Saturday, December 17, 2005


Eva came to visit in November around the Veterans' Day holiday. One of the things we did that weekend was visit Mom. Eva, Daniel, and I lived with Mom and Dad for a year and a half from early 1985 to the fall of 1986. Eva was in first grade at Humboldt school for the one school year. During that time, my kids and my parents really bonded. There was something special between them ever after. Mom lights up when she sees Eva, even to this day despite her brain being a bit fuzzier than it used to be. Mom also got to visit Eva a couple of times in Nashville, the last time when Mu'min was born. She thought Mu'min was such a sweetie. It's always wonderful to be there to see them visit with one another...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's really strange how a person can notice coincidences (or whatever word it is that would describe this...) about the most mundane things, and you really wonder if it matters or if you're just making something out of nothing, but...

I've been reading a book lately called "Charlotte", about the acclaimed actress Charlotte Charke ne Cibber, an 18th century London actress of certain renown. During a period of her career, she worked with Henry Fielding, who at that time was writing many satiric plays, many of which she starred in. Fielding later went on to write "Tom Jones", of which there is a character I discovered today, when Googling my mother's name, named Harriet Fitzpatrick. Harriet is my mother's first or Christian name. Fitzpatrick was her maiden surname.

I found it a bit strange to find out that while reading this book at this moment, and also thinking about my mother and the holidays coming up, that I find out her namesake is a character created by a real-life character in the very book I am reading.

Strange, indeed.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


She knew that he was not willing to fork over $20,000 for her education and she didn't ask, afterall, he had given her a good life. He had bought her a nice house only 8 miles from the beach. She had nice things even if she didn't have independence, her smile faded and she steeled herself, stomping out the hope that had been there and biting back tears of sadness and rage. She saw, flashing before her mind, another 20 years of washing dishes, ironing clothes and cleaning hash marks out of toilets. She bit back the tears, steadied her hand and replied, "Yes honey, that might be nice"
An amazing story about another mother, as told by the daughter; the end has yet to be written.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Pink Peppermints

'Uncle Mark Miller' brought me from the station with his ancient buggy and what he calls his 'generous purpose' horse. He is a nice old man and gave me a handful of pink peppermints. Peppermints always seem to me such a religious sort of candy -- I suppose because when I was a little girl Grandmother Gordon always gave them to me in church. Once I asked, referring to the smell of peppermints, 'Is that the odor of sanctity?' I didn't like to eat Uncle Mark's peppermints because he just fished them loose out of his pocket, and had to pick some rusty nails and other things from among them before he gave them to me. But I wouldn't hurt his dear old feelings for anything, so I carefully sowed them along the road at intervals. When the last one was gone, Uncle Mark said, a little rebukingly, 'Ye shouldn't a'et all them candies to onct, Miss Phil. You'll likely have the stummick-ache.'
- from Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of the Island

The 'pink peppermint', or the English mint as it's sometimes called, is actually flavored with wintergreen. It was a favorite of mine and it seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth now.

I will forever associate them with my Grandpa Fitzpatrick (Mom's father, who she dearly loved...), and how he fed them to me...along with whisker rubs and sloppy kisses, calling me his 'little girl'...
"I'm so tired of gray worsted and sensible things. Of course I can't have a tree, an' I don't suppose I really want it; but I'd like somethin' all pretty an' sparkly an'--an' silly, you know. An' there's another thing I want--ice cream. An' I want to make myself sick eatin' it, too,--if I want to; an' I want little pink-an'-white sugar pep'mints hung in bags. Samuel, can't you see how pretty a bag o' pink pep'mints 'd be on that green tree? An'--dearie me!" broke off the little old woman breathlessly, falling back in her chair.

Ella was the first to speak. "It's too bad, of course, but never mind. Mother'll see the joke of it just as we do. You know she never seems to care what we give her. Old people don't have many wants, I fancy."

