what more could I ask for?

Today is 30 May and today is also Memorial Day. Historically, no matter what day of the week it fell on, 30 May was always Memorial Day. It began as a way to remember and to honor those who’d given their lives…lost their lives, during their military service to this country. Currently, the date of Memorial Day is not set to a particular date, but is always celebrated on the last Monday in the month of May. This year, on this Monday…it is both. Seems special to me.

Over the last years there have been more deaths in my family and in my small circle, than I could have imagined. The word memorial has taken on a much more personal meaning. Memorial Day, for me, has come to be connected to remembering and honoring those who’ve lost their lives in all the infinite ways that we humans do lose our lives, including those who’ve lost their lives in military service. For me, Memorial Day is about remembering.

The piece that I am posting is one that I’ve been working on for a long while now. Approaching this weekend I began to feel that I needed to get it finished so I could post it. Today. And it wasn’t until just this weekend that I looked up to notice that not only was I preparing to post this essay on Memorial Day weekend…but that today is the actual, original date of Memorial Day.

Both of my parents were in the Army…it’s not too much of a surprise that my father was…but more so with my mother. Neither of them lost their lives during their military service, but over these last few years I have come more and more to connecting this day, in part, with them – who they were, how they lived their lives. As I continue to listen to the guidance that comes to me in my life…I find that it makes perfect sense that I finally make this posting about my parents, on Memorial Day. It is a remembering and an honoring of these two who I am only beginning to know. If they were still alive, neither of them would be too comfortable with my remembering or honoring them. Maybe by now, wherever they are, they can receive my grateful bow and humbled heart that I had the great good fortune to have these two courageous, rebellious, heartbroken, hard working, poetry loving, extreme opposites – that these two enormous hearted ones would walk their own incredibly different and winding paths and eventually become my parents. I honor them and I remember them.

After having left Los Angeles as soon as I could find the courage to do so, just one year after graduating from high school, and with a rather loud slamming of the door in a metaphorical kind of way, it came as quite a shock to me and most who knew me, when, some thirty years later I moved back there: down to Los Angeles to help out my parents who were both in their eighties. All of us in our family, including dad who at the time was 87, felt that he might not live much longer. As it turned out, it was my mother who was getting ready to go.

What SHE said

Slowly during this time that we had together, and ever so carefully, my mother and I began to open our hearts to each other…in person. We were entering a new realm. Our relationship did not shift because either of us thought it should; nor did either of us try to make it change. It shifted by some grace, because of course we deeply needed it to shift – it’s just that neither of us had any idea how to begin such a thing. As with so much beauty in life, it was taken out of our hands.

Mom had become ever more wobbly on her feet as neuropathy took its toll on her ability to walk. One morning she stumbled and fell, hitting the back of her head on a broken wooden drawer-pull on a piece of old furniture in the dining room. She ended up with quite a large gash. I was not there when she fell, but received a strange phone call from her at work. At that time, only a month after I’d arrived, we still subscribed to staying out of each other’s lives at all cost. Just the fact that she called me at work was alarming. She wasn’t speaking to any direct point, she was rambling a bit…this was not like her.

Finally she told me she had fallen, that dad was certain she didn’t need to go to the hospital and that he was sure the bleeding would stop on its own. The problem was, she couldn’t see the wound herself, as it was on the back of her head. Dad’s vision, by this time, was quite poor, so he couldn’t really see what was going on either. And, we found out later, he couldn’t bear to look at the wound in the first place, but couldn’t admit to that. Mom and I were both starting to notice that in subtle ways, dad was beginning to have trouble accessing good old common sense. I could hear in her voice that this was part of the problem. He wasn’t quite able to grasp the potential gravity of the situation; it was just too much for him to process. I said I would come right home and she answered with, “Please. I’m sorry.  Please come home.” This was big…she asked for help, asked me to leave work and come home. That’s not something that we did too much of – ask for help. We didn’t ask anyone and we especially didn’t ask each other – but we were learning. I had only been back home a month. Thank goodness I was there and able to help them. They were at a point in their lives where more and more of life outside of their small little world was too much for them: too fast, too complicated, incomprehensible really.

