Time to Say Good-bye

January 29, 2012

I can tell that it’s almost time to say goodbye to my beautiful girl; my precious Judas that has been with me since I first laid eyes on her almost 18 years ago when she was a little red tabby kitten.  I found Judas with her brother, whom I eventually named Hercules, and several other litter mates playing in my backyard one summer day. These little babies were so cute, but fortune was to give me just the two. The others went different ways. Hercules and Judas were named for being brave and for being sneaky. The names just popped into my head as I played with them over the summer until they became friendlier and lost some of their original feral behavior.

And the years passed. Hercules was part of the family for almost 17 years when he succumbed to chronic renal failure last April. Judas, on the other hand, has hardly ever been ill, or even needed to go to the Vet other than for routine visits. She’s been such a good girl over these many years. Right from the beginning, she looked towards me for protection. I remember once when her brother was picking on her and she jumped into my lap and wagged her tail as if to say, “Ha, now you can’t get me!” Even now, she comes to tell me when she wants more food or when her pain is getting intolerable.

You see, Judas has been diagnosed with a kind of cancer of the mouth. It all started in early December when one of her big teeth fell out. I didn’t think much of it; I took her to the vet, got antibiotic, came home and let her eat what she wanted. She didn’t seem to lose her appetite even though without her big front tooth it was more difficult to eat. But the empty space didn’t heal; in fact, the whole got bigger… a lot bigger. By the time I went back to the Vet about 4 weeks later, several more teeth fell out and there was a huge hole in her mouth. That’s when I was told of the diagnosis – squamous cell carcinoma or oral cancer. In addition, the left eye was shifting. There’s something called a third eye lid that can come down. Sometimes it shifts back by itself, but not in this case. Because the cancer is eating away at the jaw bone, the eye socket is weakening and the eye is literally shifting. Poor Judas can barely see out of that eye. Ok, so one eye is enough right?

Well yes, but I’m also told that there’s lots of pain this this type of cancer, so I’ve been giving Judas lots of pain meds…. Very expensive pain meds I might add. Of course, she’s worth it, but I started to wonder if the medication was just covering up a cat that was ready to let go and I was keeping her here. Much like putting someone on pain meds to keep them alive in the hospital when their bodies are racked with cancer. Wow… it’s the same thing.

Like many pet owners who adore their fur babies, I spent many hours researching this disease on the internet, ordering supplements, Chinese medicine and any nutritional concoction that might help Judas. I set up a vitamin container that I got from the local pharmacy, the kind with multiple bins for each day with flip lids so that I could prepare a week’s worth of her regimen at a time. For the last few weeks, Judas seemed to be stable and I was very happy… and perhaps a bit proud. I was going to beat this thing. Beat death? Denial? Yeah, I guess so. For in the end, the Chinese medicine billed to stop bleeding did so for a few days, but the bleeding is back today with a vengeance.

I thought I might get another month for Judas, but as of tonight I’m not so sure. She’s had a good life. She’s been loved as much or more than is possible to love anyone or anything and she’s loved me in return unconditionally. Up until a few days ago she was still jumping on the bed and sleeping next to me. Now she’s staying closer to her little beddy although she still can walk around the house. I knew that when the right time came I would know and I’m starting to feel that it may be time to say good-bye.


The Second Time Around

November 7, 2011

Just to recap, in my last blog article, I noted that I had to give a cat rescue back as she had a biting problem. This scenario occurred at just about the six month marker of my darling Hercules’ passing. I totally believe in synchronicity and when I got the itch to get another cat as a fur pal for his sister Judas, I went with the feeling. Ok, so the first try didn’t work out for her, but it did work out for the foster lady and for my coaching her. All wasn’t for naught. It just wasn’t the right situation for Judas.

My initial reaction after this mean cat was out of the house was, whew, I’m so glad it was gone. However, the itch to get another cat as a companion for Judas didn’t stop. Perhaps it was Hercules in spirit letting me know it was time since I really felt him guiding me to another cat that coincidentally looked a lot like him. Initially, I didn’t like the idea of getting another cat that reminded me of my precious angel, but I went with what I sensed would be best for Judas.

