Does the President of the United States of America Love All of Us? Or just some of us?

Is it too hard to show empathy and compassion, with a heartfelt, food for the soul, patriotic apology? For this President, maybe it is too hard….sadly…

I remember my father saying often when I was around 5 years old, earliest memories, “President Roosevelt loved all of us, not just some of us…” I don’t remember much during those chaotic years following WWII, but do remember Dad’s loud confident and often scary voice. I remember his bellowing oratory, just like a hardened angry old Master Chief Boatswains Mate who survived Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War would sound like. He was sure as his soul was speaking to him that President Roosevelt loved all of us, not just some of us…

You know, President Roosevelt was struck with polio too, just like me and so many from my generation. President Roosevelt loved all of us, not just some of us… President Roosevelt loved me!

Franklin Delanore Roosevelt, 32nd POTUS “A Date That Will Live In Infamy!”

With great sadness in my heart, a new hole in my old soul, and tears streaming down my face, I now ask myself this question for the first time in my 74th year in this life as a patriot of this great country. “Does the President of the United States love all of us, or just some of us?”

As a 73 year old born July 6, 1946; senior citizen, US Navy Vietnam era veteran, college educated, retired corporate executive and public servant. And like so many other boomers who were born into war, suffer from serious mental illness, and all sorts of stuff we happily make adjustments and heal as a single All American Family. We are privileged to be alive to make a difference for all of us, not just some of us. Starting with our fathers and grandfathers, we fought the wars after our Dad survived Pearl Harbor, WWII Pacific War and finally the Korean War.

The tears flow uncontrollably down my face everytime I return to reading Dad’s US Navy medical records from 1936-1960. I do this to be reminded of the extreme and inhuman sacrifice of veterans of all wars. To be reminded of not only the physical damage, loss of limbs, and crushing brain injuries, but far worse, the emotional damage that continues to this very day in all of us, not just some of us.  My soul cries out for those who serve America and the families who serve too.

We need a President who loves all of us, not just some of us. We need a President who goes to work for all of us in America, not just some of us. More than anything else, we need a President who can feel the humility and humanity of all America’s people, not just some of us. President Trump needs to learn how to love all of us…not just some of us… Then, only then, is there hope for empathy and compassion for all of us, not just some of us…

Steve Sparks, US Navy Vietnam era Veteran and Navy brat post WWII. click here for my author page.

"Learn to Love Others, Learn to be Free." Celebrating The Life of Chaz…

“Learn to love others, learn to be free.” Chaz

Flowers rest near a grave marker that reads “Gone but not forgotten, these people of King County October 2017, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Renton, Wash., following a service for 180 people who died in the county, but whose families either could not be found or could not afford a burial. The service was organized by the King County Indigent Remains program and the King County Medical Examiner’s office. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

‘So moving and healing to my soul, a peaceful feeling came over me…’ This is a powerful story of hope. But it saddens me deeply. My heart and soul reminds me that all too often homeless men and women die in the streets way to early than the rest of us.

In the case of Chaz, he died on a cold lonely pavement of a parking lot. I was so taken by this loving tribute to the life of Chaz that keeping his story alive permanently in my archives seemed so appropriate and healing. I want to share Chaz’s story with a broader audience as ‘food for the soul’ for others to see and learn from.

Chaz lived the spirit life… Chaz, and many other brothers and sisters are loving members of our local community just like the rest of us. We are all the same…

I believe we should think about how to remember the homeless population in ways that reinforce programs like the Stepping Up Initiative, designed to help the most vulnerable folks among us find a healthier and sustainable lifestyle. Most importantly to stick around with us much longer to make a difference for others.

Chaz was a mentor, who provided peer support to others who struggled to find hope for a better future. Chaz is not here anymore, but his spirit survives and thrives… As a caring and loving community we should never forget Chaz… How we care for the most vulnerable citizens in our community is a reflection of who we are…

Steve and Judy Sparks, Depoe Bay, Oregon. Click here for Steve’s author page.

Hug and Appreciate Your Caregiver Everyday & Often…

Here’s how you know if you are in a caregiver role. Do you assist a Veteran who needs help to: Quote from this reference link…

• Make medical appointments or drive to the doctor?
• Drive to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions?
• Get dressed, take a shower, or take medication?
• Get in and out of bed?
• Complete physical therapy or give injections?
• Feed self, with feeding tubes or complete similar procedures at home?
• Talk with doctors, nurses, social workers, and others to understand about their medical care or benefits?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are a caregiver and may be eligible for caregiver services at VA.

To know that you are loved is golden to the aging souls who we owe so much to our freedom… I feel just like the ol’ dude in the photo. My bet is he served during the Vietnam era like me…

VA Caregiver Support Home

Without my caregiver I would not be here, period!

