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FCC Week 2: Web 1

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Lesson tags: personal centering journal

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  • It is difficult for me when my mother verbally attacks my loved ones. I feel like I can endure all kinds of things against myself but sometimes she will say that my 5 year old is a cry baby and that I’m a stupid parent and that my husband is a lazy worthless jerk and that I’m a lazy pig and that she wishes I were dead. Most times I make jokes to deflect and move on but if she catches me when I’m tired or if she won’t let up with mean comnents, it becomes harder and harder to center myself or deflect my frustration and anger.

    I feel good when I can find a way to make a connection between my kids and my mom. Sometimes I can get them to read her a story or we buy a little trinket from the store and my mom is so happy (she’s obsessed with miniatures and spends hours sorting and looking at them). Sometimes they listen to songs on the Alexa together (my 5 year old was amazed that “grandmas listen to *baby shark* too!”)
    AND now my 9 year old says Dan Fogelberg is her favorite music. My mom is rubbing off on them!
    I enjoy seeing “normal” interactions between my mom and my family rather than constantly being on mama bear radar feeling like I have to protect my family from her. I don’t want to sacrifice my family’s well being for the sake of caring for my mom (isn’t she supposed to BE a part of my family?) but it always feels like it’s her or them, and at any given moment I have to make a choice who is getting the attention.

    I thought previously that staying centered was just not losing control but I’m realizing that it also has to be a means of letting go of anger and frustration and resentment so it isn’t bottled up. This is the part of the centering that I have trouble with.

  • It is difficult for me when my mother verbally attacks my loved ones. I feel like I can endure all kinds of things against myself but sometimes she will say that my 5 year old is a cry baby and that I’m a stupid parent and that my husband is a lazy worthless jerk and that I’m a lazy pig and that she wishes I were dead. Most times I make jokes to deflect and move on but if she catches me when I’m tired or if she won’t let up with mean comnents, it becomes harder and harder to center myself or deflect my frustration and anger.

    I feel good when I can find a way to make a connection between my kids and my mom. Sometimes I can get them to read her a story or we buy a little trinket from the store and my mom is so happy (she’s obsessed with miniatures and spends hours sorting and looking at them). Sometimes they listen to songs on the Alexa together (my 5 year old was amazed that “grandmas listen to *baby shark* too!”) I enjoy seeing “normal” interactions between my mom and my family rather than constantly being on mama bear radar feeling like I have to protect my family from her. I don’t want to sacrifice my family’s well being for the sake of caring for my mom (isn’t she supposed to BE a part of my family?) but it always feels like it’s her or them, and at any given moment I have to make a choice who is getting the attention.

    I thought previously that staying centered was just not losing control but I’m realizing that it also has to be a means of letting go of anger and frustration and resentment so it isn’t bottled up. This is the part of the centering that I have trouble with.

  • Difficult to deal with wanting to go to get his driver’s license. If meets someone new, will ask them how to approach it. And, it’s difficult because it makes me angry and, at the same time I empathize with how hard it must be.

    I feel good when he says something that is genuinely funny.

    Although I meditate and journal intermittently, I have been meditating and journaling for the last few months. I would like to center when I notice I am getting reactive or upset about something.

  • Leaving is a difficult situation for me. Often, my father will get very anxious or frustrated when I leave him after a visit. Even if I try to reassure him, tell him I’m coming back the next day, sometimes nothing works and I don’t know how to leave. I’ve had to almost run away sometimes… It’s very heartbreaking for me… I also find it hard when I go see him and he watches tv, barely noticing my presence. It makes me scared of completely loosing contact with him.

    I feel good when my father is calm, when he doesn’t seem unhappy with his situation and doesn’t talk of wanting to leave. Also when he makes jokes. He’s always had a good sense of humour and I’m surprised and happy to see he can still see the humour in some situations despite his deep confusion.

