Showing posts with label tears. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tears. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Another Send Off - Returning Home

Before Jenna turned five she was introduced to Isaac – a cousin to Paula – who, at the time, was Biff’s platonic girlfriend. 
Roland asked Isaac how old he would be (or what age he’d just turned – I forget what time of the year it was) We both figured at least nine.  Both of us were quite floored when he answered seven..  He was too tall to be only seven. He was actually quite tall for nine.   Surely Jenna and Isaac were more than just two years apart.

     Isaac’s mom was involved with an Easter tradition.  Every year right after Church, the children would look for the plastic eggs that the adults had hid around the yard – her father’s yard to be exact.  Paula had outgrown the tradition and had asked Biff to bring Jenna so that Isaac and Paula’s brother weren’t hunting for eggs by themselves.  So from 2009 to 2012 Jenna has always done Easter with Isaac and his family.  


     Each year the hunt happened at Grandpa’s house – until last year.  Ruth and Nim had moved into a new house – she felt that her yard was ready.  Biff and Paula hadn’t spent much time together, but he was still friends with Isaac’s mom, Ruth.  She had asked him if he would assist with Easter set up.  He took Jenna with him and they spent the night.

Paula had told me that she came from a dysfunctional family.  I didn’t realize how dysfunctional until earlier this year. It’s true that Ruth had been excited to have Easter at her house – but it was not the same as it had been at grandpas.  I think Grandpa himself had been invited, but nobody else in the family had.  There had been a falling out, continuous squabbles – quite strained relationships among Ruth and her siblings.  It sounded horrible.  I feel quite grateful that I couldn’t (nor can) relate.

When Jenna was in first grade, Grandpa’s home was a sanctuary – I told her that if I was ever late picking her up, she was to wait for me at Paula and Isaac’s grandpa’s house. That was before the adult brother moved in and basically pushed his parents into the back room – taking away almost every inch of space from the house to store his worthless belongings and himself.  This year I told her NOT to go to Grandpas.  Even Ruth and Isaac would rather not be there.  I now understand why it takes him so long to cross the field.

Ruth, from what I understand, has always been insecure about her looks.  She has always felt overweight and unhealthy.  Others had made fun of her size and said unkind things that did hurt her emotionally.  But she was very strong willed and never unkind to anyone.  She was a friend to everyone – including those that had put her down. I thought she was beautiful both inside and out.

She did not have the Easter hunt this year.  Her health has been poor.  She was scheduled to have her hernia removed back in May.  But there was the issue with her weight.  She needed to lose several pounds and reschedule.  I don’t know how many times the surgery was postponed.  I had talked with her over the phone only a few times during the summer.  I had been to her house only one time.

Ruth’s home was always in chaos.  She just didn’t seem to have the strength to pick up after her two boys.  She considered them more than a blessing.  She said that Nim and the boys completed her life.   But somehow the boys didn’t appear to give her any help.  I don’t know why.  Isaac is such a sweet and thoughtful boy.  He has been a tremendous friend to Jenna. 

His little brother has a crush on Jenna.  He also looks older than he is – a little replica (well, smaller version – both boys are huge) of Isaac.  He just started kindergarten this year and Isaac will be starting junior high (or middle school) next year.

Ruth’s last surgery was scheduled for Friday, October 11.  She so wanted to lose the weight and get healthy not just for herself but for her boys. She died on the operating table.  I seem to be shedding more tears than with my own mom’s death.  I just feel so bad for Isaac and Marvin.  Marvin was so attached to his mother.  I don’t know if he will fully understand that mommy isn’t coming back or why.  He cannot depend on her anymore the way he used to.

Biff and I attended her funeral this afternoon.   We had gone early to attend the viewing.  I saw Ruth’s brother in the hall.  Her mom was near the casket – but that was all the family I saw.  No grandpa (her father) no Isaac, no Marvin, no Nim.  Ruth was in her casket smiling.  It was small, but still, it appeared as a smile. I don't think I've ever seen a smiling corpse before.

