27 January 2012
I've been sorting and organizing all of my mom's papers; files that date back as far as 1958 when my parents bought their home.
Today, I found an envelope in my mom's hand writing dated February 25, 2003. Inside were letters that my mom wrote to me, my siblings, my Aunt Jay, her brother and sister (now deceased) and my two oldest nephews.
Hands shaking, I opened the envelope.
Feb 25, 2003 - 3AM
I just had a dream Eddie came to me. He looked angry and was pointing to me. It woke me up. I think he meant for me to take better care of myself.
Just in case, I want you to find who my beneficiary is on my SBLI and change it to you. Also, my bank book at BCU. And change name on my car to yours.
I don't want to be a burden to you. I know you can make it on your own.
To Donna, 2/25/3
Help Susan as much as you can. I know your the strongest. Pray for me.
Take care of Amy and Scott. I love them both and they will make you proud.
Make sure Brad takes better care of himself.
Love you all,
To Marty, 2/25/3
Take care of Eileen and Mother. Don't forget yourself also. Health is very important. I hope you will always be happy. I think of you often and pray for you.
Help Susan if she needs you.
Love and kisses,
To Ann and Steve,
Wish I could of seen you both. I'm not well and I don't want you to worry.
See if you can get to see John Edward and I'll be able to send you a message from the other side.
Love you both and I know I can count on you to help Susan through this ordeal.
Thank you for all your prayers through the years. Sorry I won;t be able to take you out. I know you will be OK. You've always been their for me and I want you to know how I appreciate you. God will listen to you so ask him and He will help you.
You have made it possible for me to come this far by your prayers.
Your Sister in Law,
To Joe and Andy, 2/25/3
Haven't got to see you much lately and I want you both to know how proud I am of the both of you.
Time is precious so don't waste it. Take care of your health, it is most important. Get to see your mother as often as you can.
Joe take care of Melinda, she is a wonderful girl.
Andy I will be watching your progress from above.
Love you all,
To Flo and Al, 2/25/3
Sorry I was unable to see you. If I get past this feeling, I'll come to see you both. I wish I was able to see you more often. I will pray for you. Don't be sad. I will be with my family who has crossed over already.
Take care of yourself and keep in better shape than I did.
Love you both,
Your sister Jo.
(** Flo passed in 2006, Al passed in 2011 - neither got to see this note.)
To Whom it may concern,
If I forgot to say bye to someone I'm sorry. My memory is slowly dying.
I give Susan all my assets if I have any left, and don't forget my Walmart Stock.
I give Susan the right to turn off any life support system if I have any.
(signed her name)
Today, mom is still alive in a nursing home. She has declined a lot since 2003 when she wrote these notes to all of us.
Finding these letters were bitter sweet.
Seeing my mom's handwriting, so pretty and neat made me miss the days when we could carry a meaningful conversation. I miss my mom's advice. I miss her telling me that everything is going to be OK.
My mom, she has always loved her family and we will always love her!
22 January 2012
|Mary in the garden, 2011|
My mom, she love the New England Patriots; they won a lot, she loves winning. She would be giddy while watching them play when she was of sound mind.
Today, she isn't mentally capable to enjoy her favorite sport, American Football.
I'm not a big football fan. I can take it or leave it. I don't hate it. If I had the choice to watch an episode of "Chopped" or football, I'd choose "Chopped."
I visited my mom today. I restocked all her favorite treats and drinks. We went for a walk. She talked to her baby and it made my heart smile.
My visit with mom was pleasant. When I was leaving, I told her I was off to work at the phone company.
"Ok, Dear. What time will you be home?" She asked. A question she always asked me back when I did work as an Operator. Mom remembers me working all night as an Operator.
"I'll be home on Tuesday at 10:30 in the morning." I answered.
"Ok. That's good. But why so long?" She replied
"Ma! You saw the snow. There are lots of emergencies." I answered as though it was 1983 when I did work as a telephone operator for the phone company.
"Ok. Bring me cookies. I like those cookies you make." She said with a sweet tone in her voice.
I love it when my mother shows herself.
