100-Word Story: Managing Tough Times

Posted in More Stories

WRITTEN BY KAREN J. CLAYTON
ILLUSTRATED BY PHYLLIS RAY
July 26, 2017

Jake kept his sense of humor about everything except Minnie’s lung cancer. Jake was a typical, confident 65-year-old Texan; Minnie, an 85-year-young feisty Native American. They had many worries: the cancer, finding a home for their 16-year-old granddaughter, and managing Jake’s drinking.

One morning, Jake met me at a café in their tiny Texas town. Delightfully, he greeted everyone who walked into the cafe with: “This here’s Karen, our hospice social worker. She’s psychologizin’ me.”
“Jake,” I began, “some folks believe feelings come down to: sad, glad, mad, or scared.”

He liked that simplicity and began sharing his feelings.

Karen Clayton is a social worker and has worked in private and county hospitals, a hospice, and as director of patient services for the American Cancer Society’s regional office in Fort Worth, Texas. She has a master’s degree in sociology and has taught sociology and conducted community workshops on grief and loss, caregiver stresses, death and dying, community resources, and hospice. She resides in Oak Harbor.

Story © 2017 Karen Clayton
Illustration © 2017 Phyllis Ray

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