Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Reminiscing 70+ years part 4

A continuation of list started yesterday

13.    She's a complete technophobe.
                            I don't think she did ever learn how to set the VCR
14.    She makes me feel needed.
                                                Each of us was important and she let us know why and what talents we could offer that maybe someone else could not.
15.    She showed me a great example of a successful marriage.
                        I had believed that all families were like my family - that the mom and dad loved one another and that the children enjoyed being a part of the family.  I didn't realize that there were many who had squabbles or came from broken homes.  When I think about it,  I guess even mom came from a broken home.  Her parents used to squabble.  She said there really hadn't been harmony in the home until after her dad left, and that it was all somehow shaken up again when her mom remarried.
                        Mom had set several goals for herself - one was that there would never be a divorce.  She also would do her best not to have to raise her family in an apartment. Mom and dad were a great example of a great marriage and great family life.  I have often told people that I must be from a "fairytale" family as people don't believe we could love and respect one another the way that we have. 
16.    She was a good wife.
17     She loves to travel, and we love traveling together.
                        Corey relates the experience of the two of them riding the hovercraft - which is hilarious.  I am actually the only one of mom's children who hasn't been to Europe.  
                        When mom had dementia, she believed she had traveled to places that she really hadn't.  I brought a map and put it in her room.  We put silver stars on places where she had been to physically and colored stars marked all the places she had only been to in her mind.  For the most part she had  "just driven there for the day" .  Greenland had been among those places
18     She took us on many family trips
19     She taught me not to judge people.
                        Mom always saw people for who they were on the inside.  She didn't take notice of a person's race, religion or scars.  She worked with a guy who had a disfigured face and she managed to overlook it.  When he showed up at work one day to share the exciting news that he'd be getting a facial operation she asked him why.  He was puzzled that she'd ask, but she really had learned to look beyond the deformed features that most people saw.
20.    She lets me live with her still.
                        I suppose many parents are anxious to see their children leave the "nest" - mom was not.  We could have all lived with her forever as far as she was concerned.  For 39 years I believed I would.  It's not that she didn't want to see us spread are wings and grow.  She was encouraging about that, but still melancholy with seeing us leave - especially when it started feeling permanent.
21.    She helped me gain an appreciation for current events and the news.
22.    She often agrees with me politically and has some liberal views.
                        I thought one of us had posted to our blog about the painful experience we had with taking mom to vote for what would be her last time.  She was very confused, and Corey had asked her who she wanted to vote for, and wrote down the names on a paper and asked for someone to guide her through figuring the punch card would be even more of a challenge.  (We don't have that in Oregon; the entire state votes by mail.  See here) It would have been easier if we had been able to do it that way that particular year.            
23.    She let me have a cat when I was young.
                                    I don't recall Patrick or Kayla ever showing an interest in an animal as with did Corey and I.  I think I actually had gone through more cats than did Corey. Mom had also had at least one cat when she was growing up.  She said her pregnant cat had babies in her closet on top of a slip that had been left in there.  The cat was quite protective of her babies and would snarl at mom, I guess.  Mom was not so fond of cats after that incident.  And yet she allowed over a dozen into our house over the years.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Reminiscing 70+ years part 3

               At the time we had mom's party I had not yet started my blog nor do I think I had started reading Corey's.  Perhaps I did and I just don't remember.  He hasn't posted for a while, and so I haven't looked at his blog page much the last year and a half.  I did open his blog page yesterday to see if he had mentioned the event or what he said about it - but I couldn't find anything - not at the time the event took place anyway.  He had his own personal trial he was dealing with.  I don't know if he ever got around to reminiscing the events that took place that summer my mom turned 70. 
               He gave mom a copy of the list he had created, but not the stories he had shared at the party as he paid her tribute and entertained those who came; thus I will share his list and my own examples as I can remember them.

70 Things I Love About My Mother

1.      She's always supported my career and seen just about every show I've done.
2.      She encouraged me to serve a mission.
3.      She loves me just for who I am.
4.      She loves to play games.

