"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com

"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com
Still available on Amazon for Nook and Kindle, hard copy booklett to re-print November 2013

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Things don't change!

One day while teaching at College of the Canyons, I told my nursing students that at various times I took care of family members who were unable to care for themselves. I explained that they were unable to speak. They had to be fed and most had no teeth. They could not walk and had to be carried or pushed around. And all were totally incontinent of bladder and bowel. I told them somberly that I loved each one of them.

I added bits of sad detail and before long most of the 30 students had wet eyes and were blowing their noses. Halfway through the class I confessed to them that those incontinent people were my five children when they were babies! Oh! Were they mad at me for manipulating their emotions when I told them the "rest of the story"...I continued on and said.

"As we go into this long term care facility and you care for your patients many will be like those infants I lovingly took care of. They will have difficulty communicating, maybe have no teeth, be unable to feed themselves, some will not be able to walk, and most will be incontinent. Care for them tenderly as if they are your parents, or your babies..."

It seems a little joke of our heavenly father that we leave this earth as we arrived; unable to care for ourselves. And I have also wondered why are babies so loved and cherished. Yet the elderly, who may be in the same condition as infants, are not so fun to care for, or to be around.

Maybe this is because some people, will get unreasonable, selfish and nastier as time goes on. Yet, others have told me their parents, who were difficult when they were growing up,...seemed to soften and mellow as the years passed, I guess you can never know!
But no matter what, we all go through this life knowing that one day it will end. Some of us will choose to be the grumpy old aunt, uncle, or parent. The ones no one wants to care for....like the baby with colic that no matter what you do, they fuss, they cry and complain.

We can also learn a lot from those who pass this earthly life with acceptance, grace, kindness, and an understanding that their loved ones are doing their very best to make their last days the best that they can be.   

Patrick and I were given a call not long ago from two dear friends from our past.
Don playing twister...Don and Patrick holding Brad and Little Pat
When we were in our 20's Don was Patrick's catcher for the ball team he pitched for. We had such fun travelling with the team. Ann and I were pregnant with our first babies at the same time. We shared the joy of the births of our boys and talked and laughed about the future. Soon after that the Barnes moved away to pursue Doctorate degrees in education. (We bought their house.) 
Fast Pitch Softball for North Hollywood Third Ward...
We kept in touch through the years but soon contact became only Christmas letters. Both families shared news and weddings each year. At one point when the Barnes were teaching at the University of Southern Utah, our youngest daughter lived with them for a semester. Don and Ann were always upbeat and fun to be around. Even through the difficulty of learning about a debilitating diagnosis of their first born, Brad. They worked hard to make sure he could be independent even though he had a rare disease called Tuberous Sclerosis. (Brad has worked as a janitor at an elementary school for over 20 years. It is said by many teachers that he IS the school.) After they knew Brad was safe and happy they traveled the world while teaching. 

Their phone call began, "You guys are on our bucket list." Wow, what an honor when you think about it. A few weeks later they had business in our area and came by for a brief visit. We planned  to take a cruise together, because, Ann has pancreatic cancer and has gone through very painful treatments and surgeries so she can have one day, one week or one year, or one moment more with her family. She is enjoying each second of her life. They had been on several cruises during Ann's recovery, and they wanted to share the fun they were having with us. How could we say,"No."
Pat and Ann at Green Gables 
We had so much fun playing remember when? Talking and sharing the last 30 years of our lives. I soon realized Ann is amazing in her attitude. She smiles and laughs through the good and the bad. She is ready for any adventure. Don does everything he can to make sure her life is meaningful and full of fun. I love and admire them both. 
Patrick, Patricia Ann & Don Barnes
Knowing them had made me realize how important it is to find joy in each day, to look for the good not the bad. As we reach our expiration dates, (kinda like what you see on the salad you buy in a bag, or on a milk carton) I want to make sure I can suck up bad moments and not let poor health or a difficult situation sour my attitude. I want to make sure that everyone knows of my appreciation for kindness and love freely given. I want to keep my sensibility and my mind so I can cling to my Cherub like demeanor to my last breath.               I hope, I hope, I,,,