Monday, July 31, 2017

Quick To Criticize & Find Fault

Interestingly, my oldest son, always quick to criticize and find fault with me, has told me we "never entertained". 

As I look through pictures of so many holidays at our house with all my husband's immediate and extended family; birthday celebrations with parties for adults and children; weekend meals together with the three Grandparents.... I see a family joined together and lots of celebrating and sharing.

I was an only child, my Mom came to live with us two months after our oldest son was born. Long story. Mentioned in other entries. We were a multigenerational family for decades.

So, Mom was a part of these times and a major contributor -- she loved to cook and she loved to bake and it was her way of sharing love, caring and concern.

Oldest son says we "used" Mom. She was a "servant".

So sad the way someone who was not a willing participant, someone who continuously took rather than gave, can try to destroy the good in life, the love in life.

Oldest son wasn't there when his Grandmother passed. Daughter and I were. Youngest son was on the phone.

Mama was in bed, sitting up, off in her own world..... she sat upright, turning her body and moving, constantly moving her hands and her arms. She was "working", she was "doing something" -- she was preparing for something, for someone...... until we told her everyone was there she'd waited for and she could now go and join them ..... and she did.

Two completely different pictures; one from actual history, one from "construed" history to avoid facing the reality of a loving, caring home and a family that worked together, played together and cared about and for one another --- always.

Oldest son was never involved in all the preparation: house cleaning, purchasing and preparing food, gathering special items together and all the work (along with the joy) of "entertaining".  Maybe he is now. 

Maybe he's beginning to learn there's more to "entertaining" than people walking through your door and your "socializing" with them.

He just came, did what he wanted and left -- a guest rather than a member of the family.

We tried. We used the typical parental methods. And, as often happens you finally give up, decide it's not worth the time or the battle and just move forward.

We also had neighbors and other friends come to our home although not as frequently as family who shared our table, came for socializing. 

We didn't sit and watch "the game" as my son does and so many others. We actually talked, we shared and we interacted. 

That seems to be oldest son's measure of "entertaining": people other than family and watching sports on TV together.

From my point of view -- this oldest son always seemed to "disappear" when help was needed whether it was to do a chore around the house or help his Dad, Grandmother or me with something.

I remember so well the retaining wall that was coming apart and needed major work. My husband was the ultimate "do it yourself" person trained as a Boy Scout from Eagle Scout to Order of the Arrow. 

It was "the way" in those days; it was survival through challenging times and it provided other uses for limited funds and time -- just like the clothing I described in the previous entry, Splitting Hairs: Practical and Planned

Oldest son worked for a short time, then disagreed with his father about the construction and instead of working it through, walked away to leave his younger brother and father to manage the lifting of very heavy blocks to levels above both their heads.

He disagreed with the way it was being constructed. So....he refused to help. 

That 's a memory I have of him --- "my way or the highway" from his teens until today.

Truth be told, he was the one who usually "avoided" the household work and maintenance; the "bookworm" and "computer geek" with school, activities and so much more!

The younger son was more willing to help, more available and more concerned as he still is today. 

We form our traits young; we are who we are and sometimes even the best parenting produces different types of people. 

Compassion, consideration, owning mistakes and taking responsibility describes today the younger son and our daughter and lacking in the older son, unfortunately.  

I often wonder how two sons with exactly the same opportunities and possibilities including education, activities and support, can be so very different.

I am blessed with two of three who listen, learn and share.

I have ongoing contact with three of my eight grandchildren; oldest son "removed" that "privilege" several times over the years. This latest event is going on its fourth year. More in another entry.

To those of you who understand from personal experience my concerns, feel my pain and heartache, please understand the importance of not always giving in to injustice and to those who would set aside right and do wrong.

His children grow older. I have these writings and I know my daughter and most likely my other son will carry the truth forward although I believe it will be my daughter who holds her older brother and his wife accountable.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Splitting Hairs: Practical and Planned

Death is a great separator. 

It separates people, places and things.

Temps are over 100 degrees so it's a perfect time to clean the closet closest to the front entry used for holding family coats and a few other "miscellaneous" items.

There they were. His coats, jackets.

More than pieces of clothing, memories hanging tightly to places and times past, never to be again.

Attached to his body before, attached to my memory now.

Pieces my oldest son would probably criticize as "costly", "branded" and other faults would be described.

He'd had similar clothes. When he outgrew them, some pieces were worn by his brother and some were passed over to my sister-in-law for her two sons. And, probably, they were passed even farther. 

Costly? Cost effective.

