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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.

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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June 1, 2016

Good morning! I am still here. Life is crazy as always. I don’t believe that will ever change! I think when we are done with one particular thing, it just gets replaced with something else. It’s all good. I am not complaining. So, I currently have 3 painters at my current house. I think they are amazing…such ethic and integrity. AAA Master Painting. Anyhow. My house is all kinds of torn up as my daughter’s bedroom, 3 hallways, kitchen, living room, dining room and mud room are stages of being painted. The guys also tore down paper from my bathroom, and are getting ready to paint that. Pretty much all of my stuff is floating in the middle of every room! Landscapers are coming shortly to take a look at our plan again, and we start that this upcoming week. Whomever moves here, is going to be set. Beautiful landscaping, beautiful quality paint, crisp clean spaces, and a beautiful neighborhood. It is so bittersweet. I am now excited and anxious as there is so much to do. Everything costs so much money. At my core, I’m still a poor kid whose parents are struggling to make it. I am not sure that ever changes. I am generally quite frugal. Anyway. We are working towards our closing date of August 31. Our new house is gorgeous and it is turn key. It is not to my taste decor wise, but that is the fun in getting into something new (or old in this matter). We just had our home inspection at the new house. Those poor guys were crawling around in attics and crawl spaces for 8 hours! They were amazing! Overall, it was a good report. There of course is “stuff” we need to deal with as the house is 80 plus years old. But is super manageable.
It is graduation time here. So exciting! Many of our family friends are graduating. We have one more year until my oldest graduates, gratefully. We attended several parties this past weekend and there are still a few more in the near future. I remember this time. Don’t you? Everything seemed so new and fresh. Scary too. So many unknowns…what will you study, where, how will you pay for it all, friends leaving, leaving your home and your family, should you travel first, the status of your current relationships. So much. But it is so exciting too. The world is open to you. Anything and everything is a possibility. Anyway. I digress! 🙂
So my folks were just here this weekend. My dad was insistent, which is super interesting as my dad never really wants to “visit”. Not often anyway. He said he needed to talk and tell me about was has been happening. He has been on a vacation for one month (post office), and he took my mom to Mexico to visit her family. She described it as so fun, really great, etc. My dad told me stories that I am embarrassed to repeat. My mother acted like a defiant 2 year old. She acted very badly and did some pretty awful things. I can’t help but feel embarrassed, even though I am aware that she has lost her ability to have judgement and logic. I keep thinking she isn’t “bad” yet in re: to her dementia, but it is actually getting pretty bad. It makes me sad for her and my dad. I am sad for me too. She asked me in private the other day, very quietly if the man in the other room was actually my real dad. I said that yes he was. She said that he is very nice to her, and she likes him, but she doesn’t think he is my real dad. She didn’t want me to share this with him. I didn’t. Many times, she thinks he is my brother. She mostly refers to him as my brother. My sweet momma. She misses my brother. He chooses not to have anything to do with any of us at this point. So sad for him. My sister in law contacted my middle daughter recently and let her know that they were moving at the end of this school year again. That is how they communicate with us. Through my middle child – their favorite of my children?!? Weird. Anyway. Enough about things I can’t control, and don’t have time or energy to think about.
I went to the dentist yesterday to have 2 teeth filled. Normal, no big deal. I have a really high pain tolerance – always have. I couldn’t unfurl my hands yesterday, I couldn’t “relax” if you will. Transference is my gift – it is how I am able to get through this crazy life of mine at times, but I could not do it yesterday. My sweet dentist (who has earned my business for life), asked me if I was alright. I said yes, no worries, keep going. He asked me if I was feeling any pain, I said no. No worries, keep going. He asked me again a few minutes later if I was sure I was ok. I told him I was feeling really anxious, He said no worries, he gave me a shot to calm me down, and then after my procedure, he had 2 of his staff bring me home. Isn’t that amazing? I love quality people who truly care about others. I want to be surrounded by people like this. I am actually surrounded by people like this. God is so good to me and my family. I am blessed.
It continues. It all continues. Packing, moving, painting, planting, celebrating the end of the year, the end of sports with friends and teammates, the end of plays with cast members, the end of sweet high school times with friends that are moving on. The end of some semblance of sanity and the beginnings of a life where people take care of you almost solely- speaking of my momma of course. We rejoice though, as there is a time for everything.

sweet Lionessess!
sweet Lionessess!

The next class of IB seniors!
The next class of IB seniors!
Momma and Paigy
Momma and Paigy
BFF's graduation party
BFF’s graduation party
Paigy and her Pop
Paigy and her Pop
"I'm your favorite cousin"
“I’m your favorite cousin”
Nana and Lily
Nana and Lily
Joe's Graduation party
Joe’s Graduation party
Chaos
Chaos
Painters paradise
Painters paradise