I am so happy to be back home in Santa Barbara!  The sunshine, the flowers, the ocean, the peacefulness of my home — they all settle in and wrap around me like a warm and cozy shawl!

On May 7th, I left for what I thought was a 3-day trip to visit my mom for Mother’s Day.  After a grueling 11 days there, I finally was able to come back home.  Many things had to be set aside during that time away from home.  This blog is one of the things that got set aside.  For those of you who are used to hearing from me more frequently than you have recently, I apologize.

When I arrived at my mom’s, the day before Mother’s Day, she wasn’t feeling well.  On Mother’s Day, she felt worse, and by the next day, she was even worse.  It was clear that there was a problem that needed medical attention.  She’s almost 85, and has a lot of serious health issues, but this was something new, and in addition to her other problems.

I’ve written before about my stepfather and my mom, and their various health challenges, and how those challenges effect them, and all who love them.  Normal aging can bring about health issues, but sometimes it’s the choices that we’ve made throughout our lives that create serious obstacles as we age.  In my mother’s case, she has made many choices through the years that have not worked at all well for her.

On Monday, May 9th, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to the hospital after several long hours in the ER.  Finally, that Sunday, she had recovered enough to leave the hospital, but was much too weak to return home.  Instead, she is spending a period of time at a convalescent hospital, trying to regain some strength.

The hardest part of my mother’s illness, for her — and for her family — is her overriding negativity, fear and anxiety.  Her focus is always on how awful and how frightening everything is in her life!  It’s very difficult to be healthy, emotionally and/or physically, and make healthy choices throughout life if this is your worldview.  As far back as I can remember, this is how my mother has seen life.  She always sees the rain, but never the rainbow!   It’s very sad!

I have had to accept that for whatever reason, this is who she is, and this is how she will always be.  I still hope and pray for change to happen, but rationally I know it won’t.  She has a good heart, and I love her, but I know I can’t change her.  This truth has taken me a very long time to accept at a deep level, but it’s necessary for my health and well-being to accept it.

I’m sharing this personal story, in the hope that it might help some of you who struggle with fear and negativity.  Changing your worldview might not be easy, but it is do-able.  There are lots of self-help books, and professionals that can help you make the changes that will enrich your lives.  I’m also sharing this story to reach those of you who struggle year after year trying to find a way to help those who aren’t willing, or able, to help themselves.  I want you to recognize the limits of your capabilities.  Each of us only has power over the choices that we, and we alone, make.  We can not make others choose any differently than they want to choose.

I hope that this post finds each of you with a peaceful heart, no matter where you live.  If you don’t feel a warm peacefulness around you, take a good look at the changes you need to make.  I promise you that it’s worth it, for you and for all who love you.

Until next time,



  • Linda, thanks for sharing your story of your mom and the challenges that a negative world view presents. Much or your story resonates with me regarding my own mother. One thing that occurred to me is that they both grew up during a very scary, negative and hopeless time. We are both social workers and appreciate the importance that environment has on the person. It is hard to imagine that the great depression did not have a formidable impact on them. One thing that we learn from the research on positivity is that it springs from the bedrock of negativity. Perhaps we both need to focus on the fact that our mother’s are also survivors and the impact that that has on our lives. Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on my mom with you.
    Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach

  • Thank you, Lynn, for your thoughtful comments. You’re right. The environment, both the larger environment of the country, and the smaller environment of the family, have a strong impact on us — and on all people throughout time.

    I think that it can impact us in positive ways or in negative ways, depending on our reaction to it. Some people react to negativity by becoming stronger and more empowered. Others retreat into fear and helplessness. How we react depends on many factors.

    Parents model behaviors for us, and we then can choose whether to follow that modeling or create our own paths. I think you and I could have an interesting conversation on all of this. I’m glad that my writing brought you an opportunity for reflection about your mom. We have much to learn from our parents, and the more we understand, the more we grow.

    Thanks again,


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