Today is June 22, the Longest Day you will have this year. I think it is often typical for us to get so busy with life stuff (jobs, children, bills, meal planning, laundry, and more) that we forget to look around, take a momentary break, “smell the roses as they say”, and enjoy the day. So, today, I challenge you to do something special on this particular day.Continue reading
Today is the World Day of the Giraffe. I love giraffes, those large African mammals with long necks, and brown patches separated by lighter lines like fingerprints. I had the opportunity to see multiple herds of giraffes running in the wild in South Africa. I will never forget their grace and beauty in their natural habitat.
Giraffes are gregarious. One may often find them in feeding areas with humans feeding them by hand. They seem to be social animals. I love their long necks (the longest of all animals), and their big soft looking round eyes. I do not know why, but I just love giraffes. I love the way the mothers care for their offspring.
When I returned from South Africa and first observed a giraffe in a zoo, I felt so sad. They no longer had the open spaces to gracefully run and play. They had a limited selection of trees from which to select their food. I can hardly go to a zoo now to visit a giraffe, as I feel so sad that they must live in captivity so humans may look at them.
Giraffes are beautiful animals. I have deep gratitude for the giraffe. Enjoy the pics!
I had an unusual experience this week. I went to UCLA in Los Angeles for a doctor’s appointment, leaving in the dark to beat traffic. When I arrived at my destination area, I stopped to look at my notes and gather my thoughts. At that moment, I realized in my preparation to leave my dog at home, leave a key in case I was delayed in returning, having my hands full of paperwork, I had left my wallet at home!
I was in Los Angeles with no money, no driver’s license, no health insurance card, no AAA card, no car insurance card or registration – I had nothing but my phone and a tank of gas. I could not even pay for the parking to see my doctor! It was a first for me!
Fortunately, I have a dear friend who lives in the Valley in LA whom I phoned at 6:30 am and she rushed over to me to bring me money! I can not thank her enough! Do you have anyone in your life who would drop everything and brave morning rush hour traffic in LA to give you money? What a wonderful and special friend she is…
I learned so much from this experience. I am making photo copies of all my important cards, paperwork, credit cards and storing such in my phone now. I have always been overly worried about identity theft, but no more….
I will also hide some money in my car for emergencies. I did not have one penny, no change, nothing at that moment. I could have been homeless in LA. I had nothing. I could not go to a bank machine as that card was in my wallet. If I had been stopped by a policeman, I had no identity. I was absolutely at the mercy of someone I needed to ask for help. Without my dear friend, I would of had to drive back home, missing my doctor’s appointment as I did not have the necessary health insurance cards, and identification to check in. I was left praying that my car had no issues in the busiest of traffic times in Los Angeles. It was such a horrible, lonely experience, except for my friend’s caring assistance.
I hope you have a dear friend as do I. I will be ever grateful for her help that morning. Be grateful for dear friends.
I have always loved elderly people because they are wise and have wonderful stories to tell, if you listen. Unfortunately, we often get too busy during our own life’s journey to notice that older persons among us need more care from us. It is as though our journeys through life demand extra care when we begin our life, and again when we are nearing the end-of-life.
This posting includes my observations for you as a daughter, mom, friend, and health care professional regarding End-of-Life Care.
It is well known that people tend to like to stay at home as their journey through life comes to an end, but that is not always possible because of health issues, personal care needs, nutritional requirements, family distances, and so on. So, as we all age, the questions before us are: “What do we do?” “How do we plan for ourselves as we grower older and need extra care?”
Why am I posting this information for us today? Because I have watched my younger sister, my mom, and my dad pass away. Now I am watching dear friends and neighbors age, and I myself am growing older. As I was recently listening to Amanda Stead’s lecture on End-of-Life Care, I felt so grateful that Amanda reminded me, and helped me to summarize the wisdom we all have access to for our own planning:
- We are all going to die at the end of our life journey, so how does one prepare for the best end of life? There are multiple resources to inform us about end-of-life care just as there is knowledge regarding beginning life, as in birth, parenting, etc.
- As each of us, or our family members and friends age, it is important to learn about choices we each have regarding Hospice care, or Palliative care. Our choices do not need to be permanent as our health and care needs will change over time, but it is better to plan ahead and learn about such choices before being faced with an emergency.
- As one ages there needs to be decisions regarding independence, dignity, spiritual preferences, psychological, emotional needs, ethical decisions, and personal wishes.
- We all need to have people (family members or friends), who are our spokespeople in case we are unable to communicate clearly. We, or others, need to have an advanced directive (a written document) regarding our wishes for end-of life care.
- We all need to discuss realistic outcomes as we anticipate what may be coming in our future. Thus, before you become ill or lose the ability to communicate, you need to talk about what you imagine to be a good plan for your End-of-Life. You might begin such conversations by answering the question: “What matters to me most at the end of life is ______________________________________?”
- Sharing information is so important during this time. Information regarding your location preferences for where you wish to be as you grow older is important. Your financial costs, insurance coverage, wish for pain control, treatment preferences for eating, feeding, and swallowing should be identified.
- Your personal wishes, and cultural values are important and necessary to understand and honor during this time period.
- Reach out to Chaplains, Priests, Pastors, and Rabbis to incorporate your spiritual needs during these times of decision making.
- Take care of the above types of decisions before you grow too old for such planning. Make sure you share your thoughts with your family and friends.
- Know there is a “Dying Patient’s Bill of Rights”, and an abundance of resources provided through Medicare to assist you. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you should do today!
In the future, I plan to introduce a new “gratitude category” regarding end-of-life care as I am so grateful that information is available to me to provide for my dignity, spiritual, medical, psychological, and emotional needs as I grow older. In the context of generational differences in perception, as well as societal changes in our family constellations, it is more important than ever before to allow the elderly to prioritize their needs for independence as well as dependence on others.
I am grateful for knowledge regarding end-of-life care. How ’bout you?
For a spiritual perspective on End-Of-Life, let me conclude this blog with a poem written and read by my mother from her Book of Poetry titled, A House Inside of Me. The relevant poem for today is, I Don’t Want to Die I Like It Here. When you click on this link you will hear this poem. It seems relevant, in a more personal style of writing, to our topic today.
At this time in your life, What Matters Most to you for Planning? Please think about it as I am watching friends dealing and struggling with these issues right now.
Today would have been my sister’s 65th birthday. She passed away when she was only 46 years old. As I grow older, I am watching family members, friends, and even pets begin to leave this earth and I miss them. The memories we share are increasingly important to my life. How ’bout you? Are you remembering your loved ones with gratitude? I think those memories are why I love the song “Remember Me”, from the movie CoCo so much.
The dictionary definition of “sister” is a woman who has the same parents. I believe a “sister” is so much more than that. On May 27, 2021, I posted a brief video describing my sister. The link is here: https://gratitudesquared.com/2021/05/27/gratitude-for-my-sister/
May 27, 2004, was the day she passed away , so between May 27 and June 4 each year, I have a stronger sense of who my sister was, how people loved her, and how much I miss her. As the eve of June 4 approaches, I wanted to honor her memory for yet another year. She has been gone for 18 years already.
Miss ya and love ya sis!