Random Thoughts

What was that nudge to parents from quite a number of years ago…”It’s two a.m. Do you know where your children are?”…

Well, it’s four a.m. and I’m awake and writing.

Not with a coherent topic in mind, but rather with the flow of reflections that has been keeping me from sleep. Starting with the circumstances of a mother and son whom I visited in Taos a few days ago, for my “day” job (the one that has been running seven days a week of late).

The son is a mildly developmentally delayed and very hyperactive boy, youngest of six children, with all his older siblings grown and moved on. The mother is a 350 pound woman requiring constant oxygen, and in severe pain, barely able to stand long enough to move from bed to chair. They live in two cluttered, unheated rooms at the back of an old adobe house belonging to her mother and brother. I don’t want to know what lies beneath the piles of clothing, baskets, blankets and miscellany filling the floor and every corner of the rooms.

She cares about her son’s development, is worried that he has started to be bullied in school, wants to teach him to “man up” and not cry when he is teased (he’s ten). She has managed to buy him a computer, and he is enrolled in Little League, but is only able to participate in a few of the games because mom can only rarely manage to leave the house to drive him to the field. She wants a companion for him, someone to take him out to activities and help him develop a social life.

The day before, I was with a 97 year old woman whose family was gathering to celebrate her birthday. She birthed 17 children, of whom 14 are still living. She is frail, forgetful, incontinent, but cheerfully recovering from a broken hip and with a goal to walk using only a cane, not her walker. And the day before that, my visit was to a thin, grieving, agitated widow who had just lost her youngest brother, the third family death since the first of the year. She is a survivor – her husband had violently abused her, ending only when the shotgun he pulled out to shoot her misfired and killed him instead. She is in constant pain due to a metal plate in her neck, a repair from when he fractured her vertebrae in a prior attempt to kill her. Despite the violence and her recent grief, she is focused on what she can do to help her young nieces and nephews who have just lost their father.

Against such examples of striving for life in the face of dire need, I find it very difficult to be patient with anyone who takes for granted the support, care and concern offered by others.

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A young friend of mine is getting married this coming week, and I’m taking some leave days to go to the wedding in Sedona, Arizona. I’ve been doubling up on work this past week, in order to keep to the deadlines imposed by the state’s implementation of a new Medicaid model of service delivery. And I’ll be doubling up on work when I return from my four day trip (two days for the travel, two days for the wedding activities). Which is why unfocused issues are floating around in my head rather than coalescing into a coherent essay for this post. Too busy “doing” to “be” with any one thing long enough for it to form a pattern in my mind. “Doobee, doobee, doo” as a friend of mine has said, about the tension that arises between doing and being.

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I am most grateful for the support now in my life – a daily injection of humor, appreciation, respect, distraction and loving that is a vastly different experience than my mostly solitary path has been. I truly could not do my job, be of service to so many people in so much need, and manage the challenges in other parts of my personal life, were it not for the companionship and partnering I am delightedly experiencing.

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“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone.”

A song from long ago, from the musical Carousel

Words to live by.

Have a great week!

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4 Responses to “Random Thoughts”

  1. kipallen Says:

    Your so-called “random” thoughts are actually very coherent observations on giving care and taking care, about concern for self and concern for others, about responsibility versus selfishness….. No small topics, these, and all tightly related. Most people aspire to organizational skills you call “random.”

  2. Cheryl @ Artzzle Says:

    It is a Monday and rainy, and as the song says, “rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” I nearly didn’t read beyond your second paragraph because of my Monday demeanor. But stayed with it because I knew there would be a beneficial meaning along the way. You sneak in all sorts of things that make me have to “think”, and that’s good for me.

    I’m glad that you have personal support and companionship, as without them, I don’t see how you could manage in your workplace situations. I’m sure many families are grateful for your services.

    Your shared writings are always appreciated, because they often provide a necessary “kick in the rear” to point out positives in life, rather than dwelling on the negatives, those “gray areas”. And today, ending on such an uplifting note, you’ve brightened my rainy day a bit,

    Thank you. Have a good week; stay safe.

  3. Ron Maltais Says:

    Thank you for allowing us into the realm of your personal day to day interactions with clients. The importance of the work you are doing cannot be overestimated. Your descriptions reminded me of a time long ago when I was a big brother; helping a boy who’s father was long gone and a mother who was a drug addict. He and his brother were living in deplorable conditions; an apartment with little heat and bare cupboards in the kitchen. Sometimes their mother would disappear for a few days. It all ended up in court with her loosing custody; in retrospect I see that I was perhaps the only consistent thing in this boy’s life for a period of about three years.

    In my view committed individuals like you are seeing a hidden side of the world as it truly is and your dedication to the people you serve does indeed touch their lives in ways which will certainly make a difference.

    It is good to know that you have a wonderful relationship with a person who gives you the critical support to help balance the scale a bit. Truly, you are strong enough to have proceeded through years of life’s struggles without a partner, but your situation has now been reversed through your own positive energies. Bravo!

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