Susan Farese, SJF Communications
November 25, 2014
A few thoughts on the absolutely magnificent sunset tonight!
Such a spectacular sunset
At the end of a busy day
How in the world to describe it?
Such vivid colors convey!
The spectrum of hues
A panoramic view
Chance… to begin anew.
This world needs more glorious sunsets
With wars on the rise
Respect out the window
Plus values diminished like haze
The key is to make a difference
By connecting with others we may..
It’s never too late
More patience, less hate
Just gaze at that sunset each day!
Dedicated to Caregivers of Dear Ones with
Alzheimer’s, Memory Disorders and Dementia, Past, Present & Future
(I wrote this poem in March, 1993 at the “Caregiver Day” Seminar at The Barrington, a Senior Living/ Assisted Living Facility in Largo Florida and presented it to the audience in honor of Caregivers. I wrote it from the perspective of the Caregiver).
Susan Farese, MSN, RN; SJF Communications 1993
I, your loving Caregiver
Need my own care as well
So I can be your guiding strength
Hearing stories you may tell…
And follow when you wander
And take the lead at times
Answering your many questions
Listening to your words and rhymes…
I, your loving Caregiver
Need time alone for me
To relieve my stress from worry
So your support I can be…
Whether I should write a poem
Or take a bubble bath
Or go to see a movie
Or walk along some path
Or call a friend and chat awhile
Or a big hug receive
Or scream and yell from frustration
(This time I really need)
Please don’t misunderstand me
I wear my green ribbon with pride
You know you’re very special to me
And my love for you I’ll not hide.
Just one more thought I ponder
A wish I will convery
Through all the trials and tribulations, don’t fear…
I remain your Caregiver today…
Have you heard about this fun exercise on Facebook?
It’s called the 5 Day Black and White Photo Challenge
Here are some of the links:
(hashtag) #5dayblackandwhitechallenge or
Think of it as a “visual chain letter”! I saw it on the status thread the first week of November, 2014 from a great NY photographer colleague I know, Marty Umans http://www.martyumans.com/ .
The challenge: to post a black & white photo each day for 5 days, and then nominate someone per day as well.
Coincidentally, on November 13th, I was nominated by my former dance teacher, Niki Simon Blacker, https://www.facebook.com/niki.s.blacker?fref=ts who takes extraordinary photos many days of the week in South Beach, Miami.
I decided to take the plunge and it was indeed fun scouring through photos galore to see which ones would be the best to include. I decided that it would also be fun to add these 5 B & W’s to my blog www.sjfcommunications.com, so you shall be staring at them in my post here!
My photos were all originally snapped in color taken with my Nikon Coolpix (either L830 http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/coolpix/l/l830/ or L820 http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/coolpix/l/l820/ ) this past year or so. I converted them to black and white in Picasa for this particular 5 Day B & W Photo Challenge.
I was thrilled to nominate five really cool photographers that I know. Here they are (with tidbits about how we know each other)!
Day 1: (Ken Jacques http://www.kjphotography.com/ (who I know professionally as our photographer for San Diego Musical Theatre and many other Theatre groups as well as his other phenomenal photography in and out of the San Diego area)
Day 2: Eileen Swanson https://www.facebook.com/eileen.m.swanson (a fellow Channel 10 Weather Watcher, we’re both in the Weather Watcher “closed” Facebook group and the station shows photos from this group often on the air)
Day 3: Sonny Porticio (Captured Vision Photography) https://www.facebook.com/capturedvisionphoto?pnref=about.overview
Day 4: Jennie Slosarik (family friend, pseudo-cousin, and aspiring (already award-winning high school student), (need to get a link to her photos)
Day 5: Josh Freeman http://ObeyMyBrain.etsy.com http://obeymybrain.com (Josh is just so creative…he makes these one of a kind hats too! We shared the stage together in THE CRUCIBLE a few years ago).
The perspective really changes when a photo is in Black & White!
Good luck everyone. Try it! Take a gander and enjoy!
SJF Communications and the 5 Day Black and White Photo Challenge!
I like that it shows so much variety of nature…the beach, the rocks and of course the sky.
I hope you all like this photo I took a while ago of several palm trees and clouds which I edited in B & W on Picasa. I like how it shows the trees at attention! I
I hope you all like this photo I took a while ago of several pelicans and their friends in La Jolla which I edited in B & W on Picasa. I like that it shows them all mingling & lounging and love the curve of the rock!
The osprey was magically perched atop a rock. I used my zoom from my NIKON Coolpix L830 and edited in B & W in Picasa. He (or she)? was holding prey (which I will not show here…). I like that I captured the osprey at an opportune moment in time, serendipitously as I looked up at the beautiful rock formation!
I’m always in awe of hot air balloons, which we see frequently in North County of San Diego. This one touched down before my eyes.
Dear SJF Communications Blog Followers and Visitors,
I wrote the poem “Ann’s Zest Ends” one evening in 1991, shortly after seeing the highly acclaimed film “Awakenings” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099077/combined with my husband. During the movie, which starred the late (and great) Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro, I was in tears. It dawned on me why I was so sad. A female character in the film (“Lucy Fishman”, played by the phenomenal actress Alice Drummond http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0238541/ , reminded me so much of my Maternal Grandmother (kindred spirit and soulmate), Ann, who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, was unfortunately institutionalized and died prematurely at age 60 in 1971. “Awakenings” had awakened many memories from when I was age 8-14, with such a warm, wonderful, zany and fun Grandma experiencing her devastating premature demise, before us and before her time. There were no day care facilities back then. It was a very tough time for our family. I “grew up” early because of this experience. I know I was called to the nursing profession as a result of this.