I visited with the principal of the school that both Isaac and Jenna attend.  She was the only person (besides Ruth) that I recognized. (How convenient it was for both of us that the funeral was just next door to the school.)  School let out before the funeral was over. 

You would think a family like that would have seen death before – but the funeral itself seemed to be a very unfamiliar situation for most of the family – at least from my point of view. I would imagine both Ruth and her dad have attended funerals before. 

Somebody escorted the two boys into the chapel.   I went to where they were seated and gave Isaac a hug and asked if he was okay.  He was holding a stack of homemade cards that I'm guessing had been created by his classmates. I started crying before I returned to my seat. I just couldn’t seem to pull myself together.

Nim joined his boys shortly after I sat down.  I’d never met him before and so introduced myself.  He looked broken.  They sat in the chapel with some other of his family members.  I don’t know if they were ever in the same room with the casket

Nim and the boys missed out on the family prayer as it was in the RS room and they were in the chapel.  Perhaps it was easier for them.  I don’t know. When the congregation was told to stand while the family filed in, Nim and his family stood along with the congregation and thus most all of the family members who filed in remained standing also. 

I think it is the first LDS funeral I’ve been to where I have seen the family stand and not take their seats once they had filed in. I know I've taken my seat as a family member while the congregation stood for us.

The services were nice.  Ruth is very well loved.  I enjoyed learning more about the great woman that she was.  I hope Isaac will remember the love and that he will take the advice of the speakers.  She will definitely be missed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


My brothers Patrick and Corey have each taken a leave of absence from their jobs.  Since she fell, all four of mom’s children have been spending several hours with her – though I’m quite certain that I have given her the least. I am the only one of her children who has not stayed the night.  (She had requested that she not be left alone)

Patrick was with her all day Sunday – the first day of the month.  And Kayla and I were there on Labor Day.  I spent eight hours on Tuesday and Thursday.  Unfortunately I think she was alone on Wednesday from morning til mid afternoon.

I had gone to a funeral that day.  I’d gone to the hospital afterward but mom was in emergency surgery.  The doctors were trying to save her legs.  I had to go get Jenna before the surgery was over.  But other family members had arrived when mom returned from surgery to her hospital room.

She was full of conversation and smiles according visiting with family members.  She talked about the summer party and the sunset that they all saw.  Everyone said they had a really good visit.  Sunny told me that I should return. 
Jenna and I left the house on Wednesday but traffic was horrible. I didn’t return to the hospital until Thursday.  She had many visitors that day.  I did mention that on this post

Thursday night she was moved to a larger room.  All four of her children gathered around her on Friday morning and we had fun.  She smiled. Laughed.  We made plans.  When Corey asked her favorite hymn, she mischievously said that it was a secret.

We were told she would be in her hospice room for 48 hours.  But the social worker was concerned about whether we’d be able to move her during the weekend.  She really did want to go home. Perhaps it would be better to transfer her to Alpine Ridge on a weekday.  Friday.  And so it was done.  Kayla and I were with her at the hospital until she was moved.  And Corey and Patrick met her at Alpine Ridge.

She hasn’t eaten over a week now.  Her breath is slow and raspy.  Her pulse goes up and down.  She is still hanging on.  And the staff at Alpine Ridge (actually, it’s Alta Ridge) has been so good to us.  They love my mom.  They want for all of us to be comfortable. 

Last night I took some Aleve.  My back has been hurting and I have not slept well. All the ideas that I had for posts have vanished – at least the ones in my head.  There were some drafts that I was able to post.  There are some thoughts that I saved into documents.  All else not written down has disappeared.  I am numb.

Kayla, who is normally a rock, is an emotional wreck.  And I, who always produces more tears than Alice (from Wonderland) am a pillar for a change.  Though the events have made both Kalya and I somewhat flakey.  I think Patrick is ready to move the both of us in as mom’s room becomes available.  

