Posts Tagged ‘Hospice


God Bless the Caregivers

I just this morning, received word of the passing of a beautiful man. I met him while he and his wife tended to our Aunt in hospice not so long ago. He was a man full of the social graces and etiquette that one does not come across much anymore. His passing, his family’s loss, just as he planned to retire reminds one, yet again, of how fleeting life is. He and his lovely wife guided us through the journey and helped us cope with dementia, exhaustion, the vigil and the passing. All the time, he maintained a loving, reassuring exterior toward us and families on the same path.

One notable memory was his love for his roses and how well tended to they were. He worked hard all day in a very demanding technical environment then came home and pulled another shift assisting his wife with the care of elders. He often tended to his roses during this time too. They were quite beautiful, like him.  Rest in peace Dorin. Thank you for the care you gave.

pink petals, rose, tribute, morning light, macro, photography, SwittersB


Fishing: Early Season Anxiety & Hoarding

The temps are creeping upward. The mornings are a bit warmer if not drier here. All the tying, organizing fly boxes, staring at the gear, double checking the layers of clothing etc, etc leads to that burgeoning need to pack the gear in the rig, load up the ‘toon and head somewhere…anywhere to wet a line.

Rig w Toon SBTruth be told, I haven’t tied a lot this Winter. I tied a lot last year and seem well stocked on the basics. I have a few patterns that I will be tying this month (a chunk of a baitfish pattern for some large mouth bass & some mini-leech patterns…just  because). Like years past, I may well have that on the water revelation…”I didn’t tie any (pick the pattern here).” I have a faint recollection of wanting to tie up sculpin patterns for the rivers. That didn’t get done this past Winter. Such is life lately. 

Lake Box SBxAs some of you may know, my life…my family’s life, has been consumed with the cleanup of two massive hoarding homes and hospice care for two the past several years. The cleanup of a hoarding home makes one consider one’s own habits of acquiring and retaining this and that.

Such is the case with gear…especially fly boxes. My mind seems to flit from hyper readiness and over planning and always settles upon the ‘I might need it someday’. The exact mantra of a OCD Hoarder is it not? Hmmm? Well, I am not likely to remove, for long, many of the dozen or more fly boxes I pack into my pontoon’s cargo bags. For some reason, I can confine myself to a couple boxes on a river (odd as rivers, for me, seem to be a bigger puzzle than a lake). 

Blushing Bow 2 SBAs in life, things evolve and change. I struggle for simplicity but I am realizing this endeavor (fly fishing and tying) personifies my good tendencies and my not so good tendencies. It is often a joke in the family on how many fly rods I have…I mean I have outfitted the entire extended family in the event they might fish someday!

The reflection I see in the mirror is someone that must do a little self-assessment on just when is enough, enough. I will get to that someday (procrastination is another trait of the hoarder).


Every Day In May Challenge Final Topic: Achievement

Distant landmarks that stood off in the distance. The final gates off a ranch. They seemed so far away, but eventually through a circuitous route across the landscape I finally reached them. It felt wonderful and at the same time I hated to close them behind me and leave. Maybe I will go back.

“Achievement, exploit, feat are terms for a noteworthy act. Achievement connotes final accomplishments of something noteworthy, after much effort and often in spite of obstacles and discouragements…” (some dictionary)

Awards based on accomplishments; building things; completing giant tasks; successfully implementing new concepts; retiring from a long, notable career; helping raise wonderful children; mentoring others………  All the above are achievements. But, of late, there are four  notable ones, of which I am most humbly proud, in admittedly varying degrees of emotional intensity.

First, my oldest son and I spent the final hours with my father as he lay in a hospital bed dying. He had had a stroke days earlier. We assumed he would survive but be disabled. We didn’t know that the strokes were continuing and he was in the act of passing. As I entered the room and stared at my once invincible father I noticed that labored, gasping breathing. I didn’t understand really what I was looking at. A nurse walked up and said ‘you know what is going on don’t you? What I asked. Simply put, staring into my eyes, she said ‘he’s dying now’. She walked past me out of the room. As if I had been handed a script seconds before the curtain was to rise, there I stood on life’s stage. Ill prepared and stunned. I knelt beside him looking at his face. I held his hand, something I had never done before. I rubbed his forehead and hair, again something I had never done before. I told him I loved him. Need I say it. He passed on into that stillness. In the room you could only hear a ticking of the clock and the normal bustle in the hallway of a hospital, through the room’s closed door. My son and I stood there and took it in. My dad, the warrior, the rock was at peace. 

