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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