“This is where I had a purpose” – Capt. Montgomery Scott

I have an honest confession for all of you.  I am a sci-fi geek.  I was raised watching the original Star Trek with my dad.  I enjoyed all the characters from the original series, but one in particular was my favorite.  The hard-working miracle worker, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (Scotty).  There was something special about him that made me smile.

Many years later when they started The Next Generation I saw they did an homage to the original series by bringing in some of the original cast for guest appearances.  Of those, my favorite was an episode entitled “Relics”.

The crew of the new Enterprise find a crashed Federation ship and go in to investigate.  There they discover that the transporter has been jerry-rigged as a type of life boat for the only survivor, Captain Scott, Retired.

Scotty shows his usual enthusiasm for anything related to engineering and steps in to help Lt. LaForge.  Unfortunately, 75 years have elapsed since the last time Scotty has worked on a warp engine and Scotty isn’t able to be the miracle-worker in engineering.

A dejected Scotty finds himself in the holodeck with a bottle of alien whiskey asking to be shown the bridge of the original Enterprise.

He is soon joined by Captain Picard and as they speak Scotty expresses what he’s feeling.

Scotty: “I don’t belong on your ship.  I belong on this one. (Meaning the holographic ship they’re on) This was my home.  This is where I had a purpose.  But it’s not real.  It’s just a computer generated fantasy. (sighs)  And I’m just an old man who’s trying to hide in it.  Computer, shut this bloody thing off.  It’s time I acted my age.”

He leaves with Picard looking at Scotty with compassion in his eyes.

Later Picard asks LaForge about some data that they needed to acquire from Scotty’s crashed ship.  Picard suggests that Scotty would be helpful in obtaining the information and asks LaForge to personally assist with this task as well.  Picard makes his request with this statement:

“Look, this is not an order.  It’s a request and one that you must feel perfectly free to decline.  You see, one of the most important things in a persons’ life is to feel useful.  Now, Mr. Scott is a Starfleet Officer and I would like him to feel useful again.”

I won’t post any spoilers for those who’ve not seen this but now want to. The upshot is by LaForge engaging Scotty in an area where he’s useful and taking some time to allow himself to be mentored by a more experienced engineer they both gain and grow from the experience.  In the end Scotty is able to show he still deserves the title of ‘Miracle-Worker’.

This episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation demonstrated one of the things I always appreciated about this and the original Star Trek.  The way they took on real life issues in the fantasy world of space travel.

We all need to feel useful.  We all need to feel like our lives have meaning.  We all need a purpose to give us a reason to get up in the morning.

As our loved ones get older and are no longer able to be as independent as they were it is easy for them to become depressed.  We need to acknowledge the impact they’ve made in our lives and in the world.  We need to let them know they still have a purpose in our lives and the world.  Even sharing their stories and things they’ve learned through experience will enrich the community around them.

Engage with the seniors in your family.  Encourage them in the ways they still make a difference and have a purpose.  Tell them how much their presence in your life enriches it.

Change their statement of “This is where I HAD a purpose.” to “This is where I HAVE a purpose”

As an interesting side note, James Doohan who played Scotty, died just over a decade after this episode was filmed.  He died from Alzheimer’s disease.

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How can you do a job like that? I could NEVER do something like that!

love best medicine

When I began my journey as a caregiver I had people asking me how I could do such a thing, that they would never be able to do that.  They wanted to know how I could stand to see to the most personal needs of my father and then grandfather.  They couldn’t understand how I could find the compassion and patience to spend 30 to 45 minutes feeding my dad four or five times a day.

The simple answer is they’re family and that’s what family does.  The deeper explanation is, they did it for me.  From the time I was born my family has been there caring for me.  THEY changed my diapers.  THEY fed me.  THEY dressed me.  THEY bathed me.  I spit up and threw up on THEM.  I bled on THEM.  When I cried THEY comforted me.  THEY taught me, loved me and encouraged me.  How can I not reciprocate when THEIR time of need comes?

