Category Archives: Advance Care Planning

Last Drop in the Bucket

Imagine your life is a bucket and time is a drop of water.

Perhaps, at one time or another in your life you have felt that there were no answers, no choices, no hope and no point in trying any longer.

But there was still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

Suppose you found you were at a crossroads with detour signs, one way streets and construction seemingly blocking every possible way to proceed.

But there was still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

Suddenly you may have become aware that there were no friends, family, counselors, clergy, or available options for you to seek solace, find comfort or peace from turmoil.

But there was still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

We often hustle into each day with our hopes, dreams, goals, tasks, responsibilities and clocks trying to accomplish something, even if it is to just reach the end of it.

But there is still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

Imagine now, there is no tomorrow. Your bucket is rapidly approaching its limit.

How would this change your thoughts? What would be most important for you to achieve? Who would you want to share these last hours minutes or seconds with?

It is difficult for me to comprehend there would be no tomorrow. I have Pasta sauce thawing in the refrigerator, there are chapters to read in my class, there is potato salad I want to take to a Birthday party. But then these are the thoughts from a person with a relatively pain free, mostly healthy body, growing spirit of hope, and compassion.  A mind eager for continued learning, creativity and consciousness.

Life has shown me many paths. Along this journey I have seen many different people. Each who cope in their own way. Each person has the same number of hours in every day.  Yet I see many with vastly different focus, priority, and ambition. They are rightly giving their attention, energy and purpose to a countless array of topics, goals and directions. Among these there is constant debate in the world of who is most wise, wealthy, famous, or attractive. We want to know who is the most talented, strongest, or fastest of all.

Billions of dollars are spent to direct our attention, shift our focus, and recruit our interest. We are consumers after all. Every one of us, from the moment of birth, targeted for advertisement. What we consume most of all is time, every one of us at the same pace every day. Drop by drop. What we often waste most of all is time also. And we often do not put enough value on our time until there is no tomorrow.

Caring Choices hopes that by encouraging conversation between people we can eliminate the barrenness of lost hope when our lives are suddenly faced with the reality that there may be no tomorrow. Long before it becomes hours, minutes, or seconds left, there is opportunity for discussion about choices, hopes, and questions asked that may or may not have answers. But the questions will still then be asked. Questions asked by and with family, friends, counselors or clergy. Questions can be asked about options, hopes, dreams, goals, tasks or responsibilities. Is your bucket of time half full, or is it half empty? Please don’t wait until “The last drop in the bucket” and opportunity is lost.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Time

What impact this word can have in so many different situations. What usually comes to my mind when hearing this is to try and fill in the next word or words before or after.  For example: It’s Time, Time Flys, Time Stood Still, Time ran out, Time out, and on and on we can go. How about “Time flys when you’re having fun.” As “time” goes by, I realize that it is not only when having fun but also when I am focused on something. For me, playing guitar is the easiest way to lose 4 hours I have ever seen. As I get older I also remember people saying “Time seems to go faster when you’re old.”  Truth be told, yes, I wake up one morning and say “My God, it is Thursday already.” Weeks seem to fly by. When I was younger it was mostly “Time seems to drag on and on.” Especially when in school, waiting for the class to be over, the day to end, the bus to get home, or supper to be ready. Today it is more like the total opposite. I cannot seem to find the time to get anything done. And my, “how times have changed”.  Sound familiar to anyone?

The discussion of time can lead to a host of topics and provocative conversation. In the focus of time on this earth, we all, reluctantly maybe, are reminded each week by these blogs that our time is limited. Each week we try to generate interest in why and how planning and preparation for this limited time is important. Not only for each individual, but for our loved ones, our friends, and our associates in business, education, or any other position where there is any responsibility for action to occur when someone is suddenly absent from the scene.  Over “time,” I see change occurring.  I see a greater understanding and awareness of the benefits of end of life planning and discussion.

Recently a friend posted a short series of well known (but some for me, unknown) facts about the origins of different meanings to phrases not all that dissimilar to the references of time above. They included what seemed to me to be reliable origins for old sayings like “chewing the fat,” “crossing the threshold,” “raining cats and dogs,” and many other common sayings that almost everyone I know has heard or said.  “Time has come” for continued education and implementation of more compassionate care to be given as the end of life approaches. Not only for those who suffer from disease or trauma, but for all of us who will inevitably be in need of the type of humanity and kindness so often only reserved for “certain times.”

