Posts Tagged ‘Stress Reduction’

Saying Goodbye when only the Mind is Going

| Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 | No Comments »

I believe one of the toughest issues to deal with is watching a family member age into the latter years of their lives slowly losing parts of their personality and health along the way.

Especially challenging is the “loss” and anger we feel when our loved one begins forgetting much of what they say and becoming a different person because of this change.  Perhaps they have become afraid or quite needy because they don’t remember conversations they have moment by moment or day to day.  This can be so upsetting if you are used to someone who was always assertive and clear headed.

On the flip side a once loving family member may now be snappy and demanding, making constant requests and little else.  You ask yourself, “Who is this person”? “Do I even want to spend time with them anymore”?

Remember the old “seesaw” from the playground?  Now our emotions are riding this childhood toy.  One minute we are up and the next we are down just like our family member.  It can be difficult to navigate such a relationship.  We go from family member to caregiver with a misunderstood or twice repeated sentence over the phone.

Losing one's memory is an up and down ride for everyone

Losing one's memory is an up and down ride for everyone

And with no caregiver training or experience this can have an unhappy outcome for all concerned.  It is hard to be patient and understanding when you don’t understand what is happening or begin doubting yourself as to what you have said or heard.  This is a seesaw ride that is no fun.

What we thought was clear a minute ago may now not even be remembered as spoken.  Panic may set in as we try and determine if our loved one will remember important information.  Especially since so many of us live a county, province or state away and maintain long distance relations with our family.

The feelings that arise under these circumstances are varied.  “Why are they behaving this way?”  “Are they trying to make me feel guilty?” “Is no one at the care facility helping them?” “Why am I the only family member who is doing anything?”.

Perhaps there are no negative answers to these questions.  Perhaps what they told one member they forgot to tell another or they simply don’t remember being given their medications or eating earlier. Perhaps they are safe and well but were unable to communicate that and now you are left feeling worried and stressed.

This awareness does not solve the pain and sadness we feel when we realize we are losing someone we love while they are still here.

And while I believe there are a lot of options and solutions to helping both sides of the family out in this situation in regards to the forgetting* there is little solution for the sadness for the loss of the family member who is slipping away.

Sometimes all we can ask for is a hug. If you are struggling with this in your life, please do ask for a hug.  Take a break from the pain and acknowledge your sad.  It’s ok to say this doesn’t feel good.  It’s ok to be angry that your mother or aunt or life long friend is becoming someone you don’t really know anymore.  Hard to admit but maybe  someone who has become more chore than joy.  A hug is indeed in order!

And give a hug. Most of us are or will go through this or know someone who is.  Sometimes words say nothing and yet a hug can say so much.  “I understand”, “you are strong, hang in there”,  “you are not alone”.

Saying goodbye when only the mind is going is a painful farewell.

Maybe the best solution possible is to draw on a happy memory during these times.

No need to say goodbye to those too.

forgetting* – call me to schedule a brainstorming session around tools and tips specific to your situation.  Something as simple as putting a corkboard and notepad by the phone or hiring a local church member to coordinate day to day issues can provide stress relief and solution.

Seesaw image credit:

Words to Know on the Go – Word #1

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

APOSTILLE – french term meaning certification

Aaaghhh the dreaded apostille.   All Love Immigrants (LI’s) need to learn, grasp and be on top of this word! I can not emphasis this enough. Many a love immigrant has ignored my plea only to be told at a crucial time (applying for marriage license, citizenship, residency) that their birth certificate or other required legal document was not acceptable because it did not have an “apostille”.

I know first hand how rude and shocking it is to have someone hold up your birth certificate and say, “this is not legal”. “Yes it is I demand”, no no it is not, you have no apostille. What the (&(*&)#$& is an Apostille???!!? And I thought I had asked all the appropriate questions BEFORE I arrived in the Netherlands. Don’t assume, ask more than one person in a position of power your question, (It’s amazing how the answers change from person to person) and always get any legal document with an officials signature on it apostilled!

Some LI’s have tried to argue with me that they know best or what is legal and what isn’t. Some have tried to tell me that having a document notarized is enough. Well great, its your time, money, patience, stress level, health and well being. You can either wing it or accept that there are laws that everyone must comply with, you included.

Follow the information below and you will at least be prepared! Please note this is US specific. However you can check to see if your country was one of the signatory countries that participated in the 1981 Convention. If so, simply contact the legal department responsible for official documents and they will be able to provide you with the information you need to set you in the right direction.


