The Face in Reflection


One of the worst things I hate about where I live is the constant signs of death coming. When I lived outside of this retirement center; I lived for life, for being happy, for being able to move the knowledge of getting older aside.

 

There are over eighty apartments where I live. There is no way, unless I was blind, that I don’t see aging here. There are wheelchairs, walkers, canes, limps, falls, slow movement, sitting, gray hair, wrinkles.

 

Get the picture? You can’t escape this scenario and you can’t forget the fact, we are aging. What makes it even more concrete is when you hear the EMS and sirens. I know, someone has fallen or worse; died.

 

In the past week here; two have passed on to  heaven. Once again it is pounded in my brain; I will die too, but not today, hopefully.

 

I was sitting out back on the bench, waiting to take a photo perfect for this story, I knew I would write. The trash disposal dumpsters are out in this area. I looked at it and saw many pieces of furniture. There were miscellaneous items of household goods too.

 

Someone came out and I asked if there was another case of bed bugs and the furniture had to be thrown away. The reply was,” No, that belonged to the lady who just passed.” My heart instantly sank.

 

You see, living here, I know most of the people. We chat and eat dinners together. We share our feelings. I have helped her with medical issues in the past; so there was a connection.

 

On the other side of the coin, there are the rules of this building. If someone passes away, the family of the deceased may have rent to pay, according to how long the deceased’s belongings are in the apartment. The family has two weeks to get rid of all belongings of their loved ones and if it runs into the next month where rent would be due, the family has to pay for that.

 

On the emotional side; it killed me to see her belongings out in the trash. It killed me harder to realize my friend had only passed away twenty-four hours prior. Oh, I know the rules but Lord, to get rid of her things so quick made me feel like I am to pretend she was not here.

 

It is the way it is, I guess. It made me wonder what will happen if I don’t get the opportunity to move out of here, what will and how quickly will my belongings, the things I cherish the most, will be gone from where I lived and breathed.

 

Well, the photo I was waiting to capture for this story or post came in my view. A lady who lives here walked out the back door and down the ally. I captured her and when I looked at the finished photo; I saw my face in the reflection.

 

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Life is What We Make It


It has been an unusual summer. We have either had lots of rain or high humidity.

Today, it is perfect weather. Sunny, low humidity and a day to think about going outside. I have not had a chance to go over to the city park and take photos of the flowers. Perhaps I can do that today.

Tonight is Warsaw’s First Friday. Theme is on trucks. There are probably going to be a lot of men looking at this truck show. Might be a good time to grab my camera and ride my scooter downtown.

I praise God that I still have the ability to make decisions. The short-term memory doesn’t seem to affect every part of me yet.

I thank God for being able to still walk short distances and be able to walk with a walker. I have been struggling to cook and it doesn’t seem to be a short-term thing any longer. The Ataxia takes over and my standing last about ten minutes before I feel as I will fall to the floor.

I don’t like it; but at least I can still stand. Cleaning my house takes break intervals, but at least I can still do it. Standing in the shower is very difficult, thank God for the word quick.

You probably know someone who’s health is worse than yours. I know I do. Let’s remember to say our prayers and thank God for where we are in life and pray for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Have a blessed and happy, peaceful day, my friends.

 

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Friends for Life


There are people worse off!
Yes, I realize this; but it doesn’t help.
Quit your whining!
I am trying; but it hurts.
Find something to do!
I am. I am trying to clean my house without falling down.
Why don’t you get off disability and get a job?
I miss work so much. My own paycheck. I wish I could.
You sure do sleep a lot!
Yes, I do. I get fatigued so easy.
You are the laziest person I ever saw!
If you only knew how hard I try to get through one day.
I don’t understand what’s happened to you!
Neither do I. It came on so slowly and now I’m fighting each step.
You never go out. Don’t you have any friends?
I have hundreds of friends through my support groups. Why don’t you take me out somewhere and help me through it?
I don’t understand you at all!
I don’t understand your lack of empathy and compassion. I thought we were always friends to the end.
 
Written by,
Terry Shepherd
 
Dedicated to those who’s illness has made a difference in their lives.
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Where the Mind Goes, Should the Heart Follow


A story is told about a friend of yours. A friend who has a long-standing relationship with flaws. Good times, bad times and still there is good somewhere to have still retained the friendship power.
 
The story sounds enticing. The human listens, ponders, thinks back to times when life was on the flip-side. Comparison begins and forms a sticky feeling of questions forming in the brain.
 
