Covid-19 and Daily Living


I have hesitated for awhile now in writing on my blog, only because my life seems the same today or yesterday. Then I thought; well maybe someone eles’s life is boring too and mine may be something different to read.

I don’t get out too much anymore because I have too many health issues that make doing trips not so much fun; but when I do, I take great notice in the changing of colors here in my area in the trees. I am just blown away how beautiful Fall is and I think God is just the smartest man ever, especially when he knew some of us didn’t like the cold winters coming, so he created a gorgeous Fall to come before the cold.

I have taken a lot of photos of the trees, as you probably realize since you have followed my blog for some time. I love the camera. So many times I take a photo and a few moments later that picture I saw is no longer there.

I have put out some Halloween decorations and plan on being involved this weekend with the Trick-or treat walk in our neighborhood. I am giving out single-wrapped granola bars. I hope the kids like them and I believe they will not be a Covid-19 threat to anyone. I have always enjoyed this time of year but I have to admit, I have had to push myself especially this year to get involved. I really believe this worldly virus has played some heavy attacks on our minds.

As I listen to the news, I am sad to hear that the virus is beginning to peak again here in Indiana, and already, the hospitals are seeing more cases. I wonder if we will go backwards, and start shutting the state down again.

The virus is hope to be beaten by a vaccine maybe by the end of this year. When it will be ready for all Americans; I don’t know. I am a skeptic though. I want proof. I want to see many people not have deep side-effects from this vaccine, so who is going to go first? Someone has to, I just don’t want it to be me. What about you? Are you a skeptic or are you eager to jump right in there and be one of the first?

A Cheap Shower Curtain Says it All


The strangest things pop in my head at times. I blame this on the fact that I am a constant thinker. I actually was in the ladies’ room and was sitting on the throne. I looked at the shower curtain as I probably do most times, but saw things I hadn’t seen before.

I bought this shower curtain three weeks ago. It is in the blue hues and is checkered. It isn’t anything fancy and was a product of WalMart. Suddenly I took notice of the inside of the checker pattern. There is scribbles of a gold enhancer so it is supposed to look like water trickling down the curtain but I saw something different. I saw crosses. Yes, there was a cross in each square, all in gold. I had no problem detailing each one and as you looked outside of the checks, you could see straight lines along with wrinkles from how the curtain rest against the tub.

I was putting a puzzle together. I saw my life as I walked down the straight and narrow, sometimes running into bumps but, always ahead, I could see the gold cross. I knew that I was not alone on this travel called life. God is always with me and beside me. He is right there for you and for me. He is only waiting for us to seek him out.

Isn’t that good to know? With the changes in our world today, that aren’t all good, we can count on not being alone. This brings me inner peace. With this pandemic, it is easy to feel very alone, but we aren’t. When you can see the proof in a cheap, WalMart shower curtain, you know that God is real. Hugs everyone.

Photo taken by me.

We Are Stronger Than We Think


What do you do when you are fighting symptoms that will remain with you until death and you discover another soul in life needs your help? You pray. Yes, you pray. When you have gone the routes that I and most others have taken first, which is to figure things out yourself and then you realize you are not staying ahead of the game, you finally remember to turn to the one who will answer all of your prayers; God.

I am in that position now. Strength and will power, an inner drive to be of help to others does take its toll on a body and yet you want and at times need to push forward. Every day there is a lost soul somewhere, maybe standing or sitting right next to you. Many have too much pride to ask for help so they continue to suffer.

When the opportunity rises and you can be of help to another but you just don’t think you have the energy or the time, turn to God and ask him to help you. This is our job here on earth. It is what God wants us to do. Love and be kind to others. Talk to them about God and help them get to the point where Jesus heals them in the only way he knows best.

I will continue to pray and do what I know needs to be done. It does me good to be there for others and it takes my mind off of my own aches and pains and life’s daily problems.

Oh the Valleys we Travel Through on our way to Heaven


It seems so right that I changed the name of my blog page to Who Am I, months ago. Why? Because anymore, I don’t really know who I am.

I know I am a child of God, but here on earth, I just don’t know. I know I am a mom to three and a grandma to several, but some days, I don’t feel like a good mom. I have one child who pretty much has disowned me, it seems. I have begged, pleaded, called and text but no answers are provided for me on what I may have done.

This has turned my health upside down. My blood pressure is now messed up going higher than lower. I am stressed with sadness that keeps my veil of happiness covered by blackness.

