Category Archives: Short Stories

Breath In, Breath Out and Stay Calm When Teaching Your Elderly Parents about Technology

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

YouTube Excitement

It’s been a challenging couple of weeks. My elderly father is in town. He is slow-paced in his ways but then again, he’s 81-years-old. Dad is quite smart and even though he is not too knowledgeable about the latest technology, once he learns, he’s unstoppable. A few months ago, he discovered YouTube. It was miraculous for him. As an avid gardener, he began researching anything and everything regarding gardening. Every time I called him, he would give me a lecture on how to fertilize this, and how to water that, and so on.

“You don’t have YouTube,” Dad would tell me.

“Dad, of course, I have access to YouTube. It is everywhere for anyone to access,” I’d respond.

“No, but in my YouTube, I learn how to care for my garden,” he’d reply.

Realizing he did not understand the YouTube concept, I opted to let it be. Dad watched the YouTube videos on his home television but claimed it was hard to navigate the keyboard on the remote. While there is a television in the bedroom he’s using, there is no extra keyboard, but I had an older laptop that was no longer in use. I asked him if he’d like to have it. His eyes gleamed with excitement as a child does. Therefore, I set up the laptop for his use and gave it to him. It thrilled him to learn to use it. 

I Need to be Patient

While sometimes it annoyed me to repeat things, it also made me realize his mind was not as sharp as before and I needed to have patience. I took a couple of breaths in and out to calm myself and patiently taught him how to navigate a laptop. I’m also aware he used my son’s expertise to master his way around the internet.

Upgrade to a Newer Phone

Just a few days ago, while we spent some time together, I noticed his old school cell phone. He told me he has had it for the past six or seven years. I asked him if he’d like to upgrade it. My son had recently upgraded his cell phone and still held on to his old iPhone XS. When he excitedly told me he would love to as long as he didn’t have to pay anything, I laughed but got to work on switching phones. He is still learning his way around the iPhone but is keen to learn and picks up quickly. 

Dad’s Emoji — Photo by the Author

Emoji Fun and Email

Today, I taught him how to create his own emoji. He laughed at it and said it did not look like him. But I could tell he was excited to use it — especially when I heard he sent his wife the emoji.

He also inquired about the E-mail address I created for him. “What is this and what is it for?” he asked.

“That’s your E-mail address Dad?” I replied.

“What does it do?” he asked.

I explained how and what the E-mail is for. I’m quite surprised he understood it so quickly.

“It’s like writing a letter and sending it, but instead of sending it through regular mail, you send it through the internet,” he responded.

“Yes Dad, that’s exactly what it is,” I said, as I looked at his gleaming eyes.

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They Taught Us

My point is, I’ve heard people complain about how their elderly parents have forgotten how to perform some basic things and they have to reteach them. While I was teaching my father how to use a laptop and an iPhone, I realized how fragile their minds are. I had patience in teaching my children, just like my parents had it with me. I remembered how Dad taught me to drive with patience and perseverance. He never scolded or gave up on me. Therefore, why can’t I have the patience to help him in his time of need? Every day he asks me something regarding his iPhone, and I learned to respond to his questions patiently and sweetly.

Therefore, never forget that possibly one day, we will all be at the other end of this journey and will need our children’s help. So be patient and nice while responding to their questions and/or teaching them about something not familiar to them, because they were patient and nice to you.


Dragging our feet through the perils of Walmart

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Not my Favorite Place to Shop

Today I went to Walmart. I don’t shop at Walmart and avoid it at all costs. If I need anything from there, I order it online and have it delivered. It has worked fine. Therefore, when my 81-year-old father asked me to take him to Walmart, I cringed but took him, anyway. My idea was to drop him off at the entrance and let him shop while I waited in the parking lot. Then I thought about how dangerous it can be for him. It would be like a baby dangerously crawling around a buffalo stampede, so I opted to go in with him.

Courtesy is no Longer Existent

It’s difficult to walk around Walmart taking tiny baby steps with an 81-year-old. People have little to no patience and shove their way between you and others just to get one of the hundreds of canned corn or whatever they are so desperate for. That’s when I stay close by to protect my father from getting shoved or pushed to the ground. People leave their carts in the middle of the aisle to grab an item when there’s clearly plenty of space for two carts. Some even give you a dirty look when you say, “Excuse me” to get through. The employees are no exception at all. They stand in the aisles and are bothered if we gather an item which they are replacing or if we ask them a question. I’m sure it’s not all of them, unfortunately, I haven’t come across any who are not.

Baby Steps — Forever Steps

My father needed only a few things, twelve items to be exact. It took us an entire hour to gather those twelve items. Not only because they’re scattered throughout the store, but because of the baby steps we were taking. If I was tired of taking those baby steps, I can’t imagine how my father felt.

Ready to Check Out

After gathering all the items, we headed towards the cash registers. They were full, but since we only had twelve items, we could use the 20 items or fewer register. Woo-hoo! But wait, why is it so slow? Never mind, we’re in Walmart. There’s little to no courtesy or consideration here. Let alone people who take their time to read where it clearly states, “20 ITEMS OR FEWER.” So there we were at the 20 items or fewer line waiting for the couple with 40+ items to finish.


A Good Deed

The gentleman behind us asked if he could cut in front since he only had three items. “Please do, sir,” I responded. It would not bother me to let him pass. He kindly thanked me and replied, “You are not from here. People here are not polite. Where are you from?” See, even he realized people are not courteous here. We chit-chatted a bit until he was ready to check out. Once he checked out, it was our turn and I could not be happier.

