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About Clematis

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

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  • Your gender
  • 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. Oh yeah - Lena was quite the vocalist, from the very getgo, which is how she got her name. They were calling her Mena, which I thought was a terrible name, but they said that she answered to it. I figured that to name her after Lena Horne would be perfect for such a beautiful black feline as my furry darling. And she sure grew into her name as she went on from a YouTube star to the big screen. I later realized I could have named her anything and she would have figured it out quickly. How is your puppy doing? Can I see a picture?
  2. Now we're all slogging through this pandemic. It's so weird to wake up to a new world every morning. I'm guessing my dad is glad he doesn't have to deal with this. But what I hear from him is rather calming...I hear him telling me to be careful with my money, be careful on the ladder, watch out not to fall, etc. My roof was leaking and it was raining almost every day. The roofer came to patch it up in between storms and eventually really fixed it. The problem dated back to the HOA taking all of the tiles off the back half of my building and replacing it with a very poorly put together roof 10 years ago. I was on the HOA board at the time and argued against it. It seemed like a bad idea to replace a perfectly good roof with one that could be shoddy. They told me I was crazy, because I would have a new roof. The prop mgr and rest of the board all voted against me, but they were wrong and this is my second related leak. I was up and down the ladder wearing a raincoat and using puppy pads and warming lights to dry things, and everything else I could think of for ten days, but thanks to focused perseverance and a lot of puppy pads, it stayed dry enough to not mold. Today my friend Greg came down and helped me cut drywall and insulation for the hatch so that I don't have a gaping hole into the attic. It was really drafty in here for awhile. I would start getting a sore throat and think I had COVID-19, and then realize I had been up there with all that fiberglass and forgotten my mask. I have been pretty busy with the leak and working on how to get some food going out back in my tiny back yard so I don't starve if there is a big lockdown. Meanwhile, my income has totally dried up, but I have been too tired to panic. I'm trying really hard to get 8 hours of sleep every night. But then, suddenly the district in Alaska wants me to work with the kids at home via the internet or by phone if they don't have the internet. This is good. They are also working on getting more schools to do distance therapy and psychoeducational evaluations. That is good too. Tomorrow I'm off to the greenhouse first thing to get some more little plants to get in the back yard. A neighbor asked me if this green thumb and reaction to a problem by growing some food was something I inherited from my dad. First I said no, then realized it was absolutely what he would have done in this situation. Get the roofer going, do everything possible to keep the inside from getting moldy, keep scanning the horizon for work, shifting gears or direction if necessary, going for walks in the sunshine, and engineering a garden to maximize the potential to grow some food. I sure wish he was here, but in a way he is here because he is part of me. And I have Lena. I am revamping her training so that she is more active in participating in her new role as a teletherapy cat, getting her to talk on the phone more consistently. People love talking to a cat who talks back over the phone. Or the internet...
  3. It is so sad to lose a beloved pet, and to lose one with whom you grew up with must be especially hard, because he was always there for you. I feel for you.
  4. It's hard to help children with grief, I think, because it's hard to know what they are thinking. I have added an LCSW license in Alaska to my repertoire and am counseling over the internet with students on the Bering Strait of Alaska. These kids have been through so much, sometimes it's hard to know what to think or say to help them. I sure hope I can help them, because they have been through so much and had so much loss. One of my students is nine and in the third grade. I saw him last Friday and he as full of plans for his beloved bunny rabbits - his two pets - and how he planned to build them a hutch in the summer so that they could enjoy the outdoors but be protected. Wednesday he told me, "My bunny rabbits died." I was asking him what happened and kind of imagining something really terrible, but what he said was in a way, worse. He said that he thought they had died from not enough water because he noticed that their water bottle had run dry. He feels responsible for his pets' death, and it is heartbreaking. He said he figured he would never again have a pet like that again. Maybe a hermit crab, he said. There is nothing like a fluffy fur baby. I think it's really unrealistic to give a nine-year-old sole responsibility for any pet because they are children. Good for them to do the tasks, but someone should be looking over their shoulder, I think. I was working on doing origami foxes with some of the students that day, but the book also had a rabbit design. He said he would really like to learn how to fold a bunny rabbit because it might help him feel a little better. We had a little trouble because it's harder than the fox, and the rabbits didn't come out right. I promised that by Friday I would have figured it out and we would fold bunny rabbits. I emailed his teacher the directions so that he and I could both study the directions and be successful with our bunny rabbits tomorrow. They are looking good, but helping a child with this kind of thing when I can reach my hand out to assist is a new challenge. Here you can see Lena reviewing them. I introduce her as "my assistant". She is now a virtual therapy cat and comes onscreen to say hello and have a bite of chicken or shrimp. I'm not sure if it helps to have a therapy cat online, but they have a counselor who's online, and they seem to really love seeing her. You can also see my online setup on the other picture. One of my students is on the Autism Spectrum and very concrete. He is convinced that I must be in China, due to the screen. I keep explaining about how I am in Arizona and kind of near the Grand Canyon, but he's not sure about that.
