All posts by natasha.watts01@gmail.com

It's not that complicated. I am 44, I live in Deland, Florida. Its a sweet little town where you end up knowing everyone. I have many interests. I am an artist at heart, and my medium changes regularly. I am grateful to be supported by my beautiful family which consists of my husband of over 20 years, and my three children ages 18, 15 and 12. My life is full, robust. I am never bored! There is always far too much going on to not know what to do with myself. I am an adventurer and am raising my children to be adventurers also. It is my favorite thing about "us". I am pleased with who I am at this point in my life. I have constant obstacles placed in front of me, which seem daunting and completely non amusing, but overall, my life is good and rich.

February 16, 2018, Almost there.

Good Morning. Like always, I intend to write more consistently, and like always, there is just way too much going on. Today is Friday, and I just ambled out of bed not very long ago. It has been a very long series of very emotionally charged days. Last Sunday, my mom was in pain, she hadn’t eaten in over 15 days, and she was only able to whisper. She got close to me, and whispered, “I can’t anymore. I don’t want to be here anymore. My whole family is waiting for me at my house…all my aunts are there”. She was speaking of her house in Mexico, and all her family that had passed, was waiting for her. She couldn’t tell me who was there, but when I named them she would say yes, they are there. We started morphine that night, and she had her last rights read to her by her favorite priest Father Tom, from St. Peters Catholic Church. I alerted my cousins, and my brother. I texted her friends, my friends and all of our family. It was a very difficult day/night. My cousin drove up from Ft. Myers that evening and left at 6am the next day. He prayed with her, held her, loved her. We all did…and are still. She is still holding on. She has been out of it a lot of the time, but there are moments of lucidity, and she looks up and is sometimes surprised to see me, and whispers coarsely, “Tash, you are here!” My dad continues to emote like I have never seen before. I am grateful for the outpour of his love and emotion. I can envision my parents as young lovers, newlyweds, and adventurers through his stories, memories, and through his tears. It has tore me up like nothing I have ever seen or been through. This is the very tough, but very beautiful part of this dying process. I called my mother’s life long best friend yesterday, Miriam, who lives in California, and is in a wheel chair. I told her mom’s state was eminent, that now was the time if she wanted to talk with her, or see her. She stated she doesn’t fly anymore due to the difficulties with her wheelchair, but she asked if I would put the phone to mom’s ear, so that she could say goodbye, and sing “their” song. She shared with me that when they were little girls, a radio show was having a singing contest. She and mom called in and sang what would forever more be “their song”. I wish I could tell you the name of it, but I was distraught. She sang to my mother, and my mom could not respond. Heartbreaking. My whole life I have heard stories about the antics that she and Miriam participated in. The closure was beautiful. Also, another touching and beautiful moment. Probably the most poignant moment or event to come from these last days, has been a reconciliation between my father and my brother. Seriously folks, if there were any more emotional turbulence in my life…I’m not sure what! I feel like each moment is so chalked full of emotion…we are all on edge…constantly. Breakdown is on the way! It was private, and full of more tears, and dad looked 10 years younger instantly. He sobbed to my mom that peace had been made with her boy…that loves her, and that everyone was going to be alright. He promised. Again, she was not really able to emote, but she was listening. Yesterday then seemed to be The Day (if you will). Somber, quiet, catatonic. I went home late afternoon, and downloaded some new music on her iPod. My cousin Mario, (my connection to my hispanic life and connection) gave me a list of artists that she loves, as did all my aunts (Las Tias) and my grandmother (Mi Abue). Guty Cardenas, Los Panchos, and various Jaranas Yucatecan. I also downloaded a childhood favorite, CriCri. I played them for her last night, with my dad present, my husband, my son and his girlfriend, and my daughter and her boyfriend. She came to life! She mouthed the words to the songs, tapped her foot to the beat, danced with my son (very small movements in the bed) and shimmied…as best she could, in her bed. What a gift. It was beautiful. Her face became emotive, her eyebrows would rise up and down to the different parts of the songs, and on occasion, she would whisper, “I love this song”. Ugh. So much emotion. My heart is full. I have told her to let go when she is ready, something keeps her here still. We are at 22 days of no food, well, less than maybe 4 tablespoons of food over the course of 22 days. She is bed bound. We are surrounded by a community that loves us and shows us all of the time. The food keeps coming, the hugs, and books, and bottles of wine, and chocolate…and the prayers. So many prayers. I FEEL the prayers, the love, the light. I can continue on due to the prayers,love and light. Thank you to everyone who has followed us on this journey. It is not yet over, but we are close. Please pray for peace for my beautiful mother and father, and that I can handle all that is still to come.
Peace.

