The Aroma of Memories

My mother was a stay at home mom.  She would take me with her when there was an errand to run. Sometimes, my friends would go with us, too.  We would pile up in the back seat for the ride.  This was in the late 1960’s before fancy child seats or even seat belts.  The cars were big and probably armed with more steel than most Army tanks.  We spread out on the seats, the floorboard, or the area above the back seat underneath the rear window.  As I recall, any real estate near the backseat windows was the most coveted.  If you could reach a window crank, you had political clout.  You had the power to crank the window up or down as you so desired.

A few miles from our home, there was a railroad bridge over the main road.  Like a tour leader holding a microphone on a tourist bus, my mom would announce to us anytime we were approaching the bridge.  That was our ten second warning to quickly crank the windows down and get ready to take a deep breath.

The railroad bridge was directly adjacent to the local bread factory.  At unknown times of the day, the air around the factory was filled with the precious scent of freshly baked bread.  It was the most wonderful smell.  Even a half century later, I can still remember the divine aroma.  There was a moment of anticipation as we passed under the bridge.  Are they baking right now?  As we came out on the other side of the bridge, we all took a collective and deep breath.  If we were lucky, we were rewarded with the wonderful smell of fresh bread.

Some years ago, the bread factory was torn down and replaced by a retail shopping center.    My brain tells me that I can’t smell non-existent bread.  My nose tells me that the air is full of the scent of fresh bread.  How can this be?  I believe that my heart has the answer.

The nose can be just as powerful as the brain.  The sense of smell can instantly transport us to another place and time.  Happy scents trigger happy memories that permeate the entire body and soul.  Feel the comfort of a big sensory hug.  Listen to your soul and your nose today.  Are they reminding you of a cherished memory?

Today, the old bridge is still there.  I go by there sometimes.  Just being near it triggers the happy memories of my mom, my friends, and the aroma of freshly baked bread.  The bread my be gone, but the aroma and the happy memories live on.

Via Daily Prompt:  Scent

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A Clone I Need

I tell everyone to “Take a number”

And “I’ll be with you in a moment”

This is my slogan when it’s spoken

And even when I slumber.

 

My husband says I do not multi-task

I need a clone and a replacement

It would be money well spent

And for this I will gladly ask.

 

If you need me for anything

Please sit and wait your turn

I appreciate your concern

My very dear offspring.

 

Via Daily Prompt:  Replacement

Filtered Morning

Crystal clear liquid filled to the top

Classic grounds from a mountain top

This side of the filter is a black grounded mess

That side of the filter is pure coffee bliss

 

Sunshine and morning loudly come in the window

Against my wishes, they always come in

And just like yesterday, here they come again

I pour the coffee and quietly return to the pillow

Via Daily Prompt:  Filter

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The Complex Caregiver

The word “simple” should come with an asterisk.  Beware of anyone telling you that something is simple.  It’s a red flag that something is actually very difficult or complex.

Here are 3 examples:

  1. Simple Recipe
  2. Simple Explanation
  3. Simple Directions

There’s no such thing as a simple recipe unless you are a professional chef.  There’s no such thing as a simple explanation unless you are a genius.  There’s no such thing as simple directions unless you have a GPS with you.

There are so many things that can go wrong when something is described as “simple”.  It’s a jinx so that whatever can possibly go wrong, will most likely and certainly go wrong.  It’s Murphy’s law just waiting to happen.

Spousal caregiving for my husband is anything but simple.  It’s complex and convoluted.  There is much to remember and much to delegate.  Every day there is a challenge and every day is different.  It’s a multi-leveled task that requires my full attention.

There will be times when you will feel frustrated and exhausted.  You may feel out of control and irritable.  However, it’s important that you , as the caregiver, be the cool headed person in the situation.  When life throws you a really bad day and there is confusion, you should take a deep breath, assess the situation, and be the level headed one.  The people depend on you will look to you for that calm and in-control reassurance.

Once you have actually become a caregiver, you will surprise yourself at your abilities.  When a loved one is involved, a supernatural cloud will descend on you with powers that you have never known before.  You will step up and do what must be done for the safety of a loved one.  You are an awesome caregiver with complex powers.  You are indeed amazing and when faced with difficult situations, there is absolutely nothing simplistic about you.

Via Daily Prompt:  Simple

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My Senior Discount

One day a week, my local grocery store offers a ten percent savings for senior citizens.  If you are over a certain age, it’s a very popular day to get a grocery discount.

I have been a loyal customer of this grocery store for almost 20 years.  I’ve always tried to avoid “Senior Day” because it’s very crowded.  Senior Day is less of a shopping trip and more of a social gathering.  Most aisles are full of older folks moving slowly.  You simply can’t be in a hurry.

