What is Essential?

I’ve asked myself this question all year as I continue to organize and throw or give away, not only unused items, but also ideas.  For example, this morning I spent time going through old greeting cards, rereading notes, filing by subject or purpose,  wondering what to do with all these cards.   How many you ask?  Well, I still have the baby announcements from my vintage birth.    Most cards only have a signature and you would think I could easily throw these away and only keep the cards with notes.  BUT the colorful artwork, the sweet illustrations,  all these wonderful ideas for my work.   BUT, I have way to many ideas to ever use.  
AND, I need to reduce, recycle, resource.  This is essential!

Question:  What do you do with old greeting cards?

Yesterday I went to visit my mom who lives in a memory care residence.  She cannot care for herself, has lost the ability to speak, has impaired cognitive ability, and she hasn’t called me by name in years.  More than dementia, my mom has Alzheimer’s.  There was a scabies outbreak at the home a couple of months ago, so it had been awhile since I had seen her.  Sorry, but I couldn’t take the risk of bringing mites home while my husband was recuperating from surgery.

But, on with the story.  For two hours, my skin crawled just thinking of little bugs.  But I raised children and kids deal with head lice outbreaks at school…..but I’m off the story again.  For two hours I sat with my mom, not verbally communicating, not really connecting.  She did smile at my smiling face, once or twice.  My mom has this sweet, childlike innocence about her, but it’s really hard to just sit there, or walk beside her as she scoots her feet-propelled wheelchair.  I’m a stranger.   Inside, I am feeling bad, hating the situation, hoping it ends peacefully for her, and really hoping I don’t end up like this other woman who kept bursting out in anger and was known to throw things.  “Best to leave her alone,” is what the caregiver said.

Okay, back to my mom.  Two hours, and I’m wanting to get out of there.  THEN, the miracle happened, the moment that makes it all worth the effort, the event that still gives meaning to my mother’s life!  Mom was on the move, her two feet shuffling the wheelchair forward and heading for the open patio door.  Then she stops, just inside the door, and sits so peacefully, looking outside…the tree leaves gently rustling, the birds chirping, the shade cool and refreshing.  There is something about her demeanor, she is aware and she is enjoying what she sees and feels.  This is essential!


About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative with a diverse range of interests in writing and painting. She currently is revising a middle grade novel, and author and illustrating a picture story book. She is an active member of SCBWI, Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. Linda has a body of paintings, which form the foundation of her artistic development. This work can be viewed on her website: www.lindaruddyart.com Her recent illustrations are an outgrowth of the style she developed in these paintings. Another passion is sculpture. Linda often uses her figures as models for her art. Linda's blog is eclectic and journeys wherever her muse guides her attention. Her blog address is: www.wingsofwonder.wordpress.com Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
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8 Responses to What is Essential?

  1. marilynscottwaters says:

    Oh my friend, what a beautiful, hard earned moment. Hugs to your mom.

    For old greeting and post cards I make them into little notebooks or sketchbooks. There are a million little tutorials on the web. http://www.designsponge.com/2011/12/diy-project-vintage-card-jotters.html is a good one. I’ll send more if you like.

    Big hugs, M

  2. *Hugs* to you and your mom. 🙂

    I keep old greeting cards because they are great paper-crafting supplies. And they can be recycled into new cards with a little imagination and card stock. 🙂

    • Thanks for the hugs! Life does throw challenges and that quote “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” continues to take on significant meaning. Thanks for the card ideas too!


  3. Sorry to read about your mom’s condition but glad that she still has lucid moments. 🙂

    Like C. B. said, greeting cards can be recycled into other cards, used as embellishments on scrapbook or photo pages or cut out to use as gift cards. 🙂

    • Alzheimer is called “the long goodbye”, but the clear moments are treasured. It’s been going on since 2004 and maybe earlier, but she would hide it. Thanks for the card ideas.


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