Caring Choices will continue to “change with the times” and offer our continually growing experience with emotional support, coping, thoughtful discussion, understanding, and reassurance for those who desire and need help during their “time of need.”

© 2015 Caring Choices

 

Life Finds a Way

One of my favorite characters in Jurassic Park was Dr. Ian Malcolm (aptly played by Jeff Goldblum) and one of his best lines was, “Life … uh, finds a way.”  He, of course, was referring to the eventual naturally occurring reproduction of dinosaurs created by man who foolishly contended to also have control over their creatures’ ability to reproduce.  In many aspects of life, we humans attempt to assert control. Still, life (nature) finds a way, to thwart our plans.

I once had a conversation with an elderly lady about quality of life. She shared her thoughts about having to be fed by someone else.  Being fed was undignified to her and she said she would feel like a burden.  Despite my best effort to assure her that people would feel honored to help her if her ability to feed herself changed, she was adamant.  She was very clear in telling me that she would not want to live if she couldn’t feed herself.  In her healthcare documents, she opted not to have a feeding tube inserted.   Feeding herself was a measure of control and independence through which she determined her quality of life.

She recently went through some life changes that I will not divulge here, but they have taken a toll on her physical and mental health.  She is declining cognitively.  She has lost the ability to feed herself – her worst fear.  Because she now needs to be fed, she is refusing to eat, losing weight, and “failing to thrive.”

Now, there are choices to be faced and decisions to be made by her family (since she is no longer cognitively able to do so for herself):

  • Do they want the doctor to prescribe an appetite stimulant?
  • Do they want to have a feeding tube inserted? (Living Wills have been ignored in favor of preventing “starvation”, which is a myth at end of life.)
  • Can she be re-trained to feed herself with adaptive utensils?
  • Will occupational or speech therapy be able to “fix” her self-feeding capability?
  • Is hospice care more appropriate now?

Whatever her family decides, the choices seem to be: (1) intervene in some way or (2) allow nature to “find a way.”

Caring Choices understands that these kinds of decisions are personal.  They are emotionally challenging to consider about ourselves and those we love.  Conversations with loved ones and our healthcare team are the best way to prepare for allowing nature to find its way.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Knock Knock

Whenever I hear this now I reluctantly respond in a slow monotone of “Whoooo’s there.”  At one time I may have gleefully replied in a more excited tone of eager expectation of the often witty response. But at 60, I have heard the usual responses hundreds of times and rarely hear something new or funny. But today, as I considered the topic for my blog title, I overheard someone on the television say “Knock Knock.” Not knowing the context of the words on the TV show in the background, I suddenly realized the value of the statement as it pertains to quite a different subject.

Weekly, my wife and I take turns blogging about all the issues surrounding conversations we hope to generate among our readers and the general population about end of life needs, care, and desires. Knock Knock, now has an entirely different meaning for me.

So, who’s there, really? Ask yourselves, who is really there. When you are talking to someone you love, and you are interested in establishing a plan for how to attend to the needs of their changing health, finances, and function, who are they really? More importantly, who are they now? As my time in health care continues I have often heard the comments: “We have done that.”, “I have done that,”, or “I/we hope/want to do that with so and so soon, this Thanksgiving, at Christmas, during vacation.”  The question is this:  Do we feel comfortable with the level of comprehension of their feelings. It’s important to consider what may have changed since our last conversation. I have found that very few people have continued discussions and make adjustments to their living wills and documentation over time.

There are lots of resources available to give guidance to someone wishing to explore planning for end of life. There are social workers, physicians, and clergy. Numerous on-line options exist on how to plan and prepare for the multitude of situations people can and will face in the care for the transition of life from independence to dependence. None of these tools are going to be helpful if the person who is being cared for has not been involved on some level. I am constantly telling my patients and their families: “We can’t help if we don’t know.”

Caring Choices asks everyone to please Knock! Find out who’s there. Start to ask questions early. Document the answers in a clear and easy to understand style that can be quickly found and accessed by family, friends or health care professionals.  Get to know your loved one’s thoughts on where, how, and what type of care and arrangements they are comfortable with. Please do not let decisions that can affect the remaining quality of life become subject to some standard response like it is of no more importance than an old joke.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Life Intervened

Well, we’ve missed two of our weekly blogs.  Life intervened.  Two weeks ago on a Saturday morning I awoke with what felt like razor blades in my throat.  Couldn’t talk; could barely swallow.  Spent the weekend that way and then went to my doctor on Monday who said it was just the “viral crud” going around.  I didn’t buy that since I know my body and I know that I’m prone to sinus and ear infections … but figured I’d let it run its course.  Then, another life intervention, over the next 36 hours, I had fevers (which I almost NEVER get) and other (more gross) symptoms, so I placed a call to my doctor’s office and received a boatload dose of antibiotics for 10 days.  I’m feeling much better now!

