THE TWO TYPES.

Around 6 months ago, after becoming to attached to a client, I decided to leave my job as a carer for the elderly.  The particular couple I had become close to both deteriorated at a very fast rate.  Mr K was a rare breed, a gentlemen, kind, caring and had a fantastic sense of humour, his wife spent her time knitting little bags for my daughter ( which sadly she refused to use as they smelt of “old people”) and shouting across the room to her husband whilst tutting and “whispering” to me how hard of hearing he had become, I never had the heart to tell her she was way more hard of hearing then he was….

I saw Mr K go from a bubbly man to a shell in a hospice, but I will never forget him.  It was a few weeks after he passed away that I woke one morning and had, what I now know was burn out. I physically could not get out of bed, the thought of seeing another client, of having to wash, dress, clean someone was horrific to me, and so I had to leave the job.

Fast forward 6 months, after trying my hand at a few office jobs, I came to the realisation that I needed to go back to being a carer.  This is where my strengths lie and a part of me was missing, so this time I have made sure systems are in place (supervision, time out etc) to make sure I do not have a repeat of last time.

There are some things I have learnt from working with the elderly, and I call them the two types, the two types of elderly people and the two types of families, and both the two types go hand in hand.

The first type are the people with pictures of smiling grandchildren, (and great children) plastered over their walls, they are the ones who will have a sweet bowl on the table and command you to eat sweets before you leave, they are the ones who are clean, well presented, who feel they have something to live for, these people have the first type of family to, these families are the ones who will call whilst you are there, even though they have spoken to their parent a few minutes before to ensure everything is ok, they are the type who will take out Mum or Dad for a walk, to the shops, they are the type who will pop in every day or every other day, they are the type who will send in a week’s worth of meals in little plastic containers, neatly labelled which day and meal they are for, they are the type who will speak to their parents dr, nurse, carer, cleaner on a regular basis. They are the type who care.

The second type are the ones that make me sad, the type of are sitting, waiting, waiting to die. They may sit all day and night in one room, they may refuse to have a wash or put on clean clothes, they may seem to you to be bitter, but really they are hurting and all they want, all they have given up on is someone to show that they care. They may have an odd photo of their husband/wife who passed away many years ago, they may have his/her clothes still in the wardrobe, unable to part with the only person who ever cared. Most shockingly they may have children, who have decided that the person who gave birth to them, the person who cooked, cleaned, cared for and raised them are now a burden. In one instance, I met a lady who was completely alone in the world, to the extent that on her next of kin sheet it said in bold letters “FAMILY DO NOT WANT TO BE CONTACTED” when I first read that, I could not stop the tears.

From my teenage years, I have always had an affinity with the elderly, I find people of a certain age and over fascinating, to hear about a life we can only imagine, to learn about the struggles of fleeing a war zone, to listen to the songs of the past, to have the honour of looking after a  gentlemen who has received his 100 year telegram from the queen is a privilege I am lucky to have.

My aim with this blog today is to remind us, one day we will all be old, (and by the way, never complain about getting old…it is a privilege denied to many) we can look at our children and wonder, will they take care of me? or will they leave me in my old age.

I take my inspiration from my own parents, I remember my grandfather, who lived with us for many many years after my grandmother passed away, walking past a nursing home, and saying to my parents “that looks like a jail, and it is a jail”!!, letting my parents know in no uncertain terms what he thought of a nursing home! My parents gave up on holidays, on rest and a lot more, but it was never thought of that my grandfather would not live with us.

obviously we all not all able to do what my parents did, we may not have a big enough home, or other reasons why our elderly parents can not live with us, but lets not forget them. Let them not be the forgotten. Our elderly parents should be the first priority when looking after people.  Our parents have given their lives to look after us, and we at one point hopefully will be able to show them just what they mean to us.

Lots of love

Sara

The best time of the year

YAY …. (she says before the summer starts)… I love this time of year, the promise of a day (maybe two if we are lucky) of sun, fun fairs (oh yes someone remind me to remortgage  so i can pay for the tokens) beach ( darling…stop looking at that naked women …to child!! not hubby!!)  the three seconds of joy when waking up and realising that you dont have to yell, beg, plead or bribe anyone to get ready for school, before hearing the calls of “I’m booooooored”.

