Category Archives: life

The Ferry

The leaves had turned and within six weeks Christmas would have come and gone. Rolling my suitcase off the bus toward the slippery Seattle street in good spirits, my eyes glistening with excitement, I focused on the ocean within my view. After all it was Thanksgiving and my friend promised a wonderful meal for the holidays. What she would do for me is what I had done for her over the years, as my memories conjured up my kitchen with savory smells that my taste buds couldn’t wait for again.

Manhandling my heavy luggage, staring at the lights dancing off the buildings near the Puget Sound’s emerald waters, I could see the Bremerton Ferry awaiting for me. I arrived a couple of hours early bought my fare and rested on a construction site zone bench, where waiting for my friend to arrive was my goal.

Time went by rapidly, but it had been some time before I heard from her and all to knowing work at the hospital was the culprit. Not a surprise and it did not bother me in the least.

The ferry dock information lady stared at me as I asked her a question.

“Where is the best clam chowder?”

Undeniably she said pointing to Ivars, “right there!”

Yes. Of course.

Suitcase in tow, I decided best to get a bite. It was a good thing as my two hour wait turned to four. What was so interesting besides being physically tired, I enjoyed every minute of that beautiful scenery as dark got darker and the afternoon turned to evening.

It was late, but she arrived and off we went from the ferry to her car parked on the other side of the sound. Driving those dark roads, we reminisced of days gone by and how we both loved the tall pine and fir trees in our view as we weaved the curved asphalt road. I was mesmerized by this part of earth I call home. Yet a part of me was lonely. It was my first Thanksgiving without my sons in 25 years.

When we arrived at my girlfriend’s home, she announced,

“Would you be OK if we have our Thanksgiving meal on Friday?”

Studying her tired face and all to knowing that feeling I made sure to remind her the most important part of hanging out was that we weren’t alone. She smiled and agreed.

Long before she and I would find ourselves together this night, I could not help to think long before in the heavenly it was decided how we would be a help to each other in the present. No Thanksgiving meal on the actual holiday, but my day would not be spent alone and the ferry made sure of that.

I Wish I had A Tractor

IMG_0271.JPGI wish I had a tractor 2 weeks ago when I decided to drag my family out to the old Jenkins Cemetery in Caldwell county,  Kentucky.  Many of you may not know, but my most popular post was on finding a haunted cemetery.  It has been a top 10 google search especially during halloween.  Go check it out: The Haunting .

However, if you want to come on this adventure just keep reading.

Continue reading

Autism And Its Challenges

luke at ATPLuke’s autism is a story I have chronicled so you could see the challenges we face. This disorder comes with a big price and it takes much determination to succeed. Along with Luke’s disability, he has significant cognitive delay. His mental age in my opinion (his mom) is about four years old. The question by some may be, “How does one live like this?” The answer is, “It depends.” For example, many people have their own commentary of quality of life. We all have “our truths” about that subject. So do we impose our idea of quality of life on the one that is actually suffering, yet he does not even know it? My perspective is pretty simple. Life matters. No matter at what stage or age you are in. Life matters. Why are others quick to pull away from their responsibilities? See what you think of my example below as I describe a week in the life of a mom and her son trying to find medical help. Sorry medical professionals–you seem to get picked on by me a lot.
We have had quite a week dealing with Luke’s need for dental surgery. I spent undo precious time trying to find a doctor willing to do the surgery for Luke without giving him General Anesthesia. Finally I found an oral surgeon willing to take the chance to do the procedure in his surgical suite under IV sedation. I am very grateful that Luke was taken care of there and the surgery was a success ( no general needed!).
The post op journey has not been easy though, but I believe we may have made it through the worst of it. We make a third trip to the dental surgeon this week, and I hope that will be it except for routine cleanings! I think Luke would agree. I wonder how many people could go through the agony of hearing from one doctor’s office after another not willing to care for Luke.
I say Luke will endure and maybe Mom will too! I am glad sometimes he does not understand the discrimination he gets. So many are still ignorant that Luke is human and made physically just like them. Anyway, this is just one example of how autism impacts families and brings undo burdens that should not be there.
There are dentists who actually say: ” I don’t take care of that kind of medical issue (even though they do) because there are “others” who will. I wonder which dentists are the “others?” For now our other was Dr. Sorenson. He was great as well as his competent staff and front office. In the photo –you will see Luke is still smiling!!! He always will.

