I am not a doctor. I am providing information based on experiences that my mom has with natural remedies. The purpose of this blog is to help folks to educate themselves. Use this information with your own discernment.

26 February 2013

Grieving Is Weird

Me and Amelia, January 2013
Creating new memories for a new generation

Am I a freak?  It has been almost 2 weeks since my mom has passed and I still haven't cried.  Why?  I loved my mother, heck I wouldn't have done all that I had done for her if I didn't love her.  So, why now that she is dead can I not cry?

The day after my mom died I came down with the flu.  I can not believe how sick I became once my responsibility of caring for my mom had abruptly ended with her end of life.  A sickness that caused my mind to wander into weird places that seemed to be in between the world of reality and dreams.

I thought about my mom while I was sick.  I replayed the phone call that I had received from the nursing home notifying me that she was gone.  A call that I had anticipated receiving since she entered the nursing home almost 2 years ago.  "Oh, Thank you."  Is all I could say to the nurse who called.  No tears.  No sobs. I laid in bed wondering if I should wake my family up and tell them or let them sleep.  I called everyone.  I  woke up and had a cup of tea.  No crying, just a huge feeling of relief engulfed my being.

Anticipating mom's death was brutal.  Everyday I thought about my mom's death day.  I wondered how long does she have?  Will it be fast?  Will she suffer? Will she starve to death?  Have I done all that I could? Is there something else we could do to help her slide out of this life and into her next?  Will my family come to her funeral?  Should I have a funeral?  Does anyone care?  No one seemed to care when she was alive why would they care now that she was dead?  I worried about my family and how they would handle mom's passing.  I worried that they wouldn't listen to me about the importance of changing our diet to avoid the crazy gene.

I never had answers, just lots and lots of questions bathed in tears.  I cried almost every day for 5 years, anticipating my mom's passing.  Alone, I mourned the loss of my mom when she was still alive.  Mom watched me mourn for her.  No wonder she was so distraught when I would sob uncontrollably.  Tears that should have come after she died were flooding our lives, filling it with sadness that at times was overwhelming.  I wrote a lot during those dark times of my heart, words that helped me to cope and make it through another day.

Now, the day has come and gone; my mom has died.   The anticipation is over.  Now what?  Tears have been replaced with joy and peace.  No longer is my mind filled with questions surrounding my mom's end.  I still don't have answers to all of my questions, but I do believe that my family does care.  My mom passing reunited my family.  Together once more, my family and I can pick up the pieces in order to create new memories.  Memories that will last our lifetimes and help those we leave behind when our time comes to  be remembered when we are gone from this world.

Grieving is weird.  Everyone grieves differently.

Will I ever cry for my mom again?  I don't know.  The hospice bereavement councilor told me that I had anticipatory grief.   I grieved about my mom's end, waiting for it, wondering when it would happen, how it would happen;  I cried.  I worked through my sadness before my mom got on the bus to heaven.

If you are like me and currently crying a lot, know that this feeling that is weighing heavy on your heart won't last forever.  When the end comes for your loved one, the feeling of relief is incredible and all tears seem to dry up suddenly.  You are not a freak, you are not weird, you already did all of your grieving... you are free!

21 February 2013

How I Helped My Mom With Food

My mom
December 2012
The time I had spent caring for my mom had taught me a lot about my own health.  Over the last 5 years, I observed everything that my mom ate or drank.  I noticed behaviors that would manifest after she ate anything white; bread, pasta, potatoes, corn products and boxed foods with preservatives always seemed to push my mom over the edge.  All bets were off and I found myself bracing myself for the storm.

Mom would become agitated and or hallucinate scary hallucinations if she ate any food that was not whole and natural.  Mom's behavior patterns could clearly be expected to change once she ingested foods that had high starch content or ones that were processed and filled with ingredients that were hard to pronounce.  

Through my mom, I learned how to lose weight without any effort; weight that seemed to resist any diet of my past, suddenly melted away.   Changing my approach to food and rethinking the foods my mom had fed us all her life, opened up a new world of flavors for my family and me.    Spices, herbs, vegetables, lean meats and fish, legumes, fruits and nuts, masterfully blended to create gourmet meals.  My taste buds sang and my waistline shrank.  My fussy mom, she loved my kitchen creations and she was happy.