Could this be true. Did I miss something. Was I blind sighted. What have other people said about this person. Look at those questions flying in your head.
 
You suddenly feel queasy. You wonder if you have played the major role of the fool. A tennis game of back and forth, over the net, under the net.
 
You finally shake yourself. You tell yourself there is no fact. These are words. Ugly words, yes, but words. Show me the proof.
 
There is no proof to be shown. You decide to move forward. You have weighed the pros and cons. You know the outside and in.
 
Words, gossip spreading; isn’t this the best damn way to split up a relationship of any kind?
 
Think first; react last. Have the proof before you lose something precious.
 
Written by my feelings,
Terry Shepherd
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Speak; Let it Out


What are some thoughts that go through your head when your feelings are hurt? I know for me, sometimes I get hurt for the wrong reason. I am saying; my emotions come first and then intelligent reasoning comes second.

I felt that way yesterday. A very special person in my life  hadn’t contacted me for sometime. Hurt built  up in me for days and weeks. I think this is one of the biggest problems I deal with daily.

Fear of saying something, making someone else upset, losing contact for a while, or losing period that friendship. The better way for me to handle it; is to be brave and speak up in a  non-defending way.

What I should do is contact the person immediately. Express my concerns, listen to the response, and then, hopefully, all will be dissolved.

What is my reason for holding back? I wish I knew. I can look back on my childhood and see one thing that stands out strong. I was a people pleaser. I was a child of two moms and one dad. In my small mind, I wanted to be accepted and loved. I outdid myself in so many situations to get praise.

What I don’t understand is the reason I must have felt and still do today is that people will leave or friendships will dissipate. Now why does that frighten me? I sometimes wonder if my real mom  leaving my childhood was a part of it.

As an adult, I see and understand, she did me a favor by leaving my young life.  Is that enough to carry this big bag of garbage throughout my life? I don’t know. I just wish I could stand up like I see others do and speak my feelings.edfd24d01020a5e69b79eaa006274dd5

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The Invisible View


The Invisible View

It was out the back bedroom window, Rosie went to over and over. She would place her delicate hand on the window pane and stare across the empty field.

She would stand at the window for minutes and say nothing. I never saw her bat a lash. I barely saw her ribs going in and out, showing any signs of breathing, but I knew she was alive and I knew she was remembering; but when I looked out that same window; I saw nothing.

Who am I? I am the caregiver. I have been caring for Rosie for over a year. I take care of her while her family is at work. I prepare her breakfast, and help her with her bathing. I help her do crossword puzzles and I read her the morning paper. I prepare her lunch and the two of us sit at the tiny, kitchen table and these are the times that we have the greatest talks; but never once, is the window scene ever mentioned. I help her lay down for her naps and then I tidy up the house and sometimes start a load of laundry. Soon there after her family arrives home. This is our routine Monday – Friday.

Rosie was a kind, old soul. Some days I saw spark in her eyes and then there were times I saw a sadness that ran deep. On those sad days, there wasn’t much talk. There was more window time.

She was ninety-two years of age. The last time she was weighed, she was confirmed at 98 pounds. Her spirit was strong and most days, she ate hearty. She didn’t have a daily routine as most would. She always claimed to live for the moment, as you weren’t guaranteed the next.

Her doctor wasn’t sure why she was still with us. He claimed over the last six months her heart was weak and getting weaker. He stated a few times, something must be bothering her, or she would be sitting next to her husband in heaven.

I tried to maintain the same spirit as Rosie did. Why worry about tomorrow? We may not even get tomorrow. Deep inside, I wanted Rosie to open up about the invisible scene she stared at daily. One day she would, but on her own schedule. I just knew it.

As the weeks went by, I couldn’t help but notice Rosie did everything a little slower. She never complained and we still went to the window and looked out over the empty field.

It was a March day, when things turned. The sun shone bright, but the cold kept trying to enter our part of the country. It was time to take Rosie for our walk to the window. She raised her hand to the pane of glass. I glanced at her and saw tears starting to fall.

