Great Blog on ESA

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I found a wonderful new blog that is a great reference and resource for family of alcoholics. It is called The Immortal Alcoholic and is written by the wife of an End Stage Alcoholic (ESA) who has first hand experience in being a caregiver of someone at ESA. Even if you don’t know an alcoholic, it is a good read into the realities of alcoholism, not the sugar coated way it is shown at times.

I have learned so much in just a few days from this blog. More than I ever learned at alanon meetings. I highly recommend it.

http://www.immortalalcoholic.blogspot.com

Losses of Late

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Losses are becoming a very real part of life as I enter my fifties. I can recall that when we heard of someone passing, it was always someone older, it seemed. Now, it is becoming more and more that these people are our friends, coworkers, loved ones and neighbors. I do not like it. Not one bit. Most of the time when you read an obituary, or just scan them, it is reassuring not to know any of them. This is changing for me. I am now reading them to make sure I do not miss anyone I know.

Have you ever noticed that no matter what we do or how we live, death seems to find us all. I do not personally believe that there is a predetermined time or place for my death. The Bible tells us that “time and unforeseen occurence befall us all”. So, instead, I think that there is a certain randomness to it, that if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may suffer because of your choices in the matters.

For instance, if you drink and drive, your chances of being involved in an accident go up, way up. Yet, conversely, if you are driving home from the grocery, a drunk may hit you and cause you pain and suffering. Randomness. Some things can be concluded from the choices you make. That is easy. If you smoke, you are at greater risk of emphysema and lung cancer. However, you can never smoke and get the same things.

There are those who would make the argument that smoking isn’t the problem (substitute drinking, drugs, etc., for smoking). They say that it is “their time”. There it is again, that mysterious magical phrase that implies that predestination again. Oh well, you say, I can have my beliefs and you can have yours. Good, now we are on common ground.

I am writing all these things because in the last month or so, we have experienced several losses in our family, friends, and community at large. My husbands two uncles, Tom and Don, passed away. On the heels of them, a good friend lost her father suddenly. As we were recovering from these losses, we heard of the loss of a young man who was a police officer in Alaska. He grew up here in our hometown, and he went to school with my daughter and nephew. The city joined together to give him a heroes sendoff, complete with a motorcade through town and a memorial service at the high school. Things were finally settling down a little when another friend told us of the loss of a classmate, at the young age of 52, to a sudden heart attack. That was two days ago. Today, a dear friend wrote to tell me she could not walk in our lupus walk because her husband had passed away yesterday. I tell you, it has been a rough time lately. If you add to the mix, my spiritual daughter being physically abused and almost killed by her abusive husband, then you can round it all out.

I wonder at times like these, how to comfort those who have experienced these losses. In the end, the best thing I can do is be there if they need to talk, help out if they need help, bring food if it is needed, and be a friend. Sometimes it is not the words, but the actions that speak to a grieving heart.

I pray that all these families will feel God surrounding them in their time of need, and that they may know there are people out here who are willing to listen and help as needed. While the pain is fresh in their hearts, remember that the loved ones will live on in their legacies of love they have given to their families.

These folks have all dealt with their losses in a dignified manner that is amazing to behold at times. While their deep grief is seen, just below the surface, it is the memories that will sustain them.

I have lost friends, loved ones and many more in this lifetime. I will lose many more I am sure. Because of this, I try each day to tell those I love, that I love them. I try to live like a song I love says “something worth leaving behind”. When I go, I hope those who are still here will remember me with fondness and share stories of times long ago. I hope they laugh, loudly, and see old friends of long ago. Mostly, I hope they will remember that they were all loved.  

Animals and People with chronic diseases

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I am repeating this post because, believe it or not, while I was at the doctor’s office today, the Arthritis Today magazine had an article about pets and arthritis. Ironic, but I figured it made for a re-posting of this older post. Enjoy!

 

I have a cat. Her name is Shelby. She was a foundling who adopted me. She is also so much more than just a feline friend.

Shelby has an intuitive nature that allows her to see when I am ill and respond to me. When I am in bed, like now, she is laying next to me. When I am asleep, she lays either next to me or above my head. Some days, she is not around and that is usually when I am feeling good. She goes about her business as she normally would do.

When my lupus is acting up, though, she is right by my side, purring and rubbing on me and trying to help me feel better. It is uncanny, (or should I say, uncatty) how she knows without me saying a word, that I feel awful. She is not overly in my face, but she is on the periphery should she be needed.

While my cat is unique, she is not the only one who is intuitive. I read a story a few years back about a nursing home that had “adopted” a stray cat. The cat was allowed to roam the halls and “visit” with the residents. This cat had an intuitve nature too. It was discovered that the cat would go to a particular resident who was imminently ready to pass away. When a resident was at this point, the cat could not be coerced to leave the room of the resident. It would stay until the person passed away. It became noticible to the staff and they would know by the cats behavior, whether there was an impending death or not. They felt that the cat didn’t want the person to be alone, so it would stay on the bed with the person until after they passed.

I also saw a story about cats and patients with AIDS. The story said that those patients who had cats, tended to live longer than those who did not have a pet cat. Cats were the pet of choice because they did not require as much work as dogs and chronically ill people may not be able to give a dog the exercise they need.  Who knew?

So, my Shelby has this same empathy, but for me. She has been a true and loyal friend in my down times and always helps me with her presence. She is not a “talker” type of cat, but she is always here, by my side, when I need her most. She does not judge me, or make me feel I am worthless when I cannot do things. She is just here, faithfully, making me fell loved.

Funny that a cat can do that and so many humans can’t. We should take a lesson from the animals on this one!