Camping World

Yes, today I took my elderly father to Walmart. The place I dislike shopping at the most. Not only are the social media memes about Walmart accurate, but there’s also a lack of courtesy or respect. It is unfortunate we have succumbed to this level within society. I sure hope people begin to shift their awareness to a politeness level and that I don’t have to go to Walmart ever again.


Conversation Between a Scammer and the Scammee who Tried Reversing the Scam

“I got blocked by a scammer,” ~ Daniel

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

Dealing with Scammers

COVID just about paused the entire world except for scammers. They continue to find their way through phone calls, emails, texts, and even social media. I recently spoke to a young man which I’ll call Daniel, who was in this situation.

A Consumers Revenge

As we spoke, Daniel mentioned receiving scam emails and calls daily – about 3-4 times on average to where a scammer tried to scam him through Instagram. It fed Daniel up, but he knew that getting angry would not make the scams go away. Instead, he opted to follow their lead and tried to scam the scammer.

The Scammer was not Local

A lot of these scams come from abroad. You can easily tell by the way they word their context. To keep the conversation original, I did not change any of the words or phrases or correct the grammar. Therefore, you will see many errors. But I think you will enjoy how it unfolds. The conversation between Daniel and the scammer by the name of Shayzanco went on for a few days. Here is how the conversation followed:

Scammer Shayzanco: Hey,

Daniel: Hey, what’s up?

Scammer Shayzanco: Pleasant good day how are you doing at this moment, would you like to make some extra cash from this system?

Daniel: Haha, I was waiting for that. What have you got? Tell me about “this system.” How does it work?

Scammer Shayzanco: Ok I’m searching for only loyal person to help so they can earn cash on a daily basic. Do you have an available cash app are Zelle? This is a monitored business, which simply means your money is more than guaranteed. Also, your money is cash refundable, so this is a must that you get your cash back. We are also partnered with the IRS publication 4577 Security Enact System, The FTC so it’s impossible for you to lose your hard-working cash.

Daniel: Hmm, interesting. What is it I will invest in? Is it stocks, housing, etc? How much would be the return if, let’s say, I invest $1,000? How long does it take and how can I guarantee you will not disappear with my money?

Scammer Shayzanco: Okay no problem, You’ll be doing a same-day investment. The amount you invest determines your how much you receive back, for example: Say you did a transaction of $200 I can access it and make it $4,500 on the system within 2-5 minutes process and I only charge $100 for that leaving you with $4,400 in your pocket. I always charge base on how much you do. If you can’t agree to send my cut after receiving, we cannot do business! I do this with LOYAL people, agreed? Do you got an available cash app are Zelle?

Daniel: Yes, but before we proceed, I would like to know what it is. How does this business generate money? Before you talk money, what is the concept of the business? Is it selling something, investing, marketing? If you are looking for loyal people, you first need to convince them. No one is loyal to a stranger. So, what is this that you offer?

Scammer Shayzanco: This is where the money is coming from. We sum up investors funds worldwide and invest in multimillion dollars investments such as betting, sports, house foreclosure, trading, stocks, etc., and give investors a percentage of the profit. Because our company is generating billions of dollars by doing this, we are able to turn your hundreds into thousands easily. 

Daniel: So, you are telling me that if I were to invest $200, you can flip it into $4,500, returning me $4,400 in 2-5 minutes?

Scammer Shayzanco: Right, also you could get started first with $100 and receive back $2,500, then from there you could invest again.

Daniel: By that logic why don’t you just keep flipping your own money and become a billionaire?

Scammer Shayzanco: It’s my job and also, I got paid from the system, and once you wanna keep flipping you could till whenever you want.

Daniel: Seems like it would be easy to get rich off it. What if I invest 10k? Or does it have to be $100? I like to go big or go home; you know. I like a challenge.

Scammer Shayzanco: Look if you want to get started with the process let me know because your not talking business, seems like you don’t trust it are something.

Daniel: I’m just trying to figure out what I’ll be investing in.

Scammer Shayzanco: I already told you. Once you do this you are going to be happy and satisfied that all of my clients because this is 100% real and legit and also your cash can always be refund and reimburse.

Daniel: Well, you would not need a job if you were a billionaire with this system. Sounds like it would be an unlimited source of money. And why would I need a refund if my $100 could turn into $4,400 in 2-5 minutes? Wouldn’t it take just as long to issue a refund?

Scammer Shayzanco: Because I’m just telling you that your money could also refund back.

Daniel: Then I will keep investing what I profit. It is a win-win. Every time I do it, you get $100. You cannot go wrong with that.

Scammer Shayzanco: You need to make the payment first that how your going to earn back cash from this system, I understand that you don’t go the full payment, so I’m going to ask how much you got at this moment?

Daniel: Oh, I got the full payment. I want to put in $1000. But first, I want to know why you are not rich yet. If this works, why not take advantage of it? It is kind of sketchy man. Tell you what, prove to me its real. Cash app me $100. If I get it and it is all legit, I will send you $100 for the first round. How about this, you invest the $100 for me, then when you flip it send me back $4,400? Actually, send me back $4,300 for the other $100 you charge. I will throw in a tip too, like $50.

Scammer Shayzanco: Look I guess your not interested okay.

Daniel: Hey, I am trying to talk business here. I am totally interested. I believe that is a brilliant suggestion I gave. If you used “the system” you surely have $100 to spare for me. Think about it, we can work together on this and make millions. You will be able to quit your job. You know what, since I do not want to miss this opportunity, I’ll make a deal with you. I feel like we have developed a bit of a friendship in this conversation. So how about we work as partners and go in 50/50 and we divide all profits straight down the middle. Seems like it’s a little fairer than just $100 for you. But you also have to put in money. We both startup with $50 for which will equal the $100 we need for investment. What do you say?

