Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saying Good-Bye to Mom's Angel

I wondered which one of us (me or my brother Corey) would post about Harold first.  I came up with most of these thoughts and typed them in by 1:00 am this morning - but only drafted it as I had no title.

Last year we (my sibs and I) put mom into an assisted living program as she was in need of 24/7 care.  This time last year she was trying to escape.  She wore her coat and carried her purse and would walk around the doors and windows of the facility – looking for a way out.  She wasn’t happy there – not all the time anyway.

By mid April, mom had accepted her new home and was reading everything she could get her hands on.  She didn’t retain anything.  But she did read.

I don’t think it was until May when she developed an attraction to Harold and soon the two became inseparable.  I find it interesting that Corey created this post on June 3.  Mom has a boyfriend.  And just one month later I created this post indicating that he was not.  Depending on her mood.

Actually, I don’t ever recall mom referring to Harold as her boyfriend.  That was more from our point of view.  It really depended on mom’s mood and the turn of events that took place each day.

Harold had known that mom was diabetic and was not supposed to have sugar.  And some days he’d scold her or strongly advice against satisfying her “sugar eating desire” Those were the days when she would not even acknowledge Harold as a friend.  He became “that guy” – an intrusive resident. 

Other days (I’m finding in most cases) mom was infatuated so much that she would rather remain in the company of Harold than to have to leave him in order to visit with one of us.  Corey lovingly wrote this post about feeling like “second fiddle” – but not really.  It did seem somewhat comical at times.

In the beginning, Harold was just “an old man – old enough to be mom’s father” or so she’d say.  I figured there were probably a good number of years between them – nothing that drastic however.  I had asked Harold his age and learned it was a twelve-year difference.  The same as with my sister and her husband.

By August mom was beaming while telling people about her friend, Harold.  In her mind they were only five years apart.  I find it interesting that her mind had gone from one extreme to another in only two months.  For each month she lived there, she fully believed it had been another year.

Harold was quite bent over.  For the most part when I saw him, he was wearing blue scrubs.  He was very positive and always wore a smile on his face.  He and my mom were so very happy to have one another.  Funny how they never sat together for meals.  Except for mealtime, rarely was one ever seen without the other.

On September first, after mom was found upon the floor and rushed to the hospital, the staff told Harold to get rid of all of his candy.  Harold blamed himself for mom’s condition.  But it wasn’t his fault.  A few fun-sized candy bars would not have made her blood count go that high.  Two truckloads of candy would probably not have made her blood sugar go that high.

We thought she would die in the hospital.  Harold had made arrangements for one of his sons to bring him to the hospital to see her.  He was all decked out in suit and tie.  He came in to visit with mom and held her hand and talked to her with his loving voice. 

Mom didn’t wish to die in the hospital.  She wanted to return to the assisted living.  She lay in her room in a hospital bed and Harold would come to visit – knowing she would pass.  He was ever so gentle with her.  He loved her. And she him.

When he wasn’t in her room, he would visit with Joh and tell him things about his relationship with my mom.  Joh said it was my mom’s desire for she and Harold to wed and maybe have a child together.  Harold had reminded her that they both had spouses already.

At the funeral he rushed to the casket for one last good-bye.  I had never seen Harold move so quickly.  It was also the straightest I had ever seen his posture.

After she died, Harold tried to return to living without her.  He wanted to smile and help with the residents the way he had before.  And he did . . . for a while.  But in time the smile faded.  He missed mom!  There was no doubt about it.

Corey would call him.  Kayla and I would visit on occasion.  Jenna and I would take the bus.  We may have stopped when we no longer had bus passes.  But I would write to him and call him and let him know we would come see him when the weather cleared.

I thought we could go during Jenna’s Valentine/Presidents Day holiday – unfortunately she got sick.  And I am currently with my annual February sinus infection.  I planned to call him when my head cleared.  I guess there’s no sense in calling.  His daughter-in-law called me and told me that Harold is now on hospice.  That is a good thing really. 

The last two times that Jenna and I did visit was heart breaking.  Harold seemed so bent to the floor that it appeared his head was nearly in alignment with his feet.  He was banged up in different places each time we would visit.  He had taken I don’t know how many spills.  He would walk us to the door but he had slowed down.  But he’s going to be whole again pretty soon.  And he will finally be able to meet dad.  He and mom can have a reunion and the two couples can have a party.  It will be great!

I’m sorry that Harold declined so much after my mom passed.  I am sorry he became so sad.  He really didn’t enjoy living there.  And now he won’t have to anymore.  Thank you, Harold, for befriending mom and for allowing her to experience the joy.  May you share some great moments in the afterlife as well.

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