One of the things I love best about this time of year is the writing of poems, as class mum (yes, when my daughter started school, I did think it would be the public spirited thing to do, and offered to be class mum….mistake…biggg mistake) I have the joy of buying teachers presents, once I have finished hearing from some mums about how much everyone should give, and the complaints about how much,not enough, having 25 kids in schools and going bankrupt, are finished I can settle down and write poems.

Uh, the joy of when the brain is in creative mode, when the words just flow, when you know what to say and don’t have to google “what rhymes with”even once. 

Tonight was one of those nights, and here, lovely reader are the 3 poems I wrote this evening, one for the teachers, one for the bus drivers and one for the secretaries. Enjoy!

Teachers:

As another year passes

For a while no more classes

All your hard work we truly appreciate

There is just no way we can reciprocate

we know how much you invest in each child

Even when they are going completely wild

 

How you manage to stay calm

Every day You keep them from harm

Giving them the tools and education

Until the time comes for the summer vacation

 

The bell rings at the end of each day

As you smile and see our children on their way

We know you do not go home and relax

We understand how you work to the max

 

As a teacher you inspire a life long passion for learning

For knowledge you create a yearning

You have taken our children by their hand

Taught them gently, till they understand

 

You have started the journey on which our children will embark

Know that on their hearts you have left a mark.

Thank you is not suffice

Whether we say it once or twice.

BUS DRIVERS:

At the start of the day, we wave goodbye

Knowing we do not have to frown or sigh

Whether it is sunny, or cold, or the snow is fluttering to the ground

Our children will arrive at school, safe and sound

Every morning as we hear the hoot

Telling our kids “hurry up…scoot”

On the bus drivers we know we can rely

Which means we don’t need to stress, or have a little cry

“it my turn in the front”

“I dropped my ball, can I go on the floor to hunt”

“ I want some music playing”

“Driver, they are being mean, can you hear what they are saying”

You always stay calm, and have a smile on your face

As you drop each child off in just the right place

So willing to help each one feel at ease

Even when they may not say thank you or please.

Please accept our token of appreciation

From all the parents at (SCHOOL NAME DELETED…BUT IT RHYMED!)

We hope you have some time to relax and unwind

And thanks again for being so kind

 

SECRETARIES:

I feel sick, I fell and scratched my knee

I need these printed now, where is the cupboard key

The teacher sent me to give this to you

I’m really sorry but I’ve just blocked the loo

Every day you look after our school

I have to say I think you guys rule!

Somehow you always manage to keep your cool

All the children feeling better by sitting on the magic stool

Caring and kind, organised and efficient,

Just to say “thanks” really isn’t sufficient

The pressure each week to get the newsletter out

Before the phone rings and parents start to shout

My son came home without his coat… its cold its only May

My daughter forgot her lunch, can you give her yours just for today

We will be late in coming to school this morning

Sorry, but my darling was just yawning and yawning

I take my hat off to you

Its a talent to do the job that you do

As you close the office door for the last time on Wednesday

Do a happy dance, shout “OOOHHH YAY, OOOOHHH YAY”

Thank you so so much for everything you have done this year.

 

And finally…. wishing you all best of British luck for the next few weeks!

PARTING YET NEVER APART

This one is going to be written in sombre colour! I was not going to write today, ( I thought you all need a break from my ramblings) and yet…here I am.

Loss.

We all lose in life, we loose a race, we lose the promotion, we lose our contacts on our phones, we lose our keys, we loose things we were holding just a second ago and search for an hour till we find it in the fridge.

But what about the losses that are so severe, so hard, so deeply painful that we feel we can never get over them. How do we move on? how do we cope? what skills do we need to urgently acquire in order to survive. How do we move from the black pit of despair in to a pit from where we can see the light shining above us, and from there crawl out of the pit, in to the rain, and then move from the rain to the cloud, from the cloud to the sun etc.

I have suffered losses, my baby who died after only being here for a time that was too short. A daughter who does not live with me, a father who G-d took back to early. Last week I found out about another loss which will be coming along in a few short weeks, my closest, dearest most wonderful friend who is my “sista from another mista” is moving abroad.  She is to me a sister, a post to lean on when I am falling and the friend with which I have shared the best and worst of times.

