Wednesday, 26 February 2020
No Laughing Matter?
I have been thinking about my family (most of whom have died) and laughing to myself. Why laughing? I mean death isn’t a laughing matter, right? I’ll let you all decide.
Last summer everyone in my family was at my house. There were many young people, and I was suddenly inspired to talk to them about life. So I made them sit down in the living room and listen to me. What I wanted to do was reassure them that growing old is not something to be dreaded. That, in many ways, it is freeing, in the sense you don’t feel like you have to please everyone. Or worry about your family as, if you’ve done your job as mother and grandmother, everyone is able to handle their own challenges. They just need your loving support and trust.
Anyway, that was my goal. However, I made a poor choice of words for my first sentences. I said, “All right, guys, this is what I want to tell you. You are going to grow old and die.” There was a stunned silence and then my twenty-four-year old, granddaughter, Kristan, said. “Thanks Mamie, that’s very inspirational.” When the laughter finally died down, I continued on a more positive note.
I come from two large families. The O’Flaherty clan had three girls and six boys, the Stoner family had six girls and one boy, my father. Except for two, they lived to be old and relatively healthy. I find reassuring that most also retained clear minds until they “went home.” My Uncle Dan lived to be 99 and after a stroke, he was comatose for several months. He wasn’t suffering, but the family didn’t understand why it was taking so long. Another aunt was with Hospice for five months, bedridden but in no pain. I would visit the hospital every day, go to her bedside and ask, “How are you doing, Aunt May?” and she would say, in a gentle voice, “Just waiting.” When the doctor called me at work to tell me she had finally died, I heard myself say, “Are you sure?”
When I asked my Aunt Maude why it had taken both so long to die, she matter-of-factly said, “You can’t count on old people to die.”
You now know what to say when I’m 105 and still blogging.
Posted by libbygrandy
at 11:10 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 26 February 2020 11:33 AM EST
Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Dead and Gone
I’ve sat with a number of people during their last hours, and it has been inspiring rather than depressing, often because of their last words. I remember one said, “Thanks for everything.” A friend told me her mother said, “I’m so happy.”
There is also an unexpected emotion when someone dies. It’s not logical as we intellectually know that eventually everyone dies, but we still often feel surprised when it actually happens. We tend to wonder, “How can so and so not be here anymore?” It’s more of a feeling than a thought.
Perhaps we feel that way because they still exist, just not in the physical world. I’ve talked to many people who have “heard” from loved ones after they died. I can totally relate. There is also the feeling that they are still close, a feeling that I really don’t have words for.
If any of you have similar experiences one day and worry that you may be going crazy, get in touch with me. We can happily be crazy together. Happy, because it is the kind of loving feeling that is very comforting as well as reassuring, in the sense that perhaps the truth is—one day when we are dead and gone, we won’t really be gone.
Here is a poem I wrote entitled “From One Who Has Gone On”
Yesterday I was here
to hold you in my heart.
Today I still am near
although we are apart.
There is the thinnest veil
through which you cannot see.
But if you could, your heart would sing
because you would—see me!
I have gone on ahead
to where we all began.
You once were where I am now
and will be once again.
So cry your tears of loss
for days that now are gone.
But one day you will understand
and sing a joyful song.
Posted by libbygrandy
at 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 July 2019 12:20 PM EDT
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
As many of you know, it has been a rather difficult time for me, but the love and support of everyone has helped me arrive at an “okay” place. Except in one area—the news. I wake up feeling relatively calm, and then I make the mistake of turning on the TV and very different feelings fill my mind and heart.
What are those feelings? Depending on the day, they are too often anger and despair. Now I’m not an angry person. You have to push me pretty far to make me truly angry. Mainly because feeling angry makes me unhappy. And I seldom have feelings of despair. Sadness, of course, worry bordering on fear, yes. But despair—not that often and not for that long.
I refuse to believe that this is the “new normal,” but neither is it the “old normal.” I see people on TV exhibiting hatred, unkindness, lack of civility, etc. Apparently these people have always been out there. I just never had to see them. I certainly never had to interact with them.