I have apologized, sat for hours wondering what I may have said or done without realizing it may hurt others. I am getting sick and I find myself wishing I was at the end of my journey here on earth.

I snap out of that thought though because I am not really ready to die yet. I even called my primary and neurologist and have spoken to both about this up and down blood pressure problem I am having.

I know that my diagnosis has been changed from Parkinson’s to probable MSA. This sickens me. Not so much because it will shorten my life; but because I won’t be as lucky as my brother was in having a sister to take care of him. I will go through this alone with God beside me; which means I am truly not alone.

Life has not been a bowl of cherries as of the past few weeks and I am grateful that Spring as officially arrived and I can get lost in my camera once again outdoors.

Oh the valleys we travel through on our way to heaven.

cropped-terry

I Had to Smile


I wrote yesterday about my chaotic week. Full of hurt and loss from loved ones. After repeating to myself over and over, See through your eyes Lord, Hear through your ears, Love through your heart; I am more calm this morning.

I can not control how I am feeling in my heart from people’s actions but I can control how I let it affect me. There is nothing worse than being un-friended by a loved one or knowing there is an issue but the other person won’t allow you to know what it is.

What can I do about it? Pray, give it to God, let him deal with it. He knows how to fix things. The other thing I do when I get to bombarded by the “stuff” in this world is look for something that makes just me  happy, and this is what I did.

I went to my favorite second-hand store. I looked at everything, knowing I had a budget I had to stick to. I saw this piece that I had been wanting for about a month. Every time I went inside this store, there it sat.

Yesterday, I decided; this would make me smile. This would make me feel good every time I went into my bathroom, which is where I placed my new piece. Here is a photo of it and yes, I am still smiling over it.

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It is about four foot tall. It is slender which fits my bathroom perfect. I filled it with toilet paper and soaps. I love it. Of course I love old things. What do you think? Do you like it? Do you ever buy yourself treats when life gets you down? Does it help when you do?

I am Strong Because I have a Shield of Love


Don’t ever tell yourself, “I got it made” or “Life is a piece of cake.” I swear as soon as you say that; you will be shut down.

This has been a rotten week. I am glad this is Friday. Hoping for a new week with less stress and sadness.

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I was with my family during the loss of a family member. A viewing one day, the funeral the next day.

I have  had issues with a family member also. It is plum crazy when the issues arise and for the love of God; I don’t know what the problem is. The other party won’t open up and therefore I am left with a feeling of being helpless and lost.

I also lost a very close friend to the same disease that took my brother; Multiple System Atrophy. I tell you; she was one strong fighter. She carried hope and a bright spirit to the end.

bonnie

I wasn’t expecting it and my emotions ran a muck. Maybe with a prior funeral and then this major loss, I went over the top with my tears. I will miss you forever and ever Bonnie.

I am a pretty emotional person. With the final encounter; I found my blood pressure rising, my neck was  hurting along with my head. My stomach ached and I felt like I had been tossed to the wind.

My girlfriend has been helping me through this. She has reminded me of how to take issues I can not fix and give them over to the Lord. I am doing this and I have found myself calmer and now laughing again. The problem isn’t fixed but knowing God has this covered and will fix it; I can go about my life.

She told me something that I really like repeating over and over in my head.

Lord, let me see through your eyes. Let me hear through your ears. Let me love through your heart.

She also gave me a precious song to listen to and I play it often. It brings me comfort.

 

 

So although this week has been a big blow to my spirit; I have also learned I am strong because I am protected by a shield of love.

Filling the Gap


Paul spent most days in a routine. He began by waking promptly at five in the morning. He read a chapter in his Bible then got dressed. In the kitchen he started his coffee maker and then stared out the small window while listening to the noise of the coffee perking and inviting memories to help set his day.

After eating a bowl of oatmeal with butter and honey, he tidied up the kitchen, grabbed his jacket and hat, then headed for the garage. He guided his car to the three blocks ahead, turned down the little, gravel path and shut the car off. There, he sat for however long it took to make him feel the comfort he needed.

His wife, Anna, had been buried here seven months ago this day. She had passed a way from a grueling disease. It was a long battle and they both had not won. It was a neurological disease called Multiple System Atrophy.

Prior to this disease, their map of life had been drawn by thick, dark lines. Travels to Arizona and New Mexico had been penciled in. Sights of a large cruise ship sailing along the waters was in the making.

Then, out of the blue, Anna started running into things. Her fingers began to have a tremor in them. It seemed, as Paul remembered back, that each few months, a new symptom arrived. He could remember her first fall, her first choking, the day she got weak while tending to her flowers. Everything was crystal clear now but back then it was a train traveling fast on the rails; a real blur.

