Showing posts with label decisions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decisions. Show all posts

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What price do we pay for the choices we make?

           Each of us has the opportunity to make choices.  We choose to leave the house, transportation, destination, what we eat and so forth.  Often we are presented with obstacles as a result of our choices.  For example, we may have a variety of ways to get from point A to point B - do we want to take the scenic route or something faster.  If we had stayed in one lane could we have avoided the car crash that happens in the next?  What about those that we encounter.  How do our choices effect them?  And what about those things we can't control like the weather or health?  Often the result of our choices makes no difference.  Other times even the smallest decision may change our entire lives.

          I think "The Mountain Between Us" gives us some great illustrations of what our choices may cost.  

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.

The movie opens with Alex, a journalist, at an airport in Idaho anxious to get to her fiancé in Colorado as her wedding day is near.  Ben, a neurosurgeon, is anxious to return to Baltimore as there is a ten-year-old boy in need of his service.

          All flights have been cancelled due to the weather.  Alex believes that she can overcome this obstacle by hiring a private charter flight.  She gambles on a pilot she's never met.  And while the weather is not a challenge for him personally, there is another factor that neither had even thought to consider.

          Alex, not knowing anything about Ben in addition to not knowing the pilot, asks Ben if he would like to join her on the charter plane to Colorado.  I would think if Ben is unable to get a flight to Baltimore from Idaho due to the weather, it would be likely that Colorado's weather would be similar - but whatever.  No one thinks about that.

          During the course of the movie, Ben and Alex are faced with more obstacles as they climb the snow covered hills of the Unitah Mountains in search of salvation, I thought about what the choice made had cost them - or changed them - because without the experience that only they shared - they would not have evolved from who they were prior to the movie starting to who they became afterward.

          I think the story itself was fictionalized, but I really enjoyed watching the movie and discovering another demonstration of just how much impact our choices may have not just on our lives but those around us.  I'm grateful that the unwise choice Jenna and I had made recently about crossing a fenced path didn't have such a dramatic result.  Funny thing is if we had started the other direction, I wouldn't have crossed it.

 So often when I go to Millsite, it's like I'm seeing it for the first time. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Role-playing Helps Prepare

           As I was growing up, I can remember doing a lot of role playing with my family members.  What would you do if you were in this situation?  How do you think you would react?  What would you do differently? . . . I can't speak for my sibs, but I believe they felt prepared as I when we were approached with a given situation.  We didn't have to analyze because we already had the answers.

          For example, when we had been approached by the doctors in the final stages of mom's life (before we knew they were the final stages)we were faced with a decision.  We could have put mom on dialyses and had her leg amputated.  Long before she got dementia, mom had been quite vocal about not ever wanting to be on dialyses.  With her state of mind, she really wouldn't have known whether we honored that wish or having even requested it. She wouldn't have understood a missing leg . . . she would never be able to comprehend why it was missing no matter how often we explained it to her.  The decision we made was unanimous.  A no brainer - for us anyway.

          I did have one brother-in-law question how we could have made the decision to put her on hospice as quickly as we did.  We didn't think of any time involved.  We reacted to what we had been taught.  We worked together as a family.  We were of one mind.  Apparently a lot of families don't have that.  It boggles my mind that we are not the norm.

          My dad had always wanted to prepare for our finances should he be taken away.  He wanted to explore options with insurance and burial plots.  My mom never did.  To her, preparing or talking about death always seemed like a morbid topic.  He had reminded her that if he were to go first, she would have to deal at it alone.  But she wasn't alone.  She had been a den mother and one of her former scouts became an attorney and volunteered his time to straighten out her finances with every insurance company I guess dad had ever talked to.

          Both Patrick and Kayla had gone with my mom to the cemetery to pick out a plot.  When I came home and asked how it had gone, my mom and Kayla both started laughing as they related their experience.  It sounded as if they had been in a sit-com series. We were in pretty good spirits throughout the whole ordeal.  Mom was such a trooper.  I guess we all were.

          After my dad had passed away, mom said that one of us would have to take over the finances in the event that she should die.  We all voted for Patrick to have that obligation.  Only when it came time, the stress that came with it was too much on his health.  I couldn't do it because of my situation with Roland and his ex.  Fortunately for our family, Corey grew up responsible and  has allowed himself to step in.  I am fascinated with his organizational skills and willingness.  Wow.  What a tremendous blessing he has been not only for his sibs, but now his cousins as well. 

          Corey does a lot of role playing too, I would imagine.  It's been his profession, though I don't know how much of it has prepared him for where he is now.  How awesome it is that we all hold respect and high value for one another.  I wish it were the same for Roland's family.

          Roland just wrote to his brother with the suggestion of having mom update her will and give him (his brother) power of attorney.  The sister that is supposed to take over has not had the best of health and should not be in that position.  Also he (Roland) senses a feud coming amongst the sibs should mom pass. I highly doubt that all four sibs would be able to meet with an attorney all at once.

