Sukkot Respite

Original plans were to fly to the Northeast and spend the Sukkot week roaming the national treasure of fall color with another of the Hebrew community.

COVID-19 changed those plans, dashing them solidly in July when it was apparent that there would be no quick recovery.

With life still wreaking havoc to our prior routines, and no rest to be found among the necessary tasks, I determined to find another option.

Hubby and I had made an anniversary trek, just days before my dad arrived as our new household resident. The trek included several bodies of water over a two day drive, to determine if we would like to consider options for vacation, vacation home, or other. We liked what we saw.

With a notion of my favorite locale, I was able to secure a vacation rental that encompassed all of the ingredients for a substitute – within our driving range.

Time leading up to Sukkot was harried. So much to do, so much to plan. We knew we would be bringing dad along for the trip, and never considered setting up alternatives. Hospice smoothed the way by making certain his meds were in place and that there was a local hospice standing by should there be any needs.

We arrived, vehicles loaded down with our assemblages. Dad’s sister, her husband and son all arrived just before us, so they had the home opened up and ready. We all enjoyed a first weekend of family time, food and drink.

With nothing planned, we lolled through the rest of the week and into the weekend, recharging, unwinding, relaxing and allowing the sights and sounds of nature to soothe us.

How necessary it is to slow down, to see the grandeur of Creation, to allow our busy selves to reset and acknowledge our lack of importance.  To find respite.

Til later…

T

Coming Around

Here’s what happens when a logical type gets sideswiped by emotional drain – damage.  Angry words.  Stiff-necked positioning.  Self protection.

In order to protect from any further impact, I put up the overall force field.  I lashed out at the hospice assistant who had repeatedly cancelled days and firmly stated don’t come here if I can’t count on you — I’ll do it myself.  I backed off family who gave me the response of being overwhelmed too — stop coming in early, come in later and I’ll handle it til then.  I held off my boss who said cut your help and began taking back tasks, cutting help hours.  Overwhelm on top of overwhelm.

The preface to it all was the final straw – the addict brother who has lost nearly everything, making another imposition, expecting that he could treat our home as his own, not asking – just taking.  That drew the line in the sand and we posted no trespass signs on our properties.  Then I told him to his face.  Then he read it on the private family blog to keep closest family notified of the stages my father is going through.  I am now enemy number one on his list.  Does he remember the times I faced down guns he held?  Does he remember putting my son at risk?  Does he recall that I took his babies and sheltered them for a summer?  No, he only takes and takers forget to pay attention.

So, the drama had unfolded, and I played victim.  Overwrought, feeling the approach of a total meltdown.  You likely saw the last post.  I had reached the end of my endurance.

Then we went camping, hubby and I.  Left on Friday afternoon, and by sundown had set up the camp and moved into full relax mode.  I enjoyed my first Shabbat since my dad arrived at our home three months ago.  It was simply wonderful.  Cooling breeze, sounds of leaves rustling and birds and insects fluttering and futzing about.  The lake water off in the distance and wafting sounds of people frolicking in the waters.

I have some reserve now.  A store of patience, and some energy reserve to see us through the next steps.

We have emptied the rental house of my dad’s belongings and will now begin the last steps to prepare the house for sale.  We will have to continue our day jobs and care of my dad as well, but once that is done, one major task is lifted from the plate of overwhelm.

We’ll get there, right?

Resentment

From the first moment that I awake and step from my bedroom space to the kitchen space to start the morning coffee…

At the last moment of the day, as I move to the bedroom to make my rest…

Every movement in between.

Watching, waiting, needing.

It’s hard not to be resentful.

I say to those around me – I’m breaking.

They respond – me too.

I don’t know how not to be resentful, when I’ve always done what I can when others were breaking.

Roles were cast at the workplace to assist with the overwhelm – and then they were removed.

This too will break me.  I don’t know how not to resent that.

The shards will fall.

They will scatter.

I imagine that I will find the glue to reattach the pieces.  Perhaps I will be stronger then.

There is a reason that YHVH created Shabbat.  One day again I will find rest.  For now, and since May, not a single day of rest has been found.

I imagine myself with no resentment.  But until rest comes, I am breaking.  And I resent that.

 

 

Appearances

The thing about dying is that it’s a matter of health.

My dad arrived at our home following a hospital stay during the peak of COVID regulations.  We could not see him during the stay, and we were harassed by the nursing staff for calling daily.  We did not find out until after he arrived and we reviewed the discharge papers that he nearly died there.   It’s a long story involving his care and I’m saving it for a very well put letter to the hospital authorities once I’m no longer seething over it.