January 4, 2018

Happy New Year everyone! Isn’t it amazing to think we are in the year 2018! Do you remember when it was about to be 2000, and there was a mad rush to withdraw all your money because there was going to be a banking glitch and we wouldn’t be able to access our cash? Many thought the world was coming to an end. No one knew what to expect…and here we are 18 years later. I only had one child at the time… he was almost 1 – crazy to think about. I can no longer imagine my life that way. So many things have changed. Many have changed in beautiful ways – ways that have enhanced my life. I have moved several times since then, had 2 additional children, experienced a huge recession, started and left various jobs, lost wonderful, beautiful, important, people. koi’ve made many new friends, experienced chapters and volumes of life’s stories with my forever friends, and lost friends along the way too. I have learned that everyone that comes in and out of your life are not necessarily there forever, but everyone brings you something. They are there for a season, and a purpose. That gives me pause in realizing that you don’t ever really “lose” anyone, but you experience what they are there to bring you, to offer you. I like that version of things. That helps me find peace.
Amazingly, I still feel really blessed. I also feel really stressed, and often times very sad. But, blessed none the less. Momma is still hanging in there. As always, things just keep moving along. December was wonderful, and so sad at the same time. Momma was pretty much out of it the entire month. She slept so much, was very catatonic often, and seemed to be slipping away from us daily. All the while, I was blessed with my young-ens, returning from college, home from school in general, the array of their friends gracing my home with their sweet, young presence. My children were so thoughtful and kind re: being around, helping out with mom, taking her out for jaunts, relieving my dad so that he could have some time to recover from the trauma that was consuming his house, his heart, and his lifelong partner. It was really a beautiful month, and so blue at the same time. They were also so thoughtful in their gift giving. I am a gift giver, I really think about the person I am gifting to, so it is so nice when people do the same for me. The people in my circle, are very thoughtful that way as well, so I was thrilled when my kids put serious thought into gifts that were meaningful, and thoughtful. That was so nice. I am thrilled to be surrounded by such beautiful humans. Truth.
Meanwhile, mom was retreating. She was falling further and further away. Dad was more emotional than ever, crying on the drop of a hat. It all felt so impending. The end…felt so impending. Time continued, things felt grim. Hospice stepped in. She is between a 6 and 7 on the Alzheimer’s scale. 7 is the ending stage on the Alzheimers scale. Mom’s muscles are atrophying somewhat, she is eating 2-4 ounces of food a day, and hadn’t been drinking hardly anything. That has changed a bit this week, but mostly just re: her fluid intake. She also had a full 4 oz. of yogurt today. That was something unusual as of late. So, there we are. Mom is on hospice now, they work on a 6 month schedule. She may have longer than that, and in that case we renew their services. She is now fully incontinent, needs assistance with everything vital, has a difficult time with almost everything, including words, sentences, thoughts, eating, and swallowing. But… as of this week, she isn’t catatonic. Her meds have significantly changed, and she is now, present when awake. Her eyes are open, and she still knows my name. I am grateful for the wonderful, beautiful people that assist her with bathing, offer her patience and grace when speaking with her, and praying with her, and all of my family and friends that bring her (and my family ) food, and fresh fruit juice, and homemade cookies, and visits, and everything else. My life is crazy hard, and confusing, and sad, but it is also so rich, and beautiful, and full. Praise.

The Saga Continues December 4, 2017

Wow! It’s been forever since I have written. I mean to all the time, but I am exhausted these days. Life has gotten very hard. We are at a really sad place. Mom is still around, she still loves really big, and has really big feelings, but she definitely has a tougher time expressing herself these days. The last time I wrote, mom had just celebrated her 72nd birthday. She was bright and shiny. If you love someone with dementia/Alzheimers disease, you know what I mean. When you look in your loved one’s eyes and still see the light. We still get glimmers of light, but it is getting tougher to see. The differences between now and June are huge. On mom’s birthday, we had a dance party for her. She, and all the guests broke open a piñata, there was lots of dancing and friends, and big laughs. Here we are 6 months later, and my momma gratefully is still here, but is now using adult diapers 24 hours a day, needs someone to bathe her, dress her, guide her to brush her teeth, on occasion feed her, and to put her to bed. She just last week, fell down 6 times in one weekend, which ended her in the emergency room. She is healing to look at her, but I believe her to be overmedicated currently, and so she is mostly just asleep. I would say that she hasn’t been up for more than 1 hour today. We are trying to find that balance in meds to where she sleeps at night (she isn’t sleeping at night), and yet isn’t a zombie in the day. She currently can’t keep her eyes open while eating. Of course we all need sleep at night, so it is difficult not sleeping. I miss her.
Otherwise, life is good. I really can’t complain. Life is just really hard. Dad and I are solely taking care of her. My immediate family helps out a ton. It is tough watching the deterioration occur, and watching my littles (not so little anymore) have to take a front row seat. I know this forms them, and enriches their sense of compassion and caring, but it also breaks their hearts. My brother is still MIA – I can’t believe he hasn’t reached out to her. She goes back and forth calling me Tash or Sis (my father’s sister). She generally thinks my father is one of my brothers (I only have one). She always knows my youngest – although recently she thinks she is me, she always remembers my husband, and generally she remembers my son. She sometimes confuses my middle child.
We have been watching her experience sudden grief. Its as though people who have passed years ago, just passed today. The grief is so big, full, and gut wrenching. She is experiencing sundowners syndrome pretty significantly each night around 8. Anger, confusion, paranoia, needing to leave. Packs a bag, and is ready to go home. Home is Mexico, or Merida, or Ft. Myers, or across the street. She packs things like one slipper, a baby doll, a blanket, one shoe, a handful of marbles, and whatever other random items that are in her path.
I gratefully have an amazing husband who is my rock. He and I have had to share so many huge and significant things like this. We seem to be really good at this type of crisis. Any crisis really. He just holds me, at times, he lets me sleep in a bit, while he deals with my wandering momma (this weekend). He talks me through the tears, sadness, and the disappointments of this horrible disease. I also have amazing friends, who jump into action when I called, to help with whatever, to console, advise, snuggle with, or just sit silently next to. I am grateful.
I am not going to regret not being here for my momma, or my dad (as tough as this all is). I won’t have to wonder if I did enough, or if I loved enough. And I will definitely know that I was loved by her, enough.