To that people will often concede the point but now that I have lost both Dad and Grandpa they ask why I continue to do this for strangers.

The honest truth is two-fold.  First of all, once I meet the people I am charged with providing care for they are no longer strangers.  They become surrogate family members.  I care for who they are as a person.  I try to learn about who they are, what makes them happy and how to encourage them.   They often have as much of a positive influence on my life as I hopefully have on theirs.

Second, I think of all the people outside of my family who had an impact on who I am today … teachers, neighbors, family friends, camp counselors, clergy, and random strangers providing random acts of kindness.  Most of these people are no longer in my life, but each of the people I care for were the teachers, neighbors, family friend, camp counselor, clergy or random stranger providing random acts of kindness for someone else.  So in my mind, in some odd concept of karma or whatever way you’d put it, I am returning the favor to a stranger in hopes that someone else is doing the same for those non-family members who had a positive influence on my life.

I have another reason for doing what I do.  I have seven wonderful nephews and four awesome nieces.   I believe the best way to show the future generation how to be compassionate, active, caring adults is by example.  I hope that by demonstrating to them how we should care for our family and strangers that I will have done my part to make the future just that much brighter.

So, to answer the question “How can I do something like what I do?”

I do it joyfully with hope, compassion and love.

How can you do a job like that? I could NEVER do something like that!

love best medicine

When I began my journey as a caregiver I had people asking me how I could do such a thing, that they would never be able to do that.  They wanted to know how I could stand to see to the most personal needs of my father and then grandfather.  They couldn’t understand how I could find the compassion and patience to spend 30 to 45 minutes feeding my dad four or five times a day.

The simple answer is they’re family and that’s what family does.  The deeper explanation is, they did it for me.  From the time I was born my family has been there caring for me.  THEY changed my diapers.  THEY fed me.  THEY dressed me.  THEY bathed me.  I spit up and threw up on THEM.  I bled on THEM.  When I cried THEY comforted me.  THEY taught me, loved me and encouraged me.  How can I not reciprocate when THEIR time of need comes?

To that people will often concede the point but now that I have lost both Dad and Grandpa they ask why I continue to do this for strangers.

The honest truth is two-fold.  First of all, once I meet the people I am charged with providing care for they are no longer strangers.  They become surrogate family members.  I care for who they are as a person.  I try to learn about who they are, what makes them happy and how to encourage them.   They often have as much of a positive influence on my life as I hopefully have on theirs.

Second, I think of all the people outside of my family who had an impact on who I am today … teachers, neighbors, family friends, camp counselors, clergy, and random strangers providing random acts of kindness.  Most of these people are no longer in my life, but each of the people I care for were the teachers, neighbors, family friend, camp counselor, clergy or random stranger providing random acts of kindness for someone else.  So in my mind, in some odd concept of karma or whatever way you’d put it, I am returning the favor to a stranger in hopes that someone else is doing the same for those non-family members who had a positive influence on my life.

I have another reason for doing what I do.  I have seven wonderful nephews and four awesome nieces.   I believe the best way to show the future generation how to be compassionate, active, caring adults is by example.  I hope that by demonstrating to them how we should care for our family and strangers that I will have done my part to make the future just that much brighter.

So, to answer the question “How can I do something like what I do?”

I do it joyfully with hope, compassion and love.

“This is where I had a purpose” – Capt. Montgomery Scott

I have an honest confession for all of you.  I am a sci-fi geek.  I was raised watching the original Star Trek with my dad.  I enjoyed all the characters from the original series, but one in particular was my favorite.  The hard-working miracle worker, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (Scotty).  There was something special about him that made me smile.

Many years later when they started The Next Generation I saw they did an homage to the original series by bringing in some of the original cast for guest appearances.  Of those, my favorite was an episode entitled “Relics”.

The crew of the new Enterprise find a crashed Federation ship and go in to investigate.  There they discover that the transporter has been jerry-rigged as a type of life boat for the only survivor, Captain Scott, Retired.

