How To Act

I'm home. And I still feel jittery, almost as if I have done something wrong. But I haven't. What I have done is good and right, something that shouldn't need consideration or thought. Yet, it took courage, it took thought, and consideration. It took energy. What do I say? Should I smile and laugh? How will she react? Will she want my company?

Today I took a leftover meal from our women's club party to the neighbor lady whose husband committed suicide a few weeks ago. We made up a plate of food with the thought that she would be happy to have it, and the comfort of knowing we cared. As she is my personal member, I was asked to bring her the food. When I was asked, it took me a moment to say Okay. It took me a moment to catch my breath and find the strength to take on such a task. But I said okay, and I completed my task, and I am glad I did.

She didn't take the plate of food (my kids are coming tonight and i already cooked) but she invited me in and told me she had only a short time to visit before she needed to leave. I wasn't sure I was welcome or she was being polite, but I am still glad I took the opportunity to do the right thing. What this accomplished was her knowing that I care, that though the funeral is over and the act forgotten by most, that she is still important and still thought of and we are open when and if she needs someone to turn to.

I drank a glass of water, talked about the weather and the garden and her kids and her parents, but we sidestepped the conversation of her husband and his death. I didn't know what was appropriate, what is appropriate in such a situation. But the simple act of my presence and my offer to be available if she needs me was well received. She thanked me for stopping by, told me she would appreciate me coming again as she said goodbye at the door.

It could have been an act, one of courage on her part as well, but that doesn't matter. I opened myself up and she let me in.

Coming to terms with how to act is not necessary in such a situation. Just being there is action enough. And today, I took action and showed someone that I care.


Dots of Goings On

  • It's raining and cold today. Nothing like the rain to make the grass grow and the flowers bloom once the sun shines again. I'm trying to keep it positive. Really, I don't like rainy, cold days. It gets me from the inside out, deep in my bones. And I can't complain, our weather has been extremely good for the past 6 weeks. I just wish it would stay that way. In this part of the world we have far too many rainy, gray days. I come alive in the sun. Just like the grass and flowers. I just don't need the rain to give me the kick to shine.
  • Soccer has been overtaking our lives lately. Between Kaeden and Jari we've spent a good portion of free time standing on the side lines cheering for our boys. Sunday Jari took part in TWO tournaments. That meant an ENTIRE day from sun-up to sun-down at the games. I love watching my boys play, but I think we were a bit too enthusiastic last weekend. By game 6 Jari was starting to drag. Game 7 and the kid couldn't put one foot in front of the other. He fell asleep in the car on the way home. Even a power shake didn't give him the extra energy he needed to continue. Last night we all attended Kaeden's game. He is a much different player than Jari but he's been doing a good job. He's been chosen for a number of games lately which shows that he's excelling which makes me so happy. Team sports are hard for kids with autism. When Kaeden first played, it didn't go well. But this year, he's shown he can do it, and he loves doing it. So, now we have two kids in soccer and it's time consuming. Time well spent and I love it, but it keeps us busy.
  • The electric in our home finally took a plunge. Our home is old and though much of the house has been rewired, there is a section that hasn't been. So, at this moment we have shut off the power and it needs to be rewired. That means a possible removal of floors, walls, ceilings...doesn't sound like something I am ready to do. It sounds like a big pain in the butt.
  • My hand has been annoying me. I have some infection which doesn't want to go away as the medication to make it go away doesn't carry to the infection due to the poor blood circulation in my hand and arm. So, the infection is spreadign instead of being cured. And I am supposed to be back in a sling not using it in the least. I haven't put it back in a sling, but I am being careful...as careful as I can with the act of life. The bad part about it is that when you have pain, it just sits there and bugs you all day long. You can't shake the overwhelming feeling and just enjoy life. There's always that little issue to remind you of your shortcomings, of the accident, of the handicap. And it's annoying.
  • Kaeden is leaving fro America in 5 weeks. It is overwhelming me. I am getting nervous and excited for him all in the same breath. I am letting him fly alone on a direct flight without unaccompanied minor assistance. He is so proud of this fact. I am a little fearful. All the what-if's keep running through my mind. He'll do great. He is a seasoned traveller, knows the ins and outs. But what-if? I keep thinking maybe I should go ahead and pay for the service. But he is so proud that I feel he is able to make this trek alone. I don't want to take that sense of independence away from him. He can do it, right? It's just one flight, just one gate to find and do so in a timely manner. It's just keeping his passport safe for 10 hours. It's just taking his meds alone once. It's just going through security once, and passport control once. Oooh, what if?
  • There is so much going on around here lately. This time of year is full of all the end of year school stuff, end of year sports stuff, as well as all these parties...we are part of the turning 40 crowd, and everyone wants to celebrate this milestone. That means lots of weekends filled with parties. Parties are fun, in general. But sometimes you have too much of a good thing. And I still have difficulty with the language in noisy, crowd-filled spaces. An hour is great, 2 hours is doable, 3 hours and I have a headache.
  • A man in our village died last week. Didn't just die, but hung himself. He lived just a few houses down from us and I can't shake this feeling of betrayal. I feel for his wife, for his children. What must she/ they be going through? How would it feel to come home from grocery shopping, put your bike away and see your husband hanging there in a noose dead before your eyes? I helped during the services, serving to the families during the after burial reception (do you call it that?) as is customary for neighbors to do here in our village. This woman is someone I have regualr contact with and seeing her made me ache. I just can't imagine. And then, while we were cleaning the hall after the lunch, people were discussing what she was wearing...tan pants and a purple sweater...and how that is disrespectful to not be dressed in black. And I wnated to scream at them: YOU THINK IT IS DISRESPECTFUL TO WEAR TAN PANTS AND A PURPLE SWEATER? WHAT ABOUT HANGING YOURSELF WHERE YOU KNW YOUR WIFE WILL COME HOME AND FIND YOU DEAD? THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS DISRESPECTFUL! Sometimes, I don't know what goes through people's heads? Why should we care what someone is wearing? Shouldn't we be there to support others, to be friendly and nice? Why is gossip so important?
  • And that is what has been going on around here. Keeping me busy and questioning life and the ways of the world. I'm sure there will soon be more to come.... in the meantime, here's a few pics of a few boys out there on the field.