Almost always our clothing was on sale and chosen because the brands were well sewn, good material that lasted and style proof, meaning they withstood many years of wear because they weren't chosen to be "of the moment" but chosen for service, durability and long term savings.

"Splurges" were those special pieces, often those "memories for a lifetime" and even then, sales and special offers were always where we started and usually where we purchased.

Investment pieces we jokingly called our clothing but the truth was they more than paid for themselves in the small extra amount we paid at the time. 

Yes, we all had a few unique pieces, more trendy but basically it was basic -- a lesson I'd learned coming from a cold water flat, a father who drank more often than he worked and held down a job and a mother who stretched and made do and taught me how to do the same.

Now, I touch the leather jacket, folds in places where it draped on his body, the body that went from being so strong, so capable, so ..... to skin and bones as the MRSA, the medications, the inept decisions including making an incision causing more challenges and eventually the end of his life took their toll and he was .... gone.

We bought it on a trip. It was Disneyworld. A shop on their Main Street was having a really deep discount sale and this jacket caught my eye. 

My husband had admired one on someone but he, like me, never really said "I'd like that" or "I'm going to get one like that". 

Our family, our businesses, our needs to be met came first. Although from the outside looking in, people, especially oldest son who now says everything we did was wrong -- and dramatic ups and downs from every seven to ten years in vastly changing economies we're now just beginning to "discuss" as great factors in saving and spending -- added to our need to juggle, be creative and innovative ... always! 

And, there was our major decision to provide our children private school educations from pre school through college as each one showed special talents and abilitites we felt would best be served with specialized education only available through that choice.

My husband's "rain coat"; outer shell for Spring and Summer, inner lining made it go fairly far into the cold and wet seasons of Fall and Winter. Practical. Washable. Wearable. Casual when needed; professional for most often.

A longer heavier coat he wore to Church, for meetings and for funerals. He was a handsome man and we went well together -- or so we were told and pictures reflect.

The weight of removing these and other pieces from the closet to look over, decide if they should be kept or given away as many other pieces of his clothing -- to be used by others, to be passed on now that he had passed from walking this way and gone another. . .

It still takes me a great deal of time to "go through" things. Many I'd hung up, put away or given a few pieces to our sons, kept for our daughter and, for myself, or given so that others can benefit from the life of someone who lived the Rotary Moto "Service Above Self" and who lived with me the life of passing along to others, giving and sharing, caring and taking care of those who are in need in family and community.

Time to get back to the work of splitting hairs -- looking through clothing and other items and deciding which to keep and what to give away. 

Sometimes it's exactly that -- with an item that could be kept or could be given away -- and I choose to put it back, for just a little while longer, until another time when I can perhaps move from splitting hairs to making practical and planned decisions as I've learned.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

ICSA International Conference: Undue Influence Rising Worldwide Challenge

Recently attended an International Conference with my daughter with an organization that has existed since 1979. 

It was founded during a time when Baby Boomers were young and many were "Flower Children" following cults and their leaders and new groups were being formed that we recognize today.

It's acronym is ICSA and when you first read the name, you'll probably think of turning away from it or considering it's a group "on the fringe of society". It's neither. 

Click through here to learn more about this organization working to raise awareness about groups and individuals with personal control agendas.

ICSA recognizes Undue Influence. It also talks about "mind control". Basic words, old thoughts, still actively practiced by groups and individuals looking to profit, to gain and to succeed to influence, manipulate and control.

Having experienced Undue Influence through the woman who came into our life during our challenges with undiagnosed and then diagnosed Lewy Body Dementia, I was looking for answers and input from others who had been affected and by those who are seeking to protect the rights of all not to be taken advantage of and not to be led down paths of self or life destruction.

My generation, daughter's generation. 

Little has changed.

Then as now, there were also movements to control, to manipulate and to take advantage of individuals looking to create a better world, a place of peace and caring about and for one another.

To quote lyrics from a popular song by the Beatles "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed to far away....oh, I believe in yesterday". By the way, we're just really beginning to understand the Beatles lyrics often had hidden references as in the song they wrote about the Guru they followed.

Those who would influence have simply moved on to one-on-one and can now use the Internet to influence and control; they don't need direct contact, isolation and deprivation of food, family or regular life inclusions.

There were movements that had been started in the mid to late 60's by individuals and groups who believed in the same standards taken up by the Millenials, many of whom are the children of the Baby Boomers highlighted at the conference and there were papers presented by PhDs in several related fields from highly reputable resources both public and private.

