Happiness and Joy

Ruth;s Tile

In this time of uncertainty we soon find out who we really are as people. Some go into a tail spin and become fearful of every little thing. Others try in vain to stock up hoards of stuff to satisfy their manic tendencies. Some believe God is in control and all will work out in time for our good.  For many, happiness is gone; replaced with anxiety. I am sure we all experience some of these tendencies. How we approach a crisis is much the same as we approach our every day life. Happiness is like the weather; sunny one day and raining the next. Joy goes to the core of our being and sustains us through the bad weather that will come in our lives. Remember what is important in life.

Happiness and Joy
Happiness is a little bird
Perched on the rail
Right within my grasp
Only to fly away
The moment
I reach out to take hold of it.
Joy is the blood
Pumping through my veins
A constant rhythm of rejuvenation
Not something to be possessed
Rather something to be
Joy is what keeps my soul alive

 

I posted this back in December, but feel it might be helpful to post it again.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Where Have You Been?

My father-in-law. who had Alzheimer’s, was confined several years ago after his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This all took place within a month and a half. Initially we took him to visit her in her care facility across the city; but. he forgot he saw her by the time he got back to his residence.
It was very difficult for him that first year and after she passed away. When we went to visit we found notes written on his dinner napkins asking where she was and why she did not come back. It was heartbreaking to read his pleas for answers. Although we explained everything to him it was not long till he again asked the same questions. The note writing stopped after about a year. He seemed to be resigned that he was there by himself and only asked about her on occasion. He was there for five years and died in 2018.

In the winter of life the fog sets in
obscuring the obvious and familiar
Leaving one to memories past;
today’s events already forgotten.
A perspective very different
from yours and mine;
Time stands still …
like looking in a mirror to the past;
Closing the windows of the present.
Anxieties not understood
plague the mind and thoughts.
Looking for a spouse long gone;
Expecting to see her any moment;
Wondering where she is
and when she will return.
Distraught to the point of resignation
the fog becomes more intense.
Time slows down as the hour glass trickles
until finally // the top glass is empty.

This beautifully haunting song by Kathy Mattea helps bring the sadness of this disease into perspective.

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Our Last Christmas Together

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Back in 2012, we celebrated our last Christmas with my wife’s mother. She had just been diagnosed with and inoperable brain tumor. It was a time of very deep and mixed emotions. Her father was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and in January of 2013 had to be placed in a care facility as well. As I look at this photo, I see that Mother has resigned herself to what is to come and greatly enjoyed our last Christmas together. On the other hand Dad was filled with anxiety at the anticipation of being left alone without his wife to care for him.  You can see that his smile did not hold the same resignation as Mother’s. The adjustments of aging and loss are much deeper than any of us can imagine. As we complete our fiftieth year together, I often reflect on that Christmas, and on what is still to come.
Enjoying Christmas
Knowing everything will change
Winter’s mixed feelings

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Also posted of Frank Tassone’s Haikai challenge…

#Haikai Challenge #118 (12/21/19): Christmas/Hanukkah #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga

 

Que Sera, Sera…

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Que Sera, Sera…
Worry less about the future
Concentrate on today
No need to spend time on what might be
And miss out on what is
Aging brings questions of what is next
It also brings a treasure of what was
A life to share // a gift to give
No need to sit back and wait for the end
Stay in the game // play hard to the end
Enjoy all life has to offer as long as you can
Be grateful for the blessings of life
Love deeply // feel every emotion
Share the joy of this moment in time
Be the best you can be today
Let God have your tomorrow
…Whatever will be, will be

Stair Painting: Dwight L. Roth

What’s Eating You

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No matter how tall you might be

No matter how strong your limbs

Or beautiful your foliage

What’s eating at your core

Can bring you down

**

Unwelcome changes come

When we internalize what’s eating us

Time for a change of attitude

Live life positively

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, De Jackson asked us to consider change and write a Quadrille of 44 words.  I have a large beautiful maple in my back yard that I discovered is being eaten by termites. It won’t be very long until a big wind comes along and takes it down. The same is true with us as well. This is my Quadrille about changing our way of thinking to live longer!

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Making Choices

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Squirrels are famous for getting hit while crossing the street. I have driven down the street and seen one start to run out across. But before he is a third of the way across he stops and freezes. Trying to decide whether to go on or turn back.  If he had simply kept going he would easily have made it across. Sometimes his indecision keeps him there too long and he meets his demise. A good lesson for all of us. Indecision gets us nowhere. It is important to keep moving forward in life.

Indecision

Indecision is the cancer of the soul

The stealer of joy in life

The weight that becomes unbearable

Indecision races through the mind

Veering wildly around sharp turns

Looking over steep heart-stopping cliffs

Indecision distorts perception

Assumes answers yet to be given

Like quicksand sucking us down

Indecision all-consuming anxiety

Fear of the inevitable choice

Knowing it must be made

Indecision leaves us chained

Stealing our freedom to be

Stuck in the swamp of worry and woe

Indecision leaves us impotent

Lacking will to move on

Leaving us hollow and empty

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Hernia Cut

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The year after we got married I discovered I had inguinal hernia in my groin. Since I was teaching school at the time, I decided to have surgery on my Christmas break.  This was the first time I ever was in the hospital or had surgery. Fortunately. all went well and I was back on the job soon after Christmas. One twist I discovered as I entered the operating room was the attending nurse was a friend of ours. It was a little awkward, but I was not awake long enough to worry. I wrote this poem to share my experience.