          I just don't relate to squabble and possessions.  When we met with my mom's attorney, none of us had any financial secrets.  I was a wreck and said to the attorney, "I know that this is probably a quite unusual request, but would you mind if we started with a word of prayer?"  I think Patrick said it and it really had calmed me down.

          We were told that the meeting would last at least three hours.  Apparently the lawyer had figured in some squabbling time.  But Kayla and I were there for only an hour and a half.  The attorney said he had dealt with a family like ours only one other time.

          I am so grateful for the role playing that my family has taught me and my sibs that we have been prepared.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Choices We Make

     You ever notice that the choices we make not only affect you but those around you as well?  Take my decisions to leave the majority of my family to move to another state for the sake of my health.  And yet I personally have known others who have said, “I’m not going to leave my family.  Even if the doctor says it’s in my best interest, I won’t give up my children, my grand-children . . .” or what have you.  That’s their choice.
     Some live long lives and are successful with their health choices.  Others continue to hack out their lungs while babysitting grandchildren while their children are at work and end up dying anyway.
     Sometimes it becomes a larger burden for the child (or children) to bury the parent than it would have been if the parent had just moved out of state.  Sometimes it’s easier, realizing the sacrifices that were made by said parent.  Often there are questions with either decision.  Some questions go unanswered or are misunderstood.

     My decision to move has affected Jenna’s education, as she will not be able to continue with in the dual immersion program – not at this time.  I don’t want her to lose what she has been taught and continue with her Spanish.  But foreign language is not even offered until she’s in high school. I hope to be living in a different part of the state by then.

     Our decision to leave Utah so abruptly caused stress for both Tony and Rochelle – who were also facing challenges of imperfect health. Our unorganized chaotic house only added to the stress – I’m sure.

     Mom had a good friend mentioned here and here who had secluded herself from everyone she knew – including her own family.  They all knew that she was sick.  They just didn’t know how sick.  She chose not to tell them because she did not want them to worry.  Though I do understand her choices, I think her decisions made it a lot more difficult on her family members – who knew how opposed Pam was to funerals and thus the family chose not to have one for her.  For me, it seemed symbolic to the end of her life: It felt very empty as if there was no closure. 

         I have learned throughout my life that funerals are for the living – not the deceased. I would actually be a lot more gracious with being honored once I’m deceased as it isn’t something I’m too comfortable with while I am living. I’m not big on hoopla. I didn’t even want a wedding reception. But there were a huge number of people that hoped that I would. And so I had one – for them. It did not take place until after Roland and I had been married for over a month.
     Are the choices we make good or bad?  Do we regret our decisions?  I don’t regret moving to Oregon.  I know that I am breathing better.  My oldest son says I definitely look happier. I am for the most part.  I smile a lot more when I go to church.  I laugh at situations that I can’t control.  I don’t worry.

     I took Jenna to the pool today and while I sat outside waiting for her, I cried for the first time since we've been in Oregon.  I was crying about being so far from my family members.  Jeanie’s having a baby shower this week. Jenna wishes we could go.  I did give shower gifts to my two pregnant girls before I left – but it’s not the same.

     I won’t hear my grand-daughter tell me she wants to go jump on the trampoline or see BJ’s smile light up when he sees me.  It makes my whole day.  I miss playing games with Kayla and Bill or the boys.  I miss their asking, “Where’s dad?”  “Where’s Jenna?”

     Two of my boys actually fought over taking Jenna trick-or-treating last year.  Tony was promised that he would get her this year.  There’s a promise broken.  I’m not sending Jenna back to Utah just to go trick-or-treating.  I think she is getting too old for trick-or-treating anyway.  Although it is easier to get away with when going door-to-door with your three-year-old niece or your five-year-old cousin.

     Corey (who actually posted this same subject and similar title to his blog here which I didn't realize until just before I posted) kept himself closeted for years knowing his decision to come out would not only affect him – but each of his family members.  I think he was scared on how we’d react.  He had already had a taste of what he thought was a bad reaction from me – and it was. 

I had behaved poorly – but not because he said he was gay – but because I had figured out that I had stopped caring about him somewhere along the way and it didn’t matter to me whether he was gay or not because I just didn’t care about him anymore.  (see post here) And that’s what is most upsetting – that I had stopped caring. 

   I am so so grateful that we’ve mended the fences that were built between us and that we are supportive of one another and that he is truly happy.  I love him with all my heart.  I love each of my family members.  It does hurt that I am so far away.
But I can breathe.

      Perhaps it’s selfish of me to prioritize my health over being with them.  Perhaps it seems selfish that I would rather communicate electronically rather than have my children or grandchildren remember me as hacking all the time and eventually gasping for air until I die.

