August 22, 2001 - Musings of a TV Addict & Celebrating Mother's Life
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Today we have two short stories for you! One delightful story by Maria Harden that I'm sure many of us can relate to (I often speak in "Oprah-ese" myself)! The second story is a beautiful tribute by Mary Emma Allen to her mother. Have a kindness-filled day today!
"MUSINGS OF A TV ADDICT"
by Maria Harden
When I recently found myself in between jobs for several months, I was at a loss as to what to do with the free time I had suddenly acquired. Having been gainfully employed for over half my adult life, I found that not having structure to my day was a bit disconcerting. Eventually, I ended up filling my days with hobbies, school, and activities, and when I was really bored, housework. I tried not to be bored.
Then, I rediscovered television.
Television is something that has never held much appeal for me. I lost interest in it after Dallas went off the air, back in the 1980's. Life has never been the same since. I took the attitude, if I can't watch Dallas, then I don't want to watch anything. I am probably the only person in North America who has never once watched Friends or Seinfeld, and knows nothing about Survivor or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Let's just say I can think of better ways to spend my time. Game shows, talk shows, soap operas, sitcoms . I scoffed at them all and firmly ascertained they will never grace my mentality. I had become a television snob, and was proud of it.
One dull day, full of restless energy, I turned on the TV and found Oprah. Whatever the context of her show was that day, it piqued my interest and it wasn't long before I was a reluctant Oprah fan. I grudgingly admitted that she had a good thing going with her show. It was as intelligent and classy as she herself was. When I discovered she had a magazine, curiosity made me buy it. Amazingly, my conversations then become peppered with Oprah. "Did you see Oprah yesterday?" "Just bought the latest issue of "O" magazine, and it has the greatest article." "Oprah says." You get the picture. Then, enter Rosie O'Donnell. Rosie was comical, blunt, and down-to-earth. I found myself drawn to her generous spirit and quit wit. When she also came out with her own magazine, I was delighted. Oprah now had some competition!
I now had two reasons for being home in mid-afternoon -- I needed my Oprah / Rosie fix. If I wasn't home to watch their shows, which ran back to back, I taped them. Yes, I got over my fear of the VCR and actually learned how to record.
I began perusing the TV guide with great interest. I carefully went over the week's programming and then either taped shows of my choice, or stayed home to watch them. I made excuses for not going out. Having rediscovered TV meant I had a lot of catching up to do. All my snobbish anti-television beliefs were now dispelled and I even knew which channels were from which cities, right down to their station ID letters. Let's face it: I was becoming addicted. No, let me rephrase that: I was addicted.
To make matters worse, I discovered movie rentals, and watched armloads of movies that I had missed over the last decade or two. Hubby made the mistake of purchasing new "surround sound" speakers, and oh! The joy of hearing sounds was enhanced and magnified. I felt I had to justify their cost, so I made good use of them. I even discovered why we had three remote controls, and to see me manipulate them, you'd think I was conducting a symphony.
I learned all about the various cable channels, and toyed with the idea of getting satellite for a while. Fortunately, I came to my senses, as my fascination with this media dwindled after a few months. When I emerged from my television-induced trance, I looked around my house and saw dust bunnies so big, they were almost ready to hop. I had to climb Mount Laundry to find clothes, and locating the vacuum cleaner took the efforts of a metal detector. It was time to get back to the real world. Reruns were about to start, and I did not want to waste one minute of our too-short summer in front of the boob tube. The television set is once again relegated to a minor passing delusion, at least until September.
Then, as I was catching the latest news report on CNN, I switched channels out of habit, and came upon an interesting program. Who was this person, cooking and crafting with such ease? She is impossibly talented. She also has a magazine! The next time I am out I will have to buy it. I wonder if I have room on this tape?
Now, if you will excuse me, I have a date with Martha Stewart.
