Monthly Archives: August 2012

Would you call her ‘just a Mum?’


A woman who was renewing her driver’s license, was asked by the clerk at the licensing bureau to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain of how to classify herself.

What I mean is,” said the clerk; Do you have a job, or are you just a …?” She is probably a career woman, thought the mother; poised, efficient and possessed of a high-sounding title like official interrogator, maybe?

“Of course I have a job,’ snapped the young woman. “I’m a Mum.

We don’t list Mum as an occupation; housewife covers it,” stated the clerk emphatically.

The young mother stared at her in silence. The clerk probably thought that the mother had not heard what she said so she repeated herself slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. The mother thought fast and to this day has no idea what prompted her to state; 

“I am a research associate in the field of human relations,” while she stared in wonder as her pronouncement was written in bold, black letters on the official questionaire.

What exactly do you do in your field?” the clerk inquired.

Without a trace of hesitation in her voice, the young woman replied:

I have an ongoing program of research (which mother doesn’t?) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out.) I’m working toward my Masters (the whole family) and have already received four credits (all daughters) Of course the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, but it is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers actually, and the rewards are more satisfactory than the financial.”

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form stood up, and personally escorted the young woman to the door.

As she drove into the driveway of their family home, buoyed by her glamorous new career, she was greeted by her lab assistants aged 13, 7 and 3, while upstairs she could hear her new experimental model (a six month old baby) in the child development program testing out a new vocal pattern.

She had scored a beat on bureaucracy and had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than ‘just another Mum.” Motherhood … what a glorious career especially when there’s a title on the door.

Does this make grandmothers Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations and great grandmother Executive Senior Research Associates?

The moral of my story is;  Be kinder than necessary. Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. You never know when a moment of your time and a few sincere words can have an impact on  someone’s life.



This man needed the comfort of his friends …


When my friend really needed his friends, they avoided him. He was an active person in our community and was faced with a devastating crisis due to the fact that his son suffered from a mental illness.  Something his son had done was published in the media and when he needed his friends the most, they avoided him.  No one said; “I’m so sorry. This must be hard for you.” Not a single friend dared say: “I heard the news today. I want you to know that I think that the newspapeer report was terribly unfair and I don’t know how I would have felt  if this had happened to my son.”

This man, a wounded, distressed, long suffering father, whose wife had run off with another man a long time ago, needed the comfort of his friends. IF somebody had acknowledged his hurt, it might have eased his pain somewhat. If a friend had invited him for coffee or dinner and given him the chance to talk about his problem, it could have been helpful, but, their avoidance of the topic was terriblely hard to take.

There is a lack of knowledge in response to crises of serious illnesses. Could it be due to fear? This man’s problems with his child did not occur as a consequence of bad parenting. When parents realize that their child is  not simply going through a rocky stage, they need support. Any problem with a child results in the parents feeling like emotional wrecks. They probably feel depressed, angry and maybe even guilty. They are on an emotional roller coaster with little chance of stopping it and getting off. 

Understanding and empathy are the operative words here.




“Maybe I should cruise around the world?”

With the average cost of a retirement home being what it is, there must be a better place for me when I need assisted living. I checked prices on a luxury liner and discovered that:

  •  If I book in for a long term stay, I receive a discount plus their senior discount.
  • Three meals are included and I can move about and try out most of the available restaurants on board.
  • Room service is included. They have a spa and a swimming pool, a workout room and a laundry.
  • They provide free toothpaste, razors, shampoo and soap.
  • Someone whispered that if I tip lavishly, I will have the entire staff scrambling to assist me and what’s more, I will be treated as a worthwhile customer and not only as a senior citizen.
  • An added perk is the plethora of entertainment on board ship, free, gratis and for nothing!
  • If I feel the need for a change of scenery, I can take one of the interesting trips provided by the cruise company when we dock at any of the exotic places they visit.
  • I was told that it takes months to get into a good retirement home but there is little delay in getting a reservation on a ship. What’s more, I can change to another of the company’s liners whenever I feel like it.
  • If my T.V. gives trouble or a light bulb needs replacing, they not only repair it fast, but apologize for the inconvenience.
  • There is a security guard on board, and every morning room service checks whether all the guests are doing well. If not, they send for a nurse or a doctor. If I am unfortunate enough to fall and break a hip, they will upgrade me to a suite for the rest of my life and  apologize profusely for any inconvenience I might have suffered.
  • Family will be only too keen to visit and might even check in for a mini-vacation. So, what more can a person ask for?