  5. That is really terrific, Kay!
  6. Kay, I am so happy to hear that you have a puppy and are enjoying him. No one will ever be able to replace our lost loved ones, but there are others with whom we can share our lives. I can't imagine ever losing Lena, but I know that I am likely to live longer than she. As much as I fear having to one day live without her, it is more unimaginable to contemplate living without a cat. I lived through fifteen pet-less years due to allergies and asthma that worsened through the years in a big polluted city. After moving to a place with clean air, I was ecstatic to find Lena and learn that I would be able to live with a cat again. I wanted to share her with the world, and in a way I have. I am happy and grateful every day that I have her. The last thing I do every night is to have a snuggle-purr fest with her, and say to her, "Thank you for being my kitty." I hope she lives a long time and no cat could ever replace her. On the other hand, it is worse to have no pet.
  7. That is so sad! It is so hard to lose a pet, and that was so sudden! I feel for you.
  8. Awww...that is very sad. It is really hard to lose pets. They can be such fabulous friends, and it's really heart-wrenching to lose them. It's hard to not blame yourself or wonder what else you might have done. They just don't have a good way to tell us when something is wrong. Cats are even worse in this than dogs - they are masters al looking their best no matter how sick they are. Twelve years is a long time to have a friend and lose him...
  9. It sounds really hard to lose all of that. It's hard to find new relationships, it takes work and luck, and the people that are gone cannot be replaced. The older we get, the more people we lose, and the really long-standing relationships cannot be recreated or replaced. You may be able to find companionship but it's not the same. Also, everyone else is having the same situation and you may form new relationships with people who suddenly move across the country to wive with or near their kids. You can't really blame them, but still it's another abandonment and another loss...
  10. Yeah, it really has been four years. Sometimes is seems like yesterday and sometimes it seems like forever since my dad was alive. I miss him every day. I have spent a good deal of my adult life living alone, but was mostly in a place where there was more going on and I was more connected than I am here in small town Sedona. I moved here in 2005, shortly after my mother died, and it wasn't much later that my dad began making plans to move here. All during that year we were in close contact, talking on the phone every day and planning for the future. I don't think either of us thought we'd have ten years together. Ten years is a good chunk of one's life, but sometimes it seems like a blip. Nevertheless, during those years it seemed like the luxury of an eternity because that was my life. It was really dandy to always have someone with whom to spend holidays, weekends, evenings, and so on, and to always have someone who was interested in hearing every little detail of my life that I wanted to talk about. Anything that happened - good or bad - I had a willing ear and a supportive listener. He was always in my corner and he always had my back. Now I have Lena. I don't know how I could have gotten through the past years without her, but it's been hard. You know what I mean. Yeah, I think sometimes it's better to stay home. I have had some really bad food on Thanksgivings and other holidays, but it's the company that really matters. Those dinners with my dad generally featured really awful food because I was too overwhelmed to prepare much and it seemed like too much to go somewhere nice. So we'd go to the Elks club or to the Sizzler, and the food wasn't worth talking about. But my dad and I were together and that made it all OK. I have been feeling really flattened. I thought it was related to the holidays or to being so tired after writing so many reports. But last night when it was so cold it really struck me that it's getting really close to his Yartzheit and the anniversary of his death. I suppose it's really a season of grief that one has...
