WOW! This past January was a year since my mom passed away and in two weeks, it will be a year since my dad passed away.  I still feel the tears when I think of them and have gone to the cemetary several times to speak to them.  But most of all, I went with my daughter several months ago to tell them that Sharon (my daughter) is engaged and that we will miss them terribly when the wedding comes this June.


I’ve been to several shiva calls over the past year and yes, I’ve come to some sort of agreement or terms with the fact that I will die, eventually.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a roof over my head, a husband I love, children who have graduated college and that we are all working.  I feel lucky to be cutting it. 

Not to say that things don’t get rough sometimes.  But we have to put things in perspective.  Okay, so I can’t vacation whenever and wherever I want to or I can’t give my daughter the type of wedding she might be dreaming of.  However, we all have our health, our lives or ours.

My biggest problem these days are dealing with my hearing loss and my mental state, which is not always where I want it to be.  But everyone has baggage and I wouldn’t want someone else’s.  I miss my parents terribly.  I miss my father complaining, I miss my mothers silence.  I miss their presence.  I hope that when my time comes, I will have left positive things for my family to think of when thinking about me.  We only have one life or maybe two, I don’t know, but I don’t want to waste my life on jealousy, hatred or anger.

So much has happened since I last posted.  My mother, age 89 passed away on January 29th, 2009.  I don’t care what anyone says, she died a painful death. She had a stroke but the good thing was, each decision that needed to be made, was made for us by the natural causes of heading toward death.

First she had the stroke which left her with no speech and the inability to swallow. The Doctors wanted to do a feeding tube but then her white cell count showed an infection.  She developed pneumonia. After the pneumonia, her lung collapsed.  The Doctors wanted to inflate her lung but then the cumidin which they were beginning to take her off of, caused bleeding from her lungs and blood pouring out of her mouth.  I spent several hours sponging the blood out of her mouth so that she wouldn’t choke on her own blood.

When the bleeding stopped, her kidneys began to fail.  At this point her living will clearly stated to allow her to die comfortably, so we had her on morphine every six hours.  The last three days of her life she had 106 fever, she was unconscious, she was in respiratory distress and I told her throughout the nite that it was okay to leave us, that we would take care of dad and that her mother was waiting for her. Though she was being given antibiotics and a cold thermal blanket to try to get her fever down, she continued to deteriorate.

On the last day of her life, all the grandchildren (except for one who was out of the country and except for my father who was at home sick) were in her room to say goodbye to her.  I had been sleeping at the hospital because I did not want her to be alone.  On January 28th at 11:30 p.m. I could see her breathing was deteriorating.  The nurses came in to turn her because of her bed sores and I asked that they leave my mother on her back at a 45 degree angle and requested they administer the morphine.  I found out during my sleeping over at the hospital, that the nurses only gave the morphine if requested and I certainly requested it when I was around.

At 11:45, my mother was given the morphine. I lowered the sidebars and layed down next to her, placing my hand over her heart to feel the beats.  I am hearing impaired and knew I could not hear the breathing and just wanted to hold her and lay my head on her shoulder.  I knew she was leaving and I wanted to be with her.  At 12:20, January 29th, my mothers heart stopped beating, her breathing seized and I waited and I cried.  I called the nurse in who checked her vitals.  My mother was gone.  She lay still, no pain, no awareness.  I couldn’t help but wonder where she was at that very moment in time.

After the burial, the shiva, the condolences, the surreal feeling of not knowing who, what, where and how, I cried.  Six weeks later, my father passed away very peacefully in the hospital.  Prior to his passing he spoke to my mother and reached out for her hand to take him.  On March 16th, she took his hand and they were joined together. My father celebrated his 90th birthday exactly a week before he died.  He was happy and so his death was a shock.

I feel consumed with mixed feelings of relief vs. lost.  I find myself crying in the middle of the day. I find myself crying when I go through the mail and find condolence cards.  I find myself reaching for the phone to call them, realizing, they are not there.  I’ve learned a great deal about death and dying over the past two months and I worry about my children and how I my life will end.  And then, there is life, the living. I want to live so badly and do everything my parents never did and couldn’t do.  I want to live.

Being back at work is not causing me any stress, its watching my 90 year old parents growing old and deteriorating that is difficult to watch.  My father has been totally out of it over the past few days.  He has no idea of the day, the time and he doesn’t believe I am who I say I am…..his daughter.    My mother, blind and very quiet, speaks up when my father becomes verbally abusive.  Sometimes, I just want to laugh that she can put it all together and tell him what’s reality.

