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Clematis

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About Clematis

  • Rank
    Laura

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

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

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  1. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Two days before Thanksgiving I felt strongly compelled to tag along with my friend Gloria, a barber, to visit Hermon, the barber who opened, owned and operated the local barber shop for decades, and also gave Gloria her start as a barber. Hermon's daughter and caretaker had just died and the family was in free fall, since his other children live hours away and Hermon has dementia from Alzheimer's. My sudden appearance mystified his family but delighted Hermon. Since then I have coordinated services for Hermon and been "eyes and ears" for his son in our joint effort to help Hermon to stay in his home as long as possible. I call Hermon at least six times a day, visit him frequently, keep a tight loop of communication between everyone, and take Hermon out in the community, which is the delight of his life. He frequently sees people who knew him for many years, and he is a delight even to people who are new to him. Now strangers, because the man never knew a stranger and people seem to sense that about him. When I first approached Hermon in his home that day, I asked him how he was doing and he said, "Not so good", and fell into my arms crying. After a minute he pulled back, and as an introduction I showed him a photo of my dad and he hugged me again, crying even harder and telling me that he remembered my dad well and really missed him. In the past few days Hermon has had some remarkably lucid times, and has related some things to me about my father that really put things into perspective. He told me that when I was in his home that first day and he realized that I was the daughter of his beloved former customer Charlie, he was thrilled I was there because he knew how much my dad had treasured me. Last night Hermon was relating to me what he recalled about my dad's talking to him over the years about me. Hermon was telling me not so much any details, but more the gist, the essence, and the long term constancy of what my father had said to him. Hermon concluded this by telling me, "you really were his entire world". Hermon will be 90 in August, and he barbered until about three years ago, working in his own shop here for the last 35 or so years. When he retired, he was the oldest, longest continually working barber in the state of AZ, having barbered for 67 years. He cut my dad's hair for ten years, and although Hermon always says to me and others that he and my dad were real good friends, I have heard no details anywhere that they ever got together outside of the barber shop. Hermon's son has told me that his dad "was not the type of person" to get together with people anywhere outside of work. I have wondered what this means - how Hermon was so connected to my dad and what that might have meant to my dad. Hermon inadvertently explained this himself, telling me, "barbering is a very personal relationship and a strong bond develops over the years because of the communication that takes place". My dad said very little about Hermon, but the truth is that my father was not a talker and said very little in general at home. I always assumed he didn't talk much to others either, but that may not be true. He has been more communicative with me since his death than he ever was before, and I am getting to know him more and more after his death. How and why that is - well that is a mystery! Anyway, it seems very clear to me now that my dad sent me over to Hermon's house with Gloria that day, and seemed to believe that once I got there I would see what I needed to do and do it. I have done so in spite of the challenges of many kinds. Caring for Hermon is sometimes it is an honor, sometimes an aggravation, and usually a pleasure, but it has never felt like a choice. He is not my father but he is somehow family - family that my father arranged after his death. I miss my dad every day and I feel lost here surrounded by his possessions and faced with his physical absence. I struggle every day to find meaning in all of this, mostly how it is that I didn't really understand so much of the essence of him or his history until he was no longer living. I wish he could have explained so many things to me while he was alive, rather than my having to extrapolate if after his death. But like him, I am a relentless seeker of truth and understanding, and he was not much of a talker. I suppose it is what it is...
  2. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Yes, I could work as a psychotherapist for the guidance center in Cottonwood or Flagstaff. The executive director of the Flagstaff Guidance Center really wants me to work for him... And...check this out. I spent a huge chunk of time over the weekend researching all of the states in the country and what one needs to do to be cross-licensed. The online company had sent me several suggestions for states to get cross-licensed in, but they seemed to all have something I don't have and can't really get, like a degree from a school that was NASP-approved while attending (my school got this later). I made up a spreadsheet with information I got from NASP online. I then checked this state by state by looking at each state's website, and sorted it all out into columns. They really appreciated getting all this data and gave me two suggestions from my short list. One of them is Oregon! Oregon is actually one of the easier states to get a reciprocity license, and I jumped right on it, especially since the woman from the company told me that "Oregon is one of our high needs states". So, I'll be a licensed school psychologist in Oregon - what do you think about that? Cool, huh?
