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Clematis

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About Clematis

  • Rank
    Laura

Previous Fields

  • Your relationship to the individual who died
    Daughter
  • Date of Death
    01/13/2016
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Hospice Compassus Sedona, AZ

Profile Information

  • Your gender
    Female
  • Location (city, state)
    Sedona, AZ
  • Interests
    Lena (my therapy cat), Playing music (cello, ukulele, classical guitar, etc.), Watercolors, Ceramics, Flowers-growing and painting them

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  1. I love your photos - and she is adorable!!!
  2. A pet IS a loved one. Relationships are not all the same, especially with animals. To some a cat or a dog is just a cat or a dog, but some people have profound relationships with animals that may be more important than relationships with people. And even for a given person, not all of their relationships with animals are not the same as with others. Some pets place a larger footprint on our heart and are a larger part of our life than others, and so the loss is bigger. Lena is the eighth cat who has shared my life. I thought about them and counted, starting with Sapphire, the family cat I grew up with. Some of them I had to think to remember their names, but others are so close to my heart, even now. I was obsessed with Mitten, but I had a bond with Freya that I still do not really comprehend. And Lena...she is is without a doubt one of the most important relationships of my life. I hope she will live as long as I do, even though I know this is unlikely. Pets hold a part of our hearts in a way like no other, and their loss can be enormous. I know full well that many do not understand this, and the only way I can figure out to deal with them is to shield your grief from them, once you know who they are, like a package of something that is fragile and valuable under your cloak, and process the grief elsewhere. People who don't understand pet loss can fill parts of our lives in other ways, but sharing with them something they are unlikely to honor can be hurtful to us as grievers. And we don't need any more suffering...
  3. The mind definitely does strange things in grief. When I lost my cat Mitten, I saw her everywhere...I'd whip my head around thinking I saw her lying there, but it would be a black sweater and not my beloved cat Mitten. When I lost my tortoiseshell cat Freya years before Mitten, I was devastated and didn't think I'd ever recover, and had dreams where we would find each other again like the end of a Hallmark movie running towards each other in a field of flowers and her flying into my arms. I had these dreams for 20 years, even after Mitten became a part of my life, because no new person or animal can ever replace another. After Mitten, I had no pet for fifteen years and fully believed I would never have a pet again due to severe allergies. I felt all kinds of feelings I did not want because of my desperation and yearning (envy, irritation at pet stores, and so on). My allergies improved due to life changes, and now I live with the lovely Lena. The grief and pain of losing a beloved scars and changes a person. We don't just get over it, even when we have new relationships. I had a dream a few months ago in which Lena went into "the spirit world" through some secret portal at the end of my street and returned with the spirit of Freya and another cat, the long deceased pet of a close friend. It was comforting to feel that Freya and I are still connected, even after more than 30 years. True love is forever, even after death...
  4. Thanks, Kay. The dean is a very pleasant woman and I was actually in the class that she took...it was on a Saturday. At the time, I wasn't aware of anyone bullying her, but I am generally pretty focused on doing my own thing and rather used to the fact that the teacher who has been there forever focuses on the beginners because he has to, but the other students he seems to ignore and his answers to direct questions are minimal or less. He does spend time in class engaged in chitchat with the bully pack. I have accepted that this burnt out teacher is not going to help me much and I'm on my own (although paying tuition). When I talked to the dean, she commented that these students have been been there for a long time and behave as if they are entitled to special rights and privileges...loading their things into the kiln first, bossing others around, making nasty remarks, etc. And the teacher lets them get away with it. She suggested that since the new teacher is in a tenuous position as adjunct faculty, he may not want to upset the apple cart. These dynamics have been in place for a long time. Another problem is that they pay tuition and if they were not there, there might not be enough students for the classes to make. This happened with the painting program. The painting teacher (Patti) had a following, just like the ceramics teacher and there was a group a them/us that would fill a block of each class so that there would be enough for the classes to make if a group of new students signed up. Patti suddenly had a metastasis from a cancer 20 years previous and died. They tried (sort of) to get some other teacher going, but without Patti's fans and friends, the program died too. Had they been able to keep it going, I would be in painting classes and not ceramics. Sometimes I feel like everyone is dying. Since my dad died three years ago, there have been so many more... my aunt Nancy, my neighbor/friend Darlene, my friend Wayne, another friend Judie, Patti the painting teacher, and some others that aren't coming to mind. And now my closest friend Adrienne whose family has been like an adopted family to me, especially in the many years I was alone in AZ, her father Herb has a dementia that is compounding at an alarming rate and now Herb has bladder cancer as well. I have been so close to their family for so long and Herb was such an amazing and brilliant person - it's hard to imagine a world without him. In most ways he is gone already; the person we knew and loved is not really there anymore, although he still lives. It's like the air is being sucked out of the room