Whispered Story

eyeI am now talked about in scattered ways. A true story whispered across the table about the break up. It is being alone that is not spoken of. Instead it is the sustaining half-truths played out by those who do not know.
Some of my life is well worn in my mind like coming out of anesthesia. You feel distance yet you know you are in the same room. “Help me!” I said struggling with pain during one surgery two years ago. “Oh, honey, I have some medicine and I am putting it in your IV now.”
Suddenly you wake up more and do not say a thing at all. You know you need that nurse to help you and he does. He knows exactly the right medicine to administer. You drift back off to sleep.
Hi. My name is Alesia. That pain is not so bad anymore. Two years have gone by and I am now experiencing a whole new kind of pain. A kind I did not expect. It is the end of an almost 23 year relationship. My partner in life has made a choice to move on. I still do not know if the move is permanent. It is what it is for now. The details are not worth the read, but it is the cracks in it that are compelling.
Choosing to not dwell on the details, it seems better to talk about my state my mind and the emotional impact of this loss. With the Christmas season especially, I am reminded of not only my hurt, but also the suffering of many of you. If you sat at home alone on Christmas knowing the season should be enjoyed with others-the harsh reminder of the heartache is painful.
But, tonight as the Christmas day comes to an end, it is hope I would want to bring you. Know you are not alone. I know your pain, but there is always hope. Tomorrow is a new day. God has promised us this through His Story that came through the birth of a baby called the Christ-Child. It is a hope worth pursuing.
Again, do not give up. Life is worth living. Think about the things you love. For me it is fresh flowers, birds in my backyard, watching a great movie, or listening to beautiful music. Life is also about touching others, being touched, and feeling loved. Sweet friendships that are rekindled or perhaps even ambiguous loss of love that gets rejuvenated awaits you and perhaps me one again.
Life is hard. Do not give up. Anesthesia may have worn off, but hope is always attainable.

Accepting What You Cannot Change

The Winter Season is known to bring depression. I hope my photo shows you hope in the midst of yours as it does mine.

The Winter Season is known to bring depression. I hope my photo shows you hope in the midst of yours as it does mine.

My grandmother had a saying that just about sums up how I have felt this week. She would say, “I think I am gonna crawl into a hole and pull in the hole after me.” She lived her whole life in Western Kentucky and died when she was about 80 years old thirty years ago.
Grandmother could be a strange woman, but I know I only saw love from her. She cooked the best butter biscuits and fried chicken a little girl could ever want!
Yet, it seemed to me she suffered at times from depression. I do not know if she was ever clinically diagnosed with it, but I do wonder now about it. But you know one thing I do know is she loved me more than life itself and that was for real. Thank you grandmother.
As I struggle with the angst of my life during a season that we should be thankful, I must accept what I can not change. I recently wrote that my gut check times have become downright vomitus in nature. See this post to catch up: http://alesiablogs.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/acceptance/
I however at the time did not share about the separation I am going through with my husband of 22 years. What I tried to do is put on a good face with you to bring positive in my life when in reality it is not there.
One thing I must do though to move on from this timeframe is to accept what I can not change. We raised two beautiful sons and one of them you all know is Luke who has autism. My life’s journey brought many people through the doors of my home to assist me with him. This perhaps may have been more of a gift to humanity than I will ever really know.
Out of all the care providers that assisted me with Luke, I saw many of them leave our home and become professionals in the world of Teaching, Physical Therapy, Speech therapy, Psychologists, and last but not least Nursing. My life meant something and the lives touched have gone on to touch 100’s of others.
If you are suffering depression and you are reading my post today-know you are not alone. Your life matters. It really does. People come through your life everyday and you have no idea what you did to have made a difference. Remember it is at times the unseen that you are not aware of that is life changing.
Today I am thankful for you my reader. Happy Thanksgiving to my “blogging family” and especially those of you that really do take the time to read.
This post is dedicated to Myrtle who cooked many of my Thanksgiving meals when I was growing up.