A few years ago, I happened to be there on Senior Day.  I noticed on the receipt that the cashier had acknowledged me as a “Senior” which got me the discount.  While I appreciated the discount, the notion that someone could pronounce judgement on me as a “Senior” without my consent, was disheartening.  When did that happen?  Are the years really showing on my face?  I wanted a second opinion.  Recently, a young bag boy wanted to “help me to my car”.  It was sweet of him to offer, but ouch!

As the years start to fly by, I’m learning to enjoy my maturity.  I don’t care so much about what people think and I’ve learned to like myself more.  I will go into old age kicking and screaming, but I will be thankful for the privilege of getting older.  Many people don’t get that privilege and I will be grateful for each new year that I am on this planet.

I now do most of my grocery shopping on “Senior Day”.  I enjoy the happy old people at my store.  They are a grateful bunch that seem to celebrate each new day.  I appreciate their outlook and there is much we can learn about how to enjoy life more.  We all must wait in the checkout lane of life.  I am encouraging you to relax as you wait, appreciate everything you have, and be sure to ask for your well deserved discount.

Via Daily Prompt: Ten

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Consider the Bloom

The landscape of your current situation

leaves you feeling quite deprived.

Why am I meant to merely survive?

And thus begins a contemplation.

 

Feel the rich soil under your devastation.

Learn to live and thrive!

Only you can live this life!

Choose to bloom yourself a new creation.

Via Daily Prompt:  Devastation

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Chimes and Time

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There are many things that my husband cannot control.  He is disabled and his mobility is limited.  The concept of time, or at least keeping up with the current time, is one thing that he can control.  For that reason, it’s important that I indulge him and be as understanding as possible.  That being said, you should know my husband has a relationship with a clock.

He might prefer me to move out so he can have the clock to himself.  It’s not a small clock.  It’s a grandfather clock that stands about 6 feet tall.  His uncle made the clock from a kit and our family now has it.

The clock has a Westminster chime that announces each quarter hour and then strikes once for each hour at the top of the hour.  It’s a lovely sound, if you like clocks.  I don’t feel the need to be reminded every 15 minutes, so I don’t share my husband’s love for the clock.  But I understand his attachment to it’s history, so I endure it.

A few months ago, the clock began having mechanical issues.  It’s kept time very well for nearly two decades.  I jokingly asked the repairman if there was an option to turn off the chimes.  My husband nearly threatened to divorce me right then. “Why would we possibly want to silence such a beautiful chime?”

Imagine my delight when the repairman called to inform us that there was such a mechanism that would temporarily disarm the striking feature of the clock. I was able to convince my husband that we should have it installed on the clock just for the sake of convenience.  Thankfully, he bought my theory of convenience and agreed to it.  A slider was installed on the clock that could be pushed up or down to engage or disengage the striking feature.

At long last, the clock and I had come to an understanding.  At bedtime,we could turn the chime off and not have to listen to it all night. Despite having a digital clock six inches from his face that constantly blinds him with the time, my husband seemed somehow lost not being able to hear the supposedly angelic chime coming from the clock. I, on the other hand, relished the quiet time knowing the clock would not disrupt my sleep.

Most mornings, my husband will gently remind me that the clock needs to be engaged again in order for us to hear it.  “Well, of course, my dear.  I just forgot.  A simple oversight, on my part”.  I can play stupid all I want, but he knows better.  Every morning, I delay it for as long as possible and he knows it.

It’s become something of an amusing game between us now.  Every night before bed, when I’m locking everything and turning everything off for the night, I disengage the chime as part of my nightly routine.  Every morning, I conveniently forget to re-engage it until he reminds me.  I play stupid and we both laugh.

Having the chime disarm feature has made life easier.  My hubby allows me to disengage it every night and I’m allowing him to keep his clock.  He feels like he is in control and it makes him happy to hear his precious chimes.

I’m afraid my husband would suspect me if the angelic clock ever disappeared in the middle of the night.  And, he’d be right to suspect me.  But a 6 foot grandfather clock with an annoying chime just wouldn’t disappear in the middle of the night, or would it?

Via Daily Prompt:  Oversight

 

An Image of Love

Too much sun exposure is harmful.  A gallon of sunscreen may help, but you must decide how much is too much.   We, as caregivers, must decide if the caregiving exposure is becoming too much and when to get assistance.

Photography is the study of the fundamental particles of light called photons.  As an amateur photographer, I have learned that photography is the science of using light to create an image.  Ask any photographer about the challenges of creating a good exposure that is not over-exposed or under-exposed.

