Life Changes

Things that seemed so important before change. As I am in the last part of my life I see that the things that hurt me so much before hurt less now. I am more used to them.

I value the friends and loved ones I have. My focus is on the positive and not on the ill will of others. There are so many positive well wishers in my life. I am a lucky person. I will succeed and be success here on this earth.

My lifelong partner is strong and fierce for me. He will face what I cannot. And for him I will face what he cannot. We will do it back-to-back. Moment by moment if need be.

 

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Sitting Around With A Geeky Girl

Learning all about wordpress and blogging. Angie from Geeky Girl is awesome. It all seems overwhelming at times but she has a great way to explain it all. 🙂

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Hey You! Get outta my bubble.

Recently there was another video that was leaked to the world.  I use the word leaked seriously even though you might see a pun.

My last 62 years have been spent learning what it is all about. What a shame that I might find out at the end of my life what it all means. We really need to know this before we begin our lives.

I guess that is why some people say that there has to be an afterlife. One that we will not enter into as a complete dummy.

So as I entered the world, I was aware of noise and pushing and shoving. I swished around in a tiny swimming pool and as I felt myself grow I got things that allowed me to open and close and I could push my limits. I was constantly moving. But trapped in this tiny wet room.

And then one day there was a lot more commotion than usual. I found myself being pushed downward through a tiny opening. Little did I know at the time that I would be delivered into a limitless world.

It would be cold, harsh, warm, loving, unkind, mean, nice, beautiful and challenging.

So what I really wanted to say is that War is awful

Why are we surprised if a person comes from a violent county and chops off the heads of our loved one.

Why are we surprised if the soldiers pee on some dead Taliban. Wanting to show their dying friends that they have taken the ultimate revenge by killing and desecrating the bodies of the ones that hurt them.

Why are we surprised if our soldiers come home and beat their wives and children.

Why are we surprised that they come back hopeless. Constantly shocked.

I was one who carried a placard against war, Pro-abortion, anti-child abuse, anti-animal abuse. For women’s rights.  We haven’t come a long ways baby. We are still all in chains of the human grind.

When I think of the women I met each born on the same day from the same womb and the hate they had for one another helps me to understand humans. We have the ability to hate or love and all the emotions between. What we CHOOSE to do is up to us.

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Relationships

Relationships, at what price?

written 2008

Every relationship has it challenges. One has to wonder if it is worth having others in their lives at all. Some are offended about this or that. And sometimes they tell you other times they don’t.

Whether they tell you not, you will still feel it and know that something is amiss in the friendship. So you have to decide how many days you want to lament and wonder about this unknown equation in your life. Asking them if you offended them may get you no where, except in the doghouse.

I am already over 50 and I just realised that all the books and movies that we watch are about relationships. In the last few years I have resolved myself to eliminate high maintenance relationships. Those that make me feel guilty or are rude or hurtful to me. My life has been improving since hauling around rotten stinking baggage for someone else? Not!

I have even realised that the flesh and blood sister who has disowned me for some ungodly reason of her own is not and never was been someone that I need in my life. She just happened to born of the same parents. If I met her on the street I would enjoy her personality but I would never make her a friend of mine.

About three weeks ago, I was sitting in the hospital waiting for one of my sisters to go through a test of some sort. And there was a woman sitting there after returning from the ordeal, which awaited my sister. I heard her ask the nurses to call her husband and the nurses said no one was at the end of the line. The woman was sore and sad. I said the next time she needed to have something done at the hospital that she should bring a sister. She replied with, I don’t have a sister. “Well” I told her, a sister is not someone who has to be blood related. It could be a good friend. I realised how true that is. Cause whether or not you have flesh and blood sisters or not they may or may not like you. But if you create relationships that are good and kind these relationships you need to keep. These relationships withhold the pressure of time. They forgive you or overlook stuff because they live in the world of reality. They know that it could happen to them. ACCEPTENCE.

You cannot pick your family members. Some of them you may feel you have to, or you may want to tolerate because they gave you birth or they donated sperm. Sometimes that is the case. But as for siblings you have no choice in that matter and you were not responsible for bringing them up either. That is the parent’s responsibility even if they left it to you.
I am the mother of one child. As a young person I really never thought I would have any at all. And that was because I did not want any. I remember my mother being dismayed at that. She would say when you meet the right man you will want to have children with him. Well I really only think deeply about that statement now. She had five of us with a no good husband and she knew it after the third.

