The Stranger on the Street


Do you see her over there? Yeah, that lady, the one who looks like something that was dragged out of the trash.

People stared in the direction that Peg was pointing to. There on the sidewalk was an older woman. She had hair of gray that looked like it hadn’t been combed in some time. Her coat was ragged. The ends were fringed from wear. She wore old tennis shoes that had the small toe sticking out on one of them.

The small crowd watched the old woman staggering. Some of them were snickering. Others were gawking. Some just shook their heads and went on about their business.

One person from the small crowd had said nothing. He made no gestures about the woman. Instead he walked towards the woman. He remained behind her so as not to make her aware of him.

He followed her through the streets. There was no end. Once she reached the end of the city blocks she crossed the street and walked in the direction she had started. The young gentleman was in college and he found this to be very odd yet quite interesting.

Ideas were going around in his head how he could turn this into a paper that he knew he would need at a later time for classes. He continued to follow her and then she suddenly sat down on a park bench. He remained in the background watching. He pulled out a pad and pencil and started jotting down notes.

He watched her get in her over-sized coat pocket. She pulled out a clear, plastic bag. Then she proceeded to toss what seemed to be bird seed. Birds from out of nowhere began to flock around. Bob walked closer to the lady and standing close enough for her to notice him, he asked if he could sit down.

She didn’t reply and he took this as a positive note. He sat down beside her. He watched the woman’s face break out into a wide smile. He opened his hand and held it out to her. She looked into  his brown eyes and placed some seeds in his hand.

Together the two fed the birds until the seed was gone. ” Do you come here often mam to feed the birds?”

” Call me Maude. That’s my name. Yes, I do come here almost every day. There isn’t much in life to enjoy when you are an old woman like me, but I sure do feel good when I know I am doing something useful for others. Feeding the birds makes me feel useful.”

Bob nodded his head in understanding. He knew what it meant to be feeling proud of what you are doing and to be there for others. He had never thought of it really; that a flock of birds could be put in this category.

” What do you do with your time other than feed birds?”

” Well, I do spend a lot of time just walking through town. I love to people watch. Do you ever just sit and watch the people go by? You have to wonder where everyone is headed and they most times always seem in a hurry.”

Bob laughed. ” Yes, I watch people too. It does seem our world operates in a fast paced world. Do you live near here?”

” You sure are a nosy one. Ask a lot of questions. But the answer is yes. I live close by. I got a car, but I prefer walking. You get to see more when you walk.”

Bob looked at his watch. His stomach was beginning to growl. ” Have you eaten yet Maude? I am sure getting hungry. What about me taking you to lunch in that cafe right across the street. Would you think I am too forward by asking you this?”

Maude looked once again into those brown eyes. They read honest and likeable. Trustworthy and safe. She placed the empty bag back in her pocket and stood up. She held out her arm for him to place his arm within. Bob took the next move and stood and the two walked across the street.

Entering the restaurant doors, the cook looked in their direction. ” Bringing another one in Maude? This is getting to be a real habit. Nice to see you though. You two take a seat and I will send your waitress right over.”

Maude smiled and Bob wondered what that was all about. The two sat and picked up the menus. Bob asked her what she would like to have adding this was his treat. Maude looked over at him and said, ” No this is my treat. You see, I am an old woman. I don’t have many friends. I know a lot of people, but who doesn’t? My dead husband left me a little money but I have got no one or nothing to really spend it on. What brings me happiness is finding a kind soul out there on the streets and doing something good for them. Today, I picked you. You have kind eyes and you spoke to me. It didn’t matter what I was wearing, you still spoke. You didn’t judge.”

The waitress came over and asked to take their order. Maude said, ” Give my new friend here whatever he wants on the menu. It’s going to be my treat.”

The waitress smiled and winked at Maude. Bob started to speak but first placed his hand over her frail, wrinkled hand. ” Thank-you Maude for doing this.”

