It doesn’t get easier-

Dorothy is on the downhill slide- and there is no way to tell when she will hit the end of this life. She continues to spend her days helping those around her however she can- with positive energy and mostly happy. She lives in her own world, when she was about 6 or 8. She is stuck there. She does not talk about her children or her grandchildren ( with the rare exception of asking about Jessica and the boys). She thinks I am her sister whenever I go see her and she wonders why I have come to see her. She talks about Pappy and how funny and smart he is and how he will always take the time to help her- unlike Granny- who makes her figure it out for herself. She wonders where her aunts and uncles are and all the children. When I take her outside she talks about not understanding why Granny & Pappy bought such a huge house. She wonders where the cows and the garden is. She talks about her day at school and the school bus ride home. She talks about whatever is on her brain at that moment.

It’s surprising to me that listening to her stories that have a beginning, a plot and an ending- that if I did not know her I would think she was just a little old lady telling something that happened in her life and she is perfectly normal. She sounds natural- she can come up with all the words to form a sentence that can make you believe it just happened. She can go on about a friend of hers who just had another baby and the father is thinking of taking the older kids and leaving her. He has no intention of raising another baby. I’m certain that if a writer would come and visit her for a few days in a row- they would have enough material for at least a 5 year soap opera.

I still sit and listen, agree, ask questions and sometimes give her names of people she is searching for. I laugh sometimes and sometimes I look at her and wonder what the heck is going on with this disease. Does she know all that she accomplished in her life?

For me-it is not getting any easier- it’s just that my scab is so thick that it is going to take a long time for me to heal. The other day she looked at me and knew who I was – she was very serious when she told me that I had gotten old and why did I let all those wrinkles get on my face. She proceeded to count them- out-loud! LOL One by one looking very intently at me as to not miss any. She stopped at fifteen and said “Cheryl- that’s only just from your eye to your mouth”.

All I could do was laugh and say, well – I must have over 100 if you count my entire face. She did not laugh-but looked very concerned and said- How did you get so old. BAHABAHABAHA!!!!!! not something a daughter wants to hear- especially when they look in the mirror themselves and ask- when did I start looking like my mother and when did I get all these wrinkles.

It’s been a struggle for me this summer with Dorothy- watching her steady decline. She complains of her legs hurting more often, her eyes are failing her- both in seeing and the dullness in them now, they are no longer bright lights. Her balance is worse and she either refuses or doesn’t remember to use the walker. She fell again this week. No broken bones- no sign of bruises, but I’m sure her body aches from hitting the cold, hard floor.

I truly believe this will be her end. Falling and breaking a leg, arm or hip. Her wishes state to do nothing to keep her alive. This has been tough to accept- but I am finally there. So, we- will honor her wishes and let the morphine drip keep her comfortable until she goes home -whenever that may be.

In the meantime, I will continue to be her advocate, helper, listener and her sister or daughter – whoever she thinks I need to be in the moment.

Stay strong and do only what you can do. There is a limit for all of us. And remember you are not alone.

Not Alone Anymore – Traveling Wilburys

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Another First.

I got the call a few Friday’s ago- Dorothy had a mini stroke or a TIA- which resolves completely within a period of time. 48 hours is the wait and see time for this type of stoke. So, I spent four days and three knights with mom in her Memory Care Room. Waiting on the end, or more TIA’s or a full recovery.

When I arrived- mom was dysfunctional. Her head was on her chest- she could not hold it up. Her arms were failing from side to side. Her speech was slurred, her eyes lifeless.

Since she was so adamant about not doing anything to keep her alive, all I did was sit with her and get her up to walk from time to time. Saturday her speech was back to normal and her head was held high- but, she was very wobbly on her feet. Hospice sent a wheelchair over for her and that is where she spend Saturday. She had her meals in her room and I would wheel her outside and we would sit and watch the butterflies and the clouds drift by . She was able to let me know that Delores and all her friends were in the room. And she wondered why she had so many people with her.