As I entered their house, I found dad in his usual spot on the couch right by the front door. He looked worried, and I could tell from his body language that he didn’t know what to do. My mother called out to me from the bathroom and as I joined her I saw blood all over the bathroom floor, and all over her. I took one look at her and said that we were going to the hospital. Something had changed in our family dynamic, at least on this one day. I was in charge; they needed and wanted me to be in charge. This new role of mine spontaneously occurred because we were in an extraordinary circumstance, and we each knew that we three could make this shift.

We needed to take mom to the hospital, and together we began a long journey. We arrived at the emergency room on a Saturday morning about 11 am. That is a bad time, probably the worst time, to go to any hospital emergency room. The whole world shows up on Saturday mornings. I’m sure it’s much worse now, but even then, ten years ago, there were so many people in southern California that could not afford any form of healthcare, emergency rooms had become the only option for medical assistance.

As you may know, head wounds tend to bleed A LOT, so my mother’s injury looked much worse than it actually was. Luckily, miraculously, she did not seem to have a concussion, and was not really feeling much pain from the fall itself, another miracle. There were many patients with much more urgent medical needs; stabbings, gunshot wounds, automobile accidents. This meant that my 87-year-old father, my 81-year-old mother and I, sat together in an insanely crowded ER waiting room along with the rest of the sick and injured of the San Fernando Valley, for a very long time.

My father who at this point in his life had lost a great deal of his vision to macular degeneration, needed to find his way to the restroom frequently. I was not comfortable leaving mom alone and there certainly were no hospital staff available for such mundane needs. Each time he hurriedly made his way toward the desk to get directions to the restroom, I worried that he’d get lost in the inner sanctum of the hospital, never to return. I worried that if questioned he would not be able to remember our names or why he was there. So he was on his own perilous journey. This otherworldly situation brought the three of us together. It was precious. We were all looking out for each other. I looked out for both of them, my father looked out for my mother and I, which was, simply put, his lifelong duty, even though all three of us knew that there was nothing he could do about any of it, and, maybe most importantly, we all knew that we needed to take care of mom.

When we were finally taken to an exam room, our situation became even more intimate. There we were – my mother stretched out on a hospital bed with me at her side, and my father, sitting in a chair in the corner as far away from my mother as he could get. It turned out he was extremely squeamish about all the blood. We knew that he was present with her and deeply concerned…he just couldn’t handle the blood. I had never seen him like this, so tender and vulnerable with her. Nor had I ever sat with my mother in this way. She rarely got sick, never needed nursing. She kept assuring us that she felt fine, and that we didn’t need to stay with her, that I could take dad home and come back for her. There was no way we were leaving her there – we might never find her again in the writhing mass of humanity that existed both inside and outside of that hospital.

At some point I found the courage to take my mother’s hand. And she found the courage to hold on to mine. To you, this might not sound like a courageous act, but for us, it was deeply courageous, and newly intimate. We sat there, mostly in silence. Every now and then I would ask her how she was doing. Her reply was always, “Me? Oh, I’m fine.” A nurse would come in and inspect the gash on her head. My father’s complexion would shift a bit more toward the green spectrum, even though he was facing away from her and looked away with every cell of his body. Without any exaggeration I can tell you that we were in that room for many hours. I am deeply grateful for this…we could have still been out in the tiny, overcrowded waiting room where hundreds spilled out onto the sidewalk, for all those hours.

When a doctor finally came to stitch up the wound, my mother with her insatiable curiosity began asking about everything the doctor was doing. She told my mother, a little too cheerfully, that she was actually using “staples,” that for head wounds such as hers it was easier, quicker…and the scar would not show. My mother strongly encouraged her to find a different word – as “staples” was more than even my sturdy mother could handle. My father almost lost what little food he had in his belly at the mention of “staples”, and at least energetically, pressed his entire being completely into the corner of the room farthest away from mom and the stapling that was still going on.

Sometime later my mother shared with me part of what kept her calm, kept her going all those hours. I have a necklace that I wear most every day. It is a pendant made from bone, carved with a face that has a subtle and ever so peaceful smile within it. Many ask or suggest that it’s the moon. My mother told me that as she lay there on that hospital bed on her side, to avoid putting any pressure on the back of her head, the peaceful face that hung around my neck was right at eye level. Any time that her eyes were open, she was looking into that beautiful and somewhat ethereal face. She told me that it was a great comfort to her. Even this was a new and intimate exchange between us.

That was the beginning of an opening for my mother and me: an opening between our hearts, a kind of bonding that I’m not sure had existed between us until then. All of this had to occur before my mother and I could come to a place where she could tell me one of her most personal and intimate truths, directly and in person.

