Monthly Archives: March 2012

ME MYSELF AND WORDPRESS …….

My biggest problem when blogging, is my computer. It’s neither old, nor outdated and the programs are good. I know because someone has checked then out for me but, I fight with my computer for hours. A patient young woman taught me how to use wordpress and then a friend tried to help me make a link. “Do you want to make a link? That’s easy,” he said; once, twice, three times. And while he was here, it looked so simple, but the moment he left and I tried to follow the written instructions, it did not work. Somewhere, somehow, I am missing something. A friend from a writer’s group sent me detailed, written information as to how to do this, and once again, I failed dismally which is a shame as I have information that I would love to move to my blog page.

I also need to know how to prepare blogs for a week ahead of time and get them to appear onthe  inended date.

My laptop, that I used to love, has turned into a beast ready to pounce; unseen faces from behind the wordpress screen send me notices saying; “Are  you sure you want to leave this page? Or, do you want to stay? But, I don’t know why they ask me because I do not recall ever indicating my intention to leave that page.

I have come to the conclusion that I am a hi-tech dummy. Yes, that’s what I am. I have seen all kinds of computer books for dummies in book stores as well as on the internet, but have yet to come across one entitled ‘WordPress for Dummies,” which might be exactly what I need.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve come a long way since the day I was introduced to widgets and dashboards, but maybe grandmothers like me, who were not given computers at the age of two, should know their place.

On the positive side, my grandchildren call me a ‘modern grandma’ because compared to some other grandmothers that they know, I am sort of computer savvy, have learned to use a cell phone and can not only send an SMS, but know how to retrieve the reply.  The icing on the cake is, that I am the proud owner of an ipad that I use and love. However, all this does nothing to make me feel good when I sit in front of my laptop; when there is just ME, MYSELF AND WORDPRESS.

This evening I am taking a break from my computer and am going to a symphony concert.

My son’s suicide threw us into a wilderness of silent, relentless anguish.

Our son’s suicide threw our family into a wilderness of silent, relentless anguish. We knew how much stigma and lack of understanding there was where mental illness  was concerned but suicide is even worse. We had to handle the prejudice and unqualified opinions of people who could not even begin to comprehend what it was like to feel that kind of despair. Even now, 16 years later, there are those who ask why I want to tell the world about our fight against schizophrenia … well, because I have been there and experienced such horror that I do not want any other parents to feel as alone as I did. I want them to know that no matter how bad things are, one can cope, especially  if one has a supportive husband, wife or partner, and if one makes the decision not to go under. There are only two choices – to cope or, not to cope.

We never saw David’s suicide as an act of cowardice. On the contrary, it takes a whole lot of courage to sacrifice your own life. I have read books and seen movies about children who are bullied at school, for example. They daren’t tell their parents or teachers as the bullies will intensify their acts. So, before anyone even thinks about making a harsh judgment against someone who has ended their life, they should consider this poor kid who has been bullied to the extent that he or she simply cannot take it any longer … and for many desperate people, suicide seems the only solution.

Our David wanted to get better but he was medication resistant and not one pill stopped the voices in his head that gave him no peace of mind. We lived for years with the fear that he might take his life; hoped desperately that it would not happen, but after trying everything for 16 years, he gave up.

Something has just occurred to me. Maybe when the CIT (Crisis Intervention Training)  project for policemen in Israel is up and going well, I will think about starting a ‘Suicide Awareness Organization.’  I believe that there are organizations of this kind in Europe, the UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Yesterday,  my site was fine, but nothing special so imagine my surprise when I started blogging today to find a transformation.  I have no idea who the do-gooder is but I have the greatest admiration for that individual’s talent. A huge thank you to whoever you are. It was a wonderful gesture.

He was ten years old. How much is the ……

The evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

 

A SERVING OF ICE-CREAM

When an ice cream cost much less than it does today, a ten-year-old-boy entered a coffee shop and sat down at a table near the window. A waitress put a glass of water on the table for him to drink.

“How much is an ice-cream sundae?” he inquired.

“Fifty cents.”

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.

“How much is a helping of plain ice-cream?” he inquired. The waitress was impatient as there were people waiting to be shown to their tables.

“Thirty-five cents,” she replied brusquely.

The child counted his coins and said; “I’ll have the plain ice-cream please.”

