Levity & The Latest Plan
by Jessica Ehlers, November 18, 2010
It's already almost Thanksgiving. How does this happen? It's raining in Fort Bragg. Wait, no- it's sunny.
The Day of the Dead was a great memorial. The local public access station here in Fort Bragg showed me and my boy talking about our Auntie who passed. I was a little miffed until I learned (remembered) it's well within their rights to record and televise. I'd never been on TV. My hair was messy. I babbled nervously. I was embarrassed but then I realized if someone sees that show and participates next year- Fantastic. What an opportunity to bridge the cultural gap we have going on around here.
I don't think I have mentioned what I do for work yet on this blog. Partly because it's against company policy to talk about my clients directly- there are so many great stories I cannot share, and partly because I feel like my blog isn't light and fluffy enough. But alas, I am a caregiver and I work with the elderly. Some people are frail and just need help with dinner. Others have Dementia or Alzheimer's. Still others are on their way to the next place, and just need assistance with pain management en route.
Children and the elderly are a lot alike. I realize I am not the first to make that astute observation. Their perspective, while not completely the same- reflects the same basic flavor. The joy in the simple pleasures, simple victories of life. The gratefulness for the day. The sheer joy in the smallest things- the sensation of a cat purring, listening to rain on the roof, a lollipop.
I blame my step mother for my love of old folks. She referred me to the agency I work for when I moved back to the coast after graduating from college. At the time, I had two goals in regards to employment. One was that I wanted to find something that was not a restaurant job and I wanted to steer clear of Mendo's beloved Ag industry. This proved trickier than I had thought but in the end, I was hired with the agency and placed in a suitable arrangement with a woman who'd become my dearest friend before her eventual passing a year later.
The reason I mention all this is not to go off about how great I am for doing what I do or talk about death (why can't I shut up about death?) but because doing this work, just like raising a child- fortifies me with a sense of gratitude for this one day I have right now. The sunshine. The rain. Whatever it is- it is fleeting.
Now is not the time to get discouraged. Now is the time to batten down the hatches, tighten one's belt and get back to the basics. Buy some lollipops. Volunteer at your kid's school. Befriend an old person.
I am really good at dispensing advice. Lol. Yesterday I was driving home from an outing with a client with memory problems who is happy but confused. The the sun was pouring in through the trees. Something about the James Taylor and Mark Knopfler song pouring into my vehicle via KOZT made me realize I need to write down the stories of my parents while they're young enough to look at me weird for asking, but remember the story.
I had a teacher in high school who gave me some good advice though I did not recognize it as such then, "If you swim in the deep end of the pool all the time, you'll drown."