    As for centering, I’m « lucky » to have the time to take a moment every time I go see my father, in the car, before I enter the nursing home. It helps me mark a pause between my every day business, and the moment I’m about to spend with him. Feels almost like a prayer moment.

  • These comments or situations are difficult for me to handle:
    My Mom has issues surrounding money. She will often tell us that she grew up in the depression and thus has always been frugal. She regularly pokes at me for ‘being to big for my britches’ and often comments ‘you must have too much money’. Is that even a thing? This week she said I was a snob because I prefer to stay in a hotel rather than sleeping on someone’s couch. I find these comments hurtful and don’t know how to respond in a way that will make both of us feel good.

    These comments or situations make me feel good:
    Mom used to be an excellent seamstress and taught me a lot of what I know in this area. Lately she has been having difficulty threading her machine and even knowing how to put together a pattern. We spent a day several months ago working together where I planned the project out and she did most of the work. She had a sense of accomplishment and I had the satisfaction of helping her finish a project.

    Centering:
    Whenever I have a conflict, I have developed a habit of engaging in a minute of mindful breathing so that I can get centered and focus on the issue objectively.

  • One of the repetitive questions that my mother-in-law often asks me is what my parents thought about my marrying into a Jewish family. No matter how often I respond that my mid-western Scandinavian parents loved their daughter-in-law from the moment they met her, and that her being Jewish was never an issue, my mother-in-law seems intent on confirming that my parents were shocked or disappointed by my wife. I suspect that my mother-in-law is working to resolve whatever anti-Semitism she experienced in her life. Nevertheless, I find these questions to be very difficult because they call into question my parents’ sincerity, as well as emphasizing that I am not Jewish.

    On the other hand, we have very good conversations when we focus on mutual interests like gardening or dogs. And last week, we had my mother-in-law over for Sunday morning blueberry pancake breakfast, followed by watching the new Dumbo movie and then watching the U.S. Women’s soccer team win the World Cup championship. It was a great day with lots of good conversations and laughter. It made me feel really good about spending time together as a family.

    I have not yet been able to use the centering technique with either my mother or my mother-in-law. However, I know how valuable such techniques can be. I always used simple breathing and centering techniques to help me focus before any of my public speaking events prior to my retirement. I know they helped me be more persuasive in presenting my arguments. In cases of more tense public meetings, I also think they helped me listen and respond to public comments with a more open mind. On a related note, my wife and son and I are beginning Tai Chi students. This discipline is all about centering one’s mind and body. I find this exercise to be very helpful and I can see it being a valuable way to deal with the physical and emotional stress of dealing with dementia care-giving.

  • Hi everyone.

    Difficult situations:
    Mom was always a very “put together” woman who took pride in the way she looked. Her hair was always done, make-up on, matching clothes/shoes, etc. Since her stroke and progressing Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t shower daily (usually 2-3 times a week these days) and she isn’t as fastidious as she once was. She still asks if she looks ok, if her clothes match, etc., but it’s different.

    She doesn’t always remember how or when to feed her cats, and I worry about them. It’s hard for her to follow directions over the phone, so it’s challenging for me to help her get them fed via the phone. The CNAs that come in to help with meals and medications, sometimes help with the cats but it’s inconsistent.

    I have a hard time with her asking the same question 5, 6, 7 times or more in short periods of time. It’s just a constant reminder that mom isn’t the same and it hurts my heart.

    Feel Good Situations:
    Singing along to the radio with mom when we’re driving around town (to and from her day center, running errands). Throughout my life, music has always been on in the house/in the car and it’s wonderful to hear and see mom enjoy songs she remembers and loves (60’s and 70’s rock-n-roll, pop and some older country).

    Going to the movies with mom and seeing her enjoy the music, action, colors, etc.

    Getting a hug from mom.

    Centering Experience:
    I haven’t found a quick method of centering that works for me as of yet. However, I have been more aware of what I’m feeling when I interact with mom and am making an effort to stay more present, in the moment when I’m with her.