Judy and Steve Sparks, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Hug your caregiver everyday and often. Tell this most important person in your life how much you appreciate them. It’s hard when you’re in serious physical and emotional pain to stop for a moment when possible to say I love you… I see the stress and tears from my loving wife when the going gets tough. We try to work as a team to focus on empathy and compassion for each other. Judy puts her hand on her heart and gives me that beautiful smile that heals my soul. Love wins over the demons everytime. A new day is born with hope. The triggers then stay at a safe distance.

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate

Social Media Political Hate Postings Traumatize Senior Citizens… Please be considerate…

Steve Sparks US Navy, Pearl Harbor, c1964. Promoted to 3rd Class Radioman.

Allow me to share what happened to me last week right after the strike that killed the deserving Iranian general who finally got his due. This is real stuff…

As a note of context, social media is a very critical part of my volunteer and professional work in my local community; and as as an author, blogger and mental health advocate. And, full disclosure…as a senior I struggle big time with mental health problems and trigger easily with panic attacks. Does anyone else relate to this kind of painful emotional reality for some of us? So, I was immediately struck by a cartoon posting in the Facebook page ‘headlines’ in your face presentation at the top of the page.

At the exact moment of the news about the Iranian strike, I was looking with horror at a political cartoon of Senator Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi, who both I admire and respect along with many political leaders from both parties past and present. Imagine this… Chuck with a middle eastern men’s head dress, and Nancy with the women’s version. Both were made to look like evil muslims as a joke. Faces with darker makeup and really ugly looking hateful disturbing evil faces. If it weren’t so obviously hateful and disturbing to me and probably many of my neighbors, colleagues, and friends, I would have dismissed it immediately. They both looked no where near the highly recognizable political leaders we see everyday fighting for us in Washington. I see no intrinsic value in this kind of joke anytime but especially now as America is on a war footing.

This kind of hate is worse than “blackfacing” in my view. We white priviledged kids from the 50s & 60s made fun of everybody, everything and anything that appeared to be different than our frame of reference. It was ugly, stupid and wrong! This was terribly triggering for me growing up in the 50s and 60s, and as adults in the professional world we boomers started calling out hate and social injustice. Making all this even worse, we boomers didn’t have to deal with the more recent popularized use of the word “scum.” Scum definition  – extraneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering. Why would anyone with any sense of decency use a word like this? I remember when the use of the word “cunt” became off limits in my generation. Why can’t we make scum off limits like that?

Where are my boomer senior friends and colleagues now to call this out? What do they say? Some of us are more sensitive than others as well, like me… To further inflame and hurt us in our land of…”it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” we now see the word ‘scum’ popularlized to refer to politicians, or anyone of us, who do not side with the current WH. I’m totally okay with healthy debate but not HATE, please.

I know there are many others in my community who are hurt and triggered by social media hate when it gets through. The crazy political season is upon us now, and it will be ugly, probably 1968 Democratic Convention all over again. Does anyone remember? Click here… All I ask is for my many friends and colleagues in Lincoln County and elsewhere to call this hate speak out when we see it. I will by deleting, muting and unfriending anytime it appears in the headlines of my Facebook page. Will you all join me? As a great reference and resource check out Trauma Informed Oregon, click here.

Are we good on this friends and neighbors? Please join me in this campaign. Thank you!

Steve Sparks, Member, Lincoln County Oregon Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC), and Local Alcohol & Drug Abuse Planning Committee (APARC)

Caregivers Give Heart and Soul to The Most Vulnerable Among Us… Compassion Fatigue is Real!

Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project

I can never appreciate enough all the love and support received over the years from the person who has been my rock for over 35 years, my soul mate, and wife, Judy.  As a person seriously affected by addiction and mental illness with lifetime recovery implications, I would not be here today at age 73 without the profoundly life saving unconditional love of Judy… This is what I truly believe…

With all the decades of loving support from Judy and caregivers like her everywhere, it takes its toll and often presents a risk of Secondary PTSD on the person caring for a loved one or as a friend, colleague, clinician or peer support professional. Along with the joyful times in our life together, my physical and mental health issues have been ever present from day 1, and a work in progress, indeed. I was in denial for most of my life so the “work in progress” part was much harder and reactionery with bad results. Now, in these later years with a much higher level of awareness, we work more as a team and help each other as a family. Healing is a team effort. Don’t try it alone, please!

Judy Sparks on New Years Eve 2019, Tidal Raves, Depoe Bay Oregon

Take a moment each day to thank the caregivers in your life and hug them often, Check out the reference links above to learn more about how to support your special caregiver(s).

Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true!

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC) Click here for my author page…