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A Tribute to Bette Schloesser: “House as a Metaphor for Living”

 

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    by

    Eileen Kelz

    The following article “House as a Metaphor for Living,” first appeared in the Marshfield, WI News Herald daily paper on September 27, 2007. It was written by Eileen Kelz in tribute to her dear friend Bette Schloesser, who died in July, 2008.

    Eileen was co-captain of Bette’s Share the Care™ team. The two enjoyed a friendship spanning over 30 years. Bette was an adventurer, an amazing mother to her eight children, a beloved “Gran Bette” to her many grand kids and a passionate educator and advocate for youth and women. She traveled and bicycled all over the world, even continuing after her diagnosis of lung cancer. – Sheila

    “Bette was my role-model. She was such a strong and passionate person. Being a member of her Share The Care™ team brought so many rewards. I not only had an opportunity to give something back to Bette but also got to know her eight children and her grandchildren better.”

    Eileen is a professional feng shui consultant and trains practitioners through the International Institute of Interior Alignment. She lives in Marshfield, WI and Corolla, North Carolina. This article was one of her feng shui columns appearing in several newspapers. She can be reached at eileen@dynamic-env.com or see her at www.dynamic-env.com.

    House Serves as Metaphor for Living
    by Eileen Kelz

    [caption id=”attachment_5620″ align=”alignleft” width=”320″]Eileen-BetteSchloesser Eileen with BetteSchloesser[/caption]

    When my friend Bette told me she was thinking of building a new house, I frankly told her she was crazy! “Do you really want to take on all of that stress in this chapter of your life? All of the daily decisions involved in building will drive you bananas!

    In spite of my opinion, she decided to go ahead with the project. What made her decision so remarkable was that Bette was in her mid-70’s and living with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. She had already exceeded her predicted end of life by several years. Once the difficult decision to build was made, however, she went about the project with the same “full throttle” approach that she does everything else. Bette had a vision. She wanted to move out of her cramped apartment and make a home where her friends and family would feel comfortable and welcomed. Being the strong woman she is, creating a space where she could live and die on her own terms was important to her.

     

    In feng shui, the home is considered to be a metaphor for life. From the very beginning the journey of creating this house became one of healing. It became a collaborative process as family and friends came together to support her in various aspects of design. Her vision and intention was clear, making the construction process flow with ease.

    Bette’s home is now two years old, and she is measuring her remaining time here in weeks or months. Her home serves as a place of joy and life, and a nurturing haven for herself and those of us wanting to spend precious time with her. Fresh air and sunshine flow throughout the space. A loving circle of friends brings a constant supply of fresh flowers to sustain the uplifting energy. Cheerful bedrooms are always prepared to house the next round of visiting family. There are gentle places for intimate conversation. Her private room is filled with inspirational artwork, positive affirmations, soothing colors and mementos from devoted friends and family. A chalkboard hangs in the kitchen where Bette’s caregivers keep her updated on what day it is and who of her Share The Care™ group are coming to visit, read or play games.

    What is most remarkable is that Bette’s house is one of vitality. Medicines are placed out of sight in the cupboard. Only the physical supports that she needs to move about are visible. Her home is expressing Bette’s totality as a human being, not only an identity as a sick person.

    [caption id=”attachment_5621″ align=”alignright” width=”301″]BetteSchloesserGroup Betty’s STC Group[/caption]

    For the person approaching death, their home (or room) can still be a life affirming and healing space—a place that welcomes and comforts family and friends. It can be a place where joy and laughter as well as sorrow can be expressed and most importantly, where healing can occur. A home like Bette’s reflects the spirit of a woman who has chosen to embrace all of life to the fullest and move through her transition with grace and courage.

    Eileen was co-captain of Bette’s Share the Care™ team. The two enjoyed a friendship spanning over 30 years. Bette was an adventurer, an amazing mother to her eight children, a beloved “Gran Bette” to her many grand kids and a passionate educator and advocate for youth and women. She traveled and bicycled all over the world, even continuing after her diagnosis of lung cancer.

    “Bette was my role-model. She was such a strong and passionate person. Being a member of her Share The Care™ team brought so many rewards. I not only had an opportunity to give something back to Bette but also got to know her eight children and her grandchildren better.”

    Eileen is a professional feng shui consultant and trains practitioners through the International Institute of Interior Alignment. She lives in Marshfield, WI and Corolla, North Carolina. This article was one of her feng shui columns appearing in several newspapers. She can be reached at eileen@dynamic-env.com or see her at www.dynamic-env.com.

    House Serves as Metaphor for Living
    by Eileen Kelz

    When my friend Bette told me she was thinking of building a new house, I frankly told her she was crazy! “Do you really want to take on all of that stress in this chapter of your life? All of the daily decisions involved in building will drive you bananas!
    In spite of my opinion, she decided to go ahead with the project. What made her decision so remarkable was that Bette was in her mid-70’s and living with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. She had already exceeded her predicted end of life by several years. Once the difficult decision to build was made, however, she went about the project with the same “full throttle” approach that she does everything else. Bette had a vision. She wanted to move out of her cramped apartment and make a home where her friends and family would feel comfortable and welcomed. Being the strong woman she is, creating a space where she could live and die on her own terms was important to her.

    In feng shui, the home is considered to be a metaphor for life. From the very beginning the journey of creating this house became one of healing. It became a collaborative process as family and friends came together to support her in various aspects of design. Her vision and intention was clear, making the construction process flow with ease.

    Bette’s home is now two years old, and she is measuring her remaining time here in weeks or months. Her home serves as a place of joy and life, and a nurturing haven for herself and those of us wanting to spend precious time with her. Fresh air and sunshine flow throughout the space. A loving circle of friends brings a constant supply of fresh flowers to sustain the uplifting energy. Cheerful bedrooms are always prepared to house the next round of visiting family. There are gentle places for intimate conversation. Her private room is filled with inspirational artwork, positive affirmations, soothing colors and mementos from devoted friends and family. A chalkboard hangs in the kitchen where Bette’s caregivers keep her updated on what day it is and who of her Share The Care™ group are coming to visit, read or play games.

    What is most remarkable is that Bette’s house is one of vitality. Medicines are placed out of sight in the cupboard. Only the physical supports that she needs to move about are visible. Her home is expressing Bette’s totality as a human being, not only an identity as a sick person.

    For the person approaching death, their home (or room) can still be a life affirming and healing space—a place that welcomes and comforts family and friends. It can be a place where joy and laughter as well as sorrow can be expressed and most importantly, where healing can occur. A home like Bette’s reflects the spirit of a woman who has chosen to embrace all of life to the fullest and move through her transition with grace and courage.