Thursday, July 12, 2007

Going Along

Mom can't see real well anymore so often brings an empty fork to her mouth so isn't getting any food. So the past 4 days I have been going to the nursing home to feed her at lunch time so she at least gets one good meal.

Every day is a new experience. Yesterday it was about people in the past. We talked of her husbands. She had no memory of being married and asked me how many times had she been married. I told her 3. My Dad (John Beaudette), Howard Krouth, and Norman Smith. She then asked me which one had she married first. I told her my Dad John. I asked her if she had any memory of John at all and she said no I don't remember any of them I just remember a tall, thin, frail man.

Today we were "at" J.C. Penney's the whole 1 1/2 hrs I was with her. She was office manager at Penney's for 20 yrs. She told me today that tomorrow she had some work to do. I said Oh what is that. She said she had to fire one gal because she didn't trust her and she was going to have to start cleaning house and getting rid of a few people and she hated that job. I just said yes it is hard to have to fire people. She said the gal she had to fire was destitute and had advertised in the paper that she was starving so she felt sorry for her and hired her but guessed she would have to go back on welfare as she just didn't trust her. I have finally learned to just go along with anything she says now instead of trying to bring her back to reality. Every day she asks me if her Mom is alive and I do tell her no she is dead or else Mom would wonder why she never comes to see her. The other day she asked me about Johnny and I told her he had died of cancer and she said then, well no wonder he never comes to see me. She has no idea she is in the nursing home nor how long she has been there she thinks she is in the hospital healing up from a fall she had. It is so hard seeing my Mom like this and I often don't go see her for a week or more but am trying to go more to at least see that she eats.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Bad Day

Mom had a very bad day Thursday, July 5th. The nursing home called me as they couldn't calm her down. She insisted an operator had called her from Grand Forks and told her someone in the family was trying to get ahold of her as her brother had been in an accident and that she had been trying all day to call someone but they evidently had cut off her long distance service. I tried to tell her on the phone that her brother has been gone 53 years but she insisted he had been in an accident and she had to get ahold of someone to find out how bad it was. So I went to the nursing home and spent 3 hrs. with her trying to calm her and tell her there is no one left to call her as they have all passed away. But she insisted she had called her Mom several times that day.

When I convinced her, her brother John died 53 years ago of drowning her come back was "I wonder if Mom knows about it I better call her and tell her."

So had to tell her over and over that her Mom too was dead and she almost started to cry when I told her that. Then later in her room she saw her Mom laying beside her. It was a very rough day for her and for me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

St. Vincent Cemetery, Dad's grave, June 21, 2007 - Spreading Mom's ashesAs I promised Mom, I spread her ashes on Dad's grave (June 21, 2007); her footstone will be set by his, on her own lot - empty with no coffin, but then, neither of them are really there, are they? The stones and records are for us. They are free...

Soon it will be 6 years since Dad left us.

"If I could talk to Mom--A Wistful Conversation"

Oh, Mom, I miss you so much. I wish you were still here. But you really began leaving us years ago when you saw Dad fading away before your eyes. I miss your engagement with life. I always looked forward to calling you on the phone every weekend - checking in to see how you and Dad were doing, to share how I was doing, and to seek your ideas and thoughts on life.

I am so thankful for those weeks and months that you came to visit me after Dad died. But even then, you were longing to join him in heaven and less interested in living here on earth. The following song/poem expresses my feelings and says it so well:
by Hava Alberstein

And on Saturday morning there's no one to call.
To tell how the performance went.
And Dad doesn't ask: "Was there a crowd?"
And Mom doesn't say: "You sound tired!"
But when anyone writes anything bad about me.
I still tremble.
That Dad shouldn't hear it.
That Mom shouldn't read it.
I want to be a good girl.

And I don't go home on my way to the north.
And I don't stop there when I return.
And the porch from which they waved goodbye to me.
Is suspended like an empty crib.
But when anyone writes anything good about me,
I still hope.
That Dad already heard.
That Mom's so very proud.
I want to be a good girl.

I don't cry - I only yearn.

So many faces - so many ears.
But when we sing - we're always only singing to two.
And when the two disappear - We sing to the heavens.
Mom, I know you're happy now. You are with the Lord and you are with Gordon, the love of your life.

Your "good girl,"


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Harriet: Ephemera from a Life

Mom was an avid scribbler all her life. Notes, thoughts, lists, poems, doodles. She kept her hands busy whether it was work, playing solitaire, or gathering her busy mind down on paper.

The note here is one of many such notes she wrote in the last 6 years of her life after Dad died. It was her way of staying in touch with the love she had with him, the most important thing in her life. It was also a way of grieving, of coping with the loss. She wanted us to know, and that he would not be forgotten.

I put up a memory board with photos and cards, as well as ephemera she or Dad had written over the years, in her last living spaces. One of the items I discovered recently had faded so badly it couldn't be read. I took a black light to it, and was able to recover most of it, but some of the words are lost to time...
Gordon, I miss you so
You must know
Your loving hands
No more caress
No kiss thee dear (?)
Lord for the years, they
passed by so quickly
My love for you
Will never cease,
Your loving wife
Must find the peace
That passes all understanding...
Your Loving Wife, Harriet