Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Why Do I Bother?

I received a letter that was most disturbing. It literally took the wind out of my sails. I felt my energy drain out of me and within 15 minutes I found myself in bed at 730 pm, checked out for the night.

It was from the Department of Health. It read like this: “Upon completion of the investigation, based on all the information available to OPMC (Office of Professions, my parenthesis), there is insufficient evidence to bring a charge of professional misconduct…”

I couldn’t believe it. And it has thrown me into another existential career crisis. This was so obvious and blatant to me, my jaw (and heart) dropped.

Ignored my dad’s request for help with his pain for four business days.

Refused to order a catheter at dad’s request, in spite of Dad being a serious fall risk due to the Parkinson’s and the nature of his infection. He even went so far as to say, “If you aren’t willing to take an antibiotic, I’m not letting you have a catheter.”

Blatant bullying behavior toward my father with statements like, “You understand this infection could kill you and you still won’t take the antibiotic?” And the most unprofessional of all, “Well, if this is what you want for your life, peeing your bed, going to the bathroom every 30 minutes, you just keep right on refusing the antibiotic.”

Requiring a conversation with the Hospice CEO before agreeing to a catheter, but refusing to read the texts that came directly from that CEO.

All of that is disgusting, but could be stretched to say it’s a matter of opinion if you really want to go out of your way to defend him. But what is NOT debatable, is the professional, ethical and legal responsibility of a doctor to RESPECT A PATIENT’S WISHES AND RIGHTS. Dad had his ducks in a row. He had a legitimate, accurately completed MOLST form. It is without doubt a clear expectation of every medical professional to respect that. So many more details I won’t take the time to write.

This doesn’t get easier with time. If fact, the more times the ball is dropped and justice is not done, I get more and more angry.

Why do I bother? Yes, because it’s the “right” thing to do. Honestly though, I spent hours and hours documenting what happened, filling out the proper forms, and speaking with investigators at length. I was told that this case would most likely go very high up the chain because the behavior exhibited was of such a serious nature.

And now this.

Nothing. How do I not throw in the towel like most people do? Why should I be the exception and continue to fight and never give up? I am seriously questioning if the things I pursue are a good use of my time and energy. I would not apologize for being emotional about my loved one, but this was not about that. There were repeated unethical acts against Dad and something drastic needs to be changed.

But it’s obviously not going to happen. Not on a professional level, not on a state level. And even the facility has chosen to keep him employed in spite of the havoc that was caused by his behavior. And oh yeah, a man more than worthy of an honorable and peaceful death got nothing of the kind.

I’m pissed. I’m disgusted. I’m crying. I’m angry. Disheartened. Wondering if I should even bother anymore. I’m bitter – that grieving my father has been more painful than I could have imagined and now AGAIN, it’s clouded with this utter nonsense.


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It’s Not Me, Right?

Sometimes it feels like things are so ridiculous, I wonder if I’ve lost my mind. I feel like I live in a world where so many people are consumed and passionate about these crazy things and missing the whole point. Are they serious?

One example from the world outside my immediate setting. Let’s ban Rudolph because of the bullies in it. I happen to think it has an amazing and relevant message, especially for such an “old” movie. You bet there are bullies, even Santa himself. But the “victims” (Rudolph and Hermie) overcome the crap treatment and become heroes. The end of the movie? All the bullies apologize. His dad, Santa… they realize they had behaved wrongly. Amen! What the hell is wrong with that message? Bullying is worth our attention. Focusing on Rudolph? Um… I don’t get it.

Plus, he’s pretty cute!

Overall, I like Frankie’s school, but sometimes I scratch my head. The athletics department is supposed to keep an eye on grades. Big bad on their part this year. Mistake #1, they forgot to notify the parent. Mistake #2, they forgot to notify the teacher. Mistake #3, they forgot to check in DAILY to see if their athlete was staying after. Three huge oops. And they wonder why the warning papers get thrown in the bottom of the gym bag and ignored. Failing academics? I think that is a pretty important thing for them to worry about.

You know what they did focus on? Frankie’s track meets are 6-7 hours long on Saturdays. In between events, they are left to entertain themselves. Now teens have incredible opportunities these days to get into trouble. Frankie found himself doing the worst thing I could imagine. He put on his nerd glasses he got for Christmas, put on his baseball cap backward, tucked in his shorts, and found himself in a dance battle with kids from another school. Unfortunately, he didn’t get video. I was very disappointed because I would have loved to have seen that.