Hernia Cut

Anxiety floods my mind

Razor cuts close removing hair

Held by hands other than my own

Doctor assures it will be a smooth operation

Tightened up and tucked back in

Tossing and turning deliberate sleep

Morning shines in breakfast denied

Roller coaster ride in hall and elevator

Meat wagon bumps open O.R. doors

Everyone dressed in white

But I am not in heaven

Sliding onto the cutting board

Only a half apron to cover

IV running wired up and monitored

I know the nurse with the needle

A friend to help me sleep

Gas without octane

Count….ten …nine… eight…seeeveeeeen…

Lights out

Total faith all will be well

Apron removed I’m painted up

Bald skin bulging in the light

Wonder what she thought

Body in lifeless slumber

Scalpel cuts blood oozes

Muscle stitched tight

Closed with not too fancy stitching

Back to the wagon and withdrawal

Noisy nurses talking way too loud

“Wake up it’s time to wake up!”

“Breathe deeply Take a deep breathe”

I open my eyes

I’m back

Didn’t feel a thing

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Photo: Dwight L Roth

This makes 200 posts since I started in June, blogging a post a day !

200-posts

 

Gates

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What does it take to be happy? A big house, a fancy car, and lots of money?  I drive past this house every week and find the posted gate along the road to be quite interesting. The huge house and fine grounds is beautiful yet very uninviting. The No Tresspassing signs and cameras let me know I am not welcome. I decided to write a poem debating who is happier, me or them? See what you think.

Gates

Those with little have little to lose

Living hand to mouth is not what they choose

A house to live in with a lock on the door

A car in the drive and nothing more

A welcome mat that invites friends in

To stop a moment and share where they’ve been

No fences no gates just lots of green grass

Where friends can play when they get out of class

What a contrast to those who have more

Behind locked gates with signs on the door

With cameras and lights  they watch from a distance

Guns in the closet if they face resistance

Posted it reads you are not welcome here

Don’t come through our gate we don’t want you near

When we have more we fear your approach

Worried  and frightened that you might encroach

Some don’t want the likes of you around

They appear afraid you will soil their ground

So, let them stay behind their gate

Worried and anxious about their fate

We’re happy with our freedom and the little we’ve got

We work hard and enjoy friends in our back lot

 

 

 

 

 

Black Holes in My Brain

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One of the most difficult things one can encounter is losing control of your life. This poem is an account of the anxieties and feeling of loss that occurred when my father-in-law realized he could no longer remember what was happening in his life. His wife was diagnosed with brain cancer and he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. We were waiting for a facility to open where he could receive the care he needed.  During that interim period he experienced great anxiety which is depicted in the sometimes word for word dialogue poem below.

Black Holes In My Brain

“I have come to discover that I now have black holes in my brain.

Spaces of emptiness that never get filled.

Like the holes in my pants pocket the memories slip out…”

“Oh, you are here? Well I didn’t realize! When did you get here?

You have been here a few weeks? Well I didn’t remember.

Tell me something I should know…

What shall we talk about…”

“Can I do something for you… do you need a light on?

Would you like to watch the News if I turn it on?

Do you want me to set the table for breakfast?

Can I help you in some way?

Would you like a piece of chocolate? Go ahead have one!”

“Is this Sunday? Are we going to church today?

Where is Mother & when is she coming home?

She won’t be coming back home? Oh my!

These are things I should remember.

When will we go to see here again? Can we go today?

We were there today?

Why can’t I remember? Were we just there today?!”

“I remember my grandmother was just like this.

She would apologize for her poor memory all the time.

I hope I never get that way.”

“By the way, where is Mother?

Do you know when she will be back?

She’s at the home!!? I didn’t know.

Somebody should have told me!”

“When will she be coming home?

You say she won’t be coming home!?

Oh my, I will have to learn to cook!

Perhaps you can show me how to cook…”

I will have to take care of myself.

“I just discovered I have no money in my wallet!

Can you take me by the bank tomorrow to cash a check?

I should pay you something for your expenses.

You are keeping the expenses on a tab?

Well, I should pay you.

You will take care of me? But you can’t keep coming to stay with me?

I should pay you something to help with the expenses.

You are using a debit card… from my account?

Well, I wonder why the bank didn’t notify me about this.”

“Tell me, Where is Mother?

Oh yes, she is at the home… up on 104th Avenue…

near Hollyrood close to the church.

Have I ever been there? I have… I don’t seem to remember.

Will she be coming home this evening?

She’s Living there… all the time? For how long!?

She won’t be coming home again? Is she sick? What is wrong with her?”

“Can you take me with you when you go to see her?

Can we go this evening to see her?

We were just there this afternoon? Why can’t I remember that?”

“Good night, I must check to see that the door is locked.

I just came back out to see if I had locked the door.

Well it looks like all the doors are locked.

Is anybody there…

Oh, I just came back out to check to see if the door was locked.”

“Good Morning… Where is Helen?”