Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust


Here lies two souls no longer among us in their physical form as we once new them. Here's my cat, at around 15 years old, approximately one month before he died, and about a month after my grandma died. And here's my grandma, 89 years old, her cremains in a box within the purple bag behind my cat.

My cat gravitated to that spot, don't know if he sensed her remains were there, or not, but they were good buddies, and he'd often sit beside her behind the sofa, her head behind him just like this in a similar position to the purple bag that contains her ashes.

I think her death, and the trauma of moving abruptly to unfamiliar surroundings, twice within a couple of weeks, helped to do him in. I thought he'd live to be 30, just as I thought my grandma would live to be 100, but it was not to be.

What did I learn from the whole ordeal? Well, I'm definitely still processing it. It wounded me to a significant extent, and it will probably be quite some time before I'm fully healed, if ever. It was definitely a life changing experience, and will most likely never be the same.

I learned a lot about the devastating effects of stroke, that some people don't get better, they get progressively worse,  and that when a person loses the ability to swallow, their not going to be around much longer.

I also learned that having high blood sugar and high blood pressure make you more likely to have a stroke. I learned to pay closer attention to the sodium content of foods. Like for instance, before when reading the nutrition labels of food, I focused mostly on calories and fat and sugar, and totally overlooked the sodium content.

I knew that canned foods, ramen noodles and microwave dinners are notorious for being high sodium, but I didn't realize that there are many foods that are high in sodium that I never would have suspected. For instance, two staples of my diet turned out to be sort of high sodium, which is burritos and pasta sauce. But at the same time, even though flour tortillas and pasta sauce are typically high sodium items, there is a big difference between brands, some being a couple hundred milligrams of sodium less than the other, so it pays to compare labels.

You've got to watch out for those hidden sources of sodium, because a lot of products advertise that they are low calorie, low fat, low sugar, but if you don't read the fine print you might miss the fact that the sodium content may be actually extremely high. Making it not as healthy of a choice than you originally may have been lead to believe.

I also learned that stress can be a major contributor to high blood pressure.

I saw and experienced first hand how being extremely stressed out, angry and upset, crying, worrying, raises blood pressure. I believe that was a significant factor in my grandmothers decline. And I could see that if I don't get a handle on managing my stress better I too will surely develop problems in spite of doing most everything else right. I could be extremely fit, living a very active lifestyle, eating healthfully, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine, but if I'm stressed out more often than not, I too could have a stroke.

I learned something about what causes death, but I still am processing the meaning of death. The way I see it, death is the greatest mystery. I've seen it up close and personal this time, more personal than I've ever experienced it before, and I still don't understand it any better. If anything, the mystery is even more mysterious, to see someone I cared for immensely completely disappear off of the face of the earth. To be here one day, and then gone the next, and never to be seen again as long as I walk this earth.

Though I do believe in reincarnation, I am not absolutely certain I will see my grandmother again, or anyone I know in this present life once they or I die. I'm just trying to wrap my mind around it, the more I think about it it doesn't really make any sense, it's like an unsolvable cosmic riddle, and I suppose that is something I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tribal Mask Inspiration


I found this beetle walking around outside the front door of my new apartment in late June during the monsoon season. Haven't seen anything like it since, but it sure caught my eye. It still does.

The pattern on its body reminds me of some kind of tribal mask, from either Polynesia or Africa. I'm seeing a little bit of a Tiki head sculpture in it too. I'm thinking their tribal masks were probably inspired by something like this.

It's pretty cool. If you happen to know the name of this beetle please add it in the comments, I'd sure appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Update

It's the last day of the month, and it's been over two months since my last update. Things have been hard. I lost my grandmother and never fully realized just how much she meant to me until she was gone. I experienced extreme sadness and anger, went from crying nearly everyday, sometimes spontaneously out in public when I saw someone who reminded me of her, to completely disowning and wishing certain family members dead who I feel played a major role in her demise.

But life goes on, I lost my grandmother three months ago, and also my beautiful black cat of 15 years died last month, exactly two months and one day to the day after my grandma, and that was very sad as well, but after all the chaos and uncertainty, once again I have finally reached a period of stability in my life.

I am no longer crying, no longer feeling angry with my relatives, and am no longer facing homelessness. I found a good paying job. I have an apartment in my own name. It's true I don't have any substantial savings, but I'm making enough to fully support myself, and my long-term career prospects are looking good. The only thing is I don't yet have internet service at home, but hope to get that set up within the next couple of months, maybe in time for Halloween. So I won't have much of an opportunity to post here until then. But just wanted to give this update to let you all know that I'm still alive and still planning on blogging here and hope to resume posting regularly again just as soon as time permits.

That is all. Thank you for reading. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Life in Limbo

This is where I lived for two weeks, downtown with the wicked witch of the Southwest.




All three pictures were taken from the balcony, this was the view I saw everyday from the seventh floor. Those are government buildings. And the one in the back is the tallest building in the city, at I think 27 stories.



