Monday, 12 August 2013

Respect Your Elders

Meet The Elder That Taught Me How To "Respect My Elders"

Are you like me and grew up hearing the words, "Respect Your Elders" It seemed like every time I turned around I heard those words. My parents were very big on respecting our elders. I recall hearing these words over and over again but I don't recall my parents telling us or showing us ways to respect our elders. Twelve years ago I had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful Native Elder by the name of Mary Uslick or Grandma Mary as she preferred to be called. She taught me many things including telling me and showing me different ways to show respect to an elder. I have come to the conclusion that respecting our elders has become a lost art and society needs a refresher course. Did you know that there is such thing as Elder Abuse? I've seen commercials on TV speaking out against it. The commercials are a good thing however I am sickened that there's a need for such a thing. "The woman is this picture is my precious Grandma Mary."

This is Grandma Mary her spirit name was"Skemcis" which means Grizzly Bear.

Photo Credit:Photobucket

Never Rush An Elder.

As I told you before I had the amazing opportunity to know this great elder that we all lovingly called Grandma Mary. She taught me a lot of amazing things.Some of the things she taught me were ways to show respect an elder. The was first lesson she taught me on the very first day I went out to see her. Grandma needed to go shopping so I went to pick her up. She invited me to come in and sit down. I came in,sat down and waited as I expected her to get ready.She didn't get up to get ready she started talking about different things. I was all set to go shopping and wanted to get going so I said something about getting going. Her response was very simple but it hit home and I never forgot it. She stopped talking, took out a cigarette lit it up, took a big drag and said,"You know you never rush an Elder." I went shopping one day and as I was leaving there was an Elder getting into the car parked next to mine. So I just stood there and waited patiently while she got into the car. Her daughter saw that I was waiting and told her mom to let me get in my car. I told her that it was OK I didn't mind waiting that you were never suppose to rush an Elder. The daughter thanked me profusely for my patience and for showing respect to her mom. She said told me that all to often people got impatient with how slow her mom was. She said that society doesn't respect their Elders like they used to.
A painting I did of Grandma Mary

Never argue with an Elder.

Grandma Mary was great for teaching lessons on the spot. Once she taught you something you never forgot it. Grandma Mary had her ways of doing things too. One thing that she liked to do was go out to eat. Most often if you came out to see her she would want to go eat somewhere and she usually paid for dinner. It was very humbling for me to have her pay for my meals. A lot of times it just wasn't me she took out to eat,it was me and my three kids. I remember the first time she went to pay the bill and I tried to pay for my own. It was then she taught me this lesson. She simply said to me, "You know," she said that a lot, "you never argue with an Elder and if an Elder gives you something you just say thank you". That was a hard pill to swallow for me sometimes. I was a single mom living on a very limited income that didn't like being on the receiving end of the giving chain. I liked to be the one that was doing the giving,it was my way of giving back. I think this was Grandma Mary's way of giving back too. And since she was the Elder she won that one.

If an Elder tells you off thank them.

"If an Elder tells you off thank them. " After all they cared enough to take the time and energy to tell you off. You might not agree with what they said but you should thank them anyhow and think about what they said, after all you could learn something.

Photo Credit:Photobucket

If you have an opportunity to attend a feast at any kind of gathering in the Aboriginal community you'll see that"Elders eat first and they are served." Elders are very much respected in the community. To serve an Elder is considered a honor. However there is a right way and a wrong way to serve an Elder. One Elder told me that he was considering not going to a certain place because of the way he was served. He appreciated the fact the people liked to serve the Elders but his preferences were not taken into account when his plate was prepared. He wasn't given enough to eat or drink. He also said that people didn't give him a choice on whether or not he wanted to be served. One man basically came up and ordered him to sit down so he could serve him. Enough with the wrong way to serve an Elder. Here's the right way. First off have some idea of what is on the menu. If you can go and scope out what's being served. You should then go approach an Elder and ask if you can serve them. If they say yes ask them what they would like to eat, tell them what their choices are. If you haven't had a chance to take a peak, tell them you will go see what is being served. You should also be aware of any food allergies your Elder may have. They will more than likely tell you. I have one Elder that is allergic to dairy and egg yokes. He can eat margarine but not butter. I ask him what he would like to eat after telling him what is being served. He has sent me to find out if there is any dairy in certain dishes that he wants to eat. He also needs to know if it's butter or margarine. Oh and don't forget the desserts. Elders love those sweets. After all the Elders have been served then every one can eat.