Life intervention two:  This past Tuesday, Jim was involved in a motor vehicle accident when a young woman rear-ended him in the Subaru while he was waiting to make a left turn into his office parking lot.  Fortunately he wasn’t seriously hurt (bruised back with some spasms – muscle relaxants are interesting!)  Car has some damage, but it’s fixable.  Just goes to prove – you never know what will happen to throw your life out of whack for a bit.

This week, I had the pleasure of providing two educational sessions for family and community members at work.  The presentation was titled “Decision Making for a Loved One” and I was happy to see that 20 people attended since this is usually a daunting topic that keeps people away.  Our family members at the nursing home where I work are awesome.  They are actively involved and engaged in the care of their loved one (most typically a parent).  We talked a lot about how life intervenes and throws changes at us that we’re not really prepared for.

We had some fruitful discussion about the legal powers that documents like a General Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney bestow and how those legal powers don’t really help all that much when you’re standing around the bed of a loved one trying to figure out what to do.  We spent a lot of time talking about talking.  How having conversations, about our values and beliefs and the people we want around us when life intervenes, are so much more valuable to surrogate decision-makers than the possession of a piece of paper.  Many were surprised to learn that documents are sometimes ignored in favor of people standing around the bed – whether they are the ones with the legal authority to make decisions or not.

There were some tears in the sessions when we talked about the guilt felt when placing mom or dad in a nursing home, or making some other decision with which adult children struggle.  We talked about how difficult these conversations can be to start, but I assured everyone that once they get past the first conversation, the next ones seem to be easier.  For some in the room, it seemed comforting to know that someone else (me, and the other family members) were going through similar things or have already walked the path of decision-making for a parent through the end of life.

Life intervenes in many ways.  Sometimes good things happen (like putting me in my current job to help others my age deal with decision-making for their elderly parent); and sometimes bad (like a sinus infection, fender bender, or something much more traumatic).

Before life intervenes with a medical crisis, traumatic accident or terminal diagnosis, talk to people you love.  Talk about what matters to you.  What gives your life meaning and purpose?  What kinds of symptoms are you willing to “live” with?  What abilities can you not live without?  Who do you want making decisions for you?  Can they make the tough decisions?  Can they advocate for you counter to physicians who may suggest a different path?

Caring Choices understands that these conversations are challenging, and making decisions for someone else can be difficult.  But we also understand that fear and guilt from decision-making can be lessened when we’ve had conversations and prepared our loved ones with the knowledge and courage to do what we ask.  We can help you start talking.  It’s never too early, but it can be too late.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Walk the Walk

 

I have been interested in music, poetry, and art the majority of my life.  I have often paid close attention to detail and pondered the meaning behind many of the lyrics I heard over the years. On this occasion a spoken phrase from Jeff Beck’s “Guitar Shop” (released 10/1989) comes to mind: “Much is being said my lords, but nothing is being done.” The song’s lyrics seem to relate to the environment. The “Talk the Talk” companion to the title of this blog indicates that there is no follow through. There is no “action” (walk the walk) to complement the words.

Health care trends today suggest “having the talk”, conversation, discussion, and planning for the eventual changes life inevitably presents us. Sudden or chronic, we will face challenges to our health, independence, and stability.  Yes, taking the time to have these meetings with family and friends, advocates, caregivers or attorneys is in our best interest. But it also takes Action beyond “talk”.

Words alone are easily misunderstood, and forgotten. The intentions behind them may change. The action I refer to is an on-going effort of the continued periodic review with whomever we have designated as our future healthcare advocate. Having a document that was drawn up 10, 20, or 30 years in the past is not truly a reflection of what may currently exist today. A friend recently mentioned how relieved he and his wife were when faced with difficult healthcare choices concerning the medical treatment of their failing family member. “I wasn’t going to go against Mom’s Living Will.” This was just one more example confirming for me the importance of taking action. “I didn’t want to talk about death and dying,” he said when describing his mother’s “action” during her research and application of planning for her future.  The outcome was one of peaceful acceptance and gratitude that only afterwards could be most appreciated by him and his family. In my decade of hospice experiences, I have often witnessed the importance of action in addition to words.

