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

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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Memories and Stages of Time

 In June 2009 we celebrated my mom's 70th birthday.  Sunny had made arrangements to invite friends and family members to a "surprise" birthday party for my mom. I don't recall how many came, but there was a lot.  Many from the ward, a few from work, and family members - Bill and Kayla had taken several pictures.  I would guess there were 50 - 70 people in all.

Corey gave a tribute and several sat in folded chairs that Sunny must have borrowed from the Church.  Mom was definitely surprised and she looked so happy.  She had already been diagnosed with dementia, but it was just the early stages.  She was well aware of what was going on.  And she knew everybody there.

Last November - before we put mom into assisted living - she was overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of people at our Thanksgiving dinner - all 18 of us.  So I thought she'd really freak when we took her to the ward Christmas dinner one month later because there were over 200 at that one.  But she smiled and pleasantly greeted everyone.  She was happy.  She was a little lost in her mind.  And the following month we put her into assisted living where she spent the next four months trying to escape. 

She was definitely happy last night. Sunny and her family had dropped by the assisted living to bring mom to the annual "Christmas in July" (which came late this year) and she was happy.  Happy to see relatives she hadn't seen "forever" or "it's been a long time" - Sunny told me that she said it had been years since she had seen me - and Sunny knows for a fact that I was there just the day prior.

Garrett received a new hair cut - causing him appear to be a tad bit older.  Mom kept commentting on what a cute little boy he is.  She also kept on asking who he was and who he belonged to. 

"That's your grandson.  That's Kayla's little boy."  

She remembers Anna.  But she doesn't often remember who Gary is.  Her dementia had taken over when he was born.  She was still living at home and had planned to walk to the hospital to see him and Kayla.  Walking to the hospital from my mom's house is possible, but not a casual walk.  It's a good two miles at least.  I tried to remind her of that.

"The hospital is not that far from my house and I can walk there if I want to!"

She was in her independent stage. A stage in which she believed her grown up children were treating her like a child.  A stage when she would wander off and actually walk that distance unintentionally.  A stage that kept all of us on our toes trying hard to watch her but allow her to believe that she still had her independance.

Sunny's last experience with taking her out of assisted living was an unpleasant one.  She said my mom was so distorted and unfamiliar with her surroundings and didn't know how she'd gotten to Sunny's house or why and wanted to go "home'  - referring to the assisted living.  She has accepted it as home.  That's where she lives and has for about 8 years (in her mind; seems like every month for the rest of us has been a year for her)

She excitedly told my aunt Fern about Harold - who when she first felt an attraction towards him had told Corey that Harold was a very old man - old enough to be her father.  She told Aunt Fern that she and Harold are actually very close in age.  She believes he is five years older.  (There is a ten year difference in actuality) 

It was so wonderful to see mom genuinely happy - even if she doesn't remember that Garrett is her grandson - not to mention several relatives who we actually don't see except maybe twice a year - if that.  She had a great time.  I don't know how much of it will stay with her.  I wonder what she will tell Corey about last night's events.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another Look at Change

            Mom embellished on her “sky-diving” story – a bit with the realization that jumping out of an airplane is something she would never do.  In this version it was from a commercial airline with mechanical problems.  Mom said she didn’t want to, but it was the crew that had forced all of the passengers to jump.

          Harold told his story about going up in a stunt plane that did loop-to-loops.  They had fastened video cameras to each wing and had one in the cockpit.  This filmed every move that was made and then the three films were spliced together.  Harold said he had it on video tape.  But that it does tend to make most people sick when they watch it because it’s like being there.

            Corey had explained to the family that there are seven stages of dementia and that mom is in stage five.  I’m guessing Madge must only be in one or two.  Maybe it was her idea to check herself in so that she would get used to the place – so her children wouldn’t have to go through what we have gone through – to the same degree.  I don’t know.  I’d still like to have a visit with Madge and ask her questions that are actually none of my business.

            Nellie is a brand new residence.  I’m thinking she is in stage 6 as she seems further gone than mom but not as far gone as Lydia or Georgette.  Harold may just be in stage 4 and maybe starting stage 5 but I don’t know.  I’m really not as familiar with dementia as perhaps I should be.

            Corey has always been a walking encyclopedia.  I don’t know that he has an actual photographic memory, but I think it’s close.  He’s really well read.  He constantly researches matters at hand.  I think his brain holds more information than the average human being.

            The other day I joined my mom and my brother, Patrick, his wife, Sunny and their son-in-law, Nate for a pioneer barbeque.  We crowded around an outside table with mom and Harold.  I ended up giving him my plate and went back for another one as I thought it would be easier.

            Food was good.  Company was good.  The plate I had made for myself was really too large for Harold. It’s a wonder he ate as much as he did.

            After lunch had ended, we said our good-byes to Nate, Patrick and Sunny.  I told mom I would go back to her room to visit with her some more, but first I had to run out to the car for something.

           Upon my return, Nellie clung onto me.  “Are you almost ready to go?” she asked.  She was asking as though she was expecting to go with me.

           “Well, I came here to see my mom.”  I told her, wondering where her family might be and if I actually resembled someone she knows. 

          I made my way back to the court yard with Nellie only inches behind me. 

           “How are you doing Nellie” I heard someone say. 

           I hadn’t actually known what her name was until then.  I introduced her to mom and Harold and asked if they were all acquainted.  None were and Harold and mom didn’t seem interested in the least.  Actually, neither did Nellie.  She was anxious to be leaving – I don’t think she even cared who with. But then she would also stop at each chair and sit down as her back was hurting her.