” No, thank-you son, for helping me to want to live one more day.”

old lady on streets

Your Smile


Your Smile

 

Sitting under the skies

On a blanket oh so soft

Arms used as pillows

Legs resting flat-out

I look up at the sky

And gaze at midnite black

Something catches my eye

And I turn to study the view

Then a tear begins to fall

And I blink to clear my way

I see a vision of stars

And their form is in a smile

I whisper I miss you

As I wipe my tears a way

I have no doubt it is you

My angel, Alvin watching over me.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd

04.14.2014

star--background-seamless-repeating1

When You Accept Everything You Are, And Are Not, You Will Succeed


Terry:

Excellent

Originally posted on A Mixed Bag:

Monday is the start of another week for the majority of people. Some people don’t want to get up to go to work or do what they do on a Monday, but there are those who want to but can’t. Some people walk out of their house and say that they hate their home, but there are some who sleep on the streets. Some people don’t like what their partner cooked them for breakfast, but there are those that are starving. Some people argue with their spouse and say they wish they never met, but there are some who want to feel love. Some people say they have too many friends, but there are some who are lonely.

Just because you don’t like something, don’t wish it away, look at how you can use it or give it to someone who can. Just because you…

View original 53 more words

I Cried As I Read This


http://hrexach.wordpress.com  Dr. Rex has nominated me for an award. One that I have never heard of but when I read about it I started thinking about Al and his life.

The award is called the Seed of Light award.

seed-of-light-award11I began to instantly look back at the seed that began to live on May 3rd, 1955. On that day a baby boy was born. I have no photos of what he looked like when he was a baby so I have always used my imagination.

One baby boy born into innocence. One baby boy tossed aside for being mentally challenged. How does a child grow up in a world when he has been kicked by a term other than normal.

It doesn’t matter what the story was, or who said what, or even how it began. What matters is how he learned, what he learned and what did he take with him when he died from this earth.

I don’t look back, well not much, at our past. Ours was not a pretty one, but I am sure there are other children who had worse beginnings than ours. What I look at is what did he do while I cared for him those seven last years of his life. How did he and I react together? Was I able to prove to him in some small way that he was worthy of receiving love as a human being deserves.

I believe in my heart I did my very best. On his death bed as he told me he loved me for the first time I smiled. My heart burst with joy. He had said the words. I always thought he loved me but never quite knew for sure.

A seed, a precious seed, which seemed wilted for so long, finally took root and with proper love and support grew to be a tall stem with many colorful flowers.flower blooming When God saw the work was finished he told Al, “You finished the job. You went from a seed in the dirt to a beautiful rose. Now it is time to come home.”

Thank-you so much Dr. Rex for this beautiful and thoughtful award.

 

~~RULES~~

Thank the person who nominated you.

Nominate at least 5 blogs and provide links to their blogs.

Notify the nominees of their nominations.

My nominations are:

digitalgranny
digitalgranny.wordpress.com
RoSy
sharingmemyselfandi.wordpress.com
AR Neal
starvingactivist.com
Patty B
thoughtsfromanamericanwoman.wordpress.com
cshowers
burningfireshutinmybones.wordpress.com x

How Do I Get Through The Lonely Day


I thought my family was coming today so I made no other plans; but to my mistake I missed the phone call so I began to clean up the mess from painting. It is amazing how you are staying in one room painting. Rearranging furniture, wall photos and miscellaneous and yet the entire house becomes a disaster.

So with three rooms painted you can imagine what my home looks like now. Al would be upset with me right now. I keep walking in and out of there trying to make the room the way he would like it. He would be trying to listen to Bonanza on the TV and he would say something but then try his best to ignore me.

While putting a way things where they belong I run across other items that go in another spot. I had to find my automobile policy showing I was now covered for the next year. While going through the desk I found many papers on Al.

The tears started rolling down my cheeks. I placed them in an Al pile and will file all at a later time. I had a three-tier, plastic storage cart from which I had used in Al’s room. It held all types of bandages, medicines and such.

I cried like a big baby while sorting out what needed to be discarded. I brought the unit out and placed it in my bathroom. Out of the cupboard I pulled out another container that had medicines. I cried once again disposing of outdated ointments etc.