Momma’s 72nd Birthday – June 9th

So Hi! It’s been a while. I feel like I think/say that often. It is the eve of my mom’s 72nd birthday. Weird right? Understanding the numbers of your parents age. I remember her 40th birthday. Bless her heart. Nathan – my brother and I went to Kmart to buy her a blouse for her birthday. We were BROKE, as a family even, on her 40th birthday. We would have been homeless would it not have been for Dave, best guy ever – apart from my husband. He provided us with a place to stay when we hit rock bottom as a family. I was in 7th grade. – I digress. Sorry. Nate and I went to Kmart, and bought mom a 2XL shirt for her birthday. Anyone that has ever seen my mom, knows she might wear a medium, and only because she has a huge chest. Otherwise, she is 120 pounds on a heavy day, and 5 feet tall on a tall day! She acted surprised, she probably was surprised, and she was happy. She has always been so sweet. She is definitely salty too, but sweet.
She is doing better in general. There are always people around, she is challenged, and interacted with constantly. She is mostly happy. Her nurse said 2 days ago that she is living her life in her mind from maybe 30 years ago. They gave her an updated “expiration date” of maybe 10 years from now. I know, that is just a guess. Pretty good when several months ago, they felt like she might have 3-5 years. This fact seems to irritate my father. I am sorry to air this garbage on here, but it is my outlet. I need to release this trash. He feels like we have “deceived” him. Yep. That is what he said. He feels that we, along with the social worker have tricked him into moving here. He is so angry. I am so angry. Life is so constantly hard. So hard. As you may have surmised, pop and I are not getting along at the moment. He has been awful. Awful to me, to my family, and to my mother. He also is great with her sometimes, but he is wearing me out. Life is already hard enough, you know? He recently tried to shame me…what the hell is that. Told me to shut up and listen to my husband. I nearly came unglued. Many other things were said, all equally ugly, and now our relationship has changed. I treat him professionally, as though he is that asshole co-worker, that I have to work with. I am almost to the place where I just call him by his name vs. dad, or pop. I am nearly there. He plans on taking her to Ft. Myers on Sunday for approximately 2 weeks – which doesn’t mean anything. He left with her for 3 days last time and was gone 6 weeks. She ended up in the hospital after a scary fall. She is happy here. He is miserable. I wish he would just go. I cannot afford to completely sustain her though on my own accord. We just assumed so much additional debt when moving into this house to help house them too. I have one heading to college in the fall (grateful) and a car to buy for the next child in line. This is not a guilt trip or anything else, just irritation that my dad won’t provide for her properly, and is about to do something counter productive to everything else we have just done to get her to this place. She was off on her meds, schedules, dietary, and anything else that required a commitment to a schedule. Anyone that is affected by someone with dementia knows that schedules are key for them. They need to know what to expect. It’s a form of muscle memory when your brain forgets. This is about to set us back so much.
Again, I digress.
So, I was going to take her up in a hot air balloon ride for #72, but $600.00 is out of my league for 4 of us. I’m sure that is a great deal too, but still too much for me. Instead, we are having a dance party! Yassss! Sounds crass and contrite I know, but mom is all about dancing to some Miami music/latin music. We have a handful of teenagers (that love Abue- mom)coming over tomorrow, and a few of mom’s friends, to dance with her, break open a piñata, take selfies with her(they love to do this with her and add all their crazy snap chat filters), and eat some cake! It’ll be fun! That’s the deal.
Besides that, the boy has graduated (how is this possible?), He is going on a month long road trip with his girlfriend beginning June 20th. They are going up the eastern seaboard up to Newfoundland. My middle child is traveling to France with boyfriend and his family in a week (oh my) and we still haven’t finished one bathroom in the old – new – house. I do love it here. Great house. Always a ton to do though. I am ready to stop…and be really quiet – and still. I desire quiet and stillness. In the interim, we shall see. Every major moment is seemingly happening right now, and I am hanging on for dear life. So grateful for the sweetest man in the world. I’m quite positive I do not deserve him – but I am so grateful he is mine. He and the boy (and several man children) are on a canoe trip down the Buffalo River right now. It is a yearly trip, filled with Godly men, that are quite salty (pardon me for saying that twice) as several of them are retired military. They are getting their fill of peace, quiet, nature, and men that love and listen to you with a inordinate amount of farting! Glad they are there, not necessarily due to the farting! Love those boys.
Anyway. Tomorrow we celebrate 72 years of blessings and life. Celebrating a life well lived. Here’s to a life well lived.
Cheers.
T