The best way to make a life long change is to substitute unhealthy choices with healthier options.  Here is a short list to get you started.

Gluten Products Replacements


Udi Brand Gluten Free is excellent.  The bread holds up in a sandwich very well.  My mom loved sandwiches made from Udi Bread.  

Ezekehial 4:9 Sesame bread is also very good.  It is made from sprouted wheat using the recipe from the bible.  It is referred to as Jesus bread.  Very good bread that my mom could tolerate.  It is found in the freezer section of most supermarkets.

The Udi pizza shells are also fabulous.  I often make my own gluten free pizza with the Udi frozen pizza shells.  They are found in most supermarket freezer sections.  


Tinkyada  brand rice pasta is the best.  It has a good consistency and holds up when it is cooked according to the package directions. My Italian mom LOVED this pasta, she always felt like she was "cheating."


Bob's Red Mill brand of gluten free flour is excellent.  I use Bob's gluten free all purpose flour in place of regular flour in cookie recipes.  My mom could never tell the difference in the cookies; she loved oatmeal cookies the most.

I use Coconut flour (or gluten free bread crumbs) to make Oven Fried Chicken.  

Instead of using gluten flour to thicken sauces and gravies, I use chia seeds.  I grind them up and use a 1/2 teaspoon of the seed powder.  It has less calories and creates a thick gravy that is delicious.  

Dairy Replacement

Almond milk, So Delicious Coconut Milk and hemp milk are all great alternatives to dairy.  Dairy tends to cause inflammation in the body like gluten.  The inflammation is what brings on illness and health issues that are difficult to treat.  Cutting out dairy has improved my arthritis pain.  Dairy free frozen treats by So Delicious are amazing.

Eat more vegetables and fruits.

Vitamix Blender.  Yes, Vitamix is expensive but it is a health investment.  I can not live without my Vitamix now that I own one.  I use it ever day, sometimes 2 or more times depending on what I am making.  

Smoothies are a great way to make vegetables a regular part of your day.  Blending vegetables and fruit together in the morning with a serving of good quality protein powder is a fine way to fuel ones body and drop unhealthy pounds of fat.  Smoothies are delicious and will leave you wanting more.

Juicing fresh vegetables, especially vegetables that you normally do not eat, provides lots of nutrition from whole foods.  Beets, carrots, celery, dandelion greens, grapes and apples juiced together makes a delicious cocktail that boosts energy faster than a cup of coffee.  I think more clearly after drinking fresh raw vegetable juice.  When my mom drank the fresh juice, she would "wake up" and be able to communicate a little better. Beet juice helped give my mom more good days; our goal for her when she was alive.

An inexpensive juicer that works very well is The Big Mouth Pro by Hamilton Beach.  It is about $70 on Amazon.  I think I have seen them in Walmart too.  Make sure it is the PRO.

Eating for health is how I eat these days.  I feel better.  I have more energy and am able to do more good in  the world because of my improved health.  I believe I will have a better chance of avoiding the "crazy gene" because of the changes I have made in my diet.

I believe my mom's end of life was more peaceful because of the whole foods I brought for her to eat every day.  Smoothies, fresh vegetable juice made with different greens, fruit, soups and Susie Sandwiches sustained my mom to the very end.  

The day my mom stopped eating and drinking was the last day she was awake.  Smoothies helped her to get nutrition.  The consistency of the smoothies was perfect and easy for her to swallow when she wasn't able to swallow chewed food any longer.  My mom, she did not suffer.  She did not starve.  She went to sleep and never woke up.  The perfect ending to a very long life.  

And this is how I helped my mom with food.

20 February 2013

To Catch a Thief

"My Wallet!"  I gasped after I returned from the nursing home laundry room with an arm full of towels.

For the last year and three-quarters I had always left my purse hanging on the back of my mom's wheelchair with my jacket hanging over it.  I would leave my purse, not worrying that anyone would ever touch it.  I trusted every person on the unit where my mom had now called home.

I will never forget the day my wallet was stolen.  It was the day I had lost trust in one individual that I had befriended at my mom's nursing home.  A real live wolf in sheep clothing!  A sly fox with a heart of stone.