I made a point of taking mom out to lunch once a week, and not just to eat. We also went window-shopping…just wandering around somewhere with no particular goal in mind. She was no longer driving, and my father had absolutely no patience for wandering – especially at the very slow pace that she now wandered at.

We were sitting across from each other at her favorite coffee shop. She looked me in the eye and her expression changed. She told me the following: she told me that every health issue that she had – every syndrome, disease, chronic issue – they were all caused by lifestyle choices. She looked at me even more directly and told me that none of it was hereditary…that her illnesses were all caused by her own behaviors, choices she’d made in her life. And she pleaded with me, begged me, to not follow in her footsteps. Some of the issues that she struggled with, I do struggle with still. And I hear her voice, pleading with me. “Please don’t. You can do something about it. Please. Okay?”

For us, for our history, for how we’d behaved toward each other most of our lives, for all the fears and heartbreaks we’d had and not shared with each other – in this one brief conversation it was as if the bells of cathedrals worldwide were ringing, all in unison – and the walls between us were beginning to crumble. They did begin…and they never crumbled all the way. Maybe they did crumble all the way; it just looked different than I thought it would. We both could feel it and now we could see each other across those walls. Slowly, subtly, we allowed each other in.

I got to spend this time with my amazing and courageous mother. These are qualities that I only began to recognize in her toward the end of her life, and really didn’t name as such until after she was gone. We found our way into each other’s hearts – while she was still alive. Maybe I’ll say instead, that we finally saw ourselves residing in each other’s hearts, because truly we were already there. We’d just never looked into each other’s hearts, like we were now. I do know that this sort of gift, healing, whatever your particular word for it is, could have also occurred after her death. We were lucky, so lucky; we got to have it while she was alive, but just barely. She was gone within two years after my arrival, and our lunchtime conversation came only three or four months before her death, the death that was a surprise to all or at least most of us.

What He said

My father developed dementia in his last years, which accelerated after mom’s death. As this occurred, it became harder and harder for him to keep track of a conversation…he just couldn’t follow it, keep all the parts in his head. It became even more difficult for him after I moved back up north to my home in Washington State, because then we only had phone conversations. Those are harder for so many reasons, even without dementia. Add that into the mix – well, he just couldn’t do it.

Because he’d had a small business as a younger man, and I now worked in a small business, he’d always begin by asking, “So how’s business?” Often, I was stressed out about one thing or another, and would instantly begin to ramble on about it, since he’d asked. Quickly though, I’d remember that he couldn’t follow where I was going, but not before he’d cut me off and ask his real question, which would crack my heart open a little more each time he asked it:

“But are you happy?”

The first time I heard these words I could not believe my ears. I can never recall my father even speaking to the idea of happiness. I have no memory of such a question ever coming from him. He was definitely not the kind of man who would ask about being happy. My cousin wondered, when I mentioned this to him, if maybe it was because for many in dad’s generation, especially the men of that era, happiness was not something that anyone ever really expected. I do know now, that so much of what he said or did when I was younger, really was pointing to that question – but for me, in the midst of our very strained relationship – I had no idea that he was wondering, let alone hoping, that I was happy. Now I know that most definitely he was.

“But are you happy?”

That’s what he asked me, and quite quickly, every time I spoke with him on the phone those last few years. And he asked it so sincerely and with such a deep concern and unabashed yearning for me to say that I was, that I could not disappoint him. But I also couldn’t lie to him. I wanted to be able to answer yes to his question because I heard in his voice, in the way that he asked the question, that he knew some larger truth, and I wanted to know it for myself. I heard that he was really asking me to dig deeper, to get to what was really important in life and see that there, in that place, in that deep and peaceful place I would always be able to say, “Yes, I am happy.” It became a question that I would hear him asking me at different points in my day. In a way, his question became a monitoring device. So I began to know that I was happy…not pretend syrupy-sweet happy, but truly, deeply happy. I learned this from my father, a man of very few words.

That I have these two beautiful kernels held carefully in my cupped hands, given to me by my parents; that I traveled on a long, winding road with them to a place where the fierce winds of life stopped just long enough for the jeweled gifts to be placed in my hands, and that we looked into each others’ eyes and hearts as the jewels were given by them and received by me; what more could I ask for?