He arrived with the appearance of death hanging over him.  I summoned the siblings and let them know we were on short time.  Then my husband and I set about the act of nursing him and caretaking his property.  That was 7 weeks ago.

He had pre-qualified for hospice before the hospital, but had refused to accept a terminal diagnosis, so had settled for home health.  We didn’t know this until we asked about getting some medical equipment.

Now he is in hospice, safely ensconced in a hospital bed in his new ‘bedroom’ which was once our living room.  We’ve changed up our furnishings and set up his desk and PC in the spare bedroom and handed off our main bathroom for his needs.

He’s gone from near death to being nutritionally balanced and hydrated.  Before the hospital visit, he had lost track of doing the basics – proper food and fluid intake, taking his meds timely – and was not in a healthy environment as he had fired the housekeepers that I hired to take care of his house.

He can’t fire me, he’s stuck.  Hubby and I have become the groundskeepers, nursing aides, financial advisors, chefs and housekeepers, with other duties as assigned.  We do have some family assistance as well.

Death is still looming, but it has been delayed.  There will be quality first, health.  The mental health has vastly improved with the improved physical nutrients.  Now it’s up to the disease.  Poor health conditions are no longer driving this bus.

It appears that we will have a resident here for a while.

 

Struggle Bus

I don’t know what to say except that there’s always another something to take your breath away.

Retreat necessary for me, as I expect to be quite involved with end of life care for my dad.

I recognize that as painful as this is, it is an opportunity for much – and I intend to do this as best as I must.

I hope for this to be the absolute most pleasant option for him.

Peace out!

 

Breathe Through the Storm

Spring has sprung and the fireflies have arrived.  It feels early.  It’s only been days since the last freeze. . .

I watched one alight on the garden bed beam, and as I peered closer, it flashed wings at me with agitated antennae.  I took the hint and retreated back – and it was gone in that moment.  Absent.

We are in the midst of this storm of no precedence.  The unknown.  Varied in strength and strike and form.

The storm activity has been one of ‘take shelter’ here.  In tornado country we know how to be prepared for a short and harsh duration that may cause a term of duress… but this. . .

Prepare for taking care of family – too many in the scary category to comprehend.

Prepare to be home for extended periods…  write lists, revise lists, check lists.

The theme has been prepare.

Work was deemed essential.  Many hours were spent by the team to set up and roll out that particular preparation.  I and my office mates are nearly full remote now – a jerky transition wrought with change and chaos and frustration – then sprinkled with joy and anticipation from my perspective.  What I have oft longed for is now short term reality.

And so, after so many means of preparing in and around my own realm – I recognize, once I’ve slowed down, that I’ve gone bouncing and careening along this whole storm prep while moving over and through several stages of grief.

My emotions must also have been setting up buttresses of potential realities and … well … here we are.  I imagine you or someone you know has been staging through grief steps as well.

Fireflies have been spotted.  So have asparagus beetles.  I’m awaiting a particular wasp to cart in luggage and set up home base.

It’s been a while since I’ve been ‘present’ here.  I’m surprised to recognize that.  If you’ve been along for the telling, we moved a few years back, leaving established garden spaces behind.  But we’ve been busy here, building new spaces and options… and I had opportunity to .. inhale it ..  breathe it in.  Absorb it.

It’s good – we’re a good building team.

Greens are growing.  Life is abounding here.  Breathing space exists and just in time.

I hope this finds you well.  Recovering, or surviving, or staging the grief steps – no matter where you are, I hope you find well ..  are well, .. will be well.

Peace out.

Disconnected Hebrew

I am trying to reconcile life.  It’s going to get a bit messy in here, I’ll warn you now.

My last post (mere minutes ago) was about those considered essential workers for essential businesses in the good ol’ us of the a.

Feeling betrayed, seething with an underlying resentment.  I now understand why my recovering sorta alcoholic has resumed a pretty high daily dose of his favorite drinky-drink.  Why discussions are less comfortable and so we retreat to our spaces as his buzz wears off, hoping that I’m not falling asleep before we can have a comfortable discussion.

It’s not terrible.  Honestly.  We’re loners, both of us, so we do retreats well in our house.  Then we share space and chat, working through the daily grind, and sharing perspectives, sometimes debating, often agreeing… Good stuff overall.

Back to the point, back to where I was heading with this – divisions.  Resentments.  Differences.

Today, I am looking back.  Reading Exodus (Shemot) and thinking about the history, the story of the Hebrews being released, rescued from bondage by their Almighty, YHVH.

Much to think about there.  Instructions.  Inclusion or exclusion.  Divisions.  Consequences.  Definitions.  Schedules.  New normals.

And I mesh the news that I read this morning, the catch up information I received last night, the things I’ve seen and felt and overheard over the past week.