Peek a boo April 6, 2017

My mom came out to play for a bit on Tuesday. It was awesome. I think it was almost more exciting to see my dad react. He is in that place where I think he feels like he takes care of her now, but “she” doesn’t ever come out for too long. I think that makes him feel like nothing he does will bring her to the forefront, so he just does what he needs to do. I’m sure I continue to try to engage her because… I’m not sure. I wait for her to re-appear I guess. I want to figure out what makes her re-appear. So on my way home from work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I stop at the Mexican bread store and pick up her favorite breads(elephant ears and conchas). Dads too (guava pastries). This makes her so happy. Dad too. Then we sit and chat a bit. I have been cleaning out my shed, and ran across a box of travel type games that have gone all over the country with me and my growing family. I gave them to my dad to engage with my mom. He initially was irritated as he said they would just keep junking up the house. But on that Tuesday, mom took out on her own a brain teaser, and worked really hard on it on and off for about 30 minutes. She told me Santa brought her all these toys. ( Sweetness) Any way. One of the things in there was conversation starters. If you aren’t familiar with this activity, it is a series of cards – probably 75-100 and they have different topics on them. Example, what is your favorite thing about your physical appearance? Least favorite. What was the most difficult thing that happened in your life and how has it helped you to be who you are? Some questions were easier and talked of a best friend, or a silly experience or a favorite color. She thought and thought about her answers, and on occasion would get a little lost in the responses, but I could see where she was going with her responses. She talked about living far away from her family and how hard that was and how it helped her to be more independent and her favorite thing about her appearance was her eyes. My dad who would normally balk at having to play a game for too long, wanted the game to last as long as possible. It was a sweet moment. I am still mostly Sis to her or Elin, but it is ok. I respond. My aunt is a tough ass (in a good way), and I gladly will respond to her name. Dad is learning how to do her physical therapy routine with her. This is good. The meds have been regulated and are now being taken in a scheduled manner. All in all, life is good. I am blessed.
On an alternate note, my son has decided to attend the University of North Florida in Jacksonville for college in the fall. We were all surprised as we were near positive he would be attending University of Cincinnati in Ohio. He said that after much thought and contemplation, UNF is where he is choosing to attend. His reasons were costs of in state tuition, being closer to home, remaining close to his little sister (who idolizes him and is generally besotted when she thinks about him leaving), a girlfriend that he loves at UNF, and Abue, were his reasons for staying. He wants to be able to stay connected to her. He and my mother are tight. How can any of this be terrible? It isn’t. It is wonderful. Sad often times, but wonderful. She has lived a long full life (still is), doing things her way. I read an article this morning on FB. It was the story of a mom who has recently lost her 4 year old son to childhood cancer. The suffering she is experiencing is unreal, as she will never see her child reach his full potential as an adult. It is a current loss and a loss for the future. This is a tragedy. I can palpably feel her loss, as best as possible without going through it myself. This type of loss is unfair. My Momma has had a good life. A full life. She still is. No complaints here.

Momma’s here April 3, 2017

Well, It has finally happened. Momma is here. It has been quite a journey. They were here, then they left. They were here, then they left again. And then mom fell, and ended up being transported by ambulance to the ER in Ft. Myers. Gratefully, we had amazing social workers that wouldn’t allow my mother to be discharged without long term arrangements, and so my father caved. They have been here for about 3 weeks. Momma is declining quickly. We are now sort of “babysitting” her all day long. I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner. She just can’t be left alone for any reason anymore. She is needing assistance in the restroom, changing her clothes, bathing, with meds, sometimes feeding herself, walking. It is happening quickly. She generally doesn’t know who my father is and he is heartbroken. They have been together and married since 1969. I feel like I have to work just as hard taking care of my father as I do my mother because he is so fragile right now- and so tough at the same time. He cries all the time. A song, a memory, pictures, when she is confused, or really having a tough day. He cries. This is NOT his norm. Never has been. He is sometimes immobilized by his fear or his horror of what is happening. We have to step in a lot. Thank God for an amazing husband and amazing children. My husband took my mom for chocolate milk, a donut and a car ride the other day so that I could have a few hours with just my dad to decompress a bit. It was lovely. She didn’t know who he was that day, and that made her very nervous. It got better though. She mostly knows who I am most of the time. Recently she has been calling my Elin though. Elin is my father’s sister, and I do look like her a bit ( I think). She seems to know (most of the time ) that I am who she knows me to be, but she confuses my name. Yesterday and the day before were really hard days. She is getting a lot of involuntary muscle spasms in her arms, which don’t allow her to then hold a glass, or a pencil, or whatever…feed herself. She is shaking a lot as well. She is at times…more consistently having a tough time with her thoughts, and her words. She generally cannot finish a sentence. She is happy in the cottage we bought her. Life is simple here, and filled with my kids, their friends, my friends too. We have bon fires, and dinner together, and we spend time crafting in the studio, or watching spanish soap operas. She had her first Hispanic party that she attended since she’s been back. She did alright, but was out of it for the most part, and they called me stating that she was ready to go home. She has at home health care coming to her right now which has been a blessing and a Godsend. They have all been amazing and super thorough. My children have stepped up in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. They take her hand and walk her home, help fold her clothes, eat with her, play games with her, talk to her about whatever super random things are coming out of her mouth, dance with her and watch Hispanic tv with her. I see and feel their sadness sometimes, and that just feels so big. This is hard. I am so grateful though.I am aware of how limited our time is together. Today is our first “Momma Monday”. We are trying to get super scheduled and routined so she knows what to expect daily. We are going to paint rocks #delandrocks, and then hide them in town, followed by lunch with my girlfriend and her mother. Off we go. I have reached out to my brother, hoping that he will do the right thing by her, but he still has made little effort to connect with her. With that, I still feel as though I am blessed. I will try and reach out more, as it has been difficult with the constant changes and ups and downs. Big hugs to all of you on all you might be dealing with my friends. We are all fighting our own battles, right? Later.

