Saturday, December 31, 2011

What I learned.

New Year's Day is my mother’s 88th birthday and the fourth anniversary of when she came to Florida. Most of you know that health issues turned a short visit into an extended stay and then a permanent move.

In the last four years I found out a lot about mom and about myself:
She does not like to make new friends but is loyal if you are her friend already.
She is actually shy.
She likes her clothes to match.
She folds clothes perfectly (even the underwear)

She loves sweets, ice cream and pastry.
She loves shrimp cocktail and hot sauce.
She will not try any new foods.
She loves pasta and would eat it every day.
She can sit in the sun for hours.
She has zero short-term memory.
She is cold when it is 90 outside.
She has been brainwashed by the “right” side of the Catholic Church. EWTN 24/7
She thinks she is going to die if she doesn’t go poop every day.
She would never say the word “poop” or “fart”.
She thinks everyone is going to hell.

Her stroke disabilities have caused her to reverse things; if she is talking about a white dog, I know it is really black. If she says it is 3:00 o’clock, it is 9:00 o’clock. I realized the problem with numbers when she was trying to write a recipe.

Her stroke also left her with no peripheral vision in both eyes so if she does not turn her head she does not see things. She is VERY stubborn and refuses to turn her head even though it would give her twenty-twenty vision if she did.

Mom is very childlike at this stage in her life. It is hard to believe that she was once the feisty, strong assertive businesswoman. She has so much trouble remembering what her life was like except for what it was like the year before she came. I like to make her happy and have found that she loves to get presents and cards.

I have tons of patience with my own kids and my students but sadly very little with mom. Which is why I think God sent mom here to stay with us. He wants me to learn patience, kindness, tolerance, and acceptance.
Happy Birthday Mom. I Love You.

Monday, December 26, 2011

For Health

Reconnecting with people on face book spurs memories that have been buried in the back of your mind like the comedic stuffed closet where everything falls on your head when the door opens. It is also similar to when your mind floods with flashbacks when an old song is played on the radio.

That happens often these days. My recent memory spark came when my daughter sent me a simple little magnet for an extra Christmas gift. It had a picture of “Lucy” on it drinking Vitameatavegamin. I instantly knew her reference.

When Annie was in the fifth grade she left for school at 8:45. One day, the rerun of the above mentioned episode was on. I had to go to work but told Annie stay and go late to school. She argued she would get in trouble but I would have none of it. She had to stay and watch the classic. I promptly wrote her a note where I truthfully told the real reason she was late; knowing her teacher was a character and would indeed excuse her. He did.

But the most significant treasure in this spark is knowing that a cherished memory had been passed down to my grandchildren and I could hear them giggle and laugh at how silly Grammy is sometime.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Reflection on the Positive Side

Fred had a health scare. Thank you God he survived another close call with his heart.

Mom was in the hospital four times. Thank you God, I survived.

The PT Cruiser died. Thank you God, I’ve got a new Mini-Cooper.

I had a bout with depression. Thank you God it disciplined me to lose weight.

Cancelled our trip to Europe. Thank you God I got to see my grand kids three times.

Class size has increased. Thank you God, my students are well behaved.

Needed more time. Thank you God for on line banking.

My doctor moved out of state. Thank you God I have a new one that has me on track.

My hair looked like crap. Thank you God, the girls forced me to get it cut.

Thank you God for our family, friends and love but most of all thanks for Fred.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost There

When I first started to blog a few years ago, I was posting about once a week. Last year when I broke my wrist it put a damper on things. I eventually was able to type again and tried to get started but doubt if I even posted a dozen times the whole year.

My bout with depression in 2011 was like a ghost strangling the life out of me. The biggest problems are triggers from my childhood. If my mother spills her drink I quietly clean it up and remember a time she screamed at me that I was clumsy when I spilled something. If mom comes downstairs wearing clothes that clash, I calmly redirect her to change her clothes if we are going somewhere. But the triggers are there like the time I was seven and wore stripes going one way and stripes going the other way and mom slapped me in a store parking lot. The worst part of growing up was lack of control. I had brothers to watch, house to run, work weekends at Coop, and high school. Thank God my cousin came to live with us or I would have had a break down in high school.

These past four years I have been going through the grief stages. Grieving the life Fred & I had before. I have no control once again. I had given up my girl friend time, my sorority meetings, our bible study once a week. Our life is focused on who will sit with mom, take off work to take her to appointments? We were highly involved in our church and had to let that go too. We cancelled our 40th Anniversary trip to Europe twice. It is no wonder I was so depressed. On top of this my weight topped scales at 173.

Finally, the worried look on my doctor’s face and the begging of my children and friends prompted me to go in a different direction. But most of all it was me looking in the mirror and saying who are you? You have always been a fighter. You already climbed out of this hole before, how on earth did you allow yourself to fall back?

Throughout this year it has been my husband, children and face-book family who laughed with me the days I tried to see humor in frustrating situations. They encouraged me, and affirmed me as they helped me climb out of the pits. Some quip, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

It wasn’t until Thanksgiving and laughing over wine with Annie that I realized maybe I was going to be OK. Annie said, “I feel like I’ve got my mom back. You have been gone a long time."

So I am back, not as strong but getting better. I am scheduling monthly girl time events and Fred and I are paying sitters for a date night once a week. Our pastor has asked us to mentor young couples this year and we can do this from home and it suits us perfectly.

Believe it or not there are a couple of people who missed my blogs so this post is for you.