Youth Suicide Prevention

I want youth suicide to stop. I want our youth to feel hope, to feel loved, to look forward to a future of hope and love.

I am happy that there are others who feel this way also and that we have our youth suicide prevention committee going strongly here at our high school in this community. We call ourselves the “Life Savers” and use the candy as well as the flotation devises as logos and for promotional stuff.

New members are always welcome. And yes, the youth are the ones who must be involved and lead us in the issues they are facing and with ideas of how we can help.

 

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Is this going to get better?

As my feet step up onto the deck of mom’s house and I reach out to open the door, so familiar, so routine, it strikes me that some day I won’t be coming here to this house. Every day since dad died, I have made my visit to mom’s and yes sometimes more than once a day depending on what I need to do. It somehow has kept my dad alive and kept things “normal”.  Except there is nothing normal about the situation. Inside this door when I open it, my mom will be waiting. She will either be sitting in her chair in the living room or laying down in the bedroom. But she will be wondering when my dad is coming home.

She has good days for sure, but then there are the bad days, like yesterday. I could tell she had been crying when I arrived because she was in the bedroom and came out sniffling. Mom never cries in front of anyone. She was upset because she had just had a phone call from a well-meaning relative who had asked her questions and she did not know how to answer.  She didn’t know if my dad was alive or not, where all of her children lived, where all of her grandchildren lived or what anyone was doing. I was able to talk with her and make her feel better, laugh a little and eat her dinner. She phoned me three more times later that evening, asking the same questions each time. Each time I explained the same things to her. “Is this going to get better?” she asks. I tell her that we can hope it will. Eventually, she took her bedtime pills, which helps with her anxiety and she was able to go to sleep, (I didn’t get anymore calls).

It is torture for her because she knows she does not remember, therefore, she does not want to go out or see people or have to answer any questions. The worst part for her is not remembering that my father died or any part of the funeral. I’ve noticed lately that her stories are becoming tangled together, combining parts of one story with another. She also makes up a lot more stories because she can’t remember. She tells me what she’s done that day but none of it is true.

Today, as I open the door I can only pray that it is a good day. For her sake.

 

 

Practicing Ojibwe with mom

My mother is half Anishinaape and half Scottish. We children are therefore one-quarter Anishinaape and one-quarter Irish and one-half Scottish, if you divided up the blood parts in us.

Mom’s first language is Ojibwe. Her mom spoke only Ojibwe and her father spoke only English but they managed to learn enough of each other’s languages to get along. We children were not taught both languages. My dad thought it would be too confusing, so we were raised in English. Mom did teach us some Ojibwe and I have always wanted to learn more. But I am too lazy and it is not easy, so I just continue on as I am with what I know.

I recently bought a little phrase book that is so cute. (I had purchased one before for my brother when we both became Status Indians under Bill C-3 a few years ago.) When I’m with my mom I always ask her how to say things. She can still remember her language perfectly. I hope that the dementia does not take that from her.

Yesterday, I took my little book over to her house with me and we spent time together laughing at me trying to read the phrases to her. It’s difficult to pronounce words correctly; you could end up saying something totally different. It was fun; I’ll do it again.

Kathy nindizhinikaaz.  My name is Kathy.

Ten Years

It has been ten years since I last saw you on this earth. Ten years. Ten minutes. It’s all too long and I still miss you. I guess that will never stop until I see you again. Some things have changed. I have managed to go on living this new existence. Your brothers are all doing good and that makes me so happy. You now have Grampa with you over there and that makes me feel better. Grampa’s death healed me a lot because even though I would have liked him to stay longer, his leaving was a more natural one. The way it is supposed to be. Yours was not natural but I can’t change that. I can try to let go of some fears and worry and pray for a natural life for your brothers. Yes, I miss you Ryan, and I will forever.

There was a time

when you were here

and we were a happy family

I know it’s true

ten years it’s been

and the ache is still there

only dulled by the clouds

it’s hidden behind

photos of you, smiling, so cute

hair sticking up every which way

and I know you were real

there was a time

when you were here

twenty-0ne years of life

we shared and more

I knew you before you were born

a lock of your hair

I can still touch, so sweet

and I know there was a time

when you were here

with me

 

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Dear Dementia……..

Which me am I today?

We have to sit down and have a heart to heart………..

I preferred my life when you weren’t apart of it but now I can’t live without you – sadly – but there’s no need to be with me 24 hrs a day. I’d like some time on my own please. You’re in my thoughts – constantly….however, sometimes I’d like to forget about you and you me, and return to days gone by, before you’d entered my life.

I know we’ll never part, and I know some days you’ll be insistent on making your presence felt, but some times it’s just nice to be single again and roam around and mingle like you weren’t there……to have conversations that don’t involve your name; not to have to think of plan Bs to accommodate your presence……..to simply be me…..without you…….

Some days you can stifle me into submission. On these days I…

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With Respect

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Mom phoned me the other night just as I was making supper at my house. “I can’t turn the TV on,” she said.

“Press the red button at the top of the remote and point it at the TV,” I said.

“I’m doing that but it doesn’t work.”

“Ok, I’ll be over in a few minutes.”

This happens periodically and has over the past few years. Dad always had control of the remote and changed channels. Since he passed she has learned to press the red button to turn it on. Strangely she does not change channels anymore which is awesome because she would really screw things up when she used to try to do that. I  can put the TV on a channel that I know she will enjoy and leave it there. This time when I went over to see what was happening with the TV, I discovered she was using the remote for the DVD player. The TV remote was in the bedroom where she left it when she went for a nap.

A simple fix. Put the DVD remote away where it won’t be used. It would be great to have a remote from my house that I could use to turn on her TV and change channels for her. Maybe there is such a TV that can be programmed for people. That would be cool.

At one time she told me that she was trying to phone me but all she kept doing was changing the channel on the TV. She was using the remote to phone me. She is now good with the phone too. My number is the only number that she remembers and uses. Sometimes she uses it a lot.

But I always try to be respectful, because I know it’s not easy for her to have memory loss. Yet, I have a giggle to myself.