Thursday, October 24, 2002

Last night I went to visit Mom her and do her bills like I always do every Wednesday evening. Mom was just coming from the dining room after eating dinner.

After bills we chatted for 1.5 hours. It was really a great evening together, just small talk, not memories of family history or anything. Mom had me use her sewing machine to mend her housecoat sleeve that was halfway unsewn. We also cut off six inches that she was almost tripping on!

I set up her humidifier and got that going. Mom's outside window was open and was a devil to close, but we got that shut right (I noticed humidity on one window and discovered it that way...) I brushed her hair, her scalp being dry and therefore itchy. Her skin is definitely dry on the whole head, including her face. She uses the cow udder cream on her hands and face and swears by it, but she doesn't know what to do about the scalp situation. I'm going to see if there's something you can spray that can help, something easy to apply for her that won't mess up her hairset...

I can definitely see more of her old spirit coming back, and she told me she hopes she'll get more ambition and motivation back soon because inside she definitely WANTS to be doing handwork like crocheting, embroidering, and even some small sewing projects. She hates feeling unwell, and we all have great hopes her new medication for nausea will help her with that.

I think it may be quite possible that a few months from now, after being off of Zoloft, coming out of the initial grief, and having her dental work finished, she'll be doing even better.

For now, I'm looking forward to November 11th, when I'll be sitting down with Mom at my home to record her memories, taking photos of ourselves, eating good food, and drinking LOTS of tea!

Friday, October 18, 2002

My daughter Eva commented about my whistling post:
Grandma whistled quite a bit on her trip here. She even sang some songs to Mu'min. I think he really cheered her up. It was nice to see her happy when she played with him. Sometimes its hard seeing her so upset all the time about Grandpa.
My sister Betty also shared, "You know when Mom has been out here on Saturday/Sunday's; I have heard her whistle. You should try to get her on tape when you are doing those recordings!!!!"


On my way to work this morning, I heard Leon Redbone's band doing "The Whistling Generals". Now there's a man who knows how to whistle beautifully. It puts a smile on your face and lightens the heart.

Why don't people whistle anymore? As Stuart Butler says in his poem, "Whistling", maybe it's because
"...Today there is less silence to break,
Less listless boredom to shake,
With Muzak attacking our heads
And radio alarms invading our beds..."
As long as I can remember, Mom has been a whistler. In fact, my earliest memories are of hearing my mother whistling. The tunes she whistled were sometimes borrowed, but as many times as not, they were made up on the fly as she went along. Her whistles were so strong and clear, you could hear them from some distance away.

I haven't heard Mom whistle for a long time. I hadn't thought about it until I heard that song this morning. I can only speculate as to why, but I think it's partly due to her grieving, and partly due to physical condition ... Sometimes it's like watching a clock running down. Just the other day she told me that she wants to crochet and embroider, still having the interest, but her motivation is just not there. She'll pick up a project, work on it a bit, then put it down. She glances at them, but the mood just isn't there.

I think if I was in her shoes, it would be very tough to feel motivated. Despite being in a facility where you can interact with others, there is still a lot of isolation that's difficult to get past. Every individual there has their own concerns, memories, and physical challenges to deal with. That takes a lot of emotional strength from a person, leaving them drained. Unless interaction comes to them in the form of caring friends and family, it's all too easy to fall into patterns of complacency, or even despondency.

Mom enjoys talking on the phone, and in person, just chatting about everyday things, or how she feels, or how others are. She calls each of my sisters and I regularly, and we talk. None of us probably feels we give her enough time. It's a tough balance. I don't want to someday look back and wish I had given more of my time. Mom is with us now.