A Rainy Day Analogy

Northern CA. has been getting pounded with weather this past month, and if the truth be told, I’m one of those crazy individuals who actually likes the rain. I find it cleansing and sometimes a signal to slow down with the day-to-day busyness of life and curl up with a good book.

Slowing down and napping on a sunshiny day just doesn’t seem right. One time I actually told my Pastor that I couldn’t understand how people could in fact die on a sunlit day – that death seemed more appropriate for rainy, cloudy days – and that life and living seemed more suitable for sunny days. Needless to say, my Pastor was a little flummoxed with our conversation that day. She awkwardly changed positions on our couch many times, while she tried to explain to me just why I may not have a choice in the matter.

I respectfully listened and acknowledged her reasoning, but it’s been 8 years since we had that little chat, and I still think it’s unnatural to die on a cloud-less day. Just seems like an oxymoron of sorts to me, but what do I know? The Princess and I are moving to the state of Washington, soon.

I don’t think I’ll have that problem any more.

That’s what all my well-meaning friends and relatives keep telling us: We’re headed to the land of constant rain slickers and duck boots, and sunglasses are a thing of the past; or so we’ve been warned. Guess it’ll make my impending twilight years and eventual death easier to deal with, eh?

At least my rainy-day analogy says so.

And it’s not death that has me so concerned these days, as much as the concept of growing old while trying to maintain my dignity and independence.

As I write this, I’m struggling with the fact that my mom and loved ones are three thousand miles away from me trying hard to maintain some semblance of independence; some modicum of respect and autonomy. Each of them fighting hard not to be an imposition on their friends or relatives, and each of them realizing that Father Time is playing havoc with their bodies.

In 1983, in response to her 55-year-old mother’s need for extended care after she suffered a devastating stroke, Keren Brown Wilson built her first assisted living house in the state of Oregon. What she and her husband envisioned when they built Park Place was an assisted living center that provided assistance, while at the same time giving the residents a sense of independence and privacy. She wanted the elderly to feel the sense of being home and not imprisoned or institutionalized, and by many accounts she succeeded.

The problem, as I see it, resulted when she wanted to reach more elderly and went to Wall Street for capital to build more places. Her company went public and their original concept of assisted living got watered-down. She went to Congress and spoke across the country trying to enlist the help necessary to sustain her original ideology, but was hit head-on with the medical and legal road-blocks of the ever-elusive concept of the “continuum of care” ideology.

And sadly, the idea of assisted living, as she defined it, all but died.

As I sit here today in the heart of Silicon Valley and think about how advanced we are in so many areas of society, I can’t help but see the paradox: is our technological evolution creating a people bereft of compassion and humanness, and do we need to seriously re-examine what is important to us as a civilization?

I don’t know about you, but when it’s time for me to hang up my saddle before I ride in my last rodeo, I want to know that I’m going to be assisted by people who care about me. I need to know that I’m not just a chore. It’s important that I am seen for who I am: a loving, kind woman who gave to her family and society and now requires a little assistance in return.

Dr. Wilson continues to advocate for hard-to-serve elders both in the United States and in Central America. I pray that her efforts are soon legitimized and honored by those in power. We seriously need to change our view on aging and what it means to “grow old”.

Until next time, be kind to one another, and I’ll catch you the next go-round, looking at life from my shoes.

 

 

 

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Published by

Lucie

After much encouragement and prodding by family, friends and professionals, I (a former Special ed. teacher and consultant from Northern Ca.) decided to take my FACEBOOK postings on my silly life with my life partner and 2 wacky cats and share them with a broader audience. I've brought laughter and joy to a number of people now for quite a few months and sincerely hope that I can bring a chuckle or two to all who read my bi- weekly entries on my blog. (Now let's hope that I can muster enough competence to figure out how to use this site in a reasonably competent fashion, so that I still have fun writing and others can actually "find me"!!!!) I wish all who enter "Lucie's World" much joy and laughter and ask that if I've touch your life in any way and made you giggle or smile, that you "pay it forward" for the week and share a moment or two of laughter with someone that you care about....

19 thoughts on “A Rainy Day Analogy”

    1. U are so sweet…have been under a lot of stress lately and got very ill…trying to get a piece written but my creative juices are dried up…just surviving these days, ya know?? Your grandbaby i hold close in prayers..hope all is well at your end..😍💕

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  1. Hey Lucie
    Great story mate by the way, I love the topic you raise regarding aging and living as independently as possible. As you know I have finally made it back into the workforce after a bit of a rough trot myself for the last 5 years. I have returned to working as a Homecare assistant and I find it to be the most rewarding job on many levels.
    I visit my clients regularly and they have requested either Personal assistance, Domestic assistance or Social assistance occasionally all three.
    My clients are elderly, disabled, or recovering from operations, falls etc and need help at home. The At Home part is so important because this is where we feel safe, comfortable, familiar and independent in our own environment, OUR HOME.

