Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Dear Mother,
It's already been two weeks since you left us for your Heavenly home.  You would be proud of me, Mom, I only cried twice today.  The rain has finally stopped and we had a gorgeous sunny day.  I was even able to set out a beautiful pink azalea that a friend of ours from church gave me, in memory of you.  I remember when we built our house here, you cut a piece off of your beautiful fuchsia azalea over on Skyuka road and walked all the way down the bank to the creek, to put a rock on top of it until a root grew.  I still have it and it's blooming now.  I can't believe you were my age and climbed up and down that huge bank just to check on that root.  You must have loved me a lot.  I even placed some flowers on your grave last week.  You know I detest graves.  Sue was always good to take care of everybody's grave and to visit regular.  I just never wanted to do that.  But I'm going to try to do better for you.   I believe you would have loved your "homegoing" service.  We have had so many to compliment on  how beautiful it was. I try not to think about the last 7 years of your life, Mom, just all the years before, when you were you.  I know now that you are complete.  There will never be a time when you're alone or confused, for you have all the answers now.  I just want to tell you how much I loved you.  I can't imagine a better mother than you.  Tell Daddy, Yates and Doris "hello" and I will see you all again one day, on that beautiful shore. ---Jean

My beautiful mother, Margie W. Williams, 86, had her final "homegoing" on April 8, 2015.  What a relief it was to see her draw that final breath.  Her struggles had finally ended.  Mother developed double pneumonia from aspiration, several weeks prior to her passing.  Spending a few weeks in the hospital, complications were still present.  Her family was by her side constantly, up until her last breath.  I will miss her and all the calamities that Dementia brought our way.  But we are so thankful and blessed to have been a part of this woman's life, even through the "crazy" years.  My thoughts and prayers will forever be with those of you who have typed in, searching for information or stories, concerning dementia and brought you to this blog. I say goodbye today, not only to mom, but to you.  May God Bless!

Friday, February 20, 2015

I Still Need You!

I tried making your infamous pound cake again today, mother.  Even though I have the recipe, it still doesn't come close to yours.  I needed to ask you what I am doing wrong, but know that it's impossible for you to tell me. Visiting mother becomes harder and harder each time I go now.  Weeks ago, I was spending time with my youngest grandson, when I stepped  on a slippery surface and sprained my ankle.  Soon afterwards, I was telling mother about my fall, when all of a sudden, her eyes became huge, and a stern look covered her face...that all familiar "mothering instinct" took over, as she blurted out, "When did this happen?"  "You better be careful!"  I was in shock, yet feeling elated that a part of my mother was still in there.  Forgive me mother, for giving up on ever feeling that love from you again.  It's really hard for all of us, knowing that you would never want to be this way.  Dear Lord, I miss the woman that used to live inside my mother's body.  I know that my feelings are selfish; realizing that so many have lost their mothers to death and can no longer touch or see them here on earth.  I thank you for the life that this jewel has shown before her family.  For the years she gave serving You; teaching, praying and reading Your Word.  What a blessing she's been to those who loved her.  Teach me to accept this day, this time in my mother's life. I know that all of this is in your perfect plan and that our lives are forever engraved in the palms of Your hands as Your Word tells us.  Because of this, I can face tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Dementia: A Transformer"

Well I must confess...it has been more than a few months since I've posted.  Mother's 86th birthday has come and gone.  Dementia still insists on transforming our precious matriarch into someone who can hardly recognize her family and friends.  It is a rarity to hear her call my name now.  Her words have become mostly "jibberish" but still has some choice, distinguishable words thrown in; displaying that "Mema" humor we all have known and loved.  Even the words to her favorite hymns are becoming aloof.  The last of her beautiful white teeth, have now broken off or fallen out, leaving only stubs to chew on.  I glance at her hair, fingers, nose, eyes...every bodypart, a reminder of our past life together as mother and daughter.  Many times, people will ask how mother is doing.  I answer, "As well as to be expected, just doesn't know us anymore."  Their reply back is usually "Well, at least you still have her!"  I've heard that conversation at different times and situations in my life before, just not about my own mother. Now, I actually know what it means.  It has to be a selfish need though, granting it is one of love.  Even if she doesn't have a clue as to where she is, or who she's with, we are still able to go visit her and can see, touch and feel our mother's body.  I still want this.  I do know that possibly, a time will come, when I won't.