I was raised in a loving family, surrounded by caring people. They didn’t always agree on things, but they treated one another with respect. The men in my family were honorable and protective. Believe it or not, I don’t remember hearing a cuss word growing up. I’m sure they were muttered when I wasn’t around, but those words weren’t spoken in front of women or children.
By now, I’m sure you are thinking that I’m hopelessly old-fashioned. That’s all right with me if it means caring for others, helping others and not upsetting others, even if I don’t agree with them.
So what do I do after I turn off the TV and the news? I focus on family, friends, and gratitude for the blessings in my life.
And I remind myself that “this too will pass” and hopefully lead to a better world if we work together in a civil, thoughtful way.
But Lordy, Lordy (as we say in the south when we can’t think of anything else to say).
Posted by libbygrandy
at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 30 December 2019 9:57 PM EST
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
Small Town/Social Media
Social media has made the big world into a small town. I lived in a small town in Virginia for over forty years. I loved it and still have friends and family there. There are positive and negative aspects of a small town. On one hand, through what we refer to as “gossip,” most everyone knows your private business. On the other hand, consequently, there is compassionate outreach that can be both helpful and comforting.
It is impossible to go into any store without people reaching out to you in some way. One bizarre incident I remember is when our dear Siamese cat, Desdemona, was hit by a car when she ran across the road one morning. When we woke up and found her, it was a sad day for our family. At noontime, I had to go to the bank, and when the teller asked how my day was going, I told her about Desdemona. To our surprise, a voice called out from behind a semi-wall, a place where people could have privacy to prepare their bank statements. A male voice said, “I did it. I killed the cat!”
Then, a young man appeared, looking distraught. He explained that it had been dark and Desdemona had run out in front of his car. He had actually stopped and knocked on our door to tell us, but no one heard him. Later in the day, I met him at our babysitter’s house and again had to reassure him that it wasn’t his fault. Soon half the town knew about the tragedy and felt sorry for both of us. I can still hear that distressed voice calling out, “I did it. I killed the cat!”
I now live in California and don’t know my neighbors’ private affairs, but I do know the country and world’s business. If you want to know about anything or anyone, just go to the search bar, and the chances are good you will find what you are wondering about. The positive aspect is that places like Facebook provide everyone the opportunity to share their lives or offer condolences, if necessary. That happened after my husband’s death, and it was very comforting.
That is why I believe that social media has made the world into a small town.
Posted by libbygrandy
at 1:25 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 June 2019 1:40 PM EDT
Wednesday, 29 May 2019
A Profound Time
It has been, and still is, a very difficult time, globally and personally for many people. At first, my friends and I would talk about other times that we got through, but I began to understand that this is not just “one of those times.” That it is not just difficult, it is profound.
How so? It has been a time of transparency. People who have gotten away with things all their lives have been “found out.” Some actually are in jail. Personally, many have had to endure situations that they have never had to face before. They have had to find a new perspective about their life. I count myself as one of those. Everyone is being given the opportunity to look at themselves and their beliefs honestly and make the right choices.
Another positive aspect is education in areas that we have taken for granted. I thought I knew how our government worked. After all, didn’t I get an A in Civics in high school? Well, I’m beginning to get the picture. I have a lot to learn, and although it is depressing to watch the news, I learn something new every day.
This blog could end up too long, so I’ll just close on this thought. My prayer is that we will get through this time to a better place. That we will find a way to work together, if only for survival. And when we do, we hopefully will build a better world for our children.
This is a profound time.
Posted by libbygrandy
at 5:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 29 May 2019 5:26 PM EDT
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
I have a problem that I suspect every person in the country, to some degree, has. I have friends, even one or two family members, who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. This has never been a problem before, because honest discussions about politics have never come between us.
These are good people who believe, as I do, that it is important to help and protect others, particularly children and other vulnerable individuals. I’ve seen them go out of their way to do so over the years. We may have disagreed on political issues, but our conversations always ended on a friendly note, usually with laughter and the words, “love you.”