                                As I hadn't started my blog until the last year my mom lived in my childhood house, I hadn't recorded much pre-dementia.  Playing games with my family was just a part of life - I thought all families did it. 
                               Mom and dad had taught Patrick and me how to play a card game called 500 which I mention here.  We would play board games.  I remember one time when the power had gone out, we played a game called SKUNK; we played by Candle light.  Even after daddy's health deteriorated, we'd continue playing games.  There was one called Encore which is a singing game.  Dad had had a series of strokes and it had become difficult for him to get the words out of his mouth, but you could see him light up, and he would think of a song, and it didn't matter which team's turn it was or how long he took - we allowed him to provide an answer and would give it to whatever team's turn  it was to play.
                               Mom didn't seem so competitive as a team player, but boy, she was competitive when it was player against player.  Corey and I were her rivals.  She would play all games with all people, but there were specifics that I talked about in this post.

5.      She's a worry-wart.
6.      We love to go to lunch together.

                                            Mom enjoyed food and loved having the company of her children. More times than not it would be just her and only one child.  I remember her telling me about going to the mall when Patrick was working at one of those gift cheese stores.  She would stop by and ask him to go to lunch and one day asked if that embarrassed him as he was having lunch with his mom.  He told her that some of his co-workers were actually jealous about it.  All of us would always have good discussions with mom when we would go out to eat.

7.      She supported my educational pursuits.

                               Mom helped each of us with our education, but we all seemed to notice it the most with Kayla who really struggled in school.  Her mind was much slower than any of mom's other children or Kayla's peers.  She required extra attention for focusing and it did not help matters that the phone was always ringing off the hook as her friends would constantly call or come over.  Thus mom removed Kayla from the neighborhood environment for a couple of hours each week, possibly every day . .  I can't remember. 

                During the summer mom would take Kayla to a local drive-in for breakfast and they would hang-out for the required time that mom had set up to help Kayla understand whatever subject that Kayla was expected to understand.  She was so diligent in making sure that Kayla received a proper education.  I have always admired that

 8.      She helped me get my first job.

                            As I had mentioned in this post: except for dad, all of my family had worked at Snelgrove's Ice Cream Store - not at the same time, mind you.  Patrick and I had both started earning wages at age 13 or 14 with paper routes, but for Kayla and Corey, Snelgroves was a first job. 

 9.      She instilled good work ethic in me.
10.    She instilled in me an appreciation of theatre and movies.
11.    She instilled in me an appreciation for reading.

                                                Both my mom and Corey were avid readers.  They could have three or four books read before I had even completed one.  I do enjoy reading.  It just takes me a lot longer.
                                             Mom was reading books again while in assisted living.  She could never tell you what she was reading, but we do know she did read.

 12.    She read stories when I was young.
                                             She also read to/with the grandkids

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Reminiscing 70+ years part 1

            I enjoy looking at the memories that facebook reminds me for each day.  The thing I enjoy most is reading comments from friends who have since passed away - like yesterday morning for instance, I was reading thoughts to wish my husband and I "Happy Wedding Anniversary" for almost each year I'd been on facebook.  The last comment I read was from my mom.  I think that's cool.

            Mom was not an avid facebook user.  She seemed to allow herself to get flustered with modern technology.  The year I started my facebook account was also the first year her children all wondered if there was some instability happening with mom's mind.  I don't know if that was the first year she'd been tested for Alzheimer's.  I do know she was tested at least twice, but the results didn't show Alzheimer's - but she was in the early stages of dementia.  Many people assume they are the same thing as Alzheimer's is a form of dementia.  I personally don't understand the difference, but here's how it was explained to me:  Dementia is like a wheel and Alzheimer's is just one spoke on the wheel -  

thus everybody that has Alzheimer's has dementia, but not everyone with dementia has  Alzheimer's.  I have never heard any other names to refer to dementia except for Alzheimer's.

            Corey is more well read on the subject than any of the rest of us are - plus he has friends who had been schooled in the subject.  There are seven stages one goes through when he or she has dementia.  My mom passed away during stage five - which provided us with fun memories.  I have always been grateful that none of us had to see her at stage seven.  