Health Issues

I have been thinking non-stop about my parents, my in-laws, my grandparents lately. It's been kind of driving me a little crazy. I am so worried about the health of all these people I love. When we're little kids, our parents seem so old to us, our grandparents ancient. As we grow into teens, the age gap seems to lessen and we see them more realistically...a generation gap away. As adults, we recognize that they are getting older, but they no longer seem quite so distant in years. But then, suddenly, they hit 60, and 60 sounds old-ish. 65 is the age of retirement. 70, wow, 70.

And as our parents age, health complications begin to arise. Whether in the form of a hip replacement, a stroke, alzheimers, broken bones, allergies, high blood pressure, or diabetes, these ailments become noticeable and we see our parents attending the physician's office more frequently. With age inevitable comes frail health.

Neither my in-laws nor my parents are in the best of health. Each of them suffers from one thing or another, and as they suffer, I suffer along with them. It scares me and makes me worry. And when I get scared and worried, I have a tendency to distance myself, to lessen my own worry, I assume. But it remains, as I see oma struggle to walk, opa cringe when there is too much noise, my mom tell me of her bloodtest results, and my dad as he complains of the arthritis in his hands aching so he can't even drive.

It's easy for me to negate my parents, being physically distanced form them means I don't directly see their ailments...until I see them after a time span and notice the limp in their step, the further balding, the swollen feet. Sometimes it makes it nearly unbearable, seeing the decline in my parents' health after our time apart. But nearly weekly I am in the presence of my in-laws, and I notice this or that or the other and though their negative decline is less noticebale than a reunion with my own parents, it definitely exists and I am confronted with it regularly.

I can't imagine losing one of these people who mean so much. Each of them plays such an importnat role in my life. Opa has allowed me to be myself and laughed with me as I adjusted to becoming a European, made my adjustment easier with him around. Oma is a loving woman with a very open personality which was hard for me in the beginning, but I have come to appreciate, trust, and love. She tells it like it is, and that makes it easy; no second-guessing what she is thinking. My mom is my best friend. I can discuss anything with her and know she will support me no matter what. Even from afar, there is never a doubt to who I will turn when I need a listening ear. My dad and I always had íssues'when I was growing up. He called me out when I needed it, and was a disciplinarian. As I have grown older, he and I have become good friends in addition to him being my dad. We share many of the same ideals and have compassion for each other. He is the man I have always looked up to and has shown me what hard work means, and what you can achieve by being a hard worker.

My grandparents on my mom's side are both still alive, and for this I feel completely blessed. They have given my children the feeling of having that so important extended family. However, neither is free of health problems as well as their age (92 and 84) give reason to worry. They are both at peace with their lives and both are ready for the day their Father calls them home. I'm not sure I am so ready for that day. I am extremely close to my gramma especially, and can't imagine not hearing her voice or receiving her hugs.

This all means that my family bonds are very strong, and for that I am grateful. But it does play a part in the pain and worry when each of them is in pain or has health problems. Being so far away from my parents and grandparents adds an extra burden, and though within the vicinity of my in-laws, we are not close enough for me to help on a daily basis, like I wish I could. Lately I have been doubting the decisions we have made with regards to distancing ourselves physically from family. Though our emotional bond remains close, we aren't nearby to help or be around for them when we are needed. And that plays on my heart.

I know that we need to do what is necessary to make a life for ourselves. We need to consider our children and the path our lives have led us and be together when the time allows. And we do that well, I think. However, health issues arise and it makes me wonder. Just what are our expectations in caring for our aging parents? And how will we achieve this task and fulfill our role as their children?