  5. My sister teaches art at a community college and she was flabbergasted to hear about this going on in front of a teacher at a college. It's also rather bizarre that the dean of the college was a victim of this and didn't do anything. Anyway, I hope the they can get over themselves a bit because I like ceramics and don't want to be forced out of there because of behavior that would be problematic in a bunch of ten-year-olds...meanwhile, it makes me feel bad and kind of icky. I think that just goes with the territory when people treat you badly that you feel bad and kind of icky. I had a similar thing going on with a guy in the contra dance band I play with. He was really out of line in the way of picking on me. I was angry and embarrassed by what he was doing to me, and it went on for several dances over almost a year. Two weeks ago I really gave it back to him, which didn't seem to fix anything and I still felt bad and icky about it. But then I played at a dance last night and he was cordial and made an obvious effort to get along with me. Most of the band lives in a different town than I, and they carpooled to the dance last night. I suspect that some of the other band members explained to him that this wasn't ok. I don't think people usually like being around someone who acts like that (being mean to someone for arbitrary reasons). I'm not sure why this kind of thing happens to me in different places. Maybe I seem like a good target because in many of these environments I am in an isolated position - not part of a clique or sub-group. I always fight pack when picked on, and I stick up for other people who are picked on. Often things work out eventually because the bullies are in the wrong, but it's no fun in the meanwhile, and it sure makes me miss my dad. He always was on my side and I could count on him to listen and be supportive...
  6. Grief sure seems to make a lot of people worse...more narcissistic, more crazy, more of whatever they are. I had a friend named Wayne, who was a gifted ceramicist and painter. He was also a fighter pilot in Vietnam and the agent orange and jet fuel exposure he got from decades flying and training pilots caught up with him via cancer, and the second bout killed him in early Dec 2018. He was a sweetheart of a man and had many friends. After his military retirement he devoted himself to art and was very prolific. He had a ceramic studio in a trailer he owned, took classes at the community college, and was very involved in many aspects of the art community. He was also very active at the community rec center, where he exercised regularly. He was friendly, kind, generous, and many people loved him. It was heartbreaking to us all to see him decline suddenly and die. I met Wayne at the community college in ceramics classes, and also saw him at the rec center, and we talked about all kinds of things when we saw each other and texted when we didn't. I loved him, as did a lot of people. At the college, there is a clique of middle aged and older women who have been working in clay for a long time. They socialize together to the exclusion of "new" women artists, but draw in new men, and seem to fawn on them. This sort of thing exists all over the place. You know what I mean... So this group is like a little bully clique at the college. The classes have beginning, intermediate, and advanced students all together, and so there are students who have been there for many years, who work on their own thing, socialize, and sometimes help the less experienced. The man who has taught ceramics at the college for many years - let's call him Tim - has tolerated the bullying in his class for the six years I have been involved there - and no doubt before that. I try to keep my head down, work on my projects, and stay out of their way, which is difficult, because they make demeaning comments and literally push people out of their way. They seem to see themselves as a "top tier" of privileged students who can boss and demean the rest. I usually do hand-building, but decided to give the wheel another try this semester because there is a new teacher, who is an amiable young man who is quite skilled. While Tim has been impatient with my repeated attempts to try to learn on the wheel, the new teacher has tried hard to derive ways to teach me what has alluded me. This is great, but it has been frustrating. Since I am rather relentless, I keep at it on the wheel. Meanwhile, the bullying has intensified in the presence of the new young teacher and since Wayne's death. Wayne had tons of stuff related to clay...finished wares, partially finished wares, clay, tools, glazes, chemicals, kilns, wheels, and so on. Apparently the same is true with his painting things. His son said at his memorial that he really wanted to give as much os Wayne's tools, wares, and so on to Wayne's friends. He as asked repeatedly didn't he want to be paid or have the money to to something, and the son kept insisting that he believed his dad would have loved his pieces and tools go to his friends and people who loved him and his work. But the bully clique descended and things got ugly. The son was in town early this week and the word went around the clique in whispers. I heard this and contacted his son, who encouraged me to come out to the trailer and he would give me a few or Wayne's pieces, which I did. When I got there the whole bully clique was there and they were nasty. One greeted me with, "did you