Two Years Now

This is the two-year anniversary of my Mother’s death. Last year the anniversary was on a Sunday and we had our family Christmas celebration that day. Lots of family around with laughter and fun.

We planted a small tree in her memory and to celebrate her life. I wanted a tree that would stay small and that we could decorate with lights each Christmas. Walked out one day last Spring and found my granddaughter had decided that Momma tree looked lonely so she put an amaryllis 2,besides it and let it wear her umbrella. The little tree did look lovely and I am sure my Mother was smiling in heaven. Eight year old granddaughters are a gift.

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This year we had our family Christmas celebration on Saturday. Beautiful weather (mid 70’s), food, presents and family – a great day. Didn’t even mention the best thing – we now have a grandson born on December 6th. A new little baby in the family, what a wonderful thing.

So today was a quiet day. The anniversary was a lot easier last year surrounded by family and activity, this year it is just depressing. The gloomy, rainy weather didn’t help things either. The passage of time does help but I still miss her.

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Dealing with the anniversary of a death

Just passed the 22nd anniversary of my Aunt’s death (December 17, 1991) and I am wondering how many people have issues on the anniversary of their loved ones death? I know that I am not the only one who feels this way.

My Mom will only be gone 2 years on December 23rd and it is so fresh in my mind I can not forget that day. But with my Aunt it is different. For years I felt like a cloud was hanging over my head during the Christmas season until the 17th passed. For me I had to get past that day to truly enjoy the holiday season.

Then this year I hadn’t really thought about it too much until I realized I was picking fights with my husband and just in a bad mood. I kinda just wanted to be left alone. I believe that even though I wasn’t remembering the date, my mind knew and was reacting. This same thing happens on the anniversary of my Father’s death in June. I will just not be having a good day and will remember – oh this is the anniversary of my Dad’s death.

Just wondering how the anniversary of a death feels to other people: like you have been run over by a train or does it just sneak up on you. Is it a day to be with family or time to be alone with your thoughts? I do know that dealing with a death is a very personal issue and no one should ever judge whether your way is ok or right – you have to move through this process and find your own sense of peace.

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A New Year

Last night after my family went to bed, I stood at the window like I do every year to look up at the stars and wished my Dad and Mom a happy new year.

This year was easier than last new years eve.  We had just lost my Mom in December of 2011 and just the thought of beginning a new year that she would not be part of was hard. I remember everyone celebrating around me and all I wanted to do was cry.  The passage of time does make dealing with loss easier.

 

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My Mom, 4/7/17 – 12/23/11

My Mother died last December 23rd at the age of 94.  Up until the last 2 years of her life she was  in pretty good shape.  Then the downhill spiral began and things changed.  Just wanted to share a bit of the Momma I knew before illness and dementia took her from me.

Looking Back – Maybe not your typical 90 ish year-old?

I cannot tell you what a typical lady in her 90’s is like, I only can tell you about my Mother.  Well that is not totally true, my Mother-in-Law just turned 90 and she still takes care of her husband and house.  I have seen her cook a meal for 2 or 30 people and not break a sweat.  I have great role models of how 90 could look like if your health holds out.

If you looked at my Mom you knew she was aging but she never came across as a feeble old lady.  Her day started before she even got out of bed – she did leg lifting exercises and moved her legs like she was riding on a bicycle before she climbed out of bed.  Then after a quick stop in the bathroom, she made her bed.  I don’t think she ever missed a day making her bed until the dementia took over.

Her constant companion was a 75-pound dog.  He was dropped off on her street in 2001 and she was just keeping him until he found a new home.  Dingo already had found his home, it just took her a year to admit that he was her dog and give up trying to give him away. He was faithful to her until his death.  If dogs do go to heaven, I am sure he was waiting by her bed when she died.

After she fixed her and Dingo’s breakfast (he loved grits), she would head out into her yard.  My daughter lived next door for a time and said that when she would head out for the day, her Granny was already out working in the yard.   She couldn’t sit on the ground anymore, so she had an old milk crate that she would move around and use as a seat.  The way she edged her garden made me nervous, she would use a hatchet.