     I don’t particularly want to die alone – but like Pam, I don’t want my children to worry about a funeral as the expense of them coming to Oregon or shipping my body back to Utah seems quite unnecessary.  Bury me quietly and remember me as having more years because I could breathe.  Because really, what good (or fun) am I if I’m constantly gasping for air.  I don’t want my death to be a relief to them.  I’m sure they wouldn’t (or don’t) miss the sounds.

     I’m grateful that I didn’t have to move here by myself but that I do have Roland and Jenna with me.  And as a member of the Church I automatically have a support group in the current ward (church) that I attend. I hope my decisions will bless those here as well as those that are still in Utah (and Nevada) 

     Whether I had stayed in Utah or come to Oregon, my choices would have affected my family either way.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Say “Hi” to Mom and Dad for me

Shilo is a sweet dog
I refer to him as “Highness”
In my posts
He was old when we got him
Loved to dig in the back yard
And escape.
I thought it odd that
The animal shelter had not
Collected him

Favorite activities:
Go for walks
And sleep

Picky Eater. 
He’s always been a picky eater
Since we’ve had him
As I mentioned in my blog before
I think his owner before us
Tied a bib around his neck
And let him sit at the dinner table
       With her

Jenna and I would take him on long walks
Or else I would put him in the car
And walk him around
After I dropped off Jenna

He could jump onto the couch
And into the car – but age has slowed him down

He stopped digging
At least two summers ago
He needs assistance climbing on anything
                                    Higher than he is
He tires a lot more easily
On our much shorter walks
He’s wheezy and his nose is dry
                                    He hasn’t eaten for three days

There isn’t a hospice for dogs.
I don’t know how miserable he is
I can only guess.

Today Roland will take him
To the animal shelter
To put him down
To send him over to where
Mom and Dad are. 
Maybe Harold will have
A treat for him. 
Harold loved
Giving treats to the resident dog
At the assisted living
I only hope Shilo isn’t as picky
And accepts Harold’s treat.

We will all miss you, Shilo.
I hope you will be happy and active
                                    On the other side

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


My brothers Patrick and Corey have each taken a leave of absence from their jobs.  Since she fell, all four of mom’s children have been spending several hours with her – though I’m quite certain that I have given her the least. I am the only one of her children who has not stayed the night.  (She had requested that she not be left alone)

Patrick was with her all day Sunday – the first day of the month.  And Kayla and I were there on Labor Day.  I spent eight hours on Tuesday and Thursday.  Unfortunately I think she was alone on Wednesday from morning til mid afternoon.

I had gone to a funeral that day.  I’d gone to the hospital afterward but mom was in emergency surgery.  The doctors were trying to save her legs.  I had to go get Jenna before the surgery was over.  But other family members had arrived when mom returned from surgery to her hospital room.

She was full of conversation and smiles according visiting with family members.  She talked about the summer party and the sunset that they all saw.  Everyone said they had a really good visit.  Sunny told me that I should return. 
Jenna and I left the house on Wednesday but traffic was horrible. I didn’t return to the hospital until Thursday.  She had many visitors that day.  I did mention that on this post

Thursday night she was moved to a larger room.  All four of her children gathered around her on Friday morning and we had fun.  She smiled. Laughed.  We made plans.  When Corey asked her favorite hymn, she mischievously said that it was a secret.

We were told she would be in her hospice room for 48 hours.  But the social worker was concerned about whether we’d be able to move her during the weekend.  She really did want to go home. Perhaps it would be better to transfer her to Alpine Ridge on a weekday.  Friday.  And so it was done.  Kayla and I were with her at the hospital until she was moved.  And Corey and Patrick met her at Alpine Ridge.

She hasn’t eaten over a week now.  Her breath is slow and raspy.  Her pulse goes up and down.  She is still hanging on.  And the staff at Alpine Ridge (actually, it’s Alta Ridge) has been so good to us.  They love my mom.  They want for all of us to be comfortable. 

Last night I took some Aleve.  My back has been hurting and I have not slept well. All the ideas that I had for posts have vanished – at least the ones in my head.  There were some drafts that I was able to post.  There are some thoughts that I saved into documents.  All else not written down has disappeared.  I am numb.

Kayla, who is normally a rock, is an emotional wreck.  And I, who always produces more tears than Alice (from Wonderland) am a pillar for a change.  Though the events have made both Kalya and I somewhat flakey.  I think Patrick is ready to move the both of us in as mom’s room becomes available.  

Corey and Joh decided it would be okay if none of mom's children spent last night as they both believed that there were plenty from the other side who were with her. They were still with her when we arrived this morning and watched mom fight for her last breath. I would have posted this entry to my blog this afternoon had my keyboard been working.  My mom has since passed.  I hope that she’s dancing with daddy.