Scotty shows his usual enthusiasm for anything related to engineering and steps in to help Lt. LaForge.  Unfortunately, 75 years have elapsed since the last time Scotty has worked on a warp engine and Scotty isn’t able to be the miracle-worker in engineering.

A dejected Scotty finds himself in the holodeck with a bottle of alien whiskey asking to be shown the bridge of the original Enterprise.

He is soon joined by Captain Picard and as they speak Scotty expresses what he’s feeling.

Scotty: “I don’t belong on your ship.  I belong on this one. (Meaning the holographic ship they’re on) This was my home.  This is where I had a purpose.  But it’s not real.  It’s just a computer generated fantasy. (sighs)  And I’m just an old man who’s trying to hide in it.  Computer, shut this bloody thing off.  It’s time I acted my age.”

He leaves with Picard looking at Scotty with compassion in his eyes.

Later Picard asks LaForge about some data that they needed to acquire from Scotty’s crashed ship.  Picard suggests that Scotty would be helpful in obtaining the information and asks LaForge to personally assist with this task as well.  Picard makes his request with this statement:

“Look, this is not an order.  It’s a request and one that you must feel perfectly free to decline.  You see, one of the most important things in a persons’ life is to feel useful.  Now, Mr. Scott is a Starfleet Officer and I would like him to feel useful again.”

I won’t post any spoilers for those who’ve not seen this but now want to. The upshot is by LaForge engaging Scotty in an area where he’s useful and taking some time to allow himself to be mentored by a more experienced engineer they both gain and grow from the experience.  In the end Scotty is able to show he still deserves the title of ‘Miracle-Worker’.

This episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation demonstrated one of the things I always appreciated about this and the original Star Trek.  The way they took on real life issues in the fantasy world of space travel.

We all need to feel useful.  We all need to feel like our lives have meaning.  We all need a purpose to give us a reason to get up in the morning.

As our loved ones get older and are no longer able to be as independent as they were it is easy for them to become depressed.  We need to acknowledge the impact they’ve made in our lives and in the world.  We need to let them know they still have a purpose in our lives and the world.  Even sharing their stories and things they’ve learned through experience will enrich the community around them.

Engage with the seniors in your family.  Encourage them in the ways they still make a difference and have a purpose.  Tell them how much their presence in your life enriches it.

Change their statement of “This is where I HAD a purpose.” to “This is where I HAVE a purpose”

As an interesting side note, James Doohan who played Scotty, died just over a decade after this episode was filmed.  He died from Alzheimer’s disease.

Make their every moment, AWESOME!

We have the ability to do a great deal to make positive, happy memories for our loved ones.  Every day they are with us gives us the chance to show how much we love them.   Here are some examples that I found just in my Facebook feed today, plus one from my journey with my grandpa.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson … I’ve enjoyed some of his movies – now I feel a deep level of respect for the man.  This is from his official Facebook page.

