Thursday, April 24, 2014

The voices in my head

Image from

There was an old lady who lived in a room, she had no children so she didn't know what to do.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I've been thinking and thinking and looking for answers but there are none except for my own voice in my head, which just creates and recreates questions, one after the other.

What did you think about? How much pain did you feel? Was it emotional, psychological or physical pain? Could it have been a combination of all three? Who did you think about? Why did you not want help? When did you realise that it was bad? Did you lose the will to live?  Was this what you wanted?

I want so much to understand the reasons for the way you lived your life.  More than this, I want to know what were your thoughts in the last 48 hours. I want to turn back the clock to ask you about it.  I want to go into that zone where you let your guard down and tell me the things that you wouldn't tell anybody else. I want to know so many things. I want to know too many things.

Knowing that I will never have the answers doesn't ease the ache.  Knowledge is not power.  

This holiday has been good and now I decide to let it go.  

The sun, the sand, the sea and the voices in my head say it's time and I should let it go.

I'm going to let it go.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The dead have no voice

When people die, we make up stories in our head so that we can feel better. They can no longer argue or deny or accept what we say about them.  They are unable to speak out even if they disagree.

Many prefer to believe that they go to heaven. I've been told that everyone I've known, who has died, has gone to heaven. No one will say otherwise. It becomes sacrilegious to even speak ill of them. My aunt was not a saint nor was she a sinner.  Judgement is not for me or anyone to make. 

I guess it is part of the healing process.  We want to feel good so we only hold on to the nicer aspects because it seems to make no sense to think of the uglier things.  We change our perception of them only because it makes it easier on us.

I can only go by on what I felt or more importantly how she made me feel.   I always felt loved.

When I left Malaysia, many people said they would miss me. However, she was the only one who never failed to say so.  She never ever stopped telling me that she felt sad I was so far away, that she felt a void and missed me terribly but also always assuring me that she was happy for me. She didn't ever hide the fact that she missed me.  This always left me with mixed feelings.  

When she died, I didn't just lose someone I loved.  I lost someone who loved me deeply and who wasn't afraid or ashamed to tell me.

May her soul rest in peace forever more.

I still love you, I feel a void now, I miss you and I hope you are happy. 

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”

― Hans Margolius

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nursing Home ~ What I know!

Image from FB

These last two years, I have found myself spending more time with people in a Nursing Home.  Most of the patients know me by sight and some of them greet me with a wave or smile.  

The one who is next to my MiLaw (MIL) is special because she will show me a thumbs up and I do the same.  It doesn't end there, we touch thumbs and then we give it a slight twist.  It never fails to make her smile.  Well, it makes me smile, too.  How did we start this?  I don't know.  One day we just did it and that's how we usually greet each other now.

Old people love to talk.  Most of them will repeat the same stories.  It's strange that they can tell the same story to the same person over and over again.  There must be something in the brain that prevents them from remembering who they have told it to.  

I find that old people do not always talk about their loves or regrets. I think that they replay certain instances of their lives and alter their role to suit their conscience.  I am just curious that there is this need to do so.

I have found that,  as they share their thoughts (real or unreal), the mere action of speaking them out to someone and repeating them often makes for these thoughts becoming the gospel truth. This means that these thoughts became words spoken and which then reach a level beyond further question. Then they become undisputed facts that we have to accept. To do otherwise is to invite an unwelcome and probably a heated debate.  It does take patience and a bit of ingenuity to steer the conversation down a different path.

I notice the main complaint among the people there are about the lack of visits from loved ones.  It's difficult to know the background of each patient and the reasons for why there are so few visitors. But I believe it's never about who they are or were.  It has to be about who we are and who we want to be.  

It's also part of the reason why I visit my MIL as often as I can.  Yes, I may often joke about going but I also take that responsibility seriously.

It's a balance between doing something cheerfully or doing it grudgingly.  The spirit in which we do anything must not be dismissed.  It makes for a huge difference in the vibrations we carry within us.

There are some in the Nursing Home who are unable to interact with their loved ones.  Yet I see that there is a steady stream of visitors.  I wonder if it is easier for them.  They know that nothing much can be done except to ensure the safety and comfort of who they visit.  I can understand why they continue to visit. Again, it isn't about who they are visiting.  It's about who is doing the visiting. 

Sometimes I wonder if my MIL may reach a stage when she won't know me or anybody else.  I think that just like this picture, I will feel the same way.  I will know her. And that's enough for me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nursing Home ~ What do they know?

Image from FB
It's not easy to explain to anybody about the choices we make.  Most of the time they are just listening without hearing.  Now we no longer bother because what matters is that we know we are doing our best.