That is probably how they would end today, so the problem is mine, not theirs. I am feeling too emotional to have a good, objective conversation. Consequently, I find myself hesitating to contact them. That is not good. One important reason why is because some of them are having serious health problems and they need my love and support.
So, for the moment, this is my solution. We do not talk politics. If inadvertently an issue comes up, I immediately change the subject. And being smart as well as good people, they do the same. One day, I truly believe this will change. But until it does, I just have to take a deep breath and remind myself: This too will pass.
Please, dear God.
Posted by libbygrandy
at 2:16 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 16 May 2019 11:33 AM EDT
Wednesday, 16 January 2019
We are not alone.
When we are going through a difficult time in life, we can help one another by sharing our feelings, reminding ourselves that we’re not alone. That is why I blog.
Writers are able to get their thoughts out of their minds and down on paper. I recommend everyone do that. No one ever has to read your words. They can be thrown away or kept in a private journal. I often read old journals to remind myself of the good times as well as the challenging times.
For me, this is a challenging time. My husband died the day after Christmas. Fred and I married when he was 20 and I was 21. We had only dated six months, so our families were a bit concerned. Sixty years later, Fred often talked about the time I opened the door of the apartment that I shared with his sister. He said, “I took one look at your beautiful red hair and fell in love.” Fortunately he still felt the same way years later when my hair turned white.
The past few months he talked every day about how blessed we were to still feel the same way about one another. Every night, as we settled down to watch our favorite PBS shows, he would take my hand and say, “This is what’s important. I love you so much.” Of course, we often fell asleep before the shows were over. I can’t tell you how many murder mysteries are still a mystery to me as I often fall asleep before the murderer is caught.
I’m reading my own books again because my character, Lydia, is so wise, and it reminds me of what I basically believe. In my novel, Lydia, she tells another character: “Find that place of stillness inside where all things are possible. Surrender and trust. Surrender is not giving up. It is the spiritual opposite. It allows things out of a person’s control to work out. Trust is the next necessary step.”
She also says: “The antidote to self-pity is gratitude.”
That is so true.
Posted by libbygrandy
at 12:09 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2019 12:19 PM EST
Friday, 11 May 2018
Feeling Stressed? Me too.
I’m writing this blog for myself but feel free to keep on reading. Like most of the world, I’m feeling a bit stressed these days, unsure about what the future holds. Often, after successfully completing some project, I feel good until I make the mistake of turning on the TV. Inevitably there is something that elicits upsetting feelings. Sometimes it is a tragedy, more often it is politics. Regardless, my good feeling quickly dissipates. Don’t bother to tell me not to ever turn on the TV. My writer’s mind has a “need to know.”
The cool thing about being a writer, however, is that I can release thoughts in my mind onto a page. I feel less overwhelmed when I read about what I’m thinking. Maybe because it is taking a step back and observing rather than just feeling. Normally I write in my journal, but I suspect some readers of my blogs are having similar feelings—so here I am. You can now say, “It’s not just me, Libby feels the same way.”
There are always good reasons for our concerns but worrying about the future doesn’t solve potential problems. It only takes away any hope of enjoying the present. Two months ago I turned 81 years old. If I wait for everything to be fine in the world before enjoying life, well . . . . So every day I remind myself to be patient and trust and—to live in the moment. I recommend Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now. As I write this, I am warm and cozy inside a home I love, listening to the rain, and eating a muffin. I’ve gotten my stressful thoughts out of my head and down on a page. I am not thinking about what I need to do later today, tomorrow, next week or next year. I am living in the moment.
Do whatever works for you.
And then wait a few hours before turning on the TV.
Link to the Haverford Trilogy: Promises to Keep, Lydia, True Abundance, and my mystery, Desert Soliloquy on Amazon: http://ow.ly/HXHE3
If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.
Twitter handle is: @LibbyGrandy
Posted by libbygrandy
at 3:25 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 11 May 2018 3:38 PM EDT
Thursday, 22 March 2018
To Blog or Not to Blog No Longer a Question
I gave a reason in my last blog for not blogging for a while. One reason I didn’t give was that I really didn’t have anything to say (something my friends will have trouble believing. Lol). Now I do.
