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Reply by Jimmie
04 Mar 2016, 1:10 PM


I like the idea of choosing to travel "secondary roads".  Seems to me that is an able metaphor for many of us on these sites where speed and directness no longer apply, or are of interest. It is now more a meandering journey, taken more slowly, thoughtfully, contemplatively - where the ordinary, the familiar can sometimes offer the most meaning and quiet, if often pognant, satisfaction.

Our daughter-in-law living near the ocean collects sea glass - pieces of broken glass worn smooth over the years by wind, and sand, and waves.  She turns these found treasures into pieces of jewellery or leaves them about her window sills so that our grandchildren might enjoy the varied hues of muted sunlight they transmit.  Seems to me, Xenia, we do the same with our memories - our found treasures varied in colour and texture, rendered smooth, jewel like at times by intervening years of wind and waves and sand.  Perhaps you should offer them as gifts to those you love, or place them with care and pride upon your widnow sills that others - friend and stranger alike - might in time hold them up to the light and admire the varied hues of life which they transmit.

"Secondary roads" are the nuances of our lives.  They give our life its depth, and meaning, and ultimately its beauty. It is good that you and John travelled so many of those roads together.            
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Reply by Xenia
04 Mar 2016, 7:24 PM

Dear Jimmie and All on CVH:

Secondary roads:  Jimmie how approprate that you used this as a metaphor.  How fitting that we are taking the secondary roads in our lives.

Today is a road I would not have liked to take as I am attending the funeral of a daughter of a dear friend of mine.  My dear Friend, Daisy, passed away a number of years ago and how sad that her daughter passed away due to an anurysam(spelling).  This is most hurtful as Mary, the daughter is in the same age group as my children.  

Speaking of roads, there are dead end ones and I have been on these roads many times since John passed away.  Side roads, byways, etc.  My mind wants to go to what may have been, what should have been, what if, etc. if John had not passed away.  In my mind I keep thinking I can't see anything without him.  

CVH has helped me out of those dead end roads and taken me to the side road which connects to the secondary roads which I now travel frequently.  These secondary roads are filled with many memories which I see in my minds eye, often with a tear, other times laughing out loud remembering being stuck in the mud on some backroad in Saskatchewan.  Clay roads that were not made for trucks at the time John and I travelled when we first were married.  Now these mud and clay filled roads are all black topped and one can sail down these as fast as one wants or just meander observing life in a slower pace.

Speaking of meandering I do this often, remembering and then something comes up and I have to speed up and get to reality just as I must do now.  My ride will be here shortly, my son who is never late and often times very early, to take me to the church for the funeral.

To all take care as I take one of the main  roads out today.

Hugs to all:

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Reply by Xenia
09 Mar 2016, 5:14 PM

Good Morning All:

Spring has been put on hold for a few days, rain and more rain pouring down and yet it has not detered the flowering of some of the magnolia and Japenese Cherry trees from blooming.  The grounds are alive with daffodils, crocuses and snow drops.  Early spring and winter has not really shown its face this year and this has allowed us to put away all the winter garb and start looking for shorts, etc.

Sunday past I was fortunate to attend a conference in the City where John and I lived before we moved to the city we  had lived in for 15 years prior to his passing.  What a change, nothing stays the same and I don't think one can ever go home to the place we knew years ago.  

We had good times there, in the valley surrounded by mountains and the Fraser River that meanders through the mountains and to the area where we lived in the Cariboo.
What a wonderful world we live in, Canada, so many different areas, so fortunate were  we to  have travelled so much of our country.  

Katherine, yes I agree with you regarding couples hand in hand, walking together and the ache in ones heart of knowing we will not be doing this any more.  The knowing they have each other and share a relationship we once shared with our loved one.
I wish them all well and sometimes a bit of envy comes to my heart.  I want that again, why is this denied to me and then reality sets in.  I too had these moments, perhaps someone out there looked at us with the same eyes we see these couples now.  

My daughters are enjoying their holiday in Dubai and their husbands have been looking after me.  Grandson called and is coming over on Sunday.  They call to make sure I am okay.  Makes me feel warm and happy to know that they take time out of their busy lives to check out on grandma and mother in law.  

Skipped exercise to-day, need to see the sawbones as my arm is giving me what for and just typing lets me know something is amiss.  Oh, well guess the warranty is coming to an end.

Best wishes and hugs to all.  Hold onto your memories and hug those who make them for you.