  • These comments or situations are difficult for me to handle.

    Chizuko, my wife, occasionally will find something she does not recognize, usually clothing. “Cathy (our daughter) must have been here and left his. I never bought this.” My normal reaction is to tell her she in fact bought the item, we did shopping together or a time when she was with our daughter. She never seems to respond will to these situations. I need to learn how to deal with “reality” issues. How not to lie but also not confront her.

    My other challenge is getting her to eat. She doesn’t eat a lot and not quickly. Even if we have hot food ready to eat, she wants to relax, which means she wants to sit drinking coffee or an “adult beverage”.

    These comments or situations make me feel good

    I like our mornings together. She makes her cup of coffee and sits down to read the morning paper. I bring her morning medicine and we discuss items she reads in the paper.

    She loves small rocks and collects them. Recently we have taken to panting them, we need to do more of that. Give her something to do she enjoys and stimulates the mind.

    CENTERING
    When I center I find it works best when I focus on one of the happiest times of my life. My mother died when I was three and our family of five children were spread amongst relatives as my father worked in the Shipyards during WWII. At the end of the war my father returned to a job in Yosemite Valley and here, brought my two brothers, my sister and I back together. Yosemite Valley after the war was idilic. I especially relate to the Merced river where I spend many lazy summer days.

    I have created a Centering movie using images that calm me, trigger happy memories. I used Apple Keynote with Baroque music as a background to help me center.

  • Difficult situations:
    a. When Mom’s clothes smell from incontinence and she won’t change them.
    b. When Mom repeatedly talks about unresolved childhood issues – she was an only child of divorced parents, wore glasses and had crooked teeth, was left handed and never had papers on the wall in school, she was little…the list goes on.
    c. When Mom denies something that is unquestioning true (to me).
    d. When Mom has trouble swallowing her medications or refuses to take them.

    I feel good when:
    a. We laugh together.
    b. She hugs me back.
    c. She expresses her wisdom.
    d. When we read together and discuss a story.

    Centering:
    Deliberately taking a few deep, centering breaths before I enter Mom’s apartment is helping me stay attentive to her and reduce my desire to leave. I’ve had some recent experiences where she has gotten angry with me (and I have gotten angry with her) and I am aware that more centering will be beneficial.

  • 1) These comments or situations are difficult for me to handle:

    It can be tiresome when Mom repeatedly asks one-by-one if her mother, husband, this favorite aunt, favorite uncle and special cousin are alive. When I tell her that they are not, she is quite shocked.

    It is difficult when she refuses help with a shower or something else that she needs. And, it is difficult when she does not want to eat.

    2) These comments or situations make me feel good:

    I love it when Mom greets me with a smile. I love it when she looks me in the eye and we talk together. I love it when she lets me help her do something, and then says ‘thank you.’

    On Centering:
    A few days ago we took Mom to see ‘Hello Dolly’ for part of her birthday celebration. I awakened that morning not feeling very well. I was well enough to go, but thought that what was supposed to be a fun day was going to be hard. After doing my centering routine (which takes me about an hour), I head down to Mom’s. As soon as I walked into her apartment, I was surprisingly energized. Together, we selected nice clothes for her to wear and she willingly changed into them. My sisters arrived, we drove downtown, navigated all of the traffic, parking, box office and restroom logistics and took our seats in the Opera House. The show was terrific. During intermission, Mom said, “Where’s Bill, where’s Bill! He should be here, he would love this.’ I said, “Yes, he would love this! We then began to reminisce about all of the Broadway shows that she and Daddy would take us to when my sisters and I were growing up.”

    Upon returning to Mom’s the four of us went to the Dining Room, had fun conversation, had Mom laughing hard a couple of times, and she even ate halfway decently. She did have a little ‘accident’ at the end of our time. When we got back to her apartment,
    she let us help her get out of her clothes, into the shower, into her pajamas, and even let me administer bedtime eye drops.

    It was a great day. Centering set the stage.

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