Sunday morning she wanted nothing to do with her wheelchair- so, I was close by and held on to her as we walked. We spent most of this day outside as well. During Breakfast she told me that Jesus had come to see her and she told me in detail what she had witnessed. I asked her questions and she answered matter- of – factly. She told me that she had to finish her assignment before she could go with him. I asked her what that assignment was and she let me know that she did not know- he hadn’t told her. But, she said that he did give her a real cool pencil.

She talks about school a-lot these days. She also still talks about her sister- who she thinks I am most of the time. With her comments on both days about her sister and Jesus, I thought for sure Sunday night when we went to sleep that the good Lord would take her home- but, he did not- it’s not her time.

By Monday Dorothy was her “normal” self. She was stronger in her balance and wanting to visit her friends. So, by noon I was out of there. I will share my experience with her on the inside- another time.

Death Is Only A Dream- The Stanley Brothers

Sadly we sing and with tremulous breath
As we stand by the mystical stream
In the valley and by the dark river of death
And yet ’tis no more than a dream

   Only a dream, only a dream
   Of glory beyond the dark stream
   How peaceful the slumber, how happy the waking
   Where death is only a dream

Why should we weep when the weary ones rest
In the bosom of Jesus supreme
In the mansions of glory prepared for the blessed
For death is no more than a dream………………………

It’s not time for Dorothy to dream.

Peace, Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen

You never know what a day holds…..

I was headed up mom’s- to talk to someone in “charge”. I like to let them know I am paying attention and I ask for clarification every now and then on how this or that is supposed to be handled. Mostly, the cleaning schedule and food choices. When I got a call from the nurse that mom had her earring post back– stuck in her ear and they could not get it out.

When I arrived, mom was in her room- unmaking the bed. She had stuff arranged everywhere and she was in full dementia mode. I greeted her with “hello mom” and a big hug. Then asked her what she was doing and if she needed help. She said she was packing up- I told her that today was not the day she was going home. She looked at me with certainty and stated that she knew that and that the divorce would be final in the morning. So, I asked her if she was happy about it. ” Well of course I am- he’s a no-good man who just chases women”.

My dad died back in ’81 still married to mom- and as far as I knew they were happy. She remarried a man and supported him through chiropractic school- they moved to Texas and opened a practice. After a few years she caught him cheating with someone in the office. She filed for divorce. I wonder if that was where her mind was at those moments in time. I’ll never know.

Anyway, I got her settled down and I tried to see if I could remove her earring- nope. She is a tough lady but the pain was too much. So- off we went to the Urgent Care. What a delightful experience we had at the Wellstar Urgent Care Center on Cobb Parkway North -in Acworth. The ENTIRE staff was excellent! It as such a wonderful experience, if I need Urgent Care- I will travel there. The check in ladies were very pleasant, the nurse was the best ever with mom! and Dr. Z was so relaxed, and calm and treated her just like a child- and honesty that is a compliment. We were there a total of 30 minutes.

She had no idea what had happened 30 seconds after the procedure – or even where we were when we were walking out. But, she did smile and wave good bye to everyone and everyone returned the wave and the smile. It was such a God Wink!

On the way home she was confused and talked randomly about Granny- I just answered as she would want me to at the “time of her mind” she was in. It’s ok, in 15 seconds she doesn’t remember anyway- so why get her more confused or upset in 10 seconds with a “correct” answer?

Note to self and to those of you out there. Take the earrings out of moms ears-add it to the things to do list.

Gretchen Wilson- The Earring Song (-:

Peace, Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Still going strong…sort of….

Dorothy has been slowly crossing over to the next level – Stage 4. Stage 4 – weird- exit left is the only thing left. That -and the final dropping of the curtain. Dorothy has been a blessed woman, she’s been loved, she has loved , she has had many joys and accomplishments and I’m grateful that I got to travel through this life with her.

These days she has no interest in going outside anymore. Sometimes she does not even feel like getting out of her chair and walking me to the door. She’s tired and getting worn down. But, even in her confusion- she is giving help to those in greater need than she. I wonder what her last act of kindness will be.

