Visiting Your Parents

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LOVE YOUR PARENTS.  We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old.  (your daily love emotions on 16 quotes.com)

I remember when my husband and I left Arizona and moved back to Arkansas –  we did not drive the 20 miles to his parents house to visit often enough.  I loved my husband’s parents like they were my own. Jobs, raising kids, and other activities seemed to consume our time.  Both my husband and I regret to this day that we did not spend more time with his parents.  Suddenly, my husband’s parents were old, they became sick, and they left this world.  You think back and you wonder why you did not give 2 older, lonely people more of your time. They often told us when we did go for a visit that we did not stop by enough. What is life about, if not taking the time to spend quality time with your parents before they leave this earth. I am not trying to shame anyone into visiting their parents.  I think we all need to take stock of our lives and allot time for the things that truly matter. My parents are also gone and I know I miss them beyond words, and I miss my husband’s parents equally.  Stop by for 5 minutes, give Mom a kiss and a hug.  You can even hug your old Dad too.

 

 

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A Tribute to Mom

My mother Wilma died over a decade ago on July 16, 2002.  Mom’s absence from my life is still overwhelming.  My Mother was my best friend.  I am certain I will miss Mom until the day I die.

Mom’s diagnosis of dementia was extremely hard for me to process.  Mom was such an intelligent person with so much common sense.  Mom kept us laughing with her very funny sense of humor.  She was a good Christian, a strong person, very loving and kind.  She loved her four children equally, she nurtured us, fought battles for us, and instilled morals and values in our brains.  We never doubted Mom’s love for us.

Dementia is a sorrowful, grieving process.  The hardest part of dementia is dealing with the disappearance of a person’s mind.  When someone who loved you so much has forgotten who you are, it is devastating.

So, “Mom” here is my tribute to one of the best Mothers that God could possibly have given me.  Mom, I love you, I miss you, and God willing I will see you again one day in Heaven.

2 Timothy 4:6-8

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Cherished Memories

There are two people in my life that enter my thoughts each day.  One is my Mother who passed away in 2002, I never stop missing her.  The other person is my brother J.R., the only sibling of three, whom I love unconditionally.  J.R. is entering the final stages of dementia and each time I think of the loss of his mind, sorrow enters my heart.  J.R. took care of my Mother in Arizona until she passed away in a nursing home.  J.R.’s female business partner stole everything my parents left J.R.  She used his dementia against him every day.  J.R. lived so far away from me, I did not realize what this woman was doing.  I had to go to Arizona and rescue J.R. from his business partner and her two sons.  I became J.R.’s caregiver for over two years until I had to place him in a nursing home here in Arkansas.

All I have left to remember my parents are several small nick knacks and some flowers I dug up from Mom and Dad’s yard.  J.R.’s business partner has everything else that belonged to my parents.  I did not have the time, energy, or money to bring this woman to justice. These Irises and Lilacs always remind me of my Mother.  Mom was such a wise, strong, caring person that I confided in her often.  J.R. and I were into mischief our entire lives.  J.R. and I have enough humor for several people, we shared many good belly laughs over the years.

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I have been trying to get Mom’s lilacs to grow for 9 years.  Several times I thought they had decided to die.  I think they liked the sandy soil of Arizona, better than the clay soil of Arkansas.

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My Mother was a person who loved flowers and loved life. J.R. was a good son to our parents, he live next door and took care of them for years.  No one deserves someone, who was supposed to be a friend, stealing every possession they have in their life.

I did not realize until this Spring just how many flowers and flowering trees and bushes my husband and I have on our 3 acre tract of land.  J.R. was always walking in the yard smelling and touching flowers and trees.  They cannot let J.R. go outside at the nursing home, he is a flight risk.  The nurses have had to chase him down several times.  He seems to be in better physical shape then those younger nurses. I know how often we had to search for him during the two years we cared for him in our home.  I cannot blame anyone who wishes to run away from a nursing home.

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These small wild violets bloom in a large area of my yard every year.  These red flowering buds are from my Gala apple tree.

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This Wisteria bush blooms in the front yard every year. You want to keep it away from trees. It is an invasive climbing vine that would engulf a tree and kill that tree. The bumblebees love this bush and I thought I would get stung before I managed to take these pictures.

I am sure there are those in your life, whom you have lost, that bring fond memories to your mind.  If you have someone, who is ill or in a care facility, I am sure thinking of them saddens you.  My Mother always told me life was rough and it takes a strong person to endure.  You have to lean on family members, who live nearby, for support.  I lean heavily on my husband and my daughter, who help me endure all the trials life throws my way.  I think God each day for my husband, my daughter, and my precious granddaughter who makes me laugh and loves to pester Grandma.

Father / Daughter – Fairy Tale Relationships

 

 

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How I envy the daughters who have had that perfect Daughter – Father relationship.  That type of relationship seemed like a fairy tale to me when I was growing up and even into adulthood.  I do have to say I have seen that good relationship between my husband and my daughter.  I have also seen that good relationship between my granddaughter and her father.  I thank God, all the time, for their fairy tale relationships.

How do I describe my Father and the almost non-existent relationship I had with him.  Did I love my Father, yes I loved him, I would seek approval from him all the time.  I never received that approval.  Dad is gone now, he died of a massive heart attack in 1999.  I lived several states away and never saw my Father the last 5 months of his life.