“What is it Rosie? Do you want to talk about it?”
She nodded her head. ” It was 80 years ago today. The day my life changed forever. I was twelve years old and my baby brother was three years old. Mama was busy and she asked me to watch over little Johnny because she had errands to run. I brought him over there.” Rosie pointed in the direction of the center of the field. ” You see, there used to be a park that stood there. It had things like swings and a teeter totter and a slide. I was spinning around on the merry-go-round and I wasn’t paying attention to my brother like I should have. Pretty soon I heard him scream. I used my feet and skidded my ride to a stop. I raced over. He had went down the big curly slide head first. Something must have happened because he all of a sudden quit screaming. When I looked at him, he lay real still and was quiet.”

“I ran home and told mama to come real quick. She and I ran over to Johnny. She started crying. Soon a doctor showed up and said, he was gone. Mama gave me the look. I had killed my brother.”

I instantly placed my arms around Rosie. ” Rosie, this was never your fault. You didn’t mean for it to happen. It was just too much responsibility for someone that age to be watching someone so young. Don’t blame yourself.”

” I knew better”, Rosie said. ” Mama trusted me and I let her down.”

I hugged her tighter. ” You never let God down Rosie. He loves you no matter what. He needed your little brother, more than you or your mama did. He took Johnny home, not you. God doesn’t blame you for anything dear friend.”

” Are you sure? I am afraid to die. I don’t want to have to see God and explain what I did wrong.” Tears fell bigger and faster. I wiped her tears and looked her straight in the eye.

” There is no reason to fear God. You are loved by him. He is waiting for you to come see your brother. You just have to let him know when you are ready.”

We turned from the window and went to Rosie’s bedroom. I brushed her hair. I took her slippers off and helped her lay down. I covered her up, gave her a kiss on the cheek and told her everything would be alright.

My shift over, I left and went home. I kept thinking about Rosie and what a burden she had been carrying for so many years. my evening was quiet. Finally, I went to bed. About two hours later my phone rang. I was told I wouldn’t need to come to work the next morning. Rosie had went home to see her baby brother.

Written by,
Terry Shepherd

 

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Prayers Are Answered


Thanksgiving morning, the house was alive. Children running and yelling. Pillow fights, playing Tag, jumping up and over the furniture. Mom in the kitchen and dad hovering over her; telling her how to do this and that, although he didn’t have much practice at anything in the kitchen.
There was a small table with two chairs. The mom of the husband, the children’s grandmother, sat quietly at the table in the corner. Ellie drank her coffee and puffed on her cigarette. She was trying to go back in her own memories of this holiday and was wondering if these days too, were full of chaos.
She put her cigarette out and in a wispy voice asked, “Is there anything I can do to help, either of you?” No one replied. I am not sure if it was due to not being heard, or maybe just being ignored. Ellie cleared her throat and then stood up to her walker.
She was dressed still in her night clothes. She had a faded flannel, floor-length nightie on and an almost two tight faded, pink robe. She gathered the belt tighter as to hide herself and slowly walked towards the sink. “I said, is there anything I can do to help either of you? I’m not really doing anything and maybe I could set the table or get out the glasses.”
“Old lady, you have done enough. You harped and harped at us until we gave in and let you move you and your stuff in. You spend more time in your room smoking or you let our kids get by with shit when you are supposed to be babysitting and setting a good example. You are here for Thanksgiving aren’t you? You didn’t pitch in any money for this fine food we are going to have did you? No, I , no, we don’t need your help. Just go back to what you were doing, which is nothing.”
Ellie turned her head away as she felt the tears begin to fall. Those words cut to the bone. She didn’t want to move in with her family. She never wanted to become a burden to anyone. Tears fell faster as she turned and walked back to her little table. She remembered the days when she was beginning to get weak. She had fallen a few too many times and the ER finally admitted her for a broken hip. She was told in no uncertain terms, that she wasn’t going to be allowed to return to her home. She needed a place to go.
Ellie only had two children. One lived in Alaska and the other here in the next city from where Ellie had lived. Her husband had passed away a few years ago from cancer, and although she got lonely; she was doing fine on her own. No one seemed to want her as a permanent live-in, but she did end up here at her son’s home, and she guessed she would have to deal with it until the day she died. She hoped that would be soon.
Each morning before she put her feet on the cold floor, she thanked her God for a roof over her head, food to eat, and another chance at life. She also prayed for God to do something so she wouldn’t be a burden anymore to this family.
Some days she had visitors from her church she used to go to. They would drink coffee and chat about what was going on at the church or fill Ellie in on the town gossip. Although no one said anything, her friends noticed the tears. One time when her closest friend had come to visit, she saw it. It was black and blue, about the size of a fist. It was on her arm. Someone had harmed this woman, this friend of hers. It was probably that mean, old son, who only let her be here so he could spend her money.
Thanksgiving day left and the weather turned pretty cold. Snow fell and the ground was covered in pure white. At nights she stood at her walker, staring out at the snow. The moon making sparkles on the snow-covered tree branches. Sometimes she would hear a car pass, and they made a crunchy noise. She was glad she was inside, but she missed the winter’s crisp air.
It was a couple of weeks that had gone by since she saw her friends. Actually, it was getting real close to Christmas. The phone rang and her son yelled, “It’s for you old lady.” Ellie walked to the hall and picked up the phone. “Hello, this is Ellie.”
“Hello mam, my name is Robert T. Wagonor. I am a friend of your friend Betty. I go to the church sometimes and fill in for the minister. I was wondering if Betty and I could come pay you a visit.” Ellie liked visitors. “Yes, that would be real nice. When will you be coming?”
“At 1, right after lunch. Is this alright with you?”
“Yes, see you then.”
Ellie got herself her lunch and then went in and made herself as presentable as possible. She went out and sat on the couch awaiting her visitors. It wasn’t long before the knock at the door came. Seeing no one was going to let them in, she got up and walked to the door, opening it wide, saying, “Hello, welcome, come on in.” They followed her and waited for Ellie to sit, then sat across from her.
” I would like to get right to the point of our visit. It has come to my attention that this may not be the safest place for you to live. You deserve to be safe and happy. Can you tell me if our thoughts are wrong?” No one said a word. No one shook their head. ” The church has had some meetings and we have talked to people here in town who really care about the well-being of senior citizens. With the help of the city and private donations, we have been able to come up with enough money to pay your rent for the next six months. The place we are talking about is called, A Place Like Home. We want to take you there to visit and see what you think.” Ellie agreed and was helped with her coat, hat, gloves and boots on.
In less than half-an-hour, they were all sitting in a cozy living room. A fire was crackling in the fireplace. There were nice, soft chairs and rockers, a long sofa. There were plants sitting in the window’s light. Soft, lacy curtains covered the windows. It felt like home. Some of her friends from the church were there and Ellie learned they lived here all the time. It was less then four days when all finances were transferred to safer hands. It was less than four days when Ellie was sitting in one of the rockers, not smoking, drinking her tea, laughing with the other ladies. This place was her home. This place was like home. She rested her head back, listening to the others talk, and smiled. Thank-you God for fixing my problem.
Written from my heart,
Terry Shepherd.
God bless our Senior Citizens.

