Friday, May 19, 2017

The Sounds of Silence

Silence is not just the absence of sound.  Silence speaks in its own way.

Last week, I blogged about a housing opportunity for my autistic brother in law "Bil". When my husband told his mother (Bil is still living with her, as she approaches her 90's -her choice) her reaction was silence.

Silence can communicate a lot.

This Tuesday, Bil's service coordinator swung by my mother in law's apartment.  Bil met with her in his bedroom.  My mother in law doesn't hear that well and could hear little of the conversation.

In his bedroom, Bil signed an application to be considered for the housing opportunity.  It's been submitted.

So, yesterday, my husband had to tell his Mom the rest of the story, so she would have time to prepare.  Here's the situation:  If an apartment at this opportunity came free, Bil HAS to take it.  He has to take it right then and there. Otherwise, he may not have another chance.

Housing for people with developmental disabilities is in short supply.  There will be plenty of other individuals ready to jump at the chance.

My husband stopped by with groceries.  Mom knew he was going to talk about the housing.  He told her the full story.

His mother stayed silent for several long minutes.  Her silence said it all.

Finally, she spoke.  She spoke three words, in the language of her parents.

The words translate to "what will be, will be".

I know my mother in law wanted Bil living with her for the rest of her life.  But, he has to leave whenever this opening comes.  It could be two months (it will take that long for the application to be processed).  It could be six months.  But one day, the call will come.

He wouldn't move far- just a couple of miles from her, and from us.  It sounds like a good setup, too.  He would have one roommate.  Each would have his own bedroom. They would share a bathroom and a kitchen.  There is someone on premises 24 hours a day to help with any issues.  There is also transportation available.

Right now, he has his own bedroom and shares a bathroom and a kitchen with his Mom.

Bil came to a meeting yesterday that was supposed to take place last week.  At the meeting, he asked questions about where he would live.  I think, in his mind, he wanted to confirm what he had already been told.  All the answers were the same as information he had been given before he signed the application. 

According to my husband (I was at work), Bil didn't seem anxious.  I think a part of him is ready to fly the nest he has lived in for almost 60 years.

I just hope my mother in law is ready.  Silence, as the saying goes, can speak volumes.

"The sounds of silence" - today's prompt for #FridayReflections. Hosted by Corinne and Sanch, we choose from a small list of prompts, or from a weekly photo.  Come link up, or read what we each have to say and vote for your favorite post.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Great Adventure #FridayReflections

There we were.  It was time for my autistic brother in law's six month review at the day program he attends three times a week.  My husband and I were there.  His other brother and his wife were there.  The program director was there. His service coordinator was there.  There was just one problem:

"Bil" wasn't there.

Suffice to say there was a cluster of communication failures. 

So, again, there we were.

Without Bil, the person whose progress we were reviewing, the meeting couldn't happen.  But while we were there, we ended up having a meeting so educational that my head is still spinning, several days later.

Bil has a housing opportunity.  It's a good one.  It's not too many miles from where my husband and I live. 

It may take several months to happen.  But when it does, it will be quick.  And he must take the opportunity right away, because he won't be given another chance in the future.  There are many disabled who need this kind of apartment, and a big shortage of suitable housing. 

The people who work with Bil feel Bil is ready to separate from his mother.  His mother is elderly, prone to falls (but thankfully not cognitively impaired) and would need additional assistance without him present for some of the day (he does some routine tasks she can no longer do, and if she drops something, he has to pick it up as she no longer dares to bend or crouch).

Whether his mother is ready to separate, we have some doubts about. He's lived with her all his life.  Where they used to live until two years ago (miles from us), she turned down several housing opportunities for him.  She wanted him by her side.  She's never been able to let him go.  But he's in his late 50's. It's past time for him to spread his wings to the best of his abilities.

When my husband told her Bil's service coordinator was going to be applying for a housing opening, she said - nothing.

Nothing.