The waitress brought the ice cream, dopped the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished his  ice-cream, paid the cashier and departed.

When the waitress came back, she started wiping down the table, then swallowed hard at what she found. Placed neatly beside the empty dish, were 15 cents, her tip.

 

If only we were less judgemental.

 

 

 

She hung herself

Today I am introducing  Bambi Aharon, my guest blogger for today.

Tali felt herself to be a failure, Her grades weren’t good enough. Her paintings made her feel inadequate. She broke up with her boyfriend. She began laughing uncontrollably, then crying uncontrollably. There were times when she refused to leave the house, and, she would not allow her family to share her story with anyone.

One day, she ran out of her psychiatrist’s office, explaining that talking about her pain only made it worse. She signed herself into a psychiatric hospital, then checked out two weeks later. In the quiet of her bedroom, she hung herself.

We do not know what loose circuits result in the Tali’s of our world. We have yet to provide answers for them. But, at the very least, we need to free them and ourselves of the fear of mental illness and of the stigma attached to it. We need to find a way to incorporate ‘otherness’ into the fabric of our lives and, we need to be able to talk about it as we would of any other disease … without guilt, shame or finger pointing.

 

Winston Churchill once said; ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity but an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

 

Our children watched as a man dumped four puppies into the ‘wadi’ and left them to drown

Overheard in a psychiatric hospital: A zoo is a place for animals to study the habits of human beings.

 

Our dog, Blacky, played a large part in my son, David’s life. They walked together for hours, which was not so unusual, but the way that Blacky arrived in our family was the tale I will tell here.

One morning, our youngest daughter was wading through a  rain puddle with a friend, when she saw a man holding a large gargage bag walk determinedly toward the nearby wadi  and  empty the contents of the bag into it. (a wadi is the Arab name for a small stream that is dry all year except during the rainy season)  To the children’s horror, they saw that he had dumped four puppies into the water, leaving them to drown. My daughter ran home to call for help and we went out to try and save them. My husband managed to grab the two that were still showing signs of life, ran home with them and wrapped them in the same mohair rug that one of the children had cuddled up in while watching television before bedtime the previous night.

The puppies, Belgian Shepherds, did not look good. I placed them gently in a basket next to the heater, kept them covered and wondered what kind of nourishment to give them. After consulting with the local vet, I drove to a store that sold baby equipment and somehow, fashioned a bottle that looked suitable for a newborn pup. Just before bedtime, the smaller of the two died. After placating my sobbing daughter, we put her to bed and then placed the remaining, well-wrapped puppy next to me in my bed. Throughout the  night I tried to feed it but it refused to suck.

The following morning, my husband traced the heartless owner of the pup and begged him to return it to its mother, promising to come back and claim it it within six weeks. Amazingly enough, the heartless man agreed. On the appointed date, he rang our front door bell, and when I opened it, dropped a healthy-looking puppy on my doorstep, and left without saying a word.

Our family have always had dogs, but I can honestly say that Blacky was the best of the lot. Maybe because it was the first time we’d taken a female. She never wandered off, sat on my feet while I tutored Enlish and when she needed to go outside, she let me know. I then opened the front door for her and when she was done, she jumped up, placed her paws on our front door handle, pressed down, and oopened it herself.

That dog lived for 16 years but when we had to have her put down, our son never forgave us.

Her stepson was killed in a terror attack and she says:”I look at our family and think we have been blessed. It’s raining blessings on us.”

From the Jerusalem Post, Friday, 16/05/12

This is a strange sentiment coming from a woman whose stepson was killed ten years ago. It would have been easy for this family to become immersed in mourning. Instead, they said; “We have experienced ‘post traumatic growth.’ It was a conscious decision. We did not want to fall into the trap of being victims,”says Stevens father, Kevin Kenigsberg. “Friends no longer knew how to behave around us as there is almost a subculture in Israeli society of bereaved families. At work, people would accidentally call me Steven and rush to apologize. I reassured them that I understood. There was dead silence when people heard we were bereaved but I’d say; let’s get on with the next subject.”

Kevin’s wife, Eileen, said she soon realized that when tragedy strikes a family, they have to pull together or be lost as that family and remain in a perpetual state of mourning.”

It became imperative to make something positive out of the negative. Both parents believe that tragedy has made them more approachable parents to their remaining children.

