Dust in the wind or inspiring a change of season? I’ve been asking myself that question quite a bit the past few weeks.

Why? probably the falling leaves in the colors of bright orange, yellow and golden brown — wispy clouds in the sky that just ‘look’ chilly — pulling out my favorite old pair of sweat pants and slippers.

Fall leaves

It is no different than last season – except someone is missing.

This change of season is evoking a different flow of memories. And I think it is because it is finally truly settling in, that my mother, Miss Nellie is gone. Not coming back. Ever.

Of course I knew this fact the day she passed, Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

Reality hits…

What I didn’t know – or understand – at that time, was just how much her aging and me living the role of caregiver, would shape me. Change me. Be a driving force for much of what I now consider important in life – and what I no longer view as relevant. It has also pushed my work into a new direction.

After 20 years of being the point-person for care for my mother (with 2015-2020 the seriously heavy-duty lifting of caregiving), I am just now coming out of a mental and emotional zone in which caring for my mother directed my every thought; my every action.

The good part of that? Moving through the role of family caregiver and learning so much about how to lovingly and safely take care of another human being – a grown person – I realized our society still doesn’t talk enough about what the realities of aging will bring.

We have gotten better due to the last two years of COVID-19 shining a light on care facilities and how they operate.

More than just dust in the wind…

Taking care of Miss Nellie, and understanding I had to dig and search for guidance and answers (sometimes even from medical professionals), I knew in my heart that we (as a society) have to talk more about aging and caregiving.

I know there are plenty of websites, organizations and podcasts discussing this. But given the fact our population statistics are set to continue BOOMING, I believe there is enough space in this arena for another voice and viewpoint. Mine. And yours. Especially people of color. Because getting old doesn’t discriminate. But many of the factors leading to a not-so-healthy final chapter DO stem from discriminatory practices along the way.

More on that topic for another day. But… it is part of the reason why since my mother’s passing I have been on a new journey.

For those of you who joined the KIRC family early and have been following the BLOG – thank you!

Since we launched, there is an exciting development I would like to share with you.

Facebook Bulletin

Facebook Bulletin

Keeping it REAL Caregiving is now part of a new platform supported by Facebook in the form of a newsletter. It’s called Bulletin and gives independent writers and content creators (like myself) an additional avenue to reach a broader audience.

I am so proud to be part of an inaugural group of storytellers from around the country joining this platform. Our topics include almost everything you can imagine.

To be able to identify, craft stories and share them – all focused within the family caregiving sphere – brings me great satisfaction.

So if you haven’t already, visit the newsletter and SUBSCRIBE for free. This way, you can get short nuggets of information and updates right to your email in-box.

It is another way to join the discussion, share ideas, give guidance and lend support to other caregivers. How cool is that??

Wherever you are…

Right now, I’m pretty sure Miss Nellie is someplace looking down. She’s shaking her head thinking, ‘My daughter… she is taking on too much work again…’

In some sense; she is right. But, I also believe she would be proud to know her journey – and by default my journey – through aging, decline and eventual death, are playing a bigger role.

Our experiences and lessons-learned are now helping others.

Dust in the wind…

When I buried my mother placing her next to my father (she was cremated), I couldn’t help but ask… is this all there is? Is this what it all boils down to? Do we really just wrap it all up by becoming dust in the wind?

What eases the ache of missing my mother? Realizing the answer is NO.

Miss Nellie lives on… helping me, help you, help each other.