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Following a map of light and dark

Light and dark define one another. The other night, I was part of a jam session that was predominantly filled with the sounds of drums…a wall of low and relatively dark frequencies poured out into the early evening silence that rested on the waters of Miller Bay. I began to tap out a rhythm with chopsticks on several glasses of water and the effect was profound. The contrast was striking and I saw it instantly transform the faces of all who were in the room. A few light and precise notes skittered across the mass of low, dark sounds, grasping the attention of us all.

As I lay in bed that evening, I saw the jam session; saw it rather than heard it. I saw tiny, brilliant lights dance out across a background of darkness. I saw how intensely powerful those small stars of light were, and the immense beam their brightness cast in spite of their size. In that moment I saw similarly bright stars bouncing across the map of my own recent life and realized that I’d developed a sometimes habit of dwelling in fear of this unknown place I’ve been traveling through. I’ve noticed though, that whenever I begin to tell someone else what has been going on of late, I hear, I see, those lovely, clear bells that are piercing through the darker shades in my life. It’s easy for me to forget the bells that are ringing.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s what lets the light in

from Anthem by  Leonard Cohen

I attempt here to draw a map of the stars in my dark sky, and, even as these words are written, I realize that in the context of the sky, dark has no positive or negative reference attached to it. It is simply the sky, which out beyond this planet upon which we live, happens to be dark and immense. This map I draw, it is the map of my travels, but the truth is, you have a map as well. The journey will be different – but a grand journey can be found within your own heart. Mostly, it takes the courage, to…simply…look…up. I forget to do this, often. I am getting better at it.

As a reminder, this journey began on New Years Day…and spans three months time.

 

The Blog:                                                                                                     mid-January, 2011

I got word, on several occasions, from whomever it is that sends me such notices, that I was to start writing a web log (blog). (See this link if you want to read about how I was informed of this.) I heard this about two weeks into the journey described by this map. I cried out to my friends for help and learned that resources were available, where else, but on the Web. My friends calmly told me that it was easy…that yes, really, I could do it.

The Call:                                                                                                          4 February 2011

On one particularly dark-minded Friday, I was deep in the midst of extracting an indescribable (believe me, you don’t want to know more about it) glob from the drain in the bathroom sink. I was well equipped; my hands, protected by industrial strength, dark-blue rubber gloves, held on to a pair of long, needle nose pliers that grasped a slimy mass. I had just successfully pulled it all the way out of the sink, when the phone rang.

I have become extremely skilled at not answering the phone when I am ill prepared for, or not interested in, carrying on a conversation. I can imagine that any observer would have put me in one of those two categories when the phone rang. For some reason though, when I heard the phone, I felt compelled to at least check who was calling (and gave thanks again, for Caller ID). I walked over to the phone, (I left the pliers beside the sink, still clutching the nameless mass…) and looked to see who might be calling. It was a strange identifier: “UNC-Chapel Hill”. “Hmmm, that’s probably not someone I want to speak to right now.” I assumed it was a telemarketer, not aware that I knew anyone from North Carolina. Again, something or someone nudged me, and surprising myself, I picked up the phone with one, now bare, hand.

A woman identified herself; saying that she was a producer for the radio show The Story, and wondered if now would be a good time to answer some questions about the piece that I had submitted. (“A piece that I had submitted? Oh,” I remembered, “back a couple of months ago.”) I looked at my rubber gloves, glanced at the plumbing project still waiting to be finished in the bathroom, took a deep breath to make sure that sound would come out when I attempted to speak, and said, “Sure. Yes, this would be a great time to answer some questions.” I excused myself for a moment so that I could remove the second glove…and turn my thoughts away from unclogging a drain, and toward my piece of writing…hoping I would remember enough about it in the moment to answer questions on something that I had not thought about recently.

Later on, I was struck by the fact that our phone conversation really was a conversation. She asked thoughtful questions that required in-depth answers. I felt that she was willing to take the time to listen to my answers…more often than not, these days, I find that people ask questions, but don’t have time to listen to the answers. By the end of our discussion, I heard her asking if I’d be willing to travel to Seattle to one of our local public radio stations for an in-studio interview, after she got the approval of one last producer. “Yes…YES I would be willing – I would love to do that.” She thought that most likely we would set up an interview for the following Tuesday, but she’d get back in touch with me on Monday.