How did I pick this new rescue cat? I did a thorough search of the available rescues within 50 miles for about 2 weeks, looking at what must have been hundreds of photos and even talking to some people about the best gender and type for a fur pal for my 17 year old female. I was advised to look for a male about 5-7 years old, since a younger cat might be too rambunctious for an older cat, and a female, as I had found out before would be too competitive. Whereas before I had looked at the outside beauty of the animal, this time, I looked at the face to determine how sweet and sensitive I felt the creature would be. After all, beauty is only skin deep. My prior experience with Athena taught me that although she was a gorgeous Tortoise shell, she had a really mean disposition. This time, I looked at the temperament first and that he should just be healthy.

Out of so many, one became a clear choice. His name was Spike and he is a brown tabby with a white blaze down his face. He just looked so cute and sweet. Somehow I knew he was the one. Next, I contacted his foster and began the process to meet him. The rest went well. His foster family had him with two other males for the last three years. This was both good and bad news. He had never lived with a female but he had shared a 10×8 cat house with two other male cats. Ok, so he knew how to share. I was willing to take a chance on him. He’s a sweetie, but all didn’t go well right away!

More on how he adjusted in the next article.


God, Please send me a pet!

September 28, 2011

 It’s been five months since my fur baby Hercules crossed over to Rainbow Bridge. Both his sister Judas and I miss him terribly. Sometimes she stands at the front door, which has a glass center pane, looking out and just cries wondering when he will return home. I come down the stairs and try to explain to her that I miss him too but that he isn’t coming home.  “Let’s welcome another fur baby who doesn’t have a home into our lives. It will help us heal while, at the same time, help a lost creature find a new home.”

I had helped my friend find a new pet two years ago by searching on the internet on animal rescue sites using the criteria he gave me. After several weeks, I found a two-year old male Virginia hound that was stated to be friendly to cats (after all there was his beloved Sherman to consider). So he went to the pet fair and met his soon to be Shelby, short for General George Shelby.

How can a pet find me?

This time, I wanted a pet to find me. When my Hercules and Judas were babies, they turned up at my house, then in a more spacious neighborhood allowing for the possibility of wild cats leaving their young. So, my guys found me and how lucky they were to find such a welcoming Mom! I wondered if such a thing could happen around a townhouse in a more compacted area; most probably not.

Help is close by

I told my pet sitter that I was ready (or thought so) for a new fur baby. She loved Hercules after caring for him for 12 of his 17 years and also understood my at trepidation about bringing a new pet into the house with his sister being an older animal like Judas.

Then she said, “One of my petsitters rescues cats and she has a new one available. I replied, “That’s great, but I’ve decided that I want a tortoise shell after seeing some young ones around the lake on my walk”. There’s a woman with 12 cats and some are tortoise shell or tortis, but she won’t part with any of them.

A new fur baby finds me

To my surprise, my pet sitter says, Her new rescue is a tortoise!” Wow! The writing was on the wall. I knew immediately that this cat was coming to me. The timing and the situation seemed to be falling perfecting into my lap so to speak. I felt that the universe was guiding me to this particular animal. I asked for the contact details and called the woman, Cathy and things just fell into place from there. I was able to visit the cat and found out what I needed to know. The torti was a female, about five years old, had just gotten her shots and appeared quite healthy. She was playful and seemed friendly to me. I immediately agreed to adopt her. Due to her golden markings between her eyes, I named her Athena, after the Goddess of Wisdom. (The sixth energy center is just between the eyes and signifies the energy of wisdom and psychic understanding).

My new fur baby

Athena would soon be mine after a very careful adoption process. More in my next posting.


Learning to Get Along in the World – Being Assertive Vs. Aggressive

August 15, 2011

 

What does it mean to mature?

In one of my prior articles, I addressed just screaming to get what you wanted and indicated that such behavior only works for babies, small children and teenagers prior to their being grounded. It may also work for corporate types until they get their first performance review. In other words, acting act by yelling is a sign of immaturity which also implies that if you haven’t learned not to yell or scream every time something isn’t right in your world, well, you guessed it, you’re just not mature.

What comes next?

Proper behavior is important to moving our lives forward in a positive direction. There’s a whole set of what can be construed as behavior most becoming a young adult, an adult, and a professional. Today, I’m just going to address the difference between being aggressive and being assertive.