Her personality screamed volumes that she was a resident there.  I hadn’t remembered seeing her before I didn’t think.  I hadn’t.  As it turned out she had just moved in the day before. My mom all over again.  Confused at being there and trying to escape.

I think Nellie is in worse shape than my mom.  But Harold seems a little more with it in the mind. Maybe not.  I think mom and Harold’s stories were both a little out there when I was visiting the time before.

It’s interesting to look at Madge and think, “My mom was there at one time.” And then to look disheartened upon Lydia and Georgette and think, “and that is where she will be someday”

Her rapid movement from stage to stage doesn’t seem as rapid since she’s been at an assisted living program and is monitored from day to day and has a better schedule there than the four of us were trying to provide for her at home.

Dementia stages are a chiasmus to our birth to death.  We start out totally dependent.  Someone else has to feed us and change our clothes and bathe us and clean up after us. 

We learn to walk and talk and learn and collect things.  We make discoveries.  But still we need guidance to keep us safe – someone to make certain that eat, reminding us to put on our coats and shoes, and stop us from climbing or wandering near something that could be potentially dangerous to our health.

Eventually we grow into teenagers who think they know it all and don’t wish to be told what to do.  We would like our independence and treat guidance like interference.  We still need someone to teach us how to drive, save money, make wise choices, etc.

The older we grow, the wiser our parents become – until we are the caregivers due to dementia.  Their wise words are only memories and may somehow be twisted in their heads.  Eventually they go through stages.  They rebel.  They hoard.  Sometimes they wander into danger.

Eventually they forget how to walk and talk.  They forget.  They become like newborns and are dependent on someone else to feed them, clothe them, bathe them and make sure they are kept safe.

Full Circle

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Apparently He's NOT her Boyfriend

Today I read a conversation that took place between Corey and my mom.  She's upset that the workers at the facility seem to be sticking their noses into her affairs.  She wants her privacy and doesn't want the world watching her through open windows or open doors.  Therefore she keeps the blinds closed and leaves the door to her bedroom closed because she doesn't want anybody watching her.  Those who do are perverts.  And she swears when she returns to her room to find her blinds have been open.  Evidently she used the word "damn" in almost every sentence she said to Corey this afternoon.

Evidently Harold is NOT her boyfriend.  He is an old man.  Mom doesn't even call him Harold anymore.  He is that guy.  He is old enough to be her father - so she says.  I learned that he is twelve years older. 

Mom is on the younger end of those who reside at assisted living.  Harold's physical health seems to be far worse than mom's - but mentally he may be there - I don't mean totally.  Not like Madge.  But I think he retains things better than mom.  He understands when the staff knocks at the door and says that she has a phone call that she will be talking to Corey.  He understands that Corey is her son.  He remembered her birthday and somehow made arrangements for getting her this:


Sunny and Corey have been worried about mom being alone with Harold and have asked the staff to keep on eye on them.  But mom doesn't like it.  According to her it's not as if they would be doing anything such as making out.  She hasn't kissed him any differently than she might kiss her own father.  She hates the idea of someone treating her like a child.

She doesn't know that Corey made this request.  She doesn't know that Corey sent a letter to the driver's license division over a year and a half ago so that they could be the bad guys and he wouldn't jeapordize his relationship with her so that she would be/is angry with him.  (Correction made in comments)

I know that there have been a few instances when even his name was on her black list.  It has always been temporary however.  I doubt that his "golden child" image will ever be tarnished permanently.  At least I hope not.  We need strong ties somewhere.

Lately I feel like my name has been removed from the black list as well - but that's only when I'm visiting.  I don't know if she tells people I haven't been around much.  I do, after all, live in another city.  But not in those far away mountains like Kayla does.  Or so she believes.  Except for Corey, we all live approximately the same distance from mom - though we're all spread out in different directions. 

Mom just turned 74.  Anna's birthday is coming up soon.  She will be 3.

Friday, June 7, 2013

It’s Okay if You Want to Celebrate her Birthday Twice This Month

          I’m not really sure why I was the privileged one put on the mailing list for Alpine Ridge.  Perhaps I had made the request – but it would have been over four months ago.

          I received a letter last month informing me that I would have the opportunity to meet with a director and nurse if I had any questions concerning mom.  I assumed that my three sibs would be getting the same letter.  They never did.

          And just the other day, I received a calendar schedule for this month – first one that has come in the mail since January when we took mom there to live.  Really?  I remember asking about them back in March – but I never received a hard copy of one.  I did find one on the web and have looked at it and will still refer to it as I sometimes misplace my hard copy – but I am still puzzled at why I would receive these things and not my sibs. Surely they have that information for my brothers.

          I may have given my address to the director back in December – before we had even moved mom in.  Though I don’t remember having provided them with it.  But still.  That was six months ago!

          Anyway, the calendar has my mom’s birthday marked on the calendar for yesterday – but really it isn’t until the end of this month. I mentioned it to the activities director – just in case there was a mix up on her paper work.  Right now I don’t guess it really matters much when her birthday is celebrated or if celebrated at all. 

          Last month mom told me that she decided she was 62.

          “Oh, you decided that?”

          “Yes.  That is how old I am”

          Great.  That means she gave birth to me when I was only eleven.

          Yesterday she informed me that she is 174.  That is the same age at Harold.