Frank stirred suddenly and walked the length of the room. Then he wheeled about.

"Do you know," he said, a little unsteadily, "I believe that's a mistake?"

"A mistake? What's a mistake?"

"The notion that old people don't have any--wants. See here. They're having a party down there--a party, and they must have got it up themselves. Such being the case, of course they had what they wanted for entertainment--and they aren't drinking tea or knitting socks. They're dancing jigs and eating pink peppermints and ice cream! Their eyes are like stars, and Mother's cheeks are like a girl's; and if you think I'm going to offer those spry young things a brown neckerchief and a pair of bed-slippers you're much mistaken--because I'm not!"
- From Eleanor H. Porter's When Father & Mother Rebelled

I found this link today on a Canadian site I will try. I am abound and determined to track them down...

I like that last quote quite a bit. I have always firmly believed that just because our bodies get infirm doesn't mean we suddenly don't want or need to have fun or have love. I plan on getting up to mischief as much as possible the older I get!

Saturday, September 03, 2005


My mothers teeth have been breaking off. I took her to the dentist here in town. He says she needs 5 teeth pulled one of which her partial attaches to so she would lose the use of that too. Plus she has multiple cavities. He won't pull them but wants me to take her all the way to Albuquerque 151 miles away and have her put to sleep by an oral surgeon to pull them. Then after that is done and she is given a month or so to heal he will "try" to fix the cavities and then says she will need a new lower partial and and upper partial. She has multiple health problems. On lots of medication one of which is a blood thinner plus she is often incontinent. How can they expect me to take her that far away have 5 teeth pulled and try to get her back home. She has severe dementia and and anesthesia really affects her mind bad. It is such a tough call. She is having no pain from the broken teeth but they sure could start to ache that's for sure. She absolutely says she does not want to go to Alb. and have teeth pulled when they are not bothering her but in the next minute she tells me she needs to get them fixed. When I tell her what needs to be done she says no then again 5 min. later tells me about her broken teeth.


I take my mother to the beauty shop every Thurs. then we go out ot eat afterwards. She is doing quite well for a woman of 93. But I notice her getting weaker as time goes on. I am still able to hold onto her as we walk into the beauty shop and then into the restaurant but her knees are getting quite weak so I don't think it will be long before I will have to go from each place by putting her in the wheel chair.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Weekly Visit

July 26th, 2005
Trish and I had our regular visit with Mom. She was dressed, hair nicely done and good spirits. We had a wonderful visit. I also took pictures to have of both Trish and I with Mom also.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


My Mom is 93 today. dh was 71 yesterday so I made a nice dinner and I got Mom out of the nursing home and brought her out here and we had dinner. I baked and decorated a cake for her and my husbasnd and after we ate we all went to the Moose Club and I brought the cake along and we served birthday cake to about 40 people. They both enjoyed their birthday very much. Mom ate 4 pieces of cake.

Friday, June 24, 2005

An Old Man & His Mouse

A story, about an old man, and his mouse...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


PBS will be showing this month a program called "Thou Shalt Honor". They have shown it before, but are repeating it plus having a national town hall meeting on the subject of our elders, because it's the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Older Americans Act.

MY Mother

doesn't seem possible but Mom will soon be 93 in just 3 weeks. My brother always told her she would live to be 100. I wonder if she will make it and what her mind will be like if she does. She has so little memory now what would another 7 years bring?

I never thought she would be this long in a nursing home as she was pretty bad after the stroke and the reason she was transferred to the nursing home from the hospital. But she snapped out of the stroke just fine physically but took even more of her memory. She sure can remember certain things in the past though but not a whole lot even then. She remembers her dogs and asks about them every time we are together I haven't the heart to tell her they are both gone. I don't even know myself if homes were found for them or if they were put to sleep as I took them to the animal shelter. I keep telling her they are in a good home but getting very old and may soon die, I hate lying to her that I know how they are doing and all but she takes things so hard and makes such a fuss about stuff it is easier to tell little white lies than to tell her the full truth and have her go off into a rage again.