 Its so hard to watch them die a little bit each day.  We’ve tried to give them everything they had requested for when they get older but the words sting.  Medications are not always the answer but it makes him zombie like and he still can’t get out of it.  I don’t want to grow old like that.  The worst part of it all, is the fighting between my brother and I.  We can’t seem to be on the same page.  I want a divorce from my siblings.  I want my life back after my parents are gone and I want very little from my brothers at this point.  It feels like a lonely battle uphill but thank god for my girlfriends who keep me in reality with a bottle of wine and food from gino’s.

It’s 6:00 a.m. do u know where you are? I certainly do! It’s exactly one year later and rather than sleeping late, I’m back to the world of work.   I guess I should be grateful that I have a job these days…  but I’ll just go with the flow of things and put on a happy face and move foward, not backward.

I feel absolutely lucky to have had the opportunity to have had a one year sabbatical. Its nothing like when we took time off to be with the children while they were growing up.  Thats a whole different experience as well.  The sabbatical is literally “all about me” and these days, all about me can usually be a pity pot rather than a happy spot in your life.

My next sabbatical will be my radical retirement.  I’ll have no problem going off into the sunset.

Well, two more days and my sabbatical is truly over and done with.  Thursday I return to work and a new office.  Should be interesting as I also return for my last semester in College on Wednesday evening to complete the certificate program.

If I said I wasn’t anxious, it would be a lie.  I’m worried about how my lack of hearing will hinder my work.  Yea, yea, I have a hearing aid, unfortunately, hearing people don’t understand that we don’t get 20/20 hearing with the aids.  Funny how people are so willing to accept glasses but not hearing aids.

It’s so difficult and tiring to explain to people why you can hear the sounds but can’t make them out.   That your speech discrimination sucks big time but u hear sounds when they are speaking.  That repeating what they said totally doesn’t help you and that rephrasing means exactly that, rephrasing and not repeating exactly what they said four times previously.

That not everyone who has a hearing problem can lipread and not everyone that has a hearing problem is eligible for or wants a cochlear implant.  That just because I don’t hear well, does not mean u should say “never mind” when I ask u to rephrase.

Okay, I won’t get myself worked up about this.  I’ll return to work, do my job, do it very well and come home and have a life.  I actually love my job. It’s just that the higher ups tend to have this way of thinking that numbers are more important than children.  But I’ll do what I always do, I’ll continue to do what I do best and that is, working with the parents, the teachers and the children.

So, what level am I taking all this to? I plan to keep my cool, not get emotional, not make it personal and to do my job well.   It’s a whole new level of awareness.

Things I’ve discovered, things I’ve enjoyed/learned, stuff I didn’t enjoy and still have not learned and all are not necessarily in any order as presented below:

  1. Truly enjoyed going to college
  2. Enjoyed hanging with good friends
  3. Absolutely in awe watching lightning strike in the distance
  4. Happy spending a rainy day with nothing to do
  5. Occasionally taking naps in the afternoon
  6. Enjoyed listening to the rain
  7. I actually liked not feeling I have to be scheduled to do things all the time
  8. Enjoying projects in jewelry making, especially with friends
  9. Drinking wine
  10. Being alone
  11. Noticing the clouds
  12. Accepting that I am not high maintenance but very capable of being in that state of mind
  13. I loved the Anatomy class I took last year.  I am absolutely in awe with the information I learned
  14. I am a good person and I deserve to be treated with respect and kindness
  15. Being alone and drinking wine is healthy
  16. That I have terrific kids
  17. That I must surround myself with friends who have positive energy vs. people who are constantly negative with their lives.
  18. There are people, not many, but there are special people out there who can heal others in different ways than we are accustom to.
  19. Music must be part of my life as long as I can hear it and if a day comes where I will not be able to hear it, I’ll feel it.
  20. It’s important to have dreams
  21. That aging and old age do not have to be as frightening as my parents have convinced themselves it is.
  22. My circle of women friends is of utmost importance to me and I am so lucky to be surrounded by these special women
  23. Patience, something I never had and sometimes still don’t have, but trying
  24. Judging people, something I am very quick to do and still do but I am trying not to
  25. Complaining less about anything I have no plans on changing.  If I can’t change something or won’t change something, then whats the purpose in complaining?
  26. That a decade is not so far off and that a decade past was not that long ago
  27. That life is too short to not have a sense of humor
  28. I should have carried my camera with me wherever I went. So many pics that should have been taken on the spot.
  29. I still don’t enjoy yoga probably because I don’t understand it
  30. I let my hair grow and finally like it
  31. That I still hate cleaning even with more time to do it
  32. I didn’t read enough
  33. I didn’t spend that much less time on the computer
  34. Did not enjoy memorizing material for an exam or writing papers (just like old times)
  35. I didn’t do more than 1/4 of my “TO DO” list during the year which I wrote before my sabbatical started.
  36. I didn’t go to many museums and shows and should have
  37. I should have learned to swim even though I took a class and several over my lifetime
  38. I should have pursued playing an instrument
  39. I still dislike the people I disliked

I guess the only thing to add is that I know when the time comes, I’m going to love retirement.  Just wish I didn’t have to return to work for seven more years to get there.