come to pick or help?" I tried to avoid them and talk to his son and look at the trailer and it's contents, which was overwhelming, even after two days of it being picked over and hauled off. These women decided that that they should get all of the stuff together and sell it, and set up a scholarship in Wayne's name at the college. I had heard about this at the college and that they had tried to badger anyone who had anything of Wayne's to pay them for it. So, out at the trailer I talked to his son privately, about his dad, his work, and so on. He offered me some pieces and several times came over to me with a bowl or mugs I hadn't seen, asking me if I would like them. I ended up with four bowls, three mugs and a couple of other odd pieces. When I was walking to the car one of these women was following me, yelling my name. I ignored her, but she pursued me to my car where I couldn't avoid her anymore. She told me, "if you took anything you need to pay for it" and explained what they were doing. I told her that Wayne's son had been very clear about his wishes and how he felt about his father. She went on some thing about how the scholarship was taking things "full circle" and didn't I want things to go full circle. I ignored her and went back to the son, asking him if he wanted me to pay him or these women. He said, "No, no, I want you to have them and it is not my intention for you to pay for them". I told him what this woman had said and he said, "WHO said that?" I told him and he told me to take and enjoy the pieces. So I did. Later in the day I called the college and talked to the dean about the bully pack and their horrible behavior in class. The physical intimidation, pushing, demeaning comments that go on right in front of the teacher...it has been hard to go into class knowing I will face that, and I don't think the college wants that to go on. I told her six or so of the more flagrant things, including one woman who has shoved, dragged me along with her as she walked rather than walking around me. She has also pressed up against me in a group because she wanted the spot where I was and I couldn't move other because other people were standing in a tight group listening to the teacher. So she would stand there, pressed up against me, so I could feel her breast and whatnot against me. Ewww... I have not been silent in class, but protest, with no impact. She also goes up to the sink when I am using it and puts a bucket between the spigot and my hands to fill it, and if I say anything says, "I am just taking your runoff", which of course would be below my hands and not above. Another woman was particularly nasty to me one day (the same one who chased me to my car) and I said to her, "do you have kids?" "Yes, she said". I then asked her, "do you know I'm not one of them?" "Yes", she said. "That's good!" I said cheerfully and with enthusiasm. So, none of this had had any impact, which is why I went to the dean. She was sympathetic and understanding, saying that the new teacher was an adjunct faculty and probably felt uncertain about how to handle the situation, which he had really inherited from Tim. She also said that she had taken a class with Tim a year or so ago, and had been bullied in Tim's class in front of Tim, even though she was the dean. She said she would talk to him and possibly pay a visit to the class. I was late to class yesterday because I work two hours away and sometimes it's hard to get out early. When I got to class, the teacher seemed to be a little tense but didn't say anything - just body language, like a tensed jaw. The class seemed subdued, everyone was very polite, no one was pushing anyone else around, and the three of them didn't say a word to me. That was good. I know this was kind of long, but it seems so typical in a way, of how grief intensifies dysfunction and how people can get into the most awful behaviors struggling over the stuff that a deceased person owned. It is insensitive to the bereaved and disrespectful to the deceased person, whom they supposedly loved so much.
  7. That is wonderful - I am so happy for you! Send us a pic, if you want to, so we can see her. How old is she? What color? It is exciting news...and good for you. I had a long period once when I could not have a pet (extreme allergies, which improved). It was 15 years with no pet, and once I got Lena I was ecstatic and just wanted to share her with the world. A pet makes such a difference, being happy to see you when you come home, interested in every little thing you do, and being a loving companion. And sharing love with them is a gift...food, treats, toys, playing games, and so on. I love spending time with my cat, buying her things, feeding her, taking pictures of her...
  8. It is so hard to lose a pet, and I totally understand what you mean when it is just you and her really. For me it has been like that with my cat Lena. We used to me a little family of me, my dad, and Lena. Now it is just me and Lena. I hope she lives as long as I do, but that is unlikely. Getting another pet is a very personal decision and no one can tell you what to do. I believe you can never replace a person or a pet and every relationship is a new one. No one could ever replace Joy, but a new pet could help ease your suffering. Joy helped you to cope with whatever you were dealing with before, and a new pet would help you with your life now and you wouldn't be alone. Lena has helped me to cope with the loss of my father. She can't replace him, but her presence in my life has given me love, comfort and solace. Chances are good that I will live longer than my beloved Lena, and there will probably be another cat who will help me cope with that heartbreak, even though no cat could ever replace her. And there is no shortage of cats who are desperately in need of love and a good home. I wish you the best.
