Preview of “My Father’s Keeper”

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CHAPTER ONE

The Accident

I got a panicked call from my Father. That was the day that everything changed. I rushed up to the hospital, not knowing what to expect. He was not making sense.
“Your father is ok, sir,” the police officer assured me on the other end of the phone.
On my end of the phone was an awful silence, the likes of which I have never known.

“Sir, sir? Are you there?”
“Yes, Yes. I’m here. Just give me a few minutes.”
“Yes, I understand. This is a lot to process. Your Father will be waiting in the lobby of the E.R.”

I didn’t have time to respond. I didn’t have time to be angry at the police officers, and staff that attended to my father. All I knew was he was scared and panicked, and I had to reach him quickly. Two of my parents had been to the hospital this week and it was almost more than I could handle. I changed out of my work clothes, and scurried out the door.

*****

The hospital staff was less than friendly when I arrived. They offered no help or support for my ailing father.
“What do you mean? You can’t help him.”
“Sir, we can not keep him here. He will have to go home with you.”

The police officer explained to me that his license was taken away from him and he would no longer be able to drive anymore. The officer and the hospital staff, would not admit him to the hospital or transfer him to a long term care facility. Apparently, they did not see the danger in leaving him alone unattended, for a period of time, while I was at work.

I had just learned, unfortunately that Dementia can be unpredictable, and my Dad’s Dementia had just gotten a heck of a lot worse. It was no longer safe for him to be alone. My Brother, Sister and I worked out a schedule, so someone was able to check on him every couple of hours. At least that was the plan.

“Dad, I’m gonna take you home” I said.
“But Earl, what has happened… why am I here… where is Cindy?”
“Dad, Cindy is here in the hospital. She fell and broke a hip. Right now, we need to get you home safely.”
“I can drive myself. Give me my keys Earl,” my father said, getting slightly agitated.
“Dad, I can’t?”
“Why not?”
“Don’t you remember your car was totaled. There was an accident. You fractured your shoulder in the accident. That is why it is in a sling.”
“No I did not,” my Father said trying to pull his arm out of the sling. “Ouch, Dammit! That hurts,” my Father said.

Even with the additional pain, he still didn’t realize that his arm was hurt. I could not keep the sling on his arm at all. Dad would just remove it every time I put it back on.

“Come on Dad. Let’s get you out of here, and get you a bite of food to eat.”
“Ok, he said. I forgot to eat. I haven’t eaten in three days.”

I grabbed my father’s walker, and reminded him to use it, guiding him to the door of the E.R. While he was focused on walking. I silently, cried, behind him. I wish I would have known, what a difference a day makes, in the life of a Dementia patient.

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Portrait of a Young Girl

Sophia’s long red hair whipped around wildly as the wind rustled through the leaves of the large willow tree that sat on her parents property. She walked to her favorite spot, behind the old barn.

Sitting down on the piece of sandstone that framed the old well, she noticed the piece of cement that coved the hole was crumbling. Several small stones that had been embedded int the cement, were sitting on the sandstone. A rather moderately sized hole was left, from the crumbling rock. Most likely, you could fit your hand in the hole , but for Sophia that purpose was not intended. Picking up a stone she twirled it between her thumb and index fingers. She looked at it for a moment, and released it. Then she waited, hoping that satisfying sound of the rock hitting the water would travel back to her ears -and there it was- Kerr.. plunk..

She continued to twirl more rocks, releasing them from between her fingers, pretending they were her dreams. Slowly slipping away from her, but just within her grasp. So close, that perhaps she could reach out and grab them. However, that was not to be

 

Perpetual Motion

Cynthia Day had a lot on her mind. Doctors had found a vascular malformation in her brain.

Doctors told her it was nothing to worry about. In the back of her mind she did worry. Her Grandfather had the exact vascular formation in his posterior fossa, and she wondered if this was the cause of his dementia.

She could relate better to her Grandfather than most people. Some days she was so dizzy and confused, she could not drive. Other days, she heard a horrible whooshing noise in her ears. She had migraines that caused visual disturbances. Then often neck pain that made her unable to move her neck, weakness in her arms and legs often followed along with tingling sensations.

Doctors told her it was nothing to worry about, a vestibular disorder. However, in light of the recent circumstances she wasn’t so sure that they gave her the correct diagnosis.

At night it got worse, and she couldn’t sleep. She suffered from insomnia. She wondered if her Grandfathers experiences were somewhat similar.

