So Much Has Changed

A Match Made in Heaven

My last post started, “not much has changed for me.” Since then, so much has changed.

Dad passed on March 17, 2021, after a long battle with head-injury-triggered dementia.

Mom moved in with us in July 2021. We figured we had seven to ten years with her—a healthy 85-year-old with good genes. In September 2022, we thought she might have some gall stones. On September 15th, we learned she had stage IV pancreatic cancer.

We were advised to think in terms of “six months.”

She was gone in 34 days.

Our heads are still spinning. Those 34 days were surreal. There is so much I’d like to say about it and hope to do so eventually. For the moment, I need to say, I’m still here, and am working through the adjustments.

I know Mom and Dad are on to bigger and better experiences as they begin eternity with their Saviour. I also know they left here hoping only the best for those of us who remain. And so, we seek Wisdom and Providence as we step out into our own new path.

Stay tuned.


So, What’s All This About Self-Quarantine?

Not Good at Social Distancing

Not Good at Social Distancing

Not much has changed for me. Just the added pressure to keep my Loved One out of the hospital. I’ve been trying for weeks to get our beloved GP to establish a plan to set up an antibiotic IV at home, but I keep being put off. I called last week to impress upon them that the time is NOW. We can’t wait until Loved One is ill again to start talking about it. I have a home health company involved in Loved One’s care and they’ve confirmed they could arrange for the IV but it would require an order from the GP and yet… I get nothing. Nothing from them. Up to now they’ve been great, but it seems like this ask is too big.

And then I do get answers. And it’s No because Loved One would need a pick line and that requires a trip to the hospital and so, what’s the point?

Then another call—I have the doctors brainstorming now—maybe we could give Loved One antibiotic injections once every eight hours—IF I’m willing to learn how. Sigh. Of course I am. But, oy. I’m an arteest! Not a nurse. But nurses are in short supply during The Virus. And Medicare would never pay for a once-every-eight-hours visit anyway. Even if it keeps Love One out of the ER/hospital bed in the middle of a pandemic.

Meanwhile, it’s funny reading the agonies of all those humans suddenly quarantined, their whole busy exterior lives coming to a halt. But there’s a joke among caregivers—Welcome to our world! We go nowhere—but medical appointments—even pre-COVID-19.

So, yeah, nothing has changed. Oh, except my husband is working from home. He hates it. What’s wrong with that man? And I promise we’re leaving him alone, even while this place is teaming with CNAs, PTs, home health nurses. We’re going to install a revolving door. Yesterday one of these folks did a headcount to make sure we were under the current limit of ten people in one place. We had eight. So much for social distancing.

Of course, our main goal IS to protect Loved One so we’ve done some rearranging of CNAs to consolidate their shifts and I’ve canceled or been canceled for other things. So, yeah, we’re staying put—with our without The Virus—it’s all the same.

How about you?

The Requisite New Year Post

Burning Midnight Oil

Burning Midnight Oil

Little has changed since my last post. Caregiving continues. The Day Job sputters. But I now rise at 2am—allowing myself three hours to work on my eternal novel project undisturbed. Or, mostly undisturbed. There’s always the cat.

I know it sounds crazy but that part of every day is mine. I plot out my schedule so I can be in bed early and not sabotage the tea and solitude with sleep. Every other hour I am running from task to task trying to keep loved ones fed, medicated, transported and comfortable.

It’s a strange role for me. I’ve never had kids so being responsible for others at this level is terrifying at times. And this path takes only one direction—from heartache to heartache.

But you have to find a place where you can set it all aside and still be you—if only just clinging to one tiny thread. If you can’t or don’t, you’ll diminish to the point of disappearing. And no longer be the fighter that your loved ones depend on.