Serenade 2 Seniors

A self-important college freshman walking along the beachfront took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen resting on a bench why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his generation.

“You grew up in a different world. Actually, it was almost primitive,” the student said in a voice loud enough for other people  to hear. “The young people of today were brought up with television, jet planes, space travel and men walking on the moon. We have nuclear energy, cruise liners, streamlined cars and Smart Phones, computers that work at lightning speed, iPads, Kindles and much more.”

After a brief silence, the senior citizen responded as follows:-

“You’re quite right. We didn’t have those things when we were young, so we invented them. Now, you arrogant little shit.  What are you doing for the next generation?”

The applause from the bystanders was amazing.            

Do you want to buy a plot next to your late husband’s grave or not?

I wish I could say that my grief is a thing of the past. It isn’t, but it is different somehow; a bit more manageable. I can function and I find that I can even look forward to certain things.

When I was married I was one of two, and losing my husband made me feel like a sort of non-person. My aim now is to realize that a one person entity can function

• I am getting better because I no longer talk about my husband as much as previously.
• I knew that I was managing better when I was keen to leave the support group when it came to an end as I no longer wanted to be burdened with the problems of newcomers.
• I know that I am getting better because I can appreciate my life. There was a time when I did not know whether it was dull or bright out of doors, but now, I can appreciate flowers, birds, trees and the ocean.
• There was a time when my thoughts only revolved around my late husband, but now, I am even able to think of things we did together and smile.

The following can be difficult to cope with:-

• When someone telephones my house and asks for my husband.
• When a letter arrives addressed to him.
• Birthdays and holidays seem endless.

Grief is actually a war waged between the conscious and the subconscious mind and as a result, there are good days and bad days.
When I’m having a bad night, the worst thing is to lie and watch the hands of the clock inching along. So, I turn the clock the other way. I have discovered the world of late night television which puts me to sleep eventually if I am having a bad time.

To end this chapter of Grief and Grieving, I would like to add that there are really only two serious stages of grief:

• The first; shock and denial.
• The second; acceptance.

And in the middle of these two? There is a free for all and a really long way to go consisting of many ups and downs.

I have discovered that I am more capable than I thought I was; more independent and responsible than previously; I have learned a bit about the system of lawyers, doctors and accountants, as well as how funeral arrangements are handled.
“A single or a double tombstone, madam?” I was asked by the funeral director, referring to the grave.
“Do you want to buy a plot next to your husband, madam?” I did not ask what the alternative was.

All this was said with about as much sensitivity as if I were choosing potatoes for my next meal.

Be careful what you say to a grieving person …

Better not to say this to a grieving person …

• ‘I know how you must be feeling.’
No one knows how another is feeling.

• ‘It’s part of God’s plan.’
This made me angry and I felt like saying: ‘What plan? No one told me about a plan.’

• ‘Look at all the things you have to be thankful for.’
This was the wrong moment to bring that up.

• ‘He’s in a better place now.’
That person would have done better to keep quiet.

• ‘That part of your life is behind you now. Time to get on with you life.’
That comment was inappropriate.

• Statements beginning with ‘you should’ or ‘’you will’ are too direct. I might have appreciated ‘Have you thought about’ … or, ‘you might.’

The following are words that I found useful because my visitor acknowledged the situation:-

‘I’m so sorry that this happened to you.’ That person was genuine and not trying to hide her feelings.

‘Tell me what I can do for you.’

Ask how I was feeling and be willing to sit in silence if I did not feel like talking about my loss.

Ask me how my husband died and offer comfort and reassurance without minimizing my loss.