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".