Well I was convinced to have a child when someone threw my birth control pills in the garbage and threw grease on them the next morning. I wasn’t about to dig them out and I thought well what the heck. So I got pregnant.

First off, I gotta tell you that I would never trade my life for anyone else’s right now. But that baby was a handful. She was beautiful and smart. But she cried all the time and projectile vomited all the time. The rug in the apartment we rented was bleached all out from puking. I cleaned it up of course but it bleached the rug. My husband at the time was not interested in resolving any of this he went golfing. And I was left with the difficulty of what to do next. Doctors said she was okay. There were many days that we jumped in a vehicle and drove to the big city just to have a different doctor look at her. He would say do this or do that. And you know what? It worked for a bout a half-hour.

I remember going to Calgary where one of my sisters lived. My mom was visiting from England at that time. My sister Margaret had a daughter too a little older than mine. At the same time my cousin Tony was visiting Calgary from England and he and I wanted to go to the Calgary stampede together. My mom and my sister were great. They said go for it. So Tony and I took off for as many hours as I could get away. When we got back my mother was amazed at my daughter’s ability to stay awake and her staying power to wale each time you tried to lay her down. She would wail even if you tried to sit your sorry ass down. She wanted a tour of the whole house. And if you didn’t give it to her she cried and cried and cried and cried. Imagine a woman who had five children, my mother was amazed. It has been worth keeping the relationship between my daughter and me. She is a genuinely beautiful person. And now she has two children of her own. I know she wonders what life would be like without kids sometimes. I bet it would be peaceful. But maybe later very lonely.

That is what relationships are all about. People who bring feelings to you life. I think the feelings should all be good.

Those hermits you see are people who have honed their place in life without any other people in it. They have experienced the nastiness of people and have decided that they have had enough of it. Is that so bad?
Well we have to wonder don’t we? I remember as a child if someone lived a singularly life they would be weird. We would make up stories about he or she killed their spouse and stuff. Or they live in a haunted house. Or they are watching us. Lord knows what can be made up about loners. We work at it too. People who have no children and live all alone are targets for us. The hermit of our society has had to give up what people think of them and just do the best they can with what they have. Sometimes that is a lot of things. Some hermits gather all their money and hoard it and watch it grow. That is the pleasure they get in this life. They have no relations to leave it. Perhaps they have a houseful of cats and they leave it to the cats.

My sister Margaret had no unkindness towards anyone. She took in all kinds of older people into our home. We all got to the point that we knew if anyone was going drag home a stray “whatever” it would be Maggie. Well one day my mom was washing floors. And Maggie brought home a very elderly lady. Mom was so annoyed. Mrs. Ott. She was a beautiful old lady and became my mom’s closest friend for many years. Mrs. Ott left us all with a little something. She taught me that when sharing out candies she would always say “one for you and one for me” then she would pause and say “and one for me again.” I will never forget that. She would never fail to bring us some sweets. Many of the people that Maggie brought home have long died and are gone forever. But Maggie continues to have an openness that has never been quelled even after all the teasing and the firm demands from my mother. Maggie’s life mission is to notice the lonely. Perhaps she has a profound loneliness herself. Who knows? I do know that when this woman hugs you; you know you have been hugged. She can make you feel so important just by that hug. Thank God for people like her. I bet there aren’t many because I only know one.

If you have a partner who is as irresponsible as the day is long you have to decide what you need to do. I got out. I like the guy he just never did me any favours. I have a beautiful daughter and she is all mine. Cause I was there for her. She asked me to walk her down the aisle the day she got married. That was one of my very special moments. And the rewards for being with my daughter through thick and thin cannot be measured.

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Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a former Army lieutenant colonel, sends THE WEEKLY STANDARD an email commenting on the Marines’ video, and has given us permission to publish it.

That’s says it all for me! Amen

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a former Army lieutenant colonel, sends THE WEEKLY STANDARD an email commenting on the Marines’ video, and has given us permission to publish it.

“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.
“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?
“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.
“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”

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Thank you for your condolences. As you know I come from a very sick family. Kathy stopped talking to me 8 years or so ago and finally I learned to take a hint and I got on with my life and after a long time I stopped asking why why why. She did call me about a month before she died. But I never returned the call. At that time, I had learned to live with the situation and was not prepared to be dragged back into any drama. But I always have loved her. I just TOOK THE HINT. People say, “aren’t you talking to your sister?” I say, “I TOOK THE HINT.” Like that saying goes. Don’t cast your pearls among swine. She may have really hated treating me like shit under her feet but that is her problem not mine.
That is how Kathy punished those that crossed her. She lived a miserable life. She is in a much better place even if there is nothing else on the other side.