I don't even dare to see her too often as If I go get her more that once a week she starts to get the idea that she can go home again. Seems to accept the nursing home just fine as long as she isn't taken out too often. But take her out a couple times in a week and right away she starts in on when she goes home or that she is going to go home as noone takes care of her there anyhow so she might as well be home taking care of herself. She also gets ornery with the nurses and such in the nursing home. So it works out best to just go see her once a week.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


My mother, Alberta, seems to be very depressed the past Month or so. She has been in the nursing home some 2 years now but for some reason she is now starting to miss her old life and her things. It doesn't help that she has somehow lost her cane the only "possession" she was really left with since being there. It is a plain wooden cane and I wrote her name in black marker on it. Several times she has left it somewhere but always got it back. However it has now been missing since last Fri. the 3rd of June. It was a cane that had belonged to her mother and she really cherished it. She kept it in her bed with her and said she clung to it at night as it was like holding her mothers hand. Now it is gone. I talked to everyone I saw at the nursing home and asked them to please try to find it for her. It is so frustrating as you have to literally strip them of all possessions when in the nursing home because of thievery, so they have so little, then for someone to "steal" or "misplace" her cane the one and only thing she had to cling to is so hurting. I can only hope someone is consciencious enough to try find it and return it to her. I even checked to see if she had been taken somewhere by the staff like to a Dr. appt. when I was gone or something thinking she left it there but was told no they have not taken her anywhere so it has to be in the nursing home somewhere.

She is very unhappy right now and I don't know what to do. She is missing her dogs and her home and all her possessions. But no way can she go back home to live with her memory as it is.

It has to be very hard for her as she is use to being independent and coming and going at will. However the going was OK it was coming back home that was the problem as over and over she would take off and go to the club or the cafe and get there just fine but then she could not find her way back home. It is all so sad. But she did live at home and continue to drive til she was 91 so she did have a long ,good, independent life.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bringing Death Back Home

Even as we face our mothers' mortalities, we face our own.

I was reading about the home funerals movement tonight, and it made me think about how ever since my Dad passed away, and I was involved in helping with his 'arrangements' for the funeral, it has made me rethink everything I ever assumed about the end of life and how it is handled. I've spent a good deal of time researching what the laws are on how bodies can be handled, what are the legal methods of disposal of a body, and what rights I have as an individual to have a say in how my body is disposed of when I die.

I've taken steps to have my body used, then disposed of, in what I feel is the best way possible. I want to share anything useful of my former 'house' before it rots and is no more, by donating anything that can be reused for others whether that is an organ or tissue or whatever. I want to spare unnecessary and wasteful expense by having my body either donated for a medical student to dissect, or if nothing else, cremated. Now, after reading the article on home funerals, I'm thinking how nice it would be if people had a chance to really meet and say goodbye to me, to have a chance to heal, to be 'up close and personal' with my old body, macabre as you might think that sounds.

Personally, I find it comforting to have the chance to be near someone I love after they leave their body. I watched as my own father died, the life going out of his body even before the last breath was drawn, and I could easily see he was long gone, to where, no one knows, because once you are 'there', you don't come back to tell anyone. Anyone that says otherwise is just guessing, don't let them fool you. Some hope for the best, prepare for the worst, while others ignore it. Whatever you believe, it's just that - a belief, and not a fact. Time will definitely tell...

