Friday, April 27, 2012

All That We Are…

I have been thinking this past couple of weeks about what I am. Or I should say, all that I have become. After twenty years in healthcare, I thought I had left that venue behind, but a friend asked me to be his sister’s caretaker while her family was out of the state and out of the country. This poor lady had been in the hospital twice and was quite debilitated. I agreed to watch over her as though she were my own for a two-week period. However, a few days into the arrangement, I became alarmed over her poor respiration and sent her to the ER in an ambulance. They admitted her and I slept on an extremely uncomfortable hospital chair for 3 nights and finally followed the ambulance to a very lovely nursing home with rehab therapies to get her back on track.
For my friend’s sister, who has been totally independent, this has been quite a shock and now, she’s trying to come to terms with the frailty of her body. She doesn’t want to eat in the dining room with all the “old people” because it’s “so depressing”. She’s only seventy-nine and hopes to get back to her life as soon as possible.
Being with her in this facility has focused my attention on my own life. I too, think of myself as being an independent woman. I love not being in charge of anything much, for once in my life, except for my commitment to write every day. I have pets: two elderly cats and a yappy little dog. So, in addition to being J.D. Faver, Author, I’m also the Doggie Mom and the Kitty Mom. My two children are grown and out fending for themselves in the big old world, but I am still their mom and I am “Nana” to two beautiful granddaughters. I am an avid gardener, so I have to take care of plants inside and out. Inside I have a herd of orchids sharing the countertop with some violets. In my kitchen window, I have another collection of plants, including several Christmas and Easter cacti and an assortment of cuttings growing in the little glass bottles from the Starbucks 4-pack of lattes and mochachinos. Great recycle usage. Outside plants in front and back require the occasional watering and pruning. I belong to several organizations and hope I contribute as much as I receive. Love my family and love my friends. So I’m a writer, a mom, a grandma, a friend, a pet slave, a plant lover, a contributing member of organizations. Is that how I will ultimately be defined?
But how would I feel if all this independence was taken away from me? Yeah, I would be just as disenfranchised as my friend’s sister. Take a look at your own life and make a list. What would you miss the most if you lost your ability to be independent? Long list isn’t it?
I think this experience will make me more mindful of all that I have and all that I do. I am the absolute boss of me…and I want to stay that way…
J.D. Faver


  1. I think of this kind of event often. Having had older parents, I not only was responsible for my aging mother but saw all of her siblings and my father's in various states of disability.
    The challenges are enormous.
    It is each person's responsibility to remain as healthy as possible until one day...poof!

  2. We just don't always appreciate our independence and freedom until it's threatened. I love your list of things that you will be remembered by. Not for a long time for sure, though.

  3. I always chime in late, but these thoughts haunt me every day. A younger sister is already in permanent care. I feel the hot breath of some health or mobility disaster breathing down my neck and work hard to stay in shape and take care of myself. But sometimes all our efforts cannot avoid, only postpone, our inevitable decline.

    It keeps me focussed on my writing. I want to accomplish my life's dreams before the ability to work toward them slips away. Sobering blog. :-)

  4. It is quite the scary thought...losing your independence. I'd hate it. Even though I try to be rebellious and don't always take care of my health, I know the risks that I'm taking.

    Recently, I got a small taste of that lack of independence, and now realize I need to take better care of myself while I can. Great post, and a good remind for us all.