My family, Dale, Angela, Robin and the grandchildren are fine with it. Angie took it the hard because she was the one that had the memories and closeness with her Aunt Kathy. Kathy had rejected her also in those eight years for no other reason than she was mad at me. How cruel.

I send her love all the time since I am aware that if I harbour hate it will fester in my heart and eat me from the inside out. So I focus on the positive and who I do have in my life.

Thank for recognizing my pain. A lot of people think that you loss doesn’t matter if you haven’t gotten along for awhile. Funny how that is.

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My Mom – Time to Tell A Story – Part II

My Mom – Time to Tell A Story – Part II

by L.J. Hamill on Wednesday, 26 August 2009 at 11:15

Part II

Well you may have guessed that when I met my cousin Richard, he and I fell in love. Nothing much just the odd ‘kissing cousin’ thing. It was hard to know how to behave since he was cute and so was I and we had never met before. But his girlfriend sure told us how she felt about our constant chumming around. All is well, they married and had a bunch of boys. And I am outta the picture. 🙂

If I thought I was spoiled, my cousin Richard was spoiled by given the opportunity to attend the finest schools. When I met him he was in the Merchant Marines. He had an Mini Cooper which he drove like a maniac. Mom didn’t like me going anywhere with him. ha ha.

So back to the Thatch Roof Cottage. Any of you that think these cottages are romantic and cool and neat will be interested in my story.

So the layout was like this. We had our front door which was off the kitchen and a closed door which turned out to be the staircase to the upstairs. But upon observing what was behind that door we realized that it was a sure thing, we would not be using them to get to our quarters. There were bags, suitcases, boxes stacked all the way to the top. Mom said perhaps we could clean it out for the little old lady and start using the stairs eventually. The place was furnished thank goodness as we didn’t have a stick of furniture.

The night came and it was time to tuck my little sister upstairs to bed. All three of us walked through the little old lady’s frontroom. She sat there smiling at us. Then we passed through her
kitchen to get to her stairs. Once we were at the top of the stairs we had to cross through her bedroom and into our side.

I can only remember one bedroom. Mom and I were taking the double bed and my sister had a smaller bed in the same room. Once we tucked her in we went back downstairs for a nice cup ‘a tea.

Mom and I really wanted to get at the cleaning. I don’t think the place had been properly cleaned for centuries. We began peeking under carpets, since in England most of the carpets were not wall to wall. We wanted to get an idea of what we would have to do tomorrow. As we lifted the carpet we saw a huge spider. And I mean HUGE. To put it mildly, Mom and I are not spider lovers. So we put the carpet down shivered and jumped about for a bit. Then we assured each other that we would be fine in the morning and will do the clean up.

Of course we hadn’t had time to put our clothes away out of our suitcases and as I reached into my open case for P.J.s I caught a glimse of something moving. You guessed it, another huge spider was waiting for me and hanging over my suitcase. The largest spider you could image.

Well we didn’t want to wake my sister but Mom and I were freaking out. The little old lady heard us and said softly, “Don’t worry spiders will not hurt you.” Yeah Right! I did not get into any P.J.s I slept in my jeans and t-shirt. Not a good sleep at all. Mom either. We made a pact that we would we would get the heck outta there in the morning.

Morning did come, which surprised us. We told the little old lady that we just couldn’t stay here. She was sad. But what could she say. Once my Uncle and Aunt heard about it they were pretty annoyed. But dear Uncle came and got us. He must have taken us back to his house for awhile. Meanwhile mom and I quit our jobs and moved down south to mom’s cousin, Joan.

Joan and her family lived in a counsel house. It was a three bedroom home. But they opened their home up to us. We got one of the bedrooms on the second floor and we all three slept in it.

I called Joan, Auntie but really she was my mom’s cousin and therefore my 2nd cousin. But it seemed more respectable to call her Auntie. Now Auntie didn’t live alone there. She had two children. The oldest was a girl and the other a boy. It was a little weird because there were no mirrors, not even in the bathroom. The only mirror Auntie used was a compact mirror. I found out that it was for Joan’s daughter’s sake. Because she had a scarred face from a birth defect, cleft pallet and split lip. She was younger than I was but older than my little sister.