  9. Yay Tillamook! Go Cheesemakers! I don't know anything about Bandon but I love Tillamook Swiss, and their ice cream is fantastic. The people at the school have been nice to me as well. I can't wait to retire too, but not because of the cheesemakers. Today was a wreck of a day...there was a shooting in Winslow while I was there...a guy shot someone in the head. The victim was airlifted to the hospital in Flagstaff, while the shooter was at large for a while. They put all the schools on a lockout or "soft lockdown" for over four hours, so people inside the schools could have a relatively normal day, but no one could enter or leave the schools. Eventually the shooter barricaded himself inside a house with a hostage a few blocks away school where I happened to be at the onset and for the duration. I didn't realize until hours after it was all over that my neck and back was a mass of tension from the ordeal. It was really awful to be so close to something like this going on. And Winslow is a very small town. Teachers in the school knew these people. We all thought this might end with multiple people dead and when I left town the word was the mother of the shooter was sitting at a picnic table with some friends as close to the house there the standoff was as the police would allow her. I'm sure she was terrified that her son would not survive the day, but I just learned the police were able to end the standoff without any further bloodshed. I am sure glad to be home with my kitty...
  10. The district in Oregon picked the wrong person and she was miserable with having to stay in a small room proctoring an evaluation, and she also doesn't know what she is doing. Yet. Not my fault. As to talking to various staff about whether a SpEd student should be tested, well by law it is a team decision and involves discussion. The school psychologist is an essential part of that discussion. But this is the district that had one school psychologist for five counties for years and are trying to get up to speed. I think they have a way to go... The other district in Oregon loves me and everything about me. That is pretty great. I love them too...they are the district with the cheese I happen to love. And ice cream... Meanwhile I am stating busy learning Hebrew. And trope - that is pretty exciting!
  11. He does. I just want to have contact with Hermon and to help his other friends have contact with him because I believe it would be good for him. It's good for anyone to feel love and connection. Also, of course, I miss him. I talked to his son Steve on Monday and he told me that he talked to his dad and Hermon asked Steve "Do I live here now?" Steve told him yes, he does. "Why?" And Steve told him, "Well, Dad, you walked away from your house and a lady picked you up and they took you to a hospital and you had to come here because your memory is too bad to live alone anymore." He said he went on to assure his dad that he is living with people who love him and are taking good care of him. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to make up such an enormous lie (telling a guy who clung desperately to his home that he had walked away from it). It seems like gaslighting, and with a person who is already tremendously confused that seems mean. But there is nothing I can do about that, and I told Steve I was glad he told me that because I can do my best to avoid it by telling Hermon when I talk to him that I really don't know how he came to live there and not his home. The only hope I have of continuing to be Hermon's friend is to play it Steve's way. And after telling different lies to me and Hermon backfired when I talked to him, I think Steve now has the picture that he needs to tell me the "party line" if he expects me to stick to it. I have a friend who is having a similar situation to the one you had with your mom. She is living with her dad, who had dementia but won't go to the doctor or entertain any discussion about his memory or inability to do everything he has always done. She seems particularly distressed by his freely spending money he doesn't have, and is worried that they will lose their house and everything else.
  12. I sure wish he were here. He was so supportive and I surely need it. I feel totally surrounded by people who see me as a big target. I have people in Oregon making up stuff about me even though I have barely begun to work there. The online company just notified me that one district doesn't want me to work there due to "concerns" about my professional judgment and decision making. Three incidents...one was that a woman with severe ADHD was assigned to be a proctor for my testing. We tested for three hours in one day, split into two sessions with the second after an assembly and lunch. She reported that I had tested this student for seven hours in one day, which would be very inappropriate for the student. Due to her ADHD she may have found three hours of proctoring an evaluation to be torturous, but three hours is not seven hours, even if the proctor did feel she lost her whole day. The other two things were similarly distorted. One was asking the primary support person something she did not know - and she didn't know who would know the answer. The third was about a student who has been in Special Ed for seven years and has never been tested. I suggested testing her, but when they resisted I told them I would go along with whatever they wanted me to do. I had basically suggested that it would be good to at least consider following federal law. So if someone makes up something about me or grossly distorts the truth, that means my professional judgment is impaired? This company told me that they hoped this would be an isolated incident but if there were any more reports of problems with my professional judgment, I would be out the door altogether. How do I keep people from making stuff up? I think it is out of my control. And the SpEd secretary in Winslow is upset with me because I have asked that they please let me know in an email if they have some work for me (a student to evaluate) before I take a drive that is 1-1/2 hours each way to find this out. They also figure that it is ok to not tell me if I have a student to evaluate in the morning if I am going out there in the afternoon for a meeting. So if I have a meeting at 3:00 in the afternoon and drive out there at 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning, and there is nothing for me to do all day, that has me sitting in my car of hanging out at Wall-Mart for six or seven hours, that is ok with them. I think that's no way to treat anyone.
