Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Dear Friends

My aunt just died at a ripe old age. I'd been her Power of Attorney for 10 or so years because she was a childless widow and I was her closest relative. On her deathbed, my mother had asked me to watch out for her sister, be there for her, and take care of her if necessary, so I took this job very seriously, but doing it from 1500 miles away was somewhat of an adventure, to say the least.

Now, I'm not a particularly organized person, so keeping track of someone else's bills in addition to my own was a recipe for disaster. Still, I managed to pay almost everything on time. I filed her taxes before April 15th, and I learned enough about Medicare Part D to enroll her in what I thought was the best plan. I was part of quarterly Care Conferences with the nursing home during which I got updates about her waning appetite (except for her continued love of dark chocolate), her failing eyesight and hearing, her occasional falls (never resulting in a broken anything), and her all-round grit. In between all of this, her medical team had to fine tune her meds for the dementia she started having shortly after going into the nursing home -- the dementia that made her say really mean things to me and accuse me of running off with her money and letting convicts live in her recently vacated home of 50 years. It was more than hard to see her grow so old and become the shell of the fun-loving, super-smart, big-hearted woman she'd once been. One part of me knows I did the best I could to be the loving, helpful niece she needed.

The other part -- the part that is always eager to be hard on myself -- believes otherwise. I should have made more trips to visit her. I should have brought more of her beloved chocolate when I did visit. I should have sent her Valentine, St. Patrick's Day, and Easter cards these last few years (even though she was blind). I should have -- well, you name it and I tell myself I should have done it.

Thankfully, though, as I become more and more aware of my self-critical tendencies, I remind myself to take a deep, grounding breath. In doing so, I am able to see more clearly what I did right, and that I did the best I could. In the process, I find that when I step back and give myself a break, it's easier to give others a break, too. My aunt certainly put me through my paces in the last few years of her life, but her last -- and maybe best -- gift to me was learning more about myself and how this awareness affects both me and ultimately those around me.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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