Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas!

A special blend of new and old traditions.  For years we gathered at my brother's home after the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, a change from years at my mom's once my brother became our Pastor and lived next door to the church!  It's been a year of good-byes, first my brother moving, then my Dad passing away in November and my Mom in June.  I didn't think we were going to do any big gathering but the babyMomma looked quite unhappy at the idea....so my heart melted and I opened my home.  BabyMomma made a festive and adorable birthday cake to celebrate and remember her Christmas Eve baby, Charlie, who left us at the age of 2 + in 2014.  So, on what would have been his 5th birthday we got to light some candles and sing with family and had the joy of watching two 2nd cousins and his little sister blow out candles.

Grateful for this precious gift who has helped us refocus and find JOY through all the goodbyes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I drove by my family home one last time today.  A dear friend showed up and encouraged me to walk through the house as a final goodbye.  I wanted so badly for my daughter and grandbabygirl to walk through as well but I'm not sure my daughter can handle the pain of another goodbye.  The closing on the house is tomorrow.  
This is a beautiful blue hydrangea, a Mother's Day gift from my daughter to my mother.  I didn't dig it up but I captured a picture and cut two blossoms one for me and one for my girl.   How I miss my mom...and now a home that will live on providing years of memories for a new family. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Waiting is Excruciating

This waiting seems endless while at the same time it is speeding along at far too quickly.  I can't seem to wrap my head around God's timing, yet I have to trust that it IS God's timing and He is God.....loving, kind, good.  While my Dad was in a nursing home, one brother had open heart surgery and then retired and moved far away.  My sister's husband underwent knee replacement surgery, followed by chemo and radiation for esophageal cancer, followed by open heart surgery, followed by radical surgery for his cancer.......his ordeal was from April through November, with recovery that has left him quite frail.  These three men were my mom's rocks.   After my brother moved in September, my mom just plunged into grief and depression.  We were trying to do our best for her, bringing her to my home during the days, spending nights with her at her home.  We were making headway and she was finding a new routine when my Dad passed away .... on my granddaughter's first birthday.  The months since have seemed like a blur.

Fast forward to April 25th, my Dad's birthday.  We chose that day to move my mom into a beautiful, handicapped accessible living space my sister and her husband created for her.  The day before the move she was so teary, but the day of the move she had made up her mind that she would make the best of it.  Such a beautiful, homey space.  An apartment so if she felt like cooking, she could.  Friends and relatives could visit in her own space.....so much better than just a room.  This was to be the summer of fun.   Finally being able to take her to the ocean for a few days, or off to Newfound Lake to see great grandchildren!   Mother's Day we had a Sunday dinner like the old days but in my sister's dining room.  Wednesday, May 11th she went by ambulance to the hospital.  Her congestive heart failure was getting the best of her, they said.  We were expecting a hospital stay of two weeks to get her fluid under control, but instead they sent her home Sunday morning the 15th!  Monday the 16th, the visiting nurse sent her back to the hospital by ambulance.  Ballet dress rehearsal day of all days.   I met my sister in the ER and we stood by mom's bed while she retched for hours and clutched her chest....and was given nothing until 4:30 when they finally gave her something to stop the retching.  Four hours her body worked so hard.  Painful to watch and so frustrating.  She was stabilized and admitted.  Tuesday morning, she was up and washed and sitting in her chair talking with the dietitian about lunch.  Doctors had already made their rounds.  Someone came by her room and she was crashing, another heart attack.   She was raced off to ICU.  My sister arrived with the newspaper and things from home for her room and arrived to find an empty room while overhearing the nurses being asked if the daughter had been reached yet.  Momentary panic.  There was only one noninvasive option available, but my mom being claustrophobic tried for a few minutes then said she was all done.  Family was called.  I was out doing recital errands with my daughter and grandbaby.  For that I will be forever grateful, because my daughter made the decision to ride with me to the hospital.  When my Dad was slipping away, my husband told our daughter not to come, in an effort to protect her since she has experienced so much loss.  This time, the decision was in her hands and I am so grateful she came. There we were, five women representing four generations from 18 months to 90.  It was a sweet time of saying goodbye, my mom trying to remind us of some things she would like different ones to have.  My daughter and I distraught that we would be losing mom so close to Amber's anniversary, a pain too great.

