29. Care-giving
Spirit Web Chat
Session 1
16 Sep 2000

Ben< ALL: This is the first session of a new seminar. The over-all topic is care-giving. It was suggested by Jello near the end of the last seminar, and several people said they would like to discuss it.

Ben< I have selected three sub-topics from Jello's suggestion: (1) Care-giving in cases of severe and/or prolonged illness; (2) Caring for care-givers; and (3) Care-giving or caring for care-givers over long distances. Depending on the amount of discussion they generate, we may or may not get to all three of these sub-topics tonight.

Ben< Since this is a seminar on spirituality, I hope our discussion will include the spiritual (non-physical) aspects and implications of each of these sub-topics.

Ben< QUESTION 1a: If you are or were the primary care-giver in a case of severe or prolonged illness, and if you wish to do so, please describe the situation and how you are dealing with it or how you dealt with it. YOUR TURN

LadyV< gently

BethanyMob(Greyman)< Mother-in-law with stroke: one day at a time.

Ben< BethanyMob(Greyman): OK, I think I understand that. "One day at a time" can be an antidote for some inner problems. It sort of sets aside hope and fear (both of which are anticipations).

Slider< Ben: Haven't been there, and not sure if I would be able to take on a task like that.

Ben< Slider: Most of us aren't sure we can take on a task like that. But it can help to think about it in advance, and hear how others are dealing with it.

Slider< Ben: Yes, we hope we don't find ourselves in such a position, as the care-giver or the care-receiver, and talking about it can help prepare a person. I believe it would take a lot of trust in yourself and the person you're attending, along with our spiritual side, to accept such a task.

Sprinkles< I would deal with it with love, patience, and caring, and know that I would seek all means of making ones life comfortable during these times. Make many a sacrifice of time and energy to bring comfort, and pray that it is of help. Pray for strength in coping for the individual as well as self. *S*

Ben< Sprinkles: Yes, "patient" doesn't only refer to the patient. Patience is needed by the care-giver. And it isn't always easy to achieve or maintain.

sauergeek< The closest I've been to that situation was taking care of myself when I had a nasty GI disease.

Ben< sauergeek: Yes, sometimes we are both the patient and the primary care-giver. That isn't easy to do in cases of severe or prolonged illness, and it is sometimes impossible.

BethanyMob(Guitarist)< I have been going through a long-term situation with my mother spiritually. I have sought help in many ways (mostly counsel) at various times. Presently I am directing prayer toward her.

Ben< BethanyMob(Guitarist): Yes, to seek help is a large chunk of the role of primary care-giver. Good point.

LadyV< With my Dad, the hardest part was trying with all I had to help him maintain as much dignity as possible. It was the most demanding emotional time of my life. The repercussions last into the time after death. You ask yourself many times if you did the right thing ... and pray that you did.

Ben< LadyV: "To help him maintain as much dignity as possible" should be framed and hung on the wall. And yes, what we are discussing can easily be the most emotionally demanding time in anyone's life.

Sprinkles< Ditto on the dignity. *S*

LadyV< What I could not fully comprehend was that he would look out over to ... something. It was a yearning in his face. He was preparing for his journey ... already making the separation. I would sit and hold his hand ... and look also. I did not see what he saw ... but I was blessed to see his face.

Ben< When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, I resolved to deal with it matter-of-factly. By that I meant: doing what I could to support her treatment, without panic or false optimism, and perhaps most important, without making her feel bad for being ill. My inner thought was: "All this comes with the territory. Physical illness is a natural part of incarnate life, and I long ago decided that I will help her whenever she is ill. So, now that she needs help, it behooves me to do whatever I can matter-of-factly and willingly." (Her treatment was successful. All her tests have been clear for two years now.)

BethanyMob(FRAML)< Ben: A lot of care-giving is done as a duty, without thought of the spiritual dimension.

Ben< BethanyMob(FRAML): And yet, duty is a spiritual (non-physical) impulse. It is within the one who is moved by it.

LadyV< There are often other family members involved as well. They have issues and concerns to address. The walk to death is not easy for the families.

Ben< LadyV: Yes, a care-giver ought not be solely focused on the patient. Good point. And the walk to death isn't easy. Amen.

LadyV< Care-givers often do not have someone to come in and take over ... so they can get away. To me that is a little difficult.

Slider< LadyV: As a young child I watched one of my grand parents succumb to cancer, and the care caused a family feud that lasted over fifty years. Most of them are gone now, and most realized their mistakes only when it came their time to depart this world. I've learned from this experience and forgiven many. Possibly it was one of the lessons I must learn in life.

maybee< I have a mother-in-law who has just been put in a psychiatric hospital and a father-in-law who is unable to care for himself any longer but lives 10 hours away. My husband is gone at present to try to find some solutions. I expect we have real need of suggestions for maintaining our own healing as well.

LadyV< maybee: Yes, maintaining your own healing is vital at this time. I am so sorry to hear this.

Ben< maybee: That's a tough situation. In many ways, mental illness is more difficult to deal with than physical illness. And suggestions for maintaining the care-givers' inner health is part of my reason for having this seminar. We won't be able to do more than scratch the surface, but it may help to share a few experiences or insights.

maybee< I was able to speak truthfully with my own father prior to his changing worlds. His mental faculties remained intact and he was able to focus on the spiritual. My in-laws seem very physically focused.

Ben< maybee: Yes. there can be great healing of the spirit, and of relationships, even though (and as) one is about to leave this earth.

maybee< Although it was difficult, it seemed quite important to tell my father who was suffering that he could leave and did not have to stay any longer. It felt as though he was concerned about leaving us alone. I know this was helpful.

LadyV< maybee: That is how I felt. I wanted the suffering to end. He spoke to me his words ... I heard them. I knew that was the closure. He turned his head to the wall and did not say another word. It was his way.

Sprinkles< LadyV: My situation was similar. I heard my Mom say she was tired, and with those words I knew her rest was at the door. ((hugs))

LadyV< Sprinkles: Thank you.

Ben< QUESTION 1b: What have you learned from the situation you described in answer to Question 1a? Looking back on it from your present perspective, what would you do or try to do differently? What would you do or try to do the same? YOUR TURN

Sprinkles< How one deals with the situation varies. I have 8 sisters and 3 brothers, and with the passing of my mother, the individuals who I thought to be stronger were the ones who had more difficulty in accepting what was. I also think fear of losing someone leads to denial of accepting. Even to the very end. (IMHO)

BethanyMob(Greyman)< The experience of my mother-in-law has sensitized my understanding that I must be as helpful as I can regardless of how I feel towards her.

Ben< BethanyMob(Greyman): Regardless and nevertheless are tools -- spiritual tools. To learn to be helpful regardless of how one *feels* is a lesson worth a lifetime, in my opinion.

Jello< "Nevertheless" is indeed a powerful tool to act despite feelings. Still, it is so often insufficient. The *feeling* of wanting to care is capricious.

Ben< Jello: Yes, feelings are capricious. When the tool "nevertheless" isn't sufficient, we can experiment with talking to our subconscious minds, to reprogram our feelings. That isn't always easy, but it can be done.

Jello< It sometimes must be done.

Ben< Jello: My saying to myself: "This comes with the territory (Terra)" has reprogrammed some of my emotional reactions (feelings) of angst and anguish.

LadyV< BethanyMob(Greyman): If it helps, in some other cultures it is not expected to be friendly always towards the Mother-In-Law ... so you might find your detachment would aid your wife to do what she has to do for her parent.

Ben< LadyV: I decided that mothers-in-law are people, regardless of title. That decision helped me. *S*

LadyV< Ben: You, Sir, are tactful ... *smiling*

BethanyMob(Guitarist)< LadyV: Oh gracious one, please don't condemn me to aloneness with my mother! *s* My husband has promised me that he would never do that to me. And if he should pass on first (G-d forbid), I am never to live with her or have her live with me.

Ben< BethanyMob(Guitarist): I also decided that mothers are people. Thus, they are various and they vary (good, neutral, bad) regardless of that title.

BethanyMob(FRAML)< Ben: Are you really sure about mothers being people, especially when bad predominates? Or am I being too sin-ical again? *WEG*

Ben< BethanyMob(FRAML): Some people are stinkers. *WEG*

BethanyMob(Guitarist)< I am still feeling my way through my situation. As we are discussing this, I realize that my mother wants me attached to her forever ... whether this means (in her mind) that I am to be in her care long-term or she is to be in mine.

BethanyMob< From all of us: We want to thank Jello for coming up with this topic. It seems to be generating a lot of thought, hitting a nerve. :)

Sprinkles< I live in the western end of the States, and all of my family reside in the eastern end. I have been separated from those in the east. There is constant contact via phone and letters. My Mom when she was alive would speak of her missing me and I would always reassure her I was there with her always in spirit, if not physically. If I were to do things differently, I would apply more hugs and kisses, for I missed that as well.

maybee< My concerns seem to be drawn more to the support for my husband at this time. He is considering retiring from his job to care for his father.

Ben< My inner (spiritual) condition when my wife had breast cancer was relatively peaceful, because I looked at it matter-of-factly, and because I remembered that I had decided I would help her if and when she became ill. I think the situation would have been harder for me to deal with if I had resented it. And so I will try to take that same approach again, if and when I encounter a similar situation.

Slider< Ben: I have sent many prayers to people in need of such care as you describe. I feel if I am not able or ready to do hands-on care, I do my hardest to send comfort through prayer. Hopefully it will prepare me if a time comes when I will need to do hands-on care.

LadyV< Slider: I hear you. *smiling*

Ben< Slider: Can you describe what you learned from the feud that lasted fifty years? What do you see now, specifically, that any of those involved could or should have done differently?

Slider< Ben: My lesson of life from that long-lasting feud and the separation it caused with family is ... that people in emotional times most often put blame for the grief they are experiencing onto the ones they should be looking to for support to help them over a hard time in their lives. And by the time they realize the damage done by the attitude they have been showing toward others, it's hard to make amends.

Ben< Slider: Oh, yes! That *is* a major lesson. Well said!

BethanyMob< From all: Slider, amen!

LadyV< Slider: There is truth in what you have said. It is hard to mend.

maybee< Slider: I have always believed that what we do for anyone always circles around, even though the persons we gave to may not be the ones we receive from. There will be others for us when we have needs. Perhaps saying prayers for us or giving us a shoulder for comfort and strength.

BethanyMob< From all: Well said, maybee!

Slider< maybee: Yes, the circle continues, Bless you.

totempole< :)

LadyV< I was thinking about the spiritual part of it. When one of the surgeries came up, the doctor told me that he did not think my Dad would make it. I went to the chapel and talked with my creator about this. I asked for time for my Dad to resolve his concerns with us. I said that I would accept it if that did not occur. He lived one more year. I have learned from this ... to say "Thy will be done". In hindsight, I feel now that my Dad would have been spared much had I just said this. Seeing my great love for my Dad and for the family, mercy arrived. In a sense it was a good year ... we shared the sound of the doves calling ... my days as a kid ... I told him that G_D on his car tag was just about right. *laughing* My point is ... I have learned not to ask my maker to consider my will at this time in the life of a loved one ready to die ... I felt that I interfered.

maybee< Ditto, LadyV. I pray for what is best for the person concerned, not for my own wishes.

BethanyMob(FRAML)< LadyV: Your prayer came from the heart. It was not selfish. My guess is that G-d agreed that your father needed more time to ensure that there was no unfinished business.

LadyV< FRAML: Thank you. That is a comfort to me.

Ben< LadyV: When we stop to think about it, the prayer "Thy will be done" implies or is an expression of faith in the good-will of God.

LadyV< Ben: Yes ... thank you.

Jello< Ben: And for one who lacks the faith in the good-will of God, it is a very scary prayer, or one not worth making.

Ben< Jello: I think that, for some people (perhaps many people), "Thy will be done" is a sigh of resignation without much thought about what it implies.

BethanyMob(Greyman)< But the rest of the prayer is " ... on earth as it is in heaven."

Ben< BethanyMob(Greyman): Good point! Yes. We need to remember the rest of that prayer.

maybee< Appreciate your thoughts and allowing me to be a part. I do need to leave though. Disappointed I can't stay longer. I will check the reviews in the morning to see what I missed. *Maybee bows out silently*

BethanyMob< From all: Blessings on you, maybee. Ben posts these transcripts (cleaned up and in the right order) on his web site. Click on Ben's name to get the site, then bookmark it for later reference, if you haven't done so already. *VBS*

maybee< Peace to all.

Slider< Good night and Bless you, maybee

Ben< ALL: We have discussed two questions pertaining to the first of the three sub-topics. I will present the second sub-topic next week. For now, I will post one comment.

Ben< COMMENT: Caring and giving are verbs -- and they are volitional; that is, caring and giving are things we can choose to do or not do. We can care without giving, and we can give without caring, but if and when we combine the two, we are likely to encounter a lot of physical and psychological and spiritual challenges. Those challenges can be a laboratory for our own spiritual growth.

Ben< /topic Discussion of Care-giving

Slider< Ben: Good comment -- well said.

LadyV< I agree, Slider ... it is well said.

BethanyMob(Greyman)< And vee must remember not to addt a base and an acid in this vunderful laboratory experiment! Vee get salt!

totempole< Statues of salt from the snaked-headed women. :)

Ben< BethanyMob(Greyman): Regarding the mixture of acid and base, there is the statement: "You are the salt of the earth ... " So I think we should be a little salty. *G*

BethanyMob(Greyman)< Vee vere tryink to avoid mention of the explosion that goes before the salt iss formdt! *WEG*!

Slider< BethanyMob(Greyman): Just don't put the lid on that mixture.

Ben< BethanyMob(Greyman): Perhaps we shouldn't be in a hurry to become more salty? Methinks a slow explosion might be better ...

BethanyMob(Lo)< Ben, that's cute!

BethanyMob(FRAML)< Gee, Ben, that sort of blows "Create your own reality" all to heck!

Slider< FRAML: We have to adjust our reality to meet conditions at certain times. After all, our realities are in conjunction with many others and we all have free will and free won't. *s*

LadyV< Slider: When relatives say "I can't" or "I won't," most likely it is because they emotionally cannot handle it. Some have the good grace to say so ... and it is assimilated in the family unit. Some say nothing ... then you feel the hair rise up on the back of your neck, and all go at it. The Gypsy clans solved that problem ... at the moment of death, the one that touches the head of the clan last gets the money and the rank. Better believe they are all there! It is the custom, and I do not know if it is what I would choose ... but all are there.

Slider< LadyV: In our quest for a better life, we have created a government that puts us at the mercy of the better life, and are so busy working for the things we do not need (and of course to pay taxes to our government so we keep it strong and don't lose the things we do not need), we have lost track of the purpose of our existence ... until we are broken down physically or mentally by a situation that shows us where our priorities should be centered.

BethanyMob(FRAML)< Slider: I was referring to those who say they care about others but then blame the problems that others have on their creating their own reality which caused the problems ... thus they think "I don't really have to care about them because, if it's their problem, I don't have to risk emotional hurt in touching them through my honest and open-hearted caring."

Slider< BethanyMob(FRAML): I understand your reply but also would point out that you are creating a reality on earth to be experienced by a human being -- your spiritual side may need to learn from the human experience as you cannot create the same reality in the spiritual dominion. *s*

totempole< Lucid dreaming -- I can do more. *S*

BethanyMob(FRAML)< Slider: My apologies. I was swinging at the folks who constantly harp on "create your own reality" as a way to avoid real caring -- which you have aptly described.

Slider< BethanyMob(FRAML): No apologies needed -- good friend.

Ben< ALL: Referring back to something LadyV said earlier, I think patience and endurance are spiritual qualities that are tested, and can be developed and refined, in situations of severe or prolonged illness.

