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Rated: E · Book · Personal · #937454
Thinking is open to anybody, rich or poor. I do hope that my thinking makes you think.
I do not really know what a blog is - so I am just going to write down and share with you thoughts that I have, often in the early hours, when I reflect on life, the universe and everything.

February 16, 2008 at 4:45pm
February 16, 2008 at 4:45pm
What a horrible title this is and yet, although it makes me very angry and very sad, it is a very true description of what is happening around the world.

So what are we all going to try and do about it? I do not mean tackle individuals or groups in a way that puts us, and our families at risk. I would never advocate that!

But, do we feel powerless to do anything?

I wrote "Invalid Item at 02.00am (UK time) today. I just could not sleep. I was tossing and turning and all I could see when I closed my eyes were floating faces of people I did not know and had never met. I could not see any features clearly they were indistinct, even misty and surreal; but what had bought them to my mind was only too real and again I will ask what am I, and what are you prepared to do about the situation?

Yet again there has been a gunning down in a university in the USA. The fourth in the last week and the fifth in the last ten months. I wrote a poem "Gunned Down at School four years ago after a very shocking incident in which students and teachers were killed. I cannot believe that it is still possible for a gun to be taken onto premises where precious young people are innocently studying to give themselves a better education and future. Why is it so easy to kill them? How is it possible? Why? What is being done to screen everyone to ensure that weapons can never be taken into an educational premises. What is every parent, every grandparent and every fellow student going to do about it?

In the UK there have been many senseless deaths. Twenty-one teenagers have been stabbed or shot since the new year. One was just because he lived in a particular street. Death by post code!

A young father was killed when his son came home and told his dad that a neighbour would not let him have his ball back. He went to ask them to return it to his son and one of his neighbours buried an axe in his skull! He died in front of his family.

There are stories every other day; a man with a young wife and children went to ask a 'child' to stop urinating on his car and a crowd of youngsters beat him to the ground, with anything that came to hand, and killed him.

I could go on and on, but I won't. All these deaths are pointless. What has happened to our communities. Many people are terrified of venturing out at night because their local streets are ruled by hooligans. If this is happening near you, are you going to let it continue? Are we really going to live ruled by fear and mob rule?

Of course there are wars, real wars where many are needlessly dying, but soldiers are killing in the name of freedom , aren't they? If we do not agree with what is being done in the name of justice, or do not believe that it is in the best interest of the country/countries involved are we speaking out about it? Are we writing to politicians? Are we making our protests heard in a constructive way?

Deaths by the million are happening in third world, poverty stricken countries through disease, starvation and squalor. One in four children in some countries do not live to see their fifth birthday. What is the cause? Simply, easily preventable, easily treatable diarrhoea.

Aids and HIV related illnesses are wiping out more millions and leaving as many children again, orphaned and at risk. Populations are being decimated.

I do not mean to preach; but I do mean to make you think! Maybe you will start to feel as angry as I do. Maybe you will not be able to sleep either, until you ensure that we do not all sit feeling helpless or powerless and yet do nothing.

If one person, say me, does one thing, I won't achieve much, I may help one person or a small group. I am but one drop in the ocean of life. But if we all find a way to make a stand, then all of us, all the drops, can form a river and that river will flow into a sea and then perhaps all together we can stand up to bullies and dictators and overcome the evil that exists in the world and become truly free!

At the very least we can talk to each other and make sure that we discuss how we think we could make change happen. Who better to start the ball rolling than the wonderfully gifted writers on writing.com? If we can't write thought provoking items that make people start reading, about and discussing the issues, who can?

So I repeat one last time, what are you going to do? TODAY!

January 19, 2008 at 8:53am
January 19, 2008 at 8:53am
Hi everybody.

I hope to be back on site writing regularly soon. What can I say, for I have travelled a great distance in my head and in my heart since we last met.