In Samoan culture we have a very special dance called the "Taualuga" where the woman dances and she's honored by the men who dance around her out of love and great respect. On my grandmother's 80th birthday she danced her Taualuga while I proudly danced around her while she laughed and beamed with pride. She had the greatest 80th birthday and her smile was from ear to ear. My grandmother, Lia Maivia was a strong willed, highly respected and tough pioneer in the world of pro wrestling, becoming wrestling's first successful female promoter. But when we hit hard times and were evicted from our apartment, shortly after that my grandmother became homeless. When I finally could afford it, I bought her a place of her very own that she LOVED. I would always ask her after that, "Grandma are you happy?".To which she'd call me by my Samoan name and say, "Tuife'ai Im so happy.. thank you.. oh and can you please sing that song I like.." Ha! I'd start singin' away (off key of course) and she'd laugh and smile from ear to ear. A few months after this picture was taken, my grandma passed away peacefully in her sleep. I know we all experience loss and it's so tough to deal with… but for the rest of my life I'll be grateful for the one of a kind lessons only our grandparents can teach us. Miss you grandma and I hope you hear me cause I'm still quietly singin' away to you (off key of course:)… Misiga tele 'oe Grandma, alofa tele atu mo 'oe
In Samoan culture we have a very special dance called the “Taualuga” where the woman dances and she’s honored by the men who dance around her out of love and great respect. On my grandmother’s 80th birthday she danced her Taualuga while I proudly danced around her while she laughed and beamed with pride. She had the greatest 80th birthday and her smile was from ear to ear. My grandmother, Lia Maivia was a strong willed, highly respected and tough pioneer in the world of pro wrestling, becoming wrestling’s first successful female promoter. But when we hit hard times and were evicted from our apartment, shortly after that my grandmother became homeless. When I finally could afford it, I bought her a place of her very own that she LOVED. I would always ask her after that, “Grandma are you happy?”.To which she’d call me by my Samoan name and say, “Tuife’ai Im so happy.. thank you.. oh and can you please sing that song I like..” Ha! I’d start singin’ away (off key of course) and she’d laugh and smile from ear to ear. A few months after this picture was taken, my grandma passed away peacefully in her sleep. I know we all experience loss and it’s so tough to deal with… but for the rest of my life I’ll be grateful for the one of a kind lessons only our grandparents can teach us. Miss you grandma and I hope you hear me cause I’m still quietly singin’ away to you (off key of course:)… Misiga tele ‘oe Grandma, alofa tele atu mo ‘oe

 

Last year a former park ranger from my home state wanted to look upon the forests he loved one last time …

GodFruits June 14, 2014 ·    This powerful photo comes from Snohomish County. These Firefighters granted a wish to an elderly hospice patient. The former forest ranger wanted to see the outdoors one more time, so the firefighters wheeled him through the forest, where he could experience nature once again.  With all the bad things going on in the world this picture just makes you smile and gives you hope that one day people will be kind enough to grant you your last wish. God Bless these Firefighters.
GodFruits
June 14, 2014 ·
This powerful photo comes from Snohomish County. These Firefighters granted a wish to an elderly hospice patient. The former forest ranger wanted to see the outdoors one more time, so the firefighters wheeled him through the forest, where he could experience nature once again.
With all the bad things going on in the world this picture just makes you smile and gives you hope that one day people will be kind enough to grant you your last wish. God Bless these Firefighters.

 

More recently a sports fan wanted one last game … and got a special kiss from a player from her favorite team!