  13. It's a year later and I think it is most definitely a "season of grief". Today is my father's birthday, and three years ago on this date...well exactly two months later he would be dead. We didn't exactly know that, but I was scared. Things seemed to definitely be going downhill. But then again, there had been so many times before when things had gone downhill and then he had improved almost to where he had been before. Down five steps and then back up four steps. Surely it could happen again. But it didn't. He was getting too tired of struggling to keep trying. I kept hoping and urging him to try to...try to do what I don't know. We were at the end and now I am going it alone without his companionship and backup. I so wish I had those ten years to do over. Not that I'd do anything differently. What more could I do? Enjoy the time more? I did enjoy the time I had and I treated it like it could be the end. I honestly can't say I would do anything differently. I just wish he was still here with me. Every day...
  14. Yeah, Steve is on the right path, but somewhat misguided in the way he is going about it. He tried to get his dad to stay at his house, the "ranch" with an 8-foot chain link fence around it, and that would have been a good idea in saving money, but his approach was to lie to Hermon (and me) in saying it was only temporary while his former caregiver was recovering from surgery. Hermon figured this out and escaped after a week, with part of the result being that he trusts Steve less than before. Hermon lacks the cognitive capacity to accept the reality that he really cannot go back to living in his home, but I think out of respect for his humanity it is worth trying to give him a chance. A year ago Steve was adamant that Hermon not be told that his daughter Billie had died, and wanted everyone to tell Hermon that she was out of town visiting relatives. This was not a credible lie, even to a guy with dementia, because everything had been removed from her room, especially the bed - due to bedbugs. Also, BIllie's son wanted some of her things. Hermon kept going down the hall and calling me in tears, saying "I think Billie's gone". I would say "yes, that's right - she's gone". He would ask me what happened and as I began telling him about the alcohol and her liver, it would come back to him and he would cry a little and then move on. It seemed to me like a rather normal processing of grief. We all forget our loss in the beginning and then it comes back and slaps us back into reality. Hermon wasn't much different. Steve also wanted to not tell Hermon that he wasn't able to drive any more and so Steve took the car he wanted and disabled the other. He thought Hermon would get angry and thought lying was a way to avoid that. Nevertheless, Hermon would go out in the garage and notice that one car was gone and the other would not start. He would go into a rage and call either Steve or me, yelling about how Steve had stolen his car and disabled the other and he was going to kill him. When Steve got these calls he would panic and ask me to go and check on his dad. When I received these cars I would tell Hermon as sweetly as possible that he was not supposed to be driving and in fact his driver's license was expired. I would tell him as kindly as I could that there was really no one, including me, who thought he should be driving, and offer to pick him up and drive him wherever he wanted to go. After some time, Hermon became familiar with these little talks about his not driving and he was not nearly so upset. I know that taking one's parent's keys away or somehow convincing them to stop driving is really difficult, and I think Steve was rather gutless in avoiding this and by his avoidance delegating it to me. Now he is faced with the even more difficult task of transitioning his dad into a care setting, and he's not handling that very well as far as I can tell. I'm not sure that lying to Hermon is working, and treating me like the enemy is probably a mistake because I could probably help him. I think he is suspicious of me because he is doing something suspicious. I think part of his agenda is figuring out how to get the "ranch" into his own possession so that it does not end up being sold to pay for Hermon's care. I figure he is playing his cards close to his chest because he is trying to pull off this transfer without his brother or anyone who might be assessing Hermon's financial situation discovering the truth. Meanwhile Hermon is being told he is just staying someplace temporarily while his caregiver recovers. If he really could believe that, it might be ok because he would gradually settle in. But when I talked to him ten days ago, he was asking me, "Is this a nursing home?" I think he is figuring out the truth and is understandably upset about it. My biggest fear is that he will put this together and escape in his attempt to go home, and since he is not in a secured facility he might die of exposure trying to get home. It's getting cold. I hope I'm wrong.
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