When we are young and our parents just tell us to “Be quiet since good children are seen and not heard,” many individuals begin to feel incapable of expressing their opinions appropriately as adults. I see this often in my coaching. Such people feel that what they have to say just isn’t important and thus they have a difficult time of getting their needs met. Now we’re on to something. Eventually, this individual gets tired of holding their unmet needs in, so to speak, and what comes out may not be pretty. Most probably, the result of parents not allowing their children to be heard when they were young, fails to foster a sense of self-worth and thus, the child and later, the adult, may go to extremes to be heard. I believe that this is the cause of work place violence, domestic abuse, and many other extremes of behavior. Is it justifiable? Of course not. Most parents are just behaving the way they thought was best for their children. I fully believe that my parents never wanted me to have trouble relating to others when they told me to,”Be quiet, we don’t want to hear your opinion”. Yet, this is what I heard growing up. It made me feel bad, just like my opinion wasn’t worth anything. And, at the time, it wasn’t valued. But later, I felt it wasn’t valued in other more public arenas as well.

It took me a very long time to figure out that I was a good person and that my opinion mattered just as much as the next person. Once this transition occurred, I had to modify my behavior. I was being a bit too pushy in trying to get my needs met initially. I was being aggressive and therefore offensive to some people. Moderating this behavior to be more socially acceptable is what assertive responses are all about.

I feel intuitively that what I experienced as a child is common among many other children of my generation since their parents told them the same thing that my parents told me. In turn, these children of depression era parents also learned that their opinions were not valued. Unfortunately, not everyone can figure out on their own that they are important, regain their self-worth, and make the transition from aggressive to assertive behavior.

How can one learn to be less aggressive and more assertive?

Here’s where getting help is important. If you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with your own behavior, but you do realize that there’s a problem, find appropriate help. Help may take the form of a mental health practitioner, an energy worker such as myself, or a good friend.. Don’t allow yourself to get into trouble. Do be proactive and get the proper support. Hopefully, you will eventually learn to moderate your behavior and be a much happier and more successful person.


Five Days Without My Baby

April 17, 2011

It’s been five days since my little boy Hercules crossed over Rainbow Bridge. Since then, there’s no one to wake me in the morning, so I sleep too much. I awaken tearful and my heart in pain without his dear touches on my face, “Mommy it’s time to get up”. There’s no one to interrupt me during the day to say, “Stop and let me love you”, so I just keep working and working. There’s no one to say, “Feed me, I’m hungry”, so I don’t realize that I’ve gone all day without eating as food doesn’t seem important. There’s no one to tell me to sit and watch TV so we can be together on the sofa, so I feel isolated in my aloneness. Hercules isn’t here to say, “Mommy, come to bed now. I want you to sleep with me”, so I stay up too late. And the cycle goes on. My life has a huge hole in it. I have to learn to manage my own life rather than have it managed by my love for this little angel that left me.

Hercules, when did it happen that you grew up from being such a little baby to getting so old and dying? Is this what it’s like to see children age? I’ve never had children so I’ve never had the experience of seeing children grow up. Hopefully, most parents don’t have to endure the passing of their own children. With pets, they just don’t live that long. But 17 years is close to 1/3 of my life. Hercules lived with me through the end of my marriage, through my divorce and through the years since. He’s weathered my trials and tribulations and he’s been a trooper through it all.

There were times when I wasn’t as patient as I should have been with his constant demand for attention. Sometimes, when I was working in my study, I would tell him, “Not now, Mommy has to work.” Isn’t this what parents do, thinking that there will be more time when they can be together?” There comes a point, when time runs out.

Last year when he lost a tooth I realized that the time just might be running out and I began to thank God every day for each additional day we had together. Every day I held my angel in my arms and told him how much I loved him. He knew every day how much he was loved until the dementia clouded his mind. Then I think he still knew somewhere inside. Even on the last day when he walked around in circles, he still wanted to be with me, have me hold him and so it was a good day. The final moments were good. He ate well and yet we both knew it was time for him to pass on.

As I sit here typing this note, I’m crying for my baby. But now he talks to me in my head. He tells me, “Mommy, don’t cry. I’m ok. Mommy, go out and play. I don’t want you to be sad. I have lots of friends here to play with. It’s a nice place. Please be happy. Enjoy your life. I will watch over you now as you did for me all those years. I love you Mommy. “

I love you too Hercules. I hope that God is looking out for you and keeping you in the light. You are a dear angel and I know that if it’s possible, you are looking out for me.


