Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Quote for the Week

Since I've spent the last week griping about small things, I'm posting this to remind me...and you...that complaining isn't the best way to handle things.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Grieving Person's Bill of Rights (courtesy of Vitas Hospice)

You have the right to...

Experience your own unique grief.  Everyone grieves differently.  You don't have to follow "the rules," "the stages,"  or someone else's way of grieving.

Talk about your grief.  Seek out others who will listen.  Talking helps you heal.

Feel a multitude of emotions.  Even feeling angry is okay.

Be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.  You don't have to do everything at once. (I only opened as many sympathy cards as I could handle each day.)  Eat balanced meals, get enough rest.  Don't push yourself or let others push you into doing too much.

Experience "grief attacks."  They can come without warning, triggered by a memory, a piece of music...anything.  They are powerful but natural.

Make use of rituaal. Rituals help you mourn, give you support.

Embrace your spirituality.  If faith is part of your life, express it.

Search for meaning.  You may have questions about why this happened, but you don't have to rely on others' cliched answers.  

Treasure your memories.  Some may make you cry, but they are the best legacies.

Move toward your grief and heal.  Grief is a process.  Be patient with yourself and others who wish you would "get over it."  Others may not understand that losing someone you love changes your life forever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Quote for the Week

At the end of every road you meet yourself.
S.N. Behrman

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Books of December

One of my favorite books of 2015.  Two parallel stories:  an orphan girl who, through the Orphan Train, was settled in Minnesota and a rebellious teenager who helps her and learns her story.  Highly recommended.

I loved this book.  Crystal writes brief entries about 100 words, ranging from the 12th century to today.  I found it fascinating.

I usually enjoy "escaping" with Daniel Silva's book, but this one, not so much.  It follows CIA agent Michael Osbourne as he becomes involved in the Troubles in Northern Ireland and a plot to assassinate the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, who happens to be his father-in-law.  I didn't care for the way the story wrapped up.  I'll stick with Silva's Gabriel Allon stories for now.

I heard the author speak at Camp Widow last summer and found his story very moving, but I didn't find his book as engaging as his speech.  You can check out his website.

As with all of David Sedaris's books, this one had me laughing out loud.  You don't have to wait until Christmas to read and enjoy it.  Great fun.

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

An Alarming Christmas

Halstead Apartments (my home from August to January)
December 25, 5:00 a.m.  The fire alarm goes off.  I wake, leap out of bed. I'm a burn survivor so I don't take fire alarms lightly.  In the hall, I hear voices, footsteps.  I grab my clothes and, for some unknown reason, rush into the bathroom to brush my hair.  I open the door, then run back to get the cat.  I can't leave him here.  He's under the bed so I grab his tail, drag him out and drop him into his carrier.
5:05.  I step into the hall, stop a young man and ask if he will help me with the carrier.  The cat weighs ll pounds, the carrier probably another pound.  The man stares right through me.  Is this a dream?  Is he a zombie?  An alien?  I ask again.  He walks on by without a glance.  Later I hear him speaking in a language I don't recognize, but surely he could have shaken his head and said, "No English."  I find someone else to help me, and we head down three floors and into a garden.  It's unseasonably warm and it's not raining so no one is uncomfortable out here, but we all stare at the building, trying to figure out where the fire is.
5:20.  The fire department arrives.  The alarm continues to shriek as we watch and wait.
5:50.  Finally someone goes over to the office to check.  There's no fire but they can't seem to turn off the alarm.  We all troop upstairs and find the third floor hallway full of water.  My house flooded in Houston's Great Memorial Day Flood.  Is this another holiday flood event?  The water is creeping toward my doorway.  The man who carried my cat upstairs suggests I put towels against the door.  I do.
6:00.  The alarm is still going strong but I can sleep through anything, so I go back to bed.
7:00.  I wake.  The alarm is off but a man is standing in my apartment.  "Don't be frightened," he says politely.  "I'm from maintenance.  Just checking to see if you have any water in here. I knocked, but you didn't answer."  My heart is still pounding but I follow him into the living room and find the towels wet but no water in the apartment.  Later I learn that a pipe broke in the ceiling above our floor, several apartments were flooded and the occupants were put up in a hotel.  What a Christmas for them!

December 26, 3:00 a.m. The alarm goes off again.  This time people gather in the attached garage.  No one seems frightened.  I leave the cat in my bedroom, cringing.  "If there really was a fire," someone said, "no one would pay attention."  Everyone wanders  back inside.  Again, I go back to sleep.  I get an email later saying apartments on the first and second floors were flooded.  I am so sorry.
9:30 a.m.  I leave to run errands.
Noon.  As I drive back into the garage, the alarm sounds again.  Ho hum.
No more alarms for the rest of the weekend, but this is a holiday I'm sure no one will forget.


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