All I know for sure– that these days– even in the moment –she is not sure what is going on. She will be talking about something and in mid sentence forget what she was talking about. She will laugh at herself and just say ” oh well”!

She also rambles about things that are weird- to her they are not- but to the listener they are way out there. Where does she come up with this stuff? Was it actually reality at some point in her life? Is it from a book that she read in the past? Is it a movie or TV show that she watched? Or is it her creative Imagination? I will never know.

I am content that she is not mad or unhappy- she’s just confused. And I can deal with that.

I hug her, I care for her, I listen to her, I tell her I love her, I accept her as she is- these are the things I can do.

Sweet Child of Mine – Guns & Roses

She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stare too long, I’d probably break down and cry

Whoa, oh, oh
Sweet child MOM o’ mine
Whoa, oh, oh, oh
Sweet MOM of mine

…………………

I pray that God shows her Grace and Mercy.

Love, Light and Peace,

Cheryl Doreen

Grief, Guilt, Toleration & Reality.

Grief, Guilt, Toleration & Reality

I have been struggling the last several months with all three of these words.

Grief: The pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury, or evils of any kind; sorrow, regret.

Guilt: Remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense.

Toleration: The act of tolerating; the allowance of that which is not wholly approved.

Reality: Actual being or existence of anything; truth; fact; in distinction from mere appearance.

We all go through waves of these words at times.  Sometimes there are just a few “matters” that haunt us and other times there are a multitude of “matters” that finally disturb us to the point where we need to surrender all the emotions in order to pick up and move forward. 

Ok, I know you all know the meaning of these words- I just had to type them so they are here for me when I need them.  

The experienced while watching Dorothy go through this disease is sometimes overcome with thoughts of guilt- guilt that I cannot do more that I am- or can I? 

  Should I take her in and take care of her 24-7.

Should I live my life to help her live the rest of her days out?  

Grief follows – with the fact that she is sick, and she is not going to get better at all. 

She will never be who she was in mind. 

The dragging on of her life seems so unfair.  

The Toleration and Reality finally ground me again so I can get back to normal.

The toleration that this —is the way it is, and I cannot change it or fix it in any way.        

The Reality that it’s okay. This is the way it is. This will pass. I am doing all that I am capable of.

The Way It Is- Bruce Hornsby & the Range

I was rereading my posts- to see if I could find anything that I’d said before -to help bring me back up from my hole I was stuck in- and I found this.   I like it, so I’m going to share again.

Acceptance=the willingness to tolerate a difficult or unpleasant situation (Webster)

We need to dig deep for this first step- most times, what’s hard to accept certain situations -that life has thrown our way.

Faith = the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)

We need this to understand that there are things we cannot feel, touch, or see- but they exist.

We all have this- I feel my faith through my intuition- I just know it to be so.

Strength = the emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult. (Webster)

We need to have this to continue to stay grounded and be prepared. I believe if you will stand in the “superhero pose” (feet apart, hands on hips, shoulders back, head held high) right before you need your strength the most- it’s always there for you.

It’s heartbreaking -dealing with a terminal ill loved one.  They seem to have lost Acceptance, Faith, and Strength.  The caregivers/family members still carry it– till the end.  

It will be okay.

Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Another Fall

I got a call Friday night that mom had fallen.  They don’t know what happened or when it happened.  Because they are not with her 24/7- they are only there when needed.    They wanted to call 911 and send her to the hospital via ambulance.   My stance is still the same.  No, don’t send her, I’ll be there as soon as I can.  I don’t understand how they think that it’s okay to send a dementated person to the emergency room by themselves and expect anything good to come out of it.   – See post from last January when they sent her to out to emergency room during Covid for an upset stomach.   )-:

I was there within 30 minutes- Dorothy was in her room with a “care giver” sitting up and they were talking.  They did take her vitals, and all was good.   She had a large bump on the back of her head and some bleeding.  She had dried blood in her hair which made it look worse than it was.    I asked if they had given her a pain pill, which they had not, I ask them to give her one which they did right away. 