My daughter left for work.  My mom's sister and her daughter came but mom was nonresponsive for that visit.  Son-in-laws, then a son and his wife, two grandsons and a dear friend came and left.  Our new interim pastor and a deacon came and apparently mom opened her eyes and mustered her where-withal for the visit.  I was called from the waiting room to lead us in "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" because I'm "the pianist"....not that there is a piano in ICU!!  We got through the first verse, then mom looked at me for the second verse and I blanked.  She shot me the MOM GLARE and with a voice of disappointment said, "Wait till I tell your father you didn't know his favorite hymn."  (I thought we might get kicked out of ICU for the laughter that ensued)  Shortly after that, she was back to sleep or somewhere.  Another son and his wife arrived from an aborted business trip to Nashville, scrambling to make travel arrangements, driving to the hospital from the airport and arriving about midnight.  My mom's eyes opened and she gabbed and gabbed till 2:30 am!  We decided the immediate crisis had passed and so two brothers went to my mom's house, and my sister and I tried to sleep in the waiting room.  On Thursday she was sent home on hospice.

For about two weeks, she was doing so much better and we were beginning to wish we had taken her off all her medications years ago!  Her numbers were great and she looked comfortable, although her legs were getting huge from the fluid.  Lots of visitors in such a beautiful space.
 Last week she was sleeping more and more and no longer eating much of anything.  This week is just almost unbearable.  If we put one of her greatgrandbabies in her lap, she is instantly connected and all there.
What a heart she has had for taking care of children her entire life.  We think she is waiting for my warrior son to get home.  He is due in this afternoon.  She asks for him often, but this weekend began asking everyone who comes in if he is home yet.  On Monday, in her eyes closed almost delirium, she was saying that she needed her hair done for his party.  On Tuesday, she was working on "organizing it better" and making cookies.  Yesterday, she wasn't gabby at all.

 My son is due hone late this afternoon, and the waiting is horrendous.  I want him here so he can hold her hand, give her a hug, say goodbye.  I don't want him to come home yet because I am not ready to say goodbye.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring ~ Brief Report

Last week was the kind of weather the entire month of May should be, in my opinion.  Cool and damp.  The greens were VIBRANT and best of all NO May Flies.....or black flies.  This week we are plunged into summer temps and the black flies are out in full force.  On the plus side, we burn extra calories waving our arms in constant motion.

Sadly, I have no pictures for this post as I haven't quite figured out how to upload/download (?) pictures onto my new laptop.  Two young squirrels emerged from the nest at the edge of my yard just in time for mother's day.  The icing on the cake for such a splendid week last week was the Wood Thrush song.

My mom has been moved to my sister's so now the work continues to put the family home on the market.  We were there yesterday cleaning out some kitchen cabinets.  My granddaughter and I spend every Monday morning with my mom.  "Zoe was just getting tall enough to look out the windows.  Neither she nor I can look out the windows at my new place."  Mom is having such a hard time and does her best to pretend she is happy.  Every now and then she lets a comment like this slip out.  My mom can see out the windows in her new place it is just a different view.
Since this photo was taken, she had grown a bit and could just see over the windowsill standing on tiptoe.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Playing Catch Up!!

September through December 2015 has just been crazy, busy, exhausting, and surreal.  September began with my oldest brother and his wife retiring after 18 years as Pastor of our church and moving to North Carolina. None of us realized how much mom relied on him.  My sister's husband, who would be my mom's next level of support, has spent the fall in and out of the hospital with cardiac bypass surgery followed by surgery for esophageal cancer.  My dad died on my granddaughter's first birthday, November 29th.  He went to the hospital the morning she was born, no longer able to support himself on his legs.  From the hospital to rehab, to remain there as a long term care resident.  The last month of his life he had been moved to a facility closer by, so my mom and I were able to see him every day instead of every other day.
My parents on their 68th wedding anniversary Sept 2015

I would have fainted, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!”  Psalm 27:13,14

I was reminded of these verses today in a blog post .  Through the circumstances of my dad's death, I do see the Lord's goodness.  Two grandsons who work out of the country were both home.  He died on a Sunday morning, with all but one of his five children in his room having coffee, weeping, sharing stories, singing, holding my mom close.  Three of his seven grandsons and one of their wives (a nurse) were also able to be there.  Six of his grandsons, one son-in-law, and a grandson-in-law shared a pride in military service with my dad who was a veteran of WWII.  Seven of them paid a special tribute to him.  The three currently serving placed their covers on his casket and the four no longer serving placed theirs on a table at his feet.  They stood on the platform while the oldest grandson, a Naval Officer, read a poem "The Watch" tweaked a bit to fit my dad.  The last line I believe was "Call the piper.  My grandfather stands relieved."  We had hired a bagpiper as my dad loved all things Scottish.  He heard that line and thought it was his cue to play, so he marched to the front of the church playing "Amazing Grace" while it took every ounce of strength for the young men on the platform to try to maintain composure.  While it wasn't planned quite that way, it was so fitting and so moving.  My dad would have needed his hanky.