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Reply by Xenia
22 Mar 2016, 8:09 PM

Hello All:

It seems it has been ages since I contacted all my friends on this message board.  Not intentionally but the daily changes in my life since John passed away I have tried to engage myself in more activities to help me lose the feeling of being alone.

Sunday, past, was a very hard day for me as one of the residents I had gotten to know passed away and I was unable to attend her Memorial that was held here.  My feelings of loss for another person since John passed away was too strong as I have had too many family and friends pass away since John died.  Two brothers, two friends I shared much of my life with, a daughter of one of my dear friends.  So my feelings were too raw to be able to attend this memorial.  Living here with many my age I am becoming aware that the residents we see one day we may not see again for a while as they are either in hospital after falls, heart attacks or some other ailment.  Then we hear they have passed away.  I am slowly beginning to accept that whether I had lived in my condo or here in Independent living the passing of family and friends is inevitable and as it is it is still hard to take and understand.

I am learning that grief is part of living and learning how to live after ones partner is gone is one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my life.

My daughters have returned from Dubai and had so many tales to tell me and the family.  The camel rides, the belly dancer which my youngest daughter took part in when the tourists were asked to take part in.  The need to purchase a hajab to wear  for their visiting   the villiages outside the city of Dubai, the fact that water was not placed on the table and one had to pay $5.00 a glass and ice cubes had to be asked for an paid for.  So many things we take for granted such as water not being readily available.  

They brought me goodies from Dubai, Camel milk chocolate for which they paid $18.00 a bar Canadian as it was $29.00 in their  money.  I, of course, shared it with the servers and  some of the residents I play cards with.  The looks on their faces was worth the price of the chocolate bar.  The chocolate is good but different texture to the Swiss Chocolate we are used to.

Yesterday, I had a great day, son took me shopping at 8:00 a.m. Walmart is open early, when I got home my daughter was looking for me so we went to a movie, The Lady in the Van, Maggie Smith and it was a great English Movie and gave me much to think about and what makes people homeless or street people.

Of course, dinner, when we had lunch with my fellow table mates I told them I was going to my daughters place for meat loaf dinner.  They laughed as we do not like the meat loaf that is served here.  I believe meat loaf is cursed ...my daughter put the meat loaf and veggies to bake in the oven and we sat down with a glass of wine, lo and behold the rain came down in torrents and the lights flashed off and on, the TV blinked off and on, then no lights...no power, no dinner unless the BBq is put on.  Off goes Stephen, son in law, to turn on the bbq, thankfuly it is under cover, but we have no tin foil paper, dig for cast iron pans, etc and get dinner on the bbq.  Rain coming down and we wait till dinner is cooked.  All in all the dinner came out great and with all this happening it was the finale of my great day as I returned to my apartment and settled down with a good book thankful that the power was not out in our area. 

To-day will be a slow day, waited for the telephone repair to come and fix the telephone as it has been out of service for 4 days and waiting can be the least of my virtures, so I settle back with an easy reading book and will look at changing services so I do not have to wait till a technician can be sent....I should hold back paying my telephone bill for the same time my telephone is out but that would never be.

All for now.  Trust all of you are doing well and that spring is bringing back a feeling of excitment looking forward to all that spring brings.

Take care.

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Reply by oldbat
22 Mar 2016, 9:49 PM

Hi Xenia,
You never cease to amaze me.  You remind me of the "little engine that could", or the Everready bunny!  You just keep on going and going and going.  So bravely and with such endlessly entertaining tales.  I am lost in admiration.  Don't ever change.

My life continues to be tough.  I got pneunomia in October, and can't seem to shake it.  I am starting to be offered more help from social services.  Currently get two hours a week laundry and cleaning.  That worker is a wonder.  She's become aa good friend and I really look forward to her visits.  I still have my health coach, who is a joy, and have recently acquired not just one but three new social workers.  One is looking at assisted living for me, another is trying to set me up with a support group for people caring for relatives in long-term homes.  The third I haven't met yet.  She's supposed to be providing something called "respite care" - in my case shopping and cooking.  I haven't met her yet.  She booked a home visit with me, then forgot all about it.  You can imagine how impressed I wasn't!

I've been watching a laugh-out-loud show on Netflix.  Going to post about that on  another site, the one about "silly things that make us laugh'.  Check it out.  I've been binge-watching and, even on my darkest days, can laugh so loud I've fallen off my chair.

I'm still reading all your posts, but haven't had the heart or health to do much myself.  I'll try to emulate Douglas MacArthur!