To say I was flabbergasted, would only begin to sum up how I felt after that phone call. I was elated and completely in awe of the workings of this amazing experience called life. I wandered around, (20 ft x 20 ft is the total size of my cabin, and what I’ve got for wander space)…moving somewhere between dancing, pacing and prancing, probably becoming airborne at some point. Then music began playing in my head – or I finally noticed it. I apologize that I am not able to identify the composer or the title of the piece. At this point, I can only identify it as the music playing during a particular scene in The King’s Speech, a movie that I absolutely love and am willing to admit I’ve seen more than a couple of times.

This particular scene, and the accompanying music, comes at the point where the main character finally accepts what is for him, the most terrifying and unimaginable task he can possibly conceive of. With a great deal of turmoil and hard work, staring into the deepest heart of fear, he grandly succeeds. (If you’ve seen the movie, it’s the scene where the soon-to-be-crowned King George VI and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, are rehearsing for the Coronation, in Westminster Abbey.) That’s the music that was playing in my head when I hung up the phone. I knew something was shifting in my life. Regardless of whether or not the actual interview took place, I knew that some kind of movement, a new direction, was upon me.

By Monday, Egypt was in the midst of major changes. I received a call and an email saying that they would have to reschedule my interview. They were going to need that time to speak with people connected to the events unfolding in Egypt. I was disappointed, but was certainly able to concede to the historic scale of Egypt’s story. They’d let me know when a time opened up again.

Here’s where my friends, the demons, began clearing their throats. Do you know what those pesky and yes, pretty, little demons said to me? (Previously a friend noted, “I don’t know if our demons ever go away, or if you just get to grow old with them, slowly watching them become, maybe, prettier and prettier”…)They said that the radio show really wasn’t going to call back, that my one small chance was over. I heard them…but I did not look them in the eye. I just kept walking toward whatever grand adventure was just around the bend.

The Invitation:                                                                                                 18 February 2011

Once I received The Call, I began to share the story I’d written with many of my friends and relatives. I was excited…and I had to tell A LOT of people. With each note I included a copy of the story, The Queen of the Flowers. It is about my experiences getting to know an elderly man who had lost almost all of his short-term memory, experiences that became my introduction to the world of dementia.

One such friend is a nurse, and unbeknownst to me, she was, in a number of weeks, to begin teaching a course in Dementia Care. She wrote asking my permission to read the story to her class. !!??!! I was honored that she wanted to share the story with her students and told her so. Then I had an idea…my friend lives up in Canada, a day’s journey from me. I wrote back suggesting that I would very much enjoy reading the story to her class, and then possibly follow the reading with a discussion about some of my personal experiences working with people in the midst of dementia. My friend was delighted with this idea and we began to make a plan. So I guess you could say that I’m the one who made The Invitation.

One possible stumbling block was that my passport was expired…and the passport folks were saying it could take 4 – 6 weeks for me to get a new one. By then, the class would be over. You can probably imagine what the demons were saying. I decided to plow ahead and apply. The next day I ran into a neighbor who said that it only took ten days when she had applied the month prior, which gave me great hope. I received my passport in two weeks time! I saw the demons out of the corner of my eye. They were oddly silent.

The Interview:                                                                                                 24 February 2011

My contact person with the radio show called me to say they had a spot available for the interview…this was about ten days after the original date. I looked at my friends, the demons, in the eye and said, “See…this is going to happen.” They looked right back at me and said, “No it’s not; you’re going to be out of town on that day.” Well, that was true, and I was so disappointed. “No problem,” she said, adding that she’d contact me after my return. The demons said, “No she won’t.” I turned away from them. She did contact me the following week. “Hah!” I said to my pesky friends.

We were having some snowy weather here and the day she proposed had been forecast as a potentially big (for us) snowstorm. “See, it’s not really going to happen…you’re going to get snowed in.” I ignored them. Sometimes, up here on this ridge, we get a fair amount more snow than those just a half-mile down the road. I don’t have a great car for driving in the snow, not to mention that I grew up in Los Angeles, and my snow-driving instincts aren’t that keen. I decided to move my car down to the bottom of the hill, and that way, if, as happens sometimes, it was only we up higher that received any amount of snow…I could just walk down the hill, get in my car and drive to the ferry.

I told the producer my plan, and we agreed that I’d only go into Seattle if it felt safe to do so. I glared at the demons and went about my day. I was, admittedly, pretty wound up about the prospect of the interview, and also about whether or not it was going to snow. Some forecasters were saying it was going to be a harsh storm, which could potentially mean power outages (and no water, as our well water is provided by an electric pump). I decided to get up extra early, giving myself plenty of time to walk down to my car, and get to the ferry.