Churchgoers in my state are pressing against the gathering confines to be able to assemble in large groups on their holy day, my guess is that they are thinking themselves exempt from what may befall them should there be a shared germ amongst them.

I live in a state that is predominantly catastrophe denounced.  Most of the population that I have experienced are treating the current situation as an overblown attempt to control them, and so will not give space to those who are trying to be safe.  Their leader taught them well and they are holding fast to the early sermons from that pulpit.

And so my initial thought is – fine, let them assemble.  Germ in, germ out, populations decreased, so be it.  Because I am a witness to hearing a child two fences over  – who in the midst of playtime with other kids announced “I wanna be Hitler!!!!”

But that was a fleeting thought.  Because who am I to judge, truly?  And the child may grow up and realize the truth of the past and be truly remorseful for childhood play actions.

Who knows?

Here’s the serious part of my ramblings though – if you’re still here to read, and haven’t denounced me as a hate-filled anti-christ.

Quick truth – the same as I am not anti-social, but rather reclusive (assemble, I don’t mind – just don’t expect me to be there).  I am not anti-christ, rather I believe that the worshipped beings are false gods, of no worth or purpose and that only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the True God, Almighty.  One.  But I don’t have any problem with others worshipping their version of god.

So.  Again, the serious part.

Economy is only kept alive by the standard of debt.  An economy will only survive if peoples, companies, entities, feed the debt burden.  That’s economy in a nutshell.

So why is economy so important.  Consider that.

Why is safety not as important as economy.  Consider that.

Why keep the masses in debt and call it the health of the nation?

Barter.  Learn to garden, learn to barter.  Self sustenance.  Back to simpler lives, simpler times.

An extreme period of duress, for certain.  Hard changes, hard truths.  Hard struggles.

Hasn’t it already been hard amidst all the fineries?

Peace out, again.

 

Strangeness and Mind Struggles

Word on the streets is a “new norm”…

Normal redefined.

I pause.

I construct my ideal new norm.

It consists of working remotely, with the ability to step into my own garden two or three times during the workday, to reset my brain.

A bit of respite from the turbulence and chaos and mind-spinning element that work has become.

I am peacefully enchanted by the possibilities…

And then I get shaken with the jolt of reality from my spouse, my dearly beloved.

He shares his nightmare with me – a waking thing, a thought that consumes him.

His new normal is going in to work in a place, a space, an essential business factory environment where the ‘non-essential’ staff has retired to their own safe and comfy little spaces.

He relates that he wanted to solve a problem, where a unit of measure was incorrect in their ordering system, and so the 12 units they were ordering hit their department with a cost of $2400 because one unit in the system equated to one pallet, when in actuality, when he ordered one unit, he received one item, not a pallet.

So, he had the computer open to the issue.  (he’s extremely low-tech, so had no known method to share this information).

He took the laptop and walked to the office of the person who could help him solve the issue.

Abandoned.

A non-essential who retreated.

He was resigned to the fact that he had to continue to deal with a problem that could not be resolved by him.

He had no support.

And so, his nightmare thought – he and the workers alongside him are ‘being fed to the wolves’.

They are the cattle being forced to endure, out there, with no support, bringing in their own germs and attitudes, with no respite except to return home at the end of a long and mentally demoralizing day.

Feeling used – abandoned.  Left to be the slaughter for the safety of the non-essentials.

New Norm.

Fuck no.

Let’s look at the whole picture folks, not just the one we think fits us best.

 

Peace out.

 

Day by Day

Every day is a new day, a new opportunity.

Leaders are not who we think they are.  Leaders are those who are courageously facing their fears, expressing their concerns, and bravely moving step by step through each day with resolve.

Leaders tell it like it is.  It’s not what everyone wants to hear – it can’t be if it’s real.  It’s what everyone needs to hear.  Without facts, who can accurately determine what choice they should make?

For a long time, divisions have been festering.  Divisions of race, divisions of wealth, divisions of politics, divisions of geography, divisions of religion.

What has not been divided is the air we breathe, the ocean midst, the seeds carried on the wind, the clouds dispersing moisture.

Every day, there is an opportunity to find your own space.

Every day, there is an opportunity to find your own voice.

Every day, there is an opportunity to learn.

Every day, there is an opportunity to be kind.

Every day, there is an opportunity to determine who is leading and who is not.

What is the truth?  Who is dividing?  Who is self-promoting?  Who is blame-shifting?  Who is courageously saying what needs to be said?

Who are you?  Are you a leader?

One day at a time.  If we are honest with ourselves, and aware of our surroundings, our heartbeats, our earthscape, we’ll get there.

Peace out.

Stripping Away Cultural Inheritance

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