My drive home was uneventful.
I arrived home.
My husband was watching the game. The Patriots were fighting for a chance for a spot in the Super Bowl 2012. The Ravens were fighting for the win. I believed they were going to take it. We needed a Hail Mary.
It was the end of the 3rd quarter when I sat down with a glass of wine.
The Pats were winning.
The Pats were losing.
I started to feel my heart racing.
The Pats MUST WIN!
Tonight, I am the reason the Pats won.
I used a Hail Mary.
You are welcome, New England Patriots. I saw the look of aww on your faces.
The Baltimore Ravens were giving the Pats a run for their money.
I prayed out loud. I didn't care that my husband was sitting next to me, looking at me like I was a loon. I apologized to Mary for using her for such a frivolous request, but this needed to be an exception.
I prayed with my heart and soul.
"Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the lord is with you. Blessed art though, among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, Pray for our sins, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
"Mary, I am sorry I am pray for a miracle to win this football game, but please make him miss that field goal!"
The rookie for the Ravens seemed to magically choke. He missed the field goal! I saw the faces on the team that believed that they had already won. A punt that should not have been missed... did Mary goose him? Hmmmm. Yay, Mary!
It was over.
The Patriots won!
Thank you Mary.
And that is why the New England Patriots won tonight.
20 January 2012
|Homeopathic Medicine helps give my mom more good days than not so good ones|
Homeopathics have been around for 200 years; it's a "whole medical system" approach unlike the traditional allotropic medicines.
"Like treats like."
Homeopathy was discovered by a German doctor who recognized the principle of similar, where "like treats like." The principle states that a disease can be treated by a similar substance that causes the symptoms in healthy people.
For example: To treat daytime agitation, my mom takes the homeopathic remedy, Hyoscyamus Niger; Henbane.
If a healthy person ate some of the raw henbane plant, they would become agitated and hallucinate scary scenes that seem real. My mom has these behaviors without eating the raw plant. Giving her a small dose of homeopathic medicine, her symptoms go away.
Our Naturopath Doctor recommended Hyoscyamus for my mom because of her natural disposition; she has a sense of humor. Hyoscyamus Niger 12 C does the trick to ease mom's agitation and fidgeting.
There are over 2000 homeopathic remedies to choose from; it's the reason why I recommend finding a Naturopath Doctor who can help navigate which to use. If the remedy doesn't work, it isn't the right remedy for the patient. Remedies are selected using the whole person; mind, body and spirit.
You can find your own remedies here using an online remedy finder.
Homeopathy is FDA approved, it has been for over 100 years. It is safe, effective and has no contraindications with anything.
Mom suffers from insomnia, a symptom of her illness, Lewy Bodies Dementia. Stramonium, also a member of the deadly night shade family of plants, solves my mom's problem with insomnia. Our ND selected this remedy because my mom would jump out of bed worrying about children. She would lunge forward in her chair and become super agitated.
Stramonium calms my mom and helps her to sleep.
When my mom sleeps at night, the following day is a good day where she's calm and happy.
If my mom eats the wrong food, like wheat gluten or white potatoes, she will become super agitated and begin trying to jump out of her chair or grab for things in the air. A little dose of Stramonium calms her and seems to counter the effect of the wrong food that she ingested.
Homeopathy, it works. It triggers a response in the body so that ones system can take over and heal itself.
Remedies are diluted forms of the plant. The higher the number, which is symbolized in Roman Numerals (C, X, M), the weaker the dose and the stronger the medicine.
There are remedies for everything that ails the human body; medicines which can be tailored specifically to an individual while taking into consideration the whole person... mind, body and spirit.
More information about homeopathy can be found here:
Good explanation of homeopathy: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy/
My favorite homeopathy site: http://www.abchomeopathy.com/
19 January 2012
|Mom, her "car" and her babies|
January 14, 2012
"Okay, Dear." Mom sang to me in her happy voice yesterday when I was leaving the home. She was holding her babies; we had just gone for a long walk which always tires her out.