  3. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Yeah, I know what you mean. I am afraid that I may not have enough work if I don't accept the two days a week of work in Winslow. I really really do not want to drive to Winslow; it's about two hours each way that I would not be compensated for, and half of it is on a freeway with big trucks. I hate that kind of driving. In addition to the safety risks, and wear and tear on my old cars, it means time sitting, less time to exercise, and other health risks. I think part of my reluctance to refuse those two days is that it would be working for a guy I worked with before and that really saved me when I thought I was in free fall in between jobs seven years ago. I hate to say no to him. I am working on getting cross-licensed in Michigan and Georgia as a counselor and in California as a school psychologist, in addition to my licensure in AZ in both of these areas. It seems like it would be better to work hard at that, since it will likely lead to what I really want - securing more work with the online company. I have generally not operated out of fear in my life and it seems rather unlike me to just give up and accept what I know I don't want out of fear. If it really does turn out badly and I don't get enough work, I can always get work at an agency as a psychotherapist. There is an agency in Cottonwood and one in Flagstaff. The latter is a little longer drive, but I know the executive director and every time I see him he asks me if I'll come work for him... I just watched the movie "The Eagle Huntress" and I felt a lot of grief for the death of my dad, but also a lot of gratitude for what he gave me in the way of mentoring, guidance, support, friendship, and ultimately partnership, as I developed my skills and my career over the years. A decade ago, he watched me go through an ordeal in another school district that was similar to what I have endured this past year. He said that he was lucky and never had to face that kind of arbitrary abuse at work or even the threat of losing his job because of something crazy like a supervisor's insecurity. He was smart, he worked hard, he did a good job in his professional work, and he was rewarded for it by reasonable financial compensation and security in his career. I have been attacked for my strengths, and vilified for having the intelligence and skills that make me excel at my work. It's hard to remember that is not my fault. I miss my dad...but I hear him talking me through this.
  4. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Yeah...the fuzzy roommates are the best! Eight more days of work - Mon Tues Thurs Fri for two weeks. Nest week will be jam-packed with meetings and work, and the last week I will be tying up loose ends and packing up loose ends. I am trying to figure out what to do about next year. I would really like to do as much as work as I can with the online company and that means being as available as possible. That would mean saying no to MG, my colleague of six years to his offer of two days per week in Winslow. I have one day a week set up in Prescott with a new person, and am very excited about that, because going to Prescott means I can go to Trader Joes and a real art store, as well as grab a fish taco while there. If I had the one day in Prescott and two days in Winslow, both with a long drive, I would be at about full time with those three 12+ hour days. Not much time to develop a caseload with the online company. They say you start with something and then build on. If I don't accept the two days in Winslow, it could be rather sketchy for awhile but I would probably end up with something that worked better for me. Driving to Winslow means about an hour each way of driving on a freeway in heavy traffic with big trucks and I HATE that! Also, if I took the day in Prescott and the two days in Winslow I would be still trying to make a go at working with the online company, and would probably have more work than I could do well at. And I wouldn't have any time to have a life of my own. That doesn't seem good. But if I don't take the two days in Winslow, I could end up a little short on work, but would probably be able to fill it in with bits and pieces of things that are closer to home...
  5. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Yeah...me too. I had gotten so flattened my synesthesia disappeared - where I sense these three-dimensional line when I listen to or think about music. But just the other day I found my hands dancing around to music, and this morning I had a stray random thought about painting. I was too busy to think about it much, much less do anything about it, but it was nice to get some sense that the artist I am is still there. I am getting a lot of work lined up for next year, though. In fact, I think I have found more than I can realistically do, and I have to figure out what is reasonable so that I don't make myself crazy with too much work and too much stress. That's great that you are enjoying some beauty with Arlie - he sounds like a splendid dog...
  6. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    That's good, Kay. Glad to hear you had a nice time with Arlie. I appreciate this message you sent, and your ongoing support - it means a lot to me. Verklempt is a great word, huh? It says so much, but doesn't exactly fill in all the gaps. I am going through the motions without feeling the purpose most of the time. It seems like there is a possibility that I might feel really feel motivated some day and I am trying to keep my wheels on the track in case that happens. I feel motivated about little things, and get engaged in my work or this or that endeavor - it's just not part of a big picture...
  7. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    I played the cello at a contra dance in Flagstaff tonight, driving up there in back in my dad's '93 Mercury Grand Prix. The dance was good...the best part was playing "Pig Ankle Rag". My dad's father loved ragtime music and as of late I have heard him coaching me on how to play rhythm for a rag. I am there playing the cello, and he played ragtime music on that banjo that my sister threatened to disown me over, but there he is in my ear urging me where to accent the rhythm. Pretty cool. Driving home from the dance I felt all verklempt in the car, remembering when he coordinated his move out west. He unloaded tons of stuff onto my sisters and sent along a stuffed moving van with the Mercury IN the van, while he flew across the country and worked during on the flight on a term paper for a class we were taking together online. I just wish I could start those ten years over. Looking back it seems so short. It was the best decade of my life. I knew that at the time, but it is even more clear now. He used to tell me things like, "Oh I bet you never knew what a burden I would be when you asked me to move out west..." I always told him that he was never a burden and it was the best thing I ever did in my life. It really was. But now I am so lost. More lost than I was before that decade. I don't get it.
