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About swilkinson

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    Blog Moderator
  • Birthday 06/04/1947

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  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
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    New South Wales
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  1. swilkinson

    I must confess I do not blog as often as I used to but when I first came to Strokenet 20 years ago I was a raw and devastated caregiver and didn't know how to get my feelings out and that was when I discovered blogging. I know now blogs appear in many different forms but the release, the fact that you have got those feelings out and the RESPONSE that shows others have the same feelings or can see that you are struggling makes such a difference. As a caregiver or stroke survivor you have a story to tell. And telling it in a blog joins you to a support group of people who understand your feelings and can lift you up when you are sad, give you information when you need it and help you survive. I am a widow so you may not see my blog as relevent but others are writing as current caregivers and stroke survivors and reading of their struggles and survival techniques may be just the inspiration you need. So why not start a blog? New decade, new year, new way of connecting with the world.
  2. swilkinson

    Thanks George, the bushfires have taken a huge toll here but people will rally round and help where they can. Your trip sounds wonderful and yes as soon as we get back home it is back to our old routine again. Hawaii is the only American state I have been in and that thanks to Sarah Rademacher who I met on here. We used to say when we were both caregivers: "One day in Hawaii" to remind each other there was a future still and so a few years after Ray died we had our week together there. Sarah is still a caregiver.
  3. swilkinson

    Hi Sue, great to have you blogging again.That word you have chosen " Learn" has real power. It is good to be learning new skills and consolidating old ones. And learning not to beat yourself up, I need to do that too. I admire your determination to overcome your stroke problems, you're a champion already with that kind of attitude.
  4. swilkinson

    The mind singing is a symbol of what my life is about, being happy, giving smiles to people who don't seem to have one of their own. We used to say " a brief life but a happy one" well why not a long life and a happy one? There is always something special about every day we live. We just have to acknowledge the good even on what was overall a bad day. I hope to do that this year.
  5. swilkinson

    How great is that? You nailed it! You are a Stroke Champion. Congratulations.
  6. swilkinson

    I understand that, that feeling that you are a real person to him. I used to be the same when Ray would sometimes say my name with a smile on his face, special moments.
  7. swilkinson

    It is sad that those good memories have slipped away, sad that so many good times are forgotten. It is what it is isn't much comfort is it? I went through thirteen years of looking after Ray for the last four years all Ray really knew about me was that it was my duty to look after him because I was his wife.
  8. swilkinson

    The word for this year

    My word for this year is "SING". This came about in a strange way. I was in a lift and when I got off the man who had been in the lift stopped me.He said: "When you hum are you singing the words in your head?". I had to think about that but the answer was "yes". I was a bit embarrassed really as humming in company is not exactly good manners. Then the man smiled at me and said: "Oh you are a mind singer like my wife and daughters!". I had never heard of mind singing but was relieved that humming to myself didn't make me mad! I had always wondered if it proved I had a slightly odd mental illness! The other reason is that I can feel joy or find joy in a day in retrospect but I want more than that now, I want my heart to sing for joy whatever is going on in my life. In other words I want to rise above the things that happen that I have no control over and be happy anyway. I have known for a long time that happiness is not dependent on what is happening around me but is the result of what is happening inside me. I want to put what I know into practice. So I am going to use singing to lighten my mood on those days when the pity party is striking up the band. The new year has brought terrible bush fires to Australia, millions of acres burnt out, loss of farms and forests, thousands of animals killed. Also some loss of life among the human population.Some of what has been lost will revegetate when we finally have rain but many small animals, rare plants and environments like rain forests will never return. Thousands of people are homeless and emergency services are stretched to the limit. Although the fires in some places have been burning for months emergency services are only just being boosted with defence personnel. I won't go into,the politics of that! As usual in a crisis in Australia people rise to the occasion and offers of all sorts of help flood the internet and other forms of media. People do sincerely want to help and support victims and those who will care for the burnt and injured wildlife. Lions Clubs have a fund called LCIF, the Lions Clubs International Foundation and they will act as a clearing house for donations sent in by small clubs like ours and also are able to draw on disaster funding from overseas. That is one of the reasons I am a Lion - we help people in an emergency situation. Many people are donating through charities like the Red Cross, RSPCA and various Wildlife funds. Of course the famous people who have access to moneyed people or have money themselves are offering money, in most cases directly to the bush fire services. I am most impressed that Pink! a singer I am a fan of has donated $500,000 because she says Australians have been so good to her. Well I guess we have been good to many others too, she is just the one to step up first. Bless her. My next door neighbours were holidaying on the south coast of New South Wales, camping by a lake when the fires swept through and burnt out their car and caravan. Just before the fire hit they were taken out by boat into the middle of the lake by a kind stranger and from that vantage point saw it all happening. They were offered accommodation for a couple of nights before family members managed to get through enough road blocks to bring them home. I, like so many, was praying hard for their safety. They are a good family and great neighbours and I am fond of them and their four children. That sort of event is certainly a test of anyone's faith. My daughter and her family are moving today to a new location, only 6kms from where they live now but still a big upheaval. They were to have a week away last week, several days of which were in Canberra over the New Year holiday period but the fireworks were cancelled due to the bush fires and smoke pollution from the bushfires in the Snowy Mountains so bad in that city that they returned early. We make plans in life but as we all know here our plans can change for many reasons. In the face of so much greater tragedies this is just a small price to pay for simply being alive and having a home to go to as my daughter said to me. My son Trevor and granddaughter Alice will arrive here sometime around midnight. Alice told her father he had to go to bed early as they were leaving at 2am but he vetoed that idea on the grounds that there would be too much wildlife out on the highway. It is a long drive here from Broken Hill so they will both be very tired when they get here. I don't know how we will fill the ten days they are here because it will depend a lot on the temperatures, over 40 degrees (105) and I try not to go out. But there is a chance of rain tomorrow so maybe we can stay home and just catch our breath for a moment.
  9. swilkinson