    Our government has a policy to fund organizations that wish to operate an inhome care service, offering packages within an allocated budget. Clients are able to request homecare assistance, thay are assessed for their needs and pay a small hourly fee for the service they need. Care workers like myself are then allocated clients whom we visit on a regular basis at THEIR HOME and we assist them to go about life as independently possible at home.
    To me it is so so special to play a part in this process, I see it everyday how important and imperative this care is to my budiful clients.
    It is I think a great alternative to nursing homes, or aged care homes because instead of having to watch TV and mostly sharing it, instead of sitting at bingo with the same routine each week, now we as careworkers can drive them to their choice of bingo sessions, they have their own TV, bathroom, kitchen, THEY HAVE THEIR INDEPENCE!!
    Lucie it is the way forward now, Homecare assistance, so these beautiful individuals or couples who have been together for years can remain comfortable, independent and safe in their homes for as long as they possibly can.
    The title of your story A Rainy Day Analogy, takes on many forms for different people.
    If possible curled up in the Jim-Jams, Cadbury’s caramello chocolate, Allen’s snakes, then warm muffins and fresh whipped cream, a cuppa and some seriously great movies to watch does it for me mate.
    There you go again Lucie, your stories are always great in conjuring debate over important issues, ideas to keep our sanity, you never fail to find a good old laugh within us, and best of all you are passionate about your writing.
    I luvs ya so much Lucie
    From
    Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊 💜

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    1. Annie, It’s people like you who are the storm troopers…caring and loving and being there for us as we age and need help. Thank you, Sweetie, from the bottom of my heart…thank you for your dedication, love and continual support for ALL of us – your family, your friends, your co-workers and clients. You are a bundle of love and joy and a blessing in our life. And someday when I’m loaded with money (from my writing career ;0), I’m headed to Australia and giving you a big ole hug as huge as your heart! Hugs, Lucie ❤

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  2. This is a great post, Lucie: well written with interesting and important content. The lead-in is compelling, the structure and sequencing strong, and the conclusion convincing. I am familiar with and an advocate for the work of Dr. Wilson. Adelaide, my beloved mother-in-law who died a little over a year ago, often talked about Dr. Wilson’s visionary, important work. I’ve missed you. Withe all that’s happening in your life, will you have time for our scheduled chat this Tuesday? I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, J! Missed you, big time, too. By the time we chat, we’re gonna have so much to catch up with that we’re gonna hafta schedule a “double time slot”!

      RE: Dr. Wilson….have you read Atul Gawande’s, “Being Mortal”, yet??? It’s a good one. I think you’d enjoy.

      Any way, catch ya latter, Gator! Thanks for your lovely complement. I think it needs “tweaking”, though….maybe you can give me some input when we chat next. Tootles! ❤

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    1. That was so sweet of you, E! And no it did not get sent to spam, I retrieved it and so totally enjoyed the article and pictures…..this is sooo what my post was talking about. Unfortunately, this concept is not available nation-wide…..anyway, thank, Kiddo! I sincerely appreciated your read and taking the time to send me the link…very sweet of you! Hugs! Lucie 😉

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  3. I hate to say it, but if my mum came to live with me one or the other of us would end up it jail and the other in hospital. She was a pip, to put it mildly. She stayed the night with us a few times when she had been ill, and it was murder. There are three chairs in the living room, one of which is inaccessible when the sofa bed is open; that’s where I toss the pillows. There are also eight – count ’em! Eight! – chairs around the dining room table, as she complained she had nowhere to sit.
    I once asked two of the aides at the nursing home where she ended up (a very nice place, BTW) if they’d rather take care of a stranger or their own parents, and both of them immediately replied “a stranger. I wouldn’t put MY kids through that.”
    So there you have it, for what it’s worth.

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    1. You’re too funny! (Seriously, though, I totally DO understand!) The kind of “assisted living” facilities that I’m advocating for, give people a sense of privacy and independence (i.e. not forcing them to get up and go to bed according to a “schedule”, having a single room, having caring, loving individuals interacting with them, etc.) Unfortunately, I see too many “nursing homes/assisted living facilities” that are regimented and put people in front of a TV or “play BINGO” every day for entertainment…any way, glad your mum is in a good place (for YOUR sake and HERS!) 😉

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  4. Me, too…. 😉 The Princess bought me the CD’s for Xmas, so I can get rid of my videos….love, love, love that movie. Did you know that the man that played Gilbert suddenly died a couple of years ago???? Very, very sad. They say he was just as sweet as the character that he played……..

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  5. If nothing else, dying on a rainy day seems far more poetic. You never see a movie where someone dies and the camera pans outside to a beautiful sun-filled day with flowers growing and children playing. I mean, it just isn’t done. How can your pastor not get that?! 🙂
    Eldercare needs a serious overhaul. The workers are tired, over-worked, and underpaid. Too many of them dislike their jobs and it shows in the care they give their patients. It’s quite sad. I’m glad someone is trying to do something about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doesn’t it, though??? Reminds me of an Anne Shirley comment from “Ann of Green Gables”…… (re: your comment on a poetic way to die)

      Our elder care system is terrible, unless, of course you’re flush with bucks and can afford to pay the bucks for the kind of “assisted living” that Dr. Wilson talks about….And you’re right, Betsy, our current “homes” are understaffed and over-worked and it makes me cry at how we, as such a wealthy society, undervalue our elders. I have loving (over-worked) cousins doing “double duty” work in trying to help my mom and their mom, so that they can have a quality of life in their own home, before they pass. But what about THEM? The care-takers? I don’t know where the answers are, but I know that we, as a society, need to look hard and long at our “aging population” and support the work that people like Dr. Wilson are proposing because the problem isn’t going to get better…it’s only going to get worse……

      Thanks for stopping by. As always, I appreciate your read and comment. 😉

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      1. At least since the aging population is kind of a big and growing deal, people are aware of the problem and will hopefully work to find the solution.
        Thank you for comparing me to Ann of Green Gables! 🙂 I love Ann Shirley!

        Liked by 1 person

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