Second, I spent the better part of the last five years tending to my mom, who was tortured by cancer, hoarding, depression and finally spent the last five months of her life in our home dying of the cancer. I, not alone for sure, saw that through to the final breath. My sweet mom.

Thirdly, as my mom was dying, her sister and best friend was also ill. Dementia, reclusiveness, hoarding and heart disease brought my Aunt into my life as my mom died. There was no one else to care for my Aunt. My wife and I adopted my reclusive Aunt and spent over a year gaining her trust. We gained admission into her home, into a chair unearthed from her mountains of  stuff and finally we gained admission into her heart. In the end, we spent those final months as she slipped ever deeper into dementia. Again, I was there for the that final grinding, long, gasping ride to the quiet end. The clock ticking in the silent room.

I am proud of those three achievements because it was how it use to be long ago. It was a challenge and it was mentally exhausting. But, in the end, they passed with someone holding their hands. It was spiritual and challenging. I hope it is not morose or maudlin. It is intended to be the passage, the journey we all move through….eventually.


Lastly, the Every Day in May Challenge. It has been a very positive and enlightening experience. When Chadd VanZanten of How Small A Trout corresponded with me, I was immediately impressed by the topics list. Yes, much of it was fishing related and I relished the opportunity of giving up a little bit of me that others really don’t know under the cloak of SwittersB.

But, other factors became entwined whether Chadd knew this would result or not I don’t know. Life intervened for me. More strife, more stressors, more distractions. To make the daily posting and to be challenged to write outside the box and try for something different perhaps was challenging and I have to say rewarding for me. 

So, why the attachment of the seemingly heavy stuff above…the deaths of my loved ones. Well along the way of this Every Day In May Challenge quite a few topics and writing efforts renewed my faith in the spiritual value of the outdoors in healing, renewing, focusing the mind and heart. Being at one with self, nature, God, and the past. Peace of mind and of heart. It was a heck of a lot of fun too! 

Thanks to all the fine bloggers that participated and added energy and motion to this fun project. Hooray for us!!!

Well, Hooray for Me Too!


Every Day in May Challenge: ‘Current’

Every Day in May Challenge: Today’s topic ‘Current’

Current? Current Events? Current in a river? Well it dove tails in a way. Currently, I am coming out of a dutiful stint for the last five years of tending to my mom and aunt (both massive hoarders; cancer, dementia, hospice, death, hoarding cleanup, which will continue on into next year; surgeries). All this has taken a toll on my outdoor pursuits with the necessary sacrifices we all have to eventually make for those we love and care for.

Fly fishing has been a passion for decades and this is the longest phase of such infrequent outings. Outings that are often disjointed and jumbled. One does become quite proficient in all the skill sets if one gets to engage in the pursuit often. It is kind of like riding a bike. It comes back after awhile. But at times I feel like a bumbler while fishing, fumbling for gear, stumbling while wading. Fitness plays a role in this. Surgeries and the attendant decline in strength contributes to the klutzy movements. Distractions that can intrude upon the zone, ‘the moment’. But, I believe in a better tomorrow. 

Markers in the Wild

 The currents of the rivers and streams are forces that we read. Seams and competing forces that effect our presentations and success. Part of the puzzle that we attempt to solve: where is the lie? what insects live in that type of water? Imagery, imagination, karma. Currents and the structures beneath are like life. They must be read and understood if we are to be successful.

Current Events + Currents of the River. A blend that is life.


Fly Fishing: You & ‘God’ (Don’t spare the rod…..)

A peaceful August day on a small stream, not another person in site, although someone else had communed with the site before. (SwittersB)

“You must not use this aforesaid artful sport for covetousness, merely for increasing or saving your money, but mainly for your enjoyment and to procure the health of your body and, more especially, your soul.  For when you intend to go to your amusements in fishing, you will not want very many persons with you, who might hinder you in your pastime.  And then you can serve God devoutly by earnestly saying your customary prayers.  And in so doing, you will eschew and avoid many vices, such as idleness, which is the principal cause inciting a man to other vices, as is right well known. … Also you should busy yourself to nourish the game in everything that you can, and to destroy all such things as are devourers of it.”  source

I know, a touchy subject for many. “Oh God, don’t talk about that.” 