Ailing fan passes away after visit from Chiefs Hall of Famer Posted: Apr 16, 2015 1:09 PM PDT Updated: Apr 17, 2015 5:00 AM PDT By Chris Oberholtz, Multimedia ProducerCONNECT   Betty Johnson's great granddaughter shared a photo of Dwayne Bowe kissing her grandma at a recent game in hopes for the photo to go viral. Betty Johnson's great granddaughter shared a photo of Dwayne Bowe kissing her grandma at a recent game in hopes for the photo to go viral. KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - At 86 years old, Betty Johnson had been with the Kansas City Chiefs through the good times and bad. Many current players knew her as "grandma." As a season ticket holder since 1986, she could be seen in the front row at home games on the 45-yard line, rooting for the players who mean so much to her. Johnson passed away Thursday, but not before a visit by Chiefs Hall of Famer Nick Lowery. "Nick Lowery was here and getting ready to leave when she passed. We knew she was waiting for her Chiefs," one of Johnson's four daughters, Susan Johnson, said. Her family members say the Independence woman's health had been deteriorated since breaking her hip in February. She had been in hospice care since April 7 at North Kansas City Hospital. Doctors were amazed that the great-great grandmother had held on as long as she had. Before her death, Susan Johnson said her mother had said goodbye to everyone except her Chiefs. "I believe she (was) holding on to say goodbye to her Chiefs," Susan Johnson said from her mother's bedside before her passing. Betty Johnson attended almost every home game last season. She only missed three games. Her last game she saw was on Nov. 30 against the Denver Broncos. Family members recall the late Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and Jack Steadman, a former vice Chiefs chairman, even saying hello to "grandma" from the sidelines. From clothing to game balls and kisses, her spirit was also noticed from the players. "Dwayne Bowe kissed her at every game, and Dante Hall even took his coat off his back and gave to to her," Susan Johnson said. Betty Johnson's great granddaughter shared a photo of Bowe kissing her grandma at a recent game in hopes of the photo going viral to get one last kiss. The photo has since been seen by members in the front office of the Chiefs organization and players. "She is such a die-hard Chiefs fans and loves them so much," Susan Johnson said. "Her Chiefs were more important to her than her home." The retired school bus driver lost her home in North Kansas City in order to pay for her Chiefs season tickets. "She was even a Royals fan. More or less a big sports nut," Susan Johnson said. "She had five daughters that she taught to love all sports." Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Ailing fan passes away after visit from Chiefs Hall of Famer
Posted: Apr 16, 2015 1:09 PM PDT
Updated: Apr 17, 2015 5:00 AM PDT
By Chris Oberholtz, Multimedia ProducerCONNECT
Betty Johnson’s great granddaughter shared a photo of Dwayne Bowe kissing her grandma at a recent game in hopes for the photo to go viral.
Betty Johnson’s great granddaughter shared a photo of Dwayne Bowe kissing her grandma at a recent game in hopes for the photo to go viral.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) –
At 86 years old, Betty Johnson had been with the Kansas City Chiefs through the good times and bad.
Many current players knew her as “grandma.” As a season ticket holder since 1986, she could be seen in the front row at home games on the 45-yard line, rooting for the players who mean so much to her.
Johnson passed away Thursday, but not before a visit by Chiefs Hall of Famer Nick Lowery.
“Nick Lowery was here and getting ready to leave when she passed. We knew she was waiting for her Chiefs,” one of Johnson’s four daughters, Susan Johnson, said.
Her family members say the Independence woman’s health had been deteriorated since breaking her hip in February. She had been in hospice care since April 7 at North Kansas City Hospital.
Doctors were amazed that the great-great grandmother had held on as long as she had.
Before her death, Susan Johnson said her mother had said goodbye to everyone except her Chiefs.
“I believe she (was) holding on to say goodbye to her Chiefs,” Susan Johnson said from her mother’s bedside before her passing.
Betty Johnson attended almost every home game last season. She only missed three games. Her last game she saw was on Nov. 30 against the Denver Broncos.
Family members recall the late Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and Jack Steadman, a former vice Chiefs chairman, even saying hello to “grandma” from the sidelines.
From clothing to game balls and kisses, her spirit was also noticed from the players.
“Dwayne Bowe kissed her at every game, and Dante Hall even took his coat off his back and gave to to her,” Susan Johnson said.
Betty Johnson’s great granddaughter shared a photo of Bowe kissing her grandma at a recent game in hopes of the photo going viral to get one last kiss.
The photo has since been seen by members in the front office of the Chiefs organization and players.
“She is such a die-hard Chiefs fans and loves them so much,” Susan Johnson said. “Her Chiefs were more important to her than her home.”
The retired school bus driver lost her home in North Kansas City in order to pay for her Chiefs season tickets.
“She was even a Royals fan. More or less a big sports nut,” Susan Johnson said. “She had five daughters that she taught to love all sports.”
Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

Finally, my grandpa on his 95th birthday!  This was the last birthday he celebrated with us …

Grandpa on his 95th birthday.  On the left are his twin baby sisters Bettie and Bonnie, to the right his sister-in-law Ruth.
Grandpa on his 95th birthday. On the left are his twin baby sisters Bettie and Bonnie, to the right his sister-in-law Ruth.

Although he suffered from Alzheimer’s Grandpa remembered this gala birthday celebration we held for him until the end.  He would talk about his birthday party and how many people came to wish him a happy birthday (we had about 80 people show – both family and friends).  He knew he was cherished and loved.