I retired from my beloved nursing although the original dispute that I had with the National Health Service and my hospital's management I won. I had to leave for five months to tackle the task and at times I became very depressed; but that is all in the past now. I returned to work last May and changed nursing directorates. I had been an orthopaedic and trauma specialist nurse and that had taken about six years of extra training. However, I decided to have a complete change and became a ward sister of a 36 bedded medical ward with a 6 bedded acute stroke unit. It was hard work and I loved it. I was working again and with a new team of nurses and managers. I was still in the same hospital and therefore could still see my old friends and colleagus. Everything was good. Then my husband started to have some challenges at work that he did not feel he wanted at his stage of career. He was no longer enjoying his work which he had always loved.

We had both planned originally to work to at least 65 but with his family's history of developing early alzheimers disease, both his mother had and his brother has it, he decided to take early retirement at 63. Added to that his father had experienced the first of 6 heart attacks at the age of 64. This left me with a dilemma, I had taken on one of the most powerfully aggressive employers and won, now it looked as if I would have to leave. We could not afford to live in Kingston-upon-Thames if one of us was not working.

To cut a long story short, I thought things through and decided that as my husband has always supported me in everything I do or want to do, there simply was no decision to make. After 18 years of nursing I took early retirement. I left on a high with both myself and my managers and staff wanting me to stay. Things were pretty hectic then and still remain quite a challenge. We celebrated our ruby wedding in September. We returned to Spain where we had honeymooned 40 years earlier. We both retired the same day on 31st October. We sold our house in the first week,then came the frantic packing. We had things in store from our previous house and it was a time to say goodbye to a lot of favourite possessions. I am a hoarder and it was quite hard.

We have moved into a retirement complex in Northampton approximately 80 miles north of Surrey. Whatever health needs we have in the future we have made provision for the help to be available but in the meantime we plan to live life to the full.

It is a big change and I have not adjusted to not working yet. I miss my patients and my nurses and other friends and colleagues. We are still unpacking and setting up a writing room for me. I am sitting at my new desk now and the view from the window is over open fields and trees. I have a lovely view of the sky and we had our first rainbow this week. I face the dawn from this window and I hope that this fills me with inspiration.

The place feels empty at the moment no sense of past as it is a new-build but then as my new poem Hollow Echoes says it is up to me now to live the present and create tomorrow's history.

I have had many trials and tribulations with the internet and been connected and disconnected a few times, this time I hope it is to stay.

I want to thank everyone on WDC. for their kind enquiries and say that I intend to be back as a regular reader and writer soon.

Best wishes to everyone and I wish you all a fantastic year in 2008

Annticipation (Mavis)
April 4, 2007 at 12:46pm
April 4, 2007 at 12:46pm
To dare or not to dare? That is the question.

Once again I sit here in my living room at home in the UK. I have butterflies fluttering madly in my stomach but just like it says in the title of my new song 'Here Goes Nothing.'

When is it right to take a chance, to try something new and to perhaps open yourself up to ridicule?

I have just received the lowest rating, 1.5, I think that I have ever received on WDC. Should I take that as an indication that I am making a big mistake?

What is this daring thing that I am contemplating doing? Is it posting nude photographs of myself on an 18+ rating? No of course it's not! (more likely 70+)
only joking. However, it does involve my baring something, my soul!

I have only been writing publicly for three years. I write mostly poetry and now have written around 40 songs. Not just the lyrics but also the tunes are mine. Now I have a major problem. I post the lyrics to the site and many readers review and are encouraging and supportive. Often I receive a comment which states that someone wishes that they could hear the tune, that they like the words now they want to hear the music. What are my options? Well at my age they are limited!

I do not read or write music and furthermore I do not play any musical instrument. Neither unfortunately does any member of my family. The only way I have been able to capture a tune before I forget it, is to sing into a digital recorder. I then practice until I know the tune and then I record into the laptop using a microphone. The result I can then burn to a recordable CD.

Simple if you know how! I have had great fun trying to do this 40+ times. Of course then the next problem arises. I am not a performer and neither do I wish to be a performer and I can't sing. I last sang solo when I was fifteen in the school choir. I am now 61 so it is really laughable that I am still trying isn't it?

How do I then get friends and family to hear my songs? I wait until they are relaxed and friendly, and sometimes had a glass or two of wine or beer and then with my cheeks burning with embarrassment and my stomach in knots I have to let them listen. Thankfully most are very polite and hear the words and the tunes and do not notice the singing.