We have to have a family meeting to talk to her,  and also to get her wishes for once Bil moves out.  It's going to be an adventure and another journey into the unknown.  We are fighting for Bil's future because they are going to separate now, or separate later (when she dies, or is no longer able to care for him). 

We are reaching for the right words, the words that will make the best of a stressful situation.

I feel like we are at a turning point.  We are all hanging off a cliff without a net underneath us 

But, you know what? 

This is just one obstacle in what is going to be a lifetime of challenges.  We've met some of those challenges already.  Others are to come.  We must remember that attitude is everything.  

We can't give up before we begin.  It's time to consider this as a great adventure.

Today's prompt: “Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles in life.” – John Amatt.

Join Corinne and Sanch at #FridayReflections.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A to Z Reflection on the Unknown Journey Ahead

On April 1, I decided to do something daring - open my blog up to the general public (and not just people who already knew me in person or as a blogger) by participating in something called the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. 

My intention was to blog a book, but it didn't exactly work out that way.

Did I finish the A to Z Challenge?  Yes, and I hope you (if you participated) did, too.

A tradition of A to Z is to look back on the previous month, and that is what I am doing today.

If the truth be told....

Although I didn't make it public, I was blogging with two different blogs.  One blog is established, and it was my third A to Z on that blog.  This blog I've kept hidden for a lot of its life, and this was its first A to Z.

In fact, blogging in A to Z with two blogs (for reasons of privacy, I've chosen not to reveal my "true identity" on this blog) was rather overwhelming.  I would never do A to Z with two blogs at once.

But it was a learning experience, even if I didn't accomplish my goal.

I want to thank the bloggers who visited my blog.  These included (this isn't a complete list and I don't want to leave anyone out):

Write to Inspire - Shirley Corder   Shirley blogged an entire month on How To Build a Better Blog.  I wish I had read it before the challenge, because it had so much good information.

Hilary Melton-Butcher at Positive Letters - Inspirational Stories.  She won't be participating in A to Z next year, which makes me a little sad.

DeeDee at Mrs. DAsh says. 

 I also wanted to comment on questions the organizers of A to Z asked.  In past years, there has been a list with links to every blog that signed up for the challenge.  You didn't need to participate in any social media.  This year, the challenge went list free, which I fully understand.  The organizers do a tremendous amount of work trying to monitor the challenge, and should be congratulated on the wonderful job they do.  Yet....I'm not on social media as far as this blog is concerned, and I think it held me back.  There was a non social media way of participating, which I used, but I just got that feeling that I was missing out on a lot of the action. 

So, I do not think I will be joining in again next year, unless I take Shirley Corder's advice, spend the entire year really thinking about the book I want to blog, perhaps rewriting some posts, and maybe giving it another try.

Until then - I blog every Friday, and I would be thrilled if you join me every Friday to see what is happening in my Unknown Journey Ahead.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Preparing for Disaster #FridayReflections

Nature taught us a lesson Monday.
Trees - Friend or foe?
Our area was hit by a severe thunderstorm Monday.  Thankfully, there was no tornado, but winds brought down hundreds of trees, and left over 17,000 people without power.  The apartment complex where "Bil" and my mother in law live lost power.  And Bil, who is scared of thunderstorms, was frightened.

We were under a state of emergency for almost two days, as many roads were impassible right after the storm.

In fact, on the route you have to take to my mother in law's complex, a tree fell on top of a house.  It wasn't completely removed until yesterday.  

Another local relative was able to take my mother in law and "Bil" in temporarily, and it made me think.

I wish I could be great at organization, and for anticipating.  And maybe I could wish for the ability to see into the future, while I'm busy wishing.

Our loved ones were not prepared with bottled water or with adequate flashlights/lanterns. 

Why hadn't we thought of that?  For that matter, we weren't that prepared, either.  We can (and have) had Bil stay over, but we aren't equipped for an overnight stay of my mother in law. 
Imagine this tree falling on your car
So what if she, and her family here, had all lost power, or had a tree fall on their house, or have been trapped in their neighborhoods by impassible roads?

