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.