Her Grandfather was sitting at the edge of the bed, unable to button his shirt. She saw the frustration, and understood what he was going through. It was only last week, that Cynthia was unable to do the same task.

“I’m so sorry you have to see me like this. You shouldn’t have to see me like this, Cynthia.”

“Grandpa, you would be surprised to know, that I know exactly what you feel,” she said as she gave him a hug. “You and me- we are going to get through this together.”

“Don’t you worry about me. You just take care of your family and yourself.”

“There are days I cannot even do that,” Cynthia said.

“You’ll be fine, you always have been,” her Grandfather said, patting her knee.

Cynthia knew that she had to be fine, because there was no other choice.

On the way home Cynthia had to pull over. The world around her looked as if it was in perpetual motion, yet again. She called her husband crying, to come pick her along with their baby.

What the hell is wrong with me? She thought to herself -as she laid her head and hands on the steering wheel-  trying anything, to get the world around her to stop swaying back and forth, like she was on a cruise ship.

A Portrait of Dementia

Cynthia Day held her Grandfather’s hand as he spoke. She knew that he would one day forget her name, or that they even had this conversation.

“I am just going to enjoy this moment as long as I can,” her Grandfather said.

“Me too. Grandpa, I love you.”

“I love you so much too, dear girl. Now you make sure you take good care of your family and that child of yours.”

“I will Grandpa.”

“I’m so glad to be a part of this family,” he said.

Cynthia’s Grandfather was having more bad days, and the few moments of clarity that he had she cherished. The good days would become fewer as his disease advanced. It was something that she and her Grandfather understood.

Cynthia and her family sang one last song together, as she played the guitar. Her Grandfather sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, “along with the family- one of the few songs her Grandfather still remembered. He had a twinkle in his eye, as he watched his Great-Grandson sing along with him. For once everything seemed perfect, as if he was re-living his youth, back in time singing songs with his own children.

That day when Cynthia’s parents took her Grandfather back to the nursing home, he had tears in his eyes. She tried to hold back her tears because she knew she had to be strong for her Grandfather- who at times became scared on the bad days, because he didn’t understand who or where he was.

There would be bad days. But today, was a good day.

So, that day- Cynthia decided to live in the moment, because it was never guaranteed.

Audition

She walked onto the stage, as the casting director called her name. You could see the whole world in her eyes, if only you would look into them for a minute. Her eyes glistened and you could almost see the pain in her eyes, bind  the tears. It was what had brought her to this moment.

Under the stage lights, she stood there silently, staring at the back of the room.

“You may now begin your monologue,” the director said as he took out his pen, clipboard and paper.

She began, “You see…” she started to say as she motioned over to a black box, that was part of a prop “…life is like this box. Whatever you put into this box becomes your life. My life is filled with boxes like this one. Secrets, things that I tried to bury. But I couldn’t bury this one.

My Brother filled his life with more boxes than most and it was just yesterday, I buried him. I don’t want to live my life like that. All the pieces of me buried in a cold dark box, six feet under the ground. So that is why I am here.

I have no monologue, but that of my own. Here I stand in front of you. I refuse to bury my secrets and stand here on this stage, offering all that I have- what is in my heart.” She turned her head, and a single tear ran down her face.

This was the eleventh audition she had attended this week. She was hoping for a break. Anything this week of all weeks. So she decided not to preform a monologue someone else had written, but something of her own. She wanted to share all these things in her heart, however the world was just not ready for Cynthia Day. At least, not yet anyway.

“Next!” The director said.

As she walked off the stage Cynthia whispered, ” You have not seen the last of me yet.”

Book Release Day is Here!

I am so excited! It’s February 1, 1017 and My debut book Unspoken Words is now available in e-book format on Amazon. Included below is a book trailer, available to watch on YouTube. In the description, under the video- are links to my Amazon Author page, and Goodreads page.

Unspoken Words is free for Amazon Prime members and people who subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited program. If you have neither of those, it is $2.99. The print version should be available for purchase on Amazon,  at the end of next week.

Seeking Beta Readers

Don’t miss out on this opportunity! I am seeking beta readers for my story Unspoken Words just send me a message on my Facebook Author page, and I will let you know details add you to the beta reading group on Facebook! I am looking for people who had give me some constructive criticism, as this is an experimental novelette, and this whole series is going to be an experiment, as I am trying to redefine the way in which stories can be written. I will be talking about that more in the beta reading group. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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Book Cover for Unspoken Words, designed using Canva

 

5 a.m.