 

What Is Gentle, but Strong


What is gentle, but strong?
Is it spewing words as swords?
Is it knowing you are right?
Is it proving your point?

Is it knowing you are from
God’s creation, in his eyes
Being confident in his word
Having no doubts…….

Maybe it is your faith
That sets you free
Realizing you can keep quiet
Because you trust in him.

Would our world be better?
Would bickering stop?
Petty arguing and name calling
Would come to a halt?

Being gentle is strong
Firm in belief
Lending a hand
Supporting others.

Give uplifting words
Ask God for guidance
Pray for all others
Being gentle is strong.

Written by,
Terry Shepherd

 

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Class Reunion


August 19th, was my 45th class reunion. I graduated in 1972 from Warsaw High, Warsaw, Indiana.

I had bounced back and forth on whether to go or not. Oh, I wanted to go; but I knew how easily I fell and for that reason, hesitated.

I had posted my hesitation and due to the encouraging words from Facebook friends, I decided to go ahead and go.

I was greeted with warmth and hugs. I immediately knew I had made a good decision. Some knew of my illness and they were right there for me carrying my food, helping me down steps, and holding onto my clothes, lol, during the group photograph. They were and are awesome people to have in my life.

I took a lot of photos for our reunion and posted them for all to see, along with making a CD for the group, so anyone can have their own copy.

Here are a few photos I took. If you would like to see more, look me up on Facebook and friend me or just visit my photo albums.

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Summer Rules


When we think of summer, we first think of shorts, BBQ’s, vacations, school’s out and so many more things pop up in our minds.

These are great too; but we should think of other things since we are more in contact with people than in the winter time. I ran across something today, and I had that ah-ha moment.

This is what I was thinking of. We should add it to our daily list of must-do items. I bet if we do; our summer will be the best ever and by the time winter arrives; we will have formed excellent, new habits to carry us through those cold months.

Read below if you want to enhance your life.

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