Pick Living

I walked into a facility this afternoon. The cutest elderly lady was walking the hallway. Forty five minutes later, after visiting my client, she was still walking them.

I stopped. She stopped. “You are adorable. My name is Millie.”

She extended her hand out, “I’m Betty.” I drew her close and gave her a hug. She smelled delicate.

“I think it’s wonderful you walk so much and without any assistance.”

“At this age if I don’t everything gets stiff!” She giggled.

She didn’t say her age. She must be in her 80’s.

“What’s the best part of being this age?” I don’t know why I asked.

She smiled and without skipping a beat, “I’ve lived! Long. It’s been a life. It’s been full. It’s been a privilege. I don’t have to rush anywhere. I’m already there.”

I saw no signs of dementia. She was clear. Strong. Alert. I caught myself exhaling a deep pause. My arms got goosebumps which is a sign of truth and a divine aha.

I hugged her again. She touched my left cheek. I thanked her for the hall pass and class. She smiled. Her eyes twinkled. She kept walking.

I am grateful for living. This long as well. I’ve never been this old. I will never be this young again. It’s a privilege. I’m trying not to rush. Signs keep showing up about slowing down. I have chosen this life. Not settling for anything that makes me cringe. I’m here…Collecting wisdom from halls and angels.

Love is Everlasting

An 85 y/o client shared the story of the first time he saw his wife over sixty-five years ago today. She transitioned a few years ago. He can’t remember how long it’s been.

“The first time I ever saw her…(he took a deep pause)…she had me.” His eyes seemed to be recollecting the vision of her. “She was the most heavenly sight I had seen after returning from Korea.”

We stayed in silence for a moment while he continued staring at the wall in front of him as if he was seeing the memories pass by. He gasped…again and then returned to meet my eyes next to him.

“What did you notice first?” I asked him. He smiled. I waited with anticipation.

“Her smile. It lit me up like I had never been lit before!”

I gasped. It was my turn to take it all in. How do you move from such a statement? Then he broke the silence.

“On her last day on earth she had the same look. That morning she called for me four times. She had fallen and I ran to her. I called the paramedics. They came and she was losing her life. There she was slowly disappearing in front of me. I knew it. We got to the hospital and her eyes on the stretcher let me know that it was the last time she would look at me that way….” Tears formed in his eyes like two giant puddles of blue water.

I asked him, “How do you come back from that moment?”

He quickly said, “You never do. Even with me forgetting things the memory of that day lives with me. I wish that was one thing I could forget.”

I am always gifted lessons when I visit my folks. Always! It’s in the smallest touch or conversations. It’s in the authentic intimate moments of asking and their willingness to share life with me.

I asked one more curious question, “Did you get to kiss her goodbye?” Tears began falling from my eyes.

He looked at me and answered, “I did. And her lips are still on mine.” He passed his fingers over his mouth.

Love is everlasting. If you don’t have this with your mate….find a way to get there. No relationship is perfect but there are moments that will be cherished in your later years. Make them special. Make them count. May your lover’s kisses be imprinted on your lips forever.

Crossing Over

Yesterday I visited my sweet 96 year old who is barely there. She has been transitioning for weeks. She is all bones. When I got to her room with the med tech she was wrapped in several blankets. I spoke loudly to let her know I was there. I asked how she was feeling and she said she was waiting to go see the Good Lord. So I said loudly, “Go darling! It’s time. Go! You can dance and play with Him!”

Her roommate who is much younger, but has progressive dementia yells, “I wanna go. I want to go where she’s going!”

“No, sweetheart, it’s not your time. You can’t go where she’s going at this time. You go on a later date!”

My client started on her loop, “Don’t Rush me. I’m going as fast as I can. I have rivers to cross. I can’t get on the raft….” I touched her arm to calm her state of confusion.

Her roommate started yelling, “I wanna go where she’s going too. I know how to swim.”

The med tech looks at me with a scorn look and says, “See what you started?” We both smiled.

I heard someone come into her room in a wheelchair and the elderly patient was ready to also go on the field trip to wherever my client was going!

When you give consent and wishes to loved ones to go be with the Good Lord please be sure no one else is ready to join them. Seems there are rivers to cross and not enough room on the raft.

You Are Fire

I admit yesterday was a challenging day: emotionally and spiritually. Some personal matters got to me in a way that surprised me. Later, before coming home from work, I visited a sweet elderly client who will be 85 next week.

He is in the middle stages of dementia, in between recognizing that he’s slipping and shifting, and accepting that his mind will be completely gone in no time. Watching him struggle is not an easy feast.