Corey and Joh decided it would be okay if none of mom's children spent last night as they both believed that there were plenty from the other side who were with her. They were still with her when we arrived this morning and watched mom fight for her last breath. I would have posted this entry to my blog this afternoon had my keyboard been working.  My mom has since passed.  I hope that she’s dancing with daddy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why Women Leak

         Actually, I don’t know why women leak.  We just do.  Perhaps not all women, but many of us.
Whenever we feel sadness or sorrow, compassion or joy, empathy or misconduct, our eyes tear up and flood our face. Whenever our child (or children) is hurting, we feel their pain.  Whenever we see a movie or read a book that reaches into our hearts and connects to our tear ducts.  Whenever our hormones happen to be on overdrive (or overload?) Whenever we feel misunderstood.

I have cried at the end of Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, and E.T. (to name a few) I wept through Alabama Moon and The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  I need an entire box of tissues each time I watch “Up” and I refuse to watch “The Notebook” ever again.  I’ve cried when reading Children’s books such as “The Robot and The Bluebird” by David Lucas or “You are Mine” by Max Lucado.  I cried during parts of “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate and stories such as Monkeys and the Mangos (which has many versions).  

Tear ducts seem to be attached to the heart strings except in the case of chopping onions – that produces tears in which the heart is not involved.  Roland and Jenna can both seem to chop onions without tearing up. Jenna laughs when I chop onions.
Last night I cried during an episode of “Chopped” for crying out loud.  To me it just feels pretty silly to cry at the end of reality show.  What a dweeb. The female chef had burned herself and her competitor who claims he was arrogant and had stepped on others to climb to the top had made amends . . . and offered to pay for her plane ticket out of his winnings.

We’re a sorry case, I suppose.  But we’re also awesome at being able to feel.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Producing Salty Water (and a LOT of it)

          This post reflects stirred emotions that between October and mid December 20120
          Poor mom.  For the most part we don’t know where she’s at.  The reality of her world is so far different from our own.

          In her mind, she believes that while State Street was under construction, she and all the other residences in her neighborhood were evacuated.  The construction crew had asked them to move somewhere else.  Mom doesn’t remember where it is that she moved – but she is back – along with many of her neighbors.  For a while she wanted to make certain that everybody knows she’s back.  Now she wants to go back to wherever she thinks she lived before.  She doesn’t know the address though – but she says it’s a house.

          She called Bill.  She always calls Bill’s cell phone when she’s trying to get a hold of Kayla.  She left a message to make Kayla aware that she was back in her old house.  Kayla called me to inform me of the events that had taken place.  I told her that Nate had posted his comment on file that all of mom’s children (and some spouses) all have access to.

I don’t know if she called Corey, or if Corey called her.  Same story.  Corey asked for her address.  Mom didn’t know.  She had to ask Sunny (who happened to be watching her) She returned to the phone and gave Corey the name of the city which she has lived for the last fifty years.

          Corey said that is the same address that all of us have and she didn’t need to call anyone else.  Mom was highly confused as to how everyone was aware of where she was but herself.  Sunny was super freaked out and had stayed longer than she usually does.

          Roland and I were on our way to pick up mom and take her to a dinner at the Church she attends.  I called to say we were on our way.  I guess I should have talked to Sunny instead of mom.  There was an accident on the Freeway.  It took us 20 minutes longer than normal.

          Sunny was wide eyed and felt a sense of relief when I walked through the door.  Mom was all ready to go.  I told her to head out to the car and I would be there momentarily.  Sunny expressed her concerns.  And I said I was a little hurt that mom hadn’t called me to tell me she was back.  That made Sunny laugh.  I’m glad I could give her that.

          Mom was fine at the party.  She wasn’t restless as she had been less than a month ago when it was just the family and she was overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of people.  I was overwhelmed by the huge turnout.  Between 240 -260 people.  We stayed for the whole event.  I hadn’t expected that.
          Patrick spent the night with mom as Nate and Ellen had gone out of town.  Not too long ago mom was independent and didn’t want to be babied.  She is, after all, a big girl and she can do things by herself.  Now she dreads the idea of being alone.  She often seems surprised by letters or people who show up at her door.  They think we all know where she used to live.  But it’s all in her mind.  She’s been in the same house for over 50 years.

