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Inaugural Bamboo Blog Post

Welcome to the inaugural Bamboo Blog post!

Bamboo is surprisingly flexible yet deeply rooted, resilient, useful, simple, modest, open internally, soothing to listen to, strong for its size, enduring, and continually growing and renewing.

Lessons from bamboo can be applied to many life experiences, and this blog will hopefully bring us together around how these lessons have played out in our respective lives.

For the past several years, I have been dealing with my parents’ aging and dying. Although I studied aging and dementia, knowledge has been no match for the wisdom that comes from the experience my friends have shared with me. Our relationships are like the intertwined roots of the individual bamboo stalks in a grove, separate yet connected. Thank you to my friends whose wise, thoughtful, and humorous words have helped sustain me.

My mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which caused slow physical deterioration in a woman who had always been athletic and active. She retained much of her sharp mind, if not all of her sharp wit. Although dementia dulled her memory, her capacity to reason remained relatively untouched, and I continued to discuss business with her.

Only now do I recognize how strongly-rooted our relationship had been. My mother provided a certain stability, which supported my ability to be flexible. And interacting with nursing facilities (no matter how good), insurers, business associates, and financial institutions, and managing her changing needs (e.g., medication, mobility, diet, clothing), all required flexibility/adaptability and resilience, on her part and mine.

Patience, persistence, and humor are needed in abundance in both aging and care-giving. And a knowledgeable, caring support network goes a long way in stretching our all-too-limited resources when they are spread thin. My network has contributed invaluable reminders to breathe (In case of sudden stress onset [SSO], inhale, exhale, repeat), eat (stock up on energy bars and keep them accessible), focusing solely on the critical or urgent (we will get reminders when other things shift into the critical or urgent category), and taking time for myself (sit outside in the sun as often as you can).

My network has been an amazing source of information and wisdom on trusts, financial planning, insurance, real estate appraisals, taxes, disposal of belongings, physical decline, hospice care, and end-of-life arrangements. I have had the support of people who have worked in education, insurance, real estate, nursing, and chaplaincy, all of whom have also been the daughters, sons, siblings and caregivers for people who have aged and died. Nothing can compare with the experience of having previously walked the same (or a similar) path.

Thank you again to my amazing network of fellow bamboo roots, shoots, and stalks who have supported my efforts to be strong, flexible, resilient, useful, open internally, and continually growing and renewing.

And thank you also to those of you who are the first readers of the Bamboo Blog. Please share comments on your own experiences of the lessons of bamboo. I would love to hear from you.

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