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

We Are Here for a Reason no Matter the Age


As most of you know; I have been a caregiver for what it seems half my life. I have a deep desire to care for others. I like knowing that I had something to do with how they feel about themselves and life.

 

Since I have become disabled myself, it is hard to have to look at me as one who needs help. I received my Life Alert pendant and machine yesterday. It was very simple to hook-up and now I wear a companion around my neck. When I am cooking or taking a shower; it is nice to know that I really am not alone any longer. A push of a button sends help if I truly need it.

 

I help people on my Facebook. I try to continue to educate those with M.S.A., but I miss actually getting out and going to help others. We sometimes believe that when we grow older; life will really not change that much. The only one who could possibly change is ourselves in our health.

 

This isn’t true though. The people who we invite into our lives, their lives change also. Sickness comes, money problems, loss of some type; life continues on and this allows me to still be of help at times. I friend of mine is in a health crisis at this point, and once again, I am going to be able to help out with some caring experience.

 

I ask for prayers for my friend. Prayers for God to enter their heart. Prayers for healing. These are the two most important issues I can think of at this point. So if anyone believes in prayer, please remember me in them.

 

terry

2018-2019


The time has come to say goodbye
Not forever; not going to keep those memories shy.
It’s a new year you see, everyone waiting
Excitement definitely seems escalating.
 
 
For me it may be different than for you
I won’t be partying as you do.
I move forward with caution; eyes wide open.
Hope in my heart, feeling memories again.
 
 
I will pray for a closer walk with him up above
I will share what I have and give to all those I love.
I will sometimes sit alone, a choice I will make
And run the movie of memories which I have made.
 
 
So I say to you, two thousand eighteen
It’s been a trip; one I’ve never seen.
I will welcome in two thousand nineteen
With hope in my heart and a soul that gleams.
 
Written by,
Terry Shepherd
terry

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

Possibilities


Possibilities

Don’t sit inside
Think outside
Feel the crisp air
Hear the leaves rustle
Listen to the snapping of twigs
Hear the children’s laughter
Hear the fire crackling
Envision this, your memories
No matter the situation
There is always one reason to smile.
Written by,
Terry Shepherd

 

Left Behind


It isn’t what we are doing today that makes us or breaks us. It is, however, some of our past decisions that molds us today.

Ever make a decision and it turned out to not be a good one and now we have to live with it for the rest of our lives? It happens; I’m sure.

Maybe we did and we don’t even think about it today. Perhaps we only think about that moment when we are reminded of something that connects back to that time.

What if the decision we made was done with the awareness we knew what we were doing? How do people go forward every day having to relive and relive that second?

I’m actually not talking about you and me. I am referring to those left behind. What do I mean by that? I am referring to those who can’t speak for themselves due to an illness.

Neglect is a huge, huge problem today. There is neglect due to ignorance. There is neglect due to greed for money. There is neglect due to just plain not wanting to take the time out of our own lives for someone else.

Nursing homes hold many patients that feel they are neglected. Families don’t visit. Sometimes a minister walks in the room for a few moments.

We see homeless on our streets. I used to never see that in my town; but I do now. It is sad. Sometimes I reach in my purse and help financially. Other times I just take the time to lend an ear or offer a safe haven place to go.

There are more patients remaining in their homes today than ever; for various reasons. Who’s responsibility does it fall back on to make sure that life is being cared for at least at the standard caring level?

Is the person being fed, bathed?  Are all measures of comfort being attended to? Are doctors involved?

It used to be when I moved into a new area, a neighbor or two came to visit and bring a small treat and a large welcome. You don’t see that very often today. People are more private than ever.

Maybe with all the pointed fingers, this could be one reason people stay to themselves. It really doesn’t matter what the reason is. We are living among these homes, our neighbors. We see things that are routine.

Do me and yourself a big, big favor. When you have seen so and so every day and you find yourself thinking, I haven’t seen them lately, go knock on the door. Don’t be a private investigator or cop, just say, “Hi, I was thinking about you and so decided to come over and say hello.”

How hard is that? Let someone know you are around and you are thinking about them. If your sixth sense is getting in an uproar, maybe you can get yourself an invitation to go inside the door. You will know in a few moments whether things seem to be alright or not.

Anyways, these are my thoughts for today. Decisions, good or bad and neglect happen every day and it happens right in our own back yard. Feel good about yourself, say hello.

 

heron 3

 

Those Three Little Words


I didn’t sleep well at all last night. I am a big dreamer now a days. Usually they are nightmares but last night it was an eye opener. Do you ever have those dead stop eye opening moments? I don’t know if it’s good or not but I have not had them and now that I have had one; it has changed my view and thoughts forever more.

 

It happened so smoothly, it inched its way into my brain so softly that I didn’t even feel it happening. One sentence stated at an earlier moment and now as I lay my head down to sleep for the night, comes to me, opens the window to the mind, and sits staring me right in the face.

 

There is no denying, no place to run, no more excuses. I have to accept. So this is what I dreamed of all night and it woke me several times. This morning I feel almost like a friend who has lost their best friend. I see you but I don’t know you.