BethanyMob(Lo)< Ben, and learning how to open your heart more.

Ben< BethanyMob(Lo): Yes, learning how to open one's heart even when it hurts or may be hurt. To dare to care. But as I said, caring is volitional. Sometimes it is healthier for us and for those we care about if we do not care too much, or for too many at one time.

totempole< Yes, we have too much stuff in a Catch 22.

Jello< Ugh. Opening heart is a whole topic unto itself.

BethanyMob(FRAML)< Jello: Not to mention the very expensive surgeon's bill. *g*

Jello< Caring for too many in the wrong way, also.

Ben< totempole & Jello: I think one way out of that Catch-22 is metering; that is, to adjust how much we care and how many we care for at any one time, so as to avoid both total closure and total openness.

Jello< Everything in moderation.

totempole< Balances are necessary in all walks of life ~!~

Ben< Jello: One of my inner thoughts that helps me avoid anguish is: "God didn't impose this on me or my loved one. This world is the far country, and things like this happen here."

BethanyMob(Guitarist)< Jello: I guess that is what makes us all prodigal children on our way home. *gentle smile*

Slider< Ben: I've often wondered, if someone lingers for a long time in a state of debilitating illness, would they learn patience and endurance to further their spiritual awareness?

Jello< Slider: Hmm, it's a lovely thought sometimes: "Gee, I need to grow spiritually, so I guess God is going to inflict debilitating illness on me someday" ... ugh.

Slider< Jello: Too dramatic. Ha! We all must have some karma to deal with. As for me, I want to know when I pass to the other side, but I hope it's quick. *s*

Ben< Slider: Long-term debilitating illness is an awful challenge, for the person, the main care-giver, and all those involved. Whether any of them learn patience and endurance depends to a large degree on how they deal with that situation inwardly. Some learn from it and are stronger thereafter.

totempole< Yes, inner strength is noble. The creator never gives you a test that you're not ready for. :)

BethanyMob(Greyman)< Ben & Slider: Even if the mind is gone?

[Ben< BethanyMob(Greyman): We often say or think that someone's mind is gone when we see the symptoms of a malfunctioning brain. There are discarnate souls who remember a time when they had a physical body and brain that didn't work right. Thus, it is the soul-mind that learns (or doesn't learn) these lessons.]

zoomer< Some people reason it is the laws of karma -- some sort of a balancing that is responsible. I don't fully buy into that model myself. Funny how some good ones suffer and bad ones just skate !

Ben< zoomer: Yes. A lot of good ones suffer and a lot of bad ones prosper. That's one reason why I don't believe the usual (mechanical) doctrine of karma. Or the idea that suffering is punishment imposed on us by God.

BethanyMob(Guitarist)< Yes, zoomer, and really awful when the sick one lays the heavy guilt trip on you! (I'm not talking serious illness, mind you, just spiritual garbage coming out constantly!) For instance, my father, who is in far greater physical need than my mother, demands less of me than she does.

Ben< BethanyMob(Guitarist): That's an excellent illustration of a major challenge in care-giving. Some who need it most demand it least; and some of those who need it least demand it most. Good point.

Slider< Ben: I had an uncle that lived many years debilitated from a stroke, and every time I would visit he would cry. He lost his ability to speak from the stroke. I don't feel he was in physical as much as emotional pain and mental anguish. I guess that's where my question came from.

BethanyMob(Guitarist)< Ben & Slider: My father had a stroke 3 years ago, and his speech center was affected. This has made it, ironically, easier for me to relate to him, since he lets me get a word in edgewise. *s* Also, since he lives far from me, I could not take care of him. Fortunately, he has some friends where he lives, and a girlfriend who makes sure he gets to the doctor.

Ben< Slider: I know of cases in which a long-term debilitating illness didn't seem to result in any gain for anyone. But then, I have spoken with some who who have died at the end of a long illness and are simply overjoyed to be done with it and out of it. So there may be gains that we don't usually see from here.

Slider< Ben: I have come to judge far less than I used to. I am most likely seeking more answers today than passing youthful judgments, and the answers seem to come from within, combined with the external experiences I've had the privilege of realizing.

Ben< Slider: I'm not sure that I judge less often than I used to, but I surely judge differently -- more in gradations or degrees than in black-or-white dichotomies.

Slider< Ben: Perhaps the old adage "when you walk in his shoes" can apply here, but I'm sure I'd rather reason a judgment-call than walk in some of the shoes wandering around this earth. *s*

Ben< Slider: Yep. Some of the shoes wandering around this earth have crawly things and fungus in them, so he may have athletes' foot. *S* However, as you know, I think of judgment in terms of discernment rather than condemnation or exoneration.

Slider< Ben: Yes discernment and faith, faith in your self and your maker.

BethanyMob< FRAML and Lo have decided to visit St. Sealy's Delaware chapel. *s* Goodnight and blessings to all.

Slider< Good night to those at BethanyMob who are leaving -- Blessings to you.

Sprinkles< Ben: Thank you once again for a very enlightening seminar. *S* // To all: Thank you for allowing me to share in this chat. Hope to do so again real soon. Love, Light and happiness to you all. *S* ****Sprinkles****

BethanyMob< Sprinkles: From all of us, a ***very*** big *H*U*G*!

Slider< Goodnight, Sprinkles, Bless you.

BethanyMob< Ben: Thanks from the whole Bethany Mob for a very thoughtful and poignant class. Thanks again to Jello for thinking of it. ~~

Ben< BethanyMob: You are welcome, as always, one and all. *S* I like the nickname y'all came up with. Have fun at the beach!

Slider< Looks like it's time to let you good folks get some sleep.

BethanyMob< Yep (yawn). "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" as Guitarist can testify as her typing gets slower and slower ... and more misteajk-ridden. ;)

Slider< Ben & BethanyMob: Bless you all ... and Ben thanks for sharing your self and what you've learned in your life's experience. These meetings are great, just wish I could make them all. *S*

Ben< Slider: Thanks for your good words. Much appreciated. *S*

BethanyMob< We are now hanging up the mouse -- but we don't have one here! Touch pad! (Guitarist is not used to these! And, it's a MAC! But she's OK now.) Icky bicky, says Greyman ... BethanyMob< Nighty-night ... ******poof******

Ben< Slider: Guess I'd better get some sleep, too. You west-coast folks have an advantage thataway.

Slider< Thanks, Ben -- good night and Blessings to you and yours

Ben< Slider: Thank you. And may your blessings return to you with compound interest. Good night. *poof*


29. Care-giving
Spirit Web Chat
Session 2
30 Sep 2000

Ben< The topic of this seminar is care-giving. In the first session, we discussed care-giving in cases of severe and/or prolonged illness. Tonight, the sub-topic is caring for care-givers.

Ben< Because all of these seminars are on spirituality, I hope our discussion will include the spiritual (non-physical) aspects and implications.

Ben< Tonight, I have four questions, two asking about your experiences, and two hypothetical. We may or may not get to all four questions tonight, and that's Okay. Ready? My next post will be the first question.

Ben< QUESTION 1: If you are (or were) involved in caring for the primary care-giver in a case of severe or prolonged illness, please describe the situation and how you are (or were) dealing with it. YOUR TURN

FRAML< No experience here.

Ben< FRAML: I'll get to you next week. *S*

guitarist< I have none either, Ben.

greyman< My Father-in-law suffered from Alzheimer's for many years. He lasted in stage 5 only for a short time, fortunately. My last painful memory of him was on a Saturday afternoon. He came downstairs into "The basement of electronic junque". This is the area of the house where I frequently work on computer problems and my interesting little experiments (a busman's holiday, as I work at NASA). My Father-in-law (Papoo) announced that he was going to Work! Going to work with his trousers half on, house slippers and a soiled tee-shirt. As soon as he made his intention known to me, I felt like a rubber band had snapped me. At first it appeared comical to me that a person dressed in funky attire would actually attempt to go into work. Secondly, Papoo had been retired for almost 18 years! A second or two had passed and the humorous situation was washed by a saddened realization that his self-worth was in violation. By informing me of his "going to work," he was trying to give himself a boost in dignity. He was trying to regain a sense of self-respect that he had lost. What do you do? Do you tell him he has earned a retirement? He can't understand the present when he is living in the past. Do you play along with the Paradigm? Go with the flow? No matter what was done, the outcome is always the same: "Back to the room, Papoo" (his room). I liked him, he reminded me of a human otter. He was into everything, with an attitude of mirth and delight. I could imagine seeing him smiling with a fish in his mouth, otter-like whiskers extruding around the fish. (A waist is a terrible thing to mind: 1988 Dan Quale spoonerism). I was saddened that he still had enough presence of mind to recognize that his self-esteem was lacking. And by "pretending" to go to work, would somehow restore it! My eyes still leak salty water every time I remember that little interaction.

Ben< greyman: Ah ... yes. A feeling of sympathy, and helplessness. How did you care for the primary care-giver for your father-in-law?

greyman< Ben: The care-giver dynamics in some situations can become unpleasant when a caregiver has personal expectations that are in conflict with the expectations of the person(s) being cared for, and the expectations of peer(s). This three-level expectation model may produce complicated and unforeseen, sometimes undesirable, interactions.

LadyV< greyman: Intuitively you understood that even in the disease of Alzheimer's, the part of his mind that controlled his emotions yet was working. The emotions of the person do not leave with this disease until the very final stages when the fetal position comes. It is often noted among those that work with people with this illness that what they were as people often is reflected in an unconscious sense, past the circuits of the brain condition ... out to you. Some are yet so lovable ... others are not. How wise you were to know your Dad so well that your love and your inner knowing went out to him to do what was the best thing for him. How wonderful that is.

daCrone< In December of 96, my husband had emergency brain surgery. It was a life-changing event. We lost our homes, our business, and many 'friends'. My focus for the first solid year was physical assistance ... following that, it has been emotional support ...

Ben< daCrone: That was a crushing blow. I'm sorry it happened. Are you the primary care-giver for your husband?

daCrone< Yes, Ben.

Ben< daCrone: How are you dealing with it -- physically, emotionally, spiritually?

daCrone< I had some short-term preparation for this long haul. I cared for my mother who passed away in 85 and my father who died in 89. With my mother, part of the responsibility was shared with my father. With my father, I had in home hospice assistance. My husband's recovery has been a roller coaster. He was not expected to live, and there was little info available from docs. After the shock, I was angry. I do not do grief quickly, and it has taken a long time for me to be okay. Through these events, I can say I have learned it is okay to ask for help ... it is okay not to be perfect ... it is okay to let lots of things ride. I am now working on recreating life from ashes. *S*

Ben< daCrone: That's a poignant statement: "recreating life from ashes." Blessings ...

LadyV< daCrone: No wonder that you are sensitive to the feelings and the energy of those around you. It is because you were a raw open wound that had to heal ... and now you make every effort to reach out and help others heal. I have seen you do this in SWC. You will move very quietly and speak softly to aid ... but you are there. The journey you had has caused you to be compassionate for all that hurt ... you know how that feels.

daCrone< LadyV: I am very close to tears ... perhaps you are right ... I have learned to use gifts I did not explore before ... thank you

LadyV< daCrone: And if we cry, Ben will have forgotten the Kleenex. (smiling) I know, lass.

greyman< Mrs. Greyman has a mother living with us who has had a debilitating stroke (last year) with partial loss of left-side (body) motor skills. I am determined to do what is kind for both. I find that the situation presents itself with a series of dilemmas. (1) Because stroke victim's mental facilities are diminished to a pre-school level, role of mother-daughter social interaction is reversed. How difficult it is to witness a competent intelligent human deteriorating into something much less. Moreover it is equally painful to witness the sadness of the daughter who is observing the deterioration process of her mother. (2) Daughter is aware that more time is spent with a demanding mother than with a less demanding husband. Daughter's guilt is two-fold. The daughter is trying to please her mother and return that which was given from birth. The daughter is trying to please her husband that is seeing less of her with extra care she is giving her mother. All of the above conditions give rise to conflict. Thankfully, interpersonal conflict resolution is not the main issue. The care-giver center pin is the well being and stable living situation of the stroke victim.

lightgrrl< (((greyman))) (((daCrone))) Strength and peace to you both. Caregiver is a mighty responsibility.

Nata< Peace.

guitarist< (((greyman))) Seems to me you are to be commended. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, my husband's time of being the primary caregiver passed long before we met. (Fortunately, because I don't have that task ahead of me, unfortunately, because I never got to know his parents and never will during this life. This is one of my everlasting regrets, as I have heard many wonderful things about my parents-in-law.)

LadyV< greyman: Respectfully suggest that you place your Mother-in-law at least once a week in a Day Care Program. If the Doctor would agree. I do not know the extent of the stroke.

LEGS< greyman: Also, stroke victims often recover much better these days than was formerly possible. For instance, Kirk Douglas had to learn to talk again ... and interestingly re-acquired his Russian accent.

DestinyB< In 1981 my then-husband had a stroke at 27. I was 5 months pregnant with my son at the time. I had to take care of him and take special care of myself for my baby's sake. My husband recovered physically, but never regained everything mentally. He suffered from amnesia and had brain damage. It was one of the most difficult periods of our lives.

lightgrrl< (((DestinyB))) Blessings to you, my friend. God, I sure am lucky. I've never had to experience anything like that.

daCrone< DestinyB ... (((hugs)))

Ben< DestinyB: Care-giver for husband and self and child, all at once! Was your husband recovered enough to help you by the time the baby was born?

DestinyB< Ben: My husband wasn't able to help with my son. He had to learn to walk and talk and lots of other things all over again. I felt like I was raising 2 children! I remember trying to get him to say names I was thinking of naming our child ... to see if he could say them. He could say "Micah" which is what we named him.

LadyV< DestinyB: Your husband is fortunate to have you beside him.

DestinyB< LadyV: The changes in my husband's personality eventually led to our divorce.

LadyV< DestinyB: I agree with daCrone. All I can say is to offer ((hugs)).

LEGS< Today in STL a conflict that has been going on for about nine months involving an accident victim, age 27, who has been diagnosed brain-dead, but had not signed a living will, was central in the dispute. The mother wanted him kept alive and made an attempt to discredit the wife's inheriting whatever he left ... while the wife, thinking of her three young children, wished to get him off the support machines as she said he would not have wished to be tied to such according to conversations they had. A judge today ruled the wife has the guardianship and can order the machines removed; still, the mother has threatened an injunction. This has been very sadly discussed almost nightly on the news.

LEGS< Sorry to be so long-winded in the post, but the point is, care-giving may eventually involve some very serious and hard-to-cope-with-mentally, decisions.

daCrone< LEGS: Yes, very difficult. My father was in much pain. He asked me if I could end his life ... as it turned out, he passed away quickly. My question was: could I mercifully end the life that gave me mine?

LEGS< daCrone: So far it has not been my situation that called for such a sensitive decision. I pray for all involved. It is so difficult for everyone without disagreements ... but they, too, seem to be part of the care-givers destiny.

daCrone< LEGS: Yes, the decisions are intertwined with the destiny ... and the thing I have noticed is that they are decisions you're not schooled in and just don't walk around considering. *S*

suitESPirit< My husband has been a semi-invalid (heart problems) for the past 22 years. My mother (always lived with us) was bedridden for the last 10 years of her life. Lung cancer the last 3 years, which she didn't know because I never told her. Doctors gave her 6 months ... she lasted 3 years with it. My husband had a massive stroke 5 years ago. I had an NDE 6 years ago, and I am now counseling attempted suicides. I am helping others, and just feel this is my destiny. In between, I lost a son, a nephew in the TWA crash, and my brother died 2 weeks later from it. Life goes on ... "This to shall pass" ...

lightgrrl< (((suitESPirit))) Rich blessings of peace and serenity to you.