When I think about this particular loss, it is different, she is not going to be lost, we can talk every day, we can see each other on our phones, computers etc, but I know she will not be round the corner, there will be no more messages saying “what u up to? lets go out for a bit” or “can you pop round”. So I am considering this a loss.

It may be dramatic to put her moving in the same category as the other losses, but every time something like this happens it opens up that box for me, and the losses I have experienced become as if on a cinematic screen in front of me, My father lying, grey in colour on the hospital bed, my baby, his breathing forced by machines, watching the numbers on the heart monitor obsessively, watching as they went lower and lower, every fibre of my being screaming at me to do something to stop those numbers getting any lower but being completely helpless, my daughter, having her leaving party, she must have been so confused, my heart in pieces, knowing I needed to do this for her.

So how do we deal with the box of pain when it opens? do we ever get over loosing someone?  I do not believe we do, the pain never goes, it just gets different, people say time is a great healer, and now after all these years I can finally agree, but just as someone who has had a pace maker inserted we are never fully healed, there is always that glimmer, that pain waiting to rush out at us again. It can come at the most surprising times, when we see a child in the street who looks like the ones we lost, when we meet people who have given birth, when we read horrific stories of children suffering in the news, when we walk past a shop window advertising something which would have been perfect for our child. When friends lose a parent to young, or you meet someone who asks you how your father is.

So often thoughts will pass through my head, almost guilt in a way, when I hear of children of older ages passing away, telling me that my grief, my pain is unjustified as I only held my angel for a day or two, but I know, with my whole heart that a child is our child no matter how long they have been on this earth for, we grieve for what could have been not what was, we grieve because that primal need to care for our little ones has been cruelly ripped away from us, we cry because we are so alone in our grief.

We learn to become the person the world thinks we are, even when we are not.  The box of the lost has its own little vault in our brain, sometimes the vault will open and the pain will flow out of it, but we learn to shut, lock and place the key in a special place.

My friend moving, is sorrow, but I am happy for her, for the life she has for so long wanted and deserved is going to be hers. This is a loss for me, which has opened my box, but, I am grateful, and blessed that we live in a generation where keeping in touch has never been easier, and so I will try to close the loss box, and create a new box for her I think I will call it the “determination box” the determination to stay her best friend and never lose her.

Lots of love

Sara

 

 

This one is dedicated to Her….

I have spent the last 24 hours thinking about this post, how to format it, how to write it and what to say. There is so much I can say about this, but it will get sooooooooooo boring, the subject I want to chat about is Therapy.

Recently I had a conversation with someone, it went something like this:

Me ” I have just finished reading this really good book about therapy, I highly recommend it”

Her ” Na, I don’t really believe in therapy for adults, you can always speak to a friend, rav, or your husband”

Me ” hey, don’t knock it till you try it”

Her ” well, a person only needs therapy if they have really bad emotional difficulties”

Me “ok, whatever” ( yup- great comeback I know)

I am a proud therapy goer for approx 15 years, ( yes I must have so many deep, crazy, psychological issues). I believe that everybody should have a therapist, and THERE IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. In fact the opposite, a therapist, in my humble opinion is the same as a dr, just for the mind.

It happened on Friday that I cut off a chunk of skin from my thumb, now a well meaning friend happened to be in the house, try as she did we could not get it to stop bleeding, I texted my friends and family in a panic, whilst blood went everywhere asking what to do, yet it still did not stop bleeding. So I called Hatzola (the jewish paramedic service), the Hatzola guys are all trained and know exactly what they are doing… my point… all the well meaning friends, all the concerned family could not help, only someone trained with knowledge of the issue managed to fix it. Should it not be the same with emotional issues, which in general are so much deeper and have more impact on our lives then a cut thumb.