  11. Christmas was kind of similar, but I had a short conversation with my sisters. Christmas eve I went to a friend's house for dinner and that was very nice. I spent most of the day on Christmas working on reports at my house, and whatever I ate was less memorable than the shrimp and licorice of Thanksgiving. I have been working like a maniac this fall, and am wrapping up what will be a total of 63 psychoeducaitonal evaluations for the fall. I am really tired. When I go back to school for the next semester I will be totally caught up on the reports - and actually be ahead. I will not be doing anywhere as many evaluations in the spring, and it looks like I will be doing counseling in the spring as well, and not just evaluations. I am getting licensed in Alaska. Alaska!!! I will be working with kids on the Bering Strait School District, over the internet from Arizona! Is that cool, or what! Tonight, I feel like I might as well be in Alaska because it is so cold. I remember how cold it was when my dad died...I walked back and forth from his empty house where I was living (but he was not) to my own empty house (because I was actually living at my dad's house), and the whole world seemed so cold and empty and lonesome. That's how it feels here tonight, and it seems like I have been thrown back into four years ago, when we were sliding into his last few weeks of life and then the cold just lingered forever.
  12. I had a strange Thanksgiving...I was going to spend it with my neighbor who is becoming more demented and has home health care since in early November she had 4 E.R. visits in 6 days and spent of those nights in the E.R. not admitted, but "on hold". She had Pi-itis, which is what you get when you eat too much pie - especially if you are a diabetic who is gluten sensitive. Anyway, in spite of the Pi-itis, she was set on having Thanksgiving dinner with me there. I was trotting back and forth from my condo to hers fetching things and getting organized. I came back once to find her throwing up into one of the cloth napkins I had put on the table the trip before, and wadding it up (so I wouldn't notice?) She had no idea how long it had been since she took the Schwan's foods out of the freezer and I was afraid I was going to get food poisoning, but she was set on having this stuff from Schwan's, and it was Thanksgiving, after all. I had to cook it, since she was impaired. I cooked it and ate a couple of bites, but mostly sat with her and hoped she wouldn't throw up any more. After awhile, I went home, to escape the whole mess, but there I was, hungry on Thanksgiving. I had shrimp cocktail for dinner, followed by black licorice. The best part is that I had zero contact with either of my sisters or anyone else in my family.
  13. Thursday was my dad’s birthday and my younger sister sent me this picture of daddy and me. I had forgotten about this day, when it was taken. It was almost 20 years ago and I was going back east at Christmas. It was months ahead of time I told my dad I wanted to do something with him – just the two of us – because I couldn’t remember any time we had ever done something special together. I thought it would be helpful in building a relationship and getting beyond things in the past. My mother thought it was kind of strange, and thought we should all go on this adventure. My sisters were obviously envious, but I told them they could do that anytime they wanted since they lived an hour away if they chose to do so. My dad took it seriously and decided we should go to the Ice Capades together. We drove to downtown Philly, and had a nice time. It was the beginning of a friendship between two adults and begin to lay the groundwork for him eventually moving out here after my mother died, and spending his last 10 years with me. I love this photo - we both look really happy and he looks proud of me.
  14. I think you showed remarkable sensitivity and restraint in taking her aside, rather than snapping out something on the spot. How are you doing? I haven't been online for awhile since I have been working like a dog. A hard-working dog, not one of those layabouts...
  15. Last Friday night I drove the Mercury to the synagogue and several times someone asked me how I was. I said I was fine except a little sad because I was about to sell my dad's car and it was my last night with Bob, the car. One after one they explained to me how I should feel - happy to getting rid of an old car like that. Immediately after selling the car, I walked into Whole Foods on my carless walk home (good to get a little exercise), and ran into another close acquaintance. Same conversation. How can people be so dense? I held my ground but didn't slap any of them. One of them told me about how someone in their family had gotten rid of a loved one's possessions in a flash, and described this like it was a badge of honor to be free of sentimentality. It is such a personal thing - people need to be able to work through this on their own with compassion and without pressure.
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