DestinyB< (((suitESPirit))) What a difficult life you lead!

Ben< suitESPirit: Oh, my ... a lifetime of care-giving ... and yet, a demonstration of the resiliency of the human spirit. Thank you.

suitESPirit< When I hear the problems people tell me about -- the hurting, the futile despondency of it all -- I thank God he gave me two ears to listen with and one mouth to use only for eating ...

guitarist< *listening with tears*

greyman< Ben: Sometimes care-givers care so much that they "over think" or play the game "what if" with highly improbable circumstances. One occurrence that caught me off-guard was on a (seldom) quiet night getting ready for bed. Sometimes it takes me a little time to formulate my thoughts in English and express myself. (English is my primary language, but I do not think in English for some reason.) My wife was talking about her mother, and for some reason she was convinced that I was going to leave her. One of my famous lapse-in-speech delays was interpreted as "I am leaving you". Your guess is as good as mine as to why this happened, but she began several verbal sentences in emotional fury before she saw that was not the direction I was going towards in thought. I love my wife (more than the biological, love is so "heavily loaded" in the English language), so it was completely foreign to me that she was thinking I would leave her. I guess you would call that an undesirable reaction. At least unforeseen.

Ben< greyman: The relationships and reactions between the care-giver and the one caring for the caregiver is a large part of what I hoped would surface tonight. Thank you.

LEGS< greyman: We gals can get some strange ideas in our heads, particularly if we are feeling guilty because deep down we are resentful of what is taking us away from our normally pleasant routines. Just hug her once in awhile and chuck her under the chin ... smile across the room into her eyes ... and never feel that you have said "I love you" too many times ...

lightgrrl< Awww, LEGS, it was sweet. :-)

greyman< LEGS: :o)

Moonsister< Forgive my intrusion -- how may I help? I have been drawn to this room for some purpose. *s* ??

Ben< (I just noticed, I was so involved in reading what you-all posted that I forgot to post my own contribution. I'll do that now, and move it up the page when I edit the transcript)

Ben< My mother-in-law suffered a stroke several years ago. She has improved, but not completely. Now she lives with us. My wife is the primary care-giver, so part of my job is to support my wife. I'm dealing with it by helping her willingly, and by listening to her, and by not pushing my own way of doing things, and by making sure that she gets some time off. But I am also a care-giver for my mother-in-law, and that makes the situation more complicated. I'm dealing with that part of my job by trying to understand what my mother-in-law wants *and* what she needs. I try not to take sides when she and my wife get cross-wise with each other, but it isn't always right to remain neutral, so I'm still working on that.

DestinyB< (((Ben))) Sounds like you're handling the situation you've been placed in well.

Moonsister< Ben: May I ask a question? You are talking about relationships and reactions -- what about the responses? Is this what you have elicited from people before I snuck into the room? Can I just clarify this, please? Didn't know about the seminar before I entered the room.

Ben< Moonsister: This seminar is on caring for care-givers. I posted a question asking those here to share their experiences if they wished. I always hope that those here will develop various aspects of the topic, as several have done already tonight.

Ben< ALL: Now let's shift to the "lessons learned" from these experiences. My next question will ask about that.

Ben< QUESTION 2: What have you learned from the situation you described in answer to Question 1? Looking back on it from your present perspective, what would you do or try to do differently? What would you do or try to do the same? YOUR TURN

daCrone< I did what had to be done and focused my energy where it was needed ... that part I would not do differently ... *thinking*

suitESPirit< I learned: LOVE & Obedience from my God. They (my family) are also HIS children. I wouldn't change one thing ... My cup runneth over ...

guitarist< I am in prayer for several people I know who are in care-giving situations, and for those they are caring for.

LadyV< guitarist: Best thing there is ... good idea! If I wanted to cry, it would be nice to know someone cared enough to pray for me. Comforting thought ... and add to that, an invite to dinner. Send a card or take a pot of warm food over ... just the caring helps ...

daCrone< The first thing I learned was the power of prayer. I did not use the word prayer before. I did not even consider my lonely plea whispered in the night to be a prayer ... just a call for help. I had gone as far as I could go, and so I sat down and asked for help ~ that was a big learning. *s*

lightgrrl< daCrone: Did you ever get to a point where you thought no one was hearing your prayers? Or feeling like Job or anything?

daCrone< lightgrrl: LOL Oh, yes ... but when my husband was dying, I saw the prayer work. It didn't keep me from anger that arose after the shock of the event, but it supplied the hope/trust that there was reality beyond what I could see and manipulate.

suitESPirit< I have read Job over and over ...

daCrone< lightgrrl & suitESPirit: YES ... Job is a good reference ... very close.

suitESPirit< I learned to write in journals. Whenever anything would bother me, I wrote and wrote. I had absolutely NO HELP with anything. I have all my journals now. I refresh with them, as if they are all still with me ...

LadyV< suitESPirit: Job helps ... and the idea to write a Journal is very good. It is talking via your pen to God.

Ben< ALL: I see several excellent responses to the question on lessons learned. Thank you. Others?

Moonsister< Ben: I know Australian care-givers, so maybe I can offer a different perspective. Listening to Question 2.

greyman< Ben: On several occasions I have found myself defending my wife from the "little volcano" (so-called by stroke victim's father as a small child). It is sad that I would have intense thoughts of violence against little volcano. I know I would never hurt her, and I am very glad that my kinetic physic abilities are limited. But that was a topic from a previous lecture. *G*

lightgrrl< greyman: ;-) I hear ya.

DestinyB< I have learned that you can know and love someone more than anyone in the world, and you can go to bed at night with that person and wake up in the morning with a stranger. What would I have done differently? When he was in a coma, I prayed that I not be left alone. (I was 25, and that was self-centered.) I believe that the spirit of my husband left, and someone else came into his body to replace him. My prayer was answered ... I wasn't left alone! In hindsight, I'd pray for the highest possible good for everyone involved! I also got mad at God and turned away from Him. Understanding things better now, I should have turned to God. It took awhile to find my way back to Him.

daCrone< (((DestinyB)))

Ben< DestinyB: My humble thanks for your statement of lessons learned.

LadyV< DestinyB: I doubt that you were ever out of God's hand ... (smiling)

lightgrrl< It's a privilege to have such wisdom in the room tonight. I am in admiration of all you care-givers with experience to share ... I marvel at your strength and ability to get past bitterness, depression, etc.

Ben< In the case of my wife and mother-in-law, so far, so good. I have learned not to defer to my wife in every decision regarding her mother. Sometimes she is too close to the situation and needs a more objective view, so I think caring for a care-giver doesn't mean automatically agreeing with the care-giver. On the other hand, I don't want to make a difficult situation worse. Sometimes she accepts my opinion and sometimes she doesn't, so I try to offer my opinion and then stop talking. Depending on how strongly I feel that my opinion is right and the issue is important, it takes more inner discipline to *not* repeat or restate what I said, and *not* insist she agree, and *not* fight about it.

LadyV< Ben: It would take much energy ...

Moonsister< Ben: Get your mother-in-law a bus ticket to somewhere nice, and then find a care-giver for her. Let them go on the journey. Then you will only have to care for the care-giver, which is your wife, and she won't become a care-giver anymore because your mother-in-law already has one. *s* IMHO and just a thought!

suitESPirit< Hang in there, Ben ... You'll never regret it ... u'vrachot m'tukot

lightgrrl< suitESPirit: Could you please tell me what language this is and what it means: u'vrachot m'tukot ?

guitarist< lightgrrl: SuitESPirit's Hebrew words mean "sweet blessings."

SpiritEyes< When you Look at your actions and see in them the inner workings of yourself, and if you feel your actions are out of order, you should remember that you do not have to be that way, and you can change anything you want for the better. So you really can look out for yourselves, and when you build up a pattern of love, others will join you on your way. That makes it even stronger that you have a care in this world for other people, and you will feel you have made a big difference in your life, and you will now intellectually seek to love others as your self. You give what you have and learn from those you give to, and when they offer their love to you, you will feel cared for, and this is vital, as we all need to get along and really love one another so much. This way our love becomes really strong, and our hearts join as one, and then there will be peace in us all for evermore.

greyman< SpiritEyes: Sounds like a good benediction to me. *G*

Ben< SpiritEyes: I have heard it said, "Live. Love. Learn -- And learn how to love in order to live fully."

daCrone< ... and love was another thing I learned I was capable of ... I didn't know (if that makes sense) if I was able to love truly.

DestinyB< I've also learned that tough times don't last, tough people do. What doesn't kill us makes us strong!

LadyV< I feel also that those who are needing the care are seeing more of this than is realized. Stroke victims see and feel ... and hear ... and rage ... and know. It is helpful to know that the unit is still intact. The two married people have a Mother or Father within the home. Stroke does not change this ... illness does not change this ... the unit is intact. It takes time and care to nurture it. Stoke victims are very sensitive to what is happening around them. They need to be with other stoke victims who understand how they feel. Care-givers outside the home are helpful for all involved.

daCrone< LadyV: I agree, they do know ... they do hear and see and feel ... there is perception ... and I think it is vital for those who are around individuals who are in coma, semi-coma, or seem to be 'out of touch' to realize that what they say and do can filter in. Thank you for mentioning it. *S*

Ben< COMMENT: Caring for a care-giver is a complex situation because you are not dealing with the patient directly. At least three individuals are involved, and it often isn't a pre-defined linear relationship like a chain-of-command. That is why its functions and limitations (what you can and cannot do) depend so heavily on interpersonal relationships. There isn't any cut-and-dried job description: one is sometimes a servant, sometimes a supervisor, sometimes a negotiator, and often unable to simply do what he or she thinks should be done. Therefore, this job calls for patience and persistence, observing and deciding, listening and speaking up, steadiness and flexibility, initiative and self-restraint. All-in-all, caring for a care-giver is a challenging (and often frustrating) opportunity for spiritual growth.

Ben< /topic Discussion of caring for care-givers

guitarist< My husband is the care-giver for the care-giver right now. As I mentioned last time, I'm going through something with my mother (and to a very limited extent, my father as well). I didn't want to speak for him, and he is sleeping now. But he takes good care of me, especially when I've had a row with my mother. :)

Moonsister< Ben: Would you like to talk to an editor of an Australian Care-Givers Association newsletter? *s*

Ben< Moonsister: Sure. Is the editor someone you know? *S*

Moonsister< Ben: Yes, the editor is a friend of mine and has been for 25 years. His information is honest. He looks for the good side of people and finds it. *s* Yep, he's worth talking to. Not that he knows anything about this seminar yet, but he is going to. *s*

Ben< Moonsister: I will have the transcript of this session cleaned up and posted on my website in a few days. Tell your friend that he is welcome to download or link to anything he finds on my site. And my email address is on the first page.

DestinyB< If you're a caregiver, and there is no one to care for you, you need to learn how to nurture your own needs. Only by restoring and refreshing yourself from time to time can you continue the stressful, demanding task you've been appointed to.

LadyV< DestinyB: Good statement.

Ben< DestinyB: Good point, about caring for yourself in such situations. That is part of what I call "Load Management" -- of which, more next week.

greyman< The care-giver can become frustrated by expectations brought on by the person(s) that are being cared for. I cope using an Eastern thought: "The good news is that nothing lasts forever; the bad news is that nothing lasts forever". One humbling thought: If you live long enough, someone is bound to wipe your ass. Be kind to your children, they will choose your nursing home. ;o}

LadyV< greyman: Most women prefer the nursing home ... it is males that do not adjust so well. If you ask a Mother if she would prefer the peace of her children, to not burden them with her illness, most times she will say she would prefer a place of independent living with care ... and if not that, a Nursing Home.

Moonsister< LadyV: I have to agree with you there. There is so much more stimulation. You have to elicit a response to be able to teach it. :-o

greyman< LadyV: Your thought is received as if it were a whiff of fresh springtime honeysuckle. Your dear recommendation assumes that the patient has a presence of mind. Little volcano has regressed into the mind of her early childhood. She is a self-centered creature of want. When little volcano is away from her dear daughter she becomes quite vocal!

LadyV< greyman: I had typed an answer, and where it went I do not know ... it isn't on the board ... so I try again. I feel that the unit would do better if a support group was found and a talk with the Doctor on the condition of his patient. There are dynamics here that I don't quite understand. Since I would not have her records before me, I am not in a position to suggest. I feel however, the medical problem is not being handled correctly.

greyman< LadyV: Yes, a very long story. The situation was in critical condition many years before I came into the picture. The ultimate conclusion of the condition will result with the mother bonding to the soul of the daughter after death of the mother. The mother will not rise into light but become a parasite on the daughter. The daughter has stated that the connection will not be tolerated. I am saddened by ultimate conclusion. Cold equations.

DestinyB< greyman: What a sad fate!

guitarist< greyman: I fully understand; I think I may have the same problem at the end of my mother's life as well.

greyman< guitarist: :o)

guitarist< I can only hope and pray for Mrs. Greyman's mom that she will be better able to listen and let go after she passes. As for my mom, unless she is totally spiritually deaf, I hope she will be able to hear while she still has her faculties.

LEGS< Amen, guitarist. I pray that greyman's mother-in-law gains that peaceful stage before she goes, it can be such a relief for the family ...

KAM< greyman: You have been on our prayer list since we met you three years ago ... but now, the prayers will be a bit different. May you have the strength and courage and wisdom to continue to assist in the difficult position in which you find yourself. ((((((HUGS)))))))

DestinyB< A difficult life provides the opportunity to grow spiritually.

suitESPirit< This is so true, Destiny B ... this does help one to grow spiritually.

greyman< DestinyB: Not too pleasant seeing my wife do something that may damage her. I hope I can grow enough to aid in the correction. Or at least aid in the "source" connection for rescue.

DestinyB< greyman: Being aware of the future destiny of your loved one's spirits, and knowing what you know about such things, chances are good that you will be able to help the situation! Blessings on you and yours!

[Ben< The following post was in response to an earlier chatroom conversation in which FRAML (while using a different nick-name) told daCrone he "predicted" that she would be in this seminar tonight.]

daCrone< Now where is FRAML? You see, your prediction came true! LOL You put on a mask and went fishing. HAHAHAHA -- thank you, my friend, for the invite (((hugs))) ... you must have known I needed to be here ~

FRAML< daCrone: I didn't do it intentionally. I just figured you'd like to know that the seminar was meeting.

lightgrrl< FRAML, daCrone: You guys are funny. :-)

FRAML< To All: Remember to count your blessings before you sleep.

guitarist< Goodnight, FRAML. It was lovely meeting you, Greyman, Mrs. Greyman, and Lo at the beach! ;o)

LEGS< Ben: I realize that this has been mostly for stroke victim care-givers tonite, but it is as serious and in some ways different when the brain is utterly still sharp and the body of the victim is debilitated beyond repair ... as was my sister's prior to our loss of her in March of '99.

DestinyB< LEGS: A most difficult life imaginable!

Ben< LEGS: Yes, I've walked with several whose minds were sharp while their bodies disintegrated. It calls for a different approach than a stroke victim needs. Personally, I find it easier to work with those whose minds stay sharp.

RiverRocks< Since LEGS brought it up ... our sister was absolutely powerless to move her arms or legs or neck or anything ... if her head fell to the side, someone had to help move it back ... and yet, she had the most marvelous sense of humor and so much love for those who helped her ...

daCrone< RiverRocks & LEGS: I stand in her honor. It takes great understanding to accept with grace.

LEGS< daCrone: Sister's condition was caused by the worsening of Muscular Dystrophy. This was a girl who had been a majorette in school, a swimmer, a dancer, a singer, and a mother and wife ... whose husband left her when he learned of her illness being irreversible (at that time they held out no hope for those who had MD), so she knew what it was to be active and attractively so ...

daCrone< LEGS: I consider it an honor to hear you and RiverRocks speak of her. It is a far-reaching legacy she has left in her stead.