See can what I’m working on via my writing blog:


The Caregiving Journey

The day job is slow. The caregiving is not. It’s an all-consuming and isolating phase of life. Your world closes in. You go nowhere. You turn down every social invitation until they no longer ask—and that’s a relief. You scroll past the Facebook posts of the rest of humanity going by amazed that people get on with their lives. And yet it is on Facebook that you also find your current tribe. Groups for caregivers—many of them with much more dire situations—which either make you feel not quite so sorry for yourself, or guilty that you’re even tired when compared to the challenges of others. Here are people who understand you now—better than your closest friends. It’s odd, even surreal that you feel more in common with strangers than with those around you. You’re committed to it—because it’s the right thing to do and you love your loved one who is suffering so much more than you can imagine. But you wonder what you’ll have left when it’s over—when you’ve given your all—poured into the black hole that is dementia—the incurable, one-way street.

The Close Calling: Caregiving


Are you called to feeding the hungry in a distant land?

Or your own family member?

Are you willing to hide away in obscurity and do what’s needed in the closet? Things that don’t make newsletters and fundraising splashes?

Can you set aside the big dreams of “making a difference” in order to ease the burden of the one closest to you?

Many of you are tucked away, feeling forgotten, wondering what became of your plans.

Take courage.

What you do today, every day, has the same eternal significance as the thing you meant to do. The Lord sees the widow’s mite, the prayer in secret, the cup of water to the child.

Have faith, believe on Him.

Flash Memoir

Photo on

The paying gig has been slow this quarter but family needs have taken up all slack. As a result, my big goal for completing a second draft of my novel by the end of June is pretty much DOA. This week I am finishing up some unpleasant tasks (read: 2018 taxes) and other odds and ends with a view to getting back to The Book by next Monday.

In the meantime, I have been toying with flash memoir to hone my writing skills. As long as I am slogging through the construction phases of my Main Project, I don’t get the chance to put much practice into word crafting. I hope that by drilling down on these very short pieces, I will be more prepared when my longer works are ready for the final polishing.

I’ve written more about this on my writing blog here.

My first two flash memoir items are here and here.




In the Meantime –

studio 2


My studio has returned to chaos.

You can see the results of the Studio 3.0 Mural Commission posted on my Marsh Hawk Studio site.

As I mentioned there, once I completed that project, I was immediately out of town to work as a trainer/manager of independent insurance adjusters in Atlanta, GA. After six months, I returned home to move my parents from their rental to the finally ready “new” home. We’ve been working long days, every day to get them moved in. We’ve also changed every one of their doctors and dentists in this last 3 months. I hope to never see another “New Patient” form.

But, how about a few detail shots of our hard work?

back porch1a (3)

This shot was taken the day James and I first saw the house. You can see the monster tree and the rotting deck that wrapped around it. I remember thinking as I took this picture, “One day, that tree is going to cost us a whole lot of money.”

Two weeks after closing, we received a notice from the city that our neighbor had complained about it dropping limbs into her yard.

$6500.00 later, the tree and the liability hazard deck were gone.

The house had no laundry room. So we added that plus a mud room in the area of the old deck, then added the stoop. Pardon the ladders. Work yet to do.

back entry

Along the way, the house was gutted and essentially rebuilt from the inside out. New wiring, plumbing, everything. When they started to tear out the  interior plaster on the exterior walls, they discovered there was no lath, just plaster on terra cotta block walls. So, they left the plaster and stick built from the inside in order add insulation.

terra cotta block

Add new roof, new windows and attic insulation and the folks are now snug.


The ceilings throughout had been dropped. The new ones have been returned to their original 9’6″.


living room 1 (3)

Living room with dropped ceilings.

picture wall

Same wall with ceilings restored to original height.

entry and wall of writers

Showing the exposed upper glass block and the display of Mom’s favorite writers around the door to her writing room.


Raising the ceiling in the living room exposed the top row of glass block at the entry. Their exterior had been painted gray. Now they sparkle inside and out.

The exterior still needs some wood rot replaced and paint. But my parents are now ensconced, mostly unpacked and starting to get on with living.

Now for me: I’ve made myself available for work adjusting again but I may have to wait for tropical storm season to spool up before I can return. That makes me financially broke but anxious to use these slivers of free time to update my blogs and drag out my historical fiction project.