Joan’s daughter was high strung and had a lot of angry fits so did my little sister so it was interesting. High strung was a consistent thing in that house. My Aunt was amazingly high strung but she was usually happy and loud. Her son was creative and quiet. He was very handsome with lovely blonde curly hair. He wrote some love poems to me. Which I found funny and it must have been difficult for him. Again, I was very immature. I sure didn’t want to be mean. His poetry was beautiful. I wish I had some of them. Everyday I would wake to these lovely notes pushed under our door.

I had another bonus while being ‘down south’. Joan had two beautiful sisters and an amazingly neat dad. Joan’s sisters were spinsters living in the family home in Maidstone, Kent. Uncle Ted (Roderick) Mutch was there too. His daughters looked after him well. And not far from them was another sister who had two girls and I used to do some babysitting for them.

During my time there I took a course in typing. Badly needed. Still I was never very good at that. But I flubbed my way through. And that is how my work life started. Flubbed.

Now it was time for me to find a job. …………..

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My Mom time to tell….

My Mom – Time to Tell A Story by L.J. Hamill on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 at 04:54 My mom has finally decided to join her daughter and mother on the other side. My mom has been the strongest woman I have ever known. When we fled the country in 1967, Centenniel Year, I was not quite 18. When I think back, a very immature 18. My sisters before me were tossed out onto the street to fend for themselves well before they were 18. My father was a cruel man. He had threatened to throw me out too. I was devastated as I would have no way to survive out there. In 1966, mom asked me if I would leave the country with her and go to England. I was not ready but should not have been asked. My decision making abilities were undeveloped. A year later the threat became more real and I was ready to move away, far away. I kissed my nephews, Kenny and Jimmy goodbye. They were my pride and joy. Still are of course. We hid out at my sister’s home for over a week. My father tried to find mom but to no avail. We were sworn to secrecy. We had many supporters in Moose Jaw including the Bidwell Studios who took our passport pictures and never breathed a word to anyone. Our belongings were left with Kathy. Mom’s intentions were to return to Canada as soon as possilble. Life in England was not easy. Although I enjoyed it. The first part was spent living with my Uncle and Aunt and cousin, Richard in Alysham, Norfolk. A lovely home. They even had a housekeeper. We had the guest room with a bathroom and our own sink in the room. It was luxury. Mom and I both smoked and when auntie would come in we would both hide our smokes behind our backs. Once, I realized later that I was standing in front of a mirror so she would have seen it anyway. My Aunt and Uncle paid for me, mom and my little sister who was 10 to come to England. My uncle drove a Jag. He was a wild driver and I loved to go for rides with him. On one of our rides he asked me about my life in Canada. I told him the gruesome details of how my dad was so abusive. And how on the last New Year’s Eve he had kicked in the apartment door where mom and I lived and he hit me with an upper cut to the chin. My uncle was shocked but he believed me. He said he had heard this but did not believe it until now. He is a kind gentle man and his wife Edith took us in. Well as you know sometimes staying at someones home can be a bit too long. By then mom had a job. I did too. I was taking a bus regularly into Norwich to work at Norwich Union Insurance Group. I love the independence. For the first little while Uncle let me work in the office of his business but because of my immaturity I was over stepping the limits. He never said a word. He just managed to get me this job at Norwich Union Insurance Group. I was an uneducated, uppity brat. Where I got airs from I am not sure. But I remember what I was like. So mom decided we would move out. There was a thatch roof cottage for rent in St. Faith, Norfolk 1/2 way between Aylsham and Norwich. So we got help from Uncle and we moved into this quaint ancient home. This was an adventure. It only lasted one night but that was enough. (to be continued) This was me at that time.

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Memories – Linda

by L.J. Hamill on Thursday, 22 October 2009 at 18:41

Memories keep those we love
close to us forever
Although words seem to say so little,
I hope they help in some small way
to ease the sense of loss
that you’re experiencing today.

Hold fast to your memories,
to all of the cherished moments of the past,
to the blessings and the laughter,
the joys and the celebrations,
the sorrow and the tears.
They all add up to a treasure
of fond yesterdays
that you shared and spent together,
and keep the one you love
close to you in spirit and thought.

The special moments and memories
in your life will never change.
They will always be in your heart,
today and forevermore.

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CONTEMPLATING END-OF-LIFE WISHES

CONTEMPLATING END-OF-LIFE WISHES

by L.J. Hamill on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 16:44

Dying doctor plans to choose quality of life over quantity.

I am a 55 year old retired family doctor with a large, loving family and innumerable friends and former patients whom I see often. I am an extraordinarily lucky man.