Since my husband’s recent time spent in the hospital and rehab due to an adverse reaction to the muscle relaxer, Baclofen, I have been thinking about the positive aspects of the experience.
For example, the wonderful care he received. We appreciated the excellent professional care, but it was the people that impressed me the most. They truly cared, not only about Fred but about me. The nurse in ER stayed by my side almost all the time. And when the wait to transfer him from the Pomona ER to the Kaiser facility ER in Ontario went on until the evening, she stepped in. She left to facilitate it, and when she came back, reassured me he would be leaving within forty-five minutes. Smiling, she said, “I begged and pleaded and finally promised to bake cookies.” I hugged her in gratitude.
The four days he spent at the Kaiser hospital was made bearable by the on-going attention by nurses and doctors, mainly the two male nurses that constantly checked up on both of us day after day. On the afternoon of the fourth day, Fred finally said two words. When I said, “love you,” he weakly responded, “love you.” I told everyone he was either “coming back,” or he had fallen in love with one of the nurses. Both nurses reassured me that he had never said that to them.
When he returned to the land of the living on the fifth day, I was on my way to the hospital when one of the male nurses called and talked to our granddaughter. He wanted to let me know that Fred was “back.” Rachel said the nurse was excited to be able to report that he had just had a conversation with Fred. He was still excited when I got there. He said, “We are as glad as the patient’s family when things turn out well.” I believe we don’t realize how much nurses do care, as they have to project a professional decorum. However, they are human beings who want to relieve suffering whenever they can and are happy when that is possible.
Then we went to Rehab where the same loving care continued. Everyone who walked into Fred’s room wanted to know what they could do to make him more comfortable. They performed their professional duties then stayed to talk. I don’t believe there was any personnel there that we didn’t interact with. People would stop by and say things like, “We heard that you once lived in Egypt,” and would listen to his stories. All of this helped Fred recover from any cognitive problems left over from the drug. By the time we left, he was joking with everyone. The supervisor hugged him goodbye and said to me over his shoulder. “He’s such a sweetheart.”
The last two days in Rehab Fred shared the room with a retired pastor. He and I talked for hours about everything, even politics, which I don’t usually do. We were spiritually on the same page. However, his political views were diametrically opposed to mine. But we agreed that, regardless of political leanings, we were Americans who needed to work together to get through this difficult time. Of course, he did encourage me to forgive and pray for a certain unnamed person. (I’m still working on that. Lol).
I am often accused of always trying to see the positive side of people or things, but all of the above are simple facts. There are good people in the world who will never be interviewed on TV. They are just living their lives and coping with life as best they can.
And those are the people we were privileged to meet during a very stressful, difficult time.
Posted by libbygrandy
at 1:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2018 2:25 PM EDT
Sunday, 18 March 2018
To Blog or Not to Blog
I haven’t written a blog for a long time because I didn’t want to get into a political discussion. I’ve found that it seldom does any good to argue politics or religion. It just comes between people. Recently, however, I had lunch with several friends I hadn’t seen for a while. Politics came up, and a friend I care about and respect began defending certain people in the political realm. I forgot my own edict to not argue politics and things turned tense.
Another friend saw where this was leading and quickly changed the subject. Bless her dear heart. (And I mean that in the best way, not the southern “bless your heart, you’re a nitwit” way. Lol)
So that’s why I haven’t been blogging. However, I’m beginning to see a sliver of daylight at the end of the long political tunnel. The sliver appeared when I watched two young, intelligent women on TV discuss women issues. One was a Republican and the other a Democrat. They totally agreed with one another and discussed how they could work together to solve serious problems and make the world a better place. Now that’s a concept I can wrap my mind around.
So maybe I’ll start blogging again. Or maybe not. We’ll see.
In the meantime, regardless of the beliefs of whoever is reading this blog, I’d just like to say, “Let’s work together.”
Posted by libbygrandy
at 4:52 PM EDT
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