Give an Elder your seat.

Photo Credit:Photobucket

Stand Up For An Elder

One day I went to a Pow Wow with Grandma Mary where she taught me this lesson. It's actually a very simple lesson to learn and takes little or no effort to perform. We sat down to watch the dancers. I guess Grandma Mary noticed an Elder standing up because she looked at me and said, "If you see an Elder standing find them a chair. If there aren't any empty chairs give them yours." They usually have reserved seating for Elders at pow wows and other gatherings. However there maybe cases where all the reserved chairs are taken and an Elder needs a seat. After all it's easier for us young folks to stand than it is for an Elder. How about riding the buses? Have you ever gotten on to a very crowded bus and saw an Elder standing. Doesn't the thought of that make your teeth shudder.Don't people realize how fragile Elders can be. If the bus were to stop suddenly that poor Elder left standing could fall and break a hip or some other body part. I just shake my head and wonder what is wrong with our society these days. It is so easy to stand up and give an Elder your seat. And the rewards are huge. Not only do you get to feel good about doing a good deed you get to have the gratitude of a most thankful Elder.

Help an Elder any way you can.

Photo Credit:Photobucket

It is very rewarding to help an Elder anyway you can. I had the amazing opportunity to be able to help out Grandma Mary in so many different ways. She was a very wise hard working woman. However despite her knowledge she only read and wrote a very little so she needed help with just about everything that had to do with reading and writing. She was fortunate enough to have some very trust worthy people to help her.I used to go over to see her and read her mail to her. I also read the news paper to her if she saw an article that looked interesting. I'd help her pay her bills by writing cheques that she signed. I also took her to the bank where the bank tellers took care of her. I just stood off to the side and waited until she was done respecting her privacy. I used to love going grocery shopping with her. I took this as an opportunity to pamper her a little especially in the produce department. I would go and get plastic bags to put her produce in and hand them to her one at a time when she needed them and then I'd hand her a twist tie. I know it sounds like such a small thing to do but I know she appreciated it. After we finished her shopping we'd take her groceries home. I'd carry them in the house for her and put them away. I'm glad that Grandma Mary trusted me to help her out. I really felt good about myself knowing that she did.

They tell us because they want us to remember.

Listen To Your Elders

One very easy way to show respect to an Elder is to listen to them speak. Elders are a great resource. They are keepers of our history. Traditionally the Aboriginal culture is a non-written culture.Their history is passed down from one generation to the next through stories. These stories are told by the Elders. Grandma Mary used to tell me the same thing several times. I thought at first that she told me the same thing so many times because she forgot she told me. Then I realized she told me so many times because she wanted me to remember. She carried a lot of history for her people. She was one of the last elderly Elders from her community. She knew a lot of information about the area she was from. She knew all the family names and who was related to who. She also knew all the names for the mountains, river and streams in that area. I was thinking the other day that the Aboriginal culture isn't the only culture that passes on their history through the Elders. Every culture has Elders that pass down their history. Not every family has a book in the local library about their family history. The job of passing down history is generally left up to the grandparents. I think everyone should go visit the grandmas and grandpas with a note book or tape recorder in hand. Better yet why not take a movie camera and ask them to talk about their childhood or their parents live. You will be surprised at the stories they have to tell. I never had the opportunity to know my grandparents as a result I know very little about my family history. I implore you if your grandparents are still alive take advantage of that and listen to the stories they tell. You could learn something about yourselves.

And The Greatest Gift Of All Is Love.