I helped mom to the bed, laid her face down and not having any first aid kit with me- I used what was available.   Warm water and paper towels. There was some “bed pads “that I put on her pillow to keep it from getting wet and I tried to clean up the cut to see what was happening.   I asked the care giver if they had a first aid kit, and he went to see.   A nurse came back with him with some sterile spray and some gauze squares.  I told the nurse that I would deal with mom, because I know they are not allowed to do so.  I got her cleaned up and decided that she did not need to go to the hospital.  The nurse had called Hospice – mom is under their care- and the Hospice nurse was a few hours out- at this time it was 9:30 P M.   I expressed to the Hospice Nurse that there was no need to come tonight and asked if she would come the next morning at 8:00. 

The entire time Dorothy kept saying her head, neck and back hurt and wanted to know what happened.  She had no idea she fell, even after telling her numerous times.   The pain pill was kicking in, I helped her in her PJs and put her to bed.   She was asleep within a few minutes of the PJ’s going on.

I had to sign a few papers stating I declined for Dorothy to go to the Emergency Room and that I took full responsibility.   I had to write down my conversation with the Hospice Nurse and sign that as well.     On the way home I spoke with God and told him I knew that it was up to him, either Dorothy died that night due to a brain bleed or she would not. Either way I’d be okay with whatever the outcome was.

Paul and I went returned the next morning in different cars- not knowing what to expect.  We arrived at  7:15- mom was up, dressed and walking around.  She said that she was hungry and that her head hurt.  She told me to look at the bump on the back of her head.  How did it get there?  How did it happen?   We talked about it. She of course has no recollection.

I gave her a shower, washed her hair and her bump was much smaller and there was no more bleeding. We dressed and it was time for breakfast. We took her to the breakfast table and went back to her room.  We were waiting on the Hospice Nurse- she came and went without us knowing.  She called as soon as she left- and told us she looked at mom and she looked good- and that she had put iodine antiseptic on her cut and her vitals looked good.  She said we made the right decision by not sending her to the ER.    I told her I was sorry we missed her, we were in Dorothy’s room and were waiting for her.   No worries, glad all is okay.  

Paul and I decide to go ahead and leave, we both knew that mom would not remember us being there anyway and we agreed she’d be okay.  On the way out we notice mom asleep at the table with her fork in her hand.  Paul went ahead and left, I went over to mom and gently woke her up and encouraged her to eat.  She was so weak- they had given her a pain pill before we had gotten there. (before breakfast?)  With the pain pill, the shower, and the trauma to her body- she was exhausted.  Dorothy was so weak that she could not manage her fork.  So, I put food on it for her- handed her the fork and she ate.  She would drift off while eating and I’d bring her back by another fork full of food or a drink of juice. 

Two side notes here:

  1.  I looked around and noticed that most folks could not eat their breakfast.  They could not cut the sausage, or they struggled getting the eggs and grits on their forks.   Others were slumped over asleep. I had to wonder if this is a daily occurrence at feeding time.
  2. I found myself struggling with putting food on mom’s fork.  She was very adamant about no one feeding her.   I rationalized that I was not feeding her, I was merely putting food on her fork.  She would have to put it in her mouth she would have to drink by herself. 

She ate about 1/3 of her breakfast and I helped her back to her room.  She asked why her head and neck was hurting.   I calmy explained what happened.   When we got to her room, I helped her on her bed.  I made sure she was comfy and coved up with a blanket.  I stayed until she was asleep knowing I’d be back later in the day to check on her again.

It was a calm ride home.  I wondered how many more of these opportunities I would get to help her from a fall.   I wondered how many more falls she would have.   I wondered if she falls and breaks another hip, shoulder, arm or whatever.  What will Paul and I decide to do?   Have them fix her?  Or just let her be in pain? Let her suffer and wilt away?   Or fix her for another fall?