A quote from the above mentioned great book I recently finished ( Therapy Shmerapy by Mindy Blumenfeld) the quote is not exact as I do not have the book with me, she writes of a scenario, a young newly married couple are having issues with financies, they can not seem to agree how to mange their money, so they pop along to their local friendly Rabbi/priest/Iman/ bar man/ Scientology leader / postman … for a chat. He advises them how to open up joint accounts, or how to save their money, they leave big smiles on their faces, all is peaceful. A week later the couple come back with another issue they cant agree on, and so it continues.  The  Priest /Rabbi … ( You get the idea) try as he may can not get to the bottom of the problem, and may realise that there is something far deeper then not being able to sort out financies or how to run their home. For the deeper, root cause of the issue they need to see someone who is trained to do exactly that, get to the bottom of the issue, someone who knows through her training what to ask, what to do etc.

A friend, no matter how close, no matter how deep your friendship Has her own views and can not be objective due to her relationship to you. Do you really want to discuss matter close to your heart regarding your children, husband/ partner, family, knowing that she will come in to close maybe daily contact with all those people?

A few years ago, I met a family relative, he runs the Relief organisation in Canada, he said something that I found to be so on the mark. Whilst talking about therapy, he said “we have come to a point where people would say without shame that their child is in therapy, hopefully in a few years we will come to a point where people could admit without shame that they are in therapy”

So why the shame? why the secret? Think about what therapy enables us to do, it enables us to delve deeper in to the workings of our mind, it frees our thoughts from the prison it can create for us, it opens up a deeper understanding of our relationships, and our daily struggles.  When a person takes the step and sees a therapist for whatever reason, she should never be ashamed, she should be proud, proud that she is seeking the answers, proud that the anxiety, the depression, the fear, the suffering she is experiencing is going to be explored. Proud that she refuses to sweep the issue under the carpet. Proud that she will become a deeper friend, a more loving wife, have more patience, time and love for her children or co-workers.

Before I end this to long post I want to slip in a few words about my therapist… if there was a way of making clones, there should be a clone of her in every town in the world. Once a week I sit in her room, it used to be the big room with the amazing mirror which looked like a hundred shattered mirrors put back together (oh I do miss looking at the mirror…to me it represented what therapy is) but now we are in the smaller room, the cosier room, with the walls lined with holy books, the bottle of water I know will always be there even though I never drink, the tissues which I thought I would never use (how wrong I was) Often my eyes scan the books, and I wonder, does she think I am being nosy, I am not ( really …I’m not) I sometimes find it hard to meet her eye, as I am afraid of what I may see in them, but in reality all I have ever seen, is care, concern and the want to help me be a better self.

My therapist has been the oxygen where there is none. She has been the sun, straining to be seen through the clouds, she has been the home where I can park all my worries, all my fears, all my doubts. She has gone above and beyond for me, she has shown me that I am a person of worth, a person who has something to contribute to society. She has seen me cry, cry in a way that I never dreamt I would in front of another person. She has seen me at the worst of times, and never have I felt judged by her… shouldn’t we all want such a person in our lives.

To all those people who say “I don’t need therapy” “only people with no friends, family etc need therapy” “therapy is for people with severe emotional issues” this post is for you. YOU are the ones that need it the most, because you are missing out on changing your life from a shallow, false living to a real, wonderful and deep life.

And so, to my lovely therapist  this post is dedicated to you.

 

lots of love

Sara 

 

 

 

 

 

A Poem she will never read

There will be times I will feel the need to write about my daughter.

This blog( in general)  will not be sad, in fact I am determined to keep it happy and jolly… though if I feel strongly about something, you will all know!!

I am blessed with 2 beautiful daughters. A 7 year old and a 17 year old (yup feeling old). My 17 year old has not lived with me for 10 years.  Over the years I have been made to feel (probably unintentionally ) that I should be “grateful” for the time I get to be with her, that I should not complain when I do not have enough time with her, that I should just smile and say no problem when I am given instructions on how to be with her.

My hope is to reach out to other “Mothers apart” and let them know they are not alone.

Poems are my way of expressing myself, so here’s one I made earlier… 

( Advert Break:::: I am available for little or no fee to write poems for any occasion, Weddings, Bar-Bat Mitzvah, Sheva Brochot, Christenings, Funerals, Wake’s, etc)

 

The train rumbles, as it leaves the station

Trying to calm my steadily increasing frustration

The whistle sounds, a forlorn call

I wish I could curl in to a foetal ball

 

The brakes hiss, and screech like they protest in pain

Trying to keep my mind sane.