            My mom turned 70 the summer of 2009.  Sunny had suggested doing a tribute themed party for her.  We would invite everybody in the ward, everybody she had ever worked with, everybody that we could remember she had known.  I made up some fliers - I don't even know how many.  I had mailed about half, emailed a few and hand delivered quite the rest.

            A neighbor had called me to ask if watch her girl who had been in pre-school with Jenna.  I told her that I had to run some errands, but if she was okay with it, I could take Amber with me.  That actually turned out to be an awesome blessing for me, as I didn't even have to stop the motor on the car.  I would hand the fliers to the girls, tell them which houses to leave them at, and made a game of it.  I think I must have picked a day that my mom was not home as we were able to hit all the houses in her neighborhood without having met her.

            When I was down to my last six invites, I asked one of the neighbors if the girls could play in her yard until I came back.  As it turned out, the neighbor was doing some gardening and the girls volunteered to assist.  The neighbor was disgusted by the amount of snails that she'd come across while gardening. Jenna and Amber would eagerly pick them up and play with them.  They each had three snails on the table when I returned.  They were watching them "race". 

They wanted to keep the snails but I told them that snails were not allowed to ride in the car.  The neighbor put them in the garbage can after we left.

            We encouraged those who couldn't attend mom's party to send a letter which might include any memories they had of mom.  Sunny provided paper and pens for those who wished to write a letter during the party.  We held it at Patrick and Sunny's house.  Their children had made a giant banner and hung it over their garage. The birthday party was great!  Mom was certainly surprised.

            Corey had a special tribute to share and read a list of 70 things he loves about mom.  He read the list of simple words or phrases, but would pause to relate an experience of why a certain thing had made it to the list.  It was an awesome program.  Wonderful memories.  Enjoyable night.

            All of her children took pictures, and Bill asked us to send in what we had and he would put ALL of our pictures on one disk. We started a scrapbook  for my mom to put the cards and letters and I added the pictures.  I had created 15 pages on the computer, but had added handmade pages with photographs and incorporated them with the letters - more than 65 pages total.

            I don't know how often she looked at it.  We brought it to her after we had moved her to assisted living.  I pasted this to the top of it: 

            I thought if she looked at it every day, she wouldn't feel so alone (not that she was, but before she met Harold, she often felt that she'd been forgotten) but she kept it in a drawer - which defeated the purpose.

            I'd forgotten that she had passed away the day after my 12th wedding anniversary date to Roland - or that she was buried the day before dad's birthday (which he didn't seem much for celebrating on earth - probably not in heaven;  though I'm certain that their reunion was a great birthday gift)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Familiar Faces

            About a year and a half ago, I was on facebook checking out their statistics, though I generally don't put a lot of stock in what results are given.   According to facebook, my husband Roland and I are the most opposite of me and any of my facebook friends.  I can believe that.  According to facebook, my soul mate is Carolyn - who I had known less than a year.  I've now known her for almost two.  The more time I take to get to know her, the more it feels like we have in common.  I guess facebook was right.

            Not only that, but every time I added a family photo, facebook will automaticlly tag the pictures and actually get most of them right.  But every time my mom is in the photo, facebook puts Carolyn's name on the photo instead of my mom's. I guess there is a resemblance.  I do see more between my mom and Carolyn than I do between my mom and Peggy Bird.  Peggy was our neighbor from across the street.  I bet  one was mistaken for the other at least once a week.  None of their children saw it.

            I know I have a face that often looks familiar to most people.  Perhaps that is why people always used to talk to me on the bus; they thought they were talking to somebody else.  I know for a fact that some doors were open to me on my mission because they thought I was somebody else.  We would start our approach and they would look at us and then our name tags and finally figure out I wasn't who they thought I was.  That was weird.

            Carolyn said she thought my mom looked younger than her.  I would have never guessed that Carolyn is as old as she is.  She and my mom are two years apart.  Carolyn is younger.  I had mentioned that my mom had passed away in 2013.  She was quite disappointed and said she wanted to meet mom.