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Reply by Jimmie
24 Mar 2016, 11:33 AM

I am writing this from a basement bedroom in our daughter's London home.  Our grandaughter is sick again and I have come up to provide what help I can. Our daughter, and husband are sick as well with a nasty flu (daughter), and pneumonia (son-in-law). I have spent the night listening to the coughing spasms from the various bedrooms upstairs trying my best to assess their meanings in terms of slight recovery, or worrisome deterioration.  Maudie, our grandaughter's illnes is the most concerning of course and I wait on edge for each of her wracking eruptions of coughs and cries to finally subside before the tension in my body eases - slightly. It is striking how quickly my determination to remain calm and strong in the face of aother emergency as I fly up here comes completely undone when I hear her crying out in the darkness of my room. Perhaps there is a limit to resilience.

Before I began this entry. I looked back to the very first post initiated by OLd Bat followed immediately by Xenia's enrty.  You two and all the others others have carried on such a ramarkably compassionate and supportive correspondence over the last few years - sixty pages full of listening, and comforting - laughter and loneliness - anger and love.  A remarkable record of your "journeys", and testament to the quality of your characters.  Those of us who write less frequently are in your debt.  It is, in a soft way, like coming home when I return to these pages. I have mentioned elsewhere that the word hospital is related to the word hospitality, host, hospice - hostel.  Anciently it referred to a kind of inn by the side of the road where trevallers, pilgrims found some rest - food - comfort - comrades - strength to carry on. That ancient meanng suggests warmth to me and intimacy - a sharing of silences and unspoken understandings - a kinship forged by experience.  A place to go when you are tired and in need the comfort of a fire and freinds to whom you need not offer apologies for you unkempt clothing and your weariness.    
The house is stirring.  I send you all my best regards.  I appreciate the losses you have begun to number, Xenia, and I appreciate the community of two which "the cleaning lady" has created in your life, Old Bat.  I have simlar experiences in my daily life at Sarah's nursing home.  We realize eventually that in a very deep sense, we are alone - it is impossible for another to live inside my skin.  There is that fundamental, existential loneliness. but then there is also the miracle of friendship, of love - momentary or longlasting - and the inherent joy and meaning and surprise of those relationships. We ache for the comfort of familiar arms.  To rest and take courage.

With affection and gratitude -

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Reply by NatR
24 Mar 2016, 2:50 PM

Hello everyone - each of you 
i am following the notes and so glad to read the support and understanding from all.

life is indeed full of challenges and without each other to listen understand and offer some help - we would be lost indeed

sending warm thoughts to you all
Xenis you are a wonderful warm person with observations that help us all keep going
old bat I am glad you are finally being given the support that should have been there awhile back 
it eases the load to have some help

Jim I hope your family members continue to improve and I understand your wish to help and support - and yet wonder how much you can help
believe me your presence does help and your energy to try and assist in any way is a testament of your love and concern
keep on caring

you each inspire me and if I left out a name - my apologiEs
  Sending warm wishes to all
NatR 👍🏻💕🌷 
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Reply by Xenia
25 Mar 2016, 6:06 PM

Easter Greetings to all on CVH:

May the Easter season give us all hope for a kinder future and a season where we can rejoice knowing we are among friends and family.

Jimmie:  How you can write and express the feelings so many of us feel and are not able to put into the printed or said word.  Your students, when you taught, must have been excited to attend your classes.

I also send you my heartfelt wishes for the return to good health to your daughter's family, husband and daughter.  My prayers to my higher power go out to you and yours and all who are caring for families, husbands, wives and children and significant others,  
I pray that all can find peace and that the caregivers are given rest which is needed badly.

The other day a number of residents, women, got together with our Activity leader and helped her fill plastic eggs with chocolate easter eggs for the Easter Egg hunt in the grounds of our residence.  Grandchildren come to visit and add to the enjoyment of the season.

Of course, we worked quickly and had time to share our inner most feelings and thoughts.  Once again, the talk of being a caregiver, the need for more palliative care, the need for understanding end of life, dimentia, death and all that goes with aging and living with a partner, parent or child that is ill.

The theme throughout the talk was where to turn to.  Other than myself none had heard of Canadian Virtual Hospice or the work they do and the help we receive from others on this site.  The leader of the group was so interested she asked for information .