How low can any human go in this life than to steal from someone who they trust?  That's the question I am about to answer with my story of the stolen wallet.

Mom was having difficulty eating for a couple months before she had passed.  I made a point to visit her ever day at lunchtime so that I could feed her lunch and have my final days with her alive.  I didn't want to miss a minute of my mom; her days were numbered.

February 6, 2013 is a day I will never forget.  I remember having a conversation with a staff worker before lunch was served to the residents.  She said to me, "I am so broke.  I need money."  I replied, "Don't we all?"

I liked this girl.  I helped her.  I brought her smoothies and "Susie Sandwiches."  I thought we were friends.  I believe she robbed me.

I had just finished helping my mom with her lunch.  She was very sleepy so I tucked her in her bed for her afternoon nap.   My purse was hanging on the back of her wheelchair with my heavy winter coat hanging over the handles and covering my purse.  I purposefully backed my mom's wheelchair in backward and faced the chair handles up against the wall.

We were in my mom's room, an employee of the facility that I had befriended, my favorite resident, my sleeping mom and me.  The staff worker saw me cover my purse.   I said to her, "I am running down to the laundry to get some face cloths to wash my mom's face.  I will be right back."

I ran down to the basement and back up within 5 minutes.  I had a handful of towels and face cloths.  Walking into my mom's room, I noticed my coat was hanging off the back of the chair and my wallet was missing.  I looked and said to myself, "Did I forget my wallet at home or was my wallet stolen?"

My mom was having a rough day so I didn't want to leave her.  I instant messaged my husband and told him that I thought my wallet was stolen or I could have left it at home.  I wasn't sure.  I didn't want to panic.  I sat with my mom; she needed me.

It was now about 2:00 in the afternoon, a half hour after I noticed my wallet was missing.  I told one of the staff who had her wallet stolen a few months back that I thought my wallet was stolen.  I told her the story and who I thought was the facility thief.

The woman I told the story proceeded to give me more information which seemed to back up my belief.  I lost all feeling in my body.  I felt violated.  Could I be right with my hunch? I didn't want to believe my wallet was stolen.  Maybe I didn't put my wallet in my purse? I thought and convinced myself  It was possible.  I didn't want to panic.

It was now 3pm and the suspected thief was scheduled to work on my mom's unit.  I waited for her to arrive so that I could look at her face, look her in the eyes and see if she could look me back squarely.  She didn't arrive!

Another employee came to cover her shift, the thief suddenly had to go home because she had a sick baby.  What?!  I immediately felt like I was going to throw up.  I rushed out of the facility and ran home to see if my wallet was home.

It wasn't.

I called and cancelled my bank card and credit card.  I called and reported my wallet stolen to the nursing home.  The next day I was to meet with the head of the facility.  He was going to call the police.  I met with him but he never called the police.  We were about ready to have a huge snow storm the following day; the last day I would ever see my mom awake.

I walked around the parking lot before I left on Thursday.  I couldn't see my wallet anywhere.  On my drive home the nursing home called and told me that my wallet was recovered in the same parking lot where I walked.  The only thing missing was my money.  It was either 20 or 40 dollars, not much money.  All of my gift cards were left behind, everything was in my wallet except my money.

On Friday before the snow storm, I visited my mom.  I tucked her in.  I saw her smile at me with her sparkling eyes.  I told her to sleep with God and I left to report my wallet stolen at the police station at the beginning of the raging blizzard.

I had asked the Executive Director of the home not to have the thief working up on the unit where my mom lived.  I was ignored.  The little thief worked on the unit the entire time my mom laid in her bed dying.  It sucked.  I felt like grabbing her by the throat.  I didn't.  I glared at her with my eyes.  She couldn't look at me.

The thief even sent me two emails claiming her innocence.  The email notes proved to me that she was the thief.  Anyone who starts a sentence, let alone an email with the word, "Honestly..." is definitely lying.

I am pursuing this with the nursing home Ombudsman.  Yesterday I asked the nursing home what is being done and if I need to contact the Ombudsman.  I was ignored once more.  Why are they protecting this girl?

Time to write my complaint letter to the Ombudsman and the Department of Health and Human Services.  It is disgusting to allow someone to steal from people in their own home!  Don't nursing homes have a responsibility to keep residents and their property safe?

