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Reply by Nouce
23 Nov 2015, 1:21 AM


Thanks for the Leonard Cohen reminder. I too have been resisting the light, a lot, in the past  few months. You push me to notice how the cracks remain, despite my raging.


Bless you,


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Reply by Xenia
23 Nov 2015, 4:29 PM

Good Morning All:

Jimmie, yes, Leonard Cohen says it all.  I have loved, like, or whatever one says about liking music, years ago when he first came out.  He has a way with words that hits the right place in one's heart, just like you do when you write and share your thoughts to all of us on CVH.   I especially like Cohen;s "Dance me to the end", so heart felt and says all about life.

The other poem, The Red Hat, I have a copy of that verse in my collection of verses and thoughts I keep in my memory box.  I collect words of wisdom, which I need to refer to often, and they help me through the day and also on the nights when I cannot sleep. I believe I fit most of the lines in this poem as I often embarass my children as I am still a free spirit most of the time, I have something in my soul that makes me want to sing when I hear a word, I connect it to a song, when I see someone who looks like they need a "Hello", I do so, .  I do know that I could not have gone through caring for John during his lengthly illness if I did not act the fool at times.

You speak of Cohen's song:  "There's a crack in everything"  How appropriate as this is so true.  The mourning is still fresh in my heart and mind and then a crack will open and I laugh and I enjoy the morning sun, the setting of the sun, a beautiful piece of music and the crack in my mourning opens and lets the goodness in and I am able to carry on and enjoy the moments. 

You are a special man, Jimmie, caring for your wife, Sarah, being with her daily for the past nine months surely is wearing on you and yet you carry on.  Having worked in a residence of which you speak can be depressing and then there is alight when some one like yourself takes care of a loved one makes the caring so much easier and kinder.  Too often we wearhouse our loved ones, not because we want to but because of the need as the caregiver is often ill themselves and are not able to be with them as often as they would like.  Often the carehomes can be miles away from the caregivers home and they are unable to visit as much as they would like.   Too often we see our elderly loved ones waiting for someone to be with them day after day.  Then someone like yourself is there for his wife and you bring joy to her and to others as I am sure you speak to them as well and bring some happiness into their lonely lives.

Old Bat,Nat and Nounce, thank you for being part of CVH, the messages are heartfelt by myself and help me carry on through each day as I often go back and reread the messages and glean more courage to help me go through each day.  I miss John very much and often a thought will pop up and I try not to feel sad or think, perhaps I should have could have and all the could and shoulds that pop up, I push them back and think, No, I did all I could and try to get rid of these feelings.

To-day is going to be a very cold day and the snow has hit the mountains in and around Vancouver.  The skiing season has opened and yet the streets are devoid of snow.  Time to get out the heavy winter coats and prepare for the cold weather for another year.

Take care and hugs to all.

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Reply by NatR
24 Nov 2015, 12:36 AM

Just replying to your note Xenia - thanks for the update.  I know everyone reads your notes and I for one really appreciate your insight and your comments on taking one day at a time.

glad that everyone on the forum is keeping going one step at a time - and the older we get - ( now that I am a legitimate senior ) is that I realize one day can give you enough on your plate.  Isn't that so?

its really challenging just to get older - never mind deal with demands to be a caregiver, house manager, patient manager and also do the regular chores that need doing - laundry, shopping, meal prep, appointment maker & reminder -sigh - so my hat goes off to each of you!!

winter brings more things to deal with - the cold, the difficulty getting out to do errands - and despite all of these challenges each of you just take it in stride and carry on - being dependable. caregiving, and most importantly. Taking care of yourself is somehow last on the list of things to do - but you each do it - so brave, strong snd reliable.

this note is getting too long but I just admire all of you for your survival through thr hard times, your ability to reach out to other members of the forum - and I appreciate being a witness to your journey;)

although winter try is around the corner - I hope each of you will take each day and find something in it that feeds your soul -so you can keep on being such a wonderful group.

i don't write often but your notes also give me strength.  Recently my granddaughter had a very rough spell physically and I was very worried about her.  She has come through her illness after a few days in hospital with round the clock care - and I value every added day I get to spend time with her and see her smile.  I think that's what keeps us all going - caring for those we love :)

appreciate you all :)
best wishes
NatR xx 
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Reply by Xenia
26 Nov 2015, 9:35 PM

Greetings on a Cold and Sunshiny Day in the Far West. 