KAM< Thank you, daCrone. She was a unique and special individual, and it was our blessing to have had her in our family for as long as we did.

suitESPirit< I'd like to remind some, this is Rosh Hashanah. I wish for everyone here a wonderful year filled with New Adventures.

lightgrrl< Happy New Year, suitESPirit!

greyman< suitESPirit: Shalom!

SpiritEyes< In this dark place and time, a Care-Giver's light healing may just go into darkness. As we heal those who are dark, we become open to attack because we are taking an abusive person on a higher level where they can send out their energies in a semi-light form which can enter people's spirit of light and infect them to an illness in the mind. So we Care-Givers must stop those energies from leaping out to attack by putting full light straight into them and at the same time teach them the laws of the world so they know their own responsibility to look after things.

Ben< SpiritEyes: Yes, care-givers (and healers) can pick up un-good discarnates and need to know what to do about it. That is another whole topic, though related to this one.

suitESPirit< How true, Ben ...

DestinyB< Care-givers and care-takers of care-givers are also healers of the mind, body, and spirit.

KAM< DestinyB: I'm of two thoughts there. I have spent several years in and out of the hospitals having surgeries and having to have that special care. I would not give it to someone ... I am not that type of a care-giver ... I cannot change bedpans and bathe people and spoon feed them, etc ...

LEGS< Ah, KAM, you have a different way of caring for all of us around you ... we know your care very well ... and it is special ... and soul-refreshing.

KAM< LEGS: Now, I have been known to give a "mean" massage to ease those aches and pains. *G*

LEGS< *S* Yes, little sister ... *g*

guitarist< I have one more comment to make about the subject of care-giving: You might say I am preparing for "that time" now. I rub my husband's feet every night, and he really loves it. I think it will carry over when it comes time for me to take care of him in our last days together. That is, if he goes first. (I only assume it for the purpose of this session because he is older than I am.)

lightgrrl< guitarist: :-) What a sweet way to treasure your time together.

guitarist< lightgrrl: :)

LEGS< guitarist: We really never know ...

guitarist< How true, LEGS. In real life, I'm not assuming what I posted above; it's just for the sake of the discussion. :)

Ben< guitarist: Rubbing your husband's feet ... caring for healthy people ... yes, that is all too often overlooked.

daCrone< guitarist: And you will sing the sweet song of long ago that no one else knows but that fills his heart with joy ... and you will hold his hand with the lightest touch to let him know you are near ... and you will tell him of the flowers and the sky, and you will recall memories for him to see ... that is the love I hear in you. (((hugs)))

guitarist< Thank you, daCrone ... (guitarist's eyes fill with tears on this one ... )

DestinyB< Something no one has mentioned is how difficult it is to be in the position of the one who has to depend on others for their needs. I've only been in this position once with a badly broken bone, and I'll be the first to tell you that I'd much rather be a care-giver or a care-taker of a care-giver instead!

Ben< DestinyB: Yes! To receive care graciously is a high art of spiritual living that hardly ever is mentioned. Many thanks!

DestinyB< I learned so much and gained valuable insights during my months of being "temporarily handicapped". Hope I learned those lessons well enough that I won't have to repeat that experience!

LadyV< Ben: Thank you. I don't know why some nights I cannot get into the site ... the server just stops. Thank you for your time given to us.

LEGS< Agreeing with LadyV ... thank you again, Ben ... would that we all could be patient with each other and see the other's viewpoint even when we do not agree. I think it is a skill that would be quite handy for a care-giver or the one who cares for the care-giver.

SpiritEyes< I just like to thank all those for listening. I found it very interesting here. It feel good to be needed and to give, so I will come back another day to share with once again. Thank you all. ***POFF***

guitarist< I think I'm going to follow the way of FRAML and SpiritEyes, and go to the Beth Sim'mons Synagogue for their *very* late ma'ariv (evening) service.

daCrone< I, too, must take my leave of you good folks ... this has been a good place for me tonight ~ Blessings I send to each of you as I go ~

guitarist< L'shana tova l'kol echad ~~ a happy new year to everyone ~~ peace, love, strength, and light to all.

Ben< guitarist: Happy new year! l'chaim!

guitarist< Ben: v'gam l'chaim l'cha! (and also to life to you!)

KAM< Ben: Have you decided what the next seminar will be?

Ben< KAM: I plan to continue with aspects of this subject for another week or two.

KAM< Ben: Good ... as I regret that I missed out on most of the seminar tonight. I will be sure to go to your site and read it before next week. I know that being a care-giver is hard work and it takes dedication, love, and persistence. I have tried to be as loving and helpful as possible to both the persons needing the care and the persons giving the care ... but have not been the one who had to do all of the work. Guess you could say that I have found myself in both the receiving of care and the support of those who give care. *S*

guitarist< Ben: A very thought-provoking subject, although some of it is beyond my experience. Again, my thanks to you and to Jello. :)

LEGS< Ben: Perhaps Jello will show up and add to the discussion next week. This was her suggestion, and I really miss her input ... and frankness. Her perspective often leads me to lighten my own perspective, and she usually does it so gracefully. If you hear from her, tell her, please, that I missed her being here.

Ben< ALL: Time for me to rest. Peace and blessings to each of you. Good night.

KAM< (((Ben))) thank you.

guitarist< Goodnight, everyone -- blessings on you and yours. Happy New Year 5761 to those Jewish passersby who may be wandering in these parts, and a good year to everyone else as well! ***~~poof~~***

KAM< May each of you have a wonderful evening. Sleep well, have pleasant dreams, wake to a beautiful new day tomorrow, and thrill to the excitement of new experiences ... until we meet again ... NAMASTE!


29. Care-giving
Spirit Web Chat
Session 3
07 Oct 2000

guitarist< Ben, et al: I've been thinking about last week's seminar, and I realized that I have indeed been taking care of a care-giver: my husband, who raised his son (my stepson) from his first marriage. Since I could not take a very active role in mothering, I stood back much of the time, and helped my husband function adequately by loving him, giving advice when needed, and doing my part with running the house, working and helping pay the bills, coming up with the down payment for our house, etc. Stepson was 12 going on 13 when we got married, and went through a tumultuous adolescence. He is now 23 and emotionally relatively stable. Hubby says that I had a major effect on them both. Just thought I'd share this with you all. :)

Ben< guitarist: I like your post and will find a place for it when I download and edit the transcript.

guitarist< Thank you, Ben. It didn't occur to me last weekend that one could be caring for someone who is taking care of someone preparing for life instead of death (or as well as death). But there we have it. And to give a taste of reality, today hubby and I are taking care of each other. We're both sick with colds! (At times like this, I wish I lived on the west coast where it would be only 8 pm now.)

Ben< ALL: We have discussed care-giving in cases of severe and/or prolonged illness, and caring for care-givers. Tonight the topic is "load management" in care-giving or caring for care-givers. I have three questions. They can be answered either hypothetically or from personal experience.

Ben< QUESTION 1: As the primary care-giver, how do you think you would know if you were headed for burn-out? Or, if you have been in that situation, what were the symptoms, the early-warning signs? YOUR TURN

FRAML < From observation of others -- getting totally wrapped up in the other person to the point that one ceases to take basic care of one's self. Also, a change in reaction to others and the situation, from what is one's normal reaction.

LadyV< I agree with FRAML in that you become so absorbed with the one in your care that you do forget the self.

greyman< Not caring. Depressed. Not functional. Bummer.

LadyV< Short-tempered, lack of energy, depressed, guilty feelings, questioning abilities ...

greyman< LadyV: Yes, sometimes the antidote for such a thought may well be the question: "But is it true?"

LadyV< greyman: When you are dreaming of the person calling your name ... in exhaustion you are slipping into a thin line between reality and illusion ... at that point, you lose track. (smiling)

guitarist< greyman & LadyV: Personally, I am not good at answering the question "Is it true?" with a positive answer, even when I'm doing well. When I'm stressed out, it's that much harder. Maybe we need to get backup or feedback from someone who is watching us.

LadyV< guitarist: Good point. There are so many lonely people that do not have help and are alone to do the job. I often wonder how they manage.

guitarist< One warning sign I have noted is the inability to do what you know the right thing is, just because you don't have the energy.

Ben< Good illustrations of a not-good condition. Thank you. Others?

greyman< A humorous personality can re-bound from such a negative condition.

DestinyB< A care-giver may be headed for burnout when s/he hides the little bell that the cared-for person uses to summon him/her.

FRAML< That reminds me of a line from a play: "If Florence Nightingale had been your nurse, Mr. Whiteside, she would have married Jack the Ripper and never founded the Red Cross."

LadyV< I feel that it is especially hard for husband and wife. I notice the elderly in my neighborhood caring for ill mates. It is heartbreaking ... they seem to age so fast in a few weeks.

greyman< LadyV: I am told that even the Dolphins care for each other.

LadyV< greyman: Yes ... (smiling) and the Elephants ...

greyman< LadyV: And you think I am a Republican?

Ben< I find myself doing more and more, and seeing still more that needs to be done. My "to do" list gets longer and longer. I reach a point where the harder I work, the less I get done, and the harder I try, the more mistakes I make. That is the point where I need to stop, set everything aside, get quiet, wait until my mind is clear and my emotions are calm, and then take time to review my priorities.

Ben< ALL: Any other replies to Question 1?

guitarist< Probably many of the other signs of stress would show up: increasing tiredness at any time of day, insomnia or sleeping too much, hating the sight of the face of the one you're caring for, being unable to keep up with the demands, never knowing when there will be a cease-fire ... the list goes on.

Ben< guitarist: A fine list of symptoms.

greyman< Mrs. greyman suffers from the "Oh whata goose I am" (pseudo Indian mantra). She assumes failure and compensates by being hard on herself. If she can be "hard enough" she can overcome just about anything. A reasonable thought-tool until you meet an immovable object!

LadyV< greyman: Meaning perhaps that she was taught this as a child ... by a stern taskmaster ... perhaps?

[Ben< LadyV: Not as a child in this life. Mrs. greyman was taught by a stern task-master in a previous life, and is now learning how to *not* be so hard on herself. ]

Ben< QUESTION 2: What do you think you might do to avoid burn-out? Or, if you have consciously tried to avoid burn-out, what worked and what didn't? YOUR TURN

greyman< Ben: Somehow I knew you were going hunting with that dog! Today NASA was represented at a Girl Scout function in Greenbelt, Maryland. It is an unofficial duty performed by representatives of the kingdom of kindness. Not that NASA advocates the "Kingdom of Kindness" -- rather, those who choose to mentor are acting on their sense of caring. Sometimes the caregiver must have a release from the everyday struggle to keep one's sanity (or well being). The caregiver must get some type of spiritual nourishment. Today was such in the case of yours truly. I can tell you first hand, when you see eyes light up and "Ahh Ha!" it can make your day. Yepper, that was food. Several thousand Girl Scouts sprouted up from everywhere. I brought my assorted magnets, solar cells, and NASA gadgetry, and lit up some eyes. Boy, that was fun. It is important that the care-giving care-givers get recharged as well as the care-giver's Mrs.

Ben< greyman: Excellent! Thank you.

LadyV< I found a corner to be alone in the house ... a 'time out' place. I am not quite sure one can avoid burn-out. These issues are on a very emotional level. It is your kin that you are caring for. If you were hired to do the job, you would not react emotionally ... it's just a job. Not so if it's your relatives ... they have you (some of them) from the time you took your first breath. Humor helps ...

greyman< LadyV: It's just a job, it's reality!

LadyV< greyman: When people hire out as care-givers, they learn detached concern ... or else they cannot handle it daily.

Ben< LadyV: Good point about the difference between being hired to do a job and doing it for your kin.

guitarist< I'm listening, too, Ben. I'm not very good at avoiding burnout. Lately, I've been feeling like I don't want to attend school anymore ... bad timing! Maybe that's why I'm sick today. (But it's real. It's not all in my head.) :)

DestinyB< A change of scenery seems to work. Even a short break from the responsibilities will do wonders for a caregiver, so they can have reduced stress and not feel burdened.

FRAML< Ben: A military colleague was going to come in to work on a training holiday, and I told her that she shouldn't -- she needed to do some "Debbie maintenance." I think the same thing goes for care-givers: they need to be reminded and encouraged to take time for themselves. Time to get a few hours or days away from the situation.

grizz< Ben: Jokingly, I would say "Take a pill." Truthfully, it would depend on the individual. Different things work for different people. Some may rely on meditation, some on aroma therapy, some on just going for a long walk alone, and yet others may find relief in a bottle. Each and every one of us must find our own relief wherever it may be found.

Ben< grizz: Yes, individual approaches to relief from burn-out vary. That's why I asked for personal experiences and/or hypothetical replies.

FRAML< grizz: "relief in a bottle" -- if that refers to "bonded spirits" it isn't safely helpful. This I know from experience.

AID< FRAML: You know this may be, because you went through it. You learned. As we all must to find truth.

grizz< Alcohol is only a temporary relief, I know, yet sometimes it is enough of a relief for certain people.

greyman< grizz: Yes, alcohol is only a temporary solution. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary. Given the spirit of "Whatever works" -- no pun intended.

AID< Marijuana, the best of all "drugs." The holy smoke. In moderation, o'cause.

[Ben< Personally, I would rather not rely on chemical (physical) solutions to such problems, because I know they can only work as long as I have a physical body.]

LadyV< I feel that structure helps. In order to determine the need, one requires a schedule. The patient does better on a schedule anyway. In four hours, the stomach empties and hunger arrives ... even the most ill patient understands this ... so we plan meals so that they are comfortable. The days are less hectic that way, and if needed, another can step in and take over. The patient knows what is going to happen next, and is reassured, as is the caregiver when they leave them.

grizz< Question for Ben: what would you do, kind sir, when circumstances are overwhelming and the walls seem to close in from all sides and there is no method of reprieve, and sometimes some people only feel that suicide is the answer?

KAM< I've seen that some churches in this area have a program where they give care-givers a day out, by volunteers who go and stay with the patient for an hour or two or more. That change of scenery ... that time alone, or with friends, or other relatives ... the stress relief of not being the one who has to do everything ... that's important to prevent burn-out. And of course, in some families, there is the same sort of "trade" ... give the primary time off.

DestinyB< KAM: That sounds like a wonderful idea! The "Mom's Day Out" sponsored by a local church when my son was a toddler was a life-saver! A similar concept for care-givers sounds great!

Lo< I sense KAM has an effective remedy to threatened burn-out -- that's getting a break and some relief, having someone else take over for a while, even if only for a short spell now and then. I understand there are groups that offer such help.

DestinyB< Things I do to renew my spirit: meditate, listen to music, take a walk in nature, phone an old friend, chat on the internet, take a nap, take a long soak in the tub {with scented bubble bath and candles}, eat chocolate, cuddle a pet.

greyman< DestinyB, Yesssirre Bob!

guitarist< DestinyB: My dog is a great source of comfort for me. Fortunately, I'm his alpha.

grizz< I would still like Ben to answer.

Ben< grizz: When I feel like that, I remember the souls of suicides I have counseled and helped to the Light. So, I have set aside the idea of suicide as an escape from burn-out, because it doesn't solve the problem.

grizz< True enough, Ben, but yet ... what would be your answer to your own question?

Ben< When I stop and get quiet and review my priorities, I usually find that I need to back off, let some things slide, write some off as things that will never get done, and especially, take another look at what I half-consciously think is important. My half-conscious thoughts and feelings of what is important drive my sense of urgency and thus my tendency to burn myself out. To change them, I have to talk to myself like a Dutch uncle: "What happens if that doesn't get done?"

grizz< Ben: I too will go for long walks and talk to myself to analyze the situation, or go for a ride on my horses, or even just stand and talk to my horses. For two years I was border-line suicidal, and for a brief moment it would be a quick fix idea, but spiritually it becomes turmoil. I am still here, so I guess I have talked myself through everything ... yet the pressures seem to be surmounting.