“I miss you so much Anna. Life is definitely not the same. I now no longer dream of tomorrow. In fact, I tore up that map.” Paul waited, as if for a response from Anna on what he had done. Feeling nothing, he got out of  his car and stood in front of the flowers he had planted.  When the time felt right, he got back in his car and headed home.

Once home he let the noise of the television and the chimes of his clock keep him company. In the midst of this one afternoon, a knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. Opening the door, he saw his friend  Gene standing before him. He let him in and they both sat down in the living room.

” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you Paul. I figured I would just come on by and pay you a visit. How are you doing my friend?”

” Oh, I’m fine you know. No new aches or pains. God let me breathe in a new day. I went down and visited Anna. I told her how much I miss her.”

“That’s exactly one of the reasons I stopped by Paul. There is this woman at church that I think could use your help.”

“Oh”, Paul said as he laughed,”I’m not interested in any sort of relationship. It just hasn’t been long enough. My mind is always on my wife, Anna.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean that kind of relationship”, he said as he slapped his hand on his pants with laughter. “I mean, she is hurting. She’s got some sort of sickness. She’s been feeling all alone. She says no one understands how she feels. I figured you are a sensitive man. Maybe you could just be a good listener. This would be a good opportunity to get yourself a new friend; something to add to your day.”

Paul didn’t say anything and Gene didn’t push the topic. Instead, they turned to the weather and what the week hoped to bring. After about an hour, Gene said it was time to go. Paul walked him to the door and they patted each other on the back. “See you in church Sunday.” Paul nodded.

The days went by and Sunday arrived. Paul got his Sunday clothes on, grabbed his Bible and headed to church. He smiled and shook hands with the greeters. He spoke about nothing important to others. He headed down the aisle to his seat he sat in each Sunday. There sat his friend Gene. Beside him was his wife, Gloria and beside her was a woman sitting in a wheelchair.

She looked at him and he at her. He nodded and sat down, thumbing through the church bulletin. The choir began singing and Paul sat and thought about what was being said. He listened to the sermon which was on people helping people.

Afterwards, there was a church dinner. This church had a carry-in every couple of weeks. It was a nice time shared among all. It gave purpose to the day and week ahead. Paul found himself sitting between this lady in the wheelchair, Gloria and Gene sitting on the opposite side of the table.

Talk was light. Smiles were shared. Gene introduced the stranger. Star was her name. Paul found himself watching her as she ate. She dropped food at times. It looked like she was struggling a little with swallowing. He wondered what condition she had that made her do that. It threw him back to his memories of when his dear wife did that too.

After the dinner was done, people either helped clean-up or headed out the church doors. For a brief time, Paul and Star were the only ones left sitting at the table. They exchanged words that would not be remembered later.  Soon the silence could be heard. Everyone had left. Gene and Gloria got their coats on and the two helped Star with her coat on. They helped her to their car and Paul followed, watching them help get Star situated.

Weeks turned into months and it seemed every Sunday a new routine had been formed. Paul sat with Star and the two opened up more and in time they became good friends. Paul would share his memories of his wife and Star would share about her life and medical condition.

One Sunday, Paul had been invited over to Gene and Gloria’s house for dinner. When he arrived and being let in; he noticed immediately that Star had been invited also. Paul didn’t get upset. Instead, he found himself sitting next to her on the couch. The two chatted while dinner was being finished. In face, the two chatted so much, Gene couldn’t help but smile to himself, knowing he had made a good decision on introducing the two.

The following Monday, after Paul returned from his visit to see his wife, the phone was ringing as he walked through the door. He answered it to learn that Star had fallen and was in the hospital.

He felt a tug at his heart that he didn’t expect to feel. He thanked the caller and went about fixing himself his lunch. This consisted of some left-over baked chicken and a half of a baked potato he hadn’t eaten before.

He tidied up and decided to go to the hospital to see Star. He learned she had fallen out of her wheelchair while trying to reach for something and this fall had caused a broken hip. After the completion of the ER, Star was transferred to a room upstairs for a few days of observation and to make sure she was healing properly.

After that time went by, she was transferred to a local nursing home for rehabilitation. Paul learned she would be their approximately six weeks. Now, after his usual routine of daily living, he also added the daily visits to see Star.