The greatest reward that you receive from helping an Elder is love. I knew that Grandma Mary loved me. She showed me in so many ways. I was very fortunate to have this wonderful woman in my life. I didn't have the opportunity to know my grandparents, aunts and uncles and my mother wasn't much of a mother to me. Grandma Mary filled all those places in my life. Sometimes she was my grandmother, sometimes she was my auntie, sometimes she was my sister, sometimes she was my friend and sometimes she was my mom. She gave me a token of her love, a little brown teddy bear. We were out grocery shopping on day when she saw this bin of teddy bears. She went looking through the bin to find a brown one. She found it and gave it to me to put in the grocery cart. I looked at the price and saw that it cost over sixteen dollars. I was going to say something to her about how much it cost but thought never mind its her money she can spend it any way she wants. We went home and put her groceries away. After everything was put away she handed me the teddy bear. She said,"Here put this in your car so you always know Skemcis is looking out for you." I still have that teddy bear sitting in my car just like she told me. It's been over four years since Grandma Mary passed away and I know that she is still looking out for me

And Now For A RUDE AWAKENING....Elder Abuse Put An STOP To It!

What Is Elder Abuse?

Photo Credit:Photobucket

According to the Victims Of Violence web site Elder Abuse was first seen in the news as far back as the 1970's but was a problem long before that. Elder Abuse has been recognized as a crime that has become a social concern in many circles. Elder Abuse is defined as being "Elder abuse is abuse committed against a person in the advanced years of their life and can include physical, emotional or sexual abuse, financial abuse, medical deprivation or over-medication, neglect, or the basic violation of human rights. This abuse can be in the form of family violence, institutional violence, or violence by a stranger."

Eye Witness To Elder Abuse.

Photo Credit:Photobucket

Sadly Grandma Mary passed away in 2007. Since then I have met another Elder that I've had the privilege of helping out on a few occasions. Sadly I witnessed this precious Elder been taken advantage of by his own daughter. He was in the hospital because he was sick,not because he wanted a holiday. He phoned his daughter to let her know he was there and of course she came to visit. I think the only reason she came to visit him was to give him a sob story. She told him that she was broke and had no money to buy food for her and her kids.She told me that she was living in a bad situation. I guess she asked her aging sick father if she could borrow some money because he gave her his bank card and she never brought it back. I couldn't believe it. I visited him every day while he was in the hospital and she never came back. We had to go over to house to get the bank card when I took him home from the hospital. We stopped by the bank to check his bank balance on the way home and he was over drawn. Needless to say he had to borrow money to live off of for the rest of the month. If you know an Elder please tell them to be very careful about who they give their bank card to. I'd also encourage you to tell them to feel free to phone the police if they have been abused or taken advantage of in any way.

My Christmas Angel Story

My Christmas

Yet another Christmas is upon us and even though I have had many wonderful things happen this year I am still reminded of the lose of my little one. I received another Christmas angel. My dear friend has taken on the task of buying me an angel for Christmas every year. However I do know if she didn't buy this gift of love I would still receive this gift from someone somewhere. It is truly a gift of love from my little one in heaven. I love you baby sweet dreams until me meet again.

This story began in 1997. I had been single for six years after leaving my ex-husband and was ready to date again Maybe a little to eager. I think I should have been more choosy about who I dated because I dated a man that wasn't the best for me and yes I did end up pregnant. The pregnancy was unplanned but most welcome. I was already a mother of three and would have welcomed another child into my brood with open arms. However the story didn't exactly play out that way. Instead of a baby I got an angel. This is the story of my pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage and the saddest day of my life. It turned into the story of how I got a Christmas Angel.