 

Whizzing past stations to fast to keep track

A part of me wants to turn back

Heading toward someone who is  a part of my being

So why do I in pain feel like keeling

 

Pretending this is just how it should be

A trip once every three months for me to see

O I smile and you will see my mask

To keep it pasted on is truly a task

 

Be grateful is the message they sublimely send my way

You are getting this much is what they really want to say

Really? For sure? Do you know what you are implying?

My anger raises up before once again subsiding.

 

To them it is a trip, that we once in a while do make

To them it is just a trip for goodness sake.

 

For me, as those train tracks screech in protest under

I peer at the sky, why does it always look like thunder?

Taking me to her, as if a civil occasion

Pasting a smile, through me there is a sadness invasion

 

The same routine every single time,

Acting as if this is just oh so fine

A meal out, her watching just in case

A friend of hers may see her, constant worry on her face.

 

Talking as if we are all good mates

But look, is this really going to be our fate?

An awkward hug after a measly two hours

Oh how I wish I had turning back time powers

 

Speak to you on the phone tomorrow I hope

My heart breaking but having to cope,

Sure mummy she says with a wide smile,

Whilst running to the house to her  “mother” all the while.

 

 

 

Giving up!

5 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes… so my quitter app tells.

 

According to my app I have also saved £63.02. I should be laughing my way to the shops by now, instead I am doing everything in my power not to think about smoking…though thinking about it…sitting writing a whole post on the subject may not be the most sensible way to stop obsessing about it.

2 years ago I quit for a week, I do not remember why I restarted but the reason was probably not very interesting – nor worth another 2 years of poisoning my body.

I saw my lovely, wonderful therapist today ( be prepared to hear more about how she has impacted my life in other posts…. you have been warned) and she mentioned that I seemed different.  Well I happen to agree, I feel different, I feel calmer, more level headed, happier, and today it happened I had no money in my purse, now, please understand in the past when I had no money in my purse I would be scrabbling around, emptying out charity boxes, digging deep in to the sofa ( nope…. its a myth that you will find £10000000000 down the back of a sofa) rattaling my daughters money box (disgraceful I know) searching through my husbands pockets (happily that is the only reason I would ever need to search his pockets) to try and find that £10.70 I needed to buy a packet of what my hubby so aptly describes as cancer sticks.

So that’s the good side of it, the dark, gloomy, climb the walls, watch me through your fingers in fright, side of it is , frankly horrendous.

Here, to fire up your imagination is a little synopsis of what it is like to quit smoking:

  1. All pervading, all invading constant thoughts of cigarettes
  2. Anger, the kind that everyone in your immediate and not so immediate surroundings know about…. yup the neighbours may call the police, social services, men in white coats due to the screaming they will hear coming from you.
  3. Coughing
  4. Coughing
  5. Coughing
  6. More coughing
  7. Tiredness
  8. Hunger
  9. Hunger
  10. Hunger

There you go, just a few side effects…but I have realised, smoking is a CON!! A huge CON which trillions of people have fallen for…

Tobacco companies will have you believe smoking is so many things, cool.. hmmm that went out the window when the TV ads with the cute cowboys on horses smoking were banned!

Relaxing, nope… it may feel relaxing, but really you are just anxious, anxious about when the next one will come, anxious about how you can afford it, anxious if you are out with friends …thinking about how and when you can smoke next, Not being able to enjoy Shabbat or Chagim.

So, some advice when trying to encourage someone who has just given up, don’t say “oh I gave up chocolate a few weeks back so know what you are going through”…YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT GIVING UP SMOKING IS LIKE ( that’s me shouting at you) do… keep encouraging, do bring gifts..sweets, chocolates, more sweets, more chocolate. Do understand that when we are yelling at you, we are really yelling at the cigarette monster in our heads.

So, here you have it, my first blog post. Its taken me hours to work out how to set up the thing, but not very long to write… I hope you have enjoyed it. Please forward to family, friends, colleges, the postman, random strangers, and please do comment so I don’t feel like a sado because no one has read my blog!

I will…all being well, be back tonight, when I want to talk about guests for Shabbat vs saving money and not having guests.

Hugs and kisses

Sara

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