Mom's doing awesome. I expect that she'll be discharged from Hospice soon. Everyday is a good day for her; she feels safe and secure. She has her babies, a car and her life is complete. My dream for her has come true.
The scoot chair that mom sits in when she's not resting in bed, has become a car in mom's mind. She "drives" it up and down the halls, self propelling herself as she patrols and makes sure everyone is safe. I am grateful that the facility set mom up in the scoot chair, the Hospice chair was not as comfortable and seemed to trigger agitation.
I visited the home yesterday. I had not been to the facility since Saturday. Mom didn't miss me. She barely stayed with me, she was on patrol. I hung her cloths, cleaned up her closet and dresser drawers and talked to other residents who were happy to visit with me.
"Oh... it's you... Come here!" One of my resident friends said as she smiled and waved to me. "I need to use the bathroom!" I rushed her down the hall to her Care Aide. I ask my mom this question so much that all the residents associate me with the toilet. Great.
At one point during my visit, I was chasing my mom down the hall.
"Jo! Come here, I have a cup of coffee for you." I called to her. I had just made her a cup of coffee using her Keurig one cup coffee maker. Mom ignored me and drove herself into the dinning room.
"Forget about Jo! I want you to stay with me. I need you over here!" Mom's roommate answered back.
Difficult not to laugh out loud, I answered Mom's roommate. "But you look so good!" I attempted to change the subject, It didn't work.
"I know it.... but that still doesn't do me any good." Another answer that made me want to buckle over in a fit of laughter; I didn't.
I'm enjoying time with my mom and the folks at the home where she lives. The nurses who care for my mom have become my friends. I trust a few more than others; they've earned my trust.
I can't help but think about the day when mom dies. My routine will change again. Daily morning calls to West 2 will stop, only to be replaced by another family member calling them to check on the next new resident.
Over the last 8 months since mom's been living in a nursing home, I have made friends with some of the staff. We've been through a lot, many of them even survived the "Wrath of Sue"; some of it documented in the pages of this blog while other stories remain locked up in my private writing for publishing at a much later date, long after my mom is dead.
Right now... life is good. Mom's happy, so I'm happy. I worry less, especially on days when my "A Team" are working. This weekend, the "A Team" is on duty both day and night. I have the weekend off. No need for me to rush to the facility to keep an eye out for mom and enlighten staff who don't understand how to communicate with her.
Thank you Georgia, Stephen, Kathy and Cheryl, because of you, everyday is a good day!
09 January 2012
|Mom, happy with her baby|
January 6, 2012
Visiting my mom has become fun. I look forward to our visits. A dream come true, one that I never imagined would manifest for us. Mom smiles and laughs. She talks in complete sentences on her good days about what's going on in her world.
Seeing Mom at peace in her mind, makes all the hardship and pain that I suffered for her worthwhile. All I ever wanted for my mom was to give her a happy end of life.
I am grateful.
Because of all the positive changes going on where Mom lives, I feel that my life is becoming my life again. Thank you, everyone who has helped us.
I can breath.
I can relax a little bit more; my soul has longed for peace.
Thank you. I feel peace.
Mom, she's always loved the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Often she'd sing the song as we drove along, while looking out the window as though she was looking for the rainbow.
Mom's doing great; she's happy, she seems to have made it over the rainbow, where skies are blue.
08 January 2012
|Ma sitting on the shopping cart bench at Whole Foods|
"Hi, Ma!" I greeted mom as I walked into the dinning room where she was sitting.
"Oh. Hi!!!!!" She replied back. "Come on. Let's go." She added before I could speak another word.
"Would you like to go out for a ride?" I asked.
"Yes. I haven't been out in a long time. Come on!" Mom answered back as she began to try and get up out of her chair.
Mom was having a very good day. The weather has been unseasonably warm; a good day to go out. Who knows if it would be her last day out in the regular world before she leaves this life?
Mom walked well yesterday. She was standing upright and walking strong. She wasn't leaning to the right like she had been over the last several weeks. Walking with her when she is leaning heavy toward one side is physically challenging for me. I've learned, going out is not an option when she is leaning. Mom was sharp. She needed a day out.