The scammer did not respond to Daniel until the next day:

Scammer Shayzanco: Hey good morning

Daniel: Good morning, what do you have for me today?

Scammer Shayzanco: Do you have cashapp are Zelle to put $100?

Daniel: It’s kinda sketchy, man. I’ll tell you what, prove to me it’s real. Cash app me $100. If I get it and it’s all legit, I will send you $100 for the first try of “the system.”

Scammer Shayzanco: You every hard they said don’t be the one that you want it all, because you will lose it all then that’s.

Daniel: Who’s “they?” Nah, sorry man, haven’t heard it. Probably because it doesn’t really make much sense. I mean, if it’s legit, why would you be afraid. And if you lose it, why not just use “the system” again and get it back? I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you my cash app, you send me the $100 and I’ll send you back $250. $100 for “the system” and $150 for you. Then you give me back the $4,350. Let’s do this.

Scammer Shayzanco: Yes but how would I know whenever you receive the payment you not just going to blocked me?

Daniel: Wow, why would you assume I would do that? I feel kind of hurt that you would assume that about me. I thought we were developing a good relationship with trust and loyalty. Wow, I have to be honest, that kind of hurt my feelings. I thought we were past that part. This is business, man. I’m serious about business.

Scammer Shayzanco: Okay bet.

The Following Day

Scammer Shayzanco: I don’t think you mean business

Daniel: What do you mean? I told you my proposition. I think it’s a great idea. We could have been rich by now. Every 2-5 minutes we are losing $4,400. Imagine what we could have generated overnight. 

Scammer Shayzanco: Okay, so you wanna put $50 right?

Daniel: Are you going to match it up with $50 more? Are we going in this as partners? 50/50 we can both be rich that way.

Scammer Shayzanco: Yes but how would I know whenever you receive the payment you not just going to blocked me?

Daniel: I’m thinking you are not taking this deal or this partnership seriously. I can’t stress enough how important it is that we get everything in order so we can proceed to the next step. I have arranged a Zoom meeting with my lawyers so we can discuss this further. Also, for taxes, we must do this by the book. Since you guys comply with the IRS, we must do the same. So, we are going to have to incorporate a business. We are planning on an S Corp which seems to be the best way to go. I’ll get started on that. In the meantime, you get the cash flowing. We need to be on this. Every 2-5 minutes wasted is a possible $4,500 going down the drain. Money first via Cash app, then we can make this happen. Remember, we are going in this as a team. Once we start, we have to keep going until we both have over 100 billion in our accounts. I’ll have my lawyers draft a contract, so we are both protected. It’s a lot of money you know, don’t want any slip-ups.

Doormat Sale

Blocked by a Scammer

Scammer Shayzanco has not replied for a while. Upon further investigations, Daniel realized they blocked him from their account. Was Daniel able to scam the scammer? No, but at least he got the scammer out of his way and wasted the scammer’s time!


Don’t Downplay the COVID-19 Virus Unless You’ve Experienced it

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Is COVID Real or Just the Flu?

COVID struck in my family. As much as some of us tried to steer away from crowds and gatherings to protect our 81-year-old mother, it wasn’t enough. Mom caught the virus, and it was not pretty. It frustrated me to hear people downplaying it like the flu and saying Mom was pretending. People who did not bother to check on her while sick in her apartment, call while she was at the hospital, or even inquire about her health. It’s okay to believe whatever, it’s each one’s choice and we are all individual beings. But to downplay a condition when they know nothing about medicine, are not healthcare workers, and were not there to see what was going on is downright wrong.

Mom Does Not Feel Well

On February 24th, Mom told me she was not feeling well. I asked her what were the symptoms? She said she felt a lot of body ache, sore throat, tiredness, a lot of coughing, and a weird metallic taste in her mouth.

“Do you have a fever?” I asked.

“No, I don’t have a fever,” she responded.

It concerned me because she lives alone in an apartment with only her dog as a companion. My thought was she had COVID. Although I live quite close to her, the thought of me contracting the virus and spread it to my family worried me. But I needed to help Mom. I continued to call a few times a day to check on her status and brought over foods she requested or I knew would help nourish her. I took her dog, Precious, home with me thinking it’d be less work for her since she did not have to feed or walk Precious. But Mom called asking me to bring Precious back home because she missed her, so I did. I always wore my mask and never got near to Mom, hug or kiss her even though I wanted to. It hurt to see her so sick.

“Mom, let’s go to the doctor,” I said a few times.

“No, I don’t want to go, but I’ll call my doctor and let her know what’s going on,” she promised.

Mom made good on her promise and contacted her physician. They sent Mom for a chest x-ray, which she did the following Monday.

About a week into Mom’s illness, when I called her, she did not answer the call. It was about 9:00 a.m. I figured she’s asleep, and since I had two appointments that day, I thought I’d call her after my first appointment. The phone rang and rang, but she didn’t pick up. “She’s probably taking Precious for a walk. I’ll call after my second appointment,” I thought to myself.

It was 3:00 p.m. when I tried ringing her again and no answer. I worried me she wasn’t responding, so I drove directly to her home. It’s a good thing I have a key to her apartment and could enter without problems. However, in my rush to check in on Mom, I forgot to wear a mask.

Precious was barking incessantly as I walked in. “Mom!” I called out, but no answer. I dashed straight into her bedroom where I found Mom all bundled up on her bed. “Mom,” I yelled out and nothing. “Mom,” I called again and nudged her until she finally opened her eyes.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

Not realizing how long she had slept, “I’m okay,” she responded.