One very good friend has recorded five of my songs in a recording studio adapting each to his interpretation and therefore changing the tune slightly and the genre.

So now for the big gamble. I need people to hear the tunes as they are expressing an interest in hearing the songs as songs instead of poems. Therefore since I have found, by trial and error, how to upload audio files to my portfolio since upgrading to a professional member status that is what I am going to do. Let you hear my songs. I hope that you hear the words and the tunes. Perhaps someone with talent and a voice will hear one they like and contact me.....
and at least you can't see my burning cheeks.

So turn down the volume and "Invalid Item
February 9, 2007 at 8:23pm
February 9, 2007 at 8:23pm
I am often asked why I put so many of my poems and other pieces of writing on the auto-award list.

Is it because I am egotistical, mad or very rich and buy millions of GPs.

It is none of those, at least not any one single reason. I love receiving reviews (don't we all?) for several reasons. The most important one for me is that I learn what other writers and readers think of my works. I also find that I am learning and developing all the time, as a direct result of the many, very helpful constructive criticisms. The more reviews I can get, the more I will learn.

It stands to reason that if an item has a good auto-reward, I will get a few reviews. This brings me to the second, well probably equal first, reason that I list so many: I hope that my GPs will help each reader in some way to progress in their writing journey within writing.com. This way I can give something back to a community that has done so much for boosting my confidence and belief in myself and my ability as a writer.

I find that when I am struggling with something in my life, which seems to be pretty constantly over the last six months, but thats another blog....
Sorry as I was saying, when I feel down, I am really heartened and feel encouraged and supported by so many readers. You make a big difference to my day and my life. I can honestly state that I have never logged onto W.D.C. and not been helped in some way.

I have one concern though, I always feel guilty when I am unable to respond to every review due to time or health constraints. I appreciate every review all 11,602 of them, every e-mail and every comment. I find it hard to believe that so many of you honour me by taking the time and trouble to send me a review. Yes, I know the GPs help!

Getting back to the reasons others think might be why I set so many items for auto-rewards. Am I mad? Well I asked my husband and he says definitely. I was mad when I met him in 1962 aged 17 and with the passing of the years he says I have gradually become more so.
Ah well, at least I'm not dull.

I'm not rich, but I buy GPs when I can and will continue to do so for as long as I can. I am probably/possibly about to become unemployed (again another blog). If I owe you an answer to a review, I apologise. I try to answer as many as I can.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the time and thought you have taken to critique my work and to send messages of sympathy, support and encouragement as the need dictates.

In the time I have been a member of this W.D.C. family, I joined in September 2004, I have lost 2 sisters and several friends, who have died. I have had ups and downs with health and issues at work. I've been sick with depresion, caused by the stress and bullying at work, since 16th December last year. I have probably fought my last battle with the National Health Service. I have not lost, but perhaps they have lost me.

Lastly to stop my rambling and get back to the original subject of GPs and auto rewards. Am I egotistical? I hope not although we all like to have a pride in what we do and a belief that we make a small difference to someone else's day, don't we?
When I read all the reviews I usually feel very humble and honestly can't believe that so many talented writers enjoy my poems as much as you appear to.

Thank you so much for all the reviews all 11,602 of them, and while I can do it, I will continue to list auto-rewards. You deserve them.

One small problem how can I store all the messages? I dont want to delete them but there are 117 pages of them.

Until the next time I remember my blog page. Adieu and thank you for reading.
December 4, 2005 at 6:25pm
December 4, 2005 at 6:25pm

The Filling In The Sandwich Of Life

I love sandwiches of all kinds, but I always try to keep my choice on the right side of healthy. As a nurse it is often my only option for being able to eat during a hectic twelve and a half hour shift when priorities can constantly change.

Last July, to celebrate my sixtieth birthday, my husband treated me with so many surprises that I felt very special, very spoilt and very loved.

The holiday started simply with our flying to Philadelphia and then after picking up the hired car my husband drove me to a place called Bethlehem in Pennsylvannia where I attended my first ever poetry convention and met some wonderful people including the 'mysterious' Storymaster and Storymistress. It was an honour to meet so many talented writers and we had such fun.