Foreign countries often require “official” documents to be “authenticated”
before such documents will be accepted in the foreign jurisdiction. An
“authentication” is a governmental act by which a designated public official
certifies to the genuineness of the signature and seal and the position of the
official who has executed, issued, or certified a copy of a document.

In 1981, the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents entered into force in the United States. Under the
Convention, signatory countries (including the United States) agreed to
mutually recognize each other’s “public documents” so long as such documents
are authenticated by an apostille, a form of internationally recognized
notarization. The apostille ensures that public documents issued in one
signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country.

The apostille, which is a French term for “certification”, is issued by a
designated government official of the country (or sub-national government
unit) that issued the document to be authenticated. The sole function of the
apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document in
question; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and the
identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document. The apostille either
must be attached as an annex to the official document or placed on the
document itself by means of a stamp. The form of the apostille is prescribed
in the Convention and is mandatory. (A copy of the form is reproduced on the

For the purposes of the Convention, “public documents” that may be
authenticated by an apostille include documents issued by judicial
authorities, including those emanating from public prosecutors, court clerks,
and process servers; administrative documents; and official certificates
affixed to documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as
official certificates recording the registration of a document, notarial
authentications of signatures, etc. Documents executed by diplomatic or
consular agents, or administrative documents relating to commercial or customs
operations, may not be authenticated by an apostille.

Authorities in the United States that are competent to issue apostilles
include the Authentication Office of the U.S. Department of State; clerks of
U.S. federal courts; and secretaries of state for most U.S. states (for
Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, the office of the Lieutenant Governor). Diplomatic
and consular officials at U.S. embassies, consulates, or missions may issue
apostilles in certain circumstances when requested by a foreign governmental



(Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961)

1. Country : _____________________________________________
This public document
2. has been signed by _____________________________________
3. acting in the capacity of _________________________________
4. bears the seal/stamp of __________________________________
5. at ___________________________
6. the __________________
7. by ____________________________________________________
8. No. ___________________________________________________
9. Seal/Stamp:

For additional information, contact the Authentication Office of the U.S. Department of State (202/647-5002), the clerk of the nearest U.S. federal court, or the office of the secretary of state in your state capital.

Are you Accepting Less Than You Hoped For?

| Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Some people call it “settling for less”, others say “giving up, giving in”.

Either way it can cause long term stress that eats away at your self esteem and happiness.

Living abroad can put us in situations where our choices don’t feel like options we want to pick. The result is we are left feeling trapped and upset.

Sadly, we usually have other options we are not seeing because our own inner voice and cultural conditioning often put up walls blinding us to our big picture options and the truth.

The worst scenario is the one whereby we really do have only a few options and none of them are what we would pick for ourselves “back home”.

This is where it is so important to give yourself the chance to explore your values, determine your limitations and see what type of compromise you are willing to make.

If you can turn your situation around and view it as making a compromise, putting yourself back in the power seat, it can do a lot for relieving the mental stress you are feeling.

The key here is that I am not suggesting you just change the wording. I am suggesting that you actually pick the option that is best for you even though you don’t like it and find a way to actually turn it into a compromise.

Perhaps it means giving yourself permission to return home sooner than you planned because you are miserable and your health comes first. So, “I hate this location and I have 16 months to go in this contract”… becomes “If I work for another 6 months here, the money I make will be enough to purchase that house back home, I will choose to work here for that time and then make arrangements to move back early and find a job better suited to my goals and interests”.

Ok, is a gremlin yelling at you right now….quit the job…. is Julia nuts? Maybe. You tell me.

Which is nuttier, to stay in a situation that is causing you sadness, anger, frustration, eating away at your health at the cellular level causing long term damage, negatively affecting your relationships, possibly your partner or kids, OR seizing the opportunity, taking control of your destiny and reshaping how you choose to go forward.

Never forget. NEVER forget this is YOUR life.

Who are you putting in charge of it? Yourself using your values and beliefs to guide you OR Society, your boss, your spouse, a bad situation.

If you answer yes to the title question of this post, ask yourself the next question: How many more days are you going to tolerate choosing to remain in this situation?

How many more days will you throw away?

Ready to change?

First step. What are you tolerating?
Second step. What would the situation look like without the toleration?
Third step. What do you need to do right now to change this?

If the fourth step for you is getting help with this – I am here for you. Let’s get it done!