She would stay in the yard until right before 11 am.  She would get a bit tired and go inside to watch the Price is Right.  In the evening, she loved to watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.   She never saw a Murder She Wrote that she didn’t like.

Before she had to give up driving her car, if I couldn’t get her on the phone in the morning, the first thing I would do was drive past her favorite restaurant.  She liked to go there at least once a week for breakfast.  On Saturday, she would hit as many garage sales as she could find in her area.  She didn’t drive far away from home, mostly to the bank, her restaurant, beauty shop, my house and church.  When I started to keep my granddaughter in 2005, she would show up with a biscuit for us for breakfast and help me with the little one.  She was 88 years old. She adored her great-granddaughter and loved spending time with her.

How many 90 years old read romance novels?  My Mom did and I imagine she was not the only older lady to enjoy a good romance.  She would pick them up at garage sales and mostly they were of the Harlequin variety.  She did like the ones where time travel was involved and loved finding them at a garage sale.  After she finished, she would always pass them off to me and occasionally while reading them, I would have the thought- oh my goodness, my Mom read this?

My Mom didn’t really care what people thought of her, she did what she wanted and enjoyed her life. She was independent and bull-headed. She was in pain sometimes with the aches and pains of old age but she always said that if she hurt sitting or moving, she might as well keep moving.  She had seen too many of her friends just sit down and give up.  Someone used the phrase – if you rest, you rust – that was definitely a motto she lived by.

I miss you. Love you Momma.

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Anniversary approaching

The first anniversary of my Mom’s death will be Sunday, December 23rd, 2012.  We will celebrate Christmas with our family on Sunday.  Momma will be remembered in so many ways. I plan to cook macaroni and cheese. I just wish I could make it like she did, it just never tastes the same.

The last year of her life was difficult at times. Sometimes you found yourself laughing rather than crying. Eventually you found a way to make peace with your new normal.

The last few days of her life were quiet – you knew death was there just didn’t know the minute.  I remember feeling like you could almost see it in the corner, you knew there would be no last minute recovery this time. I just didn’t want her to be in pain or afraid before she died. She died peacefully.

We have made it through all of the firsts starting with last Christmas. I did not realize that I had spent my last Christmas with my Mother in 2010. Easter weekend which also would have been her 95th birthday was spent with our family in our other home that we own in a small town. A change of venue was for me a positive thing-new traditions.

One of the things that surprised me was how funny it feels to just get into the car and go-just too easy. Too many years of making arrangements for someone to check on her or stay with her was a habit that was hard to break.

Life continues and you must move forward, she would not have wanted it any other way. It might be childish, but I like to think of her making dinner in heaven for my Dad with big old dog Dingo waiting by the table for the scraps she would always feed him. That image makes me smile.

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Copper in the kitchen

Copper thieves don’t go and get all excited, the copper in her kitchen consist of my Mother’s collection of jelly molds. I have no idea why or when she started collecting the molds, they have been there for many a year. If she spotted a piece at any garage sale, she would think for about two seconds and buy the mold. Sometimes she would have to reorganize a bit but she always found a place for her new treasure.

Once a year, she took every one of those dratted copper molds down. She would then wash the kitchen walls and each copper mold. Every flat surface in the kitchen and the dining room table would be covered with her clean and shiny collection after she washed them. Then she would start the lengthy process of hanging them back onto the wall. For years, she would just handle this chore on her own by hauling in her ladder. She would then be up and down on the ladder until the job was done. She knew the exact spot for most of the molds but almost always at the end she would have one or two strays that didn’t have a nail. No problem, she would pull out her trusty hammer and she had the mold hanging. Combine a lady in her early 90’s with a ladder and you have the potential for all kinds of problems. She kept her guardian angel busy.

You don’t even want to know how much trouble my husband had painting that kitchen with all those nails sticking out.

Now the copper molds are my problem. They have no real value except sentimental. My sister had given her a set of the four seasons and she took them home. Hoping a few other family members will want a memento, there will be enough to go around. If not, the leftovers will leave the same way they arrived >>> yard sales..

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So much in common

We spent a little time the other day talking to a neighbor who is taking care of her Mother.  My husband and I had no problem relating to her situation. Our conversation brought back many not so distant memories.  Continue reading

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