Went out this a.m to attend to some shopping.  Cold and crisp here, no snow down here in the Valley but lots of snow on the mountains.  Cold is creeping down so pretty soon out come the snow boots.  They are sking up in Whistler, Vancouver mountains, etc.  Never learned but is so nice to see them on TV.

Nat:  I hope your grand daughter is doing better.  Seeing her smile must make you very happy .  It is always difficult to see a child ill and I pray she is doing well and will soon be home with you and her loved ones.

A few days ago I went to the lounge to have coffee with one of the residents.  She is over 90 and I enjoy her company.  I bring her her black coffee and water.  We sit and talk, actually, I sit and listen as she has so much to give.  She came to Canada years ago from the former Ukraine, a Menonite lady who had to go out and work in her early years and never had an education..however, her education about life and how hard she worked is an education to those of us who have been able to get an eduation and go further in our lives.  She never had children and she tells of having to depend on her niece for companionship.  How fortunate we are to have children even though at times it can be trying bringing them up, then we look at them as adults and think we didn't do too bad.

While we sat talking a number of other residents came and somehow the talk went to all of us being widows and caregivers of husbands who have died, how so many of us had been caregivers for years with little or no help from the medical system.  The agony of not knowing how to care for a husband with dementia, cancer and so many other ailments.  The worry of what will happen to them when they will no longer fit the qualifications of "Independent Living" as we are now as this residence does not have other type of care.  Yet, we see that more and more of the residents are actually becoming assisted living residents and have private care nurses looking after them.  We see more walkers and wheel chairs then what we are told should not be part of Independent living.

Once again, there is so little assisted living residences that the residences we are living in are taking in more residents who need assisted care.  What will happen to the residents who cannot afford to have a private care nurse help them.  Where will the help come from now.  I wish I could close my eyes and not care but I do and once again I feel the need to speak out about this needed care for the aging and dying.

With the election over and promises shelved I wonder if any of the health care promises will be in effect (affect??) where is the help for Old Bat and her partner, where is the help for those caring for their family members?  On and On these questions come to mind and I know I must once again start or restart my writing and perhaps do some good.

I read the message boards and see the pain and anguish of the members on CVH and wish I could do something constructive and help all.  There was a poem about if wishes were horses, etc. etc.  That is me, I can;t recall the words but know it meant wishing does little so stop wishing.

Off I go to see if I have my box of letters I worked on before I moved.  Letters to politicians, etc.  Will have to find out the new MPs and start on them too.

Take care and fond regards to all.


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Reply by Xenia
02 Dec 2015, 9:10 PM

Greetings All:

Christmas, decorations, music and I am trying to go with the flow of the season.  This being the first Christmas and holiday season myself and the family will be celebrating without John.  

There must be many of us on CVH who are going through this with trepedation.  I keep trying to keep on top of my feelings but my feelings get on top of me.  Memories of putting up the garlands on the fireplace, having John check out the Christmas lights to make sure they are working.  My feelings are in my throat wanting to holler "I miss you John" but I stop and take a deep breath and let the tears flow.  

My mind tells me that this is part of the grieving process but my heart and body want to say no, this is longing for what was and knowing it will not be the same ever again, Christmas, yes, that will be the same and then the fears of January 10, the day John died and that is so close to our wedding anniversary when we would have celebrated 60 years of marriage.   January 15, too close to the anniversary of John's death brings both feelings, oh yes, remembering our wedding day and then revert to the day of his death.  I steel myself and get on with it...get on with living and knowing I will get through Christmas, New Years and all that the New Year will bring.

I will allow myself to remember, I will allow the tears to fall and I will smile and remember the good times. Then I will  remember others who are and have been going through what I and many on CVH are dealing with .  In my heart of hearts I know the pain and sorrow so many will be having during this time of Happiness, remembering the get togethers, remembering the dinners, the carols, the jokes and laughter and as all of us we will go on and carry on as we know our loved ones would have wanted this for us.