  8. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    You are probably right. It seems like it should be better by now, but I lost my dad and my best friend and my link with my family history and a lot more. My safety net is gone and also that cozy feeling of having someone who was always on my side... Last night my neighbor told me that she might be moving to Reno to live near family and it just seemed like too much. We have become very close and I would really be alone without her. Today she told me that she was having a really bad night and she really does want to stay here...
  9. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    I've really been thinking about my dad a lot lately...maybe it's because of leaving my job and things feeling so uncertain. I sure miss him. I keep thinking about all the little things that he used to do, things he said all throughout my life, things he did and what it felt like being around him. Sometimes it feels like I am back at the beginning again and I'm not sure why. Partly due to the uncertainty and changes and partly due to my friend Greg being in Texas with his dad, who seems unlikely to recover from his slow decline. I don't know... I remember a few weeks after he died having a dream that he walked in the door and wanted to know why I was giving away his stuff and what would he do without it. Since he died I recovered from a car accident, combined our household stuffs into my small condo, got a new job and held onto in for a year. I set up my condo with mostly his furniture, in a mirror image of his condo when he was here. Sometimes late at night I feel like I am in his condo and he could appear as in the dream. Sometimes I feel like everything is gone. Sometimes it feels like nothing really matters at all..
  10. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    We finally got through that one. Michael the SpEd director - the guy who mercifully separated me from my job - is trying to stir the pot and trip me up any way he can. I got through the situation above...it all worked out in spite of Michale's interference. I have generally found that if you act in the best interest of the child, you are doing what the parent wants and the teachers think is best it will all work out. Michael is trying every way he can think of to trip me up during the time I have left, in spite of the reality that I am really busting a gut doing my absolute best to serve the district, help the kids, and complete my obligations during the remainder of my contract. Mercifully, he is leaving the country on vacation for two-and-ai-half weeks. He'll be gone from Monday May 7 until Wed May 23. I have off work every Wednesday from now on, and my last day is May 25. Time to start counting the days, I think. Pretty soon I will be able to count them on my hands. Twelve days left!!! Yay!!!
  11. I know what you mean. Everything changes. My mother died in 2005 and I was afraid my dad would follow her. I coaxed him out west and we had ten good years together before he died in 2016. My beloved aunt died two months after my dad. I thought my mother's death would straighten out the twisted nature of the family dynamics and was kind of relieved, even though I loved her and missed her. Things seemed ok with my sisters while my dad was alive, but after his death I realized that my mother's narcissism had been passed onto my sisters and they had been making nice with me so that I would persuade my dad to send them money. Once he was gone they didn't seem to have much use for me. Suddenly it was like my entire family was gone once my dad died. Losing him was devastating enough but being all alone was too much. Things have improved a little, and the sister I was never close to before is making some efforts to be civil and maybe even a little friendly. They were both really angry with me after Daddy died, mostly about things that had nothing to do with me as well as that they thought they should have gotten more money. It was all really terrible. There are so many stories here and everywhere about families falling apart after a death, people doing crazy things to each other over money after someone dies, and so on. While I was handling my dad's affairs after he died I would tell people about the icky and awful things my sisters did and said to me, and over and over people would say, "oh, you're the executor, huh?" One sister in particular went particularly crazy over the money. Naturally she was the only one of the three of us that had ever been comfortable; she married two men with money and during the years in between when she had to work she managed to loosen over $100K from my dad by lying to him. She ended up getting about that much less in the end and assumed that was my doing. I have also found that I don't really enjoy the things I used to as much as when my dad was alive. Things seem flat somehow. It's been two years and I miss him every day. He was my best friend and always had my back. He was always on my side no matter what, and was always interested in what I had to say. I remember him telling me when I was in high school, "No one will ever love you as much as your parents..." but I realized eventually that he was really talking about himself. I miss so many things about him. I miss him every day. It's hard to believe that all of those memories are all there will ever be...I know what you mean. For me it's been over two years and I'm still devastated...It's not as bad as the first year. Things do change. Hang in there!