Off Mom and I went, she remembered how to get into the car. She recognized my husband's car and remembered his license plate number.
"189. Yup, that's right!" She said as we approached the car.
"Do you have enough gas?" She asked as soon as I buckled her in for safety.
"Yup, plenty of gas." I answered with a cheery tone.
In the car, I opened the sunroof. The sun shone on Mom's face. Her eyes were closed as she put her face toward the sun. Smiling softly, creases in her cheeks, mom reminded me of a happy dog sticking its head out the window of a moving car.
"I hope you don't mind. I used your car." Mom said in a matter of fact way.
"You did?! Where did you go?" I asked.
"Oh, I went here and there. I drove all over the place. Eddie! I saw Eddie. Are you sure you have enough gas? I drove a lot. Hey, where's Marty?" My mom was a chatter box.
"Marty's working." I answered.
"Oh, that's right. I want to see him." Mom added.
It was fun to hear her talk in complete sentences, even if it was about the reality of her hallucinations.
We went to Whole Foods, of course. Mom always feels at home in the market. She sat on the bench that is attached to the shopping cart. I forgot her bingo seat cushion. She didn't complain. She got on the bench without any trouble and didn't need any coaching.
"I need bananas." Mom said as I pushed her through the door. She remembered that bananas are around the corner!
Pushing the cart close enough to the bananas, Mom picked up a bunch as she said, "Oh, these are nice. That's good. Come on, let's go." Handing me the bananas to place in the shopping cart.
We tried the cheese and olive samples. Mom loved them. We tried raw coconut water; mom hated it. I bought two bottles for my husband and me. I liked it! Coconut is very good for cognition.
Mom had a great day out. We had so much fun, I forgot to take pictures! The picture on this post is from August of last year when I had remembered to take a few pictures; it was the day we discovered the bench attached to the cart.
Here are a couple more from that same day in August.
06 January 2012
|Mom and Baby|
January 6, 2012
"...they're all around here somewhere." She continued as she looked around for her children. My mom's world revolved around her children and caring for all of us.
Mom is content.
The homeopathic remedies are working.
Mom was having a great day. She has been sleeping through the night; all of her days have been great.
She bounced back from her UTI.
She recovered from a cold.
I had one more day to see her happy and laughing!
The nurses and aides are taking good care of my mom; stress free visits are the best. My mom has excellent nurses, compassionate carers who help put my mind at ease.
Mom was feisty during our visit, she stuck out her tongue at her baby twice and then at me.
"Watch this!" She exclaimed to me and then she stuck out her tongue at her baby.
"Watch this!" She exclaimed to me and then she stuck out her tongue at her baby.
Mom was amused with everything going on around her. She was mocking residents crying out in pain. Mom was super happy and laughing.
One more day I had the opportunity to enjoy my mom; I feel fortunate.
I gave Mom a favorite treat. She looked like a little girl, holding her baby while she ate her ice cream bar; a precious moment.
An unexpected surprise to see Mom alert and walking upright; I was there... I didn't miss it.
A good visit with Ma and baby; I feel like I won the lottery.
03 January 2012
|Mom and her baby|
Happy New Year!
I began this blog post on the morning of New Year's Day.
I woke up, put my iPad down on the table and immediately the Pandora Radio app opened. Bob Marley was singing, "Don't Worry.... Everything is gonna to be alright..."
The first words that I had heard at the onset of 2012.
So far, 2012 has been terrific.
Mom's doing well. She bounced back a bit. Death doesn't seem to be knocking on her door as I had originally thought; we have more time.
Mom loves her baby; it has taken her back to her child rearing days. Mom is happy.
|Mom with her baby|
New Year's Day 2012
I am grateful.
Mom is having more good days. My visits with her are finally fun. We play with "the baby", we walk and we talk about my dead relatives as though it's 1968 again.
Mom is weaker. She also has a cold.
I gave her Oscillococcinum yesterday when I visited. A homeopathic remedy that always seems to ease symptoms of a cold or flu.
|Ma, loving her baby|