“I’ve been trying to reach you, but you didn’t answer the phone,” I told her.

“I didn’t hear the phone,” she said. “The doctor gave me a prescription for the cough and it makes me sleepy.”

“Okay,” I replied. “So what was the chest x-ray diagnosis?” I asked.

“She said my lungs are clear,” Mom responded.

“Did she send you to get tested for COVID?” I asked.

“No,” Mom responded.

“Mom, I think you should get tested. I’ll take you and get myself tested too,” I told her.

“I don’t want to get tested. Besides, I’m feeling better,” she responded.

“You don’t look better. Did you eat?” I asked.

“I’m not hungry, Mom replied.

“Mom, you need to eat something. Tell you what. I haven’t had lunch yet. How about if we order something to eat? What would you like?”

“I’m not hungry, but some soup sounds good,” she said.

“Okay, I’ll order some soup for both of us from Panera Bread,” and I placed the order.

Caring for My Ailing Mom

We sat down together and chatted while we waited for our lunch to arrive. She was not her total self but was happy that I was there with her. When our order arrived, we sat together at the dining table and ate. Unfortunately, she could only eat about three spoonfuls of soup and wanted no more. She claimed the metal taste in her mouth made her nauseous. It concerned me she wasn’t eating properly.

Looking in her refrigerator, I saw that the meals I had brought over for her to eat during the week were half eaten or not even touched and still in her fridge. I spent a few more hours with her until she could no longer stay awake and wanted to go to sleep. I stayed until Precious ate and I could take her downstairs for her walk and made sure Mom was not needing anything else, then I went home. Once at home, I realized that while I was with Mom; I did not use a mask. There was nothing I could do now. How long was Mom contagious, I didn’t know. I could only pray I didn’t catch whatever Mom had.

It was not easy but I continued to monitor Mom and tried to help as much as possible. Between work and my home, I couldn’t spend much time with her. It worried me to see how much weight she had lost. She was not eating at all, and I doubt she was drinking any water since she complained about the metallic taste.

We Need to Get Tested

That weekend I could finally convince her to get tested with me. So on Sunday night, I told her I’d pick her up after work on Monday and we’d both get tested. However, she claimed she didn’t want to go because three family members told her that if she got tested, she would definitely test positive because everyone that gets tested, comes out positive.

I was livid! How dare they impose their beliefs on an 80-year-old? They were not there to see how sick she looked, how much weight she’d lost, and how much she needed a diagnosis to properly care for her healing. I contacted the persons who misinformed her and demanded they corrected their wrongdoing. They promised they would speak with her if they needed to. Fortunately, she accepted to go with me the next day.

On Monday, March 8th, after work, I picked Mom up and headed to the testing center. Mom was so weak and could barely walk. I felt terrible to see my Mom like this but was glad she accepted to be tested. We wouldn’t get our results until Wednesday, so I dropped Mom off at her home and went straight to mine.

I Trusted My Intuition

That night was quite restless for me. I am a very intuitive person and something kept telling me to go over to my Mom’s house. I was up by 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Therefore, I prepared myself and was about to leave when my husband asked me, “where are you going?”

“I’m going to Mom’s house,” I responded.

“Aren’t you going to eat breakfast first?” he asked.

“No, I’ll make breakfast over there and hopefully she’ll eat with me,” I replied, and I was off to Mom’s.

Even though I had spoken and seen her during the week, I had not been inside her apartment since the previous Wednesday and I was in shock at what I walked into.

Another Sign Mom Was Not Well

Mom is a clean freak. Her home is always super neat, clean, and aromatic. But as I walked in, I was struck with a horrific smell. There were dirty dishes in the sink, the garbage needed taking out, and all those times she said she was taking Precious out for her walks—well; it wasn’t true. The garbage bins in her kitchen and bathroom were full of pee-pee pads, which were soiled—a sign Precious was not walked. Mom was a bit confused when I walked in with the breakfast groceries. The first thing I did was take the garbage out and disinfect the apartment, feed the dog, and take her out for a walk before beginning breakfast.

Confusion and Delirium Began

Once back, I began with breakfast. At that moment, Mom told me she had not paid the rent and asked if I could take the check to the office, to which I replied I could. She got up from the sofa and walked into her bedroom when suddenly I heard a loud thump.

I ran into her bedroom and there laid Mom on the floor. She had lost her balance and fell. I tried helping her up, but she had no strength and I couldn’t get her up. She kept her right hand as if she was holding something. I monitored her, thinking she might have a seizure because of the way she was moving her hand.

“Is your hand hurting Mom?” I asked.

“No, hold this,” she said, but there was nothing in her hand.

“There’s nothing there, Mom. What do you want me to hold?” I asked.

“Here, hold it!” she yelled.

I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t help her get up, so I contacted my husband to stop by before he left to work. But Mom was so weak, she couldn’t sustain herself for us to get her up, so I had no other choice than to call 911. I stayed with her while they arrived. She seemed confused and didn’t look well at all. The paramedics arrived in less than 15 minutes. They could not get any straight answers from her. She seemed confused, delirious, very weak, and her vitals were a bit off. She’s a diabetic, and if she was not eating, that was not doing her any good. The Paramedics transported her to the hospital.

She Tested Positive

I was glad that Mom went to the hospital because I knew she would get the proper care she needed. Other than vitals taken, they tested again her for COVID, but the results would be in on that same day. However, I noticed she was very forgetful. I thought maybe she was tired but there was also the incident at her apartment which told me something else was going on. Then the results came in. Mom tested positive for COVID and was going into isolation. The nurses changed Mom into a hospital gown and gave me her clothes. They did not allow me to go into Mom’s room or even say goodbye to her.

