TRANSITION

According to a Merriam Webster’s dictionary, transition is a passing of one condition to another, including a change in state of mind, or activity.  It can be caused by a role change, loss of job or relationship or just a mental change in perception of your world around you.  In any case it means change, for better or worse, depending on the transitional outcome.  Since August of 2009, I have gone through life’s most traumatic transitions, experiencing all of the above & none of them positive. But I have survived, even tho’ the body that I emotionally live in, is now at the brink of failure!  My diagnosis is unacceptable to someone who has cheated the death of her forefathers. My coffin has become the chair in which, I spend my life 24 hours a day. Dr visits make up my trips to the outside world. Few bother to stop by or call anymore.  I am now forgotten, despite my copious gifts, talents, & outreach to others in the community previously. Presently, after trying leg wrapping for lymphedema, I applied these space type leggings on my legs, 3 times a day.  A machine compresses & massages or pumps, my legs til fluid is squeezed back into the bladder.  If this fails, I will then have to resort to dialysis.  I would love to hear from some others in a similar state.
I have not had much energy, so many activities or pursuits remain undone.  I have exchanged creative, productive activity for computer games, that do not require much of me. Thus is the essence of my existence these days!
Only GOD knows where & when this will end.

A DEATH IN GHANA

A DEATH IN GHANA

Ghanians are well known universally as adoring the dead & paying for expensive, flamboyant funerals.  So much so that the living are often left without resources to carry on, as they take out loans to give the appearance of affluence & later left with nothing.  Often relatives & friends are expected to rebuild houses, provide for airfare for those commuting a distance,  or burial clothes with expensive funerary items for the deceased & the family.  Recently stated by the immediate past Director-General, of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, said that Ghanaians should pay attention to a healthy living and give priority to their health instead of spending all their resources on expensive funerals.

Funeral traditions in Ghana are indeed very interesting & have been adhered to for centuries!  The same practices that their ancestors did, they continue with today.  At some point money became a very important part of life & death in Ghana.  Maybe bartering was a mode to exchange services centuries ago.  Kwame has lost 2 sisters recently in Ghana, that I have written about in my blog.  One was his blood sibling, who died because surgery could not be performed until money was paid up front.  The other sister, referred to as Mum who had raised him with a grandmother, who had lived to be 101.  Imagine living to a ripe old age with the hardships, life brings to the people of that country.  His mother died in the process of breastfeeding him, & he lay there with a corpse, til all returned that day from the field. When a young child loses a parent, a new one is appointed to take care of the child.  Being a widow in Ghana, almost takes me back to biblical times.

Back to the topic!  After death is determined, the body will be taken to the mortuary.  It could be a long time before any funeral celebration can be planned.  Everyone that knew the person, must view the body.  When satisfaction is gained that all that need to view the body, have seen it, then preparation for funeral can begin. After the body has been viewed by all of the village, a funeral is planned which lasts a week.  This is a way of honoring all of the dead who have gone before them.  As Kwame says, “ It is like an American Memorial Day, where we go to honor the dead, who lost their lives in acquiring land for us.”  No body can be buried until the remembrance is done.  Ghanians pour alcohol over ground for remembrance, wanting the ghosts to know that they are remembering them. “We pray to God & worship the old memories.”  Then we slit the throats of sheep, pouring blood on the ground.  Then a feast begins & we eat for 2 days.”  Food gathered from the fields & the sheep that are slaughtered become our repast for our feasting.

Kwame is the tree of his extended family.  He tells me that everyone comes to him for shade. He meant relief from financial problems, wheither health needs, counseling, or just plain substance for daily living.”  Such pressure!  He is very torn right now, not only with pressure to alleviate the financial obligation of this rememberance, but physically feels a need to be in the presence of his past. “I am supposed to be like a son, who will stand there & bury her, but I can’t go.  She toiled for me, raised me , helped me get to America.  She deserves to have me stand at her graveside. It’s hard in Africa, Mummy.”

I have become his American Mummy, his family!  Such a beautiful heart!

Tomorrow, I will have to see about airfare.

RAMBLINGS

SORROW IN GHANA       sg0363[1]

SORROW IN GHANA IS WHEN A CHILD OF GOD DIES, FOR LACK OF MONEY FOR TREATMENT.  MY BEAUTIFUL PRECIOUS KWAME, JUST LOST HIS SISTER BECAUSE SURGERY WOULD NOT BE DONE, UNTIL THE MONEY WAS PAID UP FRONT.  SHE DIED BEFORE HE COULD GET THE NECESSARY MONEY, SENT TO THE FAMILY BY WESTERN UNION.  IT AMOUNTED TO ABOUT $150 AMERICAN DOLLARS.  CAN YOU IMAGINE?  DO WE REALIZE, RICH OR POOR HOW LUCKY WE ARE IN THIS COUNTRY.  WHEN A SURGICAL PROCEDURE IS NEEDED, THE DRS. DO NOT HESITATE TO OPERATE. POVERTY IS A TERRIBLE THING.  WE SHOULD HUMBLE OURSELVES IN THIS POSITION FOR A FEW DAYS.  IN OUR COUNTRY OF PLENTY, WE HAVE ARROGANCE & GREED.  HEAVEN HELP US! THANK GOD THAT YOU WERE FORTUNATE ENOUGH, TO BE BORN IN THIS COUNTRY.

GRIEF & DYING

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   Grief takes many forms.  First there is the numbness & disbelief that the situation exists.  When reality sets in, the pain of physical, emotional, financial loss takes over.  People may either

         come around to assist you & comfort you or they choose to stay away for some reason.  Who knows the reason?  Either way, your loss becomes intense & painful, as time progresses.  The waiting, many revivals as the roller coaster ride begins each day!  Life has now changed for you forever!  God is in charge.  Only HE knows the day that death will come to release the pain.

         We decided to stay in familiar surroundings of our home, with family around surrounding us with love.  But because of my disability, I needed some home care added to Hospice services. The most

         economic way, is to have a live-in.  Average costs may be around $125 a day.  Average hourly rates may be around $14.50-$16.50 per hour. Besides caring for the patient, they also do light housekeeping, cooking, & care for my needs.  One downfall is that you must be able to provide a room for them.  If you are short on bedrooms, then it becomes a problem for the family to visit you.  You may or may not have to supply their meals.  The other drawback is that while the live-in is sleeping, someone else must take a shift, to help patient at night.  So either you will also need an hourly caregiver or you yourself, will have to help him.

         I had excellent caregivers, but since there were so many different people, at first it bothered me.  I felt a loss of privacy & space.  My people tried to keep me focused with time for myself.  But at a time like this, it is never a good situation, but they do their best to make you & the patient comfortable. I forgot that they were here to help me.  Instead, I wanted to be the perfect hostess & make everyone feel at home.  It was also hard to find time for myself, as I wanted to be with my husband.

         You may find that this stressful time brings out the worse in some of your family.  Old wounds & issues seem to crop up.  Try to not let them involve you in their squabbles.  You have enough on your plate.

         As Wayne deteriorated, it was suggested that I contact an undertaker.  I was told that giving notice of an upcoming death, eases things at the end.

         So now we wait for the decline again, which may result in another revival.  Such is life!  We do not know the time of our going in & coming out.  It is in God’s hands!

 

RE     REST IN PEACE, MY LOVE!

 

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