            "You will," I assured her. "But just let's hope you don't meet her soon."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Grandma Really Didn’t Jump From an Airplane

I am currently taking a family history class through the Church because Roland wants to take the class but can't always be there and so has asked me to come with him in the event that he has to miss a class.
Yesterday we shared memories of our ancestors.  I had known from the beginning that I would need to come up with something.  And I have written down thoughts here and there - but nothing major about anyway.  I finally ended up sharing three stories that mom had shared about herself and a family member's name.  Of course once the class was over, I have been able to come up with some other memories.  Here is one:

     My mom has never had a great sense of direction – at least since I’ve known her.  Sometimes she would forget small things and exaggerate about things like, “having to drive around the world” when it had taken her longer to get to places than anticipated.

     When she first was diagnosed with dementia, her children often wondered if it was still her personality that caused her to do things (or not do things) or if the dementia had taken over.  We soon realized that it was her dementia.

     One time Corey and Mom had gone over to Patrick and Sunnys’s house and were having dinner with the family.  The topic at hand happened to be skydiving.  Ellen and Kimball had experienced jumping out of an airplane in real life – and Candy had been saving her money so that she might go sky diving sometime in the future.  I think they said Sunny had wanted to go, also.

     They said mom all the sudden joined in the conversation.  “You know I’ve been skydiving, too.” And then proceeded to go into detail about her experience.

     Now, you must understand, my mom was fearful of heights.  She didn’t even like to ride the sky ride (similar to a ski lift) at Lagoon (an amusement park in Farmington, Utah) because her legs were dangling.  There is no way in real life she would have ever jumped out of an airplane.

     But eventually the account she related came with such superior detail that even Corey had questioned it as he looked at the others and said, “Did she?” as each of the others shrugged.

     Throughout the rest of her life she continued to tell her account of how she had “jumped out of a plane”. 

     Four months after we put her into assisted living, she met another resident of the facility.  His name was Harold Martin and he had flown in small-uncovered airplane for real.  He was fascinated by mom’s story and wish that he too had had the opportunity of skydiving.

     He must have noticed that mom’s story varied a bit each time she told him.  For what started out as a private jet with an instructor ended up a commercial airline that was going down, and the crew had insisted that each of the passengers jump out in order to be spared.

     If mom had lived any longer, I think her story would have changed to being pushed rather than jumping of her own free will.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I Understand the Desire for Those Who Wish to Segregate Mothers’ Day

I understand the desire for those who wish to segregate Mothers’ Day

Jenna asks, “What would you like for Mothers’ Day?”

“I would like you to clean your room?”

“No, really.  What do you want?”

“That is what I want.  To have my daughter show me some responsibility.”


Are you honoring my motherhood?  What are we celebrating exactly?  Taking a break from the dishes and finding them in the sink on Monday is NOT taking a break.  I don’t even think half the chores I do is what makes up a mother.

I am certainly not a housewife.  I did not tie the knot with any building – especially this one.  I’ve looked into home improvement.  But the expenses all add up and I need to budget for just one thing at a time – not empty out my bank account and then some.

They got me chocolates.  I know because Jenna told me.  She and her friend were wrapping the boxes and came to me to ask my permission if they could have one.

“Enjoy your gift.  The chocolates were delicious.  Here is a box you might like to use for stationary.”

Jenna really wants to surprise me – really wants me to enjoy this “holiday”.  She practiced throwing confetti at me this morning.  Granted, it was a cute idea on her part.  Very colorful.  Also very messy.  And guess who gets to clean it up?  Mother.

When my own mom would get me gifts for Christmas or my birthday or whatever, she would ask, “What would you like?”

Sometimes I was specific.  More often than not I would say, “to be surprised” I rarely was.

Mothers’ Day started out as a holiday to honor a specific mother and then it grew.  I think at one point in history maybe it really was a special holiday and did honor mothers – maybe not all mothers.  There’s always those who feel left out – who don’t feel honored though the system tries.

“You’re not a mother.  Perhaps you never will be.  But here’s a rose to say we care.  Here’s a plaque to always remind you of the commercialism involved. But then I guess that’s with any holiday.  Commercial desecration.
I mean some places have a ligament claim – such as Hallmark.  But I personally don’t know any “mothers” who find anything appealing about Henry’s smoke shop.