“Can I at least hand the cell phone to her?” I asked.

“I’ll give it to her,” said the nurse, and she handed me a sheet with instructions to follow in order to see Mom the next day.

Once home, I called the number on the sheet and scheduled an appointment to see Mom. The hospital policy was one visitor per day for 30 minutes. I had to be suited up with protective gear provided by the hospital and follow certain rules before going in and after exiting the room. I was okay with that just as long as I could visit Mom. Once done with scheduling the appointment, I returned to her apartment to clean and disinfect it and took Precious home with me. I was not about to leave her alone in the apartment. Also, I had to make sure that Mom’s apartment was in optimal condition before she came home.

That Was Not My Mom

The next day I visited Mom. She seemed so frail in that hospital bed. She was silent and said she felt extremely tired. I spent 30 minutes with her until they kicked me out. Once at home at around 5:30 p.m. I received a call from Mom. Since my son was with me at that moment, I put her on speaker.

“Hi Mom, how are you?” I asked.

“Why did you leave?” she asked.

“Because they didn’t allow me to stay any longer,” I responded.

“But, how am I going to get home? I don’t know my way home,” she said.

At that point, both my son and I noticed this was not Mom. “You’re staying there tonight, Mom. Don’t worry, I’ll pick you up tomorrow,” I replied and changed the conversation. “Did you eat, Mom?” I asked.

“I’m eating now,” she responded.

“What are you eating?”

“Mac and cheese, and, umm, umm, I don’t know,” she said.

We said a few more things and hung up. However, that conversation was puzzling to me and my son. It was as if she had dementia or something like it.

The next day, Thursday, March 11th, the ringing of the phone awakened at 6:00 a.m. It was Mom’s nurse calling. Apparently, Mom tried leaving and was yanking the tubes off so she had to be restrained. The nurse didn’t want me to be surprised when I got there. It was disturbing to me to hear this. Mom was not a belligerent person. My appointment was not until 2:00 p.m. and they did not allow me to go in any earlier. However, when I arrived at the hospital, she was no longer in isolation. Further testing showed her plasma levels were higher than expected, which meant she had COVID for some time and therefore no longer contagious. I could stay with her for as long as I wanted.

The Moment I Panicked the Most

However, as I walked in towards Mom, it broke my heart. They physically restrained her arms from the bed. I understand it was for her own good, but it was horrific to see. She didn’t know who she was, or who I was. Even though she joked with the nurses and doctors, it wasn’t my Mom. I did not know this woman, and she did not know me. It devastated me. Mom was seeing things that were not there. She kept talking as if her dog was there with her. Kept fumbling with the sheets as if actually doing something and would ask me to hold whatever imaginary thing she had in her hand. I told her a few times that she’d be out of there soon and I will take her home, but she said she didn’t know me and wasn’t going home with me. She kept on trying to sit up and get off the bed, but had no strength to do either. And she talked so many incoherent things.

I asked the nurse what happened to her, to which she responded, “You mean she’s normally not like this?”

“Not at all!,” I replied. “My Mom is an independent woman who lives by herself, has family get-togethers where she cooks, lives on a second floor with no elevators, takes her dog for daily walks twice a day, does arts and crafts, and drives!”

“Oh no,” responded the nurse. “We’ll have to get a neurologist to see her.”

Trying to Bring Mom Back

It was killing me to see her like this. I contacted my siblings and family members and asked they call her through FaceTime. We needed to jog her memory. I wanted my Mom back! Many family members called and even though she did not recognize them, she associated them with the correct family, so that was good. But it wasn’t enough. Mom kept on trying to pull herself out of the bed and constantly yanked on all the tubes and cables. The weekend seemed like an eternity. I cried and prayed so much and spend the weekend with her at the hospital. I wanted to stay overnight but, again, hospital policy did not allow it. But I was there as soon as visiting time began at 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. when they kicked me out. During that time, I talked to her a lot, trying to jog her memory, tried to feed her, gave her water, and tried everything possible to help her regain her strength. It was frightening not knowing what might happen.

The neurologist came by and could not believe that this woman was an independent person. He truly believed she had dementia and told me not to get my hopes up because at her age, even if she didn’t have dementia before, but after what she’s been through with the virus most likely she would never recuperate and never be independent again. That was devastating news, and I knew I had to prepare for anything. She was turning 81-years-old on March 21st, so maybe the neurologist was right. But no! My Mom comes from a long life family line. Her dad died at 96 and his memory was perfect until the day he died. And my grandmother will turn 98 years old in July and her mind is perfectly well. Heck, my grandma will recite poems from when she was 8-years-old. I could not fathom my Mom becoming senile at 80. I summoned all my prayer warriors and healers for my Mom’s health and I know they all put in their best efforts.

Feeling of Joy

On Sunday, March 14th, I arrived at the hospital as usual. I took a photo album with me to show her. I needed to try everything possible to help her regain her memory. She was asleep when I arrived. Once she opened her eyes, I noticed she would not move her arms or legs. She wouldn’t speak either. I tried to feed her breakfast, but she refused. So I offered to show her some photos to which she nodded yes. I began showing her the photos—especially the ones of her. I noticed tears streaming down her face from the corner of her eyes while she struggled to speak.

“Why am I here? Why am I like this?” she asked.

“Because you tested positive for COVID and were very sick,” I responded.

“I was?” she asked.

At that moment, the nurses walked in.

“Yes, you were. Do you know who I am?” I asked.

Mom nodded yes, and the nurse asked her, “Who is this lady?”

“She’s my daughter,” Mom responded.

I was so happy to hear her say that. Then I asked, “What’s my name?”