Saturday, May 14, 2005

a nice week

Had a nice week with my Mother. Sunday being Mothers day My husband and I went and got Mom out of the nursing home and he took us out to eat. We had a good time together.
Tues I always go get Mom and we go to the beauty shop. Got our hair done then went and picked up a friend and the 3 of us went out to lunch.
We were at the moose club Wed. evening and my son Daryl comes in with Mom to share a couple beers so visited with her again.
Last night they served supper at the Moose so we again went and got Mom and took her to dinner at the Moose Club. So we had a good week. As a rule I only go to see Mom once a week on our Hair day Tues. But saw her 4 times this week. It seems if I go too often she starts to get the bug that she wants to go home again. So why I cut down to only seeing her once a week.
Had another hygiene issue though one of which I posted here about a year ago so won't go into that but anyhow Sun. Mom had on some beige slacks. Tues. she had the same slacks on which are now getting food stained as she spills a lot. Wed. when my son took her out, same beige slacks more soiled. So I called Fri. and told my son who works at the home that I wanted to tell them, I wanted Mom clean when I came to get her. I get there at 4:30 to take Mom out and the same , now filthy, beige slacks on. So I marched right out to the nurses station and told them she has had the same dirty slacks on all week. We changed her then and they all say they had no idea. I guess they can't see. All said noone told them etc. etc. I talked to my son again and he said he put a big note at the station telling them to be sure she was clean as I was coming to get her. So I guess none of them can read either. But I bet they will get on it now, for a while anyhow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mom's Pacemaker

Took Mom (Alberta) to the Dr. today. Her pacemaker test was good. Heart beating good and lungs clear. Said she was really doing good for a lady of 92.
Trish and Betty, I read the letter to her that you posted from your mother to mine in OUR MOTHER. She got a kick out of it. But as soon as I read it she asked me who the letter was from. Even though I told her I have a letter from Harriet and the letter ended--- Love you, Harriet Mom asked who was that from?? I don't think she even remembered half of what was said in the letter as I asked her why did you keep moving the Wardrobe. She said Wardrobe??? I don't know. Anyhow she is doing good Physically wise.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

How strange

I just read the latest blog on Aunt Harriet. How odd that she just had 2 teeth pulled in March and my Mom (your Aunt Pat) also had 2 teeth pulled in March. She had 2 absesses so had to go on antibiotics to get rid of infection prior to having them pulled. She is on blood thinner since she did have a mild stroke a while back so I was quite concerned about bleeding. But she came through it just fine. However by the time she got in to have them pulled it had been 3 weeks since her tooth aches so she had no memory of having had toothache pain, thus she was sure they had made a mistake and took the wrong person down to have their teeth pulled. I am just glad that she had no severe bleeding problem but she had this done on a Thurs. and the next week when I went ot get her Tues. to go to the hairdresser I did notice there was still a little blood mixed where she had apparently drooled on the sheet some.

Right after she had her teeth pulled after several months now of no more calls about her falling she had another fall. She was falling quite frequently but they put her in a restorative program where they were walking her more so she was doing very well. I do believe this fall can be attrributed to the antibiotics and pain meds as meds do hit her very hard and always have.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Thoughts about Mom

I went to visit Mom before leaving for Iowa to visit Britton over Easter weekend on March 23rd.
She had just had two teeth pulled that morning and was in pain. But handling it well. We had a good visit. She was laying in bed but dressed. Her hair looked nice.
The nurses call me about every week now - did tonight - that she has fallen. They have started using a wheelchair some today. When she fell today it was while she was using her walker.
She is still sleeping alot and only getting about one meal a day. But, she is maintaining her weight.
As I told Sharon and Trish; I thank God and feel blessed that she still knows us. That is a big thing.
I took her a picture of Oscar and Edna's 57th Anniversary that their children had for them.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Mom and I have often talked about death. We've talked about the process, the event itself, and what happens afterwards. We both feel the same way, that is, we both admit we do not know what happens. We can have hopes, beliefs, even faith of what will happen, but we do not know. Both of us are also not scared of death, but don't like the thought of a possible painful path up to it. We both hope for either an easy path, a quick path, or the strength to see whatever through...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Same here

Delphine, we've had the same thing happen with Aunt Harriet, our Mom. I've had many close calls, near misses, sorta misses, and all out misses and horrific messes! It definitely makes it nearly impossible to take someone out who is that incontinent. When a person gets so physically weak that they are entirely dependent on you to lift them, clean them, etc., you need to have more than person, or a mechanical lift, or at the very least training and a back brace. We are not doing our mothers or ourselves any favors by pretending we can continue life as we've known it. Things are not only changing, they HAVE changed. It's hard to face, but it's the truth...

