Monthly Archives: June 2014

Do not stand at our graves and weep ….

 

snow on either side of the road

Do not stand at our graves and weep

We are not there, we do not sleep.

We’re a thousand winds that blow, we’re the diamond glints on snow.

We’re the gentle autumn rain.

 

When you awaken in the morning’s hush, we’re the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight, we’re the bright stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at our graves and cry, we are not there, although we died.

In memory of my late husband and our son who left us long before his time.

Our brother has a mental illness

Our brother has a mental illness. It happens in the best of families … in our family?

 

These are some of the thoughts that our daughters probably had to deal with during the long years when their brother was battling with paranoid schizophrenia.

Who is in danger of getting a mental illness? Could I get it too? Will our brother ever get better? Really better?

Were we to blame in any way?

Why did he get it and not one of us?

Mental illness is a disorder of the brain, the way diabetes is an illness of the pancreas so why does the first have a stigma?

Our brother changed, became so different after he became ill.  

Who will take care of him when our parents get old?

 

He gets psychotic at times – a lot of times and this was what we were told. Psychosis is a brain disorder that affects his thinking, perception and behavior. He sometimes loses touch with reality for long periods of time and experiences hallucinations and delusions. What are we supposed to do if we even suspect that our brother has suicidal thoughts? A psychologist told us all that suicide is a behavior and not a mental illness although it is more common if there is a family history of suicide. David needs to feel that people care about him but most don’t know how to behave or what to say in his presence.

 

Our family was such a happy one before schizophrenia came into our lives – now it will never be the same again. Our parents look so sad all the time.

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Dealing with grief

numbered silver balls 

 I imagined a silver ball bouncing around inside the weekly lottery machine. I knew that it was unlikely that someone else could associate that image with feelings of grief and yet, it was the best metaphor I could come up with that explained the unpredictability of my emotional patterns when I mourned for my near and dear ones who had passed away over the years.

 

Today, grief is seen as a psychological problem that has to be overcome. The grieving person gets time off work for the funeral, is often handed a prescription for an antidepressant, and is then given membership for a bereavement support group.

 

It was pointed out to me that there \was a right way and a wrong way to grieve and if I chose the wrong way, it would be my responsibility to seek treatment, either by taking medication or starting a course of psychotherapy.

 

I didn’t think that I believed in rituals, but I realized that the traditions I turned to while mourning gave me a sense of control over my grieving process and in time, helped alleviate my grief somewhat. Playing a favorite song, walking along the beach or watching a sunset evoked fond memories and brought on a cathartic cry, which was usually helpful.

 

Frankly, from my experience of grief after losing far too many near relatives, three in traumatic ways, I didn’t think that my grief needed to be treated. I truly believe that grief is a part of the human condition similar to fear or anger. Maybe grieving deeply  was the price I had to pay for loving so deeply.a burning candle

My son Doron

 DORON

When we talk to God, it’s called prayer but when God talks to us, it’s called schizophrenia. By  Lily Tomlin.

In my book, I changed all the names making it easier for me to write honestly. Doron is David.

David’s Story is a heart-breaking study of the progress of schizophrenia, destroying not just one life, but making tragic inroads into the lives of every family member. This story gripped me from the first page and I grieved along with the author. I highly recommend it.

By Dvora Waysman (author)

David’s story is available as a kindle e-book on Amazon or Smashwords. Serch for Jill Sadowsky, click on David’s Story, click on buy now and then follow instrucdtions. If you do not have a kindle, you can download the free kindle app that allows you to read this book on any laptop.

 

 

 

In order to fight Alzheimer’s disease, use your brain

human brainRight now there are at least 44 milion people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Everyone who has a brain is at risk of developing this disease but there are ways to fight it. How? We can read about it, share the facts about this devastating illness with our contacts and, we can fight it together. It’s is the best way to raise awareness and inspire action.  We should not leave this for other people to handle. We all need to become involved. The key to the cure is research, research and more research.