“Debbie,” she replied.

It was such a joyous moment. Even the nurses were tearing up. They took the restraints off. She still could not get up, but seemed to get better. She was still too weak. However, on that day, the Physical Therapist helped Mom to the chair in the room. Followed by taking a few steps the next day and so on. On Tuesday, March 16th, the doctor discharged Mom from the hospital with home care help until she regains her strength. Her mind is 98% back and is getting stronger each day.

Returning Back Home

My Mom is a stubborn woman and didn’t want to come back home to my house. She was adamant it had to be to her home. Therefore, with little strength and the help of my son, she walked up those stairs to her apartment. I moved in temporarily with her so I could care for her. A week in and she kicked me out of her apartment. My Mom was finally back! Never have I been so happy to be kicked out of any place!

Oh, and by the way. My test came back negative. See? Not everyone tests positive!

NOTE: Further COVID research shows that delirium and confusion are also side-effects of the virus among the elderly or as young as 50 years old. To read about particular cases go to COVID – Delirium, and Confusion for the latest CDC updates.

A Grieving Mother Receives Comfort from Her Child through a Perfect Stranger’s Song

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.” ~ Chief Seattle

Photo by Jarl Schmidt on Unsplash

A Heart Warming Story

Today I read the most heart-warming story ever. It teared me up. I use the Nextdoor app within my neighborhood. A woman, which I’ll call Ann, who lives in a surrounding neighborhood, was writing to express her thanks to a stranger. She did not know him, but his interaction with her caused a great impact. 

A Mother’s Nightmare

This month Ann experienced the worst nightmare a mother can go through. Her 19-year-old son died on February 3, 2021. I don’t know the details of his death, but it is not relevant in this story. Ann was driving back from picking up her son’s urn and ashes and stopped at the neighborhood supermarket for some groceries.

An Angel Among the Strangers

As she waited her turn at the deli counter, a kind gentleman who I’ll call Elvis and was also waiting his turn complimented her tattoo. He had a tattoo as well—an Elvis tattoo. They began to chit-chat while waiting, even though her mind was elsewhere. She could not fully describe him because of his mask. From what they spoke, she thought he might have been an Elvis impersonator when he was younger. 

“When I had hair,” she recalls him saying. Then he sang a part of the Elvis song “Love Me Tender” to her. 

Love me tender, love me sweet.
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete
and I love you so.

A Message from Heaven

The lyrics Elvis sang tucked at her heart and emotions. She felt as if her son was singing the song to her. As if he was telling his mom to always hold him close. Even though it made Ann emotional, it gave her a sense of peace and joy on that day and for the days to follow. Little does the stranger, Elvis, know what he did for Ann. He did not know how she was feeling, or that she was grieving the loss of her son, and how much comfort he brought to her. Therefore, Ann took her story to Nextdoor to thank him.

I Can Relate

I don’t know Ann or Elvis, but this story touched me because, I too, am a grieving mother. My son was 20 years old when he died. I know the feeling of receiving a message from a stranger or someone known to me and sensing it came from my son. For me it is a sign that Infinite Spirit (God) is always there for us and will always provide us comfort because the spirit never dies. Infinite Spirit sends his angels to comfort us either through someone we know, a sign, song, or a stranger. 

To the Stranger

I pray for God’s blessing for this stranger so he can continue to spread his love and healing through his music. Sending healing love and light to Ann and Elvis.

The Current Effects of Evolution on Our Christmas Traditions

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Nostalgic but Fond Memories

Today I received a video through my Facebook Messenger. The video is about a Christmas tradition in Puerto Rico. This tradition is a “parranda.” It brought many memories from when I was young. It was also very nostalgic for us — my husband included. We enjoyed the full 7-minute video and reminisced about that time in our lives.


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What is a Parranda?

A parranda is an old tradition celebrated in Puerto Rico where a group of people (which are called parranderos) — some with instruments like a cuatro, güiro, maracas, and any other instrument available, gather to bring music and songs to their neighbors or family in exchange for food and drinks. There are many popular songs in a parranderos repertoire. From what I heard in the video, most songs are the same as they were when we used to parrandear. Parrandas begin as early as the weekend following Thanksgiving and don’t end until the Octavitas, which is 8 days following the Three Kings Day on January 14.

How Does a Parranda Work?

Let me explain in detail what a parranda comprises. The parranderos decide who they will visit. These visits take place during the evening hours — mostly after 10:00 p.m. The homeowners normally are unaware of the parranderos visit. The parranderos approach the house quietly as to not awaken the homeowner. Once the parranderos situate themselves in front of the house, they unanimously shout out “ASALTO,” or “PARRANDA,” immediately followed by playing their instruments and singing. Note that shouting “Asalto,” even though it translates to assault, doesn’t really hold the same meaning. It’s more of a term for “Surprise.” The parranderos might spend about 5 minutes outside singing before they are let inside to allow enough time for the homeowners to put on some decent attire.

Oh, But the Neighbors!

I know what you’re thinking, “How inconsiderate to the neighbors!” But no, that’s not the case. It does not bother the neighbors. Neighbors actually enjoy listening and expect to hear parrandas in their neighborhoods. Oh sure, you might have some scrooges around, but I can’t recall one time where anyone was bothered by a parranda.

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Photo by Stephen Niemeier from Pexels

Once the parraderos are inside the house, they continue with their medleys. Please know that you do not need to be a singer, take part in any choir, or be a soprano to sing in a parranda. There are always a few talented singers that take lead. But it’s just an event to bring joy to others and have fun together. So no voice is too sharp, soft, or squeaky here. Although that’s not the case in the video. They all seem to know their notes.