There are people in this world I call, “Me People,” my father was one of those people.  Me People are those that always put themselves first, which leaves no room for anyone else. Dad chose his drinking buddies over his family.  Dad had affairs and he cheated on Mom several times.  Mom left Dad twice in her life and returned, once she left due to an affair, and once because of his mean spirit.

My siblings and I had one parent and that was Mom.   I never took a walk with my Dad, we never talked, we never shared our lives.  It seemed as if my Father had no skills to be a parent.  There was something lacking in my Father that I could never understand.

I was angry with my Father many times in my life.  Dad took every problem he encountered in his life out on my Mother by verbally abusing her. About 90 per cent of those problems were not her fault.  Tears would well up in my Mother’s eyes when Dad yelled at her, I saw her sorrow and her pain.  Dad degraded Mom in front of us or anyone else that happened to be around at the time.

It’s hard to think back to the anguish Dad caused Mom.  Mom is gone now and I thank God that she does not have to endure any abuse anymore.

During a time when Dad was tremendously cruel to Mom, I could not control my anger. So much for honor thy Father and thy Mother.  My anger got the better of me and, through my tears, I told my Father how ashamed I was of the way he had always treated Mom.  It was hard to tell how he felt about what I said, because you never knew what he was thinking.

So, I never had the Father that I always dreamed of having.  I have always felt sorrow and anger over the fairy tale relationship that was lost to me my entire life.  I cannot describe my Father, I was never able to figure him out.  Dad and I had no normal, loving relationship.

A Glimpse Into Childhood Memories

Since I put my brother into a nursing home with dementia a few months ago I often think back to our childhood.  Each morning, because sleep alludes me, I get up several hours before my husband.   I sit each morning with that first, very welcome, cup of coffee.  I thank God each morning for another day on this earth and I ask God to bless my brother J.R.  Following is a story from our childhood.

Oh J.R., the things he would do are totally unreal and very funny at times.  I often wonder how he managed to grow to adulthood.  We moved a lot as we grew up.  We had just moved to Portland, Oregon for the second time in our lives.  I was 13 years old, J.R. was 11 1/2, and my second brother James was 10 years old.  We called ourselves the three musketeers or the three banditos.  I was a tomboy and we did everything in the world to entertain ourselves during our childhood years.  It was summertime in Portland, we were in the trailer court where we lived.  J.R had climbed to the roof of a shed and James and I were watching him from the ground.  J.R. told us he was going to jump off the roof of that building and roll, like those guys did in the movies.  James and I told him not to jump he might hurt his leg or do something worse.  Close to the shed was a clothes line with wire lines.  J.R. jumped!  One line of the clothes line caught J.R. under the chin, he bounced up and down on that line several times, then he hit the ground on his back.  J.R. passed out and had a big red bloody gash under his chin.  I thought he had killed himself!  I told James, in a frantic voice, to run and tell Mom that J.R. had killed himself.  James took off in high gear heading toward our trailer  I sat on my knees on the ground watching over J.R. with tears in my eyes.  Within a few minutes a very upset Mother arrived on the scene.  Mom managed to revive Jack and check his wound.  Once again J.R. had survived another of his adventures.  He missed severing the arteries in his neck by a mere quarter of an inch.  He had used up another of his nine lives.  Lucky boy!  He thought he was Superman.

Years later J.R. and I would look back to that event and laugh until our faces turned red and tears ran down our cheeks.  Of course I would tell him how stupid he had been.  Then J.R. would tell me he knew what he was doing the whole time.

I cannot share this story with J.R. anymore because of the disease of dementia.  A story you cannot share with those involved is just not as enjoyable as it once was.

Memories

I think of the song Barbra Streisand sang years ago, “Way We Were.”  The first two lines go like this – “Memories light the corners of my mind.  Misty water-colored memories of the way we were.”  This is really a song about lost romantic love, but these lines remind me of the memories I shared with my brother, who is now lost in the world of Dementia.

I have 3 siblings, but the only sibling I had in adult life was my brother J.R. who was 17 months younger than me.  Two of my siblings chose not to be involved in my life or in J.R.’s life when we became adults.

I hear a song my brother loved, I see something my brother loved to do, I think of the things we did as children.  J.R. was a good preacher for many years, one of the best locksmiths in the area where he lived.  Those skills are lost to him now.  My brother had an overpowering love for his Mother.  He was a kind, caring, loving, nice man.  He is one of the favorite patients at the nursing home where he resides, he is still a gentle soul.

We had so many adventures as kids, we use to reminisce about the things we did and the places we had lived.  We were what you would call, “Construction Brats.”  By the time I reached 18 years of age we had lived in 20 different places, in 8 states.  We met so many wonderful people during those years.  We would make friends, cry as we left those friends, and become excited when we arrived at the new town we would call home.

I love my brother, I will always love him even when this dreaded disease of Dementia takes him from this would.  I weep for him now, I pray for him, I miss his humor, I miss him saying, “I  love you Sis.”  He does not know my name anymore or that I am his sister.  I simply miss the person he was, before Dementia, with a sorrow that reaches to the depths of my soul.  My brother has been mistreated by so many people in this world. Despite those cruel people in his life he had Mom when she was alive, he has my family, but most of all he has God and his son Jesus.  He is loved and he is cherished as a human being because of those who love him.  God bless you my dear brother.