It was with a little sadness that we said goodbye to our new found friends on the Sunday. As my husband drove us away I was both sorry to see such a fantastic time end and excited to be starting the rest of the holiday. Our plan was to drive across the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia following the Skyline Parkway, then the Blue Ridge Parkway and finally the Smokey Mountains and down to Nashville Tennessee.

We planned to stay at various locations for a couple of nights each time to enable us to explore and visit the many beauty spots. On the Tuesday after the convention my husband was in such discomfort with a urine infection that he had to go to a hospital emergency room. It resulted in him needing a catheter inserted. It wasn't pleasant but at least he could pee again! They drained 2 litres on insertion of the catheter and he nearly went into shock losing all that fluid in one go.

Luckily we were staying two nights at the Skyline motel and he rested for the whole of the first day and got used to having a little bag strapped to his leg. We even joked about how I couldn't bear to be away from a hospital for three and a half weeks and I had willed him to need treatment so I could visit one.

Later we decided to take a gentle walk down the mountain to see a waterfall. It was about 460 feet down to it and about an hour later I was standing taking photos of this natural beauty. What a sight with rainbows playing on the spray.

Knowing that it would take longer to climb back up and that it was already five o'clock in the evening we reluctantly started to leave. As I clambered down from the rocky perch from where I had been able to get the best view, I slipped a little and clung on to an overhanging branch. This saved me from falling but caused me to twist and jerked me to one side. Thanking my lucky stars that I had not fallen and injured myself 460 feet down the mountain, we again started to follow the track back to the top. About a hundred yards into the journey I felt a really sharp pain in my ribs, that took my breath away for a moment. I stopped and held my hand over where it was hurting. I did breathing control exercises and waited until the pain subsided. I then paced myself better and we both rested every 100yards or so. Finally reaching the top again, we walked slowly back to where we were staying. What a wonderful walk and having to slow down enabled me to absorb the beauty of the place.

The following day we drove out sight-seeing and had many walks to get better views of buildings. That night I went to sleep so happy and contented and thinking that I must be one of the luckiest people alive. I was with the person I love more than life itself and I still had nearly three weeks left of the holiday to enjoy.

I fell asleep so happy. I woke suddenly and had to run for the bathroom. I was very sick. I always think it is strange but when you wake like that, even though you are not really fully awake, you know immediately that you are about to throw up. I am glad that first time that I did not know this was to be repeated every twenty minutes all night.

By the morning the pain had moved from my stomach to the left side of my chest and I felt strange as if someone was squeezing me very tightly. My husband rang the hotel receptionist to see if there was a resident doctor and in a very short time there was a knock on the door. When opened there stood three paramedics with a stretcher. By then I did not care. I knew that I looked awful, when I had looked into the mirror in the glaring bright white light of the bathroom on my last visit there, a pair of frightened dark eyes in a grey-white face had looked back at me.

I was examined expertly by one of the paramedics and I heard him say to one of the others "I think that she is having a heart attack we must be quick." I remember saying, or trying to say "no you've got it wrong this is food poisoning I am sure this is from the prawns I had for lunch."

As I was wheeled on the stretcher across the foyer to the heavy glass doors, I closed my eyes to block out the sight of all the curious faces turned towards me. I think I thought if I couldn't see them then they couldn't see me. I must have looked a sight, by then I had a sick bag clutched in my right hand holding it under my chin and an oxygen mask clamped to my nose and mouth. The pain was excruciating in my chest. When I did open my eyes, I did start to feel scared as I saw the fear in my husband's eyes and he is never frightened. This experience was completely out of his sphere of coping strategies and he also looked a little lost and bewildered and helpless.

Going along in the ambulance two paramedics were with me in the back while the third drove. They were kind, professional but strangers. My husband followed behind in the car, at very high speed, I found out later!

Being blue-lighted through the mountain roads whilst having a size twenty cannula inserted into a vein in my arm is not something that was listed on my holiday itinary of things to do.

By the time I reached the emergency room I had a drip going into my arm and I had been sick one more time.
The funniest thing that I can remember from that trip one of the paramedics kept asking me which hospital I wanted them to take me to and kept listing the virtues of each. As I had only been in America for seven days I could not really answer...I didn't care which one...just get me there please.

