1. Christy Curtis says

    I am not at liberty to quit helping anyone who crosses my path now or tomorrow. I have devoted my life to helping by listening, caring, sharing I will only walk this way once I want it to be the best walk I can make it.

  2. Nola Force says

    I am not at liberty to stop moving towards a longset goal of writing and talking about what has been my experiences with life skills with the passion to help others help themselves, even though so much of what appears to be life’s distractions are necessary experiences on this journey. For this elder It helps to find humor every day in the little things that make up living–such as finding out what 69 earth years looks like for me.

  3. Jean West says

    I know the definition of a caregiver is “one who gives care,” but it’s curious to me that the word isn’t then constructed as “give-carer.” Therefore, the placement of “care” before “giver,” does not seem to be a grammatical fluke; you have to care to be a caregiver. You don’t interview or volunteer for the work. It may creep up or come like a bolt out of the blue, but when the need is upon you, if you care, you become a caregiver. It was a slow creep with a sudden tipping point, in my case, with Mom’s macular degeneration combined with Dad’s diagnosis of congestive heart failure, that threw me into the role. I suppose I could have hired help—and to be sure, I have learned to call for help when I need it—but it boils down to caring. A co-worker once observed, “the one that cares the most does the work.” I know that nobody will care about my parents more than I do, so I am their primary caregiver. I also know that I’m not at liberty to quit the role, but realistically liberty will come, with time, but at a terrible price. I leave the role through my parents’ deterioration to the point that health professionals must take over, their deaths, or my own death or disability. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

    • says

      Jean, your writing, as usual, was very moving to me. I was especially touched by your words, “I also know that I’m not at liberty to quit the role, but realistically liberty will come, with time, but at a terrible price.”

      • Jean West says

        Today a friend who has been in a similar role for her parents, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s. Her e-mail, your prompt, and my own circumstances were much on my mind as I wrote. Thank you.

  4. Susan Smith says

    I have retired twice, now, from teaching. At age 65, I retired from full-time teaching at a communiity college and moved the the Sierra foothills. A year later, I was teaching part time at my local college. Two years later, after my granddaughter was born and the budget was slashed simultaneously, I retired again.

    Evidently, though, my work isn’t finished, and I’m not free to quit. I’ve long been intrigued by a one-room school,down from two rooms due to layoffs, near my home, and now I’m volunteering there three days a week. In past years, depending on enrollment, there have been one or two teachers. Due to declining enrollment, the superintendent/princpal is also the only teacher, necessitating his reliance on a few paid staff and volunteers. Twenty-two students, from kindergarten through eighth grade are enrolled in the school which is a combination charter school, Montessori, or learning center depending on what’s happening.. I’m working with the kindergarten-first grade group. We’re focusing on managing little bodies along with early reading and math. I’m learning how much I don’t know about teaching and early learning. I’m also learning how much teachers of young children have to know about teaching and child development. I didn’t enjoy the first week much – the second week a little more – but now I’m having fun. I’m energized by the students and glad to be learning again at my “advanced age.”

    • says

      There’s a bit mor freedom when you’re a volunteer and don’t carry the weight of the whole classroom….enjoy the kids and the ongoing learning. You’re obviously a lifetime learner, the best kind of person to be!

  5. Dianne says

    I am not at liberty to quit working on trying to uncover who I am. There is an uncontrollable desire to find out who this woman is who abandoned herself years ago in search of love. She settled for men who abused her and repeatedly let her down. Why couldn’t her parents love her? Why did her brother molest her? There was the little girl who longed for her Daddy to hold her when she was hurting. Yet, he was so consumed with his own needs that he barely had time to notice her beauty and charm. It is only now 50+ years later that I am able to sit still long enough to ask these questions in the quest to uncover my true self. The work is intense and painful at times, yet I am discovering the most beautiful and interesting things about myself.

  6. Dawn Ford says

    “Code blue in room 216.”
    “Code blue in room 216.”
    I could hear my voice over the intercom echoing down the hall. I dashed to the side of the bed and hit the CPR button, which deflated the mattress to a hard board. I removed the pillow from under Mr. Murphy’s head, jumped onto my knees on the bed and checked his vitals.
    “No breathing.” I gave two quick breaths.
    “No pulse. No breathing. Begin CPR.”
    I began to count out loud.
    “One and two and three and four and five.”
    Two more breaths.
    I vaguely remember family crying and screaming but they sounded so distant. I was focused on my patient. I heard my colleagues enter, clear the room and set up the crash cart. I didn’t stop to look around.
    “No pulse, No breathing, continue CPR.”
    “One and two…”
    One of the nurses had the “bag” to help with breathing. The doctor came in, grabbed me around the waist, and pulled me off the bed.
    “Good Dawn, we’ll take it from here. Charge to 200. Clear!”
    I moved away from the bed, backing out the door. As the adrenaline wore off, my legs began to quiver. I slide down the wall, to the floor and put my head on my knees. Trying to stop the shakes, I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing.
    I could hear all the commotion still going on in the room but I couldn’t focus on it. A scene from no more than 5 minutes before popped into my head.
    “Good morning Mr. Murphy. How are you today?”
    “Oh just fine.”
    “Do you remember me,” I asked?
    “Yea. You’re not a doctor, you’re a speech therapist and your name is like a car. Is it Chevy?”
    Everyone in the room started to laugh.
    “Close,” I said.
    “No. No,” he smiled. “I remember the trick you taught me. Dawn like the sunrise, Ford like the car.”
    “Very good Mr. Murphy! You do remember. Are these all your children?”
    “Yep. Ms Ford. All 16 of them. Even Darren, the one I told you about.” He touched the arm of a young man next to him.
    I smiled and nodded at all the faces around the room, lingering on Darren.
    “So all is well now,” I said winking at Mr. Murphy?
    “Yep. I can die a happy man.”
    I touched his hand and he squeezed mine, smiling at his children. Then without warning, his eyes rolled back into his head and he slumped over.
    The doctor’s words brought me back to the present.
    “I’m calling it. Who’s going to tell the family?”
    I lifted my head, and spoke into the room. “I will.”
    Then slowly I stood up, straightened out my lab coat and with my head low, walked down the hall.

  7. Bobbie Anne says

    I am a writer and a poet. I am not at liberty to quit this work. I must speak my truth for all to read and hear. It has been said “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there”. I concur. This is important in these challenging times. I write every day. I create my poems, I journal, I write in forums like this one, and thank you, Laura Davis, for providing a safe and wonderful home for my work. You are blessed indeed. I am so glad you have given me this opportunity and I have used it in a positive way and appreciate your supportive feedback. You encourage me to keep on writing and writing. And I will.

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