At practice, he got scolded for fooling around between events.

He and his buddy got in the car and he told me what a “rascal” he was. I told him that he better not try to sing either. I assured him and his friend that I would send them more appropriate things to keep themselves occupied. I would send a vape with cannabis oil so they can calm down, a flask with some liquor, and a couple of porn mags so they can sit quietly next time and stay busy. They appreciated the offer.

I don’t know, is it me? There are dozens of other examples, but it just seems to me people are hyped up about the wrong stuff. I wanna hit my head on the wall sometimes. I just hope my kid doesn’t lose his personality because I think he lights up a room when he wants to. Certainly that’s better than hiding in the dark.


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Failing, Failure

The last couple days have been tough. There is nothing monumentally wrong that most families and relationships don’t typically go through. But when I feel like everything around me (or 80%) is failing, I end up feeling like a failure.

My sister was her supportive self today when we talked. She gave me her opinion that I am one of the most capable people she knows and far from a failure. Thanks sissy! Deep down, I guess I know I’m not responsible for everyone else’s choices, but it’s hard when stress can feel unrelenting.

I got talking to a client today and it reminded me of research I read years ago. It said that females in particular tend to be prone to an “internal locus of control” which, like anything else, has its good and bad points.

When a woman is faced with a problem or hurt, she usually asks herself what she did wrong and looks for how she can fix it. An external locus of control would assume someone else screwed up. The good part of the internal focus is that it can lead to empowerment and change. The bad part is that it can lead to over-responsibility and unnecessary self-blame.

Generalizations almost always get you in trouble so please understand these thoughts don’t apply to every single person in every single situation. As an observer of human behavior and relationships, I have to say that it does seem to often be the case though. Women are often the “emotional thermometers” in relationships. It’s almost comical when a couple sits down for session and the man briefly declares things are ok. The woman wants to know who he has been living with because it apparently isn’t their home. As she recounts the week’s activity, the man will eventually nod in agreement. “Oh yea, I forgot about that,” or something similar.

Anyhow, when you intensely love and care for people around you, it can be heartbreaking when you are disappointed, worried, concerned when you see those around you making choices that hurt you, or worse hurt themselves. Probably the most intense pain is around the love and concern a parent has for their child. A child of any age, no matter how old he/she gets.

I’m doing ok tonight. I’m exhausted and feel like a wet dish rag. But talking to people who care and an unscheduled call to Scott (my trusted therapist) reminds me that these things too shall pass. They hurt like hell, but I don’t need to fall into the abyss or anything. Tomorrow will come and I will just do the best I can again. I’m usually the only one that asks more of me than that.

Hope all is well in your world, wherever you are. Take some time for self-care, but stay engaged in life and people. It’s worth it, even when you’d rather punch them all…LOL.


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Closure

For those of you that follow my blog, you might remember last year that my dear, elderly friend Ed died. Due to a bunch of misunderstandings and folks who were unable to cope with what was actually happening (the dying process) I was unable to be there or participate in any rituals after his death. Sometimes life has a way of circling things around.

In our quest to continue to purge and keep paper to a minimum, I cleaned out a couple of my memory boxes. While I was sorting, I had a couple of moments that were painful but beautiful with the men in my life. The first was a birthday card from Ed.

It wasn’t my imagination. He called me his best friend. He cared for me like I cared for him. He didn’t have control over his family at the end. I may not have been able to attend his funeral, but I spent some time with his card and felt connected and like I was able to say goodbye more properly. What a gift!

And for those of you who read the eulogy I wrote for my dad, you might recall the lifelong saga of Dad not feeling comfortable saying, “I love you.” As the holidays keep unfolding, I have felt very badly more than once or twice that least year Dad was in the hospital on Thanksgiving, and then again until Christmas Eve. I can’t tell you how much I hate that his last holidays were spent like that.

My second gift was from Dad. I had totally forgotten about this, but he always gave each of us money for Christmas. Last year he wasn’t feeling too hot so I was in charge of getting the cards and sealing them for him. When we got to mine, I asked him to write, “I love you” on it. We chuckled a lot over it, but he did it. I think I told him not to sign that on my sister’s so I could harass her about it.

She got the verbal words from him the week that he died. I wasn’t jealous, I’m glad she heard it. But when I found this card, I felt like he was yelling it from the treetops to me. It was a beautiful moment of closure for me.

