Thursday, June 9, 2011


shrinking – that’s the word that came to me while i was visiting my hospice patient yesterday.  not that he is shrinking, but his life is shrinking.  he is well cared for in the assisted living facility he is in.  he is a stroke victim and while his speech can be challenging to understand, he is still mentally alert and can carry on a conversation.

he likes to share his concerns with me and i am happy to listen.  that’s why i’m there.  like his concern that the control of his finances is now completely out of his hands.  and his concern that he has no telephone in his room.  he rarely gets mail.  and he rarely has visitors.  it bothers him that his drawers are stuffed full and he can’t keep them organized.  he’s always been an organized guy.  i can relate to that and try to help him.

so what once was an active life filled with family, work, responsibilities and activity is reduced to this.  he was waiting for someone to come and wheel him to the beauty salon for a haircut.  this is the event of the day.  like i said, shrinking……. 

 i realize i’m not going to win the happy post award with this topic.  but, as always, there are some things we can learn.  like if you know someone who is in this situation (there are millions) the smallest thing can mean so much.  i know you know that and i know it, but reminders are good.  when  i’m there i try to speak to the other residents too.  they don’t have a lot going on.  and i’m adding a “kindness” section to my brain-storming journal.  we’ll see what comes up!

 so what can i apply here to my own life?  pretty sure my life will shrink too if i am lucky enough to live to a ripe old age.  it’s the life cycle and there is nothing we can do about that.  (in some ways it feels like it has already shrunk some since my days of working full-time and being constantly on the go).

 but as always, we do have control of our attitude.  i want to be ok with it when that happens.  not be taken off guard and have a bunch of regrets.  or feel like a victim.  i want my inner self to be strong and joyful.  i want to increase my capacity to appreciate the smallest things.  i want to accept my limitations with dignity and grace.  and there is something i can do about that.


  1. so sad to face ones mortality,, I think often what it must feel like to wake everyday wondering if this will be the day I die,, in our 50's and 60's it doesn't come to mind but in ones 80's or 90's I would imagine you think of it often,, I have friends in our building who face death everyday,, it makes me think to enjoy every moment,, you have a big heart,, so proud to call you blog friend,,

  2. Good food for thought, Patty. Could we organize some mail art for this gentleman? I would be happy to participate. I bet some of your other online pals would too...

  3. aging happens to us all, so it's important that we embrace the facts, huh?! i love the hand holding photo so much- so sweet

  4. Great post Patty. Yes, all our worlds will become very small, if, as you say we are fortunate enough. Living in the moment and appreciating small things ... I want to learn that NOW ... like you ... no regrets. Thank you for the beautiful photographs. xxDonna

  5. Dear Patty-you know...I absolutely understand what you mean. I have seen the shrinking that goes on at the end of the smallest thing means the another day of life = a good day. I try to bring all of those lessons to my every I don't have to learn them later. You are a dear, good soul Patty-to bring some comfort to someone at the end of their life. And yes...kindness means more than we can ever know. xxx

  6. I can relate to life shrinking and you have shared it so eloquently and with such vivid images that touch the heart. Thank you for sharing of yourself and the man you so obviously care for.
    Stay inspired!

  7. Good for you for doing what you can to help ease this gentleman's daily worries. I am also glad you are posting something that is serious and not necessarily happy face and fairy dust. I am about to post something that is serious too...and hopefully helpful for those that are not into thinking about what is potentially coming down the road here in the US. Best to be prepared...I have watched my father transition from a vibrant 68 year old man to a near invalid in less then a year. Shocking how quickly things can change.

  8. Patty,
    maybe you could send me his address I would be happy to write him a letter or maybe a book. I love this topic and I understand to well what you are wwritting about. Thank you for the reminder.. love you sweet friend..

  9. Aging is inevitable..and the much better alternative. In the end - we have no real control over what will happen..but we can control our outlooks and attitudes!! Lots of inspiring food for thought here!

  10. to age gracefully...yes, quite complex it is! I loved this post...


I would love to hear from you!!