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worth talking to



On Saturday we went to a 60th birthday party. It is the turn of the season so a heavy sweater didn’t seem appropriate. We had to wear something pink as it was a “pink party” so I bought a pink blouse on Friday and when I got it home and tried it on with the jacket I wanted to wear it with - CLASH - so there I was with no clothes to wear! Tragedy if you are a woman. In the end I found a couple of things that were pink and sort of went together so I was sorted. PHEW!


So why do we worry so much about our appearance? At my age it is probably because I want to look “nice” not sexy or film star glitzy, just nice will have to do. I want my clothes to match, each other and the occasion, and to look as if they belong to me. I know I am not good looking now, though I once was, so I want to look attractive, so people still talk to my face instead of behind my back “oh the poor …whisper…whisper”.


We had a good time at the party. Nothing went wrong and there were people there who wanted to talk to us. A distant cousin of Ray’s was there and came over to exchange news. He stopped me on my way past his table and asked me did Ray have dementia? I said he does. He was polite and said that Ray looks good and I must be taking good care of him. It is the usual reply.


Yesterday was Father’s day so the boys put on a BBQ, well Trev did. Steve was alone again so I guess that is the pattern now, Steve and the kids visiting “his” Mum and Dad. Anyway we had fun. Nice food, the little ones mostly played well together, the older two even went in and talked to Ray for a while. That was yesterdays rule: “it is okay to go into the house as long as it is because you are going in to talk to Pa”.


Ray has suddenly decided he can’t sit outside if it is “cold”. This doesn’t mean of a low temperature, it usually means windy. So yesterday he sat inside as he had done on Friday when the wind was blowing and some of this morning. This is a real departure from him always wanting to be on the verandah doing his word puzzles so I hope it doesn’t last. At least when he is outside he is engaging with the passing traffic, waving to passers-by etc.


There will always be some changes with Ray. The MRI showed massive changes in the brain. He seems to cope very well with life considering, said the neurologist. Yep, most days he copes so most days I cope. Then we go through some more changes and I start to struggle again. I have been looking forward to Spring when I hope the warmer weather will bring some positive changes, longer days, more access to pleasant places to spend our time. Hopefully there will be more BBQs, picnics etc. Unless the wind blows and Ray finds it too cold…


I have just lost my “grandmother” well Mum’s step-mother actually, only five years older than Mum and she died of bronchial pneumonia in England on Thursday night. A distant cousin emailed me and then Mum’s “sister-in-law” phoned me. Although the step-mother never thought of us as part of her family Mum’s stepbrother who lives in Queensland always called Mum his “little sis”. He is in hospital, fairly seriously ill so his wife contacted me on his behalf. It was a nice thing to do and I appreciated that.


Last night I talked to Ray’s older brother’s wife for about 1½ hours. She gets frustrated with her husband as he is slowing down, partly age, partly recovering from lung cancer chemo, partly natural cussedness. She rings and asks me how I am and then tells me how she is for the rest of the call. She is past retirement age but still works, I think to support their lifestyle as much as any other reason and to stay out of the house. Like a lot of people she knows that eventually she will have to sell up and move to suburbia.


This morning for most of the morning I repotted plants and got them back into their positions. We had gale force winds overnight Saturday night and some of the plant pots rolled down the lawn dislodging the plants and scattering dirt, one or two cracked so I just repotted and replaced. I have a heap of bromeliads to split and repot, they just love it here and grow and multiple like rabbits. They are lovely leafy plants but they take up so much room! I’ll have to give some of them away.


So why was I thinking about appearances? Well in 1980 I met the American Ambassador to Australia on a river bank in the outback. We had a conversation about the river flow and water problems and what was grown locally. We had gathered to watch a re-enactment of the landing of Charles Sturt an explorer who was credited with the discovery of the plains around Narrandera, the town we lived in back then. We knew there were to be some dignitaries coming, the mayor, a couple of politicians, those kinds of people. We had come early as we had someplace else to go.