Acceptance

Gut Check times can be down right vomitus. Time has come that all is left of my inner being is my gut feelings. Have you ever been there? Maybe more than you ever really want to share if the truth were to be told.
My earthly time has been challenged in ways that are hard to put into words. Those are the times we must just let go. It could be that the time has come for me once again. Unfortunately for me, my gut check thermometer did not read the situation as clear as it is now.
When something becomes clear to you-yes at a gut level-you finally can start Letting Go. Obviously a clarifier has to be put with that statement and it is this. Letting Go is a process and looks different to every individual.
Cancer tried to take my life. Autism has tried to take a son. Hardships tried to take my joy. Depression tried to steal my soul. But at the beginning of the day and at the end, I stand up still even if with a cane and call my life a victory. You can too.
God Bless your Weekend Word Press Friends. Here are a few photos to help keep things in perspective. Enjoy:

What Will You Be Remembered For?

Courtesy of Google

Photo of Captain Phil Harris of The Deadliest Catch Courtesy of Google


Do you have a pay it forward gift that you share with others? I found one in photography as a volunteer for a commercial website that gives free access to their online database of cemetery records. It is wonderful to receive a thank you for my small part in this huge undertaking. In fact,yesterday this website used some information I had found on Captain Phil Harris of The Deadliest Catch who passed away in 2010. Part of his ashes are buried with his mother. She is buried in my area where I photograph and I just so happened to be the first to take a photo of her gravesite. Burial of Captain Phil Harris of The Deadliest Catch with his mother.
If any of you watched this show, you know Captain Phil Harris lived his life large. But in the end all we have left after we are gone are the memories and family and friends. I ponder the bigger questions when I think of death and as I read on some of my favorite blogs you all do too. Here is an example of that: http://pinklightsabre.com/2013/02/22/can-you-be-interesting-every-day/ .
Here are 5 questions worth thinking about. Let me know what you think:
1. Did your presence make the world a better place?
2. What will you be remembered for?
3. When you are gone will you be thought of as kind or difficult?
4. If you died today, did you tell your special someones how much they mean to you?
5. Have you made peace with God?

Death Becomes You

Photo I took from one of the oldest cemeterys in America in NYC's St. Paul's Churchyard.

Photo I took from one of the oldest cemeterys in America in NYC’s St. Paul’s Churchyard.

Today I went to a cemetery to photograph some stones for family members that did not live in Washington State. It is a volunteer program I became involved with to assist those that can not take the photography themselves. On this particular day, I was having trouble finding a plot. There was a woman alone near me and as we began to talk, she started helping me search for the grave site.
After a few minutes I found who I was looking for and took the pictures I needed to take. After I was done, I began to talk with this woman. I realized a sadness in her face as I asked her if she was there visiting with someone. She said, “Yes, my husband. He committed suicide.” I said, “I am so sorry to hear this. When did he do that?” She replied, “In 2010.” It was at this point we began sharing back and forward about life and death situations. It was as if she was saying death was the best choice he saw for himself.
It was interesting having this chance meeting with her. I do not even know her name, but she did take me to her husband’s burial site. I paid my respects with her. This nicely dressed lady was from Korea and shared with me that he was depressed before he killed himself and had lost much of his business. He was a highly respected businessman and it sounded from her he had lost everything. She had begun to go to work at a department store to bring in some money.
As I took my time with her, we spoke of Korean traditions and how the husband’s role is so important in that culture. She spoke of going to work and what this might have felt like for her husband. You could see the sadness in her eyes as she discussed this with me and the clash of current culture with the culture and traditions of her home country. She shared that her home may be lost soon to foreclosure and she wondered about moving back to Korea. She now has grandchildren here that make her so happy. I offered her the only advice I knew when she told me she is now an American citizen, “Stay in America and be with your grandchildren no matter if you lose your house. They sound so lovely for you.” We smiled and said our goodbyes. I offered to take a photo of her husband’s grave site and email it to her. She was so happy for me to do that. I hope in some way it helps her.

Heroes

Luke on the bus to school. Luke is cushioned with a head rest and back support because he has been known to injure himself without warning.

Luke on the bus to school. Luke is cushioned with a head rest and back support because he has been known to injure himself without warning.

