Waiting. . . for nothing to happen

Olyvia married only one year out of high school. By the age of twenty-one she had two little daughters. Before her twenty-second birthday she was a widow.

Fast forward the years of raising two girls as a single parent. Going back to school to become a nurse so she could support her family financially exhausted her life during her twenties. Working, being a mom, and watching friends take turn get married filled her life.

However, her days were anything but full. A pervasive emptiness whispered in her ears. She would lay in bed alone. She watched her married friends share tasks with their partners. She could not have known that her time as a wife would be so limited, until it was over.

Decade by decade she believed someone new would walk into her life. “Single no more,” she would close her eyes and wish with each birthday candle year after year.

Then she watched her girls marry. “It’s OK that I won’t get to have a ‘daddy/daughter’ dance,” she listened to her daughter chat with a friend. Olyvia’s heart broke once again. If only she had remarried, her daughters could have had a new dad.

A reason to marry is far more complex than just filling a vacant job description. She was anxious for someone, but not if it meant sacrificing the lifestyle she shared with her young girls. If they were to have a father, he had to be just like Zach. Maybe that was part of the problem.

What man could ever be compared to her dream partner? She had married her childhood sweetheart. Obviously, she could not go back in time. Someone new in her life, would not have been her friend during all those years.

So, now facing retirement, Olyvia stands alone. Regrets? For sure. Regrets for what never happened. But relief for relationships she and her daughters did not endure. Two sides. One life.

She could not help but say to herself, “I have waited all these years. . . for nothing.”

In Higgins Valley, memories keep happening. What happens next for Olyvia and her daughters? Just wait.

Alone. . .

Flying Beans

Remember times when you were young and time stood still? When you thought to yourself, was that gathering just one more of many times together? What could make one lunch any more memorable than any other?

Picnics with all family members assembled around the campfire paints a portrait of a well established memory. The food, the chatter, the smell of the grill all instilled memories that I will always cherish.

Then there were times, you wished had never happened. Or, they even though they did happen, hopefully had been forgotten.

So it was on a simple summer day when I was eight years old. My dad successfully grilled the burgers with no major incidents. A slight breeze greeted our family outing. Each member did their part to assemble a splendid picnic.

However, the gentle breeze unexpectedly gained a wind speed of noticeable strength. The napkins and other paper items started to loft with the air currents. Plates that were not weighted down adequately started to dance with the wind.

Unfortunately, I had not noticed the strength of the breeze until it was too late. I could not catch my plate as it lofted toward my brother. Bake beans splattered across his white shirt. I heard my family laugh hysterically as I sat embarrassed and silent.

A moment to forget was all I wished for that episode. The truth is, that now, many years later, it has become one of the most memorable picnics my siblings recall.

The flying beans humiliated me then in ways I could not explain at the time. Now, thank you, beans for making a lasting memory for us all.

Picnic time. . . making unexpected memories.

Skipping Stones

“‘Finding just the right shape is the key.” Nellita’s memories of dad included a variety of personal moments. Spending a day at Lake Picnic, she could hear his voice again like it was yesterday. In reality, fifty years had evaporated.

Recalling sweet times brought sorrow along for the ride. “He died too soon. My little sister has no memories of our dad. And he was a great dad.”

She bent over and selected a stone her father would have specifically chosen. Smooth on one side, round, and it had to fit into her hand comfortably. Scheming for the perfect wave coming towards the shore, Nellita drew her right arm back. With as much strength that she could retrieve, she watched the hand at the end of her arm fling the stone toward the lake.

The distinct plop of the rock dropping into the water a mere four feet in front her brought her thoughts back to the current time. “He’s gone. And Parkinson’s has stolen my strength.”

“I thought those days would last a life time,” her grieving emotions ached to hug her dad one more time.

Come to Higgins Valley Moments and skip stones with Nellita. She needs you.

Skipping stones with dad, just one more time, please.

Higgins Valley: Where is it?

You know that small town where everyone knows each other’s name? More than that, the place where people talk about how each street name was chosen.

The place where you think it is. . . that’s where you’ll find Higgins Valley. Many people think about a quiet, familiar town. A lake not too far from town with a perfect picnic ground describe the hometown essence of Higgins Valley.

Yet, the people, as presumably predictable as one might think, initially, are not always as they seem. Readers can hear what individuals are thinking. However, neighbors do not know as much as they assume.

So, what happens next? Anything.

Book One: I Will Stand Up Again, invites readers to meet the people, learn some challenges, and identify with unique individuals. In Higgins Valley Moments, Book Two continues when change shocks their solitude. Book Three. . . stay tuned.

Higgins Valley in spring, summer, autumn, and winter
. . . in real life.

Alone: What Stories it Tells

On the top of a not too distant hill stands a tree. All by itself. How did that happen. Were there other trees a long time ago? If there were, what happened to them? If that tree always did stand alone, how did it get so tall, all alone?

Even as youngsters the girls would walk up the hill and make up stories about their tree. The storm that blew down the other trees had a different saga each time they told it.

Then there was the tale of early settlers who planted one tree to be seen by all sides. It announced they were finally home. Fields on each side look up to the statement of ownership, the tree.

Funny, none of the town people could recall a time before the tree. They had handed down details of every street and even the lakes. But the tree had no tale. Well, no tale according to the people of Higgins Valley.

However, the tree was not unimportant. Decades later, the girls, now in their fifties, still treasured their childhood friend. Recanting stories, pretending adventures, or just spending a warm summer day, the tree would always be their childhood friend.