    Pam, so sorry you had to go through the pain of a heart attack. It is good you had your son with you at the time. You have been through so much. And yet you know how to minimise the pain of what is happening for the sake of others. You are a very brave woman. I hope your recovery is a speedy one.
  10. swilkinson

    Asha, you chose a great slogan for 2020. "Just do it" is a great reminder that procrastination just steals our time. You like me are not inclined toward sudden change so I understand that in you but sometimes decisions just have to be made. Glad your son is doing so well with his studies, we need good doctors, full of compassion as he will be. Happy New Year to you and your family too.
  11. swilkinson

    Welcome to the Blog Community Kevin, hope you love it as I always have and make friends here which I have also done. A blog is a great way of putting what you experience into words, something you can look back on in the months to come. Including physical progress, emotional rebuilding, increase in activities, can also help others to look at and quantify their own experiences. And remember the occasional pity party just shows you are human like the rest of us.
  12. swilkinson

    It was great to have them here. But lonely by myself when they are gone. I have tried to do less this week, not easy with my personality but I'm trying. Hope you and Gary are doing well. Seems ages since you have been on here, or maybe time just slips by at my age...lol.
  13. swilkinson

    Kick back, relax, Christmas is over.

    After Christmas is over there is a short period where I can relax and recover from that chaotic run-up to Christmas that happens every year. There is always far too much to do in December and I wore myself once more. As usual I accepted too many party invitations but probably enjoyed them less than usual. This year being invited to a so called party meant paying your own way at the designated venue, usually a restaurant or Club, then in my case trying to find things I could eat with no dairy or unidentified oils because of my bad reaction to Palm oil. So I had lots of salads with the first course and fruit salad for the second. Very little joyful celebration this year with bad news coming in daily from the bushfires ravaged inland towns there seemed little to celebrate. I did slip in a one week visit the first week in December to Trev in Broken Hill. It was a good week, we had smoke from the bushfires here but out in Broken Hill it was hot and dusty but not smoky and I felt better than I had for a while. Because of the trauma 30 years ago from the viral pneumonia I have damage at the bottom of my right lung so can get short of breath. The smoky air seemed low on oxygen and so being away from the coast was a bonus. I left a bag full of purchases with Trevor as one of the local stores had a closing down sale and I found a lot of curtains, linens etc at bargain prices which Trevor will bring with him when he comes for a visit with Alice in January. Broken Hill is a broken town in many ways. I guess you don't think when you buy those items on eBay or Amazon that you are taking purchasing power away from your local community, so a tourist like me can make a difference. The new type of older tourist couples with the big new caravans unfortunately no longer bring in the income to small towns that the old fashioned ones did. Now tourists only go into the major supermarkets to buy goods not into the little owner operated stores, so smaller towns are losing trade to the larger towns. It is such a shame. What can a small town do but reduce shopping hours and in many cases local run stores close down. Someone staying locally as I do has time to browse around and spend on locally produced goods. For instance I go into the Sufi shop to buy curry powders, or Ferries Haberdashery to buy odds and ends, a crochet hook, wool, cottons, all kinds of small gifts. I stop and chat and just enjoy being there. Trevor is struggling now he has only his cleaning job so I do some extra shopping for him while I am there. And there is the joy of the Tip Shop, the old shed converted into a second hand shop that is used to raise money to keep the suicide counseling phone service Lifeline going. The suicide rate particularly among men in our inland towns has risen dramatically with the drought and now the bushfires devastating our agricultural lands beyond the ranges are a bigger worry. Our Lions Christmas raffle this year will bring in very little money. We get our spot at the shopping centre at management's discretion and were placed near one of the side doors where there was little through traffic and as a result sales were minimal. We will make a profit from Christmas cake sales as our cakes are good value and many people told us although they had trouble finding us they do not like to go without a Lion's Christmas cake. I did twelve half days on sales and struggled to find time for everything else I had to do. But in a way that is a basic part of my pre-Christmas run-up. I have been selling tickets in a succession of raffles for Lions since Ray joined the Club in 1984. As usual I went to church at 6pm Christmas Eve and 8.30am Christmas Day. The evening service was as in previous years just hilarious. The church secretary's sons had a succession of roles in the Nativity play and their mother stood at the back of of the church ready to turn the three shepherds into angels and turn angels into kings as we sang carol after carol. I don't go to the 9pm service but am ready to go at 8.30am. it is a good way for me now to start my Christmas morning before plunging into last minute preparations for Christmas lunch which was at my house this year, the first time for five years. It was lovely to have five out of six grandchildren with me and Craig and Shirley and Pam. Unfortunately Steve and his new partner Alison never join us for Christmas. My eldest grand daughter Tori helped me set up the spare table and the three older ones sat there and talked and laughed together. I so miss Ray when I see them like that and think how much he has missed out on seeing them grow up. The family members do not talk of Ray now and I wonder how much they remember him. The older two grandchildren do remeber him and hopefully remind the younger ones. I notice Oliver who was only five when Ray died goes over and pats the arm of the chair Ray used to sit in so that comforts me. Christmas time is such a mixed blessing but I am glad at least some of our family can get together for a while and build new memories together. I then have hope and courage for the months ahead. My life is lonely at times but it is doable. Have a happy New Year everyone, hope it is one of our best!
  14. swilkinson

    Nancy, if I was there with you I could give you a hug,so imagine I am there with you (((hug))).
  15. Good advice. Pray and keep moving forward. Had to use that approach a lot over the past few years myself. Not an easy life Asha but still a good life.