January 26, 2017

4 months…4 months! How is this possible? I know I say that all the time, but seriously! I have written a few times over the last several months, but haven’t finished any of the posts. Not one! I write to you in the pick up line at the middle school, or as I sit waiting at a doctors appointment, but they haven’t gotten finished or posted.

Well, grab a cup of coffee I suppose. Let’s chat! Where to begin? I feel insane really for all that I am about to disclose, because, this is novel material. If someone told me this was their life, I would think they were making it up. How could this amount of stuff so constantly be happening? Not sure. But… this is my life. And it is real. I think that this is going to be my life forever too. I mean, that it will forever be like this and that it will maintain this level of insanity.
Ok, well, I warned you.
So I just read over my last post. “Sitting on porch relaxing with my dog watching the ibis and listening to the ravens???”I want that!!!! Serenity now! I could remember that moment as I read over it, and remembered the peace I felt. I have moments of peace, but they don’t just find me. I have to actively look for peace and serenity. Since I last wrote, we did major work on our new, old, house. We gutted and redid the kitchen, and we started the process on a bathroom, as well as rewiring, painting and moving in. We moved in November 11, and sold our old home on November 17th. This house has immediately felt like home, which has been a very pleasant surprise. We have all enjoyed it very much. There is a shit ton of work still to be done, but…ehh, it’ll happen. We hosted Thanksgiving and entertained 30 people 2 weeks into our lives at this house. We ushered in December with our annual Christmas bingo/ugly sweater christmas party to the tune of 100 people (outside). It was awesome as always. We have such a great time with that party. All our friends and their kids and our families come. It is wonderful. We then celebrated Christmas and New Years…which brings us to now – ish. Remember that we bought this house because it had a second house on the property – for momma? Well, Mom and Dad moved up almost a week ago, into their sweet little bungalow. Moved is a relative term, but they are here and they have various belongings which makes it seem as though they reside here. It was quite a feat convincing them. My dad arrived kicking and screaming and putting on the tantrum of his life. He DOES NOT WANT TO BE HERE! But, he is here and since they are attempting this “move” for the second time (in a week) he isn’t acting quite as awful. My mom is thrilled to be here, to eat dinner with us, to be around the kids, but is experiencing sundown syndrome, where all goes to hell at night. She freaks out, paces, packs to leave, is paranoid, scared, has behavior changes, hallucinates, hears things, etc. That is hard and has been really tough. Tylenol PM is the answer to that so far. I have put her back on all her meds (my dad took her off all her meds- he didn’t want to manage them, and felt they weren’t doing her any good anyway.) I take her with me in the afternoons to go and do kid pick ups. We have been cooking together (she mostly watches or snaps beans for me or washes lettuce.) She has no idea how to cook anymore. In total, I am around the corner from losing my mom forever with in her own body and mind. That is where we are. She is lost. She wanders in circles aimlessly, picking up random things, having random conversations that don’t make any sense. It is becoming increasingly difficult for her to find her words, the right ones anyway. She still recognizes me. I am grateful. She no longer recognizes my father. She is positive his name is Dave, and he is a friend who takes care of her, and who is badgering her to marry him. She tells him all the time she is already married to Ron, and that she can’t do that within the catholic church. God Bless her. My father is devastated. This is the knee jerker. She calls him Dave all day long. She would really like him to go back to his own house. He is just visiting. Sorry Dave-O, I know you read my blog. Anyway. She often times thinks Dave, my father, and she, go and do various things together. She feels like the 3 of them go out to eat, to the movies, or whatever else. Her condition is called Capgras Delusions. Very interesting, and super sad.
Switching gears for a minute. So, as all this is going on, the milestones are still happening. My daughter just turned 12 last Wednesday. Bless her heart, she asked for a trash can, black socks that match, and a lint roller??? WTF! Dear lord! Anyway, My oldest has now been accepted into the 3 colleges he applied to! Exciting. We are heading up to the University of Cincinnati this upcoming Monday to take it in in the winter and to see the Lumineers in concert. This is what he wanted for his birthday, which is Saturday. He is about to legally be an adult…ugh….sigh…tears. I took him (because they still make you!) to his last pediatric doctor appointment. You know I cried afterwards right? My son is a man. Such a great man too. You know how awesome it is to be around your kids and think… I really like this PERSON. He/she is a great, and fun, and ethical, person. Not just my kid, but person that is going out into this world. Anyway. I adore his doctor, and she has loved him and taken care of he and his sisters since 2000. It was bittersweet. My Man child drove himself home after the appointment. **sigh**
Meanwhile, I spoke with my mom’s memory care team and caught her up to speed on mom being here and where she is at mentally, and she sweetly said, keep your momma comfortable. Meds from here forward will be for quality of life. This process has been happening very very quickly, and it will keep doing so. Enjoy your mom. She won’t be around too much longer. Especially not in the way that you know her.
I was driving… and crying. So, I had a little time to process and write down questions and I spoke to her again today. This time I was able to write down answers to questions I had, and ask questions without quite the shock of yesterday. I feel sad, to the bottom of my heart. Overwhelmed, and like somehow, this is all so unfair. I curse no one. I say little. It just sits so heavy on my soul. I just told my brother – he chooses to remain out of anything mom and dad related. Pretty much me related too these days. We will see what he chooses to do. I felt like he needed to know. The rest is up to him.
Anyway. I am grateful I still have time with my momma. I am grateful my dad is here, and I am so grateful for my husband and family that prove to be the Gibraltar of all rocks.
Blessings and peace. Hug your mommas.