My MIL (Mom-in-Law) is in a Nursing Home.  In the course of these last years, I have been so thankful that she has been in good hands.  I have no doubt that she could have been happier in her own home or with us but that doesn't always translate into having the best care.

There were many instances when the experienced Staff Nurse handled minor emergencies or dealt with fluctuations in her blood sugar readings that an ordinary person would have just shrugged off. These innocent reactions could well turn out to be detrimental for someone in need of medical attention. 

Stephen and I have heard of seemingly healthy people dying before their time, even when they were in the care of their loved ones.  Another instance is seeing others looking far worse than my MIL even when they are being cared for by their own children.  

I've often wondered if I would always know what to do if my MIL lived with me. Would the care that I could give her be enough? Most times, I think not and it would probably be a case of always ringing the doctors or rushing to the hospital. I have also wondered if making a wrong call, in any instance, could result in an untimely death.  I wouldn't be able to live with that stress.

Sometimes my MIL's blood glucose level has dropped to below 4 mmol/l.  At other times, it has gone up to almost 20 mmol/l.  I am not a trained nurse and the symptoms can go unnoticed by me but the trained Staff Nurse always picks it up and makes the necessary adjustments.  As she is on insulin, it is vital that they watch for signs when she is hypoglycemic.  It is a huge responsibility that we are unable to shoulder.  

When she has edema, the nurses watch her water intake and cautions her to sip at regular intervals in order to stave off any thirst that her mind will accentuate.  How horrid would it be for me to have to tell my MIL that she cannot have more water than is stipulated!!  No, I wouldn't be able to do that. 

I recently read this on FB, "I'm not judging people who legitimately have to put their parents into a NURSING HOME if they cannot cope as it can be hard taking care of invalids on your own. But in nursing homes at least you're paying for care, you can visit them, monitor their welfare.". ~Erna M

Immediately, it struck a chord with me.  But then again, most people don't think this way.  

What do they know?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Albus Dumbledore

Image from FB
I don't know when or even why it started but somewhere along the journey I took with EP, he began to call me Hermione and I used to call him Dumbledore.  I guess it might have been at the height of the Harry Potter series.

Our lives are marked by some events and no matter what happens, our memories are etched there forever.

I wasn't a true blue fan of Harry Potter but I got caught up in it because of the children.  I have to say that I did watch some of the movies.  I can't remember if I read the books.  Probably not.  Spare time was a luxury then.

Anyway, when EP went back to his home country, we wrote to each other with the occasional wishes or greetings.  

Some time ago, EP wrote to me saying that it's time I called him Albus.  He said we should be on a first name basis. That made me chuckle and I didn't forget.

EP's birthday is just before mine so I sent a wish to Albus from Hermione and this was his reply.  

It was the best and most interesting wish of 2014.

Dear Hermione:

Thanks for your kind message. My birthday was a normal day joined with my family.

Now is my turn to tell you...on 21 march

All my wishes as a wizard go to you, my friend

I hope to see you soon in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry or when you buy your list of supplies (spell books, uniform, etc) in Diagon Alley. Remember that you are allowed to bring a cat, rat, toad or owl..... 

Don´t forget your wand, its important for the Defense Againts the Dark Arts classes.

Don´t worry about your pewter cauldron, I got it...

With all my best 

I miss youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, Lita, he he 


I absobloominglutely loved it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The lost days

Image from FB
There was so much I wanted to write, so much I wanted to say but the words were jumbled up in my head.  The euphoria of my birthday hadn't even dissipated yet when I had some tragic news. 

BUT today's post isn't about being sad.  Today is about remembering some extraordinary moments that make me feel glad to be alive.   Plus I want to save these here so I can revisit.

Pre- and post-birthday highlights:

The first wish came from Australia, two days before my actual birthday and that prompted FB wishers to follow suit.  In a way, it was fun because it built up some excitement which I don't usually have for my birthday.

First Wish:  From John Khoo
First Birthday Card:  Arrived by mail from my Aunt Corazon.  
First Youtube Clip:  From Shar (OBE) :)
First Surprise Call:  From the florist, was supposed to be a surprise bouquet of flowers.  LOL
First WhatsApp Video:  From Gumi (love the little girl singing Happy Birthday)

Lunch was at Swensen's and Dinner was at Serenity Spanish Bar and Restaurant .  

All in, it was a lovely day filled with calls, late night FB chats, WhatsApp messages, smses, emails, and the usual multitude of FB wishes.

I should add that being in Singapore with Stephen, on my birthday, is something I do not take for granted. We had spent too many birthdays apart.  

However, I have to admit that there was one wish that stood out.  It was just a simple but delightful email from an ex-colleague. There's a little story there and I'll share it in the next post.  

Remembering all these things make me smile again.