 We will miss our loved ones very much and have the comfort of remembering them and that will help fill the void we feel at this time. We are warmed by the love we shared with them and that will keep us grounded for another period of time when our grieving will be easier to handle and know we find help, understanding and support from our many friends on CVH.

Thank you one and all for letting me vent my feelings and sharing my inner most thoughts knowing you are there to listen and help keep me grounded.

Take care and fond regards to one and all.

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Reply by Nouce
02 Dec 2015, 9:15 PM

Dear Xenia,

As your tears flow, may you also find beauty in the memories of what was clearly a Great Love.



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Reply by oldbat
03 Dec 2015, 12:32 AM

Dear Xenia,

I echo Nouce.  Let whatever feelings you have at any given moment OUT.  Don't try to shut them in, they'll just erupt later.  

You are a good, brave woman.  You were a wonderful wife to John, and you still are.  Keep those beautiful memories inside, take them out whenever you need and treasure them.  Share them, too, if you're feeling up to it. 

I haven't forgotten you all.  How could I?   I still read every single post I get.  Am hoping to take a week out of this hell-hole I call my life after Christmas.  No hotel.  I'll just stay home and try to shut out the eternal complications I' ve had to deal with this year.  I've told Karl I need time just for me.  He says he gets it, but I know he'll forget when the time comes.  So I'll tell him, when it does, that we can talk to each other every morning and evening - but the days will be mine!  Am planning to lie low with just books, music, chocolate (yes, I lifted that embargo recently!), a little wine and rest, rest, rest.  If there's no snow I might even venture out on the OldBatMobile (my walker!) and take in a movie.

Just in case I don't get on here 'til then, I wish you all, no not a merry - how could it be - but a hopefully serene Christmas with shining moments of happiness and joy. 

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Reply by Xenia
12 Dec 2015, 6:49 PM

Greetings to All:

Time slipping by or should I say sliding by.  Another Christmas is nearly here, another Year is ending and we all have seen or gone through many changes in the past 12 months.  Some happy, some trying and some sad so we ventrue forward into 2016, pull back our shoulders and march into the New Year having made friends with so many on Canadian Virtual Hospice.

It is so strange that friendships were made through adversity and we have shared so many inner thoughts that perhaps we could not or would not share with our family and close friends as many of them could not or would not understand our hurts, our anxieties, our anger, loneliness and loss.  Many of our friends and family have told us to buck up and get over it.  Not to be hurtful but without understanding.

Going through my address book I sadly noted that many of my family and friends are no longer with us and my Christmas card list becomes smaller.  Along with fewer cards being sent out I find fewer cards are received. With that thought in mind I gave away boxes of Christmas cards I had stored when I was still living in the condo.  Then today I needed 4 cards, yes, I had to go down to our little store and purchase 4 cards from the stack I gave away.  Oh well, 2 for .25Cents goes to a good cause.  The money earned at the store goes to Children's hospital. 

We have been entertained by various groups from the schools and churches in our city.  The best one we had was the grade 1 and 2 from one of the schools.  There were so many they sat on a large stair case and sang.  Everyone wore a Santa Hat and their voices filled the residence with so much joy and entusiasm.  Young faces singing from their hearts and enjoying every moment of singing to the residents who enjoyed them very much.  What an undertaking for the teachers, onto the buses, brought into the residence, coats off, line up on the stairs and direct their singing.  What happiness they brought to us.  Everyone enjoyed their youthful singing and entusiasm.

Each day has brought mixed feelings to me.  I am filling the days with going out with my daughter and son.  Went to Vancouver last Sunday as I wrote a few days ago.  Going to a 70th wedding anniversary on Tuesday so my days are filled with more activities at this time.

Perhaps it is too early to wish you all a Happy Chirstmas but I need to wish you all the best and let you know how much you have all become part of my extended family.  Jimmie, OldBat, Nounce, Nat, Ian, Katherine, Colleen and so many more.  As a family on CVH our ties seem stronger as each day goes by.  Made strong by the sharing, understanding and giving so each of us can face a new day knowing there are people who do care what happens in our lives.

It is getting time to get ready for lunch and to-day we are having Fiddlers come in to entertain us so I must sign off and wish you all a good day and keep writing.  I love to hear from each and everyone.  Like Tiny  Timm, God Bless Us, Every One. 