September 19, 2016

Good Morning! It has been forever! Hard to believe so much time has passed. It has been a long,hot, summer. It still feels like summer currently although some mornings you are able to detect a cooler feeling or a breeze that doesn’t feel quite so oppressive. I have just been sitting on porch, enjoying a cup of coffee with my sweet dog, Nikki. We were watching the squirrels chasing and playing with one another, the ibis eating grubs or whatever sort of bugs out of the various lawns, and listening to the ravens squawk and pollute the quiet day with their loud, aggressive sounds. Moments like these are a blessing, because it means we are at rest. I get to stop…and take it all in. There is no school this morning as it is a teacher -in- service day, so my sweet nephew is over, playing with my youngest – who is so sweet to him. I am getting ready to take 5 girls to the mall to go Homecoming dress shopping – and I love that. I am thrilled that they allow me to be a fly on the wall, to hear the chatter, see the interactions, and listen to the goings-on of teenage girls. I am positive that I will miss this when they are grown up and on their own.
Since we last interacted, we closed on the house that we were under contract with forever. It is now our very own money pit! It has been so far, but we knew this would be the deal. We have had to rewire the whole house as it was still connected to live tube and knob wiring. For those that do not know what that is (I didn’t know) it an old timey electrical type of wiring that is no longer allowed by current codes. We closed on the house on August 31, and beginning September 1, the electricians started their work. They have been amazing and I am grateful we will have the piece of mind of knowing the house is wired as it should be so that my family will be kept safe in this modern age of much electrical use i.e. cell phone chargers, hair dryers, flat irons, computers, flat screens. None of which were even thought of in 1878 when this house was built and wired! We have been ripping out cabinets (in the kitchen) and tearing down the ceiling, as we realized it had an aqua beadboard ceiling. It has been a true adventure, and I am sure it is only the beginning! We still haven’t sold our house, and I think it may be a blessing as we still have a place to live as all this craziness is happening in the new house. We are showing it a bunch, just nothing notable to discuss in terms of offers. It’s coming. Lets see, what else? School has started back. Our county opted for uniforms for all public schools, and there was a big to do about it for a while, but honestly, I like it. I think the kids don’t mind as much as they thought they would either. It makes it easy on mornings when you ignored your alarm one to many times! My kids are now in their senior year, sophomore year, and first year in middle school. It is CRAZY that they are this old! My senior is acting like a senior/teenager for the first time. He doesn’t normally do things that require us to be “On” him so much, but he has recently. I did WAY worse stuff as a teenager, so I am grateful that a.) he is a normal teenager, and b.) it’s not that bad. He is good about hearing what we have to say and accepting the consequences without too much of a fuss. My middle is experiencing her first boyfriend, and she is having fun with him as well as her friends, and team mates. It is fun getting to watch her go through this process. It was fun for me years and years ago – would not want to do it again!, but it was fun. Now it is fun watching she and her friends maneuver through this maze of teenage pressures, activities, sporting activities, dances, relationships, parental pressures, etc. They are doing a good job. I am impressed with all the various kids in and out of our door. The adults of tomorrow have a lot to offer! My youngest is having a tougher time with transition. She is having a tough time deciding who she wants to spend her time with. She is transitioning from sort of “heard mentality” that tends to be middle school aged girls. She is figuring out who she is and she is very purposely taking the time to discover the different things she is interested in. She is bucking against girls telling her who she is spending too much time with or not spending enough time with. It is hard to watch her go through this, but I am proud of her spirit, resolve, and independent spirit.
Mom
Mom is having an increasingly difficult time. Things are getting pretty challenging. Time makes no sense to her anymore, so this process of “moving up here” seems like forever, and like it is never going to happen. It sometimes seems that way to me, so I am sure it is tougher when time and distance only confuse the process. She is misplacing everything…underclothes, jewelry, phones, meds, dog leash, shoes, toothbrush, etc. She is frustrated most of the time. Dad takes her out everyday and says she does fine while they are out, but they get home, she gets angry, and emotional. She is constantly looking for her lost items, that she is positive people are stealing from her. She is angry because she feels crazy, and or that other people think she is crazy. Her fear is that people are going to come and take her without me knowing, and putting her in the “nut- house”. She has all these “conversations” with people that aren’t actually around about their experiences with being “thrown into the nut house.” It’s sad. She and her brother are reestablishing a relationship with one another. I am so grateful. It is making her so happy. They have fought and been on terrible terms with one another for most of their lives. My uncle has been great about picking up the phone and being the one to make the connection. I am so grateful. My cousin and his girlfriend have been amazing also in terms of going over to my parents at a moments notice and acting as a diversion when things are getting really hard and tense. It takes a village!
That is the deal- Where we are at this moment. Life is good. Busy. Exhausting. Full. Hard. Rewarding.img_1254