Caring Choices can facilitate the “Talk” with the use of our Elephant in the Room. The next step (walk the walk) is yours.

2015 © Caring Choices

 

20/20

To see these two numbers together, brings to mind the saying “Hindsight is 20/20”.  To me, this means the understanding of a wish that “had we only known yesterday,” what we experienced and maybe could have been avoided today. I have been viewing old and new documentaries and reading about the tragic sinking of the luxury liner, Titanic. After striking an iceberg at 11:40 PM on April 14, 1912, the Titanic sunk a little after 2:00 AM on the 15th with over 1500 souls still aboard. Only 709 people were rescued that night. The anniversary of this fatal collision does not always warrant my attention but for some reason this year I had watched a new documentary on Netflix called “Titanic: The Final Mystery.” On April 15th this year, I awoke from a dream in the early morning (around 1:30 AM) and the image in the dream carried over into consciousness to the degree I had to turn on the bedroom light to ensure there was no pool of water at the foot of my bed. This was just my imagination, right? Over-active mind from all the movies and reading about the accident I suppose. I soon remembered there were several real life experiences I have had in the past with potential life threatening drowning.

The first was as a child of 10 or 11.  I had the good fortune of growing up within one block from the west branch of the mighty Susquehanna River. One afternoon on a hot summer day we swam over to “the island” from around 6th Street in Milton. After a few hours of exploration and rock throwing, we swam back to the point on the east bank where we started the day. The only difference, this time it was an against-current swim. My friend had waded out from the island’s northern tip enough that he had no problem making it across the 40 or 50 feet to the shore. I had not started from the same place, but rather more from the side which made the current much stronger. It was not long before I realized that between the cold water, hours of throwing heavy rocks, and the fast current, my usual swimming power immediately ebbed into cramping panic. In an instant I was in danger, and my friend’s hand was only feet away as he stretched from the shoreline to help me. The harder I swam the weaker I got until I had no strength left. Had it not been for some fishermen pushing off from a nearby dock I could possibly have drowned. “Better get over there and pull him out,” I heard the older man say as the boat sped to my rescue. Even when I realized I had only to swim with the current and land safely downriver from where I wanted to go, I had no strength to stay afloat.

The next incident was in 1972. Having spent the entire week preparing the homes of many people along North Front Street, my father had made the choice to disregard the mandatory evacuation orders. The loud speakers bellowed the orders throughout the day. My family and I stole away in the house quietly and kept the lights dim to avoid detection. After all, my father assured us we were in no real danger and if the water came up too high we would just leave. We had placed every appliance and piece of furniture up on saw horses on the first floor. We enjoyed a dinner of hoagies and chips for supper and as early warning precaution, I slept on the bare hardwood floor of the living room that night. Throughout the day we had monitored the river, which was rising at a rate of 1-2 feet per hour. But again, we were the highest home on all of North Front Street sitting directly on the NE corner of 2nd and Front Streets; no one felt any real concern.

Somewhere near dawn I awoke with a cold chill. My sleeping bag was damp; water was bubbling up between the floorboards and flowing steadily into the kitchen from the gap between the bottom of the basement door and floor. In less than two hours with full daylight we were trapped on the stairs and the water was up to the 5th or 6th step. I often wish today we had the technology of cell phones to have recorded the events of the next hour. After the boat had come into our living room through the front door, we had to gather a few belongings and step into the small fishing boat. The outboard motor filled the living room with a pale light smoke and the air stung with the sharp rasp of gasoline, oil and natural gas. Everywhere you looked there were barrels, logs, lawn furniture, toys, and other debris floating by. We then had to go to the home just to the east of us on 2nd Street, to pick up an older lady who had also been lured into the illusion of safety, and stayed at home. The boatmen had to push against the ceiling and door jams to get into and out of the front door in order to retrieve the visibly distressed woman from her inner staircase. The water in her home was now almost 4 feet from the ceiling. We barely got out with everyone needing to duck down as flat as possible in the boat in order to get out the doorway. We rode toward the river and rounded the corner onto North Front Street. As we passed the street sign I could not help but notice that the top of the sign bearing the street names were only a few feet above water. This image will live with me forever. Our route took us all the way down Front Street until we got to Broadway where we turned East toward the safety of the hill just across the railroad tracks. Men were at the intersection of Arch and Broadway to safely direct us between giant banded bundles of lumber.  These bundles had floated down from Clinger Lumber around Locust Street and were slamming into the glass fronts of the buildings at the South end of the street. We were safely escorted between bundles and unloaded onto dry ground just past the Newsstand where the elevation started its gentle rise.