You can read some of these papers on line. Next year their International Meeting will be in Philadelphia; its a worthwhile attend for people in the United States, especially those near the Philly metro area. 

Attendees this year came from the United States, Canada, Argentina, Equador, Peru, Bolivia and other South American countries, Japan, China, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland -- to name a few areas represented.

There were first and second generation individuals affected by cults, individuals and groups. Some were members of families where their children had been "captured" into beliefs years ago that still separate and alienate the child from their family members. Many were professionals with Masters and PhD's and even attorneys who attended and spoke.

ICSA is unique in how it brings together former group members, families, professionals and researchers. 

When I heard the words "undue influence" and "mind control" I felt relief someone besides my daughter and I were aware of these actions taking place and how they are growing and how some countries are putting in place ways and means to counteract individuals and groups who would split apart and separate.

We, as a family, faced one person who used "the system", including a professional accreditation, to discredit years of close and caring relationships for personal benefit. 

At the conference, we heard stories from others, in presentations and around dining tables when we met afterwards, of people with similar and related challenges with undue influence and mind control.

I am more convinced than ever the challenges of raising awareness of Lewy Body Dementia and Dementia as a classification rather than "segmenting" and "separating" this medical challenge is critical.

As our older population grows and our technology increases to allow more means of connecting, so also grows the ability to deceive, to manipulate and to control.

It's a worldwide challenge. We in the United States should be taking the lead and instead we're dragging our feet and falling behind.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Relatively Speaking: Hold Your Ground

What are your beliefs about personal choice?

Where do you draw the line on supporting actions taken by close friends or relatives that do harm?

What are you willing to have "taken away" if you choose to speak up, speak out and disagree?

For me, it's been several losses:

My oldest son took away all contact with his "family" including my grandchildren.

A Niece advised my second son when he was called and told of the death of my Downs Syndrome brother-in-law, his Uncle, with whom I'd had a positive relationship for years, "come alone or not at all".

Another Niece, related to the one above who was her Aunt, who we took in after the death of her father and whose mother had preceded him, both in tragic accidents, won't speak to me even though I was responsible for ensuring the safety and well being of her and of her mother's few mementos.

When you see and know the Family Secrets, the behind the scenes actions taken, and you object or you cross the line of not "doing what's expected" you face ostracization. 

Marrying into my husband's family was not without challenges from the beginning. 

My mother was divorced, she was not "their" religion (but I was). 

We couldn't afford to host both their 200+ guests for a wedding plus our own family let alone any friends.

The ring I choose for my husband was "too much" although he loved it and it came to be highly symbolic with its three diamonds across and our three children. I teased him in later years I knew there would be three in our future and that's what appealed to me about the ring.

Truth was we were given a very special price for my ring and his ring; the jeweler's mother knew my mother (Mom was a hairdresser and did her hair for years) and he'd had a robbery recently and all but those two rings had been stolen.

Some would say that was a "message"; we saw it that way, at least and we were, after all, the ones giving and receiving these symbols of our commitment to one another.

I loved my husband's mother and I worked hard to please her. She really wasn't as difficult as you might imagine and we spent many good times together. 

She simply belonged to a school of thought that saw my "background" as questionable and "not as acceptable" as she would have preferred so she disagreed and made it known in many ways.

Ironically, in the later years, it was I who constantly said to my husband, "We need to ask your parents to dinner more often" and I was the one who did the "birthday dinners" and "Mother's Day" dinners -- where the extended family came, enjoyed and left. 

There is/was a daughter; she didn't "want" to do it. Seems she and her Mom had several disagreements along the way.

I'm not sure I can write about the challenges listed above in detail. 

They know the truth. Each person involved. 

They prefer the reality they've created as it buries their actions, words and deeds that were harmful to me and to others, especially family members.

And, we are multiple generations now. Some are very young. What about the effect on these innocents?

It's simply that I am growing older along with them but my days are far less than they have. 

I don't appreciate having my name blackened and I don't appreciate false, misleading and deceptive information given to others who weren't directly involved in each event.

If I don't share the truth, stand up for what's right, who will be there to do it when I'm gone?

Why do people seem to need to support their bad judgement and poor actions rather than understand what they say and do affects others?


A need to find someone to blame.

An inability to look at truth directly; the need to substantiate inaccurate beliefs to sustain and save face.

It takes great character to turn around a practice of twisting truth for personal gain.

Perhaps it will be best to write about one or more of these challenges. 

If someone learns to step outside of them "selves" and recognize the "other" in a human encounter perhaps there will be more gain than has previously been lost.