Ben< grizz: Yes, I also find solitude and quiet talks with animals very helpful in stressful times.

grizz< True, that they will never talk back, but given long enough time with them, they will reply with the answer needed, even if it be temporary.

DestinyB< Someone once told me that, when someone is ill, a pet can take away some of the pain and discomfort ... just by being there.

greyman< grizz, Not to be trite, I find that to "Bless a duck" is a simple way of uplifting your soul!

Ben< grizz: I remember the cows on our farm when I was a kid. When I got a spanking or was just feeling sorry for myself, I went and sat in the manger in front of one of our cows. She didn't care how bad I had been; she just knew I was hurting, and mooed softly, and licked my hair with her rough, rough tongue. Those bovine ladies helped me a lot.

grizz< I feel the same with my horses and dog and cat.

DestinyB< *smiling* and picturing little Ben being licked by a cow.

LadyV< We have not touched on the main thing about care-giving, which is the emotional side. (Unless it was discussed earlier. If so, I apologize for bringing it up). That issue is resentment. At first you say "Why me, God?" Then you say "Well, Ok, it has to be done." Then you finally accept it. You really don't know what is happening to you. It's a shock at first. You are torn between your human self and your loyalty, and you can surely wallow a bit in self-pity if you're human (and most of us are). So then what? It is the mental struggle more than the physical. Those that are free from the physical care still carry the burden in the emotional sense. We are not robots that can be Saints; we are people ... or I was. And I could not believe that I was going to lose to death ... but I did. Then I said to myself "God in heaven, could I have done more?" Then you tell yourself, if you did honest-to-God try, that you did the best you could. I feel support groups are better if you are care-giver ... then you get down to where it is, and that is on the human level. And when you do that, it's in the open and you can deal with it, and the ill one knows you have handled it. Care-giving should be a family affair, and family should shake hands on it. It's too tough for just one.

Ben< LadyV: Thank you, my friend. That set of lessons learned is beautifully and accurately stated.

DestinyB< Yes, LadyV, resentment is part of the human condition when placed in this position. Even though the care-giver often lovingly wants to be the one who cares for the loved one. Prayer gets us through a whole lot of trouble in this world. With God in your corner, the burden is shared.

LadyV< Males also deal with it differently. Women, being (generally) the ones that do the really tough jobs of cleaning up the mess, see it a bit differently. I saw a man once do the most humble service for his Mother. She was in a fetal position. He was a Minister. I nearly wept for the love and the caring ... and in my heart I knew what it cost him. His wife was unable to handle the situation, which was of course her right.

KAM< ((((((LadyV)))))))

lightgrrl< LadyV: That's pretty poignant ... men who can deal with the day-to-day stuff.

LEGS< Often we feel, when we see others in the role of care-giver, that NO WAY could we do what they are called upon to do ... yet, when it is your dearly beloved kin, things fall into place in your mind. Perhaps it is an angelic anesthesia that takes over and numbs your sense of distaste at the menial chores involved, so that only the love you feel toward the patient is the guiding scepter that rules your thoughts. When one is truly obsessed with the care of another, it is sometimes very difficult to get them to take a break ... to give themselves proper nourishment, enough rest ... so the load on the one who cares about the caregiver in many ways is doubled. Sometimes the primary will only rest if they know that their personal support person is going to take over.

grizz< LEGS: I would say that is true in the case of giving strength to those who lose loved ones to death ... and that I can say for certain when friends here gave me the strength to make the long trip home this spring to comfort family.

Ben< QUESTION 3: Many care-givers feel tired, drained, after working with a patient, without knowing why they feel that way. If you have had this experience, what do you think caused you to feel that way? and what did you do about it? If you haven't had this experience, hazard a guess as to what might cause it, and what might be done about it. YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: You are expending not only physical but spiritual energy working with them. Some folks make an un-noticed psychic link with the person and feed them their energy. Thus, one is literally drained.

KAM< FRAML: Of course, you're right ... giving not only the physical demands, but our reserve inner energy is spent. And the more difficult the situation at the time, the more draining of that well of energy we share with the patient.

Emerge< FRAML said it before me. Yes, I have felt that, too. And there are some in these rooms that can do this.

Jello< Ben: I've read way too much of your stuff, so I think I know where this is going, but seeing care-givers who are drained, one can infuse them with energy (as much as possible) by doing whatever they most need -- letting them vent frustration, talking about something else, telling them to take care of themselves, reminding them to eat, etc.

Ben< FRAML & Jello & all those who know me so well: Yes, I was thinking of psychic draining of care-givers, and what can be done about it, as described in my paper "On Blessing the Sick".

FRAML< Ah, Gee, Ben, you didn't have to tell them that I know about your notes. *G*

Emerge< When you're emotional, like in a fight with someone, ever notice that you get tired not long after? We give away a lot of energies. Especially to the ill. They are desperately trying to absorb energies (unknowingly, mostly) to heal themselves. This can tire a person. The more emotional you are, the more energies you give away. Hugs to them all.

DestinyB< Emerge: What you said is so true! We spend energy in our everyday relationships, so caring for another can be especially energy-depleting!

Emerge< DestinyB: LOL! FRAML mentioned it before I saw it on the screen. Nothing like a repeater? *S* I agree. But not all can (or know how to) protect themselves and still give themselves away to help others. This takes a lot of patience and will. I'm not saying to use it against another: that indicates fear. Understand me?

Jello< Holding the hand of someone who has had a traumatic accident can be extremely psychically painful and draining. I might have done more of it if I weren't afraid of contaminating the person.

LEGS< Ben: It is far different knowing that the condition the patient suffers from is terminal, rather than when it is a recuperating phase they are undergoing. The helplessness of the situation in the former is what pervades the thoughts at times. Then, if you have always been close to the patient, you inevitably begin "What-if-ing" ... wondering if anything you did could have been done differently in the past that would have saved the crisis from developing. This is self-defeating and promotes burn-out.

[Ben< LEGS: Yes. Good points. Knowing (or believing) that the patient is terminal can produce feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and those feelings deplete one's energy. And second-guessing what one might have done differently in the past is a form of self-flagellation that doesn't help the present situation at all.]

lightgrrl< Ben: I would imagine that the constant sacrifice of one's own needs must be very wearing, emotionally and physically. Hard to find joy in such stressful conditions.

Lo< My mother found, when caring for an Alzheimer's patient, that getting them to join in singing a hymn they had learned as a child helped them BOTH a lot.

LadyV< Lo: (smiling) that's very wise ...

LEGS< Music is always with me, Lo. I hum to the point of distracting others at times. It has been something to hang onto when my mind was filled with such dismay that it was trapped into going around in circles. Reciting the words to myself of different songs, making myself recall the lines, forced me to focus on that and gave me an immediate release from the whirlpool of hopeless thoughts.

Lo< I sense LEGS has identified an important source of solace -- music. Poets have often remarked about its power upon our spirit and sense of well being.

Ben< ALL: Good points. Please continue.

KAM< Personally, I feel that resentment is one of the causes. It doesn't matter how much you love the person you are caring for, we cannot help resenting the fact that we are the ones that are having to do the caring ... all of it ... with very little relief. And even though that might not be a conscious thought, the subconscious can certainly carry that resentment and have it affect our bodies and minds ... and especially so, after a rather intense spell of doing and cleaning and soothing.

Jello< Resentment is a deep and nasty emotion. These days I'm glad when actual anger comes out; anger is active, while resentment is passive. It's better to let out anger than simmer with resentment.

Ben< KAM & Jello: Yes, finding ways to dump anger or resentment without hurting anyone is part of the art of living, in my opinion.

Jello< Receiving anger hurts, but it feels better than receiving low-grade barely-concealed resentment. I'm talking normal anger here, not something physically or psychically dangerous. (Though anger can be psychically dangerous no matter what level ... sigh.)

Emerge< Anger, when it's turned within, builds up and builds up till it boils over and explodes. Unfortunately, it only hurts the ones they love. Sometimes they regret it or are not meaning to hurt anyone. Some are victims of their own inner pains. Understanding anger and learning to deal with it in more progressive and not obsessive ways can help them.

LadyV< FRAML has a point. The point is that if one is not aware of the feelings one has, or doesn't deal with them, it is not the problem of the patient to deal with those feelings. Sometimes you do literally feed the energy, in this regard. When the patient has an unresolved issue with you, it is worked at sadly at this time. It is a most intimate closeness, and the patient resents your health and whatever, often because they are human also. So they will nag you or do what is on their agenda. They are hurting ... and often suffering. Then if you pull back and pull out that schedule: it helps ... two in a hole doesn't cut it. The only exception to this is a mother with a young child; nothing in this world will pull her from that child, and that is how it is. Other than that, time out is understandable. If a patient slaps your face or your hands ... then what? Management is vital, and the caregiver is responsible for that management. Makes for safe feeling of the ill one.

lightgrrl< So, Ben, how do we learn to dump anger or resentment without hurting anyone?

Ben< lightgrrl: Some folks go for a walk to dump their anger or resentment. When I was a kid, my mother would send me out to "Chop down that tree" (it was a standing dead hickory tree, and it took many months and a lot of anger out of me before it finally fell). Then she said, "Okay. Good. Now cut it up for firewood." The very thought of that was enough to wilt my anger for another year. In High School there was a bully I really hated. Finally, I noticed that my feelings only affected me and not him. One day I thought, "Oh, well, let him go to Hell his own way" -- and suddenly felt much better. Thirty years later I found out that kind of release of a hated person is a vernacular form of forgiveness that sets us free.

guitarist< An interesting way of putting it, Ben. "Let him go to Hell his own way." Is this what's meant by the "letting go" kind of forgiveness?

[Ben< guitarist: Yes. Many people think that "to forgive" means to pardon, justify, excuse, or exonerate, but it actually means to release -- to let the other person go --and thereby set yourself free from your own hatred, anger, resentment, etc.]

lightgrrl< Good point about forgiveness, Ben. If chopping the tree was a productive way to transform the anger energy, then more people should try it. ;-) I wonder what avenues are open to the caregivers, however, who may not be free to go chop wood. How do these folks transmute anger?

FRAML< Or what about the caregivers who are afraid to chop trees, because the tree huggers will brand you a murderer?

DestinyB< FRAML is such a funny guy!

guitarist< lightgrrl: A therapist once told me that, when angry, I should take an object such as a baseball bat or a tennis racket and beat the bed! (Maybe I should have said "wiffleball bat" ... a baseball bat might actually destroy the bed. And actually he didn't say "baseball bat." I wonder where that came from ...)

lightgrrl< guitarist: ;-) Perhaps you were thinking "Nerfball-bat?" I know what you mean, though ... the concept of discharging the anger safely.

Ben< lightgrrl: Some folks dig holes (and fill them up) to discharge their anger. Some do push-ups. Some take hot or cold showers. Sometimes I push all the fingers of both my hands into the ground and just let the negative energy go -- with apologies to the grass, bugs, worms, and any other lower life-forms it might flow past enroute to neutral ground.

Jello< Ben: I'd hate to be the grass you dump your anger on ... whew. Then again, we all are the grass others dump anger on sometimes ... on the highway, in the stores, at work ... and sometimes we can accept and transmute it (sometimes we can't). And sometimes we are the ducks that are blessed out of the blue. I do try to bless others randomly (though I do less of it when my faith is weak).

Ben< Jello: Good to see you. Several were asking about you last week, as I suppose you saw in the transcript. And let me add my thanks to theirs for bringing up this subject.

Jello< Hi, Ben. :) I'm not doing so great in my private life, so I've been very lame and negative in recent chats ... but it's good to see everyone.

grizz< The bumps and bruises we go through in life is our destiny! We will only be dealt the cards we can handle and nothing more. Some just feel they cannot handle it and take the quick exit. But the pain and turmoil of our endeavors some days can be overwhelming. We must pick ourselves up and carry on. But that leads back to the question: "What if I cannot carry on?" What should one do then?

Jello< Sometimes when caring for someone, or caring for a caregiver, one just has to accept the pain they cause one and just keep going, seeking an opportunity to talk about it if one arises, but otherwise just doing one's best.

guitarist< Jello: I agree with you; it's hard not to step on someone's toes once in a while, when they can't get out of the way, especially when you get tired. :)


Jello< Stop for a while.

Emerge< grizz: What do you mean? Go no further?

LadyV< grizz: You are a caregiver?

grizz< I have given and given till it hurts and bleeds ... and when in time of need, found nothing. So you struggle alone. I guess my question then really is: How long should the path be that one must trudge alone?

Emerge< grizz: The thing is, no one is truly alone. But it's so hard to see that with struggles going on, on the outside and the inside. I'm imming you now.

Jello< All I know is, when I think I can't go any further (and not really with care-giving, just problems in life), I have to cast around in new directions ... even web surf til I find something that gives me just enough to go on ... draw something ... write something ... write someone ... just keep looking.

LadyV< grizz: Given to who? I am not understanding. A relative? ... if I may ask.

grizz< LadyV: To everyone who has crossed my path; but yes, mainly to family or in-laws ... then all I do is get crapped upon for what I have done, etc, etc, etc.

KAM< grizz: It is so hard to give and give and give and never hear anything but complaints. But when you are a caregiver, you can't expect compliments and thank-yous. You can expect to hear that you have or haven't done something that was wanted. And that is why you have to take a break ... for a few minutes ... hours ... even days, if possible ... to get things back into perspective so that you can go back and do more giving!

Jello< IMHO, if it ever feels like going further in a direction will make something snap, stop and rest and look in a different direction, or wait til something shifts and then try again.

LadyV< I was just thinking ... the kindest words you can say to a caregiver are "I hear you" -- especially, I would feel, in a marriage when the role of care-giving is reality. I would imagine that would help very much ... and preserve relationship.

grizz< But when one has lead a basic solitary style, then what?

LadyV< grizz: In that case, it's time to draw a boundary ... where? Do you have a boundary? a locked door? a shelter that is yours alone? Go there and lock all else out. No one will bother you there. Then choose what you want to take on ... not to let others choose for you. It is up to you.

Ben< grizz: One who has led a solitary life (or lives) needs a few close friends. As far as I know, the best way to find a friend is to be one. Pick someone (almost anyone) and be a friend to that person. [Just a friend, not a care-giver, as such.]

Jello< The Internet is such a powerful medium ... allowing us to form and develop friendships and alliances with other people like ourselves (sometimes to our detriment and theirs). I know handicapped people who have been helped, marriages that were nearly ruined, troubled people sustained, grieving people sustained or brought down ... all by the 'net.

greyman< grizz: Please take some advice from someone who was rung-out and left to dry! Buddy, just pull up your bootstraps and keep on marching. No matter what happens, you will find some days better than others. No matter what the circumstance is, giving up is not an option. Sometimes a strategic retreat will save the war!

Jello< There is an Aikido lesson about obstacles ... if one is pushing against an (attacking) person and isn't getting anywhere, shifting one's weight and trying again can get through it. The demonstration goes on to show that just shifting one's mind has the same effect.

greyman< Jello: ;o)

Ben< grizz: If you feel you can't go any farther, it may be time for a change of direction. Not all rocks can be pushed aside or climbed over.

Ben< COMMENT: Care-givers can overload themselves by trying to do more than they are capable of doing, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Some burn themselves out and become virtually useless. Every care-giver needs to: know fairly well what he or she can and cannot do; be ready to seek help and know where to find it; recognize his or her own symptoms of impending burn-out and be able to say "That's all I can do" or "I cannot do it right now." This calls for a clear understanding of actual needs, and a set of priorities that balances the patient's needs with one's own needs without automatically placing either person's needs or wants above the other. Neglect of the patient isn't care-giving, but self-sacrifice isn't always a virtue.