How are we identifying the ways to improve the beautiful images that we are?  Are we maintaining the balance in our lives to give us a proper exposure?  Only you can answer these questions.  It’s important to assess how you and your loved one is managing the caregiving life.

It’s easy to feel secluded in our own little worlds and not realize how cut-off from the real world we have become.  An over-exposed caregiver needs to take a break from the responsibilities.  An under-exposed loved one needs to find more involvement in life activities.

Be mindful of the image you are capturing with your loved one.  Maybe you or your loved one needs more light on the exposure.  Perhaps you or your loved one needs a new hobby or a new outlet.  Consider if you should seek help with the caregiving responsibilities.

Find the balance in your caregiving life and you will see the beautiful particles of light in your caregiving world.  Let the particle of light shine on you and your loved one.  A well balanced exposure will always create a beautiful image.

Via Daily Prompt:  Exposure

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Exhausted Essential Equipment

The Daily Prompt word for today is “Overworked”.  Because I usually write from the viewpoint and experience of a caregiver, this chosen word for today caught me off guard.

I’d like to see a caregiver that’s NOT overworked.  It’s a natural part of our circumstances, what we do, and who we are as caregivers.  We are always awesome and we are always overworked.  When I saw this word for today, it was an easy slam-dunk.  So I am asking you to look beyond the obvious and consider this word with a slightly different angle.

Think of the “overworked” care-equipment that you use every day.  This includes the furniture, the tools, and the durable medical equipment that make your life easier.  There are 4 pieces of care-equipment that we simply could not do without.

  1.  Our wheelchair van has made life so much easier for all of us.  We no longer worry about going places safely and conveniently.
  2. My hubby’s power chair enables him to move independently inside and outside of the house.
  3. We also have a lift chair recliner that he uses to stand him up so he can transfer to the power chair.  
  4. The other lift is on the toilet that safely lifts him up and down on the seat.

We heavily depend on these pieces of equipment every day as essential members of our caregiving team.  They make our lives as caregivers better.  They make the lives of our loved ones better.  We push them to the edge of their capabilities and product design until they drop or give out.  We wonder how we ever got along without them.  We must do the regular maintenance to help them last as long as possible and hope for the best.

Consider the equipment that you rely on every day.  Think about how the loss of these pieces (even temporarily) would affect your ability and sanity to be an awesome caregiver.  It doesn’t take much to upset the fragile balance in our world.  The slightest inconvenience is enough to throw us over the edge.  It’s absolutely imperative that we take good care of the equipment.  We are a team of people and machines working together for the benefit of our loved ones.  These pieces of care-equipment are indeed overworked.  Even if you could hear them speak, they would not ask for time off, they would just keep going and going and going.  Do not neglect the health of these team members.  They are far too valuable.  This caregiving family is very thankful for their hard work and dedication to us.

Via Daily Prompt:  Overworked

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Caregiving and Crayons

This year, I received an early Christmas gift that I didn’t quite know what to do with at the time.  The gift was an “Adult Coloring Book” with a brand new box of crayons.  Suddenly, I felt too young to even open this book.  Should I be getting a parental permission slip to use my “Adult” coloring book?  And exactly what will we be coloring in our “Adult Coloring Book”?  I was relieved to discover that it’s now considered therapeutic for adults to color.  Okay, I thought.  Let’s try this.

I turn my eyes to the box of 64 crayons.  I haven’t owned that many crayons since first grade.  How beautiful those crayons are.  I had forgotten how many colors there are in the box and that funky crayon aroma.  I took some out to read the color names.  In the flash of a moment, my first grade brain remembered that Aqua Marine was my favorite, favorite color.

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The pages of the coloring book are filled with flowers, plants, and animals outlined in black lines with lots of empty, boring white spaces.  There’s something obviously lacking.  These pages are in dire need of something very important that only I can provide.

Each crayon that I pulled out of the box had an aesthetic purpose.  It was my choice to decide which color would go where and no one would critique my work.  Sometimes the color choice was easy.  Sometimes it required more deliberate thought.  Regardless, this was my choice to make.

I’m sure there was a time in first grade when I would sip milk before heading to a small table for coloring time.  Now, I sip hot coffee before heading to the sofa for coloring time.  It’s a time for me.  No one is allowed to bother me.  As I pick up a crayon, my blood pressure goes down and some relaxing chemicals are released in my brain.  What a beautiful feeling.  Yes, I’m really liking this coloring therapy.

Caregiving can be bland and boring.  Many things are beyond our control and leave us with few choices.  Open a box of crayons and choose the shade of color that brings you happiness.  Allow your soul to be painted with that shade of joy.  Find Peace inside and you will color your world a happy hue.

Via Daily Prompt:  aesthetic

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