Hugs to all

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Reply by NatR
12 Dec 2015, 10:51 PM

Hello Xenia,

you have prompted  me to respond
i am not a Christmas season lover - rather I try to give all year long, to those around me - and I have a feeling there are a few other secret Santas in this group :)

i am am not complaining about the season as much as the rampaging shoppers who buy more than they can afford to give gifts that may or may not be desired / sigh - I just find it all too much
oh yes Sure I buy for the grandkids and try to treat those around me -;)

just at ignore my bah humbug moid
 so many reading this are still caregiving, still tired, still going and hoping they can make IT through ;)
so many of us caregivers aren't able to figure out how to stop the routine we know so well - it's part of my make up and you all know what I speak of 

i know you will all be happy to hear that from my little corner of northern ontario - I was invited to a 2 day seminar where I was able to speak  as a Person with Lived Experience:)to an assorted gathering of health care people - from various points of view, who listened to us all talk about - living at a distance from the large cities where we travel to / to access treatments, diagnostic tests and such like
also the cost, the loss of time at jobs etc.  

I was honoured to be involved 

the second day was all about caregiver distress and burnout.
this was an amazing experience to hear so many different stories and to have people paying attention / who make up policies, data and figure out support for families and their loved ones 
I share  this with you all so you can be encouraged that "behind the scenes " things Are Happening!
so keep sharing with those you meet. It's important that lots of people talk about this subject

I am sending each one of you a sprinkle of fairy dust - to help you get through it all.
you each add something important to this board and I include Colleen  and Katherine on the list
group hugs to you all
may you all feel the peace of Christmas and know you are exceptional people.
proud to be part of this group
best wishes all
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Reply by Xenia
14 Dec 2015, 5:45 PM

Hi Nat and All:

What a great thing you are doing.  Public speaking and informing the public abot the living experience of a caregiver.  I admire you and those who can stand up infront of an audience and speak.

You represnt so many of us on CVH and others who are in the community and across Canada when you speak of caregiving and the good, bad and ugly (quote) that goes along with this.  So many do not know what it is like until they are in the same situation as you and all of us find ourselves.  We go through life and not think of aging or illness until it confronts us with a family member or a dear friend.

Iappluad you for doing this on behalf of the caregivers who have gone before us, are going through it now and the ones who will sometime in their lives.

Your not caring for Christmas is something personal and I am aware of many who feel Christmas is a hard time in their lives either through some tradgedy or other.  I have always liked Christmas but find it hard this year as John is not here to celebrate with us.  We will do our best to carry on some of the family traditions and e;njoy the season knowing he would have loved it too.

We, at this residence, have been entertained by so many groups of young adults and children.  The Fiddlers put on one of the best perfomances I ahve heard.  They were in the ages of 16 to 10 years.  5 girls and 1 boy who was 10.  The majority of the fiddlers were ages 15, and 13.  Some with 6 years experience down to the boy with one year.  They were animated and the spokesperson was so assured for such a young person of 16.  We wish them well in their music and hope to see them again.

 To-day the children from across the street, Montosorrie, grade 1 and 2 are singing for us.  Christmas brings out the talents of the young and you can only sit back and enjoy them and let the memories of your children doing the same thing.  Too soon they grow up and we now are building memories of them, with their babies, their small children and teenagers.  Time moves on in a manner we are not aware of until we sit and watch them perform for us and we realize we have lived a lifetime and these children are at the beginning of their lives waiting to grow up.

It is raining again in the Wet Coast (Wet) but this is good for the mountains and the skiers.  Whistler has had a lot of snow and the ski season has opened up much earlier.  Now they pray that the cold continues and does not warm up and melt the snow.  What a country we live in, oceans, mountains , dry city streets (except for the rain) and snow just up the mountains.  This is a great country regardless of many of the short comings.

Jimmie, OldBag(aka Old Bag) Ian, Nounce, frustrated and all I think of you often.  Katherine my heart goes out to you as our moderator and sharing the loss of your husband.  We all share your loss and wish you well during this Christmas season knowing you will miss him just as we all miss our loved ones who are not with us this Christmas.

Take care and hugs to all.


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