Xmas dedication to mom

Xmas is a time of joy. One can see it reflected in the expectant eyes of children. Innocent questions about prophets and Santa Claus bring smiles to the faces of weary, sometimes-cynical parents. As time passes, those children become adults. The inexorable passage of life also dictates that eventually parents die. Suddenly holidays are transformed into bitter-sweet remembrances. I lost my Mom on Xmas many years ago. This post is dedicated to her and one of her favorite authors, Kahlil Gibran:

“Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”

The panopticon

Eye of Providence
Eye of Providence

Syzygy predicted by prophecy

Will unite animus and anima

In mutually-reinforcing mimicry.

Instinct will transcend edict.

What was once spiritual anathema

Would be revealed for crowd scrutiny

By non-believers and clergy,

Who would cull heresy and abscond with creativity,

Thanks to the lexicon

Of the panopticon.

Controlled by invisible scions

Manipulating the evolutionary game,

The proletariat would acquiesce through their subservience

And technological singularity would amplify instant fame,

Dissolving physical and psychic boundaries

And giving rise to hitherto unknown quandaries.

The flies in the ointment,

Threatening the fabric of humanity

By being such a disappointment,

Always eluding secular anointment,

Are truth and individuality,

Repulsive forces failing to simplify human complexity,

Genetic morality modulated by epigenetic technology.

What are these foreboding tendrils threatening crowd-sourced certainty?

Could it be “the other”?

Could it be a softer psyche seeking common ground

When none is to be found

In the glare of warfare?

Could it be the rejection of love’s profound union

In favor of anarchy and the destruction of femininity?




The caregiver

First appeared in the Norwalk Patch:

Physical strength is measured by what we can carry; spiritual by what we can bear.

— Unknown

The caregiver pulled his car into the nursing home parking lot. Rhinestone Cowboy, the country song made famous by Glen Campbell, faded with the sound of the car engine. His reprieve from the day-to-day worries over an ailing father, an Alzheimer’s disease sufferer, was at an end. His brother had suggested the road trip. The weekend admiring fall foliage and reminiscing over the family had been a bittersweet event. The highlight of the trip had been a joint viewing of embroidered narratives by Holocaust survivor, Esther Krinitz, at a local museum. Her stitch-by-stitch tale of horrors encountered during World War II provided evidence of a sharp memory, unlike the jumbled thoughts of his father.

He had seen the warning physical signs marking the onset of his father’s disease and watching the progressive deterioration had taken a toll on his own well-being. He had needed coping tips and the support of a sibling. He felt rejuvenated, knowing that his cry for help after succumbing to caregiver burnout, had not fallen on deaf ears. He signed his name in the nursing home guest book, punched the door code for the Alzheimer’s wing and knocked on his father’s door.

The massage therapist let him into the room. His sister-in-law had suggested the therapist’s services as a birthday treat for his mute father. When he saw the light in the old man’s eyes, he knew that she had been right. His father had responded to the warmth of the therapist’s caring touch. His own gruff expression softened as he held his father’s hand. The meeting was brief, because there was nothing left to say anymore. However, he felt strangely at peace as he returned to his car and switched on the radio. Someone was interviewing former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’ Connor, on one of the stations. The interviewer gingerly enquired about her late husband, who had died of the disease in 2009, before shifting back to the more comfortable terrain of her illustrious career.

He reached his home and sorted through the pile of papers and magazines on the kitchen table. A Time magazine article about new biomarkers for detecting the memory-robbing illness in its earliest stages, caught his eye. Another piece of paper about Glen Campbell’s brave fight with Alzheimer’s disease fell to the floor. He would have to read that article another time. He first needed to figure out where to come up with the next month’s payment for his father’s nursing home stay. He balanced his checkbook and marked the calendar. Next week he would attend a caregivers’ support group meeting. The topic would be art and music therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose that an early-Alzheimer’s-disease sufferer found in Poetry, would also strengthen each member of the group. His courage returned because he could now rely on the support and understanding of other people.