, animals, being warm and comfortable, beautiful and quality things and the latest technology. Star Trek was my nexus. I adored that show, collected all the books, recorded the TV shows and even collected a few odds and ends. Star Trek gave me permission to leave the planet and go off on adventures that I knew were out there.  It stirred in me the desire to meet a nice alien. Then I discovered that many of us are already from other star systems and living here in human bodies!

Funny how as I get older, I see my childhood wishes coming true!

Even thought I have had challenging experiences, I’ve been lucky. I don’t have any broken bones or lost any parts. I have a reasonably sound body and mind- at least most of the time. :)

 

Synchronicity?

Today, I decided to follow my friend’s advice and start this spiritual quest diary. After I posted the introduction, I looked at the date. Since I am studying about the significance of numbers, I noticed that this is an 11-11-5  day.

According to what I just learned about 11, it is a psychic master number. The 1 and 1 represent pillars of ancient temples, the positive- negative, masculine- feminine energy. By walking between the pillars, it brings balance between the opposites. It is a path of success.

The number 5 represents embracing change fearlessly. Symbolically, it is open to both the past and future and is most powerful in the present moment.

The total date is a number 9, the number of altruism, compassion, integrity, oneness and unconditional love.

These are all concepts that I work with and wish to share with you.