Lessons from Mom. Thoughts from Me.

Today I am babbling about freedom, rights and responsibilities from a personal perspective.

I’m 62 years and 4 months old. That’s the age my mother died. It took her a long time to do it, but she finally left her world of pain.

Mom as a little kid. Photo from my sister.

She died of lung cancer (spread all around), caused by a lifetime of tobacco use. She smoked through her pregnancies. She smoked while bottle feeding us Karo syrup or whatever poor people used to feed babies back then. She smoked in the car on every trip our family took. She smoked while cleaning the house, leaving long caterpillars of ash behind on the floor she’d vacuumed. She tried to hide her smoking. She’d smoke out her bathroom window. That led to the intake of our family room air conditioner. She smoked while on so much morphine that she didn’t see the burn holes in her polyester pajamas. It was her last pleasure. It was more important to her than her family or her own life.

I resented her for subjecting me and my family (especially my brother and dad) to her addictions. I wanted her love. She loved alcohol, pills, and tobacco more. Calling Dr. Freud!

I truly resented people who continued to smoke around me, knowing what my family had been through. What a relief when I could actually go to a restaurant or bar and not get sick from the smoke. What joy I found when my friends who were addicted started to only smoke outside, away from their children and elders.

I don’t blame the addicts; no one sets out to become addicted. But I sure am happy to see people behaving more responsibly about it. Sure, their freedom to smoke when and where they want to got taken away. And hey, not everyone they smoked around would eventually get sick. Not every smoker gets lung cancer, after all.

Nonetheless. Laws were passed and establishments made rules. Lots of people were pissed off, but they managed.

Today we have people who appear to care more for their right to potentially spread an extreme contagion more than they care for their families, friends, and communities. I hope it doesn’t take watching a loved one die because their lungs no longer work, like my family had to, to convince them otherwise.

Thoughts from me

Freedoms:

We’re free to drive cars, but not to run stop signs, speed, or go without lights after dark. We’re free to burn trash out in the country, but not when conditions are ripe for fire. We’re free to own guns, but not to shoot others just because it’s fun. We’re free to build a home, but not on someone else’s property. We’re free to worship as we want, but not to force others to do as we do. We’re free to love, as long as it doesn’t harm others. We’re free to hate, even in absence of good reasons to do so.

With freedom comes responsibility.

Note: I didn’t write this to judge you or anyone else. I am not telling you what to do. This is just to explain why I have strong reactions to things going on these days. People get to make their own choices. People have rights. With rights come responsibilities, though. It’s worth thinking about what responsibilities we all have to others.

We Have the Freedom to…umm

Perhaps today is not the best day to talk about freedom, but that’s what the UU Lent calendar said to talk about. Freedom’s always been a hard topic for me, even without being confined to quarters/office and following so many rules and regulations (our home health agency gets new guidelines from the State every day, and we have meetings to go over them; as of now we have to take every client’s temperature every time we see them; glad I’m just the CEO and am sitting at my desk doing my other job).

Still free to enjoy doggie fun and games at the ranch!

Right now, though, I feel really lucky and privileged to be able to be outside and wander around the Hermits’ Rest, so I don’t get cabin fever. I’m still free on my own property.

Land stretching out so far and wide!

As for the concept of “freedom,” I always wonder how other people define it. I don’t feel free at all here in the US. I am afraid to criticize the government aloud, for example. I hesitate to express my opinions on a lot of topics, actually, since I’m concerned that maybe many people are wandering around ready to hurt or shoot people they disagree with. That may be propaganda aimed at people like me to keep us in line, but, this doesn’t seem like a free and safe time to me. I hope I just have healthy paranoia, not crazed paranoia.

Penney is glad she is free to attack and play with June bugs to her heart’s content. She watched this one a LONG time.

So, I plan to continue to concentrate on what I am still free to do, think, and write. I’m glad my blog is not censored. I’m glad my dogs can run and play and make me happy. I’m glad I am free to at least talk to my family and friends still.

Stay safe, and don’t be a paranoid like Suna. You always have the freedom to have another perspective from mine!