Saturday, February 27, 2010

wondering about writing

I'm spending alot of time these days wondering what the process of writing does in our day to day. Because I am a hospice nurse, I wonder especially if writing helps to bring us through grief and loss differently.

I followed the poignant musings of Karen (karen....following the whispers) as she cared for her mother in law during her final illness. In (confessions of a writing mama), there was a burst- a sudden outpouring- expressing grief for the loss of her mother quite some years ago. I'm reading a book by Paul Stutzman (Hiking Through) in which he describes his journey across the Appalachian Trail - accompanied by his constant companion -grief- and how the trail brought peace and healing into his life.

I heard Paul speak the other night, and asked when he decided to write the book. He knew, he said, before he set foot on the trail that he would be writing about it, so journaled along the way. I wonder if he would have had the same experience if writing had not kept him so mindful.

The very act of writing makes us mindful. Gillie Bolton (author of several wonderful books about writing and writing workshops) reminds us that writing tells us "things we didn't know we knew"

I suspect that those who write are healthier for it. I know that I am different when I write.

What do you think?

and btw- I am also wondering how to link to someone elses blog when I mention it here. Everyone else seems to be able to have those lovely blue letters appear!

Free Counter

Monday, February 22, 2010


I stopped at the pharmacy today to pick up my husbands prescription

I handed the pharmacy tech a check for $2552.72 (yes- you read that correctly) She handed me the medication. I asked for a receit. "I'm sorry, I can't give you a receit" she responded. "It would be" (are you ready for this?) "a violation of HIPPA"

She went on to explain to sweetly explain to me that my Husband was welcome to drive to the pharmacy- and they could give Him a receit for the medication that I had just paid for and was holding in my hand. To give me said receit apparently would be a violation of his privacy.

The pharmacist, apparently in agreement, assured me that the receit could be mailed to my husband. Wow, what a relief.

I get the intent of HIPPA... but given this experience, I'm wondering if 5000 pages of government gobblygock, to be interpreted by people severely lacking in common sense will solve anything for our health care system.

Just a thought...

Free Counter

Monday, February 15, 2010

White out

I was waaaaaaaay out in the country when the snow started to fall.. Out in "the boundocks"
On a road that really isn't a road... certainly no yellow lines or markers, and lots of curves.

It was coming down fast and furious, and I wish I had a picture to show you- but I was to busy hanging on with both hands. Just look at the whiteness of the page- you will see just what I saw.

To make matters worse, I knew that my oldest son was also on the road- traveling back to school from a doctor's appointment

In a way though, that made my situation better. I knew that the only option I had was to pray for Alex- nothing else I could do for him. And in praying for him, I found peace for myself. The words of a favorite Casting Crowns song began to echo through my head... "I will praise you in the storm" I found myself saying thank you- for all the storms You have brought me through.

The more I remembered to praise, the more I felt my shoulders loosen. I came, eventually to a road slightly traveled, and there I saw tracks in the snow. It seemed easy now- all I had to do was follow the trail left by those who had gone before me. By the time I hit the road going past a popular lake resort, I was able to appreciate the mist above the waters.

And so - here we are- all snug and warm. I confess, I took to my bed for a few minutes after arriving home. Even "praising in the storm" can leave one exhausted. Alex made it safely back to school also, and for that I am very grateful.

Hoping that each of you is snug and warm inside. Stay safe this week.

Free Counter

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowy Days

There is no silence quite as perfect as the silence of a forest on a snowy day.

I have a memory of a perfect day- a day that I spent quite alone- just myself and my horse, walking into the woods on a day such as this one. Although it was a trail that we frequented, nothing seemed familar. It was as if we had entered another land.

I let the reins hang. My feet, encased in heavey boots barely fit in the stirrups. There were no sounds, save for the muffled crunching of hooves. No birds sang. No water rippled in the nearby creeks.

We turned this way and that, more by habit than design. She stopped abruptly and turned her head as if to ask permission. I realized that we were at the top of a trail that I imagined was known only to us and to the deer. It went straight down for some hundred yards, then stopped in a grove of pine trees. Although I knew it was foolhardy, I tapped her lightly and we moved off, she slipping and sliding, me hanging on for dear life.

In the end- it was worth the ride. The snow heavily blanketed the pines, the creek, frozen solid, twinkled in the light, and the silence was palpable.

It remains in my memory, a golden moment. Totally alone, totally at peace, enthralled with the fairy world around me.

I think of that time whenever the snow blankets the earth. I pull the memory out and savor it.

Peace on earth.

Free Counter

Monday, February 8, 2010

winter days

A perfect winter weekend

Saturday morning, I resolved that Nothing would make me leave this house. The only resolution I have managed to keep. It was a peaceful day, just the four of us rattling around.

Mid afternoon, I discovered a big box of crayolas- you know the box- the one with Every color you could possibly want. I retreated to my office, shut the door and sat, simply coloring, for an hour or so. My last coloring adventure was probably 45 years ago. I must say- it was relaxing, entertaining and revealing. My mind, left to wander on it's own, communicated a few things to my fingers.

Sunday we returned to "normal" - although I did maintain my stand enough to watch church on-line ( instead of braving the winter weather. Once I was drawn out in the afternoon and evening for a trip to the Y and the superbowl, I realized I was glad to be out and about in the snow.

My mind, returns however, to that little oasis Saturday afternoon. When was the last time you picked up a box of crayolas and let your fingers do the talking?

For some reason, I didn't put the crayons away. Like any 5 year old, I left them where they lay- waiting to call me back to play.... some day.

Free Counter

Thursday, February 4, 2010

if only

"I never should have left" "I wanted to be there" "If only" "If only"

It seems that I've heard hundreds of stories beginning this way. Because of the work I do as a hospice nurse, people frequently recount stories of loss. So many walk around with regret, wishing that they had been present, holding the hand, at the moment their loved one passed from this life to the next.

It is a heavy burden to bear, this baggage of regret.

There is something I have come to believe in my decade or so of hospice practice, and I try to share it with all my families:

I believe that people have some ability to choose- even at death's door- and I believe that some people choose to wait until they are alone to pass. I have witnessed this over and over. I have heard countless stories from my co-workers. Stories of families who sat vigil- wating, waiting- but the passing did not happen until they were exhausted or starving and left the room 'only for a moment'

Sometimes, watching, I think that is just to hard for someone to leave while the people they love are right there.

Some burdens are just to difficult to carry. If you are walking around toting a bag of regrets for things done or not done, just put it down. No one who loved you would want you to carry them.

Free Counter