I went out to dinner with my girlfriend last night. We usually get together at Christmas to do the gift exchange thing and enjoy each others company, you know the usual girlfriend thing. Her gift to me was an angel pin. It's a little angel laying on a heart that has a flower in the middle, really quite pretty. She said it was from my daughter, the one that sends me an angel every Christmas. This is that story of how that tradition began. I would not want to wish this story on anyone but I would like to share it. This story began July 1998. It was probably the worst week of my live. You see a few months earlier I unexpectedly found myself pregnant,yes it was an unplanned pregnancy. I was dating a fellow, who looking back I shouldn't have been dating, and as I said found myself pregnant. Even though it was an unplanned pregnancy it filled me up. The relationship was very draining and I was running on empty. I felt so alive knowing I had that little life growing inside me. The spring came back into my step and I could feel the wind blowing in my hair. Then just twelve incredibly short weeks later. I had a miscarriage. I cannot tell you how utterly empty and lifeless I felt after that. The emptiness was so noticeably overwhelming. It just wasn't an emptiness of soul it was an emptiness of being. My mind felt empty, my body, my soul felt empty, and my spirit felt empty. Christmas came that year as it does every year whether you want it to or not. I have three other children so I had to do Christmas that year whether I wanted to or not. I didn't have the option of curling up in bed with the blankets pulled tightly over my head. I was a single mom with three other children to look after. So the day began just as so many other Christmases began, with the gift giving. My oldest daughter gave me a little gift bag. I pulled out a little ceramic cherub or as I like to call it a baby angel. The first thought that jumped into my head when I saw this little angel was, "Oh she didn't forget'" My little darling sent her mommy a Christmas gift all the way from heaven. Yes I did say "her" mommy because in my heart of heart I believe that this child of mine was a girl and I named her Skylar-Rose. And so the story of my Christmas Angel began. Every year after that I have received an angel at Christmas time. They always come one way or another. I remember one year it came unknowingly from a relative of my ex-husbands.This was the Christmas I thought my little on had forgotten about me. This kind lady came by every year to bring me and the kids Christmas gifts. This particular year she brought over a large gift bag that we were to put under the tree until Christmas day. Christmas day came and I opened it up to see what was in it. There was a little locket at the bottom of the bag. It had, what I thought a the time, a picture of a little girl on the front. I put it away. I spent the next couple of months thinking my little girl had forgotten her mom at Christmas time until one day I looked at the locket closely. I saw that it wasn't a picture of a little girl after all. It was a picture of a baby angel. So she hadn't forgotten me after all. I later told this relative about my angel story and the locket. She told me that she had no part of that and didn't put the locket in the bag. My angels changed after a few years. They changed from being babies to a more grown up angels. As I was thinking about to why the change I heard a voice in my head say,I'm not a baby anymore you know Mom." Later on I was talking to my daughter, telling her how the angels changed. She said to me, "You know she's not a baby anymore mom." There was one year that she did forget. I didn't realize it until sometime after Christmas and before my birthday. My birthday is in January. One night I went to bed and it hit me,she forgot.i had not gotten an angel for Christmas. I was a just a little bit sad. But I went on with live thinking that was the end of the angel story. But I did get an angel that year. It came on my birthday. I went to work thinking that everyone had forgotten about my birthday but those beautiful people I worked with hadn't. I had to be out of the office with a client. The place looked dead when I got back. Then I thought for sure everyone had forgotten until I heard them all shout,"Surprise" They had indeed surprised me in more than one way. They bought me a gift and what do you think that gift was. It was an angel wind chime. I just love wind chimes. So she hadn't forgotten after all. She was just a little late, that's all and to make up for it she sent me a wind chime too. The year after that I got four Christmas Angels. Like I said earlier I already got my angel this year. My heart is always touched whenever I see that little Christmas Angel. Yes it is a beautiful story and I am glad to share it with you however as beautiful as it is I would much rather have the my little gift giver at my side than the little gift.

Lasting Grief

Photo Credit Amazon: Resting Angel Figurine

March 01,2011

I went to see Nicole Kidman's new movie,The Rabbit Hole" tonight. In case you haven't seen it it's a movie about a young couple dealing with the lose of their four year old son who got ran over by a car. Yup it's a really sad story. I didn't know it was a movie about the loose of a child,if I had I wouldn't have gone. There was one part of the movie that made a lot of sense. It was a discussion between a mother and a daughter. Both had lost sons, one 11 years ago the other 8 months ago. The daughter asked the mother if it ever went away. The mother said no it never went away it just got different. It became managable. It becomes like a brick you put in your pocket. You get so used to carrying it that sometimes you even forget it's there. How true that statement is. It is so true it never does go away. And at times you do forget it's there and when you do you feel gulity. Watching that movie was like having the bandage torn off of a wound. I lost my baby in 1998 but the wound feels fresh after watching that movie. I remember how dead and drained I felt from dealing with lives trials and stresses. I remember how alive I felt when I found out that I was carry that little life in me. The spring came back in my step and I was feeling so happy. I felt the flutter of that little life inside me and was so looking forward to holding that little darling in my arms. That feeling of being alive turned to feeling of emptiness. A emptiness that I have never felt before.The emptyiness was so loud it scream a silent scream. The feeling of having empty arms came with that scream. It's true it never does go away. But sometimes you do forget its there and then comes days like today when the wound seems as fresh as the day it happened and you feel like crumpling to the ground. That's my grief.