Maria Harden © Copyright 2001
Maria lives in beautiful Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where she is inspired to write about everyday events as well as unusual circumstances. Her family is often featured in her stories as they give her an endless supply of ideas. Maria believes in taking a lighthearted look at life and finding humour where it may not normally exist. She is a fan of the written word, and strives to achieve some success in the literary world.
"CELEBRATING MOTHER'S LIFE"
by Mary Emma Allen
Although I was expecting my mom's death, in her eleventh year of Alzheimer's disease, I still felt a loss when I received the call that she'd passed away quietly in her sleep. At her funeral I wanted friends and family to remember her as the vital, giving woman they once knew and to celebrate her life by recalling good memories. I wanted them to realize, too, that even though Mother had been afflicted with Alzheimer's, she still contributed to the lives of her family and the staff at the nursing home.
Learning to Appreciate
As I cared for Mother midst this devastating disease, I learned to appreciate the person she was at that time. Even though she might not know me, might not remember our life in the past, she still could respond in a limited way. At the sound of a friendly voice, she smiled and often tried to talk. With a kiss or a hug, she beamed. When we wheeled her outside to see the flowers of spring, she seemed to appreciate this attention. At an Easter egg hunt at the nursing home, her eyes followed the antics of the children as they gathered their goodies. As I cared for her, I learned a greater love that comes with serving. We realized she still was a person, even though she was much different from the mother I'd known.
She Taught Great Grandchildren
My grandchildren, her great grandchildren, learned from this elderly lady. They enjoyed visiting her at the nursing home and looked forward to the tea parties we had in her room. Even when she could no longer participate, this ritual had meaning for the children. They learned about caring for the elderly and infirm and knew that Great Grandma could respond in a limited way to our overtures toward her. The children learned to have no fear of nursing homes and know
this often is a part of the cycle of life. Even though Mother didn't realize it, she taught her great grandchildren and gave their life value.
She Brightened the Staff's Day
"We enjoy your mother's lovely smile," the staff at the nursing home often told me. She brightened their day and made them feel better because she was there. A friend, who gives piano recitals in nursing homes, said that caring for the elderly often enriches the caregivers' lives. She agreed Mother still had a purpose in her life.
She Leaves a Legacy Then
When God decided Mother had taught us well, he called her to different life. When we remembered her at her funeral I hoped friends and family could celebrate the 91 years of this lady's life. She will live on in our memories, our traditions, and our heritage. She leaves a legacy for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
(c)2001 Mary Emma Allen
Mary Emma Allen has chronicled her mother's journey through Alzheimer's in "When We Become the Parent to Our Parents," in hopes of encouraging others as they care for a family member. More of Mary Emma's stories will appear in "Finding the Joy in Alzheimer's" by Brenda Avadian, to be published by North Star Books in September. Mary Emma has other stories in the 2theheart.com archives. Visit her web site: http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea;
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The Letter Box:
Dear Susan & 2theheartfamily,
Just wanted to let everyone know how much all the cards, and e-notes, and even snail mail have meant to me. I have recieved so many that I possibly can not answer all personally. I came home from the hospital Friday and am doing a little better. The nausea is better and the swallowing is some better. I am coughing a lot and I have to sleep sitting stright up. I have not gotten the hang of this yet, not too restful. The coughing is caused by the swallowing nerve and all that entiles. I am still real weak and can not do a lot but I am trying a little every day. This is a slow go but I do have so much to be thankful. The doctor told me that the tumor, even though small had gotten around the nerves so, that if he had waited 6 more months, there would had been very little he could have done. So, I know I am in God's hands and it will be right in the end. I still can not talk. I think Larry may be getting use to this. He has tried for 36 years to shut me up, and couldn't. I just can never tell all you what your prayers, love and support to me has meant. Just keep praying. I'm not there yet, but I will be. Thank you all.
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This is one of the most beautiful and well-written stories with a wealth of information for the believer and none alike. ("Thank You Jesus")
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"Thank You Jesus" was wonderful. Very intelligent and spiritually strong story that will stay with me a long time. I pray that we will see more from the talented Mrs. Norwood.
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