He sat trying to tell me about his deceased wife. He got frustrated and in that moment his tears swelled. Mine began to let go. All I could do was sit holding his hands in mine. I told him it was alright. But the truth is that it’s not alright. And he knew it. It sucks. It’s pure yuckiness.

So we sat there. In silence. Crying. Wiping each other’s tears. Then eventually voices returned to the room. I broke the silence with sarcastic humor and he laughed.

We cannot deny our truths. I remembered at that moment how I felt when I lost my memories and I had to go home with a man I didn’t know after my accident. My brain injury was literally a wake up call. I remember staring at pictures of us and the anger and frustration of not recognizing the moments, or the person. It was excruciating and debilitating.

My client held the picture of his wedding day. He couldn’t understand the white dress or where it was. He recognized his gorgeous wife but he didn’t know what was happening. I took the photograph and traced her dress and told him they were the loveliest couple ever. He smiled. He agreed. He doesn’t remember her name anymore. This is the part that hits him hard.

This was the end of an emotional day. I got him up from his recliner and hugged him tightly. By the time I was leaving he was on to something else. The moments came and went. I believe the visit was truly cathartic for me. I needed the release…and so did he.

This morning I woke clear and free of the inner critic scolding me. The chaos was gone. A gust of wind pushed outside and woke all of us up. Our daughter slept over 12 hours. We all slept great.

Each day I am thankful for long nights that turn into mornings, friends that turn into amazing family members, dreams that turn into reality, challenges that turn into blessings, and likes that surprisingly turn into love in the most unexpected manner.

It’s a great day to have a magical one. Embrace all the emotions and allow for the visitations to come and go. You are a freaking fire. I love you.

Illumination

 

light

 

Yesterday I acquired a new elderly client. I went to the facility to meet him, sit with him, and hear his story. He is a sweet gentle man. Gentle beyond words! As we sat in the neatest and orderly room he shared tidbits of his life…sometimes forgetting details which he would apologize for. I reached over to his hands several times guiding him forward. Dementia is brutal when you are still aware that it’s happening.

He spoke of his wife and how she was the most remarkable woman he had ever met. He spoke of his children and the loss of one of them. He mentioned his career. And, in between the sentences, the gaps in memory, he allowed me to see the man he was and is today.  He lives with regrets which are clearly seen in his demeanor. He is a man of faith but that can only take you so far if you don’t forgive the past.

I drove home thinking about my own life and how I want to remember it in my later years. I caught myself crying at a light. Took me by surprise. I am way too emotional at times and my heart cracks open with each story I get to collect. I tend to them with care and learn the underlining meaning of what another can transport to me. I made a list of how I want to end this journey.

At the end of my life I want to look back and remember the magic I created. I want to have full awareness of how I walked the earth and all the teachers who touched me on this journey. I don’t want to beat myself up for not having a perfect body, for not making everyone happy, for not keeping some folks around, for not having done more, for not being enough….

I want to smile and recall the joy the world brought me. I pray to always acknowledge the love that was created. I want to look at the rear view mirror of my adventure with awe-stricken wonder for raising my children, loving wholeheartedly every one without judgment.

My only goal in life is to have no regrets, forgive… especially myself, and keep an open heart till my last breath. I want to make it a lifelong expedition to be led by all the light and stay in it until I become stardust again. And even then I hope that sparkles come from the smallest particle of earth guiding me to the next place. 

Live Fully

Sometime ago I read somewhere that studies showed Dementia and Alzheimer’s were linked to regrets and living an unfulfilled life. When I look back at the folks in my life who have suffered I can see this to be true.

Last night I was at one of the elderly facilities attending a Christmas party and being with my sweet clients. I shared a table with a kind Alzheimer’s patient and her sister. The sister and I spoke a lot about the disease. She told me that her sister was diagnosed at the age of 55 and progressively got worst in a short time.

I asked her if her sister had a rough life…if her personal story was painful. Her eyes grew wide and she said, “Yes! She had a truly abusive husband and a very difficult life.”

I shared with her what I have witnessed in the years overseeing elderly folks with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. I told her about the study I had read years ago and how I can see the relationship between having unfulfilled lives and regrets. The mind starts to shut down. During all of this my client was in and out of her anxiety with so many people and I kept bringing her back to the moment with touch and lots of love.

I opt to live this life to the fullest. Because…it never fails….Whenever I enter a facility to visit an elderly person I recognize regrets staring back. I hear stories through their loss of reality and watch the expressions of souls who are just waiting for death. In their dying bed I have seen the anger and frustration of past experiences and all the should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve done statements. It puts life in a different frame of mind. Regrets, resentments, bitterness, loss, and unfulfilled dreams are on top of the lists of those histories. Stories get told and relived with sorrow and sadness. They return to those parts of their lives over and over like some distressed time machine.  It’s horrific to witness. I have seen it in my own family members and recognize that the unfulfilled life, never following their dreams, and regrets have stolen their minds.

