Monthly Archives: March 2015

Reflections ~ What is a Mind?

The Mind

Did we ever decide, my dear,
What it was that makes a mind?

These last several days, with you
Sometimes intense and sometimes numb.

Moments uplifting, some devastating
And forever to be remembered.

Who were you, my dear,
That I loved you so?

What bit of cosmic consciousness
Merged our paths and bound us so?

Our journey together was both
Long and short, too short.

Heart-wrenching & beautiful
Sometimes stormy, always passionate.

So where, my dear
Have you gone?

Are you off exploring
Your beloved universe?

Arguing with God
As you often did here?

Don’t wander too far,
But if you do

I’ll meet you someday
Deep in the heart of a nearby nebula

Where bright and shining stars
Are born from the dust of yesterdays.

To my beloved shining star, Douglas C. Dorrough

January 13, 1927 ~ March 29, 2015

I will be creating a memorial site for my husband over the next several days.

It will have information regarding appropriate recipients of donations in his honor as well as a history of his life and work.

The link will be added to this site.


Filed under Caregiving Backstage, Personal Journeys, Poetry

Reflections ~ Journeys, Great and Small

I see that I have been inattentive to my audience in my little alcove. Please accept my apologies. Life’s journeys have kept me very preoccupied of late and it’s time I express some of those experiences since they bear greatly on one of the themes in my rooms here: caregiving.

Way back in January I posted that I had made the decision to seek out a new home, a place nearer the ocean that both my spouse and I love so very much. It started with a day trip to Aberdeen, Washington in search of a place we could call home. It was the first time I had been out of the house to actually go somewhere since bringing him home on January 9. Nearly a month at the time. A very odd experience.

I found a place that suited all of my requirements. A one-owner home that had been well cared for but never upgraded. A project house, if you will, to help me bridge the space between caregiving and, well, “after.” It also provided a comfortable arrangement for my office and library so that I could build my practice and be able to work with clients without anyone invading my private home. Perfect in so many ways.

Then the stuff of contracts and negotiations and inspections and appraisals and all the other commotion required in such things began. It’s been a rocky road. It’s still not over. But we are closer. And while the wheels of real estate deals grind, many changes have continued to occur in my life.

One of the advantages of being certified for hospice care is that you suddenly have an army of people to help you. Volunteers are limited in what they are permitted to do. They are not permitted to transfer the patient, feed them, or change them. They can, however, spend hours reading, talking, sharing music, or simply watching. Without them there is no conceivable way I could have hoped to have us packed in any reasonable length of time. I also managed to acquire a volunteer that was a professional mover. The woman was a machine. I would sort for hours and she would come in and have it all packed in no time at all. She ran stuff to Goodwill, the post office, the UPS store and helped me try to find homes for things I no longer needed. Between my volunteers and my truly amazing hospice care team, the last two months have been manageable. The dream of a home of our own truly possible.

In that process, though, it has become increasingly apparent that the love of my life is declining at an ever increasing pace. You don’t notice quite so much from day to day until you sit down to talk to the nurse about the changes since her last visit. With amazing rapidity he has developed many of the end-stage conditions of dementia and related ailments. It is now a balancing act between what must be done for one condition versus what must be done for something else. I face the stark reality of palliative care decisions each and every day.

The hardest part of my journey thus far was this past week. As I anxiously waited to find out if the seller was going to accept the value assessed by the appraiser (an answer I still don’t have at this moment) I had to take myself quite firmly by the emotions and acknowledge that he just might not be with me on my journey to the sea. The prognosis at this point is weeks, not months. With that acknowledgement I was able to turn down the stress meter on myself, my agent, and my loan officer. They have been working so hard to make this happen and every little bump caused everyone so much stress I was afraid we would start to make decisions that were not wise for anyone. So, I took a step back and accepted that I may be finishing this particular journey on my own.

I have thought about care options in these last difficult weeks. It is not that I am completely adverse to professional and caring facilities. I know that when I checked him into rehab what seems so very long ago, we were both in tears. Leaving him there was one of the hardest things I had ever done. The issue is that the tie between us is so tight that even outsiders observe it and often mention it. He has not known my name or who I am for nearly four years; and yet it is me that he reaches for, me that he holds close and wants to hug, me that he wants to touch, and me that receives his kisses. For both our sakes, I shall do my best to keep us as one to the very end.



Filed under Caregiving Backstage, Personal Journeys

The Cave

I’ve been trying my hand at fiction again.  It’s a nice release with taxes, year ends, moving, and well, hospice.  This story is from a flash fiction challenge in a small Facebook group.  I hope you enjoy it.

Michio hugged the warm rock as the cool water washed over his limbs in the rhythm of the tides. The secluded tidal pond filled when the tide was high in the bay. This was a place Micho could be alone; where no one would disturb him. He was long-lived for his species; but then he was not permitted to breed. This was a voluntary commitment made when he became a student of the tribe’s Keeper. After months of intense study, and lessons in the art of his kind, he succeeded his teacher. He was growing old now and his hopes for a suitable successor were fading. Perhaps that was the way it was to be. The world was changing rapidly in ways his people could no longer control.

His folk were exceptional hunters. They were intelligent, agile and masters at camouflage. But, the waters that made up their home were changing and food sources were quickly disappearing. Invaders had come. Four-limbed creatures that moved oddly. They lit up the waters and blew bubbles like a school of hunting dolphins. They threw things into the sea, made loud noises and had attacked the folk without provocation. They should move, but they could not leave the cave.

Michio slid down from his perch and swam the short distance to the cave at the edge of the bay. The cave was a magical place. Many generations of Keepers had created the art found on its walls. Even the invaders seem entranced with something that did not look entirely natural but for which they had no explanation. Michio hoped their work would survive and much of his daily meditations were devoted to seeking a way to protect it.
Carefully, he positioned himself on a clear section next to the work he had completed the day before. He ejected his ink carefully along his extended arm. Working quickly and with a dexterity born from years of practice, Michio recorded the latest legend he had heard. He worked methodically through the night.

In the early morning hours the moon sunk close enough to the horizon to light the entrance to the cave.. In the reflecting light, flickering across the walls with the gentle beat of the surf, Michio noticed a very old entry in a semi-exposed crevice. Finished with his night’s work, he swam to the crevice and climbed up the wall for a better look.

As dawn broke on the bay, Micho saw the answer. He and his folk could protect the cave. They could preserve it for those who knew what it was and where to find it. They were, after all, masters of camouflage. And Keepers of the Sentient Invertebrate Living Kabbala (SILK).


Filed under My Fiction - Very Short Fiction