Ben< /topic Discussion of "load management"

Jello< If I may, here are some care-giving links I've found:

LadyV< Jello: That's great! Thank you.

Lo< I have observed that some care-givers sometimes exhibit a form of denial rather than being fully objective. I sense this can be dangerous if left unchecked.

LEGS< Honestly, our minds do the work first ... and also build up the resentment first. They are the instrument that can best be used to refresh ourselves and our attitudes. To do so, we need to feed the right type of input to them. Treat yourself to good literature, from the lending library, or from your own. Don't stop absorbing new ideas. If you must, and it eases you, research the condition that is causing the patient problems ... there are always new theories and new techniques being heralded. For me, I feel I can't end my day without a session to relax while surfing or chatting. The main thing is not to condemn your mind to only your own perspective on things. Get ideas from everywhere you can!

greyman< Ben: Burn-out comes from pushing the envelope and simply flaming out. Spiritual attachment to loved one can drain. Or "other" influences that want to destroy relationships, such as discarnates, or for that matter, those of us who are on this side of the "fence". Mrs. greyman's mother is now acting as a radio for other spiritual influences. Mrs. greyman prays for her mother, and her mother responds positively! This almost constant praying is draining Mrs. greyman. So, yes, sometimes a change of scene is important for Mrs. greyman as well as myself. And yes, I too pray for my wife. And she gets better for a time. Almost like a heart-beat. Thump, thump. Discharge, charge, and hope that lead oxide does not form on the batteries!

lightgrrl< greyman :-)

LadyV< greyman: Hang in there!

guitarist< Sick people have a lot of energy demands as it is, without some attachee demanding on top of that, so it can be hard to tell which is which. I will pray under my breath when I encounter something I find out of the ordinary.

FRAML< Shield and disconnect from the person you are caring for. I've found I've had to do this, but this is getting into next week's topic, I think.

LadyV< FRAML: Ya mean we are up-thinking ... (grinning)

FRAML< LadyV: No, what I have to do to deal with my mother.

LadyV< FRAML: You are the only child ... good luck!

DestinyB< What are you supposed to do if you feel like discarnates are using the ill person? When my ex was recovering from stroke, he was mean and very violent. Could that have been someone else working through him?

FRAML< DestinyB: Do a detachment session -- soul rescue instead of exorcism.

DestinyB< FRAML: I will be better equipped to handle such a situation in the future (since reading Ben's website) than I was in the past. Not so sure that I'd be able to do a detachment session for soul rescue without training.

Ben< DestinyB & greyman: Bad discarnates using a sick person is a special kind of problem. It calls for detachment therapy, which is often successful, but the sick person often remains vulnerable, and so attracts more of the same.

Jello< I have heard and seen for myself that dying people seem to attract a lot of violent and unpredictable energies. On the other hand, I have seen for myself that divine Grace seems to be near at hand in those situations, too.

LadyV< I did not know that incarnates were using sick people? I just figured the brain was confused ... and ignored it. Now that's scary. If you don't acknowledge the things ... don't they go away?

FRAML< LadyV: DIS-carnates are using them. You and I are incarnates. H'mm I guess we could be using the sick person if we were something or another.

LadyV< FRAML: Thank you ... Ok ... dis-carnates, then. I have not seen this. I thought Grandma was mad because I looked like one of her sisters that pulled her hair as a kid ... so I just speak softly and go on.

FRAML< LadyV: I have had that experience. My grandmother called me by my father's name when I was visiting her in the home where she was because of her senility (guess it is called Alzheimer's now) when I got back from three years in Germany. Also I remember my grandfather thinking I was different folks when I was a kid. He was paralyzed on the left side, and my folks cared for him at home for 20 months from the time of his stroke until he died.

LadyV< FRAML: Old ones or sick ones have "trigger" situations, because the brain "sees" what is important at that time. Sometimes, if you listen, you get to know the person better.

Ben< LadyV: Good or neutral or bad discarnates gather around a person according to where that person is in the spiritual spectrum. Some sick folks attract good ones. Many attract their own discarnate friends and relatives. Some attract bad ones.

LadyV< Ben: I think I hear you say ... spirits ... that is true. They are around the sick or the dying one, according to what they themselves attract. I thought it was meant that the spirits were inside the person. I am sorry. Think I have it now. In that case, I agree. Still, one would not react ... easy does it. Why have them bother you?

LEGS< LadyV: I suppose it would be a bit like the good angel and the bad devil cartoons ... though not funny at all ... perhaps present to attempt to persuade the ill person to go in one direction or the other.

LadyV< LEGS: That is possible ...

Ben< LadyV: Praying for sick people can help in ways that most folks don't even suspect. Asking for angels from the Light can include the thought: "There are discarnate souls here who need to be rescued."

LadyV< Ben: Good idea ...

LEGS< Thank you, Ben, for the seminar tonite ... and for that prayer suggestion as well. I suspect there are many more discarnate souls who need to be rescued than we can imagine. I have Gingeral's Ghost tale of one such discarnate in the issue released today of Pencilstubs. Without training, I think she did pretty good in sending one on his way.

Ben< LEGS: Thanks, I'll check the latest issue of Pencilstubs.

LadyV< I have been thinking all day of a verse in the Bible where one calls out and the promise is that God will not turn away ... and for the life of me cannot remember it ... it is so very true.

KAM< Thank you, Ben, again, for an interesting evening ... a good discussion ... and what is next week's topic that FRAML kept alluding to ? *S*

Ben< KAM: The next session will look at care-giving and caring for care-givers where long distances are involved.

FRAML< KAM: I think it is going to be on "Long distance care giving."

Jello< Long distance care giving ... actually, what I was saying about the Internet ties into that. Caregivers can find help on-line. Suffering people can find help on-line. But on-line can be dangerous, too, so that was the rest of the warning.

Ben< Jello: Yes, the Internet can be a resource for long distance care-giving, and it is a good analogy for spiritual long distance care-giving.

Jello< Yes, I think a cluster of souls like this one tends to pull people up to its general level (or down, depending on the group). It seems very important to have an elevated support network.

Emerge< Ben: Fine topics here, thanks for the chattings. Nite all, off for a while, have a good chat.

KAM< Ben, FRAML, and y'all others ... *G* ... Okay, sounds like it will be a good session as well. Until next week, then ... NAMASTE!!! (((HUGS))) Nitey nite!

FRAML< I can hear the gentle pealing of the bells of St. Sealy's in the distance summoning me to nightly services. Thank you all for a good seminar. See you next week.

lightgrrl< Remain in light, dear FRAML.

FRAML< lightgrrl: I shall, even though I sleep in the dark. *G*

DestinyB< :-D Thanks, FRAML & Ben!

Jello< Thanks to everyone who was thinking about me. One of these days I'll hopefully be back and "on channel" ... lately I've been tuned too low, and I suspect it's me doing it to myself ... heh, we can be our own worst enemies.

LEGS< I have found that Ben's seminars are a good way to get back on channel, Jello. *s* Welcome, tonite and every time. Your comments have helped me a lot from time to time.

Jello< Thanks to everyone for their kind words tonight.

LadyV< Jello: Thank you. You are a calming presence to the group.

Jello< *chuckles with the irony* I've been told I have a calm center, but to me it's the eye of the hurricane! LOL

LadyV< Jello: (smiling)

Jello< Actually, I find most people here to be calming presences. It's very nice. *G*

guitarist< ((((Jello)))))

Ben< Jello: Good observation about the spiritual tuning effect of a group. And yes, I also see that those who gather here and care for each other are becoming more and more a cluster of souls.

Jello< Ben: I heard recently of a support group that seems to keep its members tuned low ... which is unfortunate, because the group was meant to help people out of darkness. Any group needs a stable upward current ... either a leader or key people in the group who are truly tuned upward (and not just pretending for power, obviously).

guitarist< I hear you, Jello! Too many pretend for power.

Ben< Jello: Yep. Some "support" groups keep their members depressed because they devolve into a "Can you match this sad story?" contest. The members are all depressed because they pool their miseries.

Jello< Such a group seems to be like a curvature in spiritual space ... attracting souls, some of whom come close long enough and see just enough to flee off (like a Voyager spacecraft using planetary gravity to fly off), while others get sucked in and stay there. A group like that needs a stable upward core ... and IMHO a stable upward core like that requires real spiritual connections up into God's realm.

Ben< Jello: Yes, people really do need to generate an upward flow -- mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And yes, that up-link to the Light is needed. Amen.

Jello< OTOH even an upward-leading group can't always handle the problems of its members. Some problems are only understood really by people who have been there. It's tough ... there are so many different problems people can have.

[Ben< Jello: That's true. A group can't handle all the problems of its members. But a good group can help with some of the problems, and let each one know that someone cares, so they aren't alone, and perhaps help some to help themselves.]

LadyV< Thank you, Ben.

junebeam< Thanks, Ben, for being here on another Saturday night ... goodnight.

Ben< ALL: Thanks for your thanks. *S* I think this was a fine discussion. Peace and blessings to each of you. Good night.

guitarist< Blessings on everyone! I am glad to have been here tonight. It is uplifting despite how I feel. Special thanks to you, Jello, for the topic (again) -- and to you, Ben, for hosting.


29. Care-giving
Spirit Web Chat
Session 4
14 Oct 2000

Ben< ALL: We have discussed care-giving in cases of severe and/or prolonged illness, caring for care-givers, and load management in such situations. Tonight the topic is care-giving or caring for care-givers over long distances.

Ben< When she first mentioned this subject, Jello said "Care-giving, illness, and issues of distance seem to be a recurring theme in my life right now." I think "issues of distance" was a good way to say that, because distance isn't as simple as it might seem. Tonight I will post 3 questions to explore some of those issues.

Ben< QUESTION 1: In care-giving or caring for care-givers, do you know of a situation in which physical, psychological, and/or spiritual distance is (or was) better than being too close? If so, please describe it. If not, please guess. YOUR TURN

guitarist< In general, it's better to be near, if you can. However, if family has separated and lives some distance away, it isn't practical to expect everyone to move back.

merry< Ben: I would say that there is going to be an optimum distance individual to each case.

Ben< merry: Yes, I think in terms of optimum distance, too. In some cases, it may be next door. In other cases, it may be on the other side of a continent. *S*

FRAML< Ben: Yes ... I've had a couple of situations where I've been involved in care-giving over long distances, one with my mother in Indiana (still on-going) and another with a friend several states away. Concerning my mother, it has been better that I am 14 hours by car away, otherwise she would be having me run over to her all of the time. She tried very hard to convince me that I should move back to Indiana to take care of her. Unfortunately, she tries to get folks to help her by doing guilt trip things, and ends up driving away (i.e., offending or making angry) those family members who are out there near her.

guitarist< I would imagine that if the one being cared for were spiritually dangerous (had hooks, fragments or other thought-forms attached to the care-giver or myself), spiritual, psychological, and even physical distance might be called for. (I guess I was thinking of FRAML and myself, with our mothers' situations.)

FRAML< guitarist: Good point, It was discovered that she had a psychic harpoon in me that she was using to inflict pain and to know when she was saying just the right things to hurt me. It has since been removed and her attacks (verbal) have become less.

Ben< FRAML & guitarist: Glad you're here. I was thinking of you and your situations.

FRAML< Ben: I have found that I can take being with my mother for about 3 days before I am ready to blow up at her. Thus I limit my visiting to a 4 day weekend once or twice a year. A day to drive out and a day to drive back and 2 days there.

guitarist< Ben: Thank you for thinking of FRAML and me. I have less tolerance for my mother lately. She has been saying things that are an attempt to bring back a past condition in me, so I haven't been talking with her.

FRAML< It has been interesting, in that the ways she thinks will get me out there have merely helped to drive me away from her. I'm responding to her only out of duty as a son (I've no siblings). If it weren't for my sense of duty to her, I'd find it easy to ignore and forget her.

greyman< Ben: My brother-in-law is 2,980 miles away. He is a good friend and our connection is strong even though he is across country. My wife just today lamented about a neighbor lady who lost her husband last week, and was debating sending a belated sympathy card. It is funny that vast distances don't really matter when you care for someone.

El: Hello. I cared for my mother until her passing. So I'm very interested in what is being discussed here.

Yopo< *S* Hello, ALL. Uh, yeah, I have such a situation in my life right now. My father has Alzheimer syndrome. Still at home, being cared for by my mother. They're at a distance of about 125 miles from me. Were I there, I sorta think the ongoing stresses of the situation would probably drain me to the point where I would lose perspective, and most likely be less able to provide clear-headed emotional support to my Mom. (Though I occasionally entertain the possibility that I may be rationalizing my distancing to some extent.)

Ben< Yopo: Yes. An optimum distance isn't always easy to find. And we do tend to second-guess ourselves, as to whether we are dealing with our genuine needs or merely rationalizing our wants.

El< My mother also had Alzheimer's. I cared for her for over two years.

merry< For some years I had much the same situation with my mother. It was a great breakthrough to admit to myself that I couldn't be there for all her problems.

Ben< As was mentioned last time, some time (and distance) away is better for a care-giver than always being too close to the patient.

Yopo< *sigh* Unfortunately, my Mom is at ground zero, 24/7. I don't know how she does it.

LadyV< Yopo: If your Father were able to say so, perhaps he would want for you to do just that ... care for the woman he loves.

Yopo< LadyV: *S* I should maybe ask myself what he would say, or would have said. I will think on that some, later ...

selki< FRAML: I could not live with my mother, either. Small doses ...

FRAML< Some have asked me about bringing her out to live with me. However I don't know how long I could take it. I do know that my wife would probably move out before my mother got here, though. Mom decided she didn't like her from the very start, and keeps emphasizing it to me.

Yopo< FRAML: You're probably wise taking the middle road, then. *S* My grandmother, bless her, can be a bit self-centered and manipulative. My Mom, knowing this, has had to draw the line with her. Granny understands. But she STILL tries to pull the strings sometimes. (A 97 year habit is hard to let go of. *LOL*)

tracey< Each has a path to walk. We walk the one we have chosen. I was with mom for 45 years ... a few out for first marriage ... my mistake. LOL Was with her to the end. Would not change a thing. We do what we do. No one is right or wrong. Each situation is different. But I would not have left her for anything. That was just my trip. Love and peace to ya all darlins. *S*

El< I agree with tracey.

selki< tracey: My mom was in the same situation. She stayed with her mom till the end.

tracey< Just member one thing, darlins ... they did bring ya into this path ... so, ya know, whatever they are, they are ... as are you. So, walk the walk that feels right for ya. Later, darlins. *S* I was lucky. Mom was a saint. *S* Blessed be, babes!

FRAML< tracey: Re: "No one is right or wrong" -- are you saying that I ought to take her father's old revolver back to her? She occasionally is depressed and says that she wishes she had it. (I do consider it wrong to take it to her.)

El< Yeah, I'd say that was wrong, FRAML, but you do recognize that you couldn't handle taking care of your mother. I believe you know your limits.

tracey< FRAML: No, luv, I am not saying anything to you or anyone about the path you walk in regards to your parents. I only know I would have died for either of them. But I was one of the lucky ones. We (mom, dad and I) had been around lots of times. Got it right this time. *S* I never judge what anyone does. I was just relating my deal. Outta town now, darlins ... love light your way. *S* (((HUGS))) mucho love comin at ya. *S*

guitarist< *(((tracey))))*

Ben< Besides being manic-depressive (bi-polar), my step-father was a mooch. Again and again, he borrowed money from people around him, spent it on something or other, and didn't repay what he owed them. I had to distance myself from him psychologically, or he would have taken every cent I could earn. It was also better that we didn't live close together physically.

guitarist< My mother has more of an emotional support network than she has had in many years, from people in our synagogue. I found this out when, after a long hiatus, we were invited to our rabbi's house for lunch. They asked me if I were getting along with her lately. I answered, "No." My rebbetzin (rabbi's wife) exclaimed, "I know!" and rolled her eyes. She must be getting quite an earful, G-d bless her!

