Life is meant to be lived in forward, not in reverse.
Category Archives: Love
Equality is a human right, not a privilege!
Humor can take the edge off a number of situations, especially when dealing with serious health or care-giving issues. For those who have followed our blog, you’ll know that we often use humor to get through many difficult days. Reality is what it is; hard do change, sometimes equally hard to deal with.
Moving can be stressful too, yet in a different way. Sooner or later, the last box will be unpacked, the last picture will find itself on the wall, everything will find its place! Even a miss-placed Lamp Shade.
Upon the arrival of the furniture and the mounds of mess and stress that followed, I was left to ponder about caregivers who are often under stress and burdened by their task at hand. You see, sometimes in the heat of care-giving, we can lose sight of the fact that the one who is being cared for is… ill.
When your ‘patient’ says something out-of-turn, don’t blame the ‘patient’… blame the disease. When your ‘patient’ does not feel like eating, don’t blame the ‘patient’…blame the disease. When ‘the patient’ is just not feeling up to doing something, don’t blame the ‘patient’…blame the disease. Caring is a daunting task and the caregiver often loses themselves in the process, and you know, that’s OK because it’s not ‘the patient’s’ fault…it’s the disease.
Just as Lamp Shades protect the bright lights of the bulbs of which they cover, care-givers do the same as they protect and ‘shade’ those for who they care for. When the light burns out, we don’t blame the shade, we blame the bulb. When illness plays havoc with our loved one, we don’t blame the patient, we blame the disease.
We are blessed by the good health reports we are receiving in Florida and look to continue to bring great ‘shade’ to those around us!
Care-giving is an emotional experience. Caregivers often find themselves in roles that they do not choose, yet embrace the role when called to care for a loved one. When you are entrusted with the care of another human being, it is the greatest honor that can be bestowed on yourself. When we are grounded in the spirit of God’s love, there is no burden a caregiver cannot overcome. In essence, all we can really do is love God and let God take away all our pain.
Providing a beautiful sunset to ones life can take its toll on a caregiver, yet no one in modern society should be left to die alone. One of the most beautiful analogies that I learned during my Clinical Pastoral Education training encompassed how society (and the medical profession) has changed their views on the birthing process. Now in most cases, the birthing process is a celebratory experience where the entire family is in the delivery room witnessing and welcoming the birth of a new family member: It is a celebration of life, a welcoming of sorts…it is a good thing! When I was born, this type of practice was not in vogue.
As we make our transition from life on earth to eternal life, that same spirit at the birthing process needs to be transferred at the time of this transition. All to often people are left to make their transition on their own. While death often leaves us with an empty and aching heart, helping to facilitate a happy transition can be a meaningful experience for ALL involved in the process. Yet death brings such raw emotions to the table: unfinished business, our own mortality, our sense of loss. Death is not an easy component of life, yet is not a final good-bye appropriate?
When we are left behind, we are often left with three emotions:
1. Sadness…That the loved one has moved on to another form of life.
2. Relief…That the care-giving experience is over.
3. Guilt…That your life continues on without the one you loved and cared for.
All three emotions are proper, with the strongest of the three being guilt. Yet when we turn these emotions over to God (or a higher spirit), there is a healthy transition for all involved in the experience. Just as we can’t do life alone, we can’t do death alone either.
Today, my friend Fr. Richard Orlando would have celebrated his 89th birthday and just this week, I learned that it is OK for him to be gone in the physical sense of life as we know it. It’s a healthy realization that life moves on while the spirit stays with us in celebration until we see them again.
Don’t miss out on a chance to celebrate life…love the one your with, care for them like you would want to be cared for yourself. Celebrate Life, in all its forms!
Tonight at dinner we were chatting about our blog as I have been asked to write an article for a national publication on Care-Givers and Care-Giving in April (more to come on that exciting news). The Little One wanted me to share these words with you this evening…
“Thank you for reading ‘The Purple Jacket” I hope that in reading Chris’ account of my fight with esophagus cancer that you don’t give up hope, share in the joy and comfort that you can reap from this wonderful thing, a dedicated caregiver. My siblings have pass on; not only is he my caregiver, he is my partner I would be all alone with out his dedication and love. Even though cancer has struck me, for the second time, I find joy and compassion being with my partner and caregiver. Go through life with a strong will, even at those darkest times, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Bernard Richard Schiffer 2.5.2012.
With so much seriousness over the past few months dealing with Cancer, it is time to relax, reflect and be thankful for our time together.
So what does one do with ‘A Day of Beauty’….
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; we are thankful for our time together. No matter what the future has in store for us, we will forge ahead. Because in our heart and in our mind, everyday is a day of beauty!
Happy New Year from ‘The Purple Jacket’
We have plenty to be thankful for today on this beautiful Christmas morning and wanted to share our gratitude with you.
Our journey has just begun; pleased with the outcome of the pet scan we still have a long way to go in order to build up strength in order to keep the big ‘C’ at bay. We have quite a bit more work to do!
