Sunset and Moon for Kate, October 25, 2015

For Kate

by

Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications

Tonight we said goodbye to Kate

So fiercely talented, in the know.

Loving Wife, guiding Mom to her daughters

With pen in hand, her words would flow…

She touched many lives in so many ways

by guiding and writing & teaching

A Theatre Mom supporting the arts

Her essence in life so far reaching.

As we left her Memorial Service

An amazing sight was seen

The most brilliant magnificent sunset

With bright light among hues pristine.

kate2

In the midst of that glorious sunset

A shining light appeared…as if to say

My friends, I’ll be with you in spirit

Think of me as the sun goes away.

kate8

And when we returned home

I peeked at the moon

So bright, full and gleaming with light…

kate9.moon

And I pondered, so thankful

For Kate and her life

Touching ours

Dear Kate, Farewell,

Goodnight.

 

 

Poetic Expressions: “NIGHT SHIFT” by Susan J. Farese, MSN, RN, SJF Communications

I wrote “Night Shift” as a result of working many nights as an RN.

The poem was published in my book “Poetic Expressions in Nursing…Sharing the Caring” in 1991.

Dedicated to Night Shift Nurses: Past, Present, Future!.

Susan J. Farese, MSN, RN, Photo by Sylvia Moore Photography, 2013
Susan J. Farese, MSN, RN Photo by Sylvia Moore Photography, 2013

Night Shift

by

Susan J. Farese, MSN, RN

 

Night Shift…

So dear to me

Despite

Its circadian disruption.

The nocturnal rhythms

sublime,

So inviting, so relaxing…

Making rounds, with flashlight in hand

and night vision intuition,

The serenity envelops me…

Side rails up, call bells within reach

Bedsides tidy

Breathing in sequence…

Snores and noises

(unspeakable during prime time)

status quo during night shift…

Gentle and peaceful,

Those who by day

lurk and cry and pester

And now are compliant!

And yearn for peace as well…

Alas,

Time to review and verify

and stuff and thin the charts,

Time to read the Progress Notes!

Finally a time to put it all together

Like spies looking for the clues of their lives

And if one is truly lucky

There are some chosen patients

Who decide

It is time

during night shift,

to ventilate

truly share

opening up the dam

of their fears, thoughts, feelings…

Even sharing stories.

Enhancing our knowing.

Oh please, I yearn for these nights…

When the nature of nursing

facilitates the connection of lives.

Caregiver: A Poem

 

 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).

Caregiver

by

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…

 

 

In Honor of Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month: “Ann’s Zest Ends”

Grandma Ann

Grandma Ann

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,

Susan

Grandma Ann and Susan

Grandma Ann and Susan

ANN’S ZEST ENDS

BY:

 Susan J. Felice-Farese, MSN, RN

Copyright 1991

PRELUDE

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).

 

INTERMISSION

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)?

FINALE

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!”)

REFLECTIONS

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…)

Signed,

“One who can still remember”

annszestends.wordpress.2

I

 “Remember”, that November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month:

 Here are a few links for you:

http://www.alz.org/

http://www.alz.org/care/honor-caregiver.asp

http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet

http://www.alzfdn.org/

The Day Room at Night: A Haiku

The Day Room at Night:

A Haiku

 

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)

 

 

Susan Farese Medical
Susan Farese, MSN, RN. Photo by Sylvia Moore Photography, 2013.

 

Always on night shift

Out of bed to the day room

Anxiety plus.

 

So I challenged them

Put away that cigarette

And just chat with me.

 

Stories would abound

Sometimes, even tears would flow.

Cathartic rivers.

 

You wouldn’t believe

the magnitude, their missions

Poignant and heartfelt.

 

That was the 80’s

Before the world changed that day

On 9-11

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetic Expressions: INTUITION

This poem appeared in my 1993 book “Poetic Expressions in Nursing…Sharing the Caring”.

I have strong intuition. Always have…Do you???

 

 

INTUITION

by Susan J. Felice Farese, 1993

 

 

 

Please respect your intuition

And acknowledge every hunch

For you will find most certainly

this “preference” is worth a bunch!

 

 

It’s that cozy yet dangerous gut feeling

That appears every now and then

You cannot explain this phenomenon

You just know what will happen...and when!

 

 

It may be a look in a person’s eye

(Or a sense of impending doom)

Predicting endless possibilities

…It’s the aura inside a room

 

Whatever it is, be wary and wise

Don’t cast it aside and ignore it…

If you’re gifted with intuition, my friend

Sit back, just relax, and adore it!