  12. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    That is sure the truth, and the year is ending in the same way it has gone all along - sweating bullets. I have been trying to complete an evaluation for a girl, but it seems to have turned into a game of "monkey-in-the-middle"/keepaway. The SpEd director (who should not even be involved) was very engaged in stirring the pot, working with the principal to get me to start this evaluation over, until I pointed out that his plan was illegal. Meanwhile the principal has been busy working with the teachers -and probably the parent - in some back-biting recreation of what actually happened. Sounds like monkey-in-the-middle, huh? And the SpEd director tells me that I have not been a team player in all this. I think if he engages the team in playing monkey-in-the-middle, with me as the monkey, it is impossible for me to lead the team because he has organized the team to play against me. We started with a meeting on Jan 30 for this girl, and legally were to have completed the process with a second meeting within 60 days. The parent cancelled the meeting on March 29 and no one told me what happened or who canceled. It took me weeks to figure it out. Since then the parent does not return my calls as I try to re-set the meeting. There was an alleged 30-day extension (which never was obtained or signed as it turns out). Now it is seriously out-of-compliance late, and the SpEd director is getting nervous. He figures the parent will sign everything and we should just backdate it all. The SpEd coordinator tried to help fix this by setting up a meeting on April 30 and giving me a 30-day extension to have the parent sign (backdated), but the teachers were on a walkout and there was no school. Now, the coordinator is out of town for a week and we 90+ days out on a 60 day process and the parent won't talk to me about setting up a meeting; she sent me a text saying I should email her with any questions or information. Meanwhile I have a huge load of other evaluations I am desperately trying to complete before the end of the school year and this is starting to look unrealistic. All the energy I have used on this one has taken time away from the others... Ultimately, the person who will suffer the consequences of all this is the SpEd director, because the district gets dinged for every evaluation that is not completed within 60 days. The law is written in such a way that the kids shouldn't suffer because ultimately the grownups will have to get it together or they will have legal consequences. As for me, I suppose I should stop sweating bullets because I have been kept from doing my job, and just do what I can reasonably do. If some of these evaluations that I have tried so desperately to complete are incomplete at the end of the year when my contract is complete, the district will be in a pickle. They then could contract with me to complete the work (probably paperwork at that point - that would be hard for someone else to do) after the end of the school year if they desired to complete the processes. Or not... I suppose ultimately this is Michael the SpEd director's bearing the consequences of his own monkey-business. Why am I sweating bullets?
  13. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Thanks Kay and Marty! I think things are going to be ok. I passed my clinical interview and the review of paperwork and just need to provide them with references and sign a contract. We have an appointment to talk this morning, and it will be a good opportunity to ask questions. I am very excited about this opportunity but since it is very different than anything I have ever done, there are a lot of unknowns.
  14. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    I have been going through the interview process with a company that does online evaluations and therapy. I have done two preliminary phone interviews, a "tech check" to see if my computer and internet service will work with their system, and a writing assignment. Today I had my "clinical interview" by video, and I think I knocked it out of the park. Near the end I told the interviewer that I was hoping to be able to tell my former professor and one of the authors of the test kits I use most frequently that I was going to be involved with this company. They are the only company that is authorized to administer these tests online and I would be thrilled to be able to tell her this. The interviewer responded, "Oh you will - you will be able to tell her that", and added that the only thing left was to look at my writing. I think they'll be happy when they see my writing. When it was my turn to ask questions, I asked the interviewer what they were looking for in a candidate and she essentially described me! They want people who are experienced, seasoned professionals and mature people. They also need people to be comfortable with high tech operations and to be flexible - to be able to go into a variety of settings with schools that may really be struggling, and just do the work we are there to do. She also had a couple of other comments that really sum up how I approach evaluations. She also was really pleased that I am an LCSW as well as a school psychologist, and willing to get credentialed in other states. She told me that the fact that I was able to do counseling would stabilize my income; the psychological evaluations are somewhat sporadic, but the counseling is more steady, since it is ongoing. It was very exciting, and the best part about it was that she seemed to think she had hit the jackpot in finding me. After having been treated like something to be thrown out with the garbage, that felt really nice.
  15. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    I think you're right. It makes sense that a principal would figure that the SpEd director should be an expert on the law and if there was a difference of opinion between him and a school psychologist, one might figure that he was right and go with that rather than believing the school psychologist who is leaving anyway. It may have been unnerving for her to run into this situation where she sided with him in trying to make me do something that is redundant (and therefore unnecessary) as well as do it by an illegal path. I am unable to do this thing for them given my load, but given the redundancy and legal questions, she chose the wrong person to side with. Sorry - that is not my fault. But she almost had her position eliminated and is probably feeling rather shaky...
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