I find amusement in sitcoms such as the Middle or Everybody Loves Raymond when the Mothers’ Day outcome really isn’t that great at honoring mother yet capture the role of a mother.  Most sitcoms show the hoopla ends up creating more work.  And dad as well as kids seem oblivious to the true emotions of the mother who just assume NOT be honored if it’s just going to create more work.

So Happy Mothers’ Day to those of you who truly feel honored and glorified on your special day.  To the rest of us: Happy Human Day.  At least we’ve got that in common.


Monday, December 16, 2013


Last year Ellen took my mom to the store to purchase three gifts.  I don't know whether Ellen suggested it or if mom had thought on her own to get her three youngest grandchildren one gift each.

When I saw them on the table I asked my mom about them.

"What are these?" I asked.

"I don't know.  I think they're Ellen's"

I didn't think they were.

I didn't see much of Ellen when I was at mom's house.  But somewhere we made a connection and I had asked if they really were hers.  She said that mom had purchased them for Jenna, Anna and Gary but she hadn't gotten around to wrapping them.

I wrapped them and tagged them and placed them under the tree.  My mom kept asking who the gifts were for and where they came from.  She didn't seem to even know that Christmas was coming up pretty soon.

She was like a kid on Christmas day.  Who knew it would be the last Christmas that we would spend in her house?  or that it would be her last Christmas on earth?

Many of us are missing her this Christmas.  Many of us our thinking about our last holiday season together.  I'm grateful for the happy memories that help us to make this season a little more pleasant.

I really do miss you Mom!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Two Weeks

Two weeks after I started my blog I became part of a search party who went out looking for mom who had dementia and had wandered from home.  She could not be left alone.  Each of us worked out a schedule so that someone would always be with her.

Two weeks after this year started mom was released from the hospital and spent her last night at the house she’d lived in for over fifty years. It had been on a Sunday when Ellen found my mom passed out and called for Nate to assist.  Patrick ended up taking her to the hospital.  He and Nate were both dressed for church but stayed at the hospital all day. They did not go to Church that day. Patrick had chosen to stay with mom. On Monday mom’s four children worked together to fill out the paperwork to move mom into assisted living. On Wednesday Kayla took mom to her new home at the assisted living facility – the last place she would live. And Corey came from Las Vegas to assist and say good-bye to the house. 

Two weeks ago we lay mom to rest - buried beside my dad.  She’d been rushed to the hospital two weeks prior to that.  It was on a Sunday when she was found passed out on the floor. She'd been rushed to the hospital. Patrick met her at there.   He was dressed for church but stayed at the hospital all day.  He did not go to Church that day.  He had chosen to stay with mom. He took the next two weeks off.  And Corey drove from Las Vegas to say good-bye.  We all spent time with her for 7-10 days.  And then she finally let go.

Two weeks ago Corey and Kayla and I met Fern and Michelle at the Mortuary.  We watched Corey and the Mortician dress my mom.  Michelle applied some lipstick – that’s all that was needed.  Mom looked like she always does when she falls asleep. She still has her purse.

Two weeks ago we talked with family and friends who had come to pay their last respects.  Sunny offered a beautiful prayer before we all went into the chapel. I tied mom’s bow and veiled her face – my final act of service for her.  The lid was closed.  I think Brian cried the hardest. His sobs just seemed louder than the rest - maybe because he's a giant.

 Two weeks ago today we paid our last respects and shared our stories and beautiful thoughts for such a marvelous woman.  Daddy’s birthday was the day after the farewell services.  It was on a Sunday. Corey had planned to spend this week with mom. Instead she's spending it with dad.  We miss you mom! (and dad)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend Roller Coaster

We had planned on attending the Walden Family Reunion on Labor Day weekend.  Or at least I was.  Soon it was narrowed down to only Biff, Jenna and I as Roland said he would be working and although Randy had made arrangements to get time off from his previous job, he recently started another job which he would be working sometime during Labor Day weekend (though I think he could have gone to part of the reunion but chose not to I guess)

So Friday Jenna gets in the car with this years fundraiser for the school.  $30 for a coupon book – or the idea of a coupon book with an actual card that you will use instead of the coupons?  It looks like a catalog of jumbled ideas thrown together and is actually harder to go through than sorting out the thoughts in my head (and that is saying A LOT!) 