About Mom

My first cousin from Wis. was here for a visit. Wanted to see my Mother. We went and picked Mom up at the nursing home. She was asleep as she usually is these days. We woke her up and took her with us to the Club. Had a really good time and a good visit. However Mom had a "bad" accident while we were there and no sensation or idea at all that it had happened. So we had to get her back to the home. I got 2 aides in to clean her up and put her to bed. When these things happen I get afraid to take her out anymore. I have wanted to take her to Las Cruces 75 miles away to get new shoes but I won't be doing that now. She walks very little so I guess it isn't really necessary. What would I do if this would happen in my car. I do take her out once a week to get her hair done and she will be getting a perm nest week. But if many more of this sort of incident and I will no longer be able to do that either. I wonder how things like this can happen and they have no sensation of feeling it??

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Betty emailed Sharon and I today...
Written by me in 3rd person for Mom:

I called Betty last night at 5:30 and told her to come and pick me up. She asked me why. Told her I wanted to get the hell out of here. They are trying to tell me to wear these diapers. I don't have a bladder problem. And they want me to drink this medicine stuff and I won't be experimented on.

She told me they were eating supper and would come later.

I waited...but she didn't come.

I have no one. This is no way to live.

Why does God let me keep living?

I want to just sleep away - let me sleep away, Lord...please.
Betty went on to say that "I called the nurse's station last night; she did not eat breakfast, only the desert for dinner, no supper. Her meds? She is suppose to have 3 of the serqoul a day. They got 2 in her on Sunday, 2 in her on Monday and none in her on Tuesday.

"Why Lord - I ask myself the same question? Why..."

I responded, saying...
It is most definitely becoming painful to see Mom this way. She is very sad inside, and it's finally coming out more and more to the outside. It's like visiting a ghost when we see her on our bi-weekly visits...

Update on my Mom Alberta (Pat) Smith

The last post on my Mom was in regards to how much better she is doing since having a pacemaker implanted.

Well the latest thing now is consistant bloody noses. She is on a blood thinner called Plavix due to strokes (preventing them that is) Well Thurs Feb. 17 at 2:30 AM the SHCC called and were taking Mom to emergency as she had a bloody nose they couldn't get stopped. So we got up and dressed and met her at the hosp. Dr. had packed her nose but the blood still poured thru the pack and down her face. She had just been taken to Las Cruces to a ear/nose/throat/ Dr. Feb. 8 and he cauterized a blood vessel in her nose. Well they had to cauterize yet another. They took her off Plavix the first time for 7 days but was only back on it 2 days when this bloody nose occured so took her off again for 5 days this time. So today she will go back on it. So I anticipate another bloody nose.

I take Mom ut to the beauty shop every Tues. They know that and always have her up showered and dressed ready to go. Last Tues I get to the home and Mom is still in bed in her nightgown and sound alseep. So I seft her sleeping and went alone. So this Tues. I called them at 7 and told them I wanted her up and ready. Well she was dressed but not showered and when I went to get her her she said ''Oh Ya take me out of here they are coming to give me a shower and I don't want one.'' I said well they were to have that all done so we could go but we are going anyhow. She was very weak and not feeling good. Said she was very nauseous. Asked her if she still wanted to go and she did. While in the hairdressers she then complained that her hip was hurting just terrible. She walked into the hairdressers with me but I had quite a time getting her back to the car as her leg kept collapsing. On the way to the cafe she then complained of a severe headache. But We went to eat after anyhow, but she wanted soup. Here they are big on green chili soups which Mom can't eat so I went to 4 cafe's before I found one that had potato bacon soup (no chili). She ate most of it but was going down hill as the morning went on. We did manage to walk into the cafe but after eating Mom couldn't lift herself out of the booth. I went and got the wheel chair out of the car as I always bring it with me and fortunately the little waiter we had use to work at the nursing home so knew how to lift so he literally lifted Mom out of the booth and put her in the wheel chair. I took her back to SHCC and she wanted to go right back to bed so I helped her in bed covered her and kissed her goodbye. I went back in the evening to check on her and she was still laying as I had put her and still sleeping. I talked to my Son who works at the home and told him all this and he will check on her today when he gets to work.