Remember, we all have brains so we shouldn’t expect someone else to do the work for us. PLEASE HELP ME NOW !

Do you scan the obituaries and feel jealous of the dead?

SERENADE 2 SENIORS

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE swans in love 3

Do you wake up every morning, find it hard to lift your head?

Do you scan the obituaries and feel jealous of the dead?

It’s like living on a cliff side never knowing when you’ll dive

I feel a sort of buzzing like bees make in a hive.

 

Imagine how it feels to see the world that once was clear

That goes from white to gray then black, tomorrow’s filled with fear.

I do my best to make each day as pleasant as I can

And keep myself as busy as any other man.

 

There’s a sensation that I’m screaming yet I never make a sound,

Or the feeling that I’m falling yet I never hit the ground.

It keeps on rushing at me, day by day by day

Can you imagine what it’s like to have to live this way?

 

I know my wife is hurting but she doesn’t let it show

Her smile covers her feelings and she continues with the flow.

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My late husband imparted the above over a period of time before he was unable to describe his feelings or speak much and I jotted it all down and then turned it into the above.

They’re all wired, you know

selfie phenomenonSERENADE 2 SENIORS

How can seniors escape the world of high technology, is a question frequently asked by golden agers. Their complaint is that they seldom see anybody who is not connected to or talking on a smart phone and they need their peace.  Swimming in a pool might be their last refuge from the wired world. The only way to escape social pressure might be when in a bubble of water. Today, our world is filled with the ringing and pinging of  mobile telephones.

I know that my most creative thinking took place while I was swimming lengths in a pool. The bathing cap that we had to wear in those days effectively blocked out all the other sounds as I sliced through the refreshingly cool water.

Obsession with smart phones is not new but taking selfies is.  For the seniors who do now know what a selfie is – it is a self portrait taken by oneself of oneself. This selfie phase may be a craze in more ways than one because some mental health professionals now claim that the people who photograph themselves obsessively, may be be suffering from a form of Body Dismorphic Disorder. They have a preoccupation with one or  more personal flaws in their appearance and are excessively self conscious. As many as two thirds of patients with the above disorder are known to have taken multiple snapshots of themselves. It is not an addiction; rather a symptom of the above disorder that involves constantly checking their appearance. One expert said that people with B.D.D. can spend hours taking pictures of themselves that do not in fact show any flaws in their appearance.


Another expert stated that a preoccupation with selfies
could be an indicator of other mental problems in young people. Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Boston, Massachusetts, said that this kind of photography triggers perceptions of self-indulgence or self-seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t spectre of either narcissism or very low self esteem

 

 

 

A Stunning Senior Moment

 

SERENADE 2 SENIORS

A self-important college freshman attending a recent football game, took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen sitting next to him why it was impossible for the older generation to understand younger people. “You grew up in a different world, a primitive one actually,” he said, loud enough for many of those nearby to hear. “The young people of today are much more advanced than people of your age, you know? we grew up with television, jet planes, space travel, men walking on the moon as well as the internet. We have cellphones, nuclear energy, electric and hydrogen cars, computers, automated manufacturing devices, amazing technologies, and” … he paused to take a swig of beer.

The senior took advantage of the break in the student’s litany and said; “You’re right, son. we didn’t have those things when we were young, so we invented them. Now you arrogant little shit ! What are YOU planning to do for the next generation?”

