Monday, July 28, 2003

My mother's sister, my Aunt Pat, recently had a stroke. It has brought our family closer together, that is, the cousins. Aunt Pat's daughter, Delphine, and her daughter Deanna, are both emailing and chatting with my sisters and myself now, about our respective mothers and the similarity of their lives. Aunt Pat is 9 years older and definitely more infirm both physically and mentally, but our mother isn't far behind her. Part of Mom's situation is desire to live - she could be both physically and mentally healthier, but has chosen not to make that a priority...but that is probably a very poor choice of words. I don't think it's as easy as that. Grief is so powerful.

These are some thoughts between cousins...:

From: "Del and Lee"
To: "Trish Lewis"
Subject: Aunt Pat
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003

I don`t know why our mothers had to get this way. I truly hope it doesn`t happen to me if I live to be their ages.

Mom will not use or can`t remember or comprehend to use her call light when she needs to get up & fell 3 times this week trying to go to the bathroom herself. Also having a little trouble with Bill as Mom begs him to take her home & he seems to want to try. He called me all in a panic Sat. & told me I had to get down to the home right away as Mom was all dressed & had her shoes on & she was going home. I said well can she walk & he said no she`s in the wheelchair, I said well then how can she go home & he said I don`t know but she says she is. I knew she would get upset if I tried to talk to her so I called the home back & talked to the nurse. She chuckled & said I`ll go see what`s going on. Called a while later & got a man & he said Oh everything is fine she`s sitting in her wheelchair watching T.V.

I having something I guess You`d say it`s funny or maybe just sad. 3 weeks after your father passed I was with Mom & she was all excited because she said Harriet had called her & she had a boyfriend & they were moving back here as her boyfriend had never been out of Minn. & wanted to see N.M. Said Harriet told her boyfriend she had a home here & all furnished. I told Mom Uncle Gordon has aonly been gone 3 weeks I can`t believe Aunt Harriet has boyfriend already that she know well enuff to move with. But Mom was adament that it was true & talked about it for weeks & kept
wondering when they would get here & told all Your Mom`s friends who asked about Harriet about it.

Love Del

You did exactly what we would have done - we've learned through experience that there's no sense in getting excited anymore because half the time it's not what you think. You check up on things, keep yourself in the loop, love them as they are, and then let go of it. You appreciate the moments you get, because that's all that's left. Sometimes it's too much, and when it is, you have a cry and you go on. At other times, you're with them and they're just like they used to be and it's a blessing from God.

Personally, I plan on becoming a crazy old lady with lots of cats...Oops, that's me already (except for the cats...!)

P.S.: About Mom and a boyfriend, and moving back to NM...I think I just might believe Mom told your Mom that...she was a bit overzealous in the romantic department for a bit, craving affection as it were. We even got complaints (lovingly given, bless the staff) about some male residents complaining of Mom just popping into their rooms, or being a little
over-friendly. I didn't know whether to be shocked or laugh out loud. I took it seriously, but understood how that could happen. The facility's staff also understood, and we took it a day at a time, and eventually it passed (although I did notice Mom try to give a friendly kiss goodbye to a male resident as we left for the airport 4 weeks ago and he avoided her, saying he was shy...!) Dreams...that's all she had and has, about what could be, and what once was...

This is Betty from my work. Trish forwarded this onto me.

All we can do is encourage each other.

All I can say is: I hope I never get that way either.

As someone put it once; when your loved ones are this way, think of it as you are standing in a house looking out a window and once in a while that person you love passes by and you can see "each other". Those are the times like Trish said to cherish - "when they are passing by" the window.

Love always - Betty

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Honesty. This is a page where we sisters have been able to put done at random our feelings and thoughts about our parents - past, present and future. I write this tonight in honesty.

I wish I could feel the way Trish and Sharon does with and about Mom now. I find it very hard to be with Mom most of the time. I guess you might say it's more of a grieving feeling. I grieve for her; I grieve that she is not the way she used to be; I am angry that I can't do anything to help her - to make it better; guilt that I don't spend more time with her. My reality is: Mom left me 2 years ago when Dad died.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Mom has been gone nearly a month now, visiting Sharon in Chicago. While it's wonderful having a break, it's a two-edged sword. I also miss her very much.

I wish I could find more ways to stimulate conversation with Mom when she's here. I've felt at times as though I'm missing precious opportunities to connect with her, either not knowing what to say, or being distracted during our times together. It's frustrating, not knowing how to talk to someone you love so much.

Mom's very quiet compared to the way she used to be. There are moments when she comes alive, but overall, definitely more quiet. It's like she's drawing within more, and we are being left behind. I imagine a whole world of memories inside her that she floats along day and night, whether in sleep or lost in thought. Train whistles immediately cause her pain, reminding her of Dad. Like Job, she continues to have a struggle with God about his wisdom in taking Dad but not her.

There's a side to Mom I've seen more of,'s her ability to have fun, to laugh...I saw some of it growing up, but I was a kid then, and she was busy being a mother and wife. Now, while still being mother and daughter, we are also women, hanging out together. The dynamics have changed. Time pushes us sometimes very reluctantly forward, into the mystery of the future. We laugh together at it...