Thursday, December 10, 2015

sometimes when i see an attractive person i think, i'd like to get to know them. I'd like to see if we could have a relationship. I wonder what it'd be like to spend my life with them. To build a life. To have children, to not be alone but then i remember i'm looking at a man. so i can't have any of that. If i felt that way toward a woman dating and marriage would be possible.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Jonah

I thought that by riding with the horsemen of firth I could hide from the jabberwocky. That he would seek others. But in the creative acts that formed me, I was bound to this demon. And I will never escape it, but must fight.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Potatoes

Ethel Burbank lived for 94 long years, however she only had Christmas, in 93 of them.

It was December 14th, 2015.   An angelic little girl came to visit Ethel.  I assume she was her granddaughter, I had only worked at the Senior Center for a few weeks.  Her small perfect hands grasped Ethel’s gnarled stiff hands with arthritic bulges. 

“I brought you a Christmas present.  Here open it.” 

Ethel didn’t seem to notice. 

“Please Grandma.”  The girl’s father whispered something to her.  And she gave up.   “I love you so much.” And with that the little angel gave the most sincere hug, and kiss on the cheek I think I’ve ever seen.

One of the most painful parts of Alzheimer's is the way people who suffer from it sometimes react.  They don’t understand what’s’ going on.  It’s hard on adults, but even harder on children. 

“Get off me you little brat!” Ethel barked, “get out of here.”

Time paused at the angel’s face went from love to confusion, to sadness, to a full bawling.  Her father scooped her up and carried her from the room.  The daggers of the shattered mind, had flown once more.

I didn’t see them again, for the rest of Ethel’s life.  

The holidays kept on coming.  The snow fell.  Church groups came and sang.  Families bustled in and out.   Ethel had a few other guest, but she was even less responsive than normal.

About a week later, I was working the graveyard shift.  The lights were dim.  I was reading some blog.  And Ethel came shuffling down the hall. Cradled in her armss were TV remotes, pictures from our bulletin board of volunteers, and a banana.  Sometimes a patient will revert to hoarding.  A little flustered at having my quiet night shift interrupted, I took the items away and took Ethel back to her room.

Two hours later, Ethel was  going through the pantry.   Once again back down the hall with her.   She kept muttering “Christmas, it’s Christmastime.  Don’t you like the snow?  Do you think Anna will come see me.  She has such pretty eyes”

The next day Ethel was all about presents.  “Have you seen my presents? Can we go to Macy’s?  I must buy something for Anna.  Where is Mark?  He would take me.  You’re useless.  All you do is sit around here.”

Ethel coded that night.   She was gone.  I felt bad for not taking her shopping, not that it’s something we do, but still-- sometimes you just want to humor an old person.

As we cleaned up Ethel’s room, and organized the few things she still owned, I found some lumps under her mattress.  Solid, misshapen things, like her hands I thought, and immediately felt bad.  Pulling back the mattress there were a dozen or so potatoes.   Taped to each potato was a photo that I recognized from our volunteer or staff boards. Each photo had been scrawled upon.  Most were illegible, but some said “Merry” others  looked like “Christmas”  and on a photo of the little angel girl who had come to visit her before was written “love you.”

I wasn’t sure what to do with the Christmas Potatoes as we called them.   In the end we decided to give them to the people in the picture.  Some people were confused, but some had bright eyes as they received Ethel’s last Christmas gift.

I tracked down the angle girl, who I noticed had the most beautiful blue eyes.  Her name was Sarah.  Her father and her had adopted Ethel as grandma after their own had passed away.

I explained that we had found the potatoes and I knew it wasn’t a normal present—Sarah cut me off.

“Oh it’s the most perfect present ever.   Ethel was so nice and beautiful.  And sometimes mean…   But that’s ok.  She’s with God now and He loves her, and she didn’t know what she was doing”

“How do you know that”

“She saw me last night, and her hands were soft, and she gave me a hug.  And told me”


I took my own potato out of the my car, and kept it near my desk.  A gift is more than the present itself.  A gift is a vessel of good intent