Ben< ALL: Okay, having looked at distance as not always a bad thing, or merely a limitation of what we can do, let's change gears to another aspect of this topic.

Ben< QUESTION 2: Have you used the Internet as a means of care-giving or caring for care-givers over long distance? Whether you have done so or not, what do you see as its strengths and weaknesses? YOUR TURN

LadyV< Ben: I use the Net to care for care-givers because my phone bills are so high. The phone is very personal and is necessary. A note a day or a good thought over the Net is helpful. It is not the voice or the touch of the hand, but that comes when it is feasible or an emergency.

FRAML< Ben: Yes, I have. It is good for getting quick exchanges of messages and help, without the expense of telephone calls. However, I have also found that I can connect with the person better if I have talked to them at least once. I've worked with several people in this manner over the past several years.

Yopo< Ben: I guess I have. Strength lies in its capacity to render great distances seemingly irrelevant. You can be there to listen and speak when it's needed. But ... you sometimes can't REALLY know what's going on. You miss unspoken cues and clues you'd pick up on easily, face to face. Your ability to respond to things unspoken is still there, but diminished by that.

merry< Ben: Most of my care-giving is on the Net. There are many wounded souls here looking for something. The disadvantage I see is that I can't be close enough when it's necessary to be closer. And the advantage is that I couldn't provide this care if I was trying to do it in 3D.

LadyV< Besides e-mail, SWC is needed. Gives hope to care-givers ... as I imagine all the chats are the same in caring for others. We deal sometimes in here with very serious issues.

FRAML< LadyV: Yes, I've worked with folks I've met in here. I've had meetings in both the public rooms and in private rooms. Those type of meetings have helped to flesh out e-mails.

selki< LadyV: I agree. Putting the fun aside, there have been times when people have been dealing with some heartbreaking issues, and just talking to someone who will listen and not be judgmental helps.

LadyV< selki: The night a few years ago we had that young mother on-line, so distraught she could not type ... only in half-sentences ... her baby had died. I will never forget that night. I wondered who was not listening to her in 3D. And we were trying our best to hang on with her. We had a counselor on-line that night, and she helped. I have never forgotten it.

selki< LadyV: You would be a comfort to anyone that distraught. I know how I felt when my baby girl died.

LadyV< selki: Thank you. It was the group ... since I call us the group, because in a sense this is what we are. We've been together long enough in chat to be a community of helpers. I am sorry about the loss of your child, selki.

Ben< ALL: I see some fine comments about care-giving via the Net. Are there more?

guitarist< We do it a lot right here for certain people, whom we all know and love! It is very limited, for instance, when a person is in acute pain and needs to go to a hospital, or when gunshots are heard outside their window, or someone is trying to break into their house. (I am thinking of three separate instances and people whom this group cared for right in this session.)

kathysm< I find that you will help someone in a unexpected way. They received something other than perhaps what you thought they needed.

LadyV< kathysm: Wisely said.

selki< I have a question. After my dad's passing, my mom laid everything on me. I did not live across the street, but when she "needed" to go to the store or wanted to go to the cemetery, she would call me to take her. It got to the point where I felt like I was partially taking on responsibilities of my dad's. Does this fall under the care as well? And why, when my brothers lived across the street, did she not call them? (I don't mean to interrupt.)

LadyV< When you enter the room of a elderly parent and ask them "Which of your children would you want me to call?" they generally tell you the one they can count on ... and that one they trust.

El< LadyV: What about the people with Alzheimer's who are not sure who is caring for them? or do they somehow?

LadyV< El: From what I have learned, they do not know in the last stages. They respond to love and care up to that point. They feel you on some level. I do believe that ... in my heart ... the loving response is vital. I feel that when it's possible, Alzheimer patients are better off in nursing homes. I am going to put in my Living Will that this is what I want done, should I have this illness. I would not want to put family members through it. That is my personal feeling.

El< I pray that you receive all the loving care that nursing home can provide for you (((LadyV))).

LadyV< El: Thank you.

Ben< selki: I don't know why she called on you instead of your brothers who lived across the street, but maybe she thought you are more reliable or more likely to do it. In either case, your question is surely within this topic, and especially our discussion last week about load management.

selki< Ben: I had no time to grieve for my dad. I had to deal with hers. It wasn't fair. To this day, I have not had any emotional release. My dad died unexpectedly.

Ben< selki: Ah ... I'm sorry that you had no time to grieve for your dad. Grieving is very much needed. Perhaps you should purposefully set aside a time and place to do so.

FRAML< selki: I think that your question does fall under the topic of care-giving. It would be interesting for you to explore why your mother targeted you for all her errands.

selki< FRAML: I am not sure if this would have anything to do with why, but my mom is an only child, has no brothers no sisters, and now no one but her kids. I moved far enough away where she can't depend on me. It's my brothers' turn now. I couldn't say no. It was like my life was revolving around her.

FRAML< selki: That is what I fear my life would be if I moved back to my hometown.

selki< FRAML: I can understand how you feel. Even now, since my marriage broke up, she thinks I should just leave and go home. I couldn't do that. I will not get into a situation where I am living with her and have no life, and I know that is what it would be like. She would expect me to sit with her all the time, and, well, there's just no way that's going to happen.

FRAML< selki: Mom never stops questioning me about why I divorced my first wife, who left me for another man when I was in Germany and had a child by him. He kicked her out and she came back to our hometown, where mom sees her occasionally ... and the divorce was 22 years ago. The sad part is that mom doesn't realize she is driving me further away from her. For her, being a good son is doing exactly what she wants and when she wants it.

selki< FRAML: Oh, geez, I never said a word to my mom or dad about the problems I had in my marriage. It was only recently that I told my mom what happened. I never wanted anyone to know about the abuse. I asked her to, please, just once, can I trust you not to talk about this? I couldn't. I could never talk to her or tell her anything. Thank god, my nunny raised me.

FRAML< selki: Same here. Any problem I might have is more ammunition for her.

kathysm< FRAML: Sounds very frustrating. You can give love and support, but try to be true to yourself. It's Ok, you're entitled.

selki< FRAML: I think that sometimes our parents treat us like we are still little or something. I don't know. I try not to do that with my boys. I want them to have their own lives without me.

kathysm< selki: I too had a sibling that did not lift a finger to help my mother. It was not exactly what I had in mind after being a single mother for 20 years. She passed on last December. She did not have anyone else but me. What could I do? And besides, what are we all here for, but to be here in love for one another? I do think it is important to set boundaries, though.

selki< kathysm: Yes, ma'am. I hadn't seen my brother for years after my dad died. He just took himself and his family away, and we were close prior to that. He's finally coming around now, and I will see him in March, but it took him having a heart attack to make his peace.

kathysm< Love should not be withheld from someone who is difficult to be around. It is up to us to have boundaries. These are relationships that we have chosen to work through.

Ben< The adoptive daughter of a friend of mine was diagnosed as having Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. My friend didn't really know what that meant, and asked me if I knew anything about it. I didn't -- but within 24 hours, I found on the Web, printed and gave to her, a wealth of information and contacts on that subject. However, I didn't know if the information was accurate, or if the contacts were trustworthy. I told her that, and said she should check with her doctor before she acted on any of it.

guitarist< Ben: I have done research on diseases over the Web for my mother at times as well.

kathysm< The Net is a trail of information. Just keep following it.

LadyV< Ben: Most of the web sites are excellent. I was surprised by that. Good resource. I have had to use them myself. You can print out the pages and take them to the Doctor. Sometimes the Doctor doesn't know about the information, either, unless he is a specialist.

Yopo< There is also the pain and uncertainty that comes when one you've supported (and been supported by) primarily via the Internet becomes unable to use that mode of communication. You then go to phones. Finally phones fail. Suddenly, there is the physical distance, looming very large, and you're left with a hope your friend knows you're praying for them. But the gulf feels immense, and feelings of having abandoned a friend stare you in the face.

guitarist< (((Yopo))) ... how true.

Ben< Yopo< Yes. I remember ...

LadyV< Yopo: That's a good point. If the PC breaks, then you have to use other sources. Of course, they know you are praying for them ... you said so ... that's your word ... and they hold on to that.

Ben< QUESTION 3: Do you know of a situation (in addition to those already mentioned) in which care-giving or caring for care-givers was successfully accomplished over long distance? If so, please describe how it worked. YOUR TURN

kathysm< Suicide hot-lines.

LadyV< When one of my friends lost a son to AIDS, I got the call at 3 am, and she was in shock. She wanted to talk, to tell me how it was. I kept quiet while she did that ... and it was not easy to hear. For years we talked via phone through it all ... seeing each other rarely with our work loads ... but the talk helped. I could not hold my friend nor could I hold him, but I could listen. That is care-giving, sometimes ... to just listen.

Aset2< LadyV: ((Hugs))

selki< LadyV: I remember one time a man came in the chatroom and was talking to me. His wife was dying. He didn't want her to go, but she was suffering so much pain that meds were useless. My heart went out to him, I felt so bad ...

El< I had spiritual support over the internet (long distance caring for the care giver) which helped me through very tough times when I cared for my mother.

FRAML< I've dealt with 3 people over a period of 3-4 years in which I've gotten to know them and helped them through very rough personal times. I've used all 3 means: internet, phone calls, and prayer. I've had a chance to actually meet 2 of the 3 people.

Yopo< I don't personally know of examples. But I can imagine a prison inmate whose sanity depends on occasional letters from home. Or a soldier in a far-away war zone, in much the same situation.

guitarist< "The Group" (as LadyV puts it) has been of great help to me as I figure out how to do what needs to be done for myself and others around me. (((Thank you all.))) And almost all of it has been over the Web, right here in this room.

FRAML< guitarist: We just know how to play your strings. :)

greyman< I like to use the ultimate internet: prayer/spiritual communication. An interesting thing happened several months ago. I really felt bad about the word I gave to a cat (at the soul level). Well, to make a short story long, I screwed up. I allowed the situation to go beyond my control, and by doing that my word went into compromise. I felt bad. That afternoon, my Brother-in-law called me to find out what was wrong. He felt something had happened to me and wanted to find out if he could help. I am glad about this kind of communication and that it works.

Ben< I have a paper on my site called "A New Lease On Life" in which I prayed and was given an answer that resulted in a physical cure of my mother-in-law who lived 1400 miles away at that time.

selki< I found my nephew on the net. He had ICQ. I added him to my ICQ a few months later. My brother (the one I haven't seen) began talking to me. My nephew doesn't know me, but it's nice to see his name up there and know he is on-line. One day he'll talk to me ... I keep hoping.

LadyV< I feel that the webmaster surely by this time is aware of the importance of allowing us to use his chat. When you say Spirit, it means that, and people come on-line looking for Spirit. Regardless of how we goof off, and play, the underlying content of this site is serious. I have watched with amazement how we unite when it's necessary ... and it's wonderful to watch. It means we are doing something worthwhile in our unity to help others. That is my concept of Spirit.

selki< LadyV ... wonderful concept.

Bjays_Angel< Are we talking about love and how people care for us and how we care for them?

FRAML< Bjays_Angel: Yes, but doing it over long distances; i.e., several states away.

guitarist< Bjays_Angel: In a specific manner of speaking, yes. It's about long distance care-giving.

Bjays_Angel< I have had my mother help me and be with me when I was in the hospital. Even though she was traveling, she knew I was ill. I'm grateful for long distance touch through spirit.

Ben< My mother was very ill for the last five years of her life. She lived in Arkansas. My brother lives in El Paso, Texas. My sister lives in Minnesota. I live in Maryland. Mom didn't want to move. I felt that she would not survive in a nursing home. It was a difficult situation. My brother and sister and I sent money, wrote letters, telephoned, and prayed. After awhile, my brother's sister-in-law who lived near Mom stepped in, visited Mom every day, and did all the little things that needed to be done -- for which I will always be grateful. To paraphrase a statement in the Bible: "Whoever serves my mother as a daughter is surely kin to me."

lightgrrl< Ben: That's a sweet expression.

greyman< Ben: *G*

FRAML< Ben: One of my mother's second husband's children (whom I went to school with) checks in on her from time to time, but mom does show ungratefulness for her not coming all the time. She lives about 30 miles away.

guitarist< FRAML: Some people will never be happy, no matter how much is done for them. *sigh*

FRAML< guitarist: As we use to say in the Army: target hit.

LadyV< FRAML: Behind all anger is hidden pain, and sometimes it's sure hard to handle it.

Jello< LadyV: I noticed that ... behind anger is sadness, behind sadness is pain.

FRAML< LadyV: At least I'm not keeping it in a bottle anymore. Or should I say, sedated with a bottle.

kathysm< Everyone has their own lessons. This is often a hard concept.

Ben< COMMENT: In care-giving and caring for care-givers, there are situations in which physical, psychological, and/or spiritual distance is better than being too close. Modern technology lets us communicate over long distances, but we still need to discern whether information is accurate and sources are trustworthy. Care-giving and caring for care-givers over long distances is communication, in which someone searches for and finds someone near the patient who is willing and able to do what needs to be done. That is how those who care accomplish what they cannot do personally -- in heaven, on earth, and between heaven and earth.

Ben< /topic Discussion of long-distance care-giving

El< What's hard to trust? -- a kind word is a kind word.

[Ben< El: Yes, I agree: a kind word is a kind word. The reason I said that we need to discern whether information is accurate and sources are trustworthy was because there are some snake-oil salesmen around -- in the flesh, on the Internet, and in the realm of spirits.]

selki< Well, I don't know what's going to happen if my mom needs care sometime in the future. I suppose my brothers will put it on my shoulders.

kathysm< selki: Know that they are with you in spirit. They know what's in your heart.

selki< kathysm: I don't know ... maybe.

guitarist< selki: I don't think you must take it on your shoulders from your brothers. Perhaps you could invite them to share the burden with you.

selki< guitarist: I don't think so either; however, when that time comes, I'm determined to stand my ground.

LadyV< I was thinking about what Ben said about someone doing the care-giving for someone else. When you choose to do this for the parent of someone you don't know, it is as if you were 'the daughter' or 'the son' doing it for your own relatives, because in the end it comes back to you. Someone will help your family members. The Universe does not forget. What is tender also is, when you have shared this time, you are often able to comfort when the stranger to you and mother to the other is looking from the other side and knowing you are there for her or his child. That is truly caring.

kathysm< LadyV: I agree with the importance of that.

Ben< LadyV: I have heard it said, "Much of what we who care do on earth is to help God answer other people's prayers."

LadyV< Ben: It is so like you to find the right words ... thank you, Ben.

Ben< LadyV< You're welcome, as always. Those words were given to me. They are also much of what we who care can continue to do after we leave this earth. *S*

greyman< Good night, dear ones. Good class, Ben.

Ben< Yopo: In the case you and I were remembering, I think the long distance care-giving was much needed, and she received a lot of genuine comfort from friends.

Yopo< Ben: Yeah, I know. It just felt like I'd let her down there at the end, when communication broke down. In retrospect, I know she understood. Just wish it coulda been different. *S* There are most always a few regrets after a parting.

selki< Yopo: I think that everyone has some regret even if it's simply not saying "I love you." I didn't get to see my dad before he passed, or my gram who was, I feel, more my mom than my mother. She was my care-giver, and the one that raised and taught me. I felt bad about that.