I make sure I release any resentments, anger, regrets and unforgiving crap. I don’t carry that on my spiritual body. I know Alzheimer’s and Dementia can derive from other issues such as vascular disease, viral infections and other matters. But, if I can release and surrender the past to help establish a health mind…by God, I will do that.

If I am to live a healthy life with full capacity of my mind, I will do anything to make sure I live to the fullest. Circumstances aren’t always available. Challenges rise and fall. Love comes and goes. Hurt breaks the heart and then repairs. I haven’t much on any list of things I care to do that I haven’t done. I choose to love fully. Live openly. Laugh every day. And treat strangers as old friends. No regrets. No resentments. I choose to be present to the best of my ability. It’s a matter of being mindful. I expect to go into old age with my full wits of sarcasm and memories.

I have seen too many loved ones with Dementia and Alzheimer’s to know I will do what it takes to enjoy this life. It might not always be comfortable but that’s also a matter of perception. I get to decide what I hold on to and what I let go. Letting go is on my priority list. Forgiveness and love are the healing qualities that bring me back to a harmonious body.

Now you. You get to decide what you hold on to and hurt you, or what you release and see as beautiful life lessons. You get to use your superpower of love and forgiveness. You get to adjust your perception of what is and what isn’t.

Enjoy your life, darlings. This is a gift every single day. It doesn’t have to be so hard. It just has to be lived.

Mucho love ~ Millie

Holding Love in Hands

This afternoon I went to visit my elderly client. His dementia today had him a bit feisty. He was not nice…at all. The nurses warned me but I don’t see that…I see the challenge of reminding these folks what’s important.

I got on my knees to meet his eyes while he sat in his wheelchair. I asked him, “Darling, where’s the love?”

He grunted, “Gone!”

“Hmmmm. Okay. I will sit here and wait for it to return.” I got up and sat on the chair next to him. He looked at me grunting. I smiled. I let him look into my eyes cause somewhere in him I knew his soul needed some loving today.

“Whatcha doing here?” He asked under his breath.

“I came to visit you. Wanted to make sure you are alright. I don’t see you doing alright today. But, that’s okay.”

“I ain’t. I’m tired.”

“Okay, I will stay here until your love returns. I got time. I’m gonna show you a trick (I giggled). You are gonna like this.” I opened his right hand up to show me his palm. He stared down at me attentively.

“Now look. See my empty hand? It’s now in yours holding my love for you to take.”

He didn’t grunt. He didn’t pull away. He sat there allowing me to hold his big elderly hand in mine. He squeezed it tightly. His demeanor changed. His blank expression turned into a memory.

“You look good today.” He said while making sure he was looking into my eyes. So I went down again to meet him on the floor.

“There’s the love. Thank you. I knew it would return.” I asked for a giant smile and he forced it.

I told him, “I’m coming back next week to be your Christmas party date. I’m so excited.”

He grunted. I squeezed his hand reminding him the love was still in there holding mine. He shook his head and smiled…authentically…wholeheartedly.

And for the rest of the visit we sat face to face in silence. He looked tired. He is tired. He’s been fighting this life for so long. But, he has so much fight still left in him, and every time I see him I will remind him that the love is right there between my hand and his.

For a few moments he will remember…his spirit will alert him and we will hold love ever so tightly.

Going Home

I visited my favorite 96 y/o this afternoon. She’s fragile. I went into her room and sat next to her. She asked to touch my face and immediately said what she always says, “Hello. You are my favorite nurse! What time is it? Are you giving me medicine?”

I kissed her. She held my hands. I told her I just came to visit. I asked her how she was doing.

“I’m going home. I’m ready. That’s how I’m doing?”

“Where are you going, darling?”

She immediately said loudly, “I going to be with the Good Lord. I’m ready! I plan on seeing my husband. I’m gonna dance again. I’m gonna get my vision. I will sing and feel young again.”

She’s ready. I’m not. Not quite yet. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. So I let the tears fall without her knowing. I will miss her…her spunkiness and smart remarks are precious. I will miss her stories. I will miss her soulfulness and smile.

She shared more about love and life. She was tired. In a loving and gentle manner she let me know after a bit that she wanted to go to sleep.

I kissed her tightly. Her fragile bones wrapped around me. Her lovely fingers traced my face. And I left keeping it together trying to be professional.