That next morning was absolutely spectacular. I began my walk down the road just after sunrise, with tender shades of peach and the palest of lavenders pressing up against sparkling fresh snow. Up here we ended up getting three or four inches and down below, even less. The big crazy snowstorm had taken a detour. I had the hillside all to myself. I was the first one out – no footprints, no tire tracks. Crunching down the hill, the sunshine was all mine. I felt blessed. My car started up just fine and we (my car and I) had a leisurely and uneventful ride down to the ferry. I walked onto the boat, which was packed with its usual crush of early morning commuters. We crossed to the other side of the (Puget) Sound upon calm waters, with a breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier dressed in her fresh drape of new snow, early morning pastels still clinging here and there. I hung back to let the mob of morning commuters blaze off the ferry, wandered up to Third Street and took a bus up to the radio station in the University District. Snowflakes flurried around now and then, making the whole experience that much more magical. We don’t get snow all that often around here, and even though it’s been many years since my days in Los Angeles, for me, snow is always magical.

The combination of a pending snowstorm and the possibility of the radio interview meant a fitful night’s sleep leading up to this journey. Perfect – I was too tired to be nervous. By the time I arrived at the radio station, was lead down to the sound studio, fitted with headphones, and the microphone was adjusted, I was pleasantly relaxed and warm. The sound engineer and I entered into an easy conversation as he adjusted the recording levels to prepare for the interview. At some point, Dick Gordon, the host of the show, joined us in the mix (from the producing station at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and we were off. We spoke for around an hour and had a great conversation. Rachel had assured me that it would feel more like that, than like an interview…and she was right.

Soon enough it was over and I was heading upstairs in the elevator. Standing in the silence of the tiny enclosed space, still a bit awed by all that had transpired since I had uncurled out of bed many hours earlier, I heard my mother speaking to me. She and I had, somewhere along the way, agreed that we would not pry or press each other about personal matters. That may sound strange for the format of a mother/daughter relationship…but that’s mostly how it was between us. There was this one interesting exception. Every year or so…sometimes twice a year, during the last years of my mother’s life, she would say to me, “You know, you have a lovely speaking voice…you really should go into radio. I’m sure there’s a public radio station near where you live…you should call them.” To me, this always came pretty much out of nowhere. Each time she gave me this personal nudge, I was so deeply touched. Based on our unspoken agreement, this was really quite something for her to do…she was stepping way out on a limb. And now, I heard her say it again, and I felt, and saw, her beautiful, broad smile. “What do you think, mom?” I wondered.

On Air!:                                                                                                                 24 March 2011

One month after The Interview the show went On Air. In the week leading up to the show, the producer asked if I had a link that they could post on their website, so listeners could read the story that I’d written. SO. Way back in the beginning, when I obediently listened to instructions about starting a web log…barely knowing what that was, and certainly not knowing why I would want to do, or have, such a thing…when Rachel asked me for a link…I HAD ONE ALL SET UP! It even had a couple of posts, and a second story.

This link will take you to the place where I describe to you what that day was like for me, but in one word, it was magical.

The Class:                                                                                                                 1 Apr 2011

Once I had my passport, my friend and I made plans for my journey. We didn’t really discuss ahead of time what exactly the form of my presentation would be. When I arrived in Canada we talked about it a little, but both of us knew that it would go just as it needed to go. The timing of my visit turned out to be perfect (it all just worked out this way, we did not organize it). The afternoon that I came to speak to her class was the beginning of the time set aside for review of their material, in preparation for their final exams.

The afternoon was just as I had imagined it would be. I enjoyed reading the story, I loved sharing anecdotes about my father who also had dementia, and what was amazing, to all of us, is that each story I shared ended up correlating beautifully with a portion of their curriculum. It was really something…how it all worked out. 

This map that I am describing to you, continues. Most likely I will share more because there is definitely more to share. I am walking along a path that continues to reveal itself to me, as I walk. I cannot see too far ahead, but as I move along, the path just keeps appearing. What’s more, the more carefully I look, the more I notice that there are seeds on the path, seeds that so want to be planted in the luscious soil where they appear. It is spring – time for planting seeds, and I am doing just that.