The applause was resounding. I LOVE SENIOR CITIZENS, DON’T YOU?

crowd at football game 2

 

Make eye contact with me, please

hand holding a phone 2

 I was sitting and waiting to have a nasty cut bandaged by a nurse when a woman sitting next to me asked whether I had the time to talk to her. ‘Of course,’ I replied, wondering why she had even asked. ‘ I have a serious problem,’ she said, ‘but whenever I have the need to talk to someone, they do not make eye contact with me nor turn off their cell phones.’ I suggested that after the two of us are done with our respective medical procedures, we meet in a nearby café, which we did. She spoke about generalities, and then, she came out with the fact that her husband had recently been diagnosed with a mental illness and she needed to talk to somebody. ‘Why me?” I asked. ‘Well, you don’t seem to be busy with your cell phone,” was her surprising reply. I promptly slipped my hand surreptitiously into my bag, turned off my smartphone and then concentrated on what she was saying. I really listened. An hour later, I slipped one of my cards into her hand, smiled at her, and told her that she could call me at any time if she felt the need to do so. ‘Thank you,’ she said, tears blurring her vision. ‘I needed to talk about my husband and not only did you listen to me, you helped me a lot.’

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This incident reminded me of the first time I’d seen a cellphone being used by someone in public on a street in Tel Aviv. It looked like a black, plastic device about the size of a candy bar pressed to his ear. ‘What are they?’ I asked my friend. ‘Phones, mobile phones.’ ‘Like cordless?’ ‘No, you can’t take a cordless far from its base.’ ‘Why would a person need a phone while walking around outside?’ I asked but he failed to reply.

In 2014, this sounds odd but in the mid 90’s I’d thought of a phone categorically as a domestic object only, so what I saw there seemed equivalent to taking my TV out for a stroll. We have morphed from a society of citizens into an army of users and as a result, our public space has eroded in unanticipated ways.

I decided to conduct an experiment and take note of how many people actually made eye contact with me while talking.  Would any of them turn their smartphones to silent mode while in my company? Well, the social worker did not look up when I entered her office, the bank teller was texting , the checkout cashier at the supermarket was busy flipping apps up and down on her phone so that I found myself waiting in vain to pay and leave. She did not reply when I said good morning either. The only eye contact I made that week was with my General Practitioner who had no sign of a smartphone on his desk and who actually smiled at me.

The following day I stood at a bus stop and approached a young woman cradling a poodle in her arms. ’Cute puppy,’ I ventured. She moved away from me. ‘I like dogs,’ I told her. ‘Cool,” she muttered and walked off, probably thinking, why did I have to get stuck next to this middle-aged dork who actually wants to talk at a bus stop? I moved to speak to a man sitting on his suitcase but before I could utter a word, he glanced at his cellphone and moved away. By now, others at the bus stop had noticed what was happening and a silent ripple of panic seemed to pass through them. They regarded me with nervous, sidelong glances because in their eyes, wasn’t I the potentially mentally ill person who actually wanted to talk to people? I was tempted to say; I am not ill. All I want is some human contact but this might have made me seem even more frightening. I was indignant, frustrated but more than anything, in the midst of these twelve people, my paramount feeling was one of loneliness.

Was this how the lady at the nurse’s clinic had felt? She’d had a serious need to talk, but nobody was prepared to listen.

Smartphones changed everything. A few years ago initiating conversation in a public place was considered friendly. The cultural consensus was that it was rude to talk on a phone in public. Today, people talk on them less but stare at them, are mesmerized by them and thumb out messages, flicking their fingers to and fro. Physically, they might feel as if they are in company but emotionally, smartphones have created a techno-bubble of private space. I think that there might be a way of breaking through this bubble without freaking people out. If I tell the person next to me that I am considering purchasing a smartphone, and ask an innocuous question, they might land up telling me something about the way their phone works, but that’s all.

                                       two eyes

Watching a loved one make the descent into Alzheimer’s

alzheimer's 3

 

Day after day he searches to find

Obects mislaid due to his mind.

A mind once so brilliant and so very keen

Probing, asking, since being a teen.

It seems to me in some strange way

His mind is dealing with long ago days.

His sentences are few and brief

His loss of memory causes untold grief.

Doctors describe dementia to the letter

But, living it describes it better.

Sometimes things seem nearly okay

So then we take things day by day.

I need patience and dedication

Show compassion without frustration.

I try to act without rancor or blame.

Because, tomorrow, it will probably be just the same.

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