To make a long story short, one evening after being immersed in thought from seeing “Awakenings”, I couldn’t get to sleep. My husband was away on a business trip. I tried all my usual methods to relax and fall asleep, but simply couldn’t. All of a sudden, I grabbed the beautiful, then “blank” journal that my husband had given me as a gift. I thought deeply about Ann and reminisced. “Ann’s Zest Ends” simply and mysteriously appeared on the written page. It was chronological, it rhymed and it even reflected how I felt 20 years after her death. It was a surreal experience, because I didn’t have an intention to write. It simply “poured out”. I was crying and smiling, and nodding and acknowledging, remembering good times as well as sad times…I was amazed at the cathartic nature of writing about my loss of Grandma Ann, 20 years later.
After calling my Mom and reading the poem to her the next morning, Mom encouraged me to “share it with everyone”, so I did. I would recite “Ann’s Zest Ends” at business meetings, to health care audiences, caregiver groups, and to the general public. There was no limit. It was a truly cathartic, therapeutic experience. The response was always responsive and somewhat overwhelming, as someone would always come up to me afterwards and share their story about a loved one. We frequently would need tissues. I soon discovered the tremendous power of poetry as a result of “sharing the caring’ with others.
“Ann’s Zest Ends” led me to write more poetry “from the heart” which evolved into my book “Poetic Expressions in Nursing…Sharing the Caring” which was published in 1993. That led to my providing many presentations and seminars on the power of poetry in several states and overseas and as a “Distinguished Lecturer” in the International Nursing Honor Society, Sigma Theta Tau.
I wrote the poem 23 years ago and it still rings true to me, although there are definitely more support groups and possibilities as well as much more research done. This is my tribute to Ann and others with Alzheimer’s, past, present and future and the many devoted caregivers who continue to battle this devastating disease with patience, love and commitment to their loved ones.
This one is for you, Grandma Ann….
Yours in Poetry,
ANN’S ZEST ENDS
Susan J. Felice-Farese, MSN, RN
Her zest for life, boundless energy
A smile a minute, so full of glee…
Remembrances of my grandmother Ann, so significant to me.
She ran the show, she was “in the know”
About this or that, nonetheless, always on the go!
So sharp, so much fun, and so “on the ball”
How I long to remember, and long to recall:
Endless walks, sun or snow, when I was small…
She’d pick me up, when my spirit would fall.
My first real buddy, my first true friend,
Her ears and shoulders she’d always lend;
If I was sad, my pain I’d spend
(But always through her, my heart would mend).
But when I was about seven, in 1963,
Something in her changed, so drastically;
She would no longer laugh, (she no longer knew me).
She would wander about, so aimlessly
She would light the gas stove, and let the fire run free!
Her eyes then would gaze, in a wild “combat stare”
She grew mute and confused, (she would pick at her hair).
Who was this new stranger, taking over her mind?
Where did her spirit go, what did it find?
From doctor to doctor, this mystery grew,
It was 1965, and still nobody knew
To a state institution eventually,
(Her spirit then faded each day, religiously).
She grew steadily worse, it took six more long years
I would visit her with my mother, (we would share many tears)
Day passes were draining, the public would stare
We’d assist her in the bathroom, (comb the knots from her hair).
I wonder how she felt, personality “withered”
Did she realize her melt? (Were her synapses in a blizzard)?
On the thirteenth of April, 1971
When the hospital called us, ’twas the weight of a ton
She was terminally losing the battle, and had wasted away,
Lost all faculties, (not her choosing)
She died soon after that day.
I reached for her hand at the bedside,
To say “goodbye, friend” on that fateful day;
She mumbled and stared and “connected”
She mumbled as if to say:
“So long for now, Susan, for I’m afraid it’s time to take my rest,
-cause Alzheimer’s drained my life away,
(But at least you’ve inherited my zest!”)
Twenty years later, I weep for the past
Fond memories of Ann (she left the “good life” so fast).
Her suffering, although it was an unfair curse,
Was the stimulus for me to become a nurse.
As I seriously reflect on this draining disease
That “robs the brain” of freedom cells, and “independence ease”
I AM ANGRY NO DEFINITE CAUSE OR CURE HAS BEEN FOUND
ALL THE RESEARCH WON’T TOUCH THE PAIN THAT ABOUNDS.
If I had just one wish that would be granted to me
I’d want to spend a day with Ann, just her and me;
Her cheerful style, giving nature so gold,
Her best feature “zest”, her stature so bold…
(…But who’s kidding who…she was taken away in her prime-
A true servant of God, strong will, lost mind…)
“One who can still remember”
“Remember”, that November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month:
Here are a few links for you:
November is National Adoption Month. I was honored to tell our story by writing and submitting this poem with photos in 2013 to Luann and Marisha and their blog “Don’t We Look Alike”.
The Day Room at Night:
By Susan Farese, MSN, RN,
Veteran (former MAJ) Army Nurse Corps
SJF Communications October, 2014
(Inspired by many late night chats with soldiers
…as a nurse on night shift)
Always on night shift
Out of bed to the day room
So I challenged them
Put away that cigarette
And just chat with me.
Stories would abound
Sometimes, even tears would flow.
You wouldn’t believe
the magnitude, their missions
Poignant and heartfelt.
That was the 80’s
Before the world changed that day
Imagine, right now
Post-traumatic stress endured
And shared with no one.
So don’t be afraid
To reach out to a veteran
Pretend it’s night shift.