In today's episode we take a moment to take stock in the value of both our vote and our voice. They both matter, regardless of whether we are young, seasoned, or elders.
In life, and in caregiving, go on and embrace the dance within our journeys.
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Be blessed. Not stressed. Why?
Because yours and their lives depend on it.
Aminah Amarachi- Your host
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2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM) – All Rights Reserved
S1E19 - “Even My Vote (AKA Voice) Counts (AKA Matters)”
Intro Music: Royalty Free
Promo: BuzzSprout Services
Grand risings and runnings, family, and welcome back to our Joy in the Midst of It All podcast show. I am your host - Aminah Amarachi.
Before we begin our journey, I would like to thank our parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, big cousins, relatives, teachers, volunteers, and teams for the continued love, care, and support that you all have and continue to provide for our youth and young adults at home, in schools, in our communities, and in life.
Now, let’s continue our journey…
In life, there are certain life milestones that we all have come to look forward to as we grow into our becoming. There are those which we cherish while others sometimes still make us cringe and we would like to forget. Regardless of which first it is, they all shape both us and our life experiences.
You may recall: Your child’s first steps, first word, or losing their first tooth. We may recall our first day at school, the first time we got to stay up late, or do something independently. You know, Mom and Dad not looking over our shoulders. We remember our first dates, first kiss, and first break ups. That first learner’s permit, our first car and first job, along with what was left in your first paycheck. Ouch. We remember buying our first home and starting our families and watching them grow.
Yet, in this season, I am reminded of the first time I cast my vote as a young adult. Hmm. Do you? And, also I remember the last time our Dede cast his vote. Yep, Alzheimer's.
Today’s Episode: “Even My Vote (AKA Voice) Counts (AKA Matters)”
The year: 2012
The date: The day our Dede’s journey through Alzheimer’s became his last time ever being able to cast his vote.
Scene: A Voting Poll location in our home town
The Story: After getting up, and getting dressed in his “they can stand up without you in them blue jeans,” you know those medium cool colored blue ones, of course, and his favorite orange sweater, with his full salt and pepper beard and horn rimmed glasses (specs for us seasoned folks), our Dede made his way to the car so that he could go vote.
Voting was that thing he’d done for as long as he could remember, for more than 60 years of his adult life. Our Dede proudly cast his vote, and as such his voice in matters of his local and national community affairs.
As we pulled up to the polling station, and made our way to the entrance, a young man that Dede greeted held the door open for us. Dede was just chatting away, in his usual southern son's cheerful way. He always liked chewing the fat with folks.
Upon winding our way through the amusement park ride lanes, which at this time of day, there were maybe three people there in line, including those who were voting, our Dede strutted along with his cool cane, his preferred walking support…let’s just say that his take on using a walker is a story for another day…LOL…He went right up to the ladies at the counter to let them know he was there to cast his vote…Now, understand, charm has always been his middle name…all you have to do is ask him to take a photo (with him in it, not behind it, behind it you will get his finger in the photo, or cut a step, and he would pose big, and ham it up wide in a minute…which is exactly what he did in that moment…and the ladies were both charmed and tickled to death instantly.
Stay tuned for more right after our first spotlight moment.
Now, for our first spotlight moment…
Spotlight Moment #1:
Today's first spotlight moment is a shout out to all folks in service roles, whether in hospitals, voting polls, libraries, spiritual centers, grocery stores, or community support services. Thank you for your willingness, and kindness, in serving our local, national, and global communities. Without you, things would not be able to run smoothly in the world. I know some days are way tougher than others, navigating the various personalities, attitudes, and incidents, yet you’ve stayed the course according to your ordained calls, and for that I am grateful, as I am sure many others are. So, here are your flowers. Thanks.
Welcome Back Family
Now, unbeknownst to our Dede, Alzheimer’s was about to have its way with his ability to cast his vote, in order to make his voice count.