Friday, October 3, 2014

"Together Again!"

It's a rainy day and I've been meaning to post for some time now.  Weeks ago, word came to me that one of mother's special cousins, Nellie Bennett, had come to reside at the same home where mother is.  With mixed emotions on the news; not wanting Nell to have to give up her freedom of living at home, yet a little joy, knowing that she will be near mother, I call my sister Sue to tell her the news, knowing she would be going for a visit in a day or so and could check in on Nell.   I knew that with mother's current state of mind, she would probably never recognize Nell as the little girl she played with, years and years ago at the Lake House (Lake Adger) where her father, who was Mother's Uncle Burt,  caretaker and game warden of the Lake back in the 1930's.  If any of you have read my blog for sometime, you may recall a post on August 8, 2010, entitled "The Lake House."   If so inclined, you can look it up and read.  My sister Sue had never met Nell, but was aware of who she was.  While visiting mother, she noticed a gentleman there, calling a new resident by the name of  "Nell." She preceded to go over and introduce herself and asked if she was Nell Bennett, mother's cousin.  With a huge grin, Nell, explained that she had seen mother in the dining room on more than one occasion and felt sure it was her but was reluctant to say anything.  The Nursing Home has been doing some renovating recently, and our family had been told that mother would soon be moved to a new hall, so that her current room could be turned into a "private room."  Nell inquired as to where mother's room was and my sister told her the situation and that she would soon be moved to another hall.  With a surprise comment, Nell stated that she lives on that hall, and that  her room will be right next door to mother.  It was only a few more days and I was up visiting.  Excited to see Nell, who I had known for many years, while working at the local Baptist Association Office, and seeing she and sister Jeanette on many visits there. Many times, they would come by, asking about mission work and what did we have for them that they could be a part of.  Even in their 80's, still excited about serving the Lord and their community.  Being sisters, I  began referring to them as "Mary and Martha" which is recorded in the book of  Luke.  Making my way into Nell's room, rolling mother in front of me, I see a very familiar face of a woman who had been a playmate to my mother in their childhood days; a woman of strong integrity, strength and servanthood to the Lord; yet now, someone who was in a confined place, but was still filling a need to others.  Even though mother doesn't seem to have a clue as to who Nell is, it brings me comfort just to know that they are here in this building at this place and time in their lives once again.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Each Day, a Memory"

My youngest daughter and I have come to visit mother at the nursing home.  I find her in a usual place and quickly roll her up the hall, headed for my favorite landing spot; the front "yellow" room.  I ask her as I push, "What have you been doing, mother"?.  The answer is mostly the same, "O, been working in the field, helping daddy hoe".  As we reach the front room, my daughter greets her, with a "hey Mema"!  Mother gives her a look as if she thinks she looks familiar, but avoids speaking to her until  I've told her who she is.  As I sit beside her, my eyes pay close attention to the body parts of a woman I have idolized all my life.  She has lost a front tooth now, and I am truly sorrowed by that, knowing if she was aware, it would humiliate her.  I take a once over at her silver hair, and think about the many days I spent, coloring it before she came to the home.  My eyes finally reach her beautiful hands.  A friend of mine had mentioned how important his mother's hands were to him, telling her life story. I  began to think about the many times, I had watched these same hands, brush my hair, wipe my dirty face, hand me lunch money, tie my shoe and hundreds of other instances, as she cared for me as a child.  Driving back home, I mention to my daughter that one day, she will be sitting in a similar chair as I sat today, remembering a day like today, as we spend time together.  I pray that I can be a glimpse of the mother to my children that mine has been to me and her grandchildren. When it's all said and done, what is it that brings us joy in life?  The money, nice homes, beautiful cars, far away vacations...things?  For me, the answer is simple.  Enjoy every waking moment with those you love. Taking nothing or no one for granted.  Try to make each day a "memory."  Realizing that we will all travel this road again, but in a different way.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Hush Sweet Baby"