There was a couple of pairs of finger nail clippers and some files that the caregiver and I used for Al. On one of the pairs of clippers was the smallest of nail remaining. Of course after noticing it I lost it.

I sat down on the bathroom floor and bawled my eyes out. I miss Al so bad today. I don’t think I am ready to deal with anymore than just the painting of his room yet. Especially not today when I am all alone.

The first warm day we have  had and I have no doubt if Al was here we would be going antiquing for sure. Al I miss you so much today. I hope you are seeing plenty of vintage cars and coca cola in heaven. When is this broken heart going to mend? It feels like never.

 

If anyone still wishes to help by donating to the nursing home fund, here is the link.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/k1d4/unexpected-2-expenses-from-my-brother-s-death

robin

The Story of MSA and my Brother


The Story of MSA and my Brother
By, Terry Shepherd, his sister
Written 04.11.2014

It started seven years ago. My brother had a heart attack. Upon trying to return to his job he had for so many years we discovered he could no longer keep his rate that was expected of him and he was let go.
He was so upset and with his mental challenge, he didn’t quite understand what had happened and later turned towards himself; blaming no other but his own personal self-worth.
It was then that I realized that he needed more care than he used to. With the passing of our father less than three months prior, I moved into his home and began the journey of taking care of him. He was still able to drive and make decisions for himself. Through time I learned that he needed more help than I thought. He had emotional issues and physical handicaps. With the onset of a sudden seizure, I became more than his sister. I became his guardian, and then I was providing assistance with decision making.
The journey wasn’t smooth. We went over stones in the road. The heart attack led to a loss of independence. The driving was taken out of his hands. Heart Angina came next. Falls led to torn ligaments in his legs.
Emotional outburst and lack of comprehension brought Al to a first level of depression. Through the course of going from therapist to doctors he was put on a various amounts of anti-depressants. Nerve pills, and calming medications became a daily routine. Before I knew it his pill box was filling up quickly with medications I am not sure were ever needed.
With these types of medications being given there were definite side-effects, which in turn, brought more medications. It soon became a circus of which pills were going to be given or taken away. Al’s mood changed constantly.
He was smiley so often during the most of the years I cared for him, but then he could turn like the flip of a light switch. He could be rude and sometimes mean. Periodically, he would become a danger to himself and sometimes me.
Somewhere in the chaos of this he began to trip over himself. Once in a while he would fall down. I would take him to the doctor often. Most of the time he was diagnosed with that wide-open field of depression; but I knew there was more to it.
This went on for about a year and a half until one day the word Parkinson’s disease came out of a doctor’s mouth. For the next three years he was labeled with this name. Different medications were once again administered; but nothing worked or even helped.
There was Parkinson’s disease in our family and I did notice some of the movements, but still he didn’t seem like a true Parkinson’s patient to me. I kept taking him to doctors but once he was labeled it was hard to remove the title.
We eventually moved back to our home town and I took him to a neurologist that he had seen one time in the past. This doctor recognized Al immediately. He stated, “I know what is wrong with Al. I was pretty sure the first time I saw him but there wasn’t enough information to give him a positive diagnosis. After seeing him this time and giving him the tests I did, I am certain he has MSA, Multiple System Atrophy.”
I sat there dumbfounded. I had been a caregiver for numerous years. I had worked in hospital settings, a doctor’s office, and nursing homes. I was a Pharmacy Technician and yet I had never heard of this disease.
I was always an eager learner when it came to medicine and I was no different with my brother’s illness. I immediately went to work on the computer. I researched MSA for months. I read every book I could find on it. All of this helped of course, but never prepared me for what was to come for the next year and a half.
Al still walked but I instantly always had my hands out ready to grab him. He walked like he was a little drunk. Then the falls started. He fell so often I became concerned that I was not enough to keep him safe.
Sadly I made a decision to place him in a local nursing home. I just knew in my heart that with all the staffing he would get much better care than here at home, but I was wrong. At first things seemed so nice. Al was new to them and they were so polite in return.
But Al had two things against him. One was his age and the other was MSA. He didn’t act like the normal elderly person who sat and slept most of the day a way. He wanted to talk. He was a social butterfly. This didn’t go over well in a setting where most patients are quiet. It didn’t take long before Al was getting on staff’s nerves with his constant wanting to be friendly and talk with each person who passed by him.
The MSA was a big problem. No one knew about it. It ended up that I was teaching them about this terrible disease and trying to help staff to understand that Al was a different kind of patient. Things went from good to bad and I eventually knew that if anyone was going to take care of him and be as patient as possible, plus love him, it was going to be me, his sister, so I brought him home.
I set it up with a company who worked with clients with special needs that Al could go five work days a week for socializing skills. He was picked up by the company bus and brought home. This worked for a while and then Al was getting tired. We cut it down from five days a week to four, then three.
Al began to cry while he was there and soon he was sleeping more than awake. One day Al told me he didn’t feel well enough to go back so that placed him at home at all times. He was walking with a walker by now, but this didn’t last long. Soon he was in a wheelchair and within short months all he could do was take a few steps and sit in his chair the rest of the time.
