As with most life experiences, people cope with change in a variety of ways. For some, the most benign changes in daily circumstances precipitates emotional upheaval. The nature and severity of the change a person faces (loss of a loved one, acquiring a life-threatening or life-altering illness) will probably determine the complexity and depth of coping strategies whether conscious or unconscious. With serious changes most people will experience some depression at least for a time. Others may follow the road of bitterness and isolation precipitated by anger-filled grief. For some people there is a strong determination and a need to fight (no hint of resignation or acceptance) which may look and sound somewhat like anger, but actually drives that person and keeps moving them forward. Finally there are those who turn to their faith and a spiritual way of viewing their situation, realizing that they are connected to a caring and powerful source more encompassing than the distress caused by their current circumstances.
There is one change that I really do enjoy—the change of seasons, particularly moving from winter to spring and into summer. With spring and summer there is new life blooming in nature, accompanied by a feeling of lightness and hope. No need to hunker down against the cold bundled up with heavy sweaters and coats. Moving about in cars or wheelchairs is certainly easier, so there is a sense of greater freedom once again. For me, slipping into spring and summer with potentially more sunshine is something I relish (although thunderstorms and tornado warnings, not so much).
However, truth be told, even though change is the one constant in life, I do not accept or adapt to change easily. I am also one of those who tend to fear things before they happen. Ironically, this anticipatory fear usually comes to me when things have been going very well for a while. I begin to worry about where and when the next “disaster” might strike, which of course, helps nothing at all and in the end is a tremendous waste of mental and emotional energy. My own two greatest fears, even to contemplate, are the potential loss of my sister, my closest and best friend in the world, and being forced to reside in a nursing home. The latter explains why the precariousness of funding and staffing for home healthcare causes me such great anxiety. I know that the best thing I can do is to remain proactive regarding these issues. The truth is, over the years, I have been blessed with some very dedicated caregivers, but there is always the potential for flux in that picture.
In response to life’s ongoing changes my mood can vary from day to day. However, for some time now, my mantra has been “It is what it is.” So ultimately, as most of us do, I put one foot in front of the other, so to speak, and do whatever I have to do to keep moving forward. In my case, this forward motion is encouraged by the caring support of family and a few very close friends and colleagues. I do try to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude for all I have been given in life. Periodically, when I get cranky, frustrated, and fearful I have to stop and focus in an attempt to reconnect myself with that inherent sense of gratitude.
In this issue of Kaleidoscope we have several nonfiction pieces which tell the stories of people adapting positively to physical changes and ongoing conditions which are part of their everyday lives. The work of our featured artist is particularly beautiful and joyous.
We also present our usual assortment of poems of various styles and interesting subjects. As always, I hope you find something here that resonates with you and provides some enjoyment.