When the official welcome was made by the mayor he welcomed the American Ambassador Philip H. Alston and it was the man in the white shirt and trousers held up with braces who had been strolling among the crowd talking to the farmers, their wives and the local community. No airs and graces just a middle aged man who slipped his jacket back on and came up to the platform to thank the mayor for the welcome. As we say here: “just like ordinary folks.”


So I guess it doesn’t really matter what you look like. It is what you are inside. A nice man with a warm smile and a soft accent, I think from Atlanta, or close by there. A nice man who was interested in the folks around, what they did, how they lived. I have never forgotten him. People in that kind of position are not always as easy to talk to as he was, or as ready to just take an interest in wherever they find themselves to be. I looked him up and he died in 1988. A long time ago but this morning I remembered him.


So when our time on earth is finished who will remember us? And why? Maybe because we stopped for a while and treated them like people who were interesting and worth spending some time talking to?


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I am so glad that you had a BBQ. I am not glad to hear about Ray, not wanting to go out on the veranda, I hope that it is just a phase.


Life is still there. Yes, I love pink. That sounds like a nice theme for a party.


I do love the way that you write.



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Sue, I am so glad the party went well.I know you were anxious about it and Ray's reaction. We look forward to going out and seeing and talking to people, but that apprehension about how our person is going to be is always there. Mostly I'm in comfy jeans and a tee shirt, sneaks because I am pushing a WC and need what my Bruce calls "sensible shoes." When we first met I was required to wear suit and heels every day. I was in the pressroom one day, checking on a problem when the pressroom supervisor stated I had to leave because I needed to be in steel-toed work shoes to be in that room. Actually he just hated working for a woman and would have found any excuse to get me out of his empire. Bruce found that extremely funny and to this day, even post-stroke we talk about sensible shoes. The night of my happy hour with my 40 year classmates I spent two hours trying to find an outfit. I have several nice outfits, even tho being a nurse I am mostly in scrubs, but somehow it was important. And then I realized it was important to me. I wanted to look "pretty." Something I do not feel very often these days. But I am finding out as you mentioned that most people, especially those who care and love you don't really care. All they care about is you. The fact that they are thrilled to see you and spend time with you is really all that matters. Debbie

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Sue, sorry to read of your loss and the changes in Ray's mind, but thank God he's still here and functioning. The BBQ was a good thing, we did the same here in better weather however!


It's amazing about the seasons and how they change around the world, summer in one place and winter in another!


Oh Sue, I saw on night line, last night of a "flying kangaroo, lives in trees, tall trees, but I can't remember the country, do you happen to know? It wasn't Australia!

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Fred found this in a site about kangaroos:


Most people think kangaroos are endemic to (live only in) Australia. In fact, several species of tree kangaroos and forest wallabies also live in Papua New Guinea.


Apparently tree kangaroos do jump from one tree to another and have flaps like a 'glider' that help them take what are really great leaps rather than flights. Interesting eh?



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Hi Sue: I love your posts. It's like sitting down and talking with you. You write with a comfortable way with words.


Life has a lot of ups and downs as we caregivers and survivors definitely know, as well as "normal" folk. In the long-run I think we will be "judged" on how we treat others, not how we look, but how sincere our heart is.


Thank God we only have to do this a day @ a time. Don't worry about tomorrow because it will take care of itself.


Hugs, Leah :giggle:

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Sue, The short story you wrote is much like the half page stories you read in Readers Digest. Have you ever submitted anything? You should. Thanks for the nice read, Mike

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Funny that you mention the need to look pretty. About 2 years post-stroke, I thought I looked horrible. Well, I was also dealing severe chronic depression. I was at the worst level than I had ever been in. I started "looking better" when I started improving with my depressive symptoms.


Funny, I'm not into the typical "pretty" and classy clothes. I do like to look good. That's all I wanted. When I get older, I'm going to look good in black t-shirts and jeans. Oh, yeah. I've seen an elderly woman in those clothes once. I thought she looked so cool! Rock and roll! :Clap-Hands: :gleam:


It's really the essence in you that matters, and you have a beautiful essence. It's your life force, chi, or whatever you want to call it. I think you're beautiful (I've seen your pic). :hug:

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