I have never seen so many people around one stretcher. Someone was taking blood from my right arm and I was still trying to clutch the sick-bag. Another was syringinging medication into the cannula in my left arm and another was taking a recording of my heart and doing an echocardiogram. My husband had arrived but after a quick look-see to check on me, he was whisked off to reception to book me in, and I learned later, to hand over his gold credit card to them. This was the means by which we were paying all our bills as we holidayed. Keeping cash just for shopping.

The nightmare had started. They put twenty thousand dollars on the card. About the same time as this was happening I was being seen by a cardiologist who told me that the Troponin levels in my blood were high and that proved that I had suffered a heart attack. This he said was probably started two days before in that ravine, by the waterfall. Troponin is an enzyme which is only released into the blood by the heart muscle when experiencing a 'cardiac event' or a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

I was admitted to the ward where I remained wired to so many monitors, drips and alarms that even as an experienced trauma nursing sister I was impressed. I was given a cocktail of drugs and I finally slept. With all the morphine the pain in my chest was subsiding to a 2/10 from a screaming 20/10. I will never again ask a patient to give me a number between one and ten to describe the level of a pain. One million is more like it and you have this strong urge to hit the person asking you!

When I woke up it was the afternoon and my husband was sitting beside my bed holding my hand as if he never wanted to let it go.

The pain was bearable and I felt more in control so I decided to ring each of my children and let them know we were OK and what was happening. I was concerned that if they rang the hotel to see how their Mum and Dad were getting on with their intrepid journey across the mountains they would panic if they were told that their mother, who they consider 'slightly dotty' and nearly in her dotage, had been rushed to hospital in an ambulance with blue light flashing and sirens screaming.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done.

My husband rang my 22 year old daughter who lives with us in the UK. I lay there listening to his gentle voice explaining what had happened. Of course she then wanted to talk to me and I just did not know that as I took the phone I was going to have the strangest and hardest conversation with her that I have ever had, and there have been a few strange talks in the past. I put the phone to my ear and as I heard her voice I did the unthinkable, I burst into tears. It was about the worst thing I could have done as she has very rarely seen me cry. Usually at funerals and sad things on the news but never just cry.

I think everything just suddenly hit me, I also suddenly realised that I had experienced a heart attack, me, not quite sixty and other than being a severe migraine sufferer fairly fit, had just had a heart attack. I also knew, and why it came into my head at exactly that moment I don't know, that if you have one there is a high risk of you having another more serious, sometimes fatal one, in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Without thinking what I was going to say I told Amber, my daughter to listen to what I was going to say. I told her how much I loved her and how much she had brought into my life. How it was all the richer for her having been born. I told her how proud I was of her and how she was someone really special. I know that all mothers think of their children like this but it was suddenly very important to me that I said it and that she heard me say it. I ended by saying goodbye in case anything further happened and I didn't make it back to England. I said that she was not to think that we were wrong to have gone on this kind of travelling holiday but to remember that I was doing what I wanted, what I had dreamed of doing for a whole year, and was with the person I have loved from the first time I met him when I was seventeen.

Of course a few tears were shed by her and me at the end of my 'chat'. Thousands of miles apart, but at that moment I had never felt closer to her. I then rang each of my three sons they are 36, 35 and 33 years old, and repeated similar kinds of conversations. Similar but different as each one of them is special to me but their love-link takes a very individual path specific to each of our relationships. Their personalities and mine forever interweaving, evolving over the years and so very precious to me.

After I put the phone down at the finish of the final call I felt drained. What a day it had been. Earlier after a discussion with my consultant I had signed a do not resuscitate notice. This instructed the hospital that if my heart stopped and as a result my quality of life was likely to have been majorly impaired by the event and the subsequent revival, no one was to artificially restart my heart. Following this I had just said goodbye to each of my children.
What was next I wondered. This was soon answered by a knock on the door. It was time to eat.

It was evening and my supper was brought in on a tray. This lightened the atmosphere and my husband left to go and get some food for himself.

I had many new experiences over the next couple of days, and I'm sure I shall write about them some day,
but one sticks in my mind.