Final Farewell – Saying Good-bye to a Pet is so Very Hard

April 11, 2011

My darling angel Hercules was laid to rest Thursday April 7 at 2pm in a lovely garden ceremony near my home in Reston, VA. We chose his favorite play area, which we called his bunker, to bury his ashes. As I’m a minister, I conducted a full pet memorial program complete with music, saging the site, appropriate prayers, verses and those present offering remembrances of Hercules. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him as a very lovable guy. Even my coaching clients would often enjoy having him on their laps during sessions and stated that he improved their experience. His energy was wonderful. I know God was with us during the ceremony, as it was a most beautiful and warm day, with the days proceeding and after rainy and cold. How could it have been otherwise when one of God’s own angels is returned to him?

Hercules laid to rest

Hercules was brought to me by God in July, 1994 after I had prayed for cats to show up on my property to keep me company. My prior pet had died about five years prior and I was lonely for a companion. I only had to wait 4 months when these little babies showed up. Hercules got his name by being the first to come to me and allow my touch – so he was the brave one. His sister, Judas was the sneaky one. (She is still with me and I have to remember to give her extra love as she wonders where he’s gone.) So God brought Hercules to me as my little angel for 17 years, and as he was only a gift, he was returned to God on Tuesday April 5 at 4:25pm.

Hercules loved me unconditionally and I loved him in return; in fact, I had to love him enough to let him go. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. But let me say this. Now that I’m back in my logical mind, I realize that he was fighting to stay alive because he knew I was grieving. The signs of his severe deterioration were there, but I kept telling myself – just one more intervention and he’ll be ok. Eventually, I knew it was enough and together we made the decision over this past weekend. Somehow he knew, because Monday night he was more like his old self. He ate better, seemed more alert, and slept with me under the covers like he used to do prior to getting so sick. We had a very good last day.

Bless you Hercules. I couldn’t have loved you more and you couldn’t have loved me more. I learned never to let a day go by without telling you how much I loved you. I’m so glad that I did. You truly were a blessing, one that will remain in my heart all the days of my life.

Good-bye my angel. May God keep you safe in his divine light.


When it’s time for a pet to go

April 8, 2011

How much life is enough?

When deciding when to let a beloved pet go, one must consider their quality of life over one’s own feelings. This is an extremely difficult thing to do and a trial on which I was tested this past weekend.

For nearly two-months my dear cat Hercules was battling with chronic renal failure including anemia, dementia, possibly tumors and a host of other ailments. We would get one of his major issues under control and then another would pop up. He was on fluids for the renal failure which I learned to administer. Then his red blood cell count took a nose dive and thrice weekly shots were required. He needed four different medications twice daily and some natural remedies which I found to be helpful. All this I learned to deliver in as reasonable manner as possible, partly through trial and error. Which meds could be taken together and given in one syringe? Which ones tasted funny thus requiring a bit of ground up food be mixed in to camouflage the taste? I experimented until I had worked out a program that took about 2 hours in the morning and about 1.5 hours in the evening.

Hercules

I curtailed my own activities to make sure I was home in time to do the evening medical program, including having my birthday dinner at 4pm so that I could be available. I didn’t mind taking care of my little darling. After all, for nearly 17 years he’d given me love, companionship, and reminded me when it was time to go to bed and often woke me in the morning. “Mommy, get up and feed me.” “Mommy, pet me.” “Mommy put food in my bowl.” Often, I’ve hear him outside my home letting me know he wanted to come in and then he’d cry to tell me he wanted to go outside. He was a great communicator. Unfortunately, once he got sick, he lost his voice. Or perhaps, he was too weak to use it.

 When the time comes:

During one of our several emergency room visits, the attending veterinary technician gave me some advice. Having just put her dog down, she said in response to my question of, how do you know when it’s the right time? “When there are more bad days than good ones.”  Then she added, “Be sure to pick a good day.”  Her words kept ringing in my head. I was evaluating my pet’s life. Was his situation bad enough to end his life?

 When yet another crisis occurred over the weekend, I had to face the reality. The pattern of problems was a sign of the inevitable. It was like putting one’s finger in the dam. Eventually, it wouldn’t hold the flood of water back. Hercules loved me so much that he was stoically dealing with the needles, the meds being popped in my mouth, the forced feedings because he knew I was grieving. I was crying so much. I didn’t want to let go.