My wish is for the thief to be caught and prosecuted.  I don't care if it was only 20 or 40 bucks, I was robbed during one of the most difficult times of my life.  The thief needs to be punished and pay for their crime.  Larceny is a crime!

14 February 2013

...And They Were Happy Ever After

Josephine Jarmulowicz
July 17, 1929 - February 14, 2013

"Hello Sue?  Your mom is in peace."  Martine quietly spoke into the phone.

I couldn't cry.  I felt relief.  A huge weight lifted off my heart.  Ma was now at peace.  Her long life now over; a worth while life that created so much beauty.  I breathed deeply.

Stephen and Martine were with Ma when she took her last breath.  No suffering, just complete peace; the exact outcome that I had hoped to achieve for my mom.

My mom, she got on Heaven's Bus on Valentine's Day, 12:20 AM.  Reunited with my dad, finally after 35 years, my mom is free from this life and back in my dad's arms.  I can only imagine the celebration; I hope it is as grand as I had promised her.

"Ma, your hair looks awesome.  Your favorite blue dress fits you perfectly.  Dad is going to be so happy to see you.  It is OK to get on the bus.  You are an amazing lady and were a wonderful mother.  What a great job you did with all of your children.  Thank you for all that you had done for me to help me become the person that I am today."  I suggested to her, words that I hoped would get her excited for what was to come.

Rest in peace, Ma.  It sure was an adventure these last few years!  See you again one day when it is my time.  In the meantime, enjoy your freedom.

Love you always,

Your Susie.

12 February 2013

Is Today the Day?

"Actively Dying..." I heard the Hospice Doctor say to my mom's hospice nurse.  I knew Ma was dying days before.  I heard the death rattle; a sound I have heard come from a dying person in the past.

My role as Ma's caregiver is coming to an end.  Is today the day she will get on the bus to heaven?

Her end came fast, exactly as I had hoped would be the outcome to all of my efforts these last five years.  My mom was walking on Thursday.  A short walk that tired her quickly, but she walked with me and the hospice Chaplain.  She even was able to say her birth date; she remembered.  The last thing my mom said to me was, "Oh, your hair looks nice."  It did.  I was having a good hair day.

The pain from the UTI was causing mom lots of discomfort.  Dr. Barton's natural herb antibiotic mixture wasn't working anymore.  Pyridium wasn't helping.  My mom had no other options to ease her discomfort.  I saw my mom jumping off the toilet and crying, buckled over in pain.  I ran and found the doctor and told her about my mom's discomfort.  We determined it was time for her to have a low dose of morphine.

I was nervous.  In my heart I knew that once we started morphine my mom would relax and her life would end.  We stopped all natural medicines.  Morphine took the edge off and made her comfortable.

Friday my mom was sound asleep when I arrived early, hoping to see her before the snow storm came and crippled the city.  Mom did see me briefly when I helped her out of her wheelchair and tucked her in her bed with her baby.  The last time I would ever see my mom smile at me and look at me with her eyes.  I didn't want to leave, but I did.

Friday afternoon my mom woke up from her nap during the raging blizzard and was wide awake and alert.  She was wheeling herself around in her chair, smiling and greeting the staff.  I missed her last surge before she began to actively die.

Saturday we had a driving ban in the state because of the snow storm.  I couldn't get to see my mom.  She never got out of bed and was not very responsive to her environment.

Sunday I visited with my sister and my niece.  We heard the death rattle in her throat.  It scared me a little.  I had asked the nurse if the gurgling meant her end was near like I had read on the internet.  Mom's nurse teared up and shook her head yes.  Her decline happened fast.

Monday (yesterday) I sat with my mom.  She is unresponsive now with labored breathing.  I cried a lot.  I thought I was prepared for my mom passing.  I am not.  I suppose we are never ready to see someone that we love die.  Her breathing is labored.  Her time on Earth is coming to an end. 

Is today the day?

I believe that all of my efforts, caring for my mom were all worthwhile.  I believe that my mom suffered a lot less because she didn't take traditional pharmaceuticals to treat her dementia.  I had lots of good days with her, memories that will last my lifetime.  It was hard caring for my mom.  I did it.  I would do it again.  I will miss you Ma... time to get on the bus and be free from all this suffering.