Singing, Eating, and Drinking!

Anyway, while the parranderos delight the homeowners with their cheerful songs, the homeowners whisk out their stash of alcoholic drinks. Anything goes — whiskey, rum, wine, tequila, beer, pitorro (Puerto Rican moonshine), coquito (Puerto Rican Christmas drink) — whatever is available is perfectly fine. They also dish out some hors d’oeuvres. Sometimes there’s cooking involved — especially shrimp or chicken asopao’ (soup) or even Puerto Rican pasteles!

So Then What?

After a couple of hours of singing, drinking, and eating, it is time to go. But it doesn’t end there. Traditionally, the homeowner joins the parranderos and choose the next family or friend to visit. It continues this way throughout the night. What might have begun with six parranderos would sometimes end up being a group of 20 or more. And there was never a set time to stop.

Even Til the Break of Dawn

As a child, I remember a parranda that arrived around 4:30 a.m. Of course, my parents received them. It was such great fun that I recall the sun was already out by the time they left at about 6:00 a.m. I laugh now when I remember how my Mom made sure the house was spotless before we went to sleep Friday and Saturday nights for those 8–9 weeks (late November to mid-January) of the year. “You never know, there might be a parranda coming tonight,” she would say. And you always needed to make sure you had plenty of food supply and alcohol “just in case.”

Those Were Some Great Times

We partook in a fair share of these parrandas ourselves. Heck, I was a guitar player in my teen years, so definitely one of the leads — not a brilliant singer but a guitar player indeed. Those were some fun times. Ah yes, this video brought back many memories. Unfortunately, I hear the tradition is dwindling. But it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy the video below. WEEEEPA!

Courtesy of Felix Jose Colon – Video by Zoom Studio

What Christmas tradition does your country have? Have you been to a parranda before? Share your thoughts.


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Observations of Humankind During a Morning Commute

My Morning Commute

I am an independent contractor working from home. Every once in a while I go to my client’s office. It never occurred to me to observe my surroundings as I did one particular morning. I stayed in the slow lane to take it all in. Here’s my story.

During my morning commute, I left my windows down. Not because I wanted to, but because my vehicle’s a/c stopped working, so I did not have a choice. It was alright; I didn’t mind though. It was the early fall season, so the weather was not hot. At 7:30 in the morning, it was nice outside. I took in nature and enjoyed it. The smell of morning dew, the aroma of freshly mowed grass (until I approach the maintenance guy with the mower spewing the odor of gasoline), the cricket’s screech through the dense grassy areas, the bird’s early morning chirping, and the fresh breeze that hit my face while driving on Highway 27. I love nature!

My Observation on Humankind

Every time I reached the stoplights, I found mostly the same vehicles and drivers. I glanced around from car to car to observe humankind. The young lady smacking her lips together as she put on her lipstick, a well-suited man sipping his coffee in a travel mug (I suppose it was coffee but maybe it wasn’t), the couple eating their breakfast, a young man yawning (probably didn’t sleep well or was hungry), about 6 or 7 people on their cell phones, a woman who appeared to be arguing on the phone. I wonder what upset her so much that made her face beet red? Three truckers blocking all lanes. The mom trying to comfort the crying child.

Then there was the texter texting away at the stoplights while the impatient driver behind her honks his horn 1/8 of a second after the light turns green. I think his hand was already on the horn, ready to blast it. Heck, I think he honked even before the light turned green, not at me but at the texter. 

My Favorite Character

Ah, but my favorite character was the one I saw through my rearview mirror. The young man in the green Honda driving erratically, cutting in front of everyone from one lane to the other and blasting his music. I wondered why he was in such a rush. His desperation did not do much because somehow I caught up with him at the light and I didn’t even go the speed limit! Remember, I was in the slow lane. I guess he liked to be the first at the stoplight. The light turned green, and he sped up past everyone else just to be standing at the next light for a more extended period than the rest of us. Does he not realize that? Lucky for him that the police officer we passed was too busy giving out a ticket to another desperate driver.

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I continued my drive observing humankind and their acts while still glimpsing the erratic Honda lunatic swerving left and right, speeding through traffic blasting his music. Then I finally reached my left turn. Just five more minutes and three more stoplights ’til I arrive. That was a pleasant drive. Suddenly I realized that the lunatic in the green Honda has turned down his music and was one car in front of me. He was turning into the department store parking lot. What do you know, I didn’t even have to speed, and we arrived at his destiny at the same time. I’m not sure about him, but I learned that speeding will not get me there any faster. Lol! Sending lots of love, light, and peace to you, my dear lunatic. Maybe we’ll meet again sometime.

How to Fully Understand the Tracking of an Order Placed Online and Where it’s At Now

Photo by david ortega from Pexels

As a consumer, I stay up to date with tracking the purchases I make online. However, I never had studied or analyzed how the shipping system works until a recent order I placed early in August. Here’s my story.

I ordered two pairs of Vionic flip flops online. Those who know the brand can attest they are comfortable and of excellent quality. They were on sale, therefore; I placed an order of two pairs on August 8, 2020. Today is September 4th and I have not received my order. I have a tracking number and been following its itinerary. Here’s what I’ve noticed thus far.

According to the tracking information, somewhere around the world, my flip flop’s label was created on August 16, 2020, at 9:02 a.m. Lake Forest, California, received the electronic shipping information on that same day at 10:05 a.m. My flip flops, which I’ll call Vioflop, must be very excited to embark on this journey.

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On that same day, Vioflop arrived in Shanghai, China’s hub export. They had a few hours of rest before departing Shanghai on August 17. Vioflop seemed tired because they were handed to the airline supplier the next day, August 18, in which they departed to the country of their destination (U.S.A.). 