When you enter a polling location, you must first prove your identity, and that this is the location you are to vote at. Check. Then, you must sign a statement to that fact…Well…for those of you who don’t yet know…let go of the idea that Alzheimer’s is as simple as losing one’s memory. It’s way more than that. As, I came to understand and witness the effects of Alzheimer’s on our Dede, I explained it to folks this way. Think of a baby that is born, and each learning milestone they achieve along the way to becoming an adult, both intellectual and motor skills are refined all along the way. We learn how to hold objects, feed ourselves, think for ourselves, walk, talk, count, spell, read, write, dress ourselves, chew, etc. Now, add Alzheimer’s to that mix. It does a complete reversal of ALL of these gifts, skills, talents, intellect, and motor abilities in one fell swoop, both in subtle and sudden ways. It's like going in reverse except not going back into the womb, but to the grave.
Well, for our Dede some of those lost abilities included not being able to sign his own name legibly, remember who the candidates were, let along their office or why he wanted to vote for them.
I watched him forget how to sign his own full name. A skill he'd had for the past 75 years. It took a second try, yet even then, it was almost illegible. I watched our Dede struggle to recall letters, then how to write them in cursive format, and then he needed help to remember the current month, date, and year. I could sense and see the concern, and realization, come over his spirit, yet I also witnessed his determination to get through it, and to vote no matter what, even if it became another blow to a man who prided himself on many things, yet now had to consider conceding this to Alzheimer’s wrath.
Thus, I sat with him, with the polling location’s permission, and read each position and person up for election. Why? Because his Alzheimer’s impacted brain could no longer process words to be able to read independently. As, I read each position and name, I knew there were many he either didn’t recognized or couldn’t recall who they were nor what they were running for, yet, he powered through telling me who he wanted to cast his vote, and voice, for, even if at times he would voice “Write In,” yet had no name to tell me to write in the space. I supported him with physically inputting his selection.
The redeeming bright spot was when we arrived at his local district Congress person name. Before I could even give him the other candidate's names, on the ballot, he beamed with delight, and with full cognizance, and yelled out his desire to vote for that Congress person. This made both our day. Why? Because for that brief moment, in what seemed like a slow moving dragging on moment, he glimpse a part of himself returned and present, and I glimpsed his determined spirit shine bright with humble pride. And, that was a win for him, against the impact that Alzheimer’s was exacting upon his life. Way to go Dede.
Our Dede could have given up the moment that he couldn't remember how to sign his own name, yet he didn’t. He could have even given up upon realizing that his memory about the candidates, issues, and the process were failing him, yet he didn’t. Our Dede, even in the face of Alzheimer’s shrinking his dendrites and consuming every learned skill attached to them, chose to make sure that even if he never was able to vote again after that day, on that day, both his vote and his voice would count.
It ain’t over until you, God, and the Psalms 139 contract that you both have signed and put in place says it's over. And, that’s a personal inner conversation and decision that no matter what it may look like to anyone from the outside, only you know your truth with regards to whether or not you will make the chose to get up each day with some breath in your body and able to do even the smallest of things…to chose life. You know, life that is more abundant, healthy, whole, healing and as beautifully complete as you can make it, and the way you make it your own, moment by moment.
Spotlight Moment #2:
Our second spotlight moment is for our youth and young adults. Why? Because though they may appear to us as upset, angry, disrespectful, etc…based on our way of viewing the world, know that they are not all that way. Many of them are just so tired of all that they see going on in the world, and all they have been through in the past few years.
They are tired of having to take up a mantle that has been haphazardly been passed on to them because some of us sat down rather than stand up for something better. They are committed to the betterment of the world, and all relations within it, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, orientation, age, economic status, etc, no matter what. So, instead of feeling some kind of way about their way, remember that their voices, and votes, are for a time such as this…one of global healing as change. Thanks young folks. Remember to go forth with gratitude and grace.
Here are my take-away, tip, tool, and toss.
Everyone’s voice has a place on this planet. So, as adults let’s stop using age as a way to demand respect from our youth and young adults, as well as squelch the wisdom that they have been sent here to share with us. We need them.
We need to take a hard in our own face look at how we have or have not respected them as God ordained human beings that though born through us, are here to be who God created them to be, with some of our guidance only up until that moment when they find their own voice and walk in life, expressed in their own unique way.