Today, I went online, and found these two sources - one for those like Bil, who are autistic - and one for pet owners. 
http://www.monarchcenterforautism.org/safety/disaster-preparedness-tips-autism
Now, all we have to do, with everything else swirling around us, is implement some of these suggestions.  Just one more thing to add to our "to do" list.

Prepare for disaster.

Linking with #FridayReflections  at Everyday Gyaan.

Today's prompt:   "The thing you most wish you were great at."

Monday I will post the Reflection post for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  I invite you to come back Monday.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zeroing (In) #AtoZChallenge

I made it!

I have reached the rest of the alphabet.  I zeroed in on my goal and achieved it.

I have 26 more posts than I had on March 31.

Now what?

I go forward, perhaps, and rethink blogging a book.  To do so, I am going to reread a series of A to Z posts I found in one of the many new blogs I read this month.  Shirley ran a series called Build a Better Blog, and it is chock-full of advice (such as this nugget).

Ironically, because I was too busy blogging (with A to Zing with two blogs - yikes!) I never had time to sit down with each and every one of the posts and really concentrate.

But for now I will zero in on the parts of her advice that speak to me.

And from there...I'll continue on my Unknown Journey Ahead.  Now that A to Z is over, I plan to resume my normal once a week (Friday) posting schedules.

But first, I would like to thank my new followers, and those who had already discovered my blog, for following and reading me.

A virtual bouquet of violets for you.

Zee End.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yearning (for good housing) #AtoZChallenge

"Bil", my autistic brother in law, had his annual review recently, and the topic of housing for Bil, once my mother in law can no longer care for him, came up.

Let me backtrack a little.  Bil lives with his mother.  He always has.  First, it was in his childhood home, where he lived for all his conscious life.  In 2015, he and his mother were moved up here to be closer to two of her other children, and they moved into an apartment in a senior complex.

Once his Mom can no longer stay there due to physical or health issues, Bil has to move out, and find another housing option. He would be allowed to stay, but he can't afford the rent.  And therein lies the problem.

We already experienced a time when Bil had to stay in the apartment while his mother was hospitalized.  He had a lot of support from my husband, his oldest brother, and me.

I've mentioned in other posts about the fact that Bil could never grasp the fact that garbage needed to be taken out.  He had to be prompted.  It was surprising that the smell of garbage didn't seem to prompt him into action.

We were a little bit more successful with food.  Bil has always been scared to use the stove.  But, we found he could use the microwave with direction.  Lunch was not a problem two days a week, when he attended a day program. On other days, he would have a sandwich from a fast food place or the local supermarket (one of us had to take him).  For supper, we ended up buying frozen dinners for him (alternating them with ready made dinners from the local supermarket). Bil learned to read the directions and put in the cooking times.

But being able to make microwave meals or being able to take out the garbage does not lead to independence.

Also, there is no public transportation where Bil lives.  He is too young for the "senior bus".  He is not capable of learning how to drive.  And, even if he could get around on his own, it would not solve the problem of housing for Bil.


We will have to learn to think outside the box, because his options are truly limited.

"Y" Day on Blogging from A To Z.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Xenophobia #AtoZChallenge

Websters dictionary defines Xenophobia as:

"Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign."

To many, autistic people like my brother in law Bil are strange.  They are afraid of "people like that".  They think that "people like that" aren't human, or worse yet, need to be "cured".  Autism isn't a disease. No one needs to be "cured" of autism any more than I should be cured of my love of reading.

Perhaps the fact that autism has become more common will help with the fear of strangers.  If the person with autism is your child or your grandchild, or your child/grandchild's friend, or the artist whose works you are admiring at an open house at an art studio, you will see that person as a human being, and not some kind of statistic.

Although not connected to autism, xenophobia can pop up anywhere in our world with frightening violence - for example, recently in South Africa.


I sometimes wish we could be more like trees.  Walking the other day, my husband pointed this tree out to me.  It must have been grafted, because part of the tree was blooming pink, and part of it was blooming white.

Both in harmony.

One could wish....