I thought I would be here longer, but as fate had it, it was not to be. Just as I was rushed out of my previous residence, being told one day that I had at least a month to clear everything out, and then finding out I only had five days, I thought I had two months with my aunt, but that two months turned into two weeks because "I was interfering with her creativity". Well, that's okay because during those two weeks all I heard was constant bragging of her own and her children's accomplishments, and nothing but criticism of my own, of my supposed lack of intelligence and insight, and worst of all my own lack of a clear plan, of not having a more substantial savings to see me through this type of emergency, something she was sure to make clear that her own children would never be guilty of.

I never realized what a snob my aunt was, and not just that but her almost pathological obsession with her own self-perceived superiority and that of her children, never before have I been witness to a person bragging so much, and how she appeared to take delight in assassinating people's characters, including my own and my parents and even my grandmother (her own mother) of pointing out every flaw, which is basically anything that doesn't match her own specific way of seeing and doing things, basically it's her way or the wrong way.

Yeah, pretty much I strongly suspect that my aunt may be a psychopath, possibly bipolar, maybe both, because she sure changed her mind quick, she'd say one thing one day, and the next completely contradict it. I pointed this out to her, that she should say what she means and mean what she says, and she completely destroyed that too, saying there just words, don't be so firm, they are not final, nothing was in writing, and the spoken word has no finality, a person has a right to change there mind.

Anyway, I did not enjoy my time downtown, would never want to live there, is just too noisy, too hectic and busy. Even though T-cson is not that large of a city - it's no Chicago, which is even crazier with it's dark menacing skyscrapers and overwhelming sense of being alone and forsaken amidst a sea of concrete and hoodlum thugs and criminals and street people and trash, as downtown's goes, even though on somewhat of a smaller scale, it definitely had that busy downtown flow going for it that I realize I don't much care for. Strangely enough I always considered myself more of a city person than a small towner, but after my brief experience living downtown I found that I actually missed that rural slow pace that I had living on the edge of town, and realized I would have to return to it.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Unfinished Puzzle


I bought this puzzle for my grandmother, because she was having some minor memory problems, and I hoped it would have a positive influence on her, that it would rejuvenate her brain power, stimulate her senses, and help her regain her memory...but a week later she had a stroke.

I wondered if she was overstimulated, but I'm told it must have just been a coincidence, that the puzzle did not trigger the stroke, that unbeknownst to all, because she hadn't had a doctors check up in a few years, her blood pressure and blood sugar levels were out of control, both major risk factors in having a stroke, that I guess she was a ticking time bomb, who looked perfectly well on the outside, easily 10 or 15 years younger than her age, but underneath the facade of youth death was rapidly eating her away.

She went from one day simply not remembering how to play bingo, to not knowing how to speak, not knowing how to read, write, or recognize faces, and eventually unable to move and unable to swallow. It was a very rapid decline, apparently a succession of strokes, each worse than the last, which destroyed her over a period of two months.

There are many other factors that I believe lead to her demise, particularly no one willing to foot the bill for specialized care, speech pathologist, etc., and also not getting to the hospital in time, because the early warning signs were missed, to receive medication that must be administered within a very narrow window of time to reverse the damage caused by the stroke, medication she never received because it was too late.

This is the puzzle she never finished, the puzzle I helped her with, a scene somewhere in the Italian Riviera, which I thought I'd finish for her if need be, but because of everything that has happened I was too distraught, and so the puzzle was dismantled and discarded along with most of our belongings, and this picture is the only record of it, because after she died I too in a way died and became homeless, completely at the mercy of family members that I soon realized couldn't care less about me, and blame me for not being prepared for this completely unforeseen event, for not having enough money saved or full-time employment to see me through this misfortune without needing help. Even though I provided hospice care, and saw every aspect of her decline up close, I changed diapers, I bathed a body that looked like a corpse, seeing the black tar blood in stools, hearing the death rattle, experiencing first hand all those ugly stages of dying, and will probably be traumatized by it for many years to come, and yet to them it's as if I did nothing.

People will thank you, act all appreciative for what you did, but the moment the issue of money comes up, of providing financial assistance to someone who provided end of life care for someone important to them, well suddenly what you did isn't so valuable after all and it's my own fault for not having more money saved. I suppose their right, but I never thought she was going to die, not yet, I really was thoroughly convinced that she was going to live to be 100, and that's what makes it so hard, I thought she was getting better, I thought she was going to recover. I was reading all about elderly people, people even older than her in their nineties, who recover from strokes, that it's not necessarily a death sentence, but in her case it was. No medication in time, no specialized care, family members that didn't want to get into debt over it, that they figure it was better to just let her go. And that's just what they did.

Now they got what they wanted, her out of the way interfering with their plans for her brothers inheritance, something I know they are finagling a way to cheat my mother and I out of. Once I get back on my feet I will be hiring a lawyer of my own to look into my crooked lawyer cousin and her wicked mothers mishandling of the estate, and believe me they will pay for what they did. You see my grandmother cried all the time about it, how her lawyer was ignoring her, not answering her questions, and her daughter, her lawyer's mother, had other plans for the property that conflicted with what my grandmother wanted, that I know that the stress she endured this past year from that alone was absolutely instrumental in her decline.