I write, no really! (sorry just my warped sense of humour)

I write songs in addition to my poems and the next day as I was having my isotope scans and stress tests, to take away the fear and in answer to questions asked, I mentioned this to the sstaff carrying out the procedures. I had just finished a particularly hard and strenuous test climbing a steep hill, simulated of course on a walking machine that was raised to a steep incline and I had to continue for two minutes. I had completed this and was sitting sipping water and the friendly staff were asking me why I was on holiday in that particular place and I told them about writing.com, the poetry convention, the wish to write poems and songs etc..

The next thing I realised they asked me to hum the tune to one of my songs. I'd just told them I don't write, read or play music but that the tunes just come into my head. You understand what I mean I know. Well I cannot hum to save my life. I sound like a constipated bee, if there is such a thing. Anyway to my horror I just opened my mouth and sang them a couple of verses of 'My Cherished Fallen Angel'. They were very kind and made all the right appreciative noises. As I left they said I was the most unusual patient they had ever had. That just about sums it up. Surreal but oh so very real.

Well to cut a long and probably tedious story short. I was released and as the Troponin levels were normal again, I was told that I could continue with my holiday. The rest of the travelling went well and Rod and I only had to see the inside of two more hospitals. He to have his catheter removed and me again blue-lighted to an emergency room with chest pains in the middle of the night a week after the first event. This time in the Smokey mountains at Gatlingburg Tennessee, the first was at Charlottesville in Virginia. I did not have to be admitted to a ward as they knew immediately what was wrong and gave me heart medication. Like an aftershock of an earthquake I was experiencing a severe angina attack.

Again we continued on our holiday. Now for the other slice of bread. What you say, if you have reached this far that is. Remember the title of this lengthy, but necessary for me blog? Exactly, so the first slice was the convention, hospital treatments the filling and then the end of the holiday in Nashville is the finishing crusty bread slice. And what a slice.

I visited a Honky Tonk bar called 'Legend's Corner' in Nashville's Broadway and there I got talking to the singer in his break and my husband without my knowledge asked him if he would play the demo CD of my friend singing 4 of my songs. He did and the crowd in there liked it. Wow, I've heard my songs on Broadway.

On the 9th August I kept an appointment with the Paramount Music Company and met a couple of producers and to my surprise and delight, then and there, two days before my sixtieth birthday I was offered a songwriter's contract with them.

I have not yet signed up with them. I will consider it again in the New Year. My health and that of my husband has caused life as I knew it to change radically and I even took a break from writing.com for a while! This blog has taken three months to complete. I don't know if songwriting is a priority now, although I know that writing will 'see me through'. It is cathartic and helps me to cope in this unpredictable world.

This completes this particular sandwich and the filling although not to my liking or choice has furnished me with much fuel for future scribblings

As my dear mum would have said "it all adds to the rich tapestry of life." And Mum for once I agree.

Thank you for reading. See you in another blog soon.

March 20, 2005 at 8:01pm
March 20, 2005 at 8:01pm
Please take away my tears and let me learn. Clear my eyes because when they are brimming they cloud my vision. I view the world only through my emotions and colours are not true to the original.

Take away my tears and let me learn. Clear my thoughts because I find it hard to stop doing things for everybody else. I am like a sponge that absorbs, soaks up the world and I become so sodden I drown my identity.

Take away my tears and let me learn. Clear my way, let me find straws to clutch to save my soul. I think perhaps I am a crushed angel, not because I think I am an angel, but because at times I have had my spirit crushed and broken.

Take away my tears and let me learn. Clear away my broken pieces and let me become whole. Let me stand up for what I believe in and believe in myself
Oh please let me have my tears removed. Take away my tears and let me learn.

Today is a strange day. I have just spent a fantastic day with my family celebrating the birth of my firstborn, a son.
He is thirty five today. I remember the baby, the toddler and the boy and am so proud of the man.

Every time he has a birthday I look at him and there is a blurring of my vision and I almost see double. I spend the day celebrating and blinking back the tears, silent because I can not spoil the day and yet there is this shadow that is almost visible. For you see, my firstborn, Stephen, should have been a twin and I lost his twin.

