Third Day in Heaven

imageToday is my mother’s third day in heaven. I wonder how it is going.

My mother passed away Wednesday evening. It had been a full week since she had become unconscious, stopped eating and drinking and started actively dying. At least that was what the hospice nurses called it. She had nurses around the clock. We never met the nurses who worked from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am but the nurse that we spent our days with, Caroline, was terrific. I feel we are fast friends now. Lots of time to talk as we watched my momma breathe and quit breathing periodically, just to be sure we were paying attention.

I hated watching her die. Yet I was glad that she could take this journey of her last days, virtually pain free and calmly. She laid quietly as Jordyn and Kendyll played, we ate meals and Lauren iced her aching arm. At one point, I think Lauren would have liked to join her Nanny in the hospital bed just for so pain relief.

Each night, we would say good bye, believing that she would not live until the next morning. I would hold her tight, tell how much I loved her and tell it was okay to go on. I would be okay without her, clearly I was better with her here but she needed to let go and let The Lord take her home.

Anyone that spent any time with my mother knows she took her time getting ready to go out, lingered (seemingly forever) over a good meal, spent more time in the grocery store buying five items, than I spend getting a week’s worth of food. There is a Brad Paisley song about Waiting on a Woman, and we all waited on my mom. Her death was not any different. We were told from the first day that she was so tiny that she couldn’t last more than day but she did. And then she did, again and again.

It broke my heart to see her shrink away day by day, with sunken eyes and cheeks. It broke my heart each night to give her what I thought was my last kiss and last “I love you” only to return to do it again the next day.

My father and sister have been gone for many years and it has been her and I against the world. I can’t imagine life without her.

Amber, my oldest daughter came in from Denver Tuesday night. We spent Wednesday with my mom. Amber held her tiny hand and as a nurse tried to get a pulse or a blood pressure. But yet momma kept breathing, shallow, hurried breaths. All the girls, Jordyn and myself held her, kissed her, and told her we loved her, forever and forever.

Later, just before Caroline’s shift was to be over, the phone rang.  I had dreamed of the phone ringing with just this news for a week.  now I was paralyzed. Our favorite nurse had called with a tear-filled voiced and told us momma had taken her last breath. I loved her so!


How momma’s changed

This is not meant to berate or belittle my mother, I have loved her dearly all my life, but the woman I have loved has changed over the years.

My mother was the quintessential 60’s house wife. My dad had a busy, important job with the airlines and she was supposed to be a top cook, hostess, housekeeper and mother. I cannot imagine doing all she did. Perhaps because she had so little control over so much of her life, she was a little obsessive about her food and meals. If you went out to a meal with my mother between say 1961 through 2012, you were in for an event. She would not like where she was seated. Too cold, too drafty, too something, you were probably going to be asked to change seats with her. Before anyone could order, she had to know what they planned to eat. And no matter what she ordered, whatever you ordered would be what she wanted.

After all the food came, something would not be cooked to my mother’s specifications. While we waited with our food, hers was returned to the kitchen. I remember one trip to Hawaii where each morning her eggs would go back to the kitchen as not done enough. On vacation day four, my father had it! He took the boiled egg to the head waiter. He told them to go cook it like a hockey puck! That worked!

The second issue that has played into almost every family event since Amber’s birth over 30 years ago, was that my mother had a bad stomach. Schedule a christening, a big night out, Christmas dinner with friends and mom would be in her room vomiting with what we dubbed ” special occasion flu”. I will never understand it.

Forget Mexican, Italian, Indian or any spicy food, mom could not manage it. The amount of antacids, stomach drugs, and medical care were astounding. And rarely was there a night when more than just milk and crackers were all she could manage. One Christmas Eve, I found her vomiting in bathroom. I thought it was the latest special occasion flu. Except there was blood everywhere. I thought she would die on Christmas Eve. She had a bleeding ulcers that let her spend the holidays getting blood transfusions.

So what’s my point? Today as a treat I took a McDonalds milk shake to her. Since she has moved into the center, she has not been sick to her stomach once. Not one Tums has made it’s way down her throat. She excitedly tried to decide if she wanted a tuna or ham sandwich, neither of which she would have eaten before. Like ever!

It is nice to see her happy to try most anything and be excited about it as well. I have relatives that would not recognize my mom eating what she is now. I guess this is a HUGE plus to her life with dementia. It has effected her personality making her calmer, gentler and accepting. While I miss so many things about my old mom, the one that would have remembered my sister and dad. I am thrilled with this little lady that told me just today that her cranberry juice was the best thing ever, well maybe. That Quaker Oats cereal bar was outstanding as well.

You have taken so much from dear momma, Mr. Dementia, but I am grateful her stomach doesn’t churn with anxiety related issues. Not a sign of her old ulcers. I am happy that in a small town, she finds the food outstanding. I will take this little piece of happiness in the midst of the darkness.