I did go back to see her later in the day, after dinner to see how she was.   When I walked in, she was sitting on the couch with a few of her friends watching TV.  When I walked in- she lit up like she hadn’t seen me in a long time.   She came to me with open arms and a big hug.  She said she was so happy to see me.   I returned the hug and the exchange.  We walked to her room, and we sat down.  I opened the blinds and the window.  We looked at the clouds and the beautiful blue sky.   She asked the questions, I answered them.  Most of the conversation was her song she used to sing.   We sat like that for a long time her asking questions, me answering them.  As I was sitting there I was thinking what a great memory we are making -for me to hold on to. 

 It was not Dorothy’s day to die.  She is still with us, she has more to give.  I just hope the people that are supposed to receiving her gifts are listening.   I know I am.

All I know for sure is all our days are numbered.  We will never be as young as we are now; we will probably never be as healthy as we are now.  We need to live our life as we want to live it.   We can care about other people, but we cannot live our lives for them, and we cannot let them live their lives for us.  And we cannot tell them how we think they should live their life.  We only get so many days to be joyful, happy, give and receive love, and most of all soak up this “heaven” here on earth.

Part of the Plan – Dan Fogelberg

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Belated Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day came and went- It was good to see mom.  I remember when I was little growing up with my three brothers (explains a lot of why I’m like I am – lol) we would celebrate Mother’s Day in a carefree child’s way.  For years, we would go to church with mom – we would get up at the designated time during the Service and sing a Mother’s day song with all of the Sunday School Class.    She would be special, like all the other mothers who sat tall and proud in their Sunday best, with a corsage pinned to her dress.   Most moms of that era had at least two children- mostly more.  Mom had four of us to be proud of and four of us who showed extra special love on that day- with a homemade card and picture we drew or a plaster handprint made the week before.   

 She never really got a day “off” until we were in our teens, when we came to understand how much she sacrificed, encouraged, prayed, guided, and most importantly loved us.  We would make breakfast, lunch, and dinner and at times bake a cake for her special day.

 Over the years it has gotten simplified to a card, flowers, or a phone call.  Being a mom myself, I have experienced this same journey.  Along with loving my children, being proud of them in whatever way I can, supporting their decisions- not always understanding them and sometimes not accepting their decisions-but letting them live their journey as they wish.  Sometimes this decision leaves you out of their lives and that’s ok.    Ramble on- I guess what I’m trying to say is my mom and 4 kids, 2 of us stayed close to her while 2 chose to separate from her.   I can relate.  Early on when two of my brothers went their own way, I could not understand it and wondered why. I also wondered how mom could “carry on” without all of us.  As I grew older, wiser and saw life at different stages I understood how she did it.   You just love your children enough to let them live the life they want to live.

Anyway, lol ……. after that long release of thinking- mom and I had a wonderful 66th Mother’s Day together.   She still knows me, she still loves me, she still doesn’t remember much of anything, but she’s still my mom and I am able to remember for the both of us.

 I have a ton of special Mother’s Day celebrations memories with her, and I look forward to many more of my own Mother’s Day Celebrations.

I’m trusting everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day in their own right.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

What’s the matter with my skin?

Dorothy was a happy camper when I went to see her this week.  She was in her room with the door locked.  I knocked and she answered, “who is it”.   I replied- “your favorite daughter”. LOL I’m the only daughter, so it makes it easy to be the favorite. She opened the door with a huge smile on her face and we had a great hug.

It as a beautiful day so I opened her windows to let in some fresh air.   And started my hunt of finding things.   She was very talkative and happy.  She helped strip the bed and was too tired to help with putting on new sheets.  Before looking through her chest of drawers, I asked her to pick out some clean clothes for her to put on after a shower.   This task keeps her occupied.       In one drawer of her chest I found several pairs shoes and slippers.   I asked her about it, and she responded, “there was no place else to put them.”  So, I asked her to see if there was any room in the closet.  She found some room and she moved the shoes.  I wondered how long it will take her to move them back after I’m gone. (-:

When my grandsons were little and looking for their shoes, I would play them the awesome BB King video about his song “One Shoe Blues” he sings and stars in it.   Check it out it’s worth 2 minutes of your day.  (-:  

I also found the remaining photos of her granny & pappy and her sister and her with her daddy.  I decided to take them home with me.  Often, they are wrapped up in a towel and placed in the drawer.  Maybe this was a good thing, maybe not.  We will see. I can always bring them back if need be.