WE have had a couple past friends die this last few months. One from Northome Minn. Long time friends of Mom and Dad. Stike Engleking died about 4 months ago. Another one from Bemidji, My age, Wendell Fricke died from a stroke about 6 weeks ago. I told Mom this at the time they happened. Every time I see Mom she says did Stike die or did I dream it and I tell her no you didn't dream it he did die. Then the same question about Wendell. Week after week the same question. Stikes daughter Cyritha was even here to visit for a few days as they travel to warmer climate in winter. She and I and Mom went out to eat together and Cy told Mom all about her Dad too. 2 days later when I saw Mom I was talking about our lunch together and Mom had no memory of it whatsoever. In talking Cy was beginning to think I was wrong as Mom visited so coherently and seemed so normal so Cy was wondering where I was coming from saying she had no memory. Cy was telling Mom about her Mom who has been in the nursing home for 5 yrs. now, and after Cy and I just getting Mom out of SHCC Mom sits there and says to Cy Well thank goodness that is one place I haven't had to go anyhow. So now Cyritha Knows what I am talking about. LOL Mom has been there almost 2 yrs. now.

Sorry this has been long but it has been a while since I posted.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Our visit on January 20,2005 and the call

Trish and I went to see Mom on January 20, 2005. As always, we never know what to expect as far as her mood. She was doing rather well that night. She had had a new perm and hair cut and looked very good. We all went to the lounge and visited for about 1 1/2 hours. We always bring her alittle bit of goodies and Trish brings any mail that came in her box. Her memory was fairly good that night. Last night Mom called me about 9 pm and wondered how many days ago Dad died. It seemed like only about 2 weeks to her but is now almost 4 years. We talked for about 1 hour and I listened. She could not remember anything and was very confused; but did not cry. Just talked alot of old times and things..........

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Mom on Christmas Day 2004 Posted by Hello

I have been behind on my writing lately and have decided to take a few moments to play catch up here. Bill, Taylor and I went to see Mom Christmas Day and she had just finished a shower. It was about 3 pm that afternoon. She was very weak that day. It was hard for her to make it to the bed and then I had to help her open her gifts. She looked, I thought, so bad that day. It literally broke my heart. What bothers me the most is her quality of life - her body is here; but she is "not". And I know the time is getting shorter. What a beautiful, strong, nuturing mother she was.............oh, the memories. The older I get the more I realize how wonderful she was.........and the love, oh the love - I love you Mommy.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Checking Out

Death passages are like childbirth. Everyone gets a "due date," and it's utter hogwash. When a woman begins to go into labor, she has no idea whether she's going to have a baby in an hour, or the next week. No one knows how it's going to take. However, in childbirth, the medical profession is allowed to intervene... they speed things up, they schedule cesareans, they don't let the mom or baby suffer if they can help it.

In death, perversely, the doctors let you suffer because their hands are tied. By ours law and by our guilt, by our ignorance and our religious hangovers, we are making suffering a pillar of terminal disease care.
Susie Bright, her own mother recently dieing, Susie Bright talks about one of our biggest disgraces in our country - how we are allowing those in pain and/or dying no alternatives but to what can only be labeled as a cruel, long, and painful death. And it will be our turn soon enough, so all of us should be rather concerned, don't you think?