Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Karen's Declaration of Independence


I attended the Caregiver Support Meeting earlier this month where there was a presentation on dementia and Alzheimers. The flyer is here on the left. At this meeting we were given a lovely statement, "Esther's Declaration of Independence". I am choosing to use this statement as a guideline to create my own declaration.
Karen's Declaration of Independence
Look at me as someone special with all my quirks, mannerisms along with my personal accomplishments and also my failures. I have accumulated what I call myself throughout my years of living. Things have happened to me during these years to sometimes cause me to pause; only to have to recognize that I am forced to look at myself as a totally different person. Hurt, joys and and looking at reality has had their affect on what makes me the person I am today. I am not simply any person. I am uniquely my own person. I am the only one who has lived my life.
You cannot copy me. It is soley me who knows all what I have done and what I might still become. I am still becoming me. I am irreplaceable and invaluable never to be duplicated. Once I am gone from this life. I am gone forever except in how I have touched you. I might have shared laughter, love and regretably even anger and hurt with you. All the ways I have entered your life makes immortality possible. I will live forever in what you pass to others in your life; as what I have left in a touch or in a word is what helps make you who you are. Do you catch yourself making up a silly story to explain why something is to a child? Do you love feeling the life of freshly made bread dough? Is every plant worth saving and is it difficult to step on a bug or to turn away a dog in need? These may be just a few bits of me that I have left in your care. Maybe your voice reaches new levels when you are angry or you find yourself intolerant about intolerance. You may be in denial about transgressions you have made. These could just be what you have learned from me that isn't that wonderful. I have entered your soul. I have become part of what makes you who you are like it or not.
I plead my case not to be disgarded when I grow too old to care for myself. I will not be worn out, useless like a worn out sweater. Wear me with honor. Don't ignore me or talk down to me, over me or around me as if I am no longer present. I don't want to be babied, pampered or patronized. I will be good to the last drop. Enjoy me for as long as you have me in your life.
Don't waste me letting me have empty arms with unfulfilled hopes. I pray that I will live out my destiny in all of its fullness and hope the same for you. I wish for worth, dignity and achievement for there is always more to be done in life.
Remember I go this way but once. Want me, love me and let the ending be as gracious and loving as it was in the beginning when I first arrived. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for letting me enter your life leaving behind bits and pieces of me to recognize as me living still well after I am gone.
I changed Esther's declaration up quite a bit. I have not had the same life as Esther. My declaration could not be the same.
This exercise added to my life. I am clearer as to what I need, what I wish for and who I even plan to become when I once again re-invent my life. I read recently that someone who lost a child knew they were no longer the same person. They had lost the basis of what made them who they were. Their old way of living didn't have meaning any longer. Life had to start again at the time of their loss to make sense. I understand that now. That is why we cannot always stay who we were previously comfortable with. Are we a mother even if we no longer have children? Can we base our very core on that description we held dear for so long if the child does no longer exist? We are now someone different. Our husbands can die or leave us. We are no longer wives. We wake up facing a new reality of who we are. Life is never the same. We hold on so tight only to see it change regardless of our effort. I'd like to say life goes on. We do breath in and out, but life hicups. It gives us pause. The going on is not done easily. We have to find a new path and new way to describe who we are. I may not want to be like an old sweater with all those "used to be me" knitted into each fiber. The old sweater may not be discarded, but it needs some new fiber knitted into the body so it fits better. I think if I look at myself hard enough, I can still see those old parts that may have been buried in re-invention of self. I have to believe the old descriptions helped build who I am today. The more recently created me is only making me fit the reality of where I am today. So, I am not like a worn out sweater, I am a sweater that gets new fiber knitted into it as the need arises. Sometimes, I wish the fit was just a bit more comfortable. Maybe with time the fibers won't bind. The fit will feel like it has always belonged. I think loss always leaves a space that cannot be knitted over with complete success. My sweater has those dropped stitches that I can see when no one else notices.

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We blog about our rural area in the Pacific Northwest . This blog is all about my life and the places where my mind wonders from day to day. Have fun reading and looking at pictures. We welcome comments.

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Be sure to check out the separate blog to find out about our electric kayak, Kingfisher 10! You can find the blog at http://electrickayakkingfisher-10.blogspot.com . You can also read the features list on this kayak and purchase building plans and building kits at www.winchuckriverstore.com .

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We moved to our current home on the Wild River Coast of Southern Oregon from San Jose, CA. Our family consist of Jim and Karen, two dogs and two cats. Karen's passion is gardening. Jim's obsession is building electric powered fishing kayaks and fishing.