Hindsight tells me now that had I known at 10 or 11 years old that the combination of my sore muscles, cold water and faster current would have paralyzed my arms, I would never have crossed the river at that angle.  Likewise, had my father known that the water would rise continually all night and into the next several days, he would never have chosen for us and our neighbor to stay in our houses.  He didn’t anticipate the risk of fire from gasoline, oil and natural gas leaks nearby, or structural damage from the loosened renegade flood debris.

Caring Choices does not possess a special 20/20 hindsight vision that can warn others of impending tragedy. We can however, refer to the hundreds of experiences in both our private and professional lives where people have again and again called upon this elusive sense. The more prepared we are for inevitable situations and unexpected change, the less time and energy need be directed to things that could have easily been planned for and possibly avoided. This would allow more positive interaction to occur in the moments where the true focus of attention exists.

© 2015 Caring Choices

 

Harsh Your Mellow

I’ll admit to being far removed from pop culture and the “scene” of 20-somethings, which won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me well.  I’m not sure I was part of the 20-something scene when I WAS 20-something myself.  This week in the nursing home, I heard a 20-something nurse aide say the phrase “Harsh Your Mellow” and I admit I was intrigued by it!  I’ve found that there are a couple of different definitions of this phrase, but the one I latched onto was that you ruin someone’s happiness with sad news or drama.

In life, there will always be sad news and for many people, drama. I try to avoid drama at all costs.  That may be my 50-something maturity, but I find that drama is usually overrated and typically unnecessary.  I have noticed in my end-of-life work (hospice and long-term care) that there is often drama that could have been avoided or just lessened – if only people would have talked when they were healthy and able to do so.

Sadness is unavoidable in this life; drama, though, can sometimes be kept at bay.  I’ve watched families wrestle with making decisions for a loved one who can no longer speak for themselves.  I’ve seen adult siblings separated by hundreds of miles and a childhood of drama come together around a bedside to try to make decisions for a parent who was indifferent all their lives.  Sometimes adult children gather to try to make amends as a last-chance effort to find togetherness.  Others appear from a far distance (in time, miles and emotions) to make sure they get “their share” of whatever Mom or Dad may have left in worldly goods.

I’ve sat with patients as they received sad (bad) news from their oncologist.  I’ve listened to long-married spouses ask us to help their partner “get stronger” even though their last station is on the near horizon.  I’ve witnessed the caring of my Uncle Warren who visited his wife every day in the nursing home where she resided for 7 years even though she could no longer speak or acknowledge his presence.  These situations could have been full of negative drama; they were certainly full of sadness.

When I speak with people facing their own illness or death or that of someone they love, I tend to be forthright in providing education and information.  I can sometimes be blunt but I am always compassionate.  Because of the reality of the subject, I may even “harsh your mellow.”

Caring Choices recognizes that by avoiding discussions about the harshness that chronic illness, terminal diagnosis or advanced aging brings, we may escape the sadness, but the drama may increase – both for us and for our families.  We may need to be more willing to “harsh the mellow” when we’re healthy and able to rationally discuss healthcare options.  Better to harsh our own mellow than the mellow of those we love.

© 2015 Caring Choices

When “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” isn’t Effective

The answer seems kind of obvious, right?  If you shoot first and it’s fatal, you won’t be able ask questions later.  The idiom itself is extremely reactionary.  My interpretation is that someone who shoots first and asks questions later is likely reacting to an intense fear of a perceived imposing, immediate threat.  Certainly there may be circumstances in life when shooting first is the best option and I’ll let you, the reader, determine what they may be for yourself.  Where I strongly believe “shooting first” is NOT the best option – actually, for me, it is never an option – is in making healthcare decisions.