I believe that many of the residences for seniors do much good work,however, my thought is the staff and upper execs.  do not really understand the reality of residents who have moved from their homes since their partner is gone.  The changes are very different and the need for understanding is great.  The need for having the resident not feel isolated during the initial move in as many are still under stress of the passing of the partner, the move from the home and learning to live alone even though there are many residents around them.  Until they become familiar with their surroundings more has to be provided to help them into this great change in their life. 

From experience, even though I am opinioned and do not get paid for my opinions or outload thoughts, I had a difficult time for a number of months even though I am an outgoing person.  I finally realized at Christmas that visiting my family for the holidays was great but I had to go home...and home was my residence.  When I walked into my unit I felt this was going to be my home even though it was not the home I wanted or shared with John.  From then I have taken strides to get out more, be more caring to myself and continue my life of advocacy that I was doing in my home with John.

To all I am still writing, reading and speaking about the need for more senior care and the need for home care.  Hopefully with the new Government some changes may happen but until then I carry on.  I know I can be a royal pain to the newspaper in my city, a pain to the politicians when I call or keep writing but hopefully some changes will happen.  Demand a plan has done well and this has been because so many seniors and families became active and as numbers have shown the government paid attention to this call from the Canadian Medical Assocation.

The web site is: demandaplan.ca and it is very active.  Even the Federal Minister of health has responded to this.

Enough of my book writing, the call to lunch has been peeled on the intercom so off I go.  Sincere wishes for happiness and comfort to all. 

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Reply by KathCull_admin
27 Mar 2016, 5:44 AM

Thinking of you all as I read the most recent posts. You are dear friends - I can only imagine a dinner conversation with all of us gathered around.... 

I wanted to let you know about 2 free, online events the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association is hosting. 

·          April 6, 2016 1:30 -2:30 pm EST Reinventing a Life After Loss Click on the link to register on Eventbrite. The presenter, Sherrill Miller, will share her experience of being the primary caregiver for her husband.

·         April 12, 2016 1-2:30 pm EST Who's looking after the caregiver?   Click on the link to register on Eventbrite. The presenter, Bonnie Schroeder, is an independent consultant who works with health and social services agencies. She will co-present with a family caregiver. This session will give caregivers an opportunity to reflect on their experiences, share tips and strategies, give information on when and how to access additional resources. 

Those who are looking to tune in internationally should register on Eventbrite (see above)and then click on site below and use the appropriate country number.

(sorry I could not hyperlink this)

Take care


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Reply by Xenia
20 Apr 2016, 3:19 PM

Good Morning All:

It has been a while since I was on line due to a virus that kept me away from the computer and also my shoulder keeps telling me I am getting older.  Am on the mend now and will be spending the day trying to avoid the heat wave  we are having in B.C. There are forest fires already and that is early in the season.  Everyone hopes this hot spell does not continue all summer as it will be devestating to all.

Life has been slow since John's passing.  Learning to live without a partner to talk to or plan our summer vacations.  I miss the drives we used to take, going nowhere in particular, just getting out for the afternoon, stopping for lunch or John;s favourite icecream stand for his maple walnut icecream cone.  Little things like that I am missing and when I see older couples walking in the Parks or in some green space I envy them the time they share together and then reality sets in.  I too had these times so just be happy for those who still are together and are sharing these moments.

I missed not being on line and hearing from OldBat, Jimmie, Nat and Katherine, all my fault so I will make sure I keep in touch.  I wonder how you are doing OldBat, has the social worker made things easier for you.  Jimmie, how are your family, your granddaughter and their parents.  Nat, I miss your caring and sound advice and of course Katherine you steer the ship we all are sailing on and keep us anchored with your caring for all those on CVH.

Our family is in the last preparations for my Grandson' son's wedding in June.  Only 14 weeks and that makes it sound better than 2 and 1/2 months.   All the preparations are ready, the only thing that will make it a bit sad is that Grandpa will not be in attendance as he did so want to see his only grandchile wed.  However, it will be a great event in our family's memory book and all will be thinking of Dad, Grandpa and John and know he is in our hearts even though he is not there in body.

I am still advocating for Palliative and End of Life care.  My computer seems to know whom I have contacted and whether I need to write another letter to them.  Am pleased to know that the Medical Assocation of Canada has been so active with their Demand a Plan network and has been successful in having the government provide more funding for some of this needed care.  Let's hope it is expanded.

My excercise program is calling me so I shall sign off and wish you all a pleasant day and trust you all are doing as well as one can with the various cares we have.

Fond regards to all:


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