FRAML< Yopo: I've been working through what I might regret about my relationship with mom after she dies. That will help ease the pain, I hope. The biggest regret is that she was so incapable of giving care without strings attached to it that she was unable to receive it. Thus I guess I'm working through my grief ahead of time.

LadyV< FRAML: Glad you made that choice ... since we all pull our trousers on one leg at a time. Doubt that any one of us has not been where you are, at one time or the other. Kinda cuts things down to size. (smiling) You are Ok, little brother ... sorry its so tough for you now.

FRAML< LadyV: I keep my pants on the floor where I can put both feet in them at once, fireman style. *G*

Yopo< (((FRAML))) *S*

LadyV< FRAML: Rascal! (laughing) You one-upped me again ... one of these days ... one of these days! (grinning)

El< How would you feel, FRAML, if you did more thinking about where your mom will be after she dies? What will you say to her then? I feel my mother hears me and is with me often.

FRAML< El: My hope is to get her to the Light so that she doesn't attach herself to me. I've already done some thinking and planning on that. I'm good at shielding for protection from her, and connecting upward for assistance.

El< FRAML: Blessings for you on doing that from a distance.

guitarist< FRAML and Yopo: I too have been working through the question of regret, for both of my parents. I have been trying to get through to my mother for the better part of my life now, and haven't succeeded; so I must give her space, so that she might value my presence enough to treat me as though I, my thoughts and feelings, my doings and comings and goings, *matter.* Fortunately, my father seems to be doing better in that department than my mom. He is just so grateful for the time we can spend together, and I never expected this.

Yopo< guitarist: I suppose there is a lesson, for all of us, in those who go through their entire lives without dealing with fears and insecurities. In the end, that's all they seem to be left with, even when there are open hearts all around.

selki< guitarist: I have issues with my mom, too. Like, why my grandmom raised me, and why she had enough love in her heart for two and not three? Oh well ...

LadyV< I thought about what Ben said about his step-father. Some relatives are for reasons, and I don't know why. The illness I imagine was destructive. You draw boundaries ... and don't stop loving ... just draw boundaries. The reason for this is so you can give without resentment. The resentment is not love; it's destructive. If you lived the best you could and remembered to be kind even when the relative was driving you up the walls, then when they are gone, you can feel, perhaps, that at that time you were kind ... not resentful. Resentment kills folks ... believe me. It is turned inward and you self-destruct. Been there, done that ... learned the hard way.

[Ben< LadyV: If I had felt I *should* give him what he wanted, I probably would have resented the feeling of being compelled. But I realized I didn't have to give; I could choose to give or not give, so I was fairly well free of that type of resentment. When I felt he *should* repay what he owed me, I resented his refusal to repay. But then I realized it was silly of me to feel that he should repay when he obviously wasn't going to, so I mentally wrote off everything he owed me (as a bad debt) and let it go forever -- and that inner release set me free from that type of resentment. Lesson learned: As we forgive our debtors, we thereby free ourselves.]

selki< I have a question. If you were dying or had a terminal illness (same thing, I guess), who here would expect to be revived or kept alive by artificial means? I do not want to be revived (if it were me) and would not want life support.

FRAML< selki: I have no desire to be a vegetable. My father was in a coma 10 days before he died. The only thing he was on was an IV for nourishment. I saw the pain that mom went through at the hospital every day. I was in my junior year of college then.

selki< Same here, FRAML. I have no desire to be a veggie either. When it's time to go ... it's time to go. In as much as I was so sad at my dad's passing, I was truthfully glad that they couldn't bring him back or keep him on life support. I know my dad wouldn't have wanted that.

kathysm< selki: I had to make a decision whether to remove my mother from life support. It was futile. She was dying, which I believe was her choice at the time.

LadyV< selki: I am making it legal ...

selki< LadyV: Yes, I did too ... I do not want to be revived.

guitarist< Me neither. At times I read about situations where people are kept on life support to the point where limbs are gangrenous, and nothing else is happening but the machine keeping the heart and blood going. I think this means they're dead already; we should let them go.

Yopo< guitarist: Yeah. It is like holding people captive.

Ben< selki: Concerning artificial life support, there is such a thing as enough. I've stood by and helped several care-givers make that decision. It ought not be made hastily, but sometimes letting a loved one die the only kind thing that can be done.

selki< Ben: I agree. It's an act of love.

kathysm< There are lessons here, folks. You have to find your way to it.

Yopo< Too bad, how the medical establishment sees death as the ultimate failure, regardless of circumstances.

kathysm< Yopo: That's because spirit is not in the equation. I know, I'm in the field.

guitarist< kathysm: Your views on this subject are the more valued, then. :)

kathysm< guitarist: Thank you, but I don't know about that. I do know that to die alone is not a very nice thing to witness.

FRAML< Yopo: However, Dr. Kevorkian and the euthanasia folks are pushing the other concept.

Yopo< FRAML: *S* Must admit, Dr. K is just a tad strange. I agree with kathysm's assessment. When it's time for me to go, don't make me miss my flight!

guitarist< FRAML: re: Kevorkian, I would not want to see people being put to sleep as we do with animals. Allowed to die, yes; but euthanized, no.

FRAML< guitarist: I agree. I find it distressing that euthanasia has become so widespread in Holland that many old people fear going to the hospital, because their children or a doctor might make the decision to put them under. "Hmm ... let's euthansize Granny and get our inheritance before she spends it all." (YUCK!) Besides, wasn't euthanasia one of the things that Hitler was condemned for doing?

guitarist< Hitler was certainly condemned for his "Youth in Asia" program. FRAML, right again! But where have you heard about euthanasia in Holland? I hadn't heard about that one.

FRAML< guitarist: No, that was LBJ's "Youth in Asia" program. *WEG*

[Ben< guitarist: I've also seen several articles about euthanasia in Holland.]

LadyV< I was watching part of Bill Moyers work on PPS about death and dying. One of the men said "I want to die being in my mind" and it seemed from the comments his care-giver (the wife) said, he did that. He had moved into a state of mind. He returned to say that he loved her ... that is dignity ... and the psychics say that is where we are most times anyway. The separation starts and you go on. It is more gentle that way ... and as it should be.

Bjays_Angel< I don't know what I would do without my mother if she ever passed on. I would be so sad ...

selki< Bjays_Angel: Losing a parent is not easy. I realized my own mortality when I lost my dad. It hurts.

Bjays_Angel< I'm sorry, selki. (((Hugs))) to you, dear soul ...

selki< Bjays_Angel: No worries. *s*

Ben< selki: I'm reminded of the 90 year old man in a nursing home who told his family not to pray for him anymore because he wanted to die. A couple of weeks later, he reminded them of that, and said "I've changed my mind. You see ... there's this lady I just met who lives across the hall from me ... "

selki< HAHAH! That's funny, Ben ... *S*

El< Ben: LOL

Yopo< Uh, speaking of time for me to go ... *S* Gotta make a TEMPORARY exit! A VERY worth-while discussion, Ben. Thanks! Good night, ALL. Much enjoyed the good energy and thoughtful voices tonight ... *S*

FRAML< Ben & Jello: This has been a good series. Thank you both for it.

Ben< FRAML: Yes, I think so, too. Thanks to all who have shared so much of themselves in each of these four sessions.

Bjays_Angel< El: I'm going to put up a site I want you to see. This is the site I use to send Mom cards. ... There it is. Just click on my name. *VBS* [http://www.angeleyes2.com/]

El< Thank you, Angel.

Ben< Bjays_Angel: That's a very nice card site. Thanks. I bookmarked it.

Bjays_Angel< You're very welcome, and its free, too. *VBS* It's beautiful. I always send my mother a card from there. She deserves one every day. *VBS*

FRAML< Hark! I hear the bells of St. Sealy's calling to me. Thank you all for a good discussion tonight.

kathysm< FRAML: I wish you peace in your heart during this time. Good nite.

LadyV< kathysm: FRAML means its time for him to hit the mattress, I think. For years I wondered about St. Sealy ... then again, he might know something I don't (laughing) and one-up me again. (grinning)

kathysm< LadyV: Oh! LOL

FRAML< LadyV: Nope, nothing up my sleeve. You're correct. I worked in a Sealy mattress factory during summers to get money for college. I believe that guitarist goes to the synagogue of Beth Sim'mons.

LadyV< FRAML: Thank you for explaining ... a mattress factory ... that would have been a job!

selki< Goodnight, FRAML. Talk to you tomorrow. Night, everyone.

El< Blessings, FRAML.

FRAML< ALL: Remember to count your blessings before you sleep.

lightgrrl< FRAML, sleep well, deep peace to you.

El< (((Blessings, Rest Well, and Thank you, Ben))) Goodnight.

lightgrrl< Ben, LadyV, guitarist, all ... remain in light and blessings everywhere for you all.

Ben< ALL: There are two prerequisites for care-giving -- caring (attitude) and giving (action). I have seen many here in SWC who care and give. And that always makes me glad.

kathysm< Ben: It has been a pleasure to meet you. Thank you.

Ben< ALL: Peace and blessings to you and yours. Namaste. Goodnight.

LadyV< Ben: Thank you. Rest well.

[Ben< I usually delete most of the greetings and good-byes to save space and make the transcripts easier to read, but I kept most of them in all four sessions of this seminar because they are examples of care-giving. I also assembled and kept the following side conversation because it is an example of long-distance care-giving via the Internet.]

kiara< LadyV: Hello. I was reading your post, and I felt drawn to write to you or anyone with some guidance about healthy boundaries. I have just taken a break from a friendship that was very abusive verbally. I felt this friend had such pain and fear behind his rage, but it got so hurtful that I had to move back. When he would rage, I felt the frightened part of him and tried to reach it, but I have found I'm so hurt now myself from all the years of abuse.

LadyV< kiara: We hear you. Perhaps it was a pattern to hear ... now that the pattern is broken, the feeling is there. Maybe to deal with those feelings might be helpful now ... is this what we are hearing?

kiara< LadyV: I am so confused by it all. It's like I'm just waking up from a situation feeling I can't believe what just happened and that I was in it ... and felt it was Ok and acceptable. I still feel like I'm abandoning someone in need, but I do feel it is time for me to be honest about this not being Ok. "To treat me that way no matter how hurt you are is not Ok". But he says I'm avoiding the issue ... and abandoning the healing we were doing.

kathysm< kiara: His emotional healing does not require your soul to be bashed! He may only be able to reflect on his behavior if you remove yourself. Be careful of the person who wants to take you as their emotional hostage.

kiara< kathysm: Yes, I have felt this ... and removed myself physically and been sharing a little here in SWC. And I have been reflecting on my part in it ... why it was occurring ... but I seem so devastated by it.

LadyV< kiara: The tyrant is telling you that you are wrong? Not Ok. This person is verbally harming your gentle spirit ... playing on your feelings. Good for you that you stood up to this person. It helps to ask "What do I need from this person?" Define the need and you know why. In this instance, it appears you do not need this person.

kiara< LadyV: Your words gave me goose bumps, as did those of kathysm. And I have been doing this very thing -- asking myself how and why I needed this friendship. I guess it was guilt and fear of abandoning that is keeping me questioning. I feel altered by this friendship, and very shaky ... and confused.

kathysm< kiara: Of course you do. These are very painful and confusing situations. But at some point a light bulb will come on, and you will find your way out of this. It's important not to participate in this person's drama.

kiara< (((LadyV)) ((Kathysm)) Thank you for your guidance. I feel better that I shared a little. It's been a very isolating experience. Peace and love to you both. :)

kathysm< One of my favorite sayings is "Pain is inevitable, misery is optional."

LadyV< kiara: It helps, really, to determine who has the need in any situation. Then decide if you choose to meet it, or if you choose not to meet it. That is fair. This person has a straw in your jugular ... take it out. Life is meant for joy.

kiara< LadyV: Wow! When I read your words about my throat, I went into a rush of heat. One of the first experiences I felt was one day on a drive: I felt like his hands reached and grabbed me by the neck. I looked at his hands on the wheel, knowing they hadn't left it. And feelings like this continued, but he was always able to explain ... and of course I allowed the explanation ...

kathysm< kiara: Everyone comes into your life for a reason. But I think we mix that up with thinking we have to rescue people from their own lessons. Follow your heart: it will tell you what to do. If it doesn't feel right to stay, gather your strength and take your self away from that situation. And yes, it does help to share during these times.

kiara< kathysm: Yes, I think I was so caught up in looking for the reason and trying to understand where he was coming from ... and that I must be attracting this for a reason ... that I continued. I know for my well being I must go. I was just frightened I was abandoning myself and him.

LadyV< kiara: There is not love in fear. Run from what makes you afraid in human relationships. No disgrace in that. It is nature's way of protecting you. Listen to your inner knowing.

kathysm< kiara: I ditto LadyV. There is no fear in love. To stay might be abandoning yourself.

guitarist< kiara: I agree with LadyV and kathysm. We often are not able to help people such as your former friend by being with them. This is one of the perfect instances Ben was looking for, when he was asking us earlier where caring at a distance might be called for. In your case, it sounds like a great distance might be in order.

kiara< (((guitarist)))

guitarist< Having said that, I must go to my (by now) famous Beth Sim'mons synagogue, next door to St. Sealy's. I have an early morning ahead of me.

kiara< sweet travels ((guitarist)) peace.

kathysm< Goodnite, guitarist. Sleep well.

kiara< I know you are only hearing my side, but I am so grateful for all your advice. It has been a very difficult experience to share, but I feel stronger for doing it.

kathysm< kiara: I too had a similar experience many years ago. I can assure you that my lesson was in the leaving. Some very wonderful lessons.

kiara< kathysm & LadyV: Yes, there has been deep healing with this experience, and I have felt the deepest healing is to say "stop." It was just his words about me abandoning that confused me. But my heart has shared that I need to move away. In the beginning, I just felt it was all my own fear issues (old stuff I have been healing), but now I feel some of this fear is in this moment and from this experience.

kathysm< Yes, kiara, these kind of relationships leave you feeling wounded spiritually. Not good!

kiara< Yes, kathysm ... I feel I am healing the wounds of this experience.

LadyV< kiara: Be kind to yourself ... first and foremost.

kiara< LadyV & kathysm: Thank you both for your kindness. I have been feeling the sadness, the last few days, of the lack of tenderness this friendship really had. And I am so grateful for the kindness I feel ... :)

guitarist< G-d bless you all -- it was very nice meeting you, kiara and kathysm. (*(*(*kiara*)*)*) I send you energy from above like stardust; may it cover you from head to foot and be absorbed into your spirit, where it will give you the strength you need to carry on.

LadyV< Goodnight, guitarist. Rest well. Come to think of it, you have had an important Holiday ... oh, drat! I forgot ... there are people from Canada that come on site to share the day with us ... for some reason I missed them this year ... the thought is there, guitarist ...

guitarist< LadyV: Yes, I had an important holy day ... and I have one tomorrow, too. It's called Succot: in your vernacular, the Feast of Tabernacles. *VBS*

kiara< I'm from Canada. :)

guitarist< kathysm: I seem to recall that there was somebody nicknamed "Kathy's Mom" who came in here. Are you this person?

kathysm< No. I'm a newcomer here. Actually, this is the first chat room I've ever been in.

guitarist< (((Welcome, then, kathysm.))) I hope you will return.

kathysm< Oh, I have no intentions of leaving. This place is a gift.

LadyV< guitarist: Hope it is a pleasant day for you. I hope kathysm returns also. (smiling)

kathysm< ((((guitarist & LadyV)))) Thank you again.

kiara< Yes, kathysm ... welcome. *VBS* I have been a little shy about sharing, but I find when I do on here, it is in the right time and the guidance and sharing is deep. I appreciate the truth ... and I have been very fortunate to speak to those who share with compassion.

kathysm< Yes, kiara, there's a great deal of gentleness here.

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