SoCS: ups and (mostly) downs

When I saw that Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week was “up/down”, I knew that I needed to write a follow-up to last week’s SoCS in which I talked about my father (Paco) and his recent fall, hospitalization, and move to a rehab facility.

When I wrote last Saturday, it seemed that, though there was a long way to go, things were trending up.

Everything changed on Sunday when new complications arose. For various reasons, I will not even attempt to elaborate.

Let’s just say it has been a very “down” week.

We are working hard at untangling a mass of symptoms and trying to keep him safe and comfortable, but it’s an uphill battle. I know he is 96 and so, very vulnerable and prone to complicating factors but it is still so hard to deal with.

And to watch.

I know intellectually that I am doing all that is possible for me to help him and his care team, but my heart aches because I can’t make it better.

We have no idea what the outcome will be. It’s not just one day at a time, which is Paco’s favorite saying. It’s one hour at a time. One moment. One more early morning phone call telling me that he fell again during the night.

There are up moments here and there. When Paco easily remembers my name. When he gets to enjoy a slice of blueberry pie for dessert at lunch. When he manages to make a little joke with his aides.

I had planned to go to vigil mass today at a friend’s church, but was too tired to make the drive, so I went to a nearby church instead. I was blessed to see Sister A. there. She had been one of the stalwart visitors during my mother’s final illness, a span that stretched over two years. Because of the pandemic and other circumstances, I had not seen her in months. I was able to fill her in on Paco’s condition and she assured me that she has been lifting him up in prayer.

After such a “down” week, that assurance was a much-needed balm.

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Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2021/06/25/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-26-2021/