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July 31…really???

How is this possible? Could a month and a half passed since writing you? Crazy! Time flies! Whether you are having fun or not…gratefully, I am mostly having fun! I love summer. I do. I love it. Lack of schedule, lack of mandatory running around (mostly), swimming, the beach, sleeping in late, road trips, hanging out with your kids all the time, sleepovers. I know some parents are excited for the kids to go back to school, and I am too at times, but mostly, I just love this time together. I feel the changes happening, the shifts occurring, and soon my babies are going to move on, as they are supposed to do. I am not trying to be dramatic, but I AM trying to be present. This summer has not been our typical summer. My oldest has been away for 4 weeks this summer- three consecutively. We have been trying to sell our home, lots of cleaning up and lots of showings, as well as preparing to move into our new home. We picked our son up from the course he was taking at Emory University, and then proceeded to do our son’s college tour from there. It was so great having him back and having all of my people in the car with me. Lots of conversation, restaurants, different playlists from different kids, and lots of cool destinations. We have a better handle now on what we are looking for in re:to schools, and re: what won’t serve our son so well. It was a great trip, and we are glad to now be home.
My middle babe turned 15 yesterday. What is that about! It is crazy that this can be true. But it is. She is gorgeous inside and out and I am grateful she is my baby. We had about 15 of her friends over yesterday beginning at 4 to swim, have a cook out, they played giant yard Jenga, had a water balloon fight, made s’mores, and watched an outdoor movie while hanging out in the pool. It was a great evening. Her friends are just as nice as she is…and we are so grateful. They were so thoughtful in their gift giving, it was awesome to see her open up truly thoughtful presents. She is so thoughtful in her gift giving, and it was nice those sentiments returned. This was our first coed party too, mind you. But they truly enjoyed one another. Initially, it was awkward like a middle school dance – boys on one side, girls on the other, but then our pastor and his family arrived, to have their 5 year old little girl give Grace the gift she bought her. That little girl wrangled all those boys up and girls and had them all eating out of her hands at the same time! The boys were sweet to her and were high fiving her and letting her put flash tattoos all over them. By the end of the visit with our pastor and his family, all the boys and girls were swimming together, playing games together, having water balloon fights, etc. It was adoreable! It also really showed the true nature of all of these 15 & 16 year old kids. They were tender and sweet and not too cool to be nice to a couple of adorable little kids.
Mom is still mom. She is consistently loosing things, obsessing about them for a few weeks, and then finding them. She and dad are busy filling their days with movies, and the theatre, and lots of tacos from San Julians in Ft. Myers! We talk nearly daily and she is sweet and funny. My dad has been taking her for trips to get her nails done, her hair done, or a massage. It is making him happy to do this for her and it also buys him a little alone time I think. The other day they called me and she had just come back from getting her hair cut and colored along with a manicure. I asked her to tell me about it and she said she was really happy with everything but they did a terrible job on her toes. She said she was going to go back in tomorrow and have them redo them because they looked terrible. Meanwhile, in the background my dad says” they didn’t do your toes today…they did your hair and your fingernails.” She said…”Oooh, really? Hmm. Well, I am going to go back there and have them fix them up anyway, they look terrible.” Bless her heart. I am not sure where they are still re: the new house. If nothing else, we are providing an option for them. It doesn’t appear as though my dad is on the same page as us, still. We will see. I think this will change, but in the meantime, I will not say anything except that it will be there for them should they need it. We are creating an option.
My brother and I texted recently. That is unusual, but not entirely unpleasant. He let me know through text that he and his family have moved to New Hampshire. Hmm. They needed a change. Ok. He wrote to give me his new number. Near the end of our text exchange, he asked about my mom. Asked how she was. She would feel very betrayed if I were to give up her personal info to someone who she feels has abandoned her so I simply said that she was well, but that life is tougher these days, than in days past. He stated that he has written them countless letters, sent them photos, and his various addresses, but they never get in touch with him. He said he feels they are screening his calls to because he hasn’t been able to reach them.
If my parents knew how to use their phones or technology, I might see his point of view, but my parents went to Mexico in April, and my dad just 3 days ago figured out how to turn off airplane mode!!! Again…bless his heart! They are trying. For this I am grateful. All I could say to my sibling was, I am sorry that you all are in this place. I left it at that. I am done having this discussion. He is too obviously. He said that he is done reaching out to them. I hope his son looks at life with a little more love and humility, and doesn’t do to his parents what my sibling has done to my parents. My parents will never get over the heart ache, I don’t believe. Especially my mom. He was her everything. Having said that, Oh well, not my bed & I won’t be sleeping in it. I will love her through it though, and try not to say anything bad or negative about anyone either. I choose to Love them all right where they are.