He brought her little trinkets that sometimes included her favorite candy, or a new book to read. He stayed most days until the supper hour. He found himself wishing he didn’t have to leave. Star felt the same way. She couldn’t hide the fact  from herself that Paul brought her friendship which included a feeling of peace and a lingering to have the next day’s visit arrive.

There seemed to be a lighter step in Paul’s life. He told himself over and over he didn’t love Star. He could love no other woman except his Anna, but yet, this new friend, stirred something within him.

After a couple of weeks went by, Paul made his usual visit. He entered the empty room. Where was Star, he wondered. He walked out to the nurse’s station to learn that Star had been having a temperature and her lungs seemed congested. They had her transferred to the hospital for further investigation. Paul thanked the nurse for the information.

He took the one rose he had brought with him and laid it gently on the pillow of the made bed of Stars. He left the building and headed for the hospital. When he entered, he asked what room number she was in. The receptionist told him and he took the elevators to the fourth floor.

There was Star. She was laying in a bed. IV’s were hooked up to  her. He saw two of them. A monitor was keeping track of her blood pressure and heart rate. Star wasn’t talking. She was so quiet it scared Paul.

A nurse came in and checked on Star. She smiled at Paul but said nothing. Paul pulled up a chair close to Star. He watched her sleeping. His thoughts turned to prayers to the almighty God. He felt a tear drip on his folded hands. He knew in his heart that he had come to know and love this woman.

He started whispering to Star. He told her how he felt about her. ” I don’t know when it happened dear Star, but some where along the way, I grew feelings for you. I hope you can hear me. I just have to tell you this because I want to know if you feel anything for me other than friendship.”

He held her hand but nothing came out of her mouth. He sat there for hours, waiting for her to open her eyes. Suddenly her eyes twitched and she opened them. She looked at him but said nothing. Instead, she squeezed his hand. He took this as she was answering his question, that yes, she felt something for  him too.

Paul squeezed her hand back and then kissed her hand. He beamed and the two shared an emotion that would never be felt again. Paul finally decided he had to leave. His watch told him it was time for supper. He leaned in and kissed her forehead and whispered that he would be back the next day. Star closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

Paul stopped at a small restaurant that served home-cooking. He ordered the special, meatloaf dinner. In this was a thick piece of meatloaf which included mashed potatoes and green beans. It was way too much food and he requested a take-home box for the leftovers.

When he arrived home, he turned the television on. He tuned in to some game show. He listened to it but kept thinking about what would Anna be thinking about Star. He fell asleep and was woken to the sound of the phone.

“Paul, I’m going to stop by in a few minutes. Get your coat and hat and be ready to go. There’s been a change at the hospital with Star. You and I are going to go visit her.” Paul hung up and got ready.

In no time at all they went through the double doors of the hospital and were standing in the doorway of Star’s room. Two nurses were in there. They saw Paul and Gene and hung their heads in silence. They took the white sheet and covered Star’s body then walked up to her friends and patted them on the back. “I’m sorry gentlemen. She just couldn’t fight it anymore. The infection in her lungs just got too big.” The nurses gave them a hug and walked out of the room.

Paul and Gene walked over to the bed. Paul reached down and felt Star’s hand through the sheet. He held it until Gene whispered ,”It’s time to go I think.” Paul let go of her hand and kissed his palm and transferred it to  her forehead. The two turned and left in silence, Gene’s arm around Paul’s shoulder, patting him, like everything is going to be okay.

 

Will everything be okay? Is death something that we can heal from?

Is it possible to love twice in a life time? 

Life sure doesn’t seem fair at times does it?

God placed us on this earth to learn and feel love towards others. For those of us who have experienced these feelings, we somehow manage to go on with our lives, but the void left behind never fully closes.

This story was written by;

Terry Shepherd

02/21/2019

January is Gone


t’s been a rough month
Words spearing my brain
I’m actually glad this month’s over
Now dreaming of rain and Spring.
 
Spring is all about new
New hope and answered prayers
I know God listens to my words
Because he is everywhere.
 
On the other side of the coin
Sadness can fill my eyes
It’s so close to my brother’s passing
When I was forced to say my goodbyes.
 
From this day forward
Alvin will occupy my mind
Still seems like only yesterday
He and I had so much time.
 
Our days are filled with goodness
Our nights can be like hell
I just have to remember to be thankful
While God teaches me to sit a spell.
 
It’s hard to not be guessing
What tomorrow may or may not bring
Will we still be like this morning?
Can time really change everything?
 
My faith is what I carry
In a bucket wrapped in my heart
I have to remember to refill it
Until this earth I depart.
 