One-Liner Wednesday: presence

The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present, and when you’re worrying about whether you’re hopeful or hopeless or pessimistic or optimistic, who cares? The main thing is that you’re showing up, that you’re here and that you’re finding ever more capacity to love this world because it will not be healed without that.
~~~ Joanna Macy
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Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/10/02/one-liner-wednesday-sorry/ 

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another surgery

My family is having a surgery a week lately. Last week, daughter E had a stubbornly swollen lymph node removed. Although screening tests seemed to suggest that it was benign, I decided not to mention it until the pathology came back. We now have confirmation, which was a relief.

It is a bit tricky with the recovery, in that E is not supposed to do heavy lifting. While ABC is not huge for a seven-month-old, she is definitely over the ten pound lifting limit, so B, T, and I have been trying to do most of the ABC lifting, especially getting her out of her crib and giving her baths.

Healing is underway and soon E will be back to full strength, although B, T, and I don’t need an excuse to help take care of ABC!
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https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/28/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-28th-2018/

Anyone?

[sidles in, switches on the lights, and looks around]
Hello? Anyone still here?

Oh, good! A few of you are still checking in! My apologies for the dearth of posts lately, with just a scattering here and there.

Life has been busy and I wanted to do updates. The most important is regarding my mom, known here as Nana. She spent several days in the hospital last month with pneumonia/congestive heart failure and was sent home to the apartment she shares with my dad, Paco. She was very fatigued and weak, so we have enlisted help. She now has home care coming in several times a week for monitoring and physical therapy. There have been doctor visits, a new medication regimen, and some more tests ordered.

It’s great to have home care in, because it means having a nurse case-manager to oversee and co-ordinate the various health-care providers involved and to serve as the one-phone-call resource for questions and problems. This is especially important for us this week, as B and I leave tomorrow to visit daughter T in Missouri. It brings peace of mind to know that the home care team and the staff at their retirement community are both on duty to watch out for Nana and Paco while we are gone.

I’m hoping that I will have time while we are gone to do some catch-up posts. Music, poetry, travel, and transportation will be likely topics.

Stay tuned.

the solace of music

2016 has been stressful, hectic, and, at times, overwhelming. If anything, the last few weeks have seem an acceleration of these trends.

One of the things that has kept me from total meltdown has been music.

My personal background is strongest in church music and it continues to bring solace.  One recent example is watching daughter T cantor for Mass on All Saints’ Day. Her singing truly touched my heart.

One of the things for which I am most grateful is that University Chorus, with whom I am in my 35th year as a singer, is preparing Brahms’ Requiem this semester. Of all the masterworks I have sung over the decades, this is my favorite to sing. Brahms’ selection of texts is thoughtful and the music is crafted exquisitely to its meaning.

Our director notes that Brahms chose to set texts that bring comfort to the living. I need comfort now, not only as we continue to navigate the loss of Grandma but also as we deal with family health issues and the upheaval, dissension, and trauma caused by the recent campaign and election.

I have prepared and performed the Requiem several times in years past. I have sung it before when I was mourning a loss, but this time my emotions are so raw that I wonder if I will get through the December third performance without tearing up. A few weeks ago, when I was having a particularly difficult day, we were rehearsing the central movement of the work, which, translated into English, is called “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place.” I started crying and couldn’t stop myself. I managed to keep singing; at least, I know that if it happens in the performance, I will be able to keep going.

If I am still living here when I die, I would like members of University Chorus to come sing that movement at my funeral, in German, of course. I apologize if that sounds morbid, but it is a thing that church musicians tend to do – plan their funeral music…

I do wish that each of you find solace somewhere, whether in music or nature or silence or fellowship or some other means.

We all need it.

Nana on her way home!

Many thanks to all those who have been keeping my mom, known here as Nana, in their thoughts and prayers as she has been in New York City for an aortic valve replacement.

I am happy to report that she is on her way home! As often happens with heart procedures, while the TAVR procedure went well, one thing led to another. First, there needed to be a temporary pacemaker, which then needed to be replaced with a permanent one. She developed a bit of a-fib, which required some new meds and a re-jiggering of blood pressure meds. The next things we knew, what we had thought might be a three day hospital stay turned into eight.

We are happy that she is doing well and looking forward to having her back in town. She will need to rest and has a program to start exercising to get her back to her usual activity schedule, but she is doing so, so, so much better than when she was having congestive heart failure symptoms.

We are very grateful to the medical team that made it possible. I am also very grateful to my sisters and their husbands who have been on hand down in NYC to help both Nana and Paco at this stressful time.

Here’s to hearts that are healing!

One-Liner Wednesday: a request

I would like to ask people to please send prayers, well wishes, and/or healing thoughts on behalf of my mom, Elinor, who will have an aortic valve replacement tomorrow.
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This (somewhat non-traditional application of a) post is part of Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday series. Thank you for your indulgence in presenting what is at the top of my mind and heart today and thank you to those who decide to contribute to the endeavor. To join in One-Liner Wednesday, please visit this link:  https://lindaghill.com/2016/10/12/one-liner-wednesday-i-thought-we-were-roommates/

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Small Gestures

I’m thankful for this reminder that the small actions we take are important in ways that we often cannot see.

LIVING IN THIS MOMENT

“It is a serious thing, just to be alive on this fresh morning, in this broken world.” ~ Mary Oliver

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A women-centric Sunday morning

Being a long-time feminist, I tend to notice when things are more male-centered or female-centered, and, being Catholic, Sunday mornings tend to be more male-centered. Today has been a lovely, woman-centered surprise.

It began early this morning when I read a blog post from Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan containing the homily from the latest ordination in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Albany NY. It was preached jointly by her and the ordinands and referenced several women mystics from the Catholic tradition.

The gospel reading at Mass this morning was the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage and the raising of the daughter of Jairus.  As so often happens, the names of these two are lost to history, but I find their stories and their juxtaposition in Mark’s gospel compelling.  The mature woman, who has been bleeding for twelve years and has been bankrupted by paying doctors who have not helped her, is healed, unbeknownst to Jesus, when she touches his cloak. When Jesus asks who in the crowd touched him, she comes forward and tells him the story. It was her faith that healed her and allowed her to re-enter society. Given that Jewish women were considered ritually impure when they were bleeding, she would have spent those twelve years unable to touch people and be part of normal life. Her healing gave her her life back.

When this happened, Jesus was on his way to the house of Jairus to heal his daughter who was very ill. Before they arrive, word comes that the girl has died. Jesus continues, though, and raises the girl from her deathbed and restores her to the arms of her loving parents. The Scripture tells us that the girl is twelve years old, an age on the cusp of womanhood. I love the symmetry of the story: two females restored to life, one young, one older, both related to the number twelve, which is so often used in the Bible to denote completeness.

In church this morning, we also got to hear an appeal from a Benedictine sister from Tanzania on behalf of her order’s orphanage there. She is in the US attending college, in Buffalo in my home state of New York, and hoping to go on for her master’s in special education so that she can return to Tanzania to assist in the education of the children in the orphanage. Interestingly, we also have a connection to the Rift Valley Children’s Village, another orphanage in Tanzania, through cousin Sara, who has volunteered there extensively. It was a privilege to be able to offer prayers and financial support this morning. It was also most welcome to hear a woman’s voice from the ambo.

Now, my daughter and I are relaxing together before lunch. I wonder what other woman-centered events the day will bring?

SoCS: Heal

Healing feels like a life theme. There have been a lot of health challenges in our family for a lot of years, some big, some small. The small ones seem to heal; the big ones – not so much. Though the situation becomes less acute, full healing isn’t possible. It’s hard…

So, instead of full physical healing, we have to work on spiritual healing, which involves coming to a state of peace and acceptance. It’s also hard, a constant challenge, but the key to moving forward in a positive direction.

This is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/16/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-january-1715/  Please join in!
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Also, Linda is hosting Just Jot It January. Join in with this, too!  http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/01/just-jot-it-january-pingback-post-and-rules/