Hollie Grimaldi Flores: A quality life
I have been getting some (light hearted) pressure from friends and acquaintances to start naming names when I convey my stories here. They are asking for more dirt. And specific dirt at that. But I just don’t think I want to do it.
This community is a relatively small one. I presume the locals pick up on the indigenous references, without any need to be blatant, and hopefully the topic is relevant beyond these Northern California borders.
A lot has changed since I first moved here in 1995. There were many basic services lacking and the attitude was a bit “take it or leave it.” Locals even had a name for it, “Grass Valley-I-tis.”
Over two decades our little community began to act very big-city in terms of amenities. And residents have come to expect a certain level of entertainment, education, healthcare and overall quality of life. I stay aware of the gifts we have here in the way of service clubs and nonprofit organizations in addition to the unusual blend of high tech, agriculture and tourism, trying not to take it for granted.
I love the familiarity that is developed with local merchants, service and healthcare providers, teachers, public officials, restaurateurs and those familiar faces that seem to spin in your orbit — whose features you recognize but don’t know their name — the ones you see at school functions and the local grocers and the fair.
I was thinking about that while shopping over the weekend. I ran into a woman I used to be close to when my kids were small. We have moved on to other paths and only see one another when we run into each other at events, or in restaurants, or in this case at the grocery store. I went from singing along to the Bee Gees while pricing items to grappling with the news she shared of stage four cancer. Another battle being fought.
It was a reminder that none of us gets out of this alive. Which brings me to a place where I would like to name names.
I am on the Board of Trustees of Hospice of the Foothills. The role of this board, as I understand it, is to act as an advocate. The members meet quarterly with directors and staff to learn more about their challenges and successes and to hear from hospice providers, care givers, spiritual counselors, etc. The work is impressive and needed.
While I do not have firsthand experience with hospice, I am told time and time again how wonderful they are to those who reach out to them. I have friends who can’t speak highly enough of the gift we have here — quite unusual for a community of this size.
What I have learned is people tend to wait a bit too long to ask for hospice. And knowing what I have come to know about what a difference they make for their clients and the client’s family, I feel obliged to share.
There is a deep belief held by many that saying “yes” to hospice is giving up. Granted, a terminal diagnosis is one of the criteria for care, but I do have firsthand experience with a woman who “graduated” out of hospice when her condition made dramatic improvement and services were no longer needed. It happens. But rather than focus on the eventual inevitability of death, hospice as their new tag line reads, “adds quality to life.”
For many years, I said “yes” to pretty much anyone who asked me to serve, volunteer, attend, sign up or work in various nonprofits and community organizations. Then, a few years ago, I began to feel the drain and toll it was all taking on me and my personal resources of time and energy.
I started to say “no.” For a while I said “no” to pretty much every request but recently I have slid back into catching myself occasionally answering in the affirmative.
I got caught in such state a few weeks ago when I was approached to participate in the annual Jail and Bail fundraiser. I am tasked with raising $1,000 to “get out of jail.” (To help bail me out, go to hofo.org)
We are aging. Should I receive a diagnosis that would allow for Hospice services, I do not think I would hesitate to call. I would want all the options laid out for me. The idea of not having a Hospice moves me to act.
A community that cares
All around me I see worthy organizations in need of assistance as they, themselves, assist others. A long time ago I was told to “think globally, act locally.”
One of the many reasons I live in this community is that I am part of a caring, diverse and engaged group of people, so many of us do have a passion and a cause and are giving our resources of time, talent and financial support to insure their long-term existence.
Living in the Sierra Foothills among a mix of long-time residents, recent transplants, the highly and barely educated, alongside the forward and backward thinking, the opinionated and the complacent, the community and politically active and the disengaged — I can continue to believe in the innate goodness of humanity.
We are all going to die one day, and until then we should make certain we are living our best life. I won’t be throwing any dirt around about “you know who, or you know when,” but I will occasionally say yes to causes I believe are an intricate part of what making this a great place to live and not a bad place to die.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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