It makes one wonder what additional memories are yet to be savored by generations to come. . . in Higgins Valley.

One lone tree, but many adventures.

Alzheimer’s: I Remember. . .

I can still see my father’s heartfelt eyes, “My daughter is working with Alzheimer’s and I am working on getting it.” He had seen previous family members demonstrate typical memory loss that Alzheimer’s inflicts.

At that time, I was working as the Resource Clinician for a satellite clinic. Alzheimer’s was the primary diagnosis we were following. Watching other families react to the “A” word broke my heart. But nothing compared to observing my parents walk the personal journey of memory loss.

Sometimes having multiple perspectives provides more depth of compassion. I do believe that was true in my case. But that did not make it any easier. As my father’s cognition declined, I could not separate my emotions from the tears of other daughters as the grieved the “disease of a thousand good-byes.”

Ultimately, my personal journey motivated me to write “Don’t Forget Your Hat.” If you are looking for a story about a family living the Alzheimer’s life, this book is learning tool. Many have needed to invent survival tactics that numerous families have already learned. “Don’t Forget Your Hat” offers support and practical solutions for Alzheimer’s families as well as for support groups.

Additionally, my years in theater taught how powerful stage can educate a community. I have included a simple play in the back of book for support groups to use to for the purpose of educating others. Be prepared for tears and laughter when people walk down the Alzheimer’s trail.

Don’t Forget Your Hat” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (By the way, instructions for knitting the hat. . . are also included.)

Ella’s favorite pattern. She never forgot!

Introducing: The Author

I think I need to tell others who I am. My daily life is walking with fibromyalgia. Although, there are some days I can hardly walk at all.

Nursing life was not only my job, it was my identity. Still is. Compassion, listening, explaining medical procedures in understandable terms gave my career purpose. I thought I would work until I chose to retire.

But that did not happen. Financing clinics in healthcare has become a quandary. The Geriatric Assessment Clinic I managed closed with over six hundred open cases. I was devastated. Finding employment when managers could see how challenging it was for me just to walk down the hallway ended my career.

So, I traveled in my mind back to the beginning. When I was eight years old I wrote my first play. Loved writing and theater all through school and even as a young adult. I wrote the start of numerous books before I was twelve years old.

Now, when my pain level allows, I write. Higgins Valley is a place based on my home town. Sorry, I.m not giving out any details. You can picture it’s location wherever you would like.

My characters are a conglomeration of many people I have known all my life. Many have medical diagnoses that lead the stories to a place where I know readers can hear their pain. Laughter also provides required relief when life just naturally happens.

The three main women are me. Not precisely; but they each have attributes and annoyances where I have struggled. But pushing the keys on my laptop I determine their journey, create their conflicts and their solutions.

I am no longer physically capable of working in a healthcare setting, but Higgins Valley Moments. . . .is where I live.

The very first flower I ever noticed/loved. . . Lilly of the Valley.
Many tiny white blossoms now paint the sidewalks in Higgins Valley.

Deep Water Perspectives

Nellita had been fearful to go swimming. Parkinson’s had robbed her of secure balance.

But in deep water, her perspective changed. As she ambled into waist deep water, support from falling came from all sides. The lake was not a challenge. It had become her friend. The gentle waves offered a sense of security.

Another treat swept by her legs. She looked down into the water. About three or four feet below the surface, a school of small fish swished past her.

The beach is safe and beautiful. But you cannot see the friendly fish from there. The shore has shifting sand. The beach had higher risks than deeper water to trip and fall.

Yes, it takes more work and willingness to tread into deeper water. But the benefits. . . savor the moment.

Higgins Valley Moments. . . where more beach walking invites readers to join the community.

Come into the water. . . you won’t know what’s there until you do.

Senior Safety and Dignity

GOLDEN INDEPENDENCE: If you care for an aging individual a resource of practical information, consider utilizing an using a guide with a wealth helpful specific interventions.

Written by Certified Gerontological Nurse with over thirty-five years of first hand experience, Golden Independence details subjects families struggle to handle.

Twenty chapters discuss topics including driving, memory loss, incontinence, preventing falls, etc. Another twenty chapters help families to understand behavioral issues such as insomnia, agitation, wandering, and other common challenges. The final twenty chapters offer room by room advice to assure safety for an aging person who wants to remain in their own home.

GOLDEN INDEPENDENCE can be purchased on Amazon and also Barns & Noble.

Independence is truly golden!

Climbing the Dunes

One step forward in loose sand automatically challenges your forward progress. As your foot slides back whether you want it to or not simply walking forward is not easy. When climbing sand dunes, sliding back down is a constant struggle you try to prevent.

Walking with Parkinson’s is quit similar. You tell your foot to step forward. It doesn’t. You concentrate on moving forward. It doesn’t. Frustration starts to mount when you try to see how far you have come. But you haven’t.

As Nellita and her dear friend chose to climb the sand dunes, feet could not simply step forward. After many steps only slight progress had been made. But working hard to try to walk felt exhausting.

How do you tell others what it’s like to have Parkinson’s? Along with all the work it takes to move forward, the fear of falling backwards is as real as tipping over from the slant of the dunes. So much effort, yet little success.

Nellita strives for her neighbors to comprehend her daily walk, or lack of it. Perhaps they should walk in lose sand and climb the dunes with her. Or, what she needs to realize, that’s what they have been doing with her for years.

Higgins Valley Moments. . . where the journey, including climbing sand dunes, continues.

Please walk with me. . .