Within two months he could no longer stand and was bed bound. He went from taking showers to bed baths. The energy left him quickly. He went from feeding himself, to spilling food, to me feeding him. He could no longer hold a drinking glass in his hand. Soon he could not drink even with my help. We went from straws to syringes of liquids. While I was doing my best at caring for him on the outer body, MSA was doing its best to tear him down on the inside.
It seemed each week brought new challenges. Sometimes and more towards the end Al could change from hour to hour. He went from being continent to wearing adult diapers. His head went into a locked position on its side.
Within a month Al could no longer move his arms or legs. I could see with the naked eye Al was being trapped inside of his own body. These drastic changes for Al all happened within a six month period. I was not only his sister. I was his caregiver and his voice.
He could no longer speak. We played different games for communication. We used flash cards, then blinking the eyes for a yes. Sometimes he could spell a word. Towards the end, all I heard was stuttering or a line of words that were mouthed without the lips moving.
He and I were very frustrated. When you lose communication it is devastating. I felt helpless and Al cried. I tried very hard to just know what he wanted. TV turned on at certain times, TV programs switched at proper hours.
Al could no longer eat food. He ate baby food, but I never took the food in the jar to him. I poured it in a bowl, added some adult seasonings and heated the main courses up. I never wanted Al to feel belittled or like a baby.
Al hated wearing adult diapers, but we had no choice. It wasn’t long before a catheter was inserted. This became quite challenging. The MSA would attach itself on the inner part of the catheter making it very painful to be removed.
Sometimes Al could talk out of the blue. He would tell me our deceased parents were there to see him. Twice he said Jesus was in the room. We talked many times about death. Al was afraid to die. He was worried about what was going to happen to me.
Al was one of the few who suffered from pain the past two years all around the clock. There didn’t seem to be any medications he could take that would dull the pain and we fought that until the day he passed away.
During the past month he was here, he begged God daily to let him go to heaven. He could no longer talk and moaned day and night. I changed his positions as often as I could. He could not go on his one side because of his head being locked in place.
He was losing weight so quickly. He started out with this illness at 297 pounds and when he passed, I believe he weighed 140 pounds. He pretty much quit eating. Once in a while he would request sherbet but would only eat two or three baby bites.
Al was rarely dressed. His internal furnace was stuck on high. During the winter months we had two fans running on him around the clock. The register was closed in his room. I remember many times sitting with him wrapped in a blanket while he laid bed bound sweating.
MSA had taken Al’s vision months ago to the point that everything he saw was blurred. The muscles couldn’t focus. By the time the last two weeks of his life were there, Al couldn’t see at all. He requested The Christmas Story over and over. He knew the scenes and words in his mind and so every day this DVD was played for him.
The last two weeks of Al’s life he was medicated as much as he could stand because his pain was so bad. I would notice that his left lung would swell immensely and then he would have terrible diarrhea following.
This went on to the last breath. It continued to happen more often each day. I started to notice a pattern and explained this to the professional staff that helped oversee Al’s medications. What happened is just awful. A most terrible way to die in my opinion.
If you have a weak stomach you may want to refrain from reading the next three paragraphs. What happened is the MSA was boiling inside of Al. It had eaten a hole in his ear. The infection was coming out of his eyes, nose and mouth.
Al ran high fevers at all times which were kept down to a little above normal temperatures with medication. The illness had nowhere else to go. It had taken up every living fiber of his being. The only thing left untouched was my brother’s memory.
I believe because of the medications Al was not aware any longer what was happening to him. The MSA ate a hole in his colon. The BM, bowls, spilled out of him and began to fill his one lung. This is where I had been noticing that Al’s lung was swelling so badly.
On the last hours of Al’s life BM filled both of his lungs and he aspirated to his death. In all my years of experience I never dreamed in a million years that there was an illness that was worse than cruel. It stripped my brother’s life and left nothing untouched but the memory.
It brought depression and anger to his life. Many days of what is happening to me, he would question. It stripped his smiles and turned them to tears and then a mask of nothing. It left him in a state of a vegetable, a human soul trapped inside of a dead shell. Then to end the tragedy he aspirated to death, stopping all organs, his heart and his breathing.
It was not easy taking care of this patient, my brother, but I was honored to have the chance to be with him through those seven years. Al had never told me he loved me in all those years, but a month before he died, he did. He told me, “I love you sis and I know you love me. You took real good care of me.”
I cried like a baby. Al and I both knew he was dying and there wasn’t a darn thing he or I could do to stop it. I held his hand nightly and read the 23rd Psalms to him. I prayed with him every day. He would ask me often, “Sis, please pray to God so he will take me home.”
I would hold his hand and cry and pray at the same time asking God to release my brother from his pain. To heal him and lift him in his arms and take him to heaven. God answered Al’s request on March 27th, 2014 at 8:30am.
I know he is healed and free of the terrible illness. I know in my heart he is watching over me now and he promised to save me a spot beside him in heaven. Knowing Al as I do, he is doing this too. I love you buddy. My heart still swells in pain but I am happy you are pain-free. You fought a good fight and I know you are sitting by God at this very moment smiling and chatting with everyone.

