A BOOK LONG OVERDUE ( REPOST FROM 2014)

PERSONAL

A BOOK LONG OVERDUE

MAY 24, 2014 LEAVE A COMMENT

Dreams were about to be broken.

I can clearly remember that July day in 1980.  It was mid-afternoon, sunny, hot, and humid.  As I reflect back, it was an unsettling time for me; the divorce, the lawsuit, and the knowledge that emotions would be uncertain.  All were weighing heavily on me.

KIDS 3

We had finished loading the pick-up truck with the few possessions I was to take with me: an office desk and chair, a credenza, clothes, shotguns, pictures, and papers.  Left behind were the things of value.  She had custody and control over all that I was leaving behind.

My four children had gathered on the front porch to say goodbye.  Diana, 11, and Pam, 10, were old enough to understand what was happening.  They, however, had been spared the details.  They had also been prepped for the event that was unfolding.  Diana and Pam stood by trying to control any feelings they may have had.

Matt, seven, the youngest, was too young to grasp the immensity of emotions and clung to his mother’s leg.  Steve, nine, the oldest boy struggled to hold back his tears.  His mother explained to him that his daddy would be going away for a while.  I too was failing in my effort to hide tears.  As I turned to leave, Steve, moisture in his eyes, handed me a book.

Many years have passed; I have traveled many miles.  The book traveled with me from Asheville; to Raleigh; to Roanoke; to Indianapolis; and finally to Bridgeport, CT.  The treasured book always was packed and moved with me.

It was not until the late nineties that I parted ways with the book in Bridgeport. I was forced to leave the book behind due to necessary downsizing.  Downsizing made necessary by economics and poor judgment.  In haste and oversight, the book was left behind.  An oversight that I now regret. I am reminded of that book every day.

Every day I look at the picture that hangs on my wall in the nursing home where I now live.  The picture serves as a reminder of that book and what I left behind; a reminder of the pain and emptiness I’ve felt over the years.  The hurt that I’ve caused and the wounds that will not heal. I now, so very, much would like to have that book so that I may return it.

It will have been 34 years this July since I’ve seen that teary eyed little boy; that little boy offering me a going away gift.  A book that meant so much to him then — and means so much more to me now.  The book is long overdue.  No one can imagine the price paid over the years; the years of sadness and remorse, and how lonely I’ve become.

Each day I look at the picture of my four kids.  The picture serves as a reminder of that book and all that I left behind.

I am so very sorry.

bc

BREAKDOWN OF FAMILY: The Overlooked Consequence

OPINION:

Nowhere in the framework of society is the breakdown of the family more evident than with the aging. With the need for two incomes to support the family, no one is home to care for the elderly. The solution to one of the most perplexing issues facing a family has been found.

 

“In the U.S., nursing home chains have flourished since the 1970s, subsequent to the passage of Medicare and Medicaid and the extension of public payment for nursing home residency.“ — Light, D.W. (1986). Corporate medicine for profit. Scientific American 255: 38-45.

This act has completed the acceptable end of life drama for many households. The painful and depressing disposal of the elderly in a satisfactory and a seemingly compassionate manner has now become a reality. Family members can wash their hands of the sick and dying, delivering them to the care and comfort provided by others, paid for, to a large extent, by the government. The next of kin can now pursue their selfish endeavors cheerfully and guilt-free.

The degree of disintegration in families was readily apparent when I attended a Family Council Meeting in a nursing home; a meeting of relatives and responsible parties to discuss the care and comfort of a loved one put away in a long-term care facility.  These meetings are held at regular intervals throughout the year.  It gives family members an opportunity to meet with the administrative staff, presumably to air out differences, address grievances, and ask questions. This is the occasion to talk to the policy makers of the nursing home. My most recent experience was a sad example of family apathy, lack of family concern and lack of family participation. Two concerned people showed up for the meeting in a 200-bed facility. I was one of them.

Family breakdown has been the bane of the society for decades.  It’s not something that slowly crept up on us from nowhere. It’s only now becoming a concern for those of us that have ignored or tried to justify the cause of the of the decline of the family. Family values have been replaced by the need for two incomes so we can buy the newest, the fastest, the prettiest, the biggest, and the bestest, in the ongoing, self-imposed, undeclared competition with our peers. Equality and freedom of choice in the family—without direction or leadership—is the cause of family breakdown. When each has an equal voice, each goes in their own direction aimlessly with no leadership. Fundamental principles are cast aside, and each family member goes in a different direction to satisfy their selfish desires, free of responsibility and accountability. Each is allowed and entitled to do “their own thing.”

Sadly, it is the elderly that now suffer. They suffer alone. Once again, big brother has stepped in to fill the void. Once, when families were tethered together with common goals, objectives, and family values, sons or daughters cared for their old and dying. This is no longer the case. It is now the task of the government under the guise of Medicare and Medicaid. A new industry has risen to the forefront. Now dying and death offer a profit motive to the corporate world…and it’s flourishing.

With government and private corporations cooperating, also, come the countless cottage industries of government regulators, private and public sponsored watchdogs, medical specialties, psychologist, and social workers all clamoring to get their piece of the economic pie. All are well-intentioned and overzealous at their new found treasure trough. They are preoccupied performing never-ending studies to enhance their self-interest, the results of which are ambiguous enough to affirm the need for further studies and additional funding—and stimulating their job security.

Without the breakdown of the family, they would all be out of work.

 

bc

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