Nothing shows how enamored, addicted or committed one is to fly fishing than being cut off from it because of life’s travails. Sooner or later some form of important distraction, duty, emerges that decidedly pulls you from, turns you from the sport. The rod is removed. It isn’t even in view.

Health (your’s/other’s), (plug in here what you consider to be a significant enough demand to put down the rod). I can’t think of many commitments that would seriously deny me my ‘religious’ fix in the elements. Yet, for me, the last few years have been crushingly demanding because of family health issues.

The nagging, crawly feeling of withdrawal from the rod, the fly, the water has a profound grating effect upon the brain, the gut. I don’t like the feeling and there is no other distraction for the supreme distraction. I was talking to someone the other night about the demands of hospice care giving ( the second in two years), of the extended vigil, of life on hold, personal poor health. I said I was over loaded and did not have the energy to do the most healing of actions…go wet a line.

Son's tat...Vesica Piscis in a Triquetra (SwittersB)

The discussion evolved into the critical juncture of what does it mean to mean to fly fish…why the obsession, the edginess when denied? Because it is more than just escaping life, escaping commitments. Fly fishing, for me, is putting myself into a place, a mindset, where on many occasions you can make a commitment to self, to family and loved ones, to a higher purpose. I have never been one for the pew, the walls, the man standing between me and that cross on the wall behind him. If there is to be a connection on some level, for some solace, than let it be knee deep in a stream, rod in hand, mind open to all about and then maybe we can see something that puts us at peace. 

See now, that wasn’t so awkward was it? It connects within you on some level….call it what you will…


Sharon Margaret Muncy At Peace

Sharon Margaret Muncy (3/25/1923 to 5/6/2010)

Not the forum to highlight the passing life of your mother. But, I have a need; indulge me. Maybe it will help. Even for a brief few moments. In the future, being on the water will distract. I haven’t been on the water in almost eight months. For the past five years, my mom’s life became a repetitive series of appointments for chemo, transfusions, blood draws and lab work. On and on it went with diminishing probabilities and possibilities. Finally, in December, this dynamic, strong woman was declared to have devolved into a hospice status and we brought her into our home. I won’t go on about the mental aspects for the patient or the family in a drawn out wasting of life. It is full of so many twists and turns for all involved. Most of you know some aspect of these life altering events in your own life. No, I just want to say the toughest woman I have ever known and loved fought until the end. I will miss her spirit and strength. As my mom always said, at the most challenging of times…’kid, things are looking up’. Yes they are mom, indeed. Love you mom.

Peaceful Run (Janet Miderska)


End of Life Suggestions (Don’t Dawdle)

Delay, denial, procrastination, avoidance. No. Calmly overcome the inertia. End of life decisions are best not made as loved ones slip away. Their mind is preoccupied with another level of being, that you will become increasingly familiar with.

The ‘pink card’, hospice,  the DNR/DNI (Do Not Resuscitate/Do Not Incubate) decision, the POA (Power of Attorney/Financial/Medical), the Will, the Living Trust, the bequeathments, the arrangements. The child stepping up to lead, suggest, direct, remind, implement.

Whether for your spouse, parent, grandparent or yourself…move…get it done.


Riffles, Swirls, Heavy Rains….Time, Precious Time

Looking-glass River

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Smooth it glides upon its travel,
Here a wimple, there a gleam–
O the clean gravel!
O the smooth stream!

Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,
Pave pools as clear as air–
How a child wishes
To live down there!

We can see our colored faces
Floating on the shaken pool
Down in cool places,
Dim and very cool;

Till a wind or water wrinkle,
Dipping marten, plumping trout,
Spreads in a twinkle
And blots all out.

See the rings pursue each other;
All below grows black as night,
Just as if mother
Had blown out the light!

Patience, children, just a minute–
See the spreading circles die;
The stream and all in it
Will clear by-and-by.

Below @ “The Past” you can search back to 2008 month by month

August 2020

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