Thanks for riding along! Bruno with his face full of stitches is feeling better. Mick walked across the paddock on a hoof that was still sensitive but way better. Even the tiny kitty is seemingly, finally on the mend. Pixie is off to Pine Hill to be looked at tomorrow. I hope they love her like we do (and she leaves in their trailer as their new horse). Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

momma showing off her new shoes and drinking a Boost (says it is the best drink ever!)


Off to Hawaii with Momma!

Momma, Jordyn and I getting ready for the Hawaiian party.

Momma, Jordyn and I getting ready for the Hawaiian party.

In the fine fashion of Elmcroft Assisted Living we all enjoyed Hawaiian night! The assisted living home plans occasional “special” nights for the residents and I knew momma would be interested in the Hawaiian night. Hawaii is her all time favorite place and while she does not respond or react to many things these days, her eyes lit up with recognition when I started to mention Hawaii a few weeks ago.

Lauren and I had planned to go as I still remember last Thanksgiving when the residents who did not have family seemed so woe begotten and lost. Plus, we could not argue that we had nothing to wear since we had a trip to the islands just months ago. At the last-minute, Ally agreed to come with Kendyll and Jordyn and we all embarked on a nice evening. Mom swayed along with the Hawaiian music, seemed to enjoy the pageantry of Leis and island food. I tried to convince Ally and Lauren to get up and do the hula but they were not going along with my plan.

Momma watching her youngest great grandchild, Kendyll.

Momma watching her youngest great-grandchild, Kendyll.

Jordyn took on the staff in a limbo contest and won it all. Of course, she was half the size of the rest of contestants!



Momma had fun and enjoyed her brief trip to the islands. And as Ally said, and I concur, it was the most festive Friday night she has had in awhile!

Momma’s one year Texas Anniversary

One year ago, after a lot of planning, strategizing, and packing
We moved my 88 year old mom away from her husband of 15 years
To Texas

Nothing about the decision, the enactment of it or getting her to leave her
Beloved Jim and Colorado was easy. I will never forget sleeping next to her
That last night.

I had no idea how we would do at the airport or on the plane. Confusion was
The norm. Being afraid was all my little mother seemed to know. And fair

I was taking her away from everyone she knew and loved. From places at least a little
Familiar and setting her on a journey to a new home with only me from whom to receive

Wow! It was so scary as we made the long drive from the airport. I had always been the child
And she the mom. Now I was forced to parent my parent. What if she hated the new place or
Just wanted to go home?

Well, of course it is all alright, for the most part. She has days when she is scared and days when the regrets come slowly and smiles quick. At least I know all that happens to her and all she does
Each day.

It’s been a year. I will be richer all my life for these treasured days with her. If I only get that little
Glimpse from to time of the momma I used to know, I will hang on tightly to those memories and hope for more.

Happy first year in Texas, Momma. I love you.


Around the Farm

Alice, welcome all to Six Meadow Farm

Alice, welcome all to Six Meadow Farm

It seems like there has been a lot going on these last few days-actually, just usual farm stuff, I have not left town in four days which maybe a record of sorts for me.  I have enjoyed having this quiet week to rest, piddle around the place and get some chores done.

I have been to my mom’s assisted living place every day.  Maybe it is just seeing her daily again after missing days right after surgery, but she seems brighter and happier to me.  I had hired a sitter to come between 4-6 pm each day to get her to dinner and back.  Each day when I get there she has on jewelry and today even had earrings on.  She is very proud of her manicure we got the other day.

Showing off her pink nails.

Showing off her pink nails.

Yesterday, she left me behind again as the home was having an Elvis impersonator in the dining room.  She practically dragged me down the hall.  She hugged me goodbye and was groovin’ to the music as I left.  He really was pretty good.

Elvis singing to momma.

Elvis singing to momma.

Ally, Jordyn and Kendyll came down tonight for their weekly horse back lesson.  Jordyn is still reluctant to trot but is getting much better with the turning, stopping and riding on her own.  I love seeing Ally ride.  She was always a beautiful rider and it is good to see Mickey getting a work-out.  Feather, especially being only six, is a saint with Jordyn.  My shoulder restricts my typing ability so I am just going to let the pictures tell the rest of the story tonight.

Lula steadfastly waiting with Kendyll as mom and sis ride.

Lula steadfastly waiting with Kendyll as mom and sis ride.

Jordyn making her way with Feather-all by herself around the arena with mom and Mick. Love this!

Kendyll FINALLY getting a turn!  She says she was born to ride!

Kendyll FINALLY getting a turn! She says she was born to ride!

Thank you for riding along-it’s a very good night at Six Meadow Farm!