cropped-al-and-rhino-nov-1.jpg

Hello my Extended Family, Yes You


Coming home from my daughter’s house was the hardest thing ever. Walking into a quiet home was disturbing to my soul. No sounds from the air mattress machine. No Hospice or caregivers. Just me and my thoughts.

I couldn’t take it. Too many stabs at my heart and too many tears so I had to make a change.

Starting yesterday, I painted my living room. Today, I painted my bedroom. My living room had not been painted since I moved here two years ago. This past fall I took two walls and put up that new paneling that looks like lime stone bricks. Yesterday I painted the third wall the color of the cement. It is a very pale chocolate. It warmed up the room and brightened the panel boards.

My bedroom was white and now it is pink. Somewhere between a soft pink and a pink, pink. It took me all day. I guess because I am getting to be older. Paint a little, take a little break, but it is done now and I am proud of what I have done. We shall see how my muscles feel tomorrow morning from having to pull out furniture from the wall and moving my bed from one wall to another.

Tomorrow, I am going to the room I have tried so hard not to walk into. Al’s room is the last room to paint. I bought an antique, light yet warm peach color. This room will always hold memories of everything that has to do with Al, but now it will also hold a part of me too.

It will be my antique room. There will be two, three foot lit Christmas trees. A rocker that I inherited from my girlfriend. My mother’s cedar chest. Of course Al’s TV is still there. All of his collection of cars will remain where they are. The many coca cola framed photos will come down and I will replace them with my Victorian children framed pictures.

Al’s big coca cola clock shall remain hanging and other pieces he loved so dear. For now the rest will be placed in his closet until I decide what to do next. I am looking for a short, old-fashioned couch to place in there. The idea is to walk in and feel warmth and vintage. I can watch TV or DVD’s or sit in quietness and enjoy the lit trees. It will always grace Al in my mind but since we are siblings, I figured why not add a little of me too.