For all those who are experiencing the trauma of cancer in your life know of our heart felt love and support.
For all the care givers know that your love and commitment never goes unnoticed!
Merry Christmas to all and
‘Thank You’ for reading ”The Purple Jacket.’ We look ahead with anticipation, courage and thankful for the love and support of our family and friends.
We have cancer; but cancer does not have us!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and peace and love to all.
Florida bound: we are on the road again! With a plethora of test scheduled for next week, we hit the road Friday afternoon for the journey south. ’Why not fly’, a good friend said to me this week. While flying would get it there ”lickety-split,” there is a sense of relaxation in the drive.
In the hustle and bustle of care-giving, advocacy, work, family commitments and the such, time tends to fly by without notice. ’The drive, while annoying at times, allows us to have great conversations free of distractions. I find driving to be relaxing and as all caregivers (should) know, when you have a chance to find some times to relax…take it!
Speaking of relaxing, I had the opportunity to take in a hockey game this past week. As an avid hockey fan and former season ticket holder, I have not had the opportunity to attend many games in person over the past few years. Yet I was treated to a game this week between the St. Louis Blues and the Detroit Red Wings. Out of all the sports I played as a kid, ice hockey was by far the most fun. (Must be the Canadian in me!) I grew to love the sport at an early age when the NHL expanded to 16 teams in the late sixties. Still waiting for our first Stanley Cup; I’ll always be true to our boys in Blue!
The night at the hockey game reminded me about how important it is for caregivers to find some ‘me’ time. While it is an honor to be a caregiver, to be on the top of your game, you have to care for yourself, too. Attending the hockey game was a treat and it allowed me to relax, enjoy and refresh. Often times as caregivers we forget to care for our self; if we can’t care for ourselves, how can we care for the one we care for?
This is not to say that “The Little One” did not have his time in the spotlight this week. One of his most difficult decisions this week was to decide what Phosphate to have at Dr. Jazz Soda Fountain and Grill in Webster Groves, MO. Decisions, Decisions… Why not have…both!
As we motor down the road this weekend to Florida, we will jump right into some important medical test on Monday. The second PET Scan is scheduled for Monday morning at 9:30 am. The PET Scan will give us with a clear picture of how the radiation and chemotherapy attached the cancer cells; we will have the results by the end of the week. While ‘The Little One’ has shown great improvement over these past six weeks, we are anxious to learn what the next part of our care plan will be as we move forward to defeat this disease.
Just as we both have had choices to make this week about mundane things like attending hockey games or what flavor of Phosphate to have; we also have choices to make on our care plan as we move forward with beating this cancer. No matter what the results are this week from the PET Scan or other medical test we endure this week; we still have choices in our care. Having a care-giver or better yet, having cancer does not take away from our ability to make choices. Independence and personal choices are essential components in order to age gracefully. No one should be denied the ability to make their own choices, yet to make the best possible choices in our lives, we have the have the pertinent information at our disposal. Hence the need for the follow-up test next week.
We embrace the upcoming week with anticipation knowing that we will have the ability to make choices that will fit into the needs of “The Little One.” Without choices, there is no independence…without independence, there is no hope. While we can’t control the outcome of the results, we can control how we respond of the results! It is through the ability to make choices that we gain our independence from the cancer, no matter what the outcome might be.
Barbara Streisand once sang…’People Who Need People Are The Luckiest People In the World.’ We are all attracted to different people and for different reasons; life would be boring if that was not the case. Love and attraction are so personal and hard to describe.
What does age have to do with love?
During a telephone conversation Tuesday evening with a close friend in Indianapolis, I came upon a word that I rarely like to use…”intergenerational.” The word just popped out of my mouth as we were discussing ‘The Little One’s’ marked improvement over the last week.
While I have never been big on buzz words, acronyms or labels; there are plenty of descriptions used to describe ‘us.’ “May and December” is probably the most common description, yet there are plenty of unsavory descriptions, too.
What really is the issue here?
Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you are cheese!
What is important to recognize is that the roles that we are currently experiencing in our life could easily be reversed; I could be the one with cancer and he could be the one doing the care giving. Age really has nothing to do with it! Of course we understand the physical limits age can have on the body, yet that does not take away the determination of the soul.
I do not expect anyone to really understand this ‘intergenerational relationship.’ Heck, there are many relationships that I do not understand. ‘Those who don’t like what they see, don’t have to look’ is what a famous philosopher once said to me. (RIP-RJO) What is important to remember is that the only two people who really know what is going on in a relationship, are the two that are in it. Everything else is pure speculation
The best description I have ever heard in regards to love is spoken in one…simple…word. Unconditional.
To love someone unconditionally breaks down barriers, enables trust and ensures commitment. Cancer or no cancer, it’s all about giving of oneself to the love and care of another.
Love and acceptance are music to the heart and soul…those are the labels that we can all live with!
So, what does age have to do with it?