Other bereaved parents do not necessarily understand the Kenigsberg’s coping mechanism. Some say that the family is lucky to be able to do this. Others say that their lives stopped on that day. There are people who feel guilty; as if one cannot be happy again after you have buried a child. It takes tremendous courage to say that you need to go on with living.

The family insists that Steven has not been forgotten. He is thought of daily and referred to naturally in conversation. Of course there are painful moments that recur often.

This is what it says on his tombstone;

Steven will be forever missed, foreber a hero, forever young.

Having lost my son, I understand this family. After we lost our son, we realized that we had two choices; to fall into a depression, or to cope. We chose the latter and although it took every bit of strength we had, we did all we could to ensure that our other children would have parents they could fall back on. We continued to live and even to laugh sometimes. i think we made the right decision.

“I’m so sorry, Eddie, but … but you have broken your neck !”

I met Eddie many years ago and was very upset to hear that he had been involved in a serious car accident when he was only 40. His car veered off he road during a tornado in the United States and the diagnosis was; a broken neck. He needed a very special wheelchair and when I met him again, he was trying to getus used to his new physical status.

A year after the accident, he told me; Life and health are precious gifts and should never be abused, because once irreparably damaged, they can never be fully restored.’ I only heeded his warning after the first tragedy that struck our family. Before that, I think I was probably like the people who worry about trivialities. Now I see life differently.

Eddie told me that soon after being discharged from the hospital, it became apparent to him that in the eyes of some people, he was no longer the same person. He knew that he had not changed but there were individuals  who formed the oopinion that because he was physically disabled, he must  be mentally handicapped. “When they speak to me,” he said, “they raise their voices as if I were deaf, while others direct slowly mouthed words at me like; “How are you doing?” as if I were unable to understand.

He continued; “When speaking to some people, it’s difficult for me to make eye-to-eye contact with them as they stand slightly behind me and I have to look over my shoulder. There have been times when I’ve had to recognize someone by the sound of their voice. Even if I am present, there are those who ask my wife’ “How is he?” as if I could not reply for myself.

“On many occasions I have been asked; “What is wrong with you?” “I always reply; there is nothing wrong with me; I have a physical disability, that’s all.

“Once I was asked whether I had pure blood flowing in my veins.  Yes, I said innocently. But, I should have said, no, there is dirty water running through them.” I still wonder why anyone would ask such a dumb question.

“My biggest problem,” he said, “is with the word NORMAL and what it really means. Terrible crimes like rape, sexual abuse of children, murder, armed robbery and wife battering, have been committed by  normal people. But surely these are not the way normal people are supposed to behave? These people are able bodied and not confined to a wheelhair and unlike me, they are considered NORMAL. But, handicapped people really are different and not only because of our physical appearance. Even politicians hav legislation for disaabled people which sets us apart from any other group.

“I have learned not to take myself seriously and some people find it strange that I still have a sense of humor and am able to enjoy life. In their opinion, I should be constantly depressed after all that has happened to me.”

“Most people are helpful and only too willing to offer their services, but some insist on helping een when assistance isn’t needed. There have been occasions when i have been moved with my wheelchair from one point o tanother without asking for that help. I love people and so wish that they would refrain from speaking on my behalf. I cam perfectly capabl of doing that. Don’t ask anyone if I take sugar in my coffee. Please ask me and i will gladly say: No thank you.”

“I look on each day as the most important day in y life. There will never be another like it. I can exercise some control over today’s events but tomorrow is entirely out of my hands.”

“After I was discharged from the hospital for the first iem, there was neer any question of me living anywhere else but in my own home. I am where I want to be, in my own place and among my own people.”

“I believe that a person’s attitude, regardless of their situation, will always be a factor in their lifestyle. Attitude alone will alter some facts but can help the person cope with living in spite of prevailing circumstances. My personal belief is that a glass is never half empty; only half full. Mentally I am aware of what is happening around me. I have exprienced life from many diverse angles and it has undergone numerous changes. Life should be lived to th full and should be lived in tthe present and not in the past. i ahve been to the edge but i don no know what lies beyond. I am at peace with myself and with the world and I hope to remain here for as long as I can. My life in a wheelchdir is not too bad.

Under the prevailing circumstances its as good as I can make it and it is better than I could possibly have imagined