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Care-givers, I hear you!

23 May

Families are full of quicksand, especially as the children grow up, marry and have families of their own. They all develop in different ways. What is important to one branch means nothing to another branch. They may be in direct conflict. There may be a sense of closeness with one or the other group and an impossible distance with another.

Conflict can erupt when the aging parents or remaining parent become truly old and no longer able to care for themselves. In most cases, it is the mother who outlives the father and ambles into old age, illness or dementia on her own. Then it becomes apparent which of the siblings is a caregiver and which ones are not. It seems that typically one child is local and others far away. But of course, this varies.

In nearly all families with more than one child, there is one local and one far distant. The one who “flies in” is generally full of ideas about what the local sibling should be doing. Or worse they fuss about what has already been done. They complain and suggest and disrupt the routine and then, they fly away. It may be many months before they repeat the pattern.

In the meantime, the local sibling may have moved nearby or into the house with the mother. This is because it is the only way the mother can remain there in comfort and safety. Some caregiver children do it all by themselves. Some have part-time helpers. Others need to be supervisors for the 24/7 caregivers and other help. Some parents live in assisted living, some in their own apartments or houses. Others need help taking care of a large property in the way it needs to be taken care of.

That sibling who is nearest or living with the parent may feel slightly or not so slightly irritated by circumstances. The fact is that the far sibling sometimes expects compliance and gives no real appreciation to the one whose life is completely given up to caregiving. The away sibling may exhibit behavior indicating contempt for the one who is there all the time. Believing them beneath consideration, or deserving scorn. This speaks a great deal about their character.

caregiving
Caregiving

People do not respond well to being treated that way. Thankfully most people are very supportive and value the contribution of the stay at home sibling. It is certainly nice to be appreciated and those who give up their lives to care for a parent are actually being very heroic even if they can’t see it themselves. Not everyone could or would do it. It is a strange existence. And in the best of worlds, all the siblings understand this and help each other out.

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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Meditations

14 May

I was at an elegant dinner party recently where I met an interesting young man named Devron Johnson.  He spoke with such good sense about the world today, we have continued our discourse.

He emailed me about his writing, asking for suggestions for staying focused (Haha!!! I am not focused most of the time, but I have learned some tricks.)

“I have been studying the Philosophy of Stoicism and the teachings of Marcus Aurelius since I was in middle school…Maybe this is why I tend to see things without too much emotion and clouded judgement.” He said.

Marcus Aurelius, I should have known! Devron is an intellectual. He has an open mind, it is splendid to see such in a young black man of the 2000s.

(Especially in the era of Black Lives Matter, because those people do not appear to read anything except violent, angry material. What interests them are attacks against white people who really are not nearly as prejudiced as themselves.)

The Meditations are marvelous. Perhaps it would be helpful to young people if some schools or parents or police or some form of authority, tried to forbid kids to read about the Stoics. Certainly, Meditations is seditious information because by using it for instruction a man can control himself and therefore he can control others (especially if they have not read it). Perhaps if it were forbidden they would flock to read it and learn some of the greatest lessons ever taught.

Sigh.

Not going to happen, but I am impressed that he read Marcus Aurelius in middle school.  He must have had a mentor or a really good teacher or divine help with his reading. (I am only partly kidding about the Divine help.)
Here is a link to his blog: https://knwhre.wixsite.com/mysite
“As for the not playing victim. Being a victim or playing victim will never help or improve anybody or any situation. I think that is the problem for a lot of millennials (my generation), and ethnicities (specifically Black people) who were once oppressed. Yes there is still racism, sexism, classicism, etc. However, there has been a lot of improvement and it should not be used as a crutch today. “ he added.

I agree with everything he said about victimhood.  Not useful.  And anyone who sees themselves as a victim gives power to the thing or entity by whom they feel victimized.

It is NOT the same thing but there is still some discrimination against women. I have been privileged my entire life and yet even I have experienced it.

And then, of course, there was the sexual harassment which we all grew up with in my time. It was not even remarked upon.  It was just ‘the way it was’.  But most women had their ways of combating it.  Most women were not as downtrodden as young women today appear to believe we were. 

Women stuck together.  Women basically controlled the family, even though the man might bring home the money.  Women raised their sons and daughters and a lot of men practically worshipped their mothers.  Women did OK for the most part.  

It is only NOW when they are educated and independent that they seem to feel like such victims. They have become whining snowflakes. It is unbecoming, to our sex. I have absolutely NO patience with it.  Women are NOT second class citizens. They never were even before we had the vote.  We had our ways.  We have always been able to run circles around men. We think differently. It is a gift or perhaps it is evolution. We have evolved for survival’s sake to know how to protect ourselves and generally get our way.

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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The 4th Quarter

2 May

Which part of the game are you in? First half of life? The 3rd quarter? OK …How many of you are in the 4th quarter? I have lived more than 3/4 of a century. This is the 4th quarter for me. Pretty scary isn’t it?

As we age, our responsibilities change. For some it is moving their parent into an assisted living facility.

Life has many tangles. But we can control some of it.

Others find themselves suddenly single or have a mate who is very ill. Parnts sicken and die, children move home again after a divorce. And then there are the changes to our bodies…
These things can make us feel defeated and deflated.

There are many ways to bring yourself back from the edge of depression and despair or just plain boredom.

Even though by the 4th quarter, life has changed. It is possible to reinvent yourself at any age. And you can do this, no matter what the circumstances.

You know why? Because now, you just don’t give a damn what other people think.

My life changed 5 years ago when my Mother began to age at about 97. Gradually she lost her ability to live on her own. I reluctantly gave up my life in Charlottesville to stay with my mother in my old room, in my old house. She is now 101 years old.

And I have turned my life around. It’s fun and exciting to be here. How can we all make the 4th quarter great? There are several ways, but I will mention 2 of them.


This is my mission. I am telling it now.


First you can make a dramatic change.
Figure out what you can control.
Take a chance on something you always wished to do.
Some people downsize, or move to a retirement community, or a different state to be near their children and grandchildren.
Some people dare to realize a childhood dream.
One older woman who began to take voice lessons a few years ago, starred last Friday night in a one woman cabaret. She was fantastic. That took guts!!! But she was thrilled and even said so to the audience. “This is such fun!” She said. “You should all star in your own Cabaret!”

Another way is to become involved. Join things, volunteer, try a new sport, walk or run a 5K race, or learn to play Bridge.

There is so much to do in Washington DC. I decided to do only things that could be done right here. And I set out to make friends. For instance I joined the Capital Speakers Club and bonded with my class.
Any of you can do this. Turn your life around. Change. Don’t be afraid of the things you thought you would never do. DO THEM! And don’t be surprised if something miraculous happens.
Just as it often is in sports, the 4th quarter of the game of life can turn out to be the best, most exciting one of all.
Go for it!

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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