After the shower she looked like a new woman, all sparkly and clean.  (-:     She was worn out and needed a rest.  She laid down on the bed and after a few minutes she raised up her arms in front of her.  She asked “Cheryl, what happened to my arms?  Just look at them.”  I responded with “what’s the matter with them.”  She replied, “don’t you see how crinkled they are?”   I chuckled out loud and responded well, you’ve had that skin for a long time- how many years do you think you’ve had those arms?  She replied with “well, two or three years at the most.”  Then laughed and said, “I always forget how old I am, let’s see, I think I’m 94.”  I asked her how she expected her arms to look after 94 years.  Her response was “well, I took really good care of it.” As she was still examining her skin, then said, “well I guess my skin didn’t like the way I took care of it”

I assured her she looked good for 94- she gave me a huge smile and said, okay “who’s going to put my socks and shoes on? Am I going to have to do that too?”   I laughed out loud as did she. The skin issues moved on.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Granny’s Vases….

Dorothy was in a good mood when I went to see her the other day, so I decided to get her out and took her home with me.  It was a beautiful spring day, the sky was blue, the trees were beginning to bloom with the color of April green.  The flowers were popping, and it was warm enough to have the car windows down.  Dorothy had no idea where she was and kept asking “where are we?  Nothing looks familiar.” Then she’d ask “how’d I get here, who else lives here in this State? I don’t remember moving here.”  It was a long ride to my house, LOLOLOL.  

Dorothy had no idea where she was, but she did see a few plates/vases that were her granny’s- which she passed down to me.   When she saw them, she asked me how Granny’s vases got here then she told me the story on how Granny got them.  It’s interesting to me that she cannot remember where she is, but she can remember the long-ago memories.  But that is where she is living these days in the long-ago past.

We had a good lunch; a sandwich, chips and a Sprite and she was ready to leave shortly after. The way back was pretty much the same as the previous ride, with mom being confused on where and why.

When we got back to the home, we did the shower routine and she felt like a new woman.   As soon as she had finished brushing her teeth, she told me it was time for me to go– so she could go visit her friend.    

There is plenty of day-to-day life at the home for her, I suppose that just like my life- some days are easy, other days are filled with unexpected happenings.  Some days we just go with the flow and other days we want to go and hide, be by ourselves and just sit down and cry and wonder what happened, how did I get in this situation?  But most days Life is Good!

It was interesting to me that she does not sing her song much anymore.

The mind is a wonder.  And maybe I don’t need to worry about what she can’t remember and focus on what she remembers now.  Because all too soon, it too will be lost.

In My Life – John Lennon

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all………………….

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

They won’t let me walk to school

Dorothy called me the other day, with the help of one of the nurses. She was calm but confused. She did not even say hello- she went right into “I’m concerned because they would not let me walk to school”.   That was the last thing I thought would come out of her mouth- so I asked her if she was ok, her answer was yes.  I asked her how far it was for her to walk to school.  She thought for a moment and said, “probably too far, that makes since why they won’t let me walk by myself.”   She told me she was going to ask them if she could catch a bus or if someone could drive her.   I told her it was the weekend and there wasn’t going to be any school for a few days, so she had nothing to worry about.   Problem solved. (-:

I wonder, but I do not want to experience what she is going through. Everyone there is different in the mindset of where they are and what they are.  It’s weird.  But it’s her journey and she is where she is supposed to be.   I’m just a helper – to help smooth out the rough spots and bring attention to the things that are happening that shouldn’t be.  (In my mind anyway.)

I’m glad the weather is warming up – I will be able to take her out for an ice cream again.

School’s (almost) out for the summer- Alice Cooper-

Love & Light,

 Cheryl Doreen