I wanted to add a piece of information I learned today. The debt of the Social Security check is now been relieved. The treasury department interceded and stopped the payment to Al’s account. Therefore there is nothing to pay back.

The nursing home debt is still waiting and I am trying very hard to save monies back for it. I want to thank each of you that have donated to the debt on Pay it Forward. Thank-you so much. Every little bit is helping, let me tell you!!!

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/k1d4/unexpected-2-expenses-from-my-brother-s-death

Also, I want to thank anyone who has purchased my first book, Dahlia. It seems people are purchasing it through Amazon.com. I can see the purchases but I can’t see who buys it, so thank-you. You know who you are.

Dahlia front cover

A Huge Thank-You to Bloggers and Friends


I am guilty of taking too much time to express my feelings to all of you, but tonight I swallowed hard and took a deep breath.

And now I want to take just a moment to tell each of you how very precious you are. The cards and gifts poured in from all over the world on behalf of my brother’s passing.

To Joy who went all the way to Atlanta, Georgia to have a photo taken with the life-sized Coca Cola bear I thank-you. Seeing Al’s photos among the framed pictures you sent me touched me deep inside.

To Al who sent the Coca Cola flag and wrote me the precious poem for Al. The poem was read at Al’s funeral and the flag graced his casket.

Flowers that were sent, many, many cards were delivered to my mailbox daily. Even after I returned home from my daughter’s home there were still lots of cards awaiting to be opened.

For those who sent monetary gifts, thank-you. MSA T-shirts, MSA bears, no one ever has made me feel so special as all of you did. I want you to know that in March of this year I have been blogging for two years. I had never dreamed I would have acquired so many friends, but the best gift of all was you were no longer my friends. You turned into a part of my family. You allowed me to share my love for my brother with you on a daily basis. You never complained. You let me cry, smile, sometimes bitch and moan and you always stayed by my side.

So for all of this, I thank-you from the bottom of my heart. Al is up in heaven looking down on all of you and he knows without a doubt that friendship is real when I have you in my life.

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The Cloak of Dawn Award


I believe that of all the awards I have ever received none have ever brought tears to me like this one did.

http://hrexach.wordpress.com is who presented this outstanding award to me. This award is for those who care for others. It touched my heart deeply. With my brother Al and the passing of his life into heaven only two weeks ago, my emotions are once again touched by this award.

Oh how I miss my brother. I still stand in the door way of his room and cry as I see the empty space where his bed once stood. I can vision so clearly everything I did in caring for him. Reading the Bible to him at nights. Praying with him. Giving him sips of water. Holding his hand while he took his last breath.

I know he is so much better off today but I am human. My heart is still fragile.

Dr. Rex is a wonderful person. Giving her time to help others in need. She has touched my life so many times with comforting words. She has stood by me through all of my blogging as so many others have also done.

Thank-you Dr. Rex for thinking and honoring me with this award.

 

The idea behind this award: We all know bloggers that write about the issues in this world be it animal abuse, child abuse, equality, their family, love, friendship, the love of whatever deity they worship and so on. We also know many blogger that besides blogging has to take care of a loved one because they are sick, have a disability or are otherwise not able to do everything by themselves. For these bloggers I created this award. The award is named in the spirit of a voluntary care giver and mother that does not blog herself and therefore can not receive the award herself .

Why a cloak? Well, in Dutch we call a voluntary caregiver (as described above) a “mantel zorger” which translates literal to “cloak carer” hence the cloak and the Rod of Aesculapius.

This award has some special rules due to its intend. Whereas most awards are shared after you have gotten it yourself, this award will be free to hand out at each and everyone’s own discretion BUT you must make sure that the intend of the award is upheld.

cloak of dawn awardThere is a blogger that I have thought highly of for a very long time. She has the biggest heart. She gives to so many and when she writes, people read each word. I would like to nominate

s blake callahan
thedrsays.wordpress.com x
sblakecallahan@aol.com

for this award. I hope she accepts this as she deserves it.

Thanks so much Dr. Rex