Written by,
Terry Shepherd
 
Dedicated to life and my brother, Alvin Miller.

WHO AM I


Who Am I is the name of my blog here at WordPress. I used to always think I knew who I was but beginning in July, 2017, life started to change and I got caught up in a whirl wind of emotions.

It began with my father having two cancers at once. Leukemia and Multiply Myeloma.

A.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-myeloma/symptoms-causes/syc-20353378

 

I took care of him for the  year that he went through this before it took his life. I learned not to be embarrassed by bathing him and taking over his daily chores. I was his daughter and thought I could never look at my dad in anything other than being fully dressed but the nursing person in me took over and I did it.

 

Next, I got a divorce. I had always been married since the winter following graduation. Suddenly I was alone and wondered if I would make it. Then came my brother’s heart attack and his ugly disease, Multiple System Atrophy.

A. Multiple system atrophy (MSA), also known as Shy–Drager syndrome, is a rare neurodegenerative disorder characterized by tremors, slow movement, muscle rigidity, and postural instability (collectively known as parkinsonism) due to dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, and ataxia.

 

Today, I have some of my father and brother’s illness. I have the Parkinson’s and Ataxia. I wondered daily not knowing where I was going and who I really was. It is just recently that I seem to be settling down inside.

 

I pray a lot. I go to church more often and I believe God is showing me things I never actually realized about myself.

 

I have stepped out and tried painting. I made Christmas wreaths this year. I have been asked to provide our Saturday night supper this coming Saturday with selections of Christmas music by playing the piano. Before I had the time to think before answering; I answered yes, I will. God must have had a hand in that answer and I will lean on him that I can pull this off.

 

I volunteer now at a local agency. I help many people and this is good for me since I tend to have my own little pity  parties on why I can’t stand well and do the things I used to do. There are millions of people worse off than me, and my job shows me this each day I work.

 

I don’t know who I am but I do know God still has work for me to do and I have a purpose here on earth. I look forward to each day, asking him to help me shine to others, to help those in need, and to thank God for all I can still do.

Merry Christmas my friends.

 

wreath

The Visit


THE VISIT
 
I can’t get it out of my mind. I keep thinking about the dream I had last night.
 
With the illness I have; I usually have terrible nightmares, always waking up before I die, but to see my brother in my dream and be able to talk to him was bigger than anything I have experienced.
 
I am a thinker by nature so it is not unusual for me to have been pondering on how I made this dream happen. Can I make it happen again?
 
Alvin was healed. He was standing tall. He wasn’t crying and he didn’t act afraid of life. He smiled that big, familiar smile I always saw.
 
We talked. In my dream it didn’t seem like we chatted for a very lengthy period, before I woke up, but I remembered it and i still remember it.
 
I have definitely moved on since his passing. I have managed to hide my tears and sadness. I have laughed among friends. This is the part that has moved on.
 
There is an injured snail crawling inside my spirit though. The feelers come out when I am all alone and this is when it seems like only yesterday; I walked into his bedroom and found he had passed.
 
The dagger still punctures my soul and heart. The eyes well up instantly. I sit. I remember. I cry. I don’t think we ever truly get over the death of a loved one.
 
I don’t know if we ever heal completely. It is complete though. He was born. He lived. He passed. I think there is a bigger torture when there is no final stage of life.
 
When friends or family hurt us and it is never settled. That sword just keeps twisting and stabbing. The mind rolls over big hills and stumbles over boulders as we try to find peace that is now broken.
 
How do we go forward? How do we hide the memories of what once made us smile. How do we hide the tears in our daily living?
 
It is so difficult but this is something each of us has to deal with and lay to rest. God placed us here to send the message out to others about his love.
 
God gave us feelings so we can love and hurt and hug and smile and heal. God gave us ears so we can listen to his message, a body who can accept a hug from another person.
 
We must give these heavy burdens to God. We need to carry our faith in large baskets, and know that whatever the problem; God will carry us through it. We have to believe this.
 
Other wise, we will be injured creatures, walking this earth, thinking only of our pain. We will not be able to reach out to others who need us or are hurting.
 
This dream that I was honored to be a part of was a wonderful vision. A gift from God you might say. I have told God so many times how my life will never be the same, how much I miss my brother.
 
God showed me last night, in my dream, that no matter what pain I am going through in my waking hours, he is right there, holding my hand, guiding me and showing me his love.
 
Thank-you God, for allowing the visit to happen between me and my brother.
 
Written by,
Terry Shepherd
October, 15, 2018
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