For the last five years, I have also been a patient. I have ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease), a cruel neurological illness in which a normally functioning intellect becomes trapped in an increasingly weak and eventually paralyzed body. Soon, I will die from it.

Through my career, I tried to honour my patients’ end-of-life wishes. But after a quarter century as a firsthand witness to death, I’ve developed my own perspective.

It’s not that I’m a quitter. I have struggled against adversity of one sort or another all my life, and those challenges have helped prepare me for what I face now. I still delight in accomplishing difficult things, and I always wear a bright red ALS wristband that says “Never Give Up.”

That said, there will come a limit. I have made it very clear to my wife, my family and my doctors that I want no therapy that will prolong my suffering and lengthen the burden on others. I do not want a feeding tube nor a tracheotomy when the time comes that I can no longer eat, drink or breathe for myself.

Physicians and families sometimes feel an obligation to do all that can be done to keep someone alive. I believe this is based in equal measure on a fear of death and on western medicine’s increasing ability to prolong life near its end.

I was able to diagnose myself at a fairly early stage of the disease. My case was slower to progress than some, and so I was able to keep working as a physician for nearly two years. During that time, I was enormously grateful – for my patients, for sunsets, for golf games with good friends. Life has been truly wonderful, even as I have slowly lost the use of my hand, then an arm, then both legs and my speech.

But as much as I have stayed focused on what I am able to do, it has become harder to ignore the things I am losing. Today, my guitars sit idle. I haven’t used my stethoscope in years. My jogging shoes gather dust in a closet as I watch my belly grow from lack of exercise. I remember the last time I tried to shoot a free throw with a basketball, and I was five feet short of the rim.

Today, I find myself facing the kind of “quality of life” issues I discussed innumerable times with patients. Answers vary from person to person. But the fundamental question is always this: At what point is the quality of life no longer worth the emotional and physical costs of maintaining it?

I am not afraid of dying or death, and that is a wonderfully comforting thing for me right now. I have seen so many “good” deaths in my time as a physician that I know this passage can be peaceful, spiritual and even comforting to those left behind. I hope for such a death. I have also started to think about how I will know when I am ready for it. To that end, I often think about what I call the “100 things you do most days. Some are routine, some are “chores,” some are pleasurable. Get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. Kiss your wife. Answer the phone. Drive your car to work. Go play golf with your friends. Brush your teeth. Write a letter, lick and seal the envelope closed and put a stamp on it. Hug your child.

Of course we do many more than 100 things each day, but for now, just imagine 100 that are essential to the life you live. Now if you take away one, you can still do 99. Is life worth living with being able to smell the rose in the garden? Of course it is! How about losing two or seven, or 23 – is life worth living? Of course.

But suppose you get to where you’ve lost, say 90 things, and now with each thing taken away, a bad thing is added. You can no longer walk well, and you start falling, and it hurts. Your grip is gone and you also suffer in ignominy of wetting your pants because of bladder spasms. You can’t turn over in bed, and that also means you will get bedsores unless someone turns you frequently. Life is still worth living, but you’re getting tired.

At some point, no matter who you are or how strong, you can lose enough things that matter – and acquire enough negatives – that the burdens will out weigh the joys of being alive. This is the stage when, as a doctor, I would reassure my patients and their families that they had fought the good fight and it was now OK to accept moving to the next phase.

I know I will one day reach that point. And that’s why I worry about feeding tubes and ventilators. It has been my experience that these things are at times started almost automatically, and once they are started, they are next to impossible to stop. I have seen too many unfortunate people kept alive for years in hospitals or nursing homes, beyond all quality of life. Sometimes it causes untold stress in a family. Som of these cases even have made national news, and, unbelievably, our government and some national religious leaders even weighed in, as if they had a right to do so.

I worry that at some point a feeding tube, or other artificial substitute for a basic body function, will be medically “indicated” in my case. Intervention at the time might seem to make sense to those around me. But the result may be that I am kept alive only to count off the remaining things on my list of 100, such that I am forced to live well past where I would want to say: “enough.”

I like to know where the road leads before I set out on a journey. Right now, one path I could take leads to a place I don’t want to go. I am determined not to start down that path, even if others think I’m being premature in my decision. In short, I may well be ready to die before my family and friends are ready to say goodbye. But they know that, as I face my diminishing list of the 100 things that make life worth living, the choice of quality over quantity has to be mine to make.

Martin Welsh grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles. He resides with his wife in Camino, California.

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