We all are born to be of service by experiencing, expanding, and sharing our level of love, light, truth, reverence and respect for all that is good. So, let’s fix our faces and start asking our youth and young adults how we can best support them in making their votes and voices count. Doing so will ultimately bless us all.
Just for today, us adults need to stop hastily, and defensively, offering your curt opinions, observations, dismissals, insults, and advice AT young folks. Proverbs 18:21 states that life and death lie in the power of our tongues. Our words. So, speaking from within a vacuum of your own hurt, pain, disappointments, rigid rules, roles, doctrine and dogma will only boomerang it's way back to us, yet not before destroying relationships with our youth, and a chance for a better day, that is right before our eyes. So, apologize to our youth and young adults. Yes, you are never to grown to admit you have been wrong, even to our youth and young adults. Why? Because we will end up losing out on one of the most rewarding relationships, just by refusing to be the student and let them be our teacher for a change. Respect is ageless.
A journal. To lay down all of our own stuff - fears, disappointments, worry, failures, self judgment, projecting ourselves onto our youth and young adults, etc…so that you can not just hear (ie half listen and disregard without consideration), and truly listen to their voices of both our youth and elders.
They are screaming at us beyond silence for dignity, honor, regard, and respect. Especially our elders whom some companies, and some youth and young adult businesses have just written them off by building systems that didn't take elders into consideration AND then disrespectfully telling our elders to get with the technology program (without any thought as to whether they actually are able to or not, or if they are alone and have not one who could assist them in doing so or not). That boomerang gonna hurt something awful when it comes back. Why? Because as your treat your elders now, so too, you teach our youth how to treat you when you become an elder. Think about that.
Finally, those of us in the middle of this here scenarios are failing at being a bridge that listens to them both. Once journal our stuff and heal ourselves (ie get it out of our system), and get out of the way of the movement our youth and young folks are called to be about. Then we can then stand in our God ordained role as a bridge between our elders and youth and young adults.
So…sit down, hush up, and truly pay attention (without a jump up ready to defend, respond, override what they say, etc. attitude on deck) and listen and be willing to learn, grow, and change for all our better.
Ask at least one youth and/or young adult, and elders who is 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 years YOUNGER, or more seasoned, than you the falling three questions (you will get a lot of responses for you to chew, brew, stew, and/ or spew on):
In closing, I’d like to take this time to thank you all, both my seasoned and new followers, for spending your time with me on today’s Joy in the Midst of It All journey podcast show. Now, take a moment to tap the button on your favorite podcast streaming platform to tune in (see the drop down menu on the podcast website to select your preferred platform.) Then click follow (or subscribe at no charge) and finally rate the show. Depending on the streaming platform that you use, whether you are on your smartphone, desktop, or laptop, you may or may not have to log into some of the platforms, then look below the podcast show summary (and maybe each episode near the shownotes), in order to click on the stars to rate the show, type up and submit a review. Thanks in advance for your support.
You will also receive updates when a new episode is released. We release an episode every second and fourth Thursday of the month. OK. Or when technology and the Universe aligns. So, go ahead and tag a family caregiver, or a few, if you know them, and tell them one thing you have learned today, or from any previous episode, that will support you, and maybe them, in moving through the caregiving journey with more ease, no matter who or how God has chosen for you or them to offer your gift of caregiving to your loved ones.
Then, blaze a trail on over to my podcast website, on Buzzsprout, for the show notes, transcript, and any links, and if your heart so leads you tip me what I like to call a “Cup of J.O.E. (A jolt of encouragement and support),” over at my Buy Me a Cup of Coffee website link. Understand, though, I do prefer a great cup of tea and lemonade...you know... Arnold Palmer...for sure... You will see the link in the show notes. I am still building it out for your benefit. Thanks for your patience.
I am your host Aminah, and I want you to be blessed and less stressed...Why?, because yours and their lives depend on it. Have a great day.
Outro Music: Royalty Free
2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM) – All Rights Reserved