While reading my digital New York Times this morning, I came across an article on dialysis later in life.  Embedded in that article is a link to a comprehensive online resource which provides lists of five (or more) things that physicians and patients can use to spark conversation, to help inform of risks and benefits, and to make “right” decisions based on individual circumstances.  The resource was created by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (and their partners) and they aptly titled their initiative Choosing Wisely®.  From the Choosing Wisely® website:

Choosing Wisely® aims to promote conversations between providers and patients by helping patients choose care that is:

•  Supported by evidence

•  Not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received

•  Free from harm

•  Truly necessary

The advance care planning geek in me is ecstatic to have found this resource!  I plan to download the entire collection of PDFs for use with Caring Choices clients.  I encourage you to share this site with people you love and your healthcare team for better informed, shared decision making.

We need to be asking questions before “shooting” into tests, treatments and procedures.  Asking questions first doesn’t mean that we won’t go ahead with a test, treatment, or procedure.  But it does mean that we are making informed decisions based on valid information, examining our situation and our wishes; not simply proceeding because the test/treatment/procedure is available.  Some basic questions to ask might be:Puzzle Piece Question Mark clip art

  • Is it necessary?
  • How will it help me?
  • How will it hurt me?
  • How will it impact my quality of life?
  • How much time do I have to make a decision?
  • What evidence does research provide about it?

Shooting first and asking questions later is a gut reaction.  In healthcare options and decisions, we need to be consulting more than our gut.  As individuals, we are the only one going through the physical act of a test, treatment or procedure.  However,  we are encumbering those we love with the emotional and psychological outcomes of the test, treatment and procedure.  These outcomes may involve complex and complicated caregiving, especially in later years.  It will be important to know the how-what-why-when-where of caregiving needs when making decisions.  Get informed about tests, treatments and procedures.  Then, choose wisely.

Caring Choices understands that time can be of the essence when needing to make healthcare decisions.  We know that there are times when following our gut makes sense.  We also know that sharing conversations about healthcare options and decisions provides a sense of security even if we don’t all agree on the course of action.  Making your decisions known to your loved ones and healthcare team will prevent them from the reactionary shooting first and hoping to be able to ask questions later.

Shrink Wrapped

Throughout my life I have absorbed wisdom, ideas, inspiration and hope from the world around me. Life is one experience after another; good or bad, welcomed or resisted, change occurs. Today during a breakfast meeting with a very good friend I was enlightened with today’s blog topic by a certain phrase he stated. After listening to me rattle on about the completion of my Key to Your Soul CD project and Elephant in the Room discussion guide he said. “Congratulations on your two shrink wrapped accomplishments.” I laughed and said something about my head getting shrink wrapped in reference to the invested risk, time, work, and cost of the projects. Later I realized the value in his statement in relationship to some views on death.

Even with the health care exposure in my life time (as patient, first aid class attendee, life guard, CNA, LPN, RN and 10 year experience with Hospice), it is still obvious to me that there are some people in this world who cannot, or will not, feel comfortable with discussions about death. Fear, I believe is the ultimate factor for most. For others it is more the fact that, as with birth, death is a private journey in which they are accurately aware but just not comfortable discussing it. No matter what the rationale, there are certain facts we know about our feelings, hopes, dreams, and wishes that would better serve us if others were to know them as well. Yet for the vast majority of us, our ideas about death are “shrink wrapped” inside us and we put trust in some vague hope that somehow we will have a “good” death. Good, as in peaceful, painless, regret free, quick, and while we sleep.

One of the major influences on my early education in the healthcare field was a class I took through Rio Salado College in Maricopa County, Arizona. The class text book was Albert Ellis’s A Guide to Rational Living. “Let’s face it,” Ellis writes “reality often stinks.” This particular statement produced an immediate sense of the tragic comedy of this life. We are given senses and a mind to explore and search the vast universal realms of heart and soul equipped with a vessel that weakens and deteriorates just at the time when our life experiences culminate into the realization of self and purpose. Now that’s funny! Yet it is sad all the same. For those of us fortunate enough to survive the experimental years of youth, wrath of war torn global politics, and accidental or intentional trauma, sickness or disease, we are left with aging bodies and dimming minds. Bless the industry of suspended youth that has cropped up in light of this insurmountable fact.

Caring Choices would like to encourage everyone to examine themselves in the mirror, and if necessary, break the shrink wrap around your hearts and minds. Discuss the love and hope for the future with your family, friends, and caregivers.  Allow them the opportunity to serve you with the goal of hope for that peaceful, pain and regret-free moment when all intimacies are true and no fear, shame, or agony is invited.

© 2015 Caring Choices