Sometimes I can’t sleep. The time I am supposed to be sleeping, is used thinking about what I am writing.

I was up tell 5 a.m. last night, trying to figure out what to do with this Novelette I wrote and am in the process of editing. I took a break from this process of editing to watch one of my favorite movies, Copying Beethoven.  It finally hit me with a large whack in the noggin, then I heard this voice in my head, Do something unconventional, like Beethoven did.

Oh my God! That’s it! I though, at 5 a.m., as my Husband and Son were snoring away. I had several novels that I was holding on to. I had not figured out what I was going to do with them. Perhaps, I was holding on to them in hopes that someday I would find a proper place for them. They found their proper place last night.

My short novelette is going to tie into each of my novels. Now I have to go back and change characters names in my Novels and Novelettes, so I can weave the stories together. It will be a tedious task, but one that I am looking forward too, because it is all starting to come together now.

My novelette is very heavy in dialogue, and in my novels I have poetry between each scene or beat, for each emotion. This scares me because my writing is unconventional in every sense, but I feel it has to be to tell the story and for the emotion of the story to come across correctly.

On Thanksgiving I was sharing my Novel idea with my Grandfather. He majored in English Literature and Theatre. He told me he could tell I had a passion for writing. Then, he proceeded to tell me Writing fiction in not easy, because there is a little bit of us in it. There is always truth inside the fiction. I have found this to be true.

I find that sometimes a bit of myself comes through in every piece I write, and I would like to share a bit of that with you from my Novelette, Unspoken Words.

I FOUND A CERTAIN KIND OF PEACE, in the darkness that helped me to think. It was this peace that allowed my heart to be still, however my mind was not. It is one of the many reasons I have never slept well at night. At night when my mind would not be silent I walked, taking in the stillness and quietness of the night, and I hoped that it would be enough of a distraction to allow my brain to shut up.”

~UNSPOKEN WORDS-Christina Oliver~

It is this same thing that happened to me last night. Everyone was in bed, and I had this idea gnawing at me. The idea had to come out of me before I fell asleep. My brain is never quiet and perhaps that is why I must stay up and write, while the rest of the world sleeps.

His Spirit Lives

Sometimes when I’m writing I hit a wall. I wouldn’t call it writers block, I would just say that I am in too into my charcters. 

While my fiction is not true, and my Charcters are made up, I often get ideas from real life. Then I incorporate the lessons that I learn from life into my book.

Tonight one of my Characters Jen lost her Grandfather. As I wrote this I couldn’t help but think of my Grandfather, and I just had to stop because it is too deep. 

“This is it, are you ready?” My Mother asked.

“Are we really ever ready for a moment like this?”

“This is it. It is time to say Goodbye.” Mom grasped my hand and we walked to the coffin together 

“It’s Pa paw, and he doesn’t look like himself. He looks so small.”

“I know sweetie. The body is just a shell. He has moved on.”

“No his spirit lives in us Mom.”

I’m not gonna lie. I cried. I really miss my own Grandfather, and I know that his spirit, his DNA lives in me. 

I can still hear him telling me to do what I love. I am doing that now. If ever there was a time where I wish I could talk to my Grandfather, it would be now. I want to share what I love with him. The Great-Grandson he has. I would want him to meet my Husband, because the have the same sense of humor. I would want to share my love of writing with him, and be the first person to read my Novel. 

This is difficult for me to write, even though it is fiction, because I know how it is to lose the only Grandfather you have ever known, that understands what a fierce and stubborn person you can be. 

I felt as if my Grandfather was guiding my hands as I was writing. This book is turning out to be more than I had ever imagined. 

Benefits of DIY

For me writing is a journey. If I am going to take my writing seriously I want to learn how to do everything. That includes formatting and editing.

I learned something new in Microsoft Word thus week. Word has drop caps? What! I didn’t know you could do such a thing. Drop caps are something that I would like to include at the beginning of my Chapters, so I was quite happy when I learned this.

Intersting thing I learned, the Table of contents are not really needed in fiction books, however some Authors include them. I never really thought about this at all before writing my own book. Then I realized, I have really never looked at a table of contents when reading, if a fiction book included them. Most of the fiction books I have read do not have one, unless they are formatted for Kindle.

The great thing about learning to format my own book is that I pay attention to how others format their books as I am reading them. I also have been more cognizant of the structure that others use, in which to tell their stories.

I can now appricate all the work that goes into creating a book. I have also become a more observant reader because of this experience, thus far.