A Gloriosity of Dawn

New post on Daughter on Duty

“My weekly drive to Seattle to spend time in the company of the magnificent Elliot is a mixed bag (the drive, not Elliot). I nearly always like the 20-minute stretch of I-5 from Centralia to Tumwater, and through the Nisqually delta, and despise the drag from Fort Lewis (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord or JBLM, and who came up with that mouthful?) to my destination—although Fife, the armpit of the I-5 corridor at the north edge of Tacoma, does have a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier; and today, as it turns out, of the rising sun ball.” Read more.

The Web We Weave

New post on Daughter on Duty.

“I learned last week my old job in North Carolina is open again. I read that on the day I took a visiting Raleigh friend, one of the several I miss so much, to the airport. My mind flitted to I could go back. And then it roared back home. Where would I take visiting friends? Not to the rain forest in the rain. Not to see the bright green sea urchins waving just under the surface of low tide in the rocks out in the Pacific ocean.” [read more]

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Extreme Caregiving 6: Organizing & Purging

New post on Daughter on Duty

“Mama is determined to record the story of her mother’s life. She feels she didn’t appreciate her mother’s hard life and didn’t respect her in her old age (and she is concerned that I learn the lesson before it’s too late and save myself from a life of guilt after she is gone). Anyway, to assuage her own unfounded guilt, she is determined to leave an audio record of her mother’s story.” read more

The Helpers

New post on Daughter on Duty.

“I don’t think I have ever been as aware of the helpers in my life as I have since I moved back home almost three years ago to accompany my mother as she journeys toward life’s end. Following the end of my most significant and long term relationships, I fell into a “do it myself” mode. A personality trait that, according to Mama, began early in my life with the declaration, “I do it myself, Mommy!” (She still finds me stubborn; the apple doesn’t fall far.)” read more.

My Own Good Reads

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Final Gifts: Understanding the special awareness, needs, and communications of the dying, by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley.

In the past 2-1/2 years I have read many books about caregiving and aging as I travel this path with my mother. This isn’t my favorite read, but it’s the only one I’ve read on the topic. I feel somehow better prepared for when my mother’s last days come. Prepared to listen for clues: is she afraid of something? have unfinished business? looking for information? And to ask and answer questions I might not even have realized she is asking.

Hospice nurses, Callahan and Kelley, share intimate experiences with patients at the end of life and their families. “Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts—of wisdom, faith, and love—that the dying leave for the living to share.”

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