Having a day off from radiation as well as some cancelled commitments, I decide to head up the mountain for a short visit with mother. I usually can find her fairly easy as she seems to be as a rule, in the opposite end of the home that I choose to enter. Today, I have walked the entire nursing home halls, and "no mother." I step over to the nurses desk and ask if she's seen her. A young man to whom I am not familiar with, leans over to me and says that he had seen mother, hanging out in the rehab room just moments prior. I head on back down the hall, knowing that the rehab department was not far from where I had entered the home. As I peek inside, I get a glimpse of mother. She has in her hand, a green plant watering vessel, attempting to drink from it. One of the assistants, sees her and says, Ms. Margie, if you're thirsty, we'll get you some water!" She wheels my mother out to the water cart and pours her a glass of fresh water. Mother drinks and seems to be well pleased. I too, tell mother that if she gets thirsty, to tell someone. Mother begins to wave her arms and speak in her "Northern voice" as she did many times when I was growing up..."O yes, O yes, we will stop and get us plenty of food and drink, let's get in the car now!" as if these remarks were something that she had pulled out of an old audio canister, labeled 1965. Mother still has good and bad days as far as her dementia goes, but my siblings and I are seeing progression in her dementia. She is hardly able to complete sentences nowadays, for instance, she might say, well, that sure is a kisk or pich, instead of "a sight", or just say things that have no meaning for what the situation is. Other changes we've noticed is that she seems to not be able to see well at times, then other times, she can see as usual. I push mother on up the hall with her arms waving and her voice shrieking high in her "Northern accent" mocking my words about food and drink. Sitting in the upper room, she sneaks a grin at me and raises her shirt up. I fuss at her for this action, reach over and pull it down and tell her not to do that again. She then begins to pat her chest as if she's consoling a small child, saying, "hush sweet baby, my sweet babies." I recall an incident months ago, where my husband was driving her back from an emergency room visit. Mother had road up front with him and periodically would glance to the backseat, and console her daughter, Sue, as if she was riding in the back seat, by saying "be quiet little Sue," when in reality, my husband and mother were the only two in the car. I look at mother's frail face, seeing more wrinkles than I could ever remember. Her beauty still shines through it all, with a whisper of her beautiful smile, thick gorgeous hair and those green eyes which I would have given anything to have inherited. I comment to her that I'm going to roll her down to her room and brush her hair and put her some lipstick on. This is a sure way to see a sparkle in her eyes, as she has always enjoyed "being beautiful." As I pull the brush through her silver short hair, I am still honored to call her "mother".

Friday, December 27, 2013

"Who Am I"?

I must say, it's good to be back blogging about something other than myself. As most of you may know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in late May of this year and have been fighting my own battle of survival. Presently, I am in radiation. The 16th treatment out of 35 has already been offered up this morning and I am looking forward to what lies ahead for me in the coming months. I am a Christian and have faith in a God that can conquer breast cancer, dementia or anything else He chooses, the grave just happens to be a specialty of His! Due to my situation, I haven't been unable to visit mother at the home as much as I would like. Recently though, I have been trying to get back on schedule as much as my physical body allows. Today, my daughter Hannah and I went up for a visit. As I meandered down the hall, in search of a tiny little silver haired "mother" I could feel the excitement mounting over my eyes meeting her eyes and hearing the words, "There's my Jean!" The reality of it all, was that I would find a mother who had no idea of the person in the black cap, walking her way, who had been her daughter for some 60 years now. As I grab hold of her wheelchair and turn her around, she questions as to who I am. Several weeks prior, I had stopped in for a quick visit and discovered mother talking with another resident. As I interrupted their conversation, I could clearly see that mother had no clue as to who I was. I said, "mother, do you know who I am"? She replied..."are you 'I am'? The lady who had been talking to her informed her that "I am" was not a name and that she should know better. We have finally arrived in the front sitting room of the home, which has always been a favorite of mine ever since mother came to reside here. I am anxious to "park" her chair and began a conversation. My first question is always..."Do you know my name"? I'm not sure of the need here, but it is an ever present one that I can't seem to eliminate from this nightmare of dementia. I suppose it is a well known fact that each of us as children, whether young or old, yearn to be loved and known intimately by our mother. She looks at me with bewilderment and says, "Did you know that I've quit school"? A little surprised at the change of subject, my daughter and I break out into laughter and play along with her. It has always bothered mother that she never finished high school, when the twelfth grade was being offered the year she quit and got married. She continues on with, "And do you know that daddy and my stepmother, didn't say a word one"! With plenty of laughter to fill the room, I can plainly see that mother will never realize today, who I am and that I have brought her youngest granddaughter Hannah for a visit. There are many things that one must come to terms with when a loved one is in a state of dementia. The probability that they will eventually forget who their children and grandchildren are, is a given. Today, I realize that the time has come sooner than I wanted it to.