Are there any heroes among us anymore that cause us to pause with amazement? Recently I shared the story of my step-dad Roy who is a hero for his military career as a WWII Prisoner of War. When I asked him what defines a hero? He would say something like this, “Our heroes are those we left. I am no hero. I guess I was just lucky. Those left on the battlefield are the amazing ones”. As we continued our conversation, we both agreed having heroes in your life is vital. What was discovered in the process is that a hero could be invisible.
To me the greatest heroes among us can be the ones we hardly notice. I have found that it is a good thing to find amazement in the smallest of things no matter the situation. For example, I have a son with Autism. Luke typically has more bad days than all around good ones. Yesterday Luke had one of his really good days. He was all smiles and so was I. It was a time of wonderstruck for me. He is my hero. He has taught me something about myself no one else can. He has taught me love and what it means to give it your all. Perhaps that is what we see in Roy as a POW VETERAN. He gave it his all and survived to tell his story for all those that had died. The respect we give to Roy is for a whole generation.
How do I say I can call my son Luke my hero? First, he is my son and I am proud of him no matter what the situation. Second, when we have a good day with Luke it tells me he is doing all he can to make it a good day for all of us. He is working his mind to will it for good thoughts when many times his mind is full of obsessiveness and torture. It is this Forgotten Power of Expectancy we all should be taking into our very being. I know deep down God is amazed at Luke. For unto to Him, He asked for us to come as children.. Luke is not visibly a hero like Roy, but in the quietness of our home my son is not forgotten. God sees us all the same. There is no difference to Him. Luke is working hard to be the best he can be. Thats hero enough for me.
PS: We have an ETSY store and you can click into it from the birdhouse photo. 10% will go to the Autism Society Charity if you purchase before February 14th! Also please follow up with your neurodevelopmental stories on http://www.facebook.com/alesiaandluke I am very interested in hearing about your story.

KIDS!

Growing up in Hawaii offered kids interesting opportunities like BIRDS on your head!

Growing up in Hawaii offered kids interesting opportunities like BIRDS on your head!

Blogging is still a very new way of expressing myself. Sharing and reaching out to others for affirmation or showing my unique way of looking at life seemed to bring an audience into my world. I am grateful for each of you. A couple of weeks ago I was nominated for The Beautiful Blogger Award ( http://scvincent.com/awards/ ) and asked to share seven things about myself. I thought I would confess some of my childhood mishaps. Now remember these were the early 70’s!!!! I hope it brings a smile to your face and you see a little of yourself in my answers. After all you were a kid once:
1. I thought I was a great singer at the age of eight in 1971. I sang to the same Donny Osmond album night after night. Mom told me I may have actually sang Puppy Love more than Donny Osmond and Paul Anka combined. It seemed Mom was not too impressed with my singing. It was soon after that I had to give up my musical career. I actually auditioned for the neighborhood band and was “promoted” to manager as the band said I hit a few too many sour notes.
2. I loved playing softball. One year while on the ALL STAR team, I hurt my knee and it was swelling pretty bad. There was some guy at the game who said he could “take the pain away” by hypnotizing me. I let him do that right there with the players around me watching. Before I knew it all the pain was gone. I pitched the game and never felt pain. Later I got home and my knee hurt like hell. My mother was not too impressed.
3. I have gone number one in the pool while I was growing up. I could not help it because I just wanted to keep swimming. Now that Michael Phelps confessed that he has done this, I felt it was OK to share. Mother would not have been too impressed so I did not tell her.
4. I studied best with my dog Rascal growing up. I still love being around animals. I played with him more than studying. Mom was not impressed.
5. I was baptised at the YMCA. It was not a real spiritual experience as I froze my butt off when I got out of that water and my tittys could be seen frozen to death! I wonder if I gave anyone a cheap thrill that day? My mother would not have been impressed.
6. I once spit out food right in front of my grandma while eating breakfast she made me. I was eating eggs with something in them when I said, “Gramma this is good, but what’s in these eggs?” She said in her Kentucky accent, “Child that is pig’s brains. They are good for you.” I proceeded to barf. Mom was not impressed.
7. I was once in a tornado. My daddy and I were going down a road when the weather proceeded to change rapidly. Our car was actually lifted off the road. It was clearly an outer body experience. I remember not even being scared. I was like cool looking at dad thinking come on car do that again! OMG was I nuts or what? I never told my mom this story until a couple of weeks ago. She finally seemed impressed. LOVE YOU MOM! I know you are reading this….