          I met my husband 12 years ago.  Corey graduated from high school almost 20.  But for some reason she has the two crossing paths before Corey graduated.  For the most part I’ve been a pal that was raised in San Francisco alongside her – but there was one occasion that she did introduce me as her daughter – it was to a friend that was well aware of who I am – possibly better than mom does.

          Each time we mention the name of a state or country – she claims that she has been there.  It was always “just for a day” though.

          I didn’t want this to become a “dementia blog” any more than Corey wanted his to focus on dementia.  Actually dementia isn’t the biggest focus thus far as there are less than ten posts.  I can’t say I hope to have more – but as it will be on my mind I’m sure there will be more that mention the wretched thief.  There have been days when the dementia is really bad - moreso for me than my mom.  Sometimes I can take it with a grain of salt – and even laugh.  But often I am an emotional wreck.

          The neighbor across the street has a gathering of sisters once a week.  She suggested I bring mom but just drop her off and not stay myself.  But I wanted to visit.  I miss the socialization of those that I used to associate with.  Mom, who claimed she was bored, was not interested in going.  And if I persisted, she would become mean.

          So I cried.  I cried because I wasn’t invited.  I cried because mom was acting like a childish brat.  I cried because I was crying over something I couldn’t control.  I was pretty good about holding it in until we started playing games.  I took off the minute Nate returned home from school.

          That all took place in November and December.  Since Christmas, mom seems almost comatose at times.  Just as disheartening as trying to coax the child inside.  She lost her driver’s license over a year ago and became mean – well with me anyway.  I’m the one who had taken her to the Driver’s License renewal.
          There had been a few days when she had become her mother and greeted folks in a friendly way, without a care in the world.  And she was always pleasant when she went out with Sunny – at least in the beginning.  But Sunny has seen the mean side of my mom since. 

          Next week we have another family meeting.  Kayla and I are ready to take action.  Corey and Patrick both seemed to express a denial. But we may all be on the same page now.  Mom needs a community.  She needs a routine.  And the rest of us need to return to our roles of children and not the caregivers that we’ve become.

          I was so diligent about going through Jenna’s folder once she returned home from school – but have been quite slack for an entire year now.  I need my focus to be where it was.  I need to keep my mind clear of heavy tears.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tears in Heaven

          We hadn’t put up our outside lights for Christmas this year.  I meant to bring them out with all the other Christmas decorations.  I remember seeing them.  But they must have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Just as well.  There were a couple of days when the wind blew hard.  So hard that some actually lost their decorations – which is NOTHING compared to what was lost in Newtown Connecticut on December 14th.

          Sandy, for me, was a lot easier to deal with, as the disaster was a result of the elements – not some psycho on the loose with a gun.  If a gunman is going to just turn the gun on himself – why not just start there?  And it’s not like the world will ever KNOW what became of this individual who’d gone on a shooting spree to wipe out innocent children. 

Whatever reasons are given will be speculation – and even if we are given reasons that are sure knowledge, they can NEVER justify the tragedy.  It will never make it better.  It won’t bring peace or comfort that thousands will need.  It’s not something that can be overcome.

27 souls were lost that day – from earth.  But so many more were destroyed – many permanently.  It will take some decades to forgive, to heal, and to move on.  And some will remain bitter and do themselves more harm than the shooter did.  And that also is very tragic.

After I dropped Jenna off at school today, I bawled.  I’m still producing tears as I attempt to create this post that will never express the emotions that all too many of us have right now.

Twenty little angels never to be driven anywhere again.  Never to be dropped off or to wave good-bye to.  They have left their earthly bodies – but they still exist.  I have every ounce of faith that they have made it to the highest kingdom within heaven.  They are pure.  It will be they who will have to look out for their families – to help them move on.

I was saddened by this post and feel for the author who wishes it was the positive events that would put Newtown on the map.

It is my prayer that the residence of Newtown may find some kind of closure and return to the picturesque Norman Rockwell town that they were less than a week ago.  Don’t guess it will ever be that way.  May your angels protect you always.