Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Things are Heating Up in Alaska

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Things are heating up in Alaska. We are having a record number of voters turning out at the polls and it is surprisingly easy to vote, here. There is of course, a lot of opinions and all of us are of course, opiniated:)

Our family does not vote straight party, nor do we vote based on where we live, or who others might feel represents us. We vote as our hearts and souls lead us with hopefulness for change and prosperity and the good of all.

My parents, ages 91 and 83, and both just recently rushed to Emergency Rooms, oth voted today.I thought I would have to get everyone dressed, walker loaded into a borrowed car, and all necessary identifications ready to go. Instead, a brother simply asked about voters with disabilities, and was sent home with an instant version of an absentee ballot.

I read the candidates out loud to my mother, and was delighted at both her recall, and opinions. In spite of a childhood based on prejudice and racism, she is an amazingly open and accepting woman. One who welcomes change and possibilities.

After lifetimes of challenges, she and my father have both learned to accept others, and see their strengths and potential, and not simply old judgements or misintended falsehoods.

With age, often comes wisdom and the ability to truly see what is real, and what is false, and what is needed and needs to be accepted for the best of all. I was so proud of them both as I watched them with their thick reading glasses on, wading their way through the ballots.

When asked her choices, she announced them firmly....and positively. Had she changed her mind from previously voiced names, I would have double checked, but still honored her choices, but I was delighted with her recall and clarity, as well as her ability to understand, and state her own opinions.

My father, trying to see through the reddened, still slightly swollen eyes from his shingles virus, still determined to vote and by himself. When none of us could find my mother's social security number in purse or files, it was my almost 92 year old father, still ill, who came up with both hers, and his own.

Both are doing well, my mother recovered with her life saving rush to the ER 2 weeks ago, my dad in a the ending phase similar to PHN...post herpetic neuralgia, the shingles after effect of nerve/muscle spasms that follows shingles in the elderly.

We discovered that a lidocaine spray immediately lessened the spasm and that ice packs seemed to delay them. But a follow up visit to the Dr. gave him pain pills based on PHN spasms and helped to relieve the anxiety that comes with fear of the unknown more than even the discomfort of pain.

Just as with change, growth and acceptance of that which we think we do not want, comes a place of making the best of things...no matter what cards we are dealt or where the chips may fall.

In our case, it might be cheetos and fritos (which we ate along with our BLT's with Tillamook pepper jack cheese) but fall they do....and we are learning to make the most of .....and the very best of .....each and every day.

We listen to beautiful music, we have beauty parlor and pedicures at home days, and we tell stories of our childhoods and hopes for our futures. We all watch "Dancing With the Stars" and the evening news. We delight in our visits from family, and my own phone calls from home. But most of all, we delight in one another...in our silliness, and our ability to laugh at ourselves.

Each day brings unknown change and many surprises...some good and some not so good. But any day that we have freedom, the right to choose, and the right to our own opinions is a good day.

As our homemade, plastic bag balloon proclaims...'We voted.' Myself before I came up to Alaska by mail, and my parents at home. But we voted. Have you?

3 comments:

  1. Yes, we have. I cannot remember an election where each person in my family voted for the same presidential candidate - but it happened this year (four households, decisions reached independently). The only frustration is that the eastern part of our state always seems to determine the disposition of our electoral votes, despite the overwhelming support here at the western end of the state. Still, even knowing this historical pattern, I wound never skip voting!

    Glad to hear that today was a good day for you and yours!

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  2. Thank you for your share we all have so much in common as americans quilters and women this is a great place we live where so much is available to all..god bless and my prayers are with your parents...

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  3. Oh dear, it's taken me awhile to get around to reading blogs. I had no idea your family was in such pain. I was so surprised to find you back in Alaska! How wonderful for your parents sense of humor and for their spunk and courage still ready to change the world with their vote. I hope your father recovers quickly and that your mother will contine on the mend.

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.