 There’s a sense among pet owners that one more intervention will get the pet over the mountain and on the other side with renewed strength and vigor. And, sometimes the new medicine or protocol does buy weeks or months of life. But for my Hercules, the non-stop care bought him 7 weeks of added life. However, I realized that he had no real quality in that life. Sure, he was alive. He could walk down the stairs, but no longer up (his heart wouldn’t take it). He could lie in the sun at the foot of the stairs, which he enjoyed. However, I had to watch him constantly or he would end up in the lower level just sitting on the bathroom mat since he couldn’t walk back up again. Sometimes he’d eat on his own, and sometimes I had to force him. He hated being force fed.

 Then there was the dementia. He could have a can of food sitting right in front of him and he wouldn’t realize it. I had to constantly put the food under his nose and then he would eat some. This meant that I had to be there or he wouldn’t eat. If I had to go out of the house for a few hours, it would be hours that he wasn’t eating. So my schedule totally revolved around him. When did he need his fluids? When did he need to eat? I didn’t mind caring for him, but it was limiting for me. He was my baby and I loved him. That said, I finally had to let go. God had given this little angel to me and it was time for me to love him enough to stand back and let him go to his peace.

 I had a talk with him over the weekend and we agreed. It would be Tuesday when his regular vet came back to the animal hospital. Somehow he must have known, since we had a wonderful day together. He ate more, seemed more like his old self and slept under the covers with me. But I agonized over the decision right up to the last moment. At the vet’s, I was crying horribly. Then a sense of calm came over me. Hercules and I knew it was the time. We both were ready. The vet gave him an anesthesia and within seconds he put his little head down and that was it. He was out. The vet told me he was ready. He was at peace.

 My little darling Hercules passed at 4:25 pm April 5. I stayed with him for about 20 minutes until I realized the body on the table was no longer Hercules. He was gone to Rainbow Bridge to wait for me. Upon coming home I I lit a candle to celebrate his life and said prayers. May God’s light shine on him forever. And so it is. Amen.

 Here is the poem about Rainbow Bridge:

There is a bridge connecting heaven and earth
It is called Rainbow Bridge because of its many colours

Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills, valleys with lush green grass

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this special place
There is always food and water and warm spring weather

The old and frail are young again
Those who are maimed are made whole again

They play all day with each other
There is only one thing missing

They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up !

The nose twitches !
The ears are up !
The eyes are staring !
And this one suddenly runs from the group !

You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him or her into your arms and embrace
your face is kissed again and again,
and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated

Author Unknown


New inspirational memoir offers spiritual perspective on death and dying as grief support for bereavement

August 24, 2010

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

New inspirational memoir offers spiritual perspective on death and dying as grief support for bereavement

The Circle of Life – A Journey Through Grief to Understanding by Joanne Aaronson provides
grieving readers with insights on spiritual and emotional healing after loss.

 Reston, VA. – The Circle of Life – A Journey Through Grief to Understanding  by Joanne Aaronson presents the case that after-death communication is not only possible, it can be healing. The Midwest Book Review offers the following praise, “Even with death, you can still form bonds.  The Circle of Life: A Journey Through Grief to Understanding is a memoir from Joanne Aaronson as she reflects on her own bonds with her father who in life, she was distant from and how after his tragic death, she learned that there was something stronger between them that she didn’t see. Thoughtful and thought provoking for grieving readers, The Circle of Life is a choice pick.”

In The Circle of Life, intuitive Joanne Aaronson describes a life that reaches beyond the veil of death, of care-giving, and of the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Receiving after-death communication from her father, the author guided her widowed mother to eventually understand there was more to live for, and took an inner journey of her own in the process. It quickly became clear to Aaronson that she was being guided to write the story of communications that transcended death. “Energy is neither created nor destroyed,” says Aaronson in her book, quoting Einstein’s famous law. Led by the messages and the amazing synchronistic events surrounding them, the author guides her mother through the stages of grief well known to those who have lost a loved one, while she exhibited increasing courage, fortitude, and resilience.

Written with a spiritually-enlightening, Kabalistic view of life, death and beyond, Aaronson invites all who have lost a loved one to find spiritual and emotional healing, as well as comfort in knowing that death is not the end; that under certain circumstances after-death communication is possible, and in the universal laws that she presents we can all find guideposts for our daily lives as we travel along the journey known as the circle of life.