So many times I have had my spirit crushed and broken.
Take away my tears and let me learn.
Happy birthday, wherever you are!
March 15, 2005 at 8:54am
March 15, 2005 at 8:54am
'Helpless' always seems to me to be a strange word. Defined in the dictionary as 'unable to manage independently' and 'make weak' it still doesn't feel right to me.

Take the two separate words 'help' and 'less' taken literally they would apear to be instructing one to reduce the amount of help being offered.

However if I truly feel helpless, it is an awful feeling that I experience, a mixture of frustration, and failure. I tend to feel totally useless and even skills that I do possess, become as nothing, in the light of not being able to help someone in need.

If someone is in emotional pain I want to take a cloth and soothe a ravaged brow. If someone is hurting physically I want to relieve the pain and nurse them better.

There are several things that are able to reduce me to this feeling of being helpless. How do you help someone that is depressed? Whatever you say or do it is impossible to wipe away a clinical depression as if it is spilt blood. Sometimes depression is so severe that it is as if a soul is bleeding and a heart is crying, but silently with no outward tears.

Parasuicide and suicide can be real concerns, and when someone is in a deep black pit, they can view themselves as a monster or unloveable. No matter how much I tell that person that I care how they feel, I am unable to reach them. I can empathise, that is try to put myself in their shoes, try to view life from their distorted perspective, but it is not possible to feel or understand their depression which may or may not have a reason. Therefore I feel helpless.

Very different from depression is senile dementia, and or Alzheimers dementia. Yet the inability to reach through is similar. It is terrible to bear that failure to communicate, when all you want to do is to help in some way. to turn a mind back to it's former intelligent functioning.

I have a brother-in-law, Don, who has Alzeimer's. He is my husband's older brother. Their mother had Alzeimers and for the last six years of her life she progressed into a strange life of fog and obscenity. She had never sworn, and did not allow anyone to swear in her house, but when she became demented she used the worst obscenities that any of us had ever heard. At the end of her life she did not recognise any family, not even her husband of fifty seven years.

How helpless I feel watching Don's wife, who loves him dearly, struggling to come to terms with this person that she now does not know how to help. She pushes down memories of how it was for his mother, as it is too terrible for her to contemplate. Don was a very good Maths and Science teacher who never lost his love of teaching. Now he can not play or enjoy a simple game because he does not understand that you take turns.

I think that this discovery vividly brings home to me the situation, because we have always played board games as a family. Many hours in the past have been taken up with marathon bouts of Risk, Scrabble, Cluedo and any game you can think of.. I expect we have played it, as at one time we had over two hundred games. The games could last for many hours with intervals taken for meals. Now, Don is like a naughty child, who if not allowed to have his turn, every turn, all the time, throws the board and playing pieces. I feel helpless.

My nephew is autistic. This is James, a beautiful child, who is the son of my sister's eldest daughter. My sister Betty who died last year. I watch him in his world of non-communication with such a sense of helplessness. He is seven now and has never really spoken or made eye contact. I watch his mother struggle to cope and emotions at times are just too hard to hold in check, and we hold onto each other and don't need to say anything. I feel helpless

The other things that make me feel helpless are when as a nurse all I can do is use my skills and be there for the sick, injured and dying. Somehow that is a different kind of helpless, as it is a step removed from being personal. It is not family.

A major reason for me to feel helpless is watching some tragic life event on the television. The torrents of the tsunami disaster at the begining of the year for instance. The feelings of deep sadness, and above all a feeling of being impotent in any attempts to give enough, to make a difference or to be of any real help to anyone.

Terrorist attacks are another reason. There have been many over the years but I will never forget 9/11.

It was my only day off that week and I was hoovering as I waited for a film to come on the television. I was on my hands and knees reaching under the settee with the hoover. I straightened up and leant back to look at the television to see if the film had started. I got such a shock, there were the twin towers of New York and one of them had a plane flying into it. For a moment I felt annoyed because I thought that without any warning the film had been changed from the one I was waiting to see. As I was thinking this, and muttering to myself about how unfair it was on my only day off they had switched the afternoon film, I noticed a word in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, 'LIVE' and the horror I felt... Needless to say all thoughts of a film went immediately from my mind. I sat back on my heels and rang my husband at work at a college.

