Archive for the ‘Kenneth Randolph Taylor 2015’ Category

Ministerial Cottage, Americus, Georgia, and Difficult Memories   Leave a comment

Ministerial Cottage May 5, 2015 01

All Photographs by Kenneth Randolph Taylor, May 8, 2015

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In 2006 my parents moved into a ministerial cottage at Magnolia Manor in Americus, Georgia.  He was already declining due to Alzheimer’s Disease, although that diagnosis came later.  I had moved to Athens, Georgia, in August 2005, so I visited occasionally.  Geographical distance protected me from the worst of my father’s dementia and physical problems (some of them related to it) most of the time.  My mother, however, was not as fortunate.  Being his caregiver was quite difficult.

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A friend in Athens lost her father to Alzheimer’s Disease also.  She told me that her father had died about ten years before his physical death.  I have come to understand what she meant, for the man who died in October 2014 occupied my father’s body yet was quite diminished from the man who had raised me.

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My mother occupied the ministerial cottage until the beginning of June 2015.  I paid my last visit, mainly to help her pack, in early May of that year.  Looking at the rooms stirred up difficult memories related to my father’s illness.  I recalled, for example, that, on Thanksgiving Day 2013, shortly before my father left the house for the last time and entered the nursing home (visible through the kitchen window) involuntarily, his behavior prompted me to take a long walk up and down the sidewalks beside Lee Street just to get away from him.

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It is unfair that often the last memories we have of certain loved ones are difficult.  When these loved ones die physically, they have actually died already, for the people they were have ceased to exist.  Trying to conduct a simple and intelligent conversation with such a loved one in the final stage of life might prove impossible.  One seeks to treat him or her with respect and dignity, but he or she, as he or she is at that phase, makes that difficult.  I have compassion for these loved ones and for those who struggle to treat them properly, for I have had a taste of what that is like.  Even visiting my father in the nursing home for an hour at a time was emotionally and physically draining.  Repeating myself too many times due to his confusion, bad memory, and bad hearing was difficult.  I tried to be kind, but I realized that I did not know what do in that moment.  A sense of futility had set in.

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Fortunately for everyone, especially my father, he died before Alzheimer’s Disease had a chance to do its worst.  He knew his family until the end.  I had suspected that the end might come in late 2014, as it did.  His death was merciful for all involved.  I recall watching him struggle with confusion and become frustrated.  But what did he feel that he could not communicate to anyone?  What was it like to be him at the end?  That struggle ended in October 2014.

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We humans associate memories with where events occurred.  I associate my father’s end and the final stage of his decline with Magnolia Manor, Americus, Georgia.  Now that no member of my family lives on that campus anymore, I have little reason to visit the place.  That is fine, for I seek to build positive memories when I visit Americus.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 2, 2016 COMMON ERA

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To All the Cats I Have Mourned   Leave a comment

Leslie January 1, 2015 03

Above:  Leslie Catherine Taylor (2014-2015), January 1, 2015

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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To all the cats I have mourned–

Jean-Luc, Harry, Charlemagne,

Caesar, Duncan Gray, and Leslie Catherine–

whose lives enriched mine, and

whose lives I improved likewise–

You were my beloved children;

I know not what my life would have been

without your exquisite presence,

but I do know that your absence

has left me bereft of your graces.

Our time together was too brief,

and your parting cause for grief.

You were ministers of grace–

agents of God’s mercies–

your mere presence sufficed

when I needed to see a friendly face.

Your purring made me feel better

when I had fallen ill,

and your soft fur helped me

the grace of God concretely to see.

We dwell apart for now,

but I hope to reunite with you eventually.

May Heaven’s animal shelter

be to your liking, better than Earth,

and may we spend timeless afterlife

together in joy, liberated from the strife

and pain this side of Heaven.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 COMMON ERA

Near Ben Burton Park, Athens, Georgia, May 15, 2015, Part III   Leave a comment

Flowers May 15, 2015 01

Above:  Flowers Near Ben Burton Park, May 15, 2015

Source of All Images = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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There is a clearing to one side of Ben Burton Park and its adjacent woods on one side of the Middle Oconee River.  This clearing, which also functions as a route to the park, contains, among other things, many flowers.

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Flowers May 15, 2015 03

Flowers May 15, 2015 04

Flowers May 15, 2015 05

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

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Near Ben Burton Park, Athens, Georgia, May 15, 2015, Part II   Leave a comment

Wooded Trail May 15, 2015 06

Above:  A Wooded Trail Near Ben Burton Park, May 15, 2015

Source of All Images = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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There is, fortunately, no shortage of wooded trails near Ben Burton Park.

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Here is one approach to the part of Middle Oconee River close to Ben Burton Park.  This route entails stepping over or walking around some large, fallen trees, however, so it might not be to the liking of some people.  I know other routes, however.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

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Near Ben Burton Park, Athens, Georgia, May 15, 2015, Part I   Leave a comment

Wooded Trail May 15, 2015 01

Above:  A Wooded Trail Near Ben Burton Park, May 15, 2015

Source of All Images = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I have walked in and near Ben Burton Park since 2007, when I moved to the area.  The trails have become familiar to me.  They have also proven to be sanctuaries for me.  This was especially true a few years ago, when I wanted to avoid a certain neighbor, who, mercifully (and against his will), moved away.  He was disturbing the communal peace, however.  I found peace in the woods.

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One must, for the sake of safety, follow this trail, not walking off the cliff and falling to the trail below.

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Cliff May 15, 2015 02

Cliff May 15, 2015 03

I take comfort, however, in the fact that, if the Middle Oconee River ever floods severely, nature has provided ways to prevent the water from reaching my front door, which is at the top of the hill one descends to reach the river and the park.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

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Ben Burton Park, Athens, Georgia, May 15, 2015, Part III   Leave a comment

Hugging Tree May 15, 2015 02

Above:  A Tree Near the Middle Oconee River, May 15, 2015

Source of All Images = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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A tree in Ben Burton Park fell over into a second tree.

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Hugging Tree May 15, 2015 03

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

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Ben Burton Park, Athens, Georgia, May 15, 2015, Part II   Leave a comment

Turtle in River May 15, 2015 03

Above:  A Turtle on a Rock in the Middle Oconee River, May 15, 2015

Source of All Images = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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The Middle Oconee River is home to a population of turtles.  I saw one resident today.

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Turtle in River May 15, 2015 02

Turtle in River May 15, 2015 04

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One can, of course, enjoy looking at the river itself.

Rock in River May 15, 2015 01

Rock in River May 15, 2015 02

Tree in River May 15, 2015

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

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