It was a long journey for Vioflop. They finally arrived on August 21 to U.S. Chicago O’Hare Airport. Even though they released Vioflop from import customs on that same day, they were inducted into the Pitney Bowes network in Carol Stream, Illinois three days later on August 24. Plenty of time for Vioflop to recoup from yet another long, exhausting trip. Vioflop was then picked up on this same day and departed to the Pitney Bowes facility arriving on August 25th. From the Pitney Bowes facility, Vioflop was transported to Greenwood, Indiana. Amazingly, they arrived on the same day. 

One Pair Anywhere

Vioflop had another day of rest before departing Greenwood, Indiana on their way to Atlanta, Georgia. They arrived on August 26th. Now here’s where it gets confusing. Upon arrival in Atlanta, Georgia, they were miraculously picked up and processed by an agent in Clermont, Florida—which is their last destination. However, on that same day and only two hours after, they appeared to be back in Atlanta, Georgia. Or did my flip flops get confused and thought they were in Florida already?

That was not the case. On August 27th they were in transit to Clermont, Florida via a USPS delivery unit. They’ve been in that truck ever since. I haven’t heard from them. I worry if, by the time they arrive, the soles of the flip flops are wasted from so much walking. I’m assuming Vioflop walked its way here. I don’t know. But someday, hopefully soon, I’ll find out.


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Not All Father’s Can Be Judged the Same

Photo by Cristian Dina

Father’s Day, a day dedicated to the many dads that step up to the plate and are there for their children. While looking through Facebook I see posts of happiness from many celebrating Father’s Day. Some are posts of sadness from mourning the loss of their dads. And, there are those who hold resentment from dads who chose not to be in their children’s lives.

Yes, there are some deadbeat dads out there. Dads that never once cared to seek for their child or call them. Other’s that broke promises to their children and never showed up to their events or picking them up. And, of course, the ones that raised their stepchildren as their own all the while ignoring their own biological children. But not all dads fall into this category.

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I’ve known of dad’s that have taken the role of moms forgoing the dating scenario. Dads that never remarried because their main priority was their children. Other dads that, when their wives decided to bail on them or passed away, stepped up to the plate and raised their children alone as a mother and father.

I am blessed to have a wonderful father in my life. My dad was a good father and provider. Ever since I can remember my dad worked two jobs to provide for our family. Unfortunately, that didn’t leave him enough time to attend graduations, plays or any of our extra-curricular activities. But it did not take away from him being a good dad. He is still on the earth plane with us and I thank the Lord every day for giving me a great dad. Even though we’re miles apart I still have a great relationship with him.

So to all the Dads out there, Happy Father’s Day. May your life be filled with blessings.


Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart

The death of my son was the worst thing to happen to me. For the six months that followed, I felt numb, depressed and lonely. I didn’t want to continue living. Even though I had my daughter and younger son, it did not make me feel any better. I did not know what to do to make them feel better. How could I continue on without him? What would I do to become whole again? I had two choices. I could either succumb to depression or live for him. I decided to live for him. I decided that I wanted to do what he could not and so my journey began. I learned a lot from my son after his death. Even in death, he was teaching me what I did not know. I wanted to live for my son – as he would have. I wanted my daughter and younger son to heal. I embarked on this journey for myself, my family and in memory of Richie. With this book, I hope to help grieving Moms reach that place of peace that I have reached.

Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart can be found on Amazon in both, paperback and Kindle version.

{Debbie’s Reflection is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to the affiliate sites.}

Daily Struggles of Hard-Working Citizens Amid COVID-19

“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.” ~ Robert Tew

It’s Not What it Seems

It seems things are getting back to normal amidst the COVID-19. Department store parking lots are full, many more vehicles on the streets, restaurants open. One might think that the pandemic is almost over. What many don’t see is the number of people who are still struggling to pay their bills, rent/mortgage, or putting food on the table. It is a sad situation. One that I’d never expected to see here in the good old USA.

I Learned the Truth

Speaking to a few people, they mentioned they had been laid-off or fired from their jobs. Yet have not received a check from unemployment. Some have not been able to get through processing their claims. Other’s are still waiting on their $1,200 stimulus check. These are hard-working citizens who pay their taxes and shouldn’t be going through such a scenario. It’s not a handout. They did not choose to be laid-off. Where is our great government when they are needed? Why is it so hard for these people to receive their unemployment checks, or even access the DEO website for that matter? And this is not the worst of it.

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Families are Being Evicted

At the entrance of my neighborhood subdivision, there’s an apartment complex. On various occasions, I’ve seen lots of furniture and personal belongings dumped on the sidewalk. A sure sign that someone had been evicted from their apartment. It’s not common to see it except for these past few months. I can’t imagine where these people are going to live in.

About the Food Line

Just this morning as we drove to the auto shop, we encountered a traffic line that began at the apartment complex entrance. I had never seen so many vehicles around here so I asked my husband if he knew what was going on. Well, it was the food lines. The lines to receive food from the food pantry almost a mile away. Two lines through two different streets with vehicles waiting their turn. There were so many vehicles with people – young and elders. It took me by surprise. I never expected to see this situation and it made me realize how desperate people are. That there are many more families struggling than what we imagine or even hear on the news. It broke my heart.


Struggling Hard-Working Citizens

This is not an affluent area but it isn’t a poor area either. These are middle-class hard-working families who pay their taxes just like everyone else. They should not be in the situation they’re in. I don’t think it’s fair. But, there’s nothing I can do except offer my prayers to all. It opened my eyes to the reality of COVID-19 and what the media does not say. My prayers to all.