Tragedies can bring families together or tear them apart. The California fires last week, death of a family member, and career transitions, all have impact on family relationships. Following is a personal story of slowing down and focusing on what's most important.
Since Olivia, my granddaughter, not yet five years old, passed away last December, I have been in a state of mourning and shock. Everyone in the family has dealt with loss in his or her own way. With only one grandchild left, I have put my love and energy into her three-year old brother. But I don't have him all the time.
I also have put my energy into CreativeAging SF, an emerging group of artists and creative professionals who promote the arts to enhance the lives of elders (and all of us who work with elders). After leaving my full-time work as regional director of engagement and education for an innovative group of Bay area assisted living communities around the same time that Olivia passed, I have continued to promote intergenerational causes by connecting yoga for children, robotics, students, creative arts and other life-enhancing programs with eldercare communities. In addition, I have used my writing and editing skills to write articles for online publications and produce newsletters. To keep fit, I enjoy early morning yoga, walks with my husband, and tricycling frail elders around on a three-wheeled rickshaw.
In the mean time, my son and daughter-in-law have continued to immerse themselves in their service work with individuals who have disabilities and the elderly. My daughter has embarked on partnership ventures that have aesthetic, environmental and economic impact. My husband shares with all of us his creative business and technology skills.
Today, Friday, October 20, 6 -9 pm, the family value of active service on behalf of underrepresented populations is shared at Parlor's Opening Reception and Fire Relief Fundraiser. On the occasion of Desert Solitaire, Parlor is teaming up with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, asking for people to direct their tax deductible donations towards the Richard Devylder Disaster Relief Fund. Donations made to the fund will be used to assist survivors with disabilities across the state who have lost their critical mobility and accessibility devices, such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes, hearing aids, and communication devices in the fires. Contributions can be made now online or at Parlor's Reception. More...https://www.parlor-sf.com/.
It's not been an easy year for my family, but it has been a meaningful one, breaking us down and moving us forward to rebuild our lives, which includes self-care, supporting each family member, and contributing to the well-being of others.