I continue to miss him like crazy. You know how holidays magnify grief. It stinks. But I already got the best Christmas presents ever, especially from my daddy…


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Progress

I have been enjoying working with my lady and the organizing we have been attempting to. Here is one of the before and after photos I have:

I’m not sure what you think about that. Is it like, wow! What a huge difference!  Or is it like, big deal! It’s just one small wall.

I guess both statements are true. This job has gotten me thinking more about the dynamics around hoarding vs. disorganization. Usually when I go to a typical home where things have gotten a little out of hand, folks are just overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Once we get going, they pick up momentum and catch on to my method. Next time I go there, I find they have been working on their own and making great progress.  Most people love feeling more free and less encumbered.

With hoarding, or on your way to being one, it seems to be a different dynamic. It usually develops over many, many years. I think people become completely unaware of how their environment has affected them. This lovely lady I work with sits quietly when I get excited about the finished section. I will tell her how great it looks and she will say calmly, “Whatever you say. I thought it was fine before.”  And I believe she really feels that way.

I am hoping with time she will develop some intrinsic motivation. If she doesn’t, I know what will happen. Things will just return to the way they were, which will put her at risk with the building managers. Keep your fingers crossed and say your prayers for her.


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More Rules

Upon discussing some of the things that went sideways where my dad was living, the corporate folks pointed out that sometimes people get so fixated on obeying rules, they stop using common sense. I’ve been aware of that dynamic for a while and spot it in so many settings. Last week someone on the phone just spoke to me like a robot because she couldn’t stray from the script long enough to answer simple questions from me.

Today was another incident that had me seeing red. Dave was supposed to have his first ever indoor track meet today. It was at Buff State, about 25 minutes away. I was supposed to wake him at 5 am so he could catch the bus at 630 am. I didn’t notice that I set the alarm for weekdays, so it didn’t go off as it is Saturday. Oh no!

I woke up at 630. We told his peers we would have to drive there and off we rushed to get there. We weren’t going to be late, but it turns out there is a rule that students need to ride the bus or they can’t participate in the sport.

I called and pleaded with every source I could, all to no avail. They wouldn’t let him race. I had to drive back and pick him up. I even spoke with our counselor who is also on staff at the school. I understand why they have such rules, but you should still be able to use common sense. In other words, no parent (single or partnered) can ever, ever make a mistake or an error without their child being punished. There will never ever be a circumstance where exceptions should be made to the general rule. That’s ridiculous.

We also talked about how I have always been hard on myself for being less than perfect, and things like this trigger me like crazy. This is why you have to be perfect. The system doesn’t allow for being human. And it’s a million times worse when your kid suffers instead of you.

Follow the rules for the sake of following rules. Turn your blinders on. 

I know that David didn’t die because he couldn’t race today. Worse things can happen in life, I know. But it was still a very stressful, exhausting and disappointing morning with an already difficult season upon us.

Please feel free to share any thoughts you have and/or repost this on your page. Wish me luck as I continue on my Mary Poppins goal… Practically perfect in every way. 🙂


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Paying Forward

We got a new carpet this week. A crew of three came to rip up the old and put in the new. One was a female. The guys told me they love working with her because she works harder than 95% of the men on their crew. (No offense men, but that really isn’t surprising!)

She complimented the house and we ended up chatting. Found out she was struggling a bit. She lives in an apartment and is raising her granddaughter. Unfortunately, that usually means her child is either a drug addict or has a serious mental illness. I didn’t pry.

Turns out she could use some of the excess small tables I had that I was going to post and attempt to sell. I told her I would be happy to give her them which saves me the hassle of selling. She was very grateful but didn’t drive. Her boss picks her up every morning and takes her home and she didn’t want to put him out any further.

I went out to talk to “the boss.” I told him I was going to “bat my eyes” at him and he asked what it was I wanted. He had no problem taking the items for her. She was so thrilled. I mentioned that one of them had belonged to my dad. She saw a picture of him on the wall and said he looked kind. She also said she would say some prayers in his honor. It was a lovely and seemingly sincere moment.

She was hesitant to take it at first because of it belonging to him. I told her that keeping it would not bring him back, but it would make me happy to know that someone so kind and appreciative was using it.

It was a lovely day in spite of all the stress that house remodeling brings. For those of you that haven’t been here in a while, you should stop in and see the new bathroom and bedroom. Tim and I have made a great team and things are looking spiffy!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, especially those experiencing the loss of someone they care about. Holidays always seem to multiply the grief. 

And please share my post if you are able. Always trying to boost interest in these topics and hopefully expose my business. Love to all of you!