Saturday, June 08, 2013

Slipping Away

Anyone that has sat with an elderly parent and watched them slowly slip away will be touched by the photograph and story above...

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Once in awhile, purely by chance, I will see an older man or woman who remind me of my father or mother.

This past week, it happened again.  Bill and I stopped at our local for drinks after work.  We were chatting and I looked up to see a woman about my Mom's age eating at a booth across the room.  It wasn't that she looked closely like my Mom (although she did, somewhat); it was more about her demeanor, how she glanced, and her eyes.  I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion I didn't realize was so close to the surface. I looked away immediately so as not to make eye contact, not to mention it was uncomfortable.  At this point it still hadn't dawned on me why it had hit me so hard.

My Mom (2001)
As  Bill and I continued to talk about our day, I would every-so-often look up towards the woman.  It eventually dawned on me where the emotion was coming from and why.  Another wave of emotion flooded my body and this time my eyes fought back tears. My internal dialogue went something like, "Mom, I wish so much you were here.  I miss you far more than I ever realized I would.  I remember you talking to me many times over the years about how you missed Grandpa, then later your own Mom, Grandma.  I thought I understood then.  I had no clue.  But I do now..."

I don't think missing my parents will ever go away.  But then, I don't want it to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gone one year

Mom has been gone one year Aug. 13th. In May we took her Cremains back to Bemidji, Minn. to bury them with my father. Been a long haul watching her mind deteriorate with dementia but have now come to the end of the road. Goodybye Mom, I love you. Delphine

Friday, May 08, 2009

Family Secrets

Three sisters paralyzed by family secrets.

In the midst of struggling to overcome her self-destructive behaviour, the youngest sister, Agnes, returns home determined to confront the past in a community built on avoiding it. Her quest sets in motion a chain of events that allows the sisters each in their own way to re-connect with the world and one another.

Set in post-industrial Cape Breton, Marion Bridge is a story of poignant humor and drama. A quiet but powerful story, I really identified on so many levels to all of the characters in one way or another...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I realized long ago that my mother, like it or not, has been the greatest influence on my life. My very first memories are of waking to her voice, of hearing her whistling in the early morning air. I struggled to climb to the edge of my bedroom window to see who made this wonderful sound; as my eyes peeked over the windowsill, I searched down the roofline and saw my mother moving along the clothesline, bright in the morning sun, the underwear and sheets blowing in the breeze. Her tunes - sometimes (what would come to be) a familiar hymn, sometimes an "Irish scat" - faded and resounded on the wind. I called out to her, and she would look up and say, “Well, good morning, Patricia Kaye!” I think back to those moments, and now they seem almost surreal, even though I know they happened.

I grew up in a village tucked away in northwestern Minnesota called St. Vincent. My house was the house my grandparents built, the same house my mother grew up in. At one time, my grandmother ran a maternity home in it; she, a strong-willed Irish woman, along with a Scot - a real-life Dr. Quinn named Dr. Ada Wallace - provided healthcare for women in the early part of this century. Out of this, my mother was given a strong sense of self and the value of hard work. The shelves of books in our home and my mother’s love of imagination and story instilled in me a lifelong love of
the same.

Yet, there’s always been a melancholy side to it all - call it the ‘other’ Curse of the Irish - but there’s always been a spirit of tension, of frustration, of anger. It’s as if we’ve all felt there’s more, or at least that there should be more, but we’re not quite able to get it, or do it, or get there...And because we’re not, we sometimes lash out at the very people we love the most. That very thing - that anger - that my mother and her mother before her, have passed down to me as a sort of legacy, I have in turn passed to my own daughter. The love between women in my family are simultaneously filled with affection and warmth, as well as an underlying

My mother, daughter of a woman on her own since age 13, gave me a strong sense of who I am, of who I can be - and part of that is the mystery of our anger, something none of us has quite figured out, but each has come to make her peace with in her own way. It has been the great motivator in my life, this imperfection we share, this humanity...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Mom was in hospice the last months of her life. It made a great deal of difference to her quality of life, and it was such a blessing to see her more calm and out of pain. After she passed away, I told people who asked to please give to the hospice...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Passing of an Era

My dear aunt, Aunt Pat, has died.

I deeply loved Aunt Pat and Uncle John, having spent many a weekend with them either in St. Vincent or Bemidji, and later on a bit in New Mexico. My memories will always be of a smart, capable, FUN lady who was warm and loving in her own unique way. She was an inspiration to me of living life to the fullest - friends and good times - what else is there?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sex and the Older Adult

Why are nursing-home administrators so queasy about sexual expression? They're afraid of getting sued. An estimated 50 percent of elderly residents suffer from some degree of Alzheimer's disease or dementia, which, depending on its severity, can make them confused, forgetful, or unaware of their own behavior. Even in the best cases, many of these patients may not be able to provide clear consent to a sexual advance.

So what happens when one of these patients with dementia starts sleeping around? According to federal law, nursing-home residents are guaranteed some small degree of privacy, as well as the right to "psychosocial well-being"—which can be taken to include free sexual expression. The administrator must balance these rights with the possibility that the patient isn't able to consent to sex at all, and that his every encounter amounts to an elder version of gray rape.

How can doctors make it easier for their patients to have safe, fulfilling sex in their twilight years? To begin with, they might allow sex between two seemingly willing residents with dementia, in the same way that "age gap" laws allow for consensual sex between age-matched teenagers. Nursing homes might also consider formal exceptions to the consent rules for spouses or long-term partners. Perhaps the safest solution would be to encourage residents to designate a "sexual guardian" in advance of their cognitive decline. That person—whether a spouse, a friend, or a close relative—could serve as the elder-sex cop, or elder-sex partner, for their loved one.

- From Naughty Nursing Homes: Is it time to let the elderly have more sex? by By Daniel Engber

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Harriet, Second from the Right

Serving at a friend's wedding reception; her sister Clara is on the left...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fuzzy Wuzzy

My Mom taught me what I thought was a tongue twister, but now I learn is not...well, it IS tough to say fast, but there's more to it than that!
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very
Fuzzy, was he?