 

I know all there is or I thought I did and now I look at you through a clean window and I see no streaks. The truth shines through and now I must relax within and quit all the foolish ideas that up until now I thought would always work if only I worked hard enough to make it happen.

 

It almost feels like the burden of guilt of over trying has been a weight lifted from my small shoulders. I can brush off the dead leaves and bare branches. I can smile and not feel guilt for not sharing in your thoughts. I can feel relief as I know where you and I truly stand in our small corner of the world.

 

I can flake off the responsibility of believing it is I who has to fix things that happen in life. This is not for me to do or decide. My whole being has but one thing I must still continue to do. I will continue to pray. Pray that God helps light the path you walk on and shows you that there is a better way to find what all seek in this world.  For me, I want to say thank-you God. I will now pick myself up and search for those three little words in life called; Live, love, laugh.

 

barn 2

Almost in Tears


Today is not a day full of pain. Today is a day filled with almost tears. It sounds stupid and crazy right? I don’t blame you for thinking that. Sometimes I just don’t understand myself.

My parents have been gone for years. My brother has been gone for four years. Knowing this is fact, then why do I still have my sad days.  Last night I had different dreams that I remember well.

I dreamed of family and laughter and getting together to share a meal. I know that my children are grown. I know that my life is blessed with friends who care and love me. Yet, here I am, feeling in almost tears.

I was feeling this way when I read one of my blogging and personal friends blog. It touched me because I knew I wanted to be more like her than who I am this day. I am glad I read it. I gained some emotional power to deal with today.

Do you want to meet her? Awesome! Here is her link.

https://babyjill7.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/a-new-journey/#comment-10713

 

Today is a new day

Filled with promise

Memories of yesterday

My job is to give

To be my best

To show others

I care

That I am there for them

Yes, today represents;

New opportunities.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd

 

terry

The Fairy Tale


Fairy tales, lust and love. Somewhere in your younger years you thought of these three things. The dress in white. The man in the tux.ball-gown-empire-wedding-dresses_1

The days of thinking of no one else but him/her. The nights of lovemaking under the stars. The house, the babies, the laughter then the tears.

 

Why, why does this happen? You were so in love? If I had the answers; I may not be divorced today. I don’t know why things change. Perhaps the bills start things out. Companies having their handout for money.

 

Work and more work to make sure there is adequate money to cover bills, food, insurance, gas and of course; I could go on and on.

 

Somewhere the glitter leaves and reality sets in. Sometimes marriage counseling prior to the wedding helps. It helps set the goals of what each wants to bring to the relationship. Even then, this doesn’t always help.

 

The world is full of glitter in black masks.blackmask

It comes in many styles such as stress, overweight, insecurities, failure and many more. There is always someone out there leering near by, watching your eyes, and feeling your losses. They are there, waiting, tempting you to respond to their call.

 

A person at the bar, a hunk at the gym, a co-employee. They are all around us, and ready to make us feel better. When we are hurting or confused, not sure where we stand in a relationship; this is the time temptation comes along.

 

Now don’t get me wrong my friends. Not every person is devious. There are thousands of people who care and many who would not consider breaking up or interfering with a marriage. We do have to face the facts though. Life is delicate and easily breakable.

 

Don’t believe me? Take a look for a few weeks at the divorce filings. It is so sad to see many who have been married less than a year or even six months; filing for divorce. It sometimes appears that there surely was an argument and instead of seeking help, they sought a divorce attorney. You know, the I’ll show you attitude?

 

Then their are the relationships that have lasted fifteen, sixteen and forty years that have filed. The mid-life crisis? What is that exactly?

mid·life cri·sis
noun
noun: mid-life crisis
  1. an emotional crisis of identity and self-confidence that can occur in early middle age.

 

Sometimes this can occur from The Change. Wow, what a phrase, but so true.

Hormones bouncing, hot flashes, the kids are moving out. Suddenly it is just the two of you again and now what do you do? Weight gain has occurred. You have time to go to the gym. You get in shape. People notice. Your head swells like a big balloon.big

Guys flirt, you flirt back. It feels good. Darn, how long has it been since this has happened?

 

Well, as you can see, there are many reasons that the fairy tale can go up in flames but it doesn’t mean the light has to be snuffed completely. You just have to get the help needed for the issue and without delay. First, you may ask yourself, do I still love the person I have been involved with or married to all these years?

 

If the answer is yes, then there is hope. Pray, seek counseling, change the routine at home. Smell good, look good, think of him/her before yourself. Have a picnic in your bedroom with candles. Put the kids to bed early. Put the cell down, turn the TV off. Change it up. Do what ever you need to do to salvage what was good.

 

If you have tried your best and it still fails, well, this is the ultimate suck-ass situation of all. How do you go on? What about all those years spent together. I don’t have the answers, but I can offer suggestions. Stay close to your family. They do love you. They will listen. They will emotionally support and encourage you. Lastly, don’t forget to pray. Prayers are answered. God listens. God feels your pain. God knows your future.

 

Enough said for tonight.

I dedicate this to a very special man in my life.

I love you. R.W.