Jenna gets upset about every fundraiser – not for the same reasons that I get upset – never mind that no one we know has any money and that every other school is having a fundraiser as well.  No one should feel a sense of pressure – though Jenna seems to more with every passing year. 

I don’t even know what the incentive is for “selling” the merchandise – usually something not that great – though there was the drawing for an IPod that one year – and she was the winner.  I told her that it is highly doubtful that she will win every year.

And I don’t try to discourage her from going out and selling if that’s truly what she wants to do.  But she needs to take daddy who is a salesman by nature and who can help her understand the rejection.  Our neighborhood is definitely NOT the area to promote fund raisers.  Half the people I know are either on welfare or barely scraping by.  The other half don’t have time to look through a cluttered catalog to see if a $30 investment is really worth the gamble – not to mention just cannot afford each charity associated with the 8-12 schools that the neighborhood children attend.

So then Jenna starts feeling bad because “nobody will buy” even though I have been upfront with her about why they don’t.  But a fund raiser shouldn’t make anyone feel put out, or ornery or guilty or any of that.  A child should not have to feel the frustration or pain of rejection or look at the fund raiser as a serious assignment.  Life is not a contest of earning points for causes that, even though you might believe in them, make the individual who is really trying, feel worthless because he or she doesn’t feel like they’ve been given a fair shake at getting the prizes (wow.  That sounds like an analogy for obedience to commandments and having to stay on the outside of the temple instead of getting to see your loved ones marry due to choices made even at the Lord’s will or age – something that can’t be controlled.  Ah – but let’s save that for another post.  Perhaps Corey may read this and run with it.  I hope so.  I love reading his blog for the most part.  His posts are so eloquently written)

The bishop had gone out of town the two weeks prior, giving Roland the opportunity of playing bishop for the last two Sundays.  He received three phone calls about three different deaths – two would hold funerals in our ward building.

On Friday night Roland and I went to the temple and Parker’s mom and dad watched Jenna.  Turns out Roland did not work on the last day of August as he had anticipated. He conducted the second of the two funerals and I watched Parker and Jenna – apparently not with a close enough eye.

On Saturday morning we met Parker and his dad at the garden. That evening I packed up the two kids and went over to the trailer park to meet some friends for their monthly game of “Bingo”.  Roland went with us once.  For the most part he doesn’t seem to enjoy it.  And he has been quite tired for the most part.  Work and work and no play.  No happy balance.

 Parker’s dad picked him up before we had even started the first game.  Oh, too bad. He was perturbed that he wouldn’t have more time with Jenna.  Gee, I’m sorry Parker.  Usually nine hours is too long between friends of your age group.

There’s always a lot of laughs and fun with the neighbors on Bingo night.  Jenna was the first one to win a prize – a velvet art project for a 3-D castle.  Neither Roger nor Gloria wanted their prizes and pawned them off on me. Jenna and I always have to leave before the sun goes down so that I can see to drive home at night.

Sunday morning I turned my phone on – which is unusual.  I normally don’t have it on during the weekend.  Immediately after I received the signal to let me know that the phone was on and battery ready, Sunny called to see if I had heard about mom.  She’s back in the hospital.  It was on a Sunday at the beginning of this year. 

It was my week to give the lesson is Sunday School but felt inspired to call a substitute at the last minute (and I do last minute – like when Relief Society ended) and took Jenna out of primary and went to the hospital where Patrick was seated in a chair and mom was in bed looking bewildered.  As with the first time in January, she had no idea why she was there or how she arrived.

Jenna and I had been there for almost three hours.  We left after Patrick and Nate gave her a blessing.  Roland had just barely beaten us home. 
We were home for only a couple of hours before we left the house and headed toward where Randy and Carrie live.  They had invited us for dinner.  We were in charge of dessert.  We remembered to take the dessert, but we forgot to eat it.  
Carrie gave us some peach jam.  We forgot to take it home. 

Jenna and I will return to the hospital this morning.  She wants to give mom the velvet castle she made.