As I grow nearer to my return to work, I find myself doing things in preparation for it.  I’m almosted surprised at my acceptance to returning.  On the other hand, I just read about Randy Pausch passing away today.  He was 47 and had the most unbelievable positive attitude about life and his impending death of pancreatic cancer.  How do we adapt to having his focus, fortitude, and upbeat attitude about life and our journey?  He’s just unbelievable!  Can’t help but wonder, is he real?  He was truly remarkable.

Take some time out and watch his LAST LECTURE:

As long as school is out, I’m still on a sabbatical.  Hard to believe I’ll be returning to work in about a month.  I have been questioning, what has changed about me over the past year? I would like to think that some things about me have changed.  I tend to be very aware of my feelings but I’m not sure if anything about me has changed.

I want to believe I’ve learned to be tolerant and have the ability to keep my anger and differences under wrap.  I do know one thing, I’ve learned that I am a very capable, trustworthy and good person.  I can do whatever I put my mind to, but I allow myself to be way too lazy and slack off.

I love to learn new things, enjoy learning jewelry making, interested in learning to paint and/or sketch.   I love music and wish I could play it the way Nate plays it.  I just don’t have the ears for it nor the raw talent to be musical. I do however, have the ability to carry a tune when singing some of my favorite songs.

I don’t necessarily wish I were younger but I know I don’t want to grow older with the problems I have witnessed between my families. There are so many more things I want on a personal level but have yet to reach those goals and am not sure if I ever will in this lifetime. 

My mother in law is only 80 years old but over the past two weeks, she’s turned into somewhat of an invalid crouched in her wheelchair, busy in her own world of characters speaking in a language that is half hers and half theirs.   My heart breaks as I think of this woman before the disease ravaged her brain and body.

We may not have always agreed on things with one another but we seemed to have a good understanding of our comparable lives without ever having to say a word. The religion, the family, the animosity.

 She was a meticulous dresser, always coordinated, always looking sharp, always looking like a Queen in her role doing the right thing for her family.  Working long hours in a job that kept her on her feet all day until she returned home and started her night time job as a wife.

Life is not always fair, as I know all too well.  When she was first diagnosed with the Lewy Body disease, I don’t think any of us thought of it as anything more than another word for Alzheimers.  We expected her to forget things, forget where she puts things and maybe in ten years, she would have trouble recognizing us.  But from the time of diagnosis, it seemed to appear that we overlooked alot of little changes in her personality until everything seemed to be moving in fast forward.

In reading the material on this disease, I can now recognize her on the pages.  We who look at her, think she is terribly frightened or lost in her own world but the reality is, she is in a world where she seems to know everyone and they know her.  She feeds them and herself, she sews, she cooks and she socializes in her world.   We, looking in, are frightened by the prospects of losing her to another world that does not feel comforting to us, yet somewhat comforting to her.

There are moments of her being lucid and seems to be with us for a moment or two but her heart takes her back to where her life appears to have settled.  Though I am only a daughter in law, I feel as though I never had a chance to say goodbye.  My heart breaks for her and her family but she is somewhat content and we are somewhat lost and in fear.  We fear we have lost her, we fear we may never again see the woman who was once here.   Yet we also fear that this may be our destination as well.

New legislation is being put on the table which will require closed captioning on some internet videos.  Reading various sites, I see that many technology people are against closed captioning on the internet.  They feel the government will now get their hands on regulating and setting fines for videos not captioned.

 At first, I was very much for the legislation.  But rethinking it all and reading on the comments and criticisms on the subject, I wonder, do we really want the government watching everyone on You Tube and regulating it?  Do people on Vblog want their videos captioned?   Do u really want the government controlling the internet?  This is how people are responding to this piece of legislation.

Naturally, as a hearing impaired person, I want access.  All I wanted were for the videos on news based sites to caption their videos, candidates online to caption their videos, advertisers to caption their videos.   Naturally, there are many ways to caption our own videos with lots of free software out there for us.  So who should be taking the responsibility for this?

Here’s the legislation that is being presented and causing an uproar in the technology world on the internet:   What do u think?