Reviews include Rabbi Yankel Kreiman of Palm Springs, CA stating, “By reading this book our eyes are opened and our mind is exposed to the circle of life.” Michelle Lusson, DD and author of Creative Wellness, writes, “…The synchronicity of the ancient symbol of the ‘Circle of Life’ is beyond coincidence and leaves one as a believer of the possibility of ‘Through Grief to Understanding.’” And from Jeff Clayton, Reference Librarian, “The Circle of Life is a wonderful resource for people experiencing grief due to the loss of a loved one.  A must for libraries with collections dealing with grief, loss and Alzheimer’s disease.”
    The Circle of Life – A Journey Through Grief to Understanding is available for sale online at Amazon.com, AuthorsBookshop.com, Josanpress.com and selected Indie Bookstores. Approximately 212 pages, Retail price $15.95, Soft cover, 6×9, ISBN: 978-0-9843658-0-7.


Joanne Aaronson of Reston is a former project management professional turned intuitive life coach, author, and ordained spiritual, non-denominational minister. Integrating in-depth spiritual training with successful corporate experience, she teaches use of one’s inner light, otherwise known as intuition, to empower change and achieve true potential. Joanne lives in Northern Virginia with her two adorable felines.

Joanne Aaronson

Author, Joanne Aaronson

About the Author

MEDIA CONTACT:

Joanne Aaronson

Tel: 703-925-9205

Email: joanne@josanpress.com

Web: www.josanpress.com

INTERVIEWS & REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE

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The Hospice Visit – Caring for Others

August 6, 2010

It’s truely amazing how we are cared for when we care for others. Here’s a true story of my Hospice visitation experience.

Volunteering for Hospice is a noble accomplishment. Actually putting the time on the calendar and adding the activity into my appointment allocation is another. In any case, I decided that I would ear mark Thursdays from 1-3pm and just mark the time off. If I didn’t do that, it would be too easy to allow other things to take precedent and then I’d never get to the Hospice visitations.

 The initial training went well as did my first supervised session with actual Hospice patients. These are individuals, whom doctors have indicated may die within six months, thus they are entitled to care by Hospice facilities. The payment arrangements are beyond me, since I’m a volunteer. All I know if that during my father’s last few weeks, he had Hospice personnel visiting him. In addition, my mother went to a Hospice-sponsored support group after he died. I decided that it was a good idea for me to give back to an organization that not only helped my own parents, but one which I might need at some point in the future.

 So now I’m actually going on my own to two nursing homes and assisted living centers that house Hospice patients. I was assigned to two dementia patients and one breast cancer patients. With the dementia patients, they can hardly communicate. During the few times that they do, their words are so jumbled that it is very difficult to understand. Yet, I still feel good when interacting with them. Last time one thought that I was taking him “home” not realizing that he wouldn’t see home again. I did my best to explain that he was going to spend the night “here” which produced a very surprised look even though this person had resided at the facility for a number of months.  The other dementia patient just smiled and occasionally looked in my eyes as gibberish came out of her mouth. Not really knowing what else to do, I merely told her stories of my cats and what was going on with my day. She continued to smile with wide-eyes. The third patient is very talkative and although gets off track now and then, she’s pretty coherent and loves to tell me stories of her life. She’s the breast cancer patient. I’m not supposed to ask about her illness, but I’d love to know how she can look so good and maintain such a positive attitude, yet be on a six-month to live list. She’s really amazing.

 Today, the first dementia patient was in the hospital. It happens. The second one was sleeping and couldn’t be roused. Oh well. And the third was as talkative as ever. I had to be so careful not to let tears come to my eyes as she pointed to the three generations that follow her – her daughter, granddaughter and five-year old great granddaughter.  She lost her son many years ago to AIDS. I didn’t ask any questions about that one either. She was very proud of her son whatever his profession was.

 So I’m just a person who tries to help, keeping a few people who don’t have much time left on earth company. That’s the Hospice belief. That no one should die alone. And, as I left my cancer patient, the skies opened up to a torrential downpour while I didn’t have an umbrella with me. As I approached the front door, a nurse was holding a huge umbrella, almost as if she was waiting for me. “Could you walk me to my car?” I asked. “Yes, of course” she replied. There she was just as I need her to prevent me from getting soaking wet. I thanked her. Then, once inside my car, I quietly said, “thanks” to the powers to be, since I knew that I was being cared for as I was in the midst of caring for others.


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