Quite a nutshell right? I think this is all my norm. I do not think that things will ever settle, just shift. We shall see. Once again, I am grateful. God is good to me and the people I love and those around me. Please keep us in your prayers to sell this beautiful house so that we can move into the next one with a sense of peace and tranquility. We close on August 31 – a month from today. Hard to believe. Onward and upward!
Peace, Love and Light.

Momma’s sad June 14, 2016

Hi friends. It is Tuesday afternoon, summer has begun, as evidenced by the 100 degree days, the laying around, the constant gathering of friends, the endless sleepovers. My children have rediscovered the Wii. How funny is that!?! They haven’t played the Wii in years. My daughter was excited a few hours ago that Hagrid, from Harry Potter, was on her baseball team. Funny. My son is a camp counselor currently and I feel like that is a super place for him to be. The world has gone crazy yet again, with a massacre shooting in Orlando -my back yard. I feel so sad that this is where we are in the world today. I have decided though, that all I have control of is what I say and do, and I am not going to put a bunch of negative stuff out there. I am tired of talking about things like this. I am tired of having no control over this type of stuff. I am tired of losing beautiful people for no reason. None. I support religion, organized and nonconventional, I support your right to speech, your preference on who you want to love and marry, if you choose to marry. I support your right to decide what happens within your own body, I do also believe then you have to take responsibility when things happen to your body due to the habits you have, the drugs you intake, the sex you have, the cigarettes you smoke. I think we all need to start taking more responsibility for what we all say and do. And finally, I think we need to be nice. Period. Nice. Kind. Show love – to people we know and whom we have never met. Despite who they love, or if they go to church, what kind of clothes they wear, or whatever. I am not sure why we need to own automatic weapons. I get that people don’t want their second amendment rights taken away, but can’t we just agree that no good comes from a crazy person with an automatic weapon…ever! Are we supposed to put TSA type people everywhere to monitor metal detectors? Can we not go to the movies without being scared, or to the library, or to buy an ice cream? When is enough, enough. I do not want to live my life afraid. I don’t want my kids to be afraid. I want to travel, I want my kids to feel safe at school, and abroad, and hanging out with their friends. I feel sad about this whole new level of hate, and political correctness, and disingenuousness, and fear. I don’t want people to feel like they have to be political correct based on what someone might say to us, but because if it is said with a mean spirt or mal-intent, then it shouldn’t be said. No more about that. It just feels like there is no end in sight, and our political candidates I don’t believe speak for the majority of the people. It seems futile.

Anyway, lets talk about Momma. I have been trying to touch base with her daily. She tells my dad that she thinks I have forgotten about her if I don’t speak with her daily. I sometimes call her up to 5 times daily, on all the phones, but no one answers. Bless her heart though, she doesn’t know how to tell if I called, she just knows we haven’t spoken, and she has lost the sense of time. This causes great confusion, anxiety and depression for my mom, as one hour = one day=one month=years. We spoke today and she told me she was really depressed. She has realized she hasn’t done laundry in a while – she was overwhelmed by all there was to do. She went to stick a load in the machine – and she had forgotten how to use it. She did the best she could, she said, to load the washer and eventually the dryer, but isn’t sure if she did it right. She hoped she didn’t break her appliances. Bless her heart. She told me she wanted to move, I reminded her she was moving, up here with me. She was so excited. Then, she sheepishly asked if I was moving her to my basement. Funny enough, I haven’t had a basement since I was a child and lived up north, but the house we are buying – has a basement – so she remembered that. I told her of course she wasn’t moving into my basement, that she was going to have a beautiful new home of her own approximately 200 feet away from my house. She screamed, she was so happy. She asked again if I was sure we weren’t putting her where we might put canned goods in the cellar…:( I assured her that no. That was not now, nor would it ever be, the plan. I told her we could get some new furniture to fit in her new house, or pots and pans, whatever she needed, and she could leave the other stuff back home, and she could use it when she vacationed there. It would be her “vacation home”. Again, she squealed with delight, as I had just solved a huge dilemma for her. This isn’t the first time we have spoken of these things, but it is the first time it sunk in. She kept telling me how smart I was. ***sigh*** She is so excited to take the kids to school with me, and pick oranges, and can jams and jellies, and watch my kids grow. Oh, …and she wants us to throw some parties… because we are “party girls” she said. Bless her. Yes we are. We come from a long line of people that like to have fun, and celebrate life. That is what we will do. Anyway. Just so you know, I won’t be keeping my mom in the basement…and we will be having parties! I am blessed. She still knows who I am, and we still have joy. Life is good. This is something I can control – how I view the time I have with my momma.
Peace and happiness to you all on this hot, hot, Tuesday!