Life After A Miscarriage.

Photo Credit Amazon: Sleeping Cherub Statue Did I hear you right? Did you say that live goes on after a miscarriage? Yes you heard me correctly, live does go on after a miscarriage. You might not feel like living but whether you like it or not your body still keeps functioning. Your lungs take in a breath and let it out again, Your eyes still blink and your heart keeps beating. I felt so dead inside after I lost my baby I didn't think I'd ever feel alive again. The first year after was the hardest. I didn't want to do anything and for the most part I didn't. I had 3 other kids to look after so I had no choice but to get up off the couch. For the most part that's all I did. I'd get up off the couch to get the kids up for school. I would then make their breakfast and send them out the door to school. I would then lay down on the couch and sleep until it was time to get up and make them lunch. They would come home have lunch and go back to school. I would then go back and sleep until they got home from school. We they got home I'd get up to visit for a while and make supper then lay back down. That was pretty much my day for about a year. I slept on the couch because I couldn't stay in my room for very long. I would go in my room to dress then I would have to leave. It seemed as if there was a black cloud lingering in my room that wanted to swallow me up. It was a sad dark time. I used to have a really hard time going shopping especially if there was a crying baby in the store. I would just want to cry out. "Shut that dam thing up!" All these years later it still bothers me to hear a baby cry, especailly a newborn. It was just reminder of how empty my arms felt. Those empty arms are painful to say the least. I don't think that pain or emptiness ever goes away. It just gets bearable and sometimes you do forget about it. I really didn't feel like living and to tell the truth I don't know how I got though that tiime. I remember one night after the kids had gone to bed. It was a night that I really didn't feel like living. I laid down on the couch wishing that I could die.I was crying out to the universe asking why I was on this earth anyhow. I actually felt my spirit leaving my body. But the dam phone rang. It was a young girl that was a friend of my son's. I hadn't talked to her for a couple of years. She said that she was phoning to thank me for saving her life. She said that I had given her some advice once when she was going through a really hard time. The advice I gave her had saved her live. That phone call couldn't have come at a better time. It's been 13 years since I miscarried. 13 long years. I still wonder what my little girl would have looked like. I still do the backwards count to figure out how old she would have been if she was born on my due date, Febuary 4th, 1999. So long ago yet at times it seems so recent. At times I can still feel the emptiness of my arms. If you have had a miscarriage I would encourage you to be gentle with yourself and seek out a support group in your community. I found a group in my community called "Empty Arms".

Angles on Amazon

Willow Tree Figurine

Willow Tree Happiness Angel Figurine

Willow Tree Angel of Miracles Figure

Desert Angel Figurine

Garden Chime - 24" Angel Windchime

Pavilion Gift Company Elements 9-Inch Angel Holding Daisies

Gifts Of Hope

Live The Life You Love. Learn From Yesterday. Live For Today. Hope For Tomorrow

Willow Tree Hope Figurine

Guardian Angel Pendant

Diamond Angel and Heart Necklace

Sterling Silver "Hope" Square Pendant Necklace

Sterling Silver Guardian Angel Pendant on Snake Chain

Some Valuable Resources For Those Who Experience A Miscarriage

Miscarriage, Medicine & Miracles

I Never Held You: Miscarriage, Grief, Healing and Recovery

I'll Hold You In Heaven

Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage

Mommy, Please Don't Cry: There Are No Tears in Heaven

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, Revised Edition

Things To Bring Comfort

Musical Angel for Loss of Baby

Loss of Child Memorial Necklace

Roman Memorial Angel

Memorial Garden Stepping Stone with Message

Angel With Dove Garden Statue

When God Calls Little Children Angel Figurine

Things That Promote A Healthy Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Wondfo Pregnancy Test Strips, 25-count

Imagery and Meditations for support during your Third Trimester

Leachco Back 'N Belly Contoured Body Pillow

Mambino organics Oh Baby Belly Butter

Boppy Prenatal Total Body Pillow

Things To Help You Learn to Laugh Again After The Pain

Laughter the Best Medicine

Londons Times Funny Music Cartoons Gift Basket

The 50 Funniest American Writers*: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion

Only When I Laugh

Thou Shalt Laugh 4

Laugh Yourself Healthy