Nobody there had any idea of the events that were happening and they all went to the principal's office and watched the horror unfolding.

I stayed on the floor crouched, transfixed, for the rest of the afternoon. At times I cried as the further horrors of Washington and Pennsylvania were relayed across the world, to us in England, my heart froze, became paralysed with fear. My husband and I had said a tearful goodbye to our eighteen year old daughter as she had left us, to go to Gloucester County College in New Jersey, just seven days earlier. I was not aware of the geography then, and it appeared that she was in the middle of a triangle with the attacks happening all around her. I felt so very helpless. It was five hours before we finally managed to speak to her on the telephone. I have never been so relieved to hear her voice. Then of course, being the person I am, I started to feel guilty, because of all the loss of life that was now being shown endlessly in our living rooms. I lost count of the times we watched the towers fall, in slow motion, with a dust skirt billowing up from the bases. I felt so helpless.

Then this week in England it was 'Red Nose Day.' This is a day when money is donated by a large proportion of the population of the UK. Stunts and fund raising of all kinds are carried out. People are sponsored to shave all their hair off, to walk hundreds of miles, to jump fom planes etc... This is all in the name of supporting charities in Africa and the UK.

Again into our living rooms there are beamed horrific pictures of starving children and adults, survivors of wars and of abuse. Children who are like the living dead, with sunken, zombie-like eyes. Some had watched one parent die of Aids and were now nursing the other surviving parent with the same disease.
Harrowing scenes of children as young as four sitting wiping their mother's hair out of her eyes. After the parents are both dead, the children have no home and walk the streets sleeping in gutters. Sometimes a project funded by monies from the UK Red Nose days takes some in and cares for them but there are too many in need... I feel so helpless.

This is where I have to say "Stop! Stop! Stop!

Instead of helpless this is a time to be selfless. This means exactly what the two words 'self' and 'less' appear to mean. Less self, unlike helpless which did not mean 'less help' or at least only indirectly.

If I stop thinking of what I feel, of my feelings of helplessnes, and how they make me feel, then I can give more of myself, unconditionally, give willingly in a way that might in the long term help someone somewhere. I think of the person, event or situation and I then write my observations, thoughts and feelings down as poems. As everything is converted into emotional outpourings, verses emerge which convey messages from the heart. Or they bring to the surface from the depths, for all to see and ponder, like molten lava spewing forth from the bowels of a long dormant volcano, opinions and experiences.

If then in the fullness of time, a reader finds that my writing sparks a flame of passion, informs or ignites and fuels his or her interest, then I can truly say that I am not as helpless as I at first glance appeared. I have provoked thought and therefore I have a reason to be. I may actually be of some help alerting people to and identifying a vast spectrum of subjects. I am no longer helpless.

February 25, 2005 at 1:31am
February 25, 2005 at 1:31am
The difference between joy and sorrow is infinite and miniscule. It is like sanity and madness, each with a thin line drawn between and sometimes we step over the line into each realm, criss cross back and forth.

Joy is bounding, golden, sunsets, laughter, rainbows, warmth, friends, holidays, and good, families, It is a walk in the country, seeing and hearing the birds in the trees. Joy is sitting in the peace of the garden, looking at each perfect flower. It is caring about another, smiling, reaching out, helping, touching, making love, communicating, reading and writing and the biggest joy for me is the Lord up above.
The exquisite beauty of joy.

Sorrow is falling, dropping into darkness, angry, violent, black, wet and cold. Being in a helpless state where I am unable to escape the magnetic pull of despair. Grief, in sorrow I search for the faces of loved ones who've died, search for their shape, their smell, their voice, their laugh and their touch. I have a schizophrenic type relationship with sorrow. I hate being there and I love being there.
The exquisite pain of sorrow.

Some days joy and sorrow mix like curdled milk. The sunny day is ripped apart by argument, by nastiness, sometimes in the closest family but other times from the television, the newspaper, overhearing a comment in the street or on the train.

Tuning into my heart and soul I find joy is love and sorrrow is love. Maybe there is no difference perhaps they are a mirror reflection one of the other.

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