Outside were leaves flying all over. The trees showed their beauty as they stand the test of time and weather.

She has lived through some major weather changes: storms, floods, sunrises, and seasons. Her colors are dimming. She’s ready to go home…dancing, whistling, swirling in the wind like the autumn leaves falling right outside her window.

(Photo taken outside of her facility. Reminded me of her love for life. Vibrant).

Stay Open To The Gifts

I can’t even stand myself with the joy at this moment. I met Me thirty-five years in the future.

I was walking out of a skilled nursing facility after visiting with my sweet souls. Out in the parking lot there was an elderly woman in pink pajamas, short gray hair with a bright scarf, wandering around. I went to her, “Sweetheart, are you lost?”

The gorgeous 80 something year old says, “No! I’m good!”

“How did you get out?”

She smiled at me and said as a matter of fact, “I pushed a button. I had to go smoke a cigarette. Shhh (she brought her finger to her lips) don’t tell anyone. I had to get out for a bit. I’m going back now.”

I stood there recognizing her…witnessing myself years from now. I laughed out loud and she grabbed my hand, brought me closer and said, “Come here, let me give you a hug. You will feel better!”

I could not stand it. I hugged her tightly. She smelled like she had several cigarettes. I opened the door for her. She smiled in gratitude and whispered, “I love you girls. I love YOU!”

Ladies and gentlemen…my hero for the day. Sneaking out to get cigs, pink pjs, bright scarf, hugs and I love you’s. Nothing else to add but hope I get to be her completely.

Have a blessed day. Be grateful for not having to sneak out.

Moving From Fear to Love

In spite of what you hear: natural disasters, political mumbo-jumbo, war news, human cruelty, and the million other subjects (not negating they are all important) there is still a huge Omnipotence Presence around us. There are miracles happening every day. New lives are coming in. Others are finally releasing, transitioning, and returning to peace. And while illnesses, losses and heartaches are part of our human existence, there is so much goodness as well. We have been taught to look for the drama…because that is what sustains us. We have stopped looking sideways to neighbors, forward to those waiting for love. But, we have no problem obsessing about the past. We have zero issues with trying to change what has already been done. How can we learn to move forward if we are constantly focusing on what has happened? I get it. Completely. I have had several moments of that recently. It’s okay to examine the life that has appeared before. What’s not okay is to regret and resent the decisions that have brought you here.

I have a client who is a sweet elderly man. He whistles all day long. When I go visit him that’s my cue that he’s feeling fine. His dementia is extremely advanced. He knows that he knows me but cannot pin point it and so we just sit in silence for a bit. Some days I am a fellow mechanic. Other days I am his niece. At other times I am his secretary. Last week, in a visit, he said I was the most beautiful woman he had seen in a long time. He was a gentleman about the comment. He grabbed my hand and told me that he had been a really bad human being. I was surprised. This is never a subject we discuss, because he was an alcoholic and had spent some time in jail in his younger years. But, the man I visit is not a shadow of who he was back then. He doesn’t sit there and contemplate that. He just whistles. But, last week he did. He shared a few intimate details about his wife at the time. He said, “I could have been better. I could have been so much kinder. I just didn’t know how. So I did what I did without knowing I had the choice to be a better man.”

I held his hands. I felt God moving through us in that cold hall. His blue eyes shared a depth I hadn’t seen in the few years I have visited with him. Would I have judged the man he was before? Probably. I also didn’t know better years ago. I would truly have seen a disturbed soul. When you are willing to be vulnerable in receiving the gifts of grace, the world begins to introduce people who teach you. It’s remarkably beautiful how the instructions begin to unfold. I marvel at those moments when I think of one thing and it turns out to be a huge divine surprise in guidance. This man has been one of my most beautiful lessons in my job. He was the first client I acquired and has continued to show me that inside of us there are always choices. Even through cognitive impairment he still continues to show me that the face of judgment is a choice we make every single day.

Look around! Get outside of your story. You are who you are because of the decisions and choices that have molded you thus far. Stop the drama for a bit. There is a tremendous spiritual shift happening when we remove the ego out of the equation. Watch the world around you. You do not have to partake in every single news segment or dramatized event that shows up in your television, family or social feeder. Pay attention to the underlining issue of humanity through your senses. Listen to the silence. Learn to distinguish what is real and what is mass manipulation causing fear. We are controlled either through love or fear. The choice in your reality is based on how you act and react to those two.

Give with your heart by allowing to receive with openness. I am grateful for your experiences that mirror mine and make me feel alive with joy and love. Every single person is an opportunity to enter a classroom. Use those moments to find God teaching you valuable lessons.