Monday, December 06, 2004

I should be getting ready for Christmas....

Christmas is almost here. Am I ready? of course not! I should be getting ready for Christmas! Instead I am going through all my bits and baubles checking out things for my Crazy Quilt! I am so excited about the project! I have found some beautiful antique buttons and some vintage jewelry in my Mom's jewelry chest. It will be perfect for some of the blocks. I have found bits of trims and lace and beads and sequins and...and...and...

I really should be getting ready for Christmas!

Friday, December 03, 2004

A Tribute To Mom

Since Mom passed away on November 3, 2004 I have found myself thinking about our relationship over the last few years. Sometimes it is easy to remember all the difficult times and fail to remember the good times. Sometimes it is easier to remember the most recent events and fail to recall the events leading up to the present. So last night I went back and read some of my Journal entries for the last couple of years. As many of you know I have journaled for quite a few years usually in the third person as it is easier for me to write in this way. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to share with you an excerpt about my Mom--The Most Wonderful Lady I have ever known.


She had spent the day with Mom.... What more needed to be said?

She had listened to all her complaints many times. She had looked for lost item after lost item. She had made numerous phone calls for her and made numerous appointments for various and sundry things. She had played chauffer and travel guide. She had answered the same question more times than she could count. She had steadied her when she stumbled and calmed her as she became frustrated with her inadequacies. And then she had done it all again.

She loved her Mom. What more needed to be said?

Mom had always been petite. In her youth she had stood all of 5"2". Now she didn't reach 5'. At her highest she might have weighed 160 pounds. Now she may be 100 pounds-soaking wet! She had always sported the softest blonde hair. Now her hair was silver. Once her eyes had been the clearest, purest blue. Now they were clouded with cataracts. And there were more differences--many, many more.

But the Mad Stitcher remembered the way she used to be. She had been the best Mom in the neighborhood. Every child loved her and loved being around her. She had been a role model for most everyone in her neighborhood, adults and children alike. She had been a Den Mother for the Cub Scounts and a Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts. She had been active in the PTA and supported the various fundraisers and school projects that came her way. She had been a Sunday School Teacher and member of the church choir.

But even more importantly she had loved her family. She had made a home for them and painted it with kindness, love, and warmth. Although she and Dad had struggled financially, she had always managed to provide all that was needed and many of the "luxuries". She was teacher, friend, mentor, and fixer of "boo-boos". She had been the disciplinarian but had always tempered discipline with understanding and compassion. She had supported her family in everything they tried to do. She had taught all three of her children, but especially her daughter, the lessons one needed to learn in order to survive the harsh reality known as Life. And she had taught her daughter to be strong--no matter what was thrown her way!

She had listened patiently to all the childish complaints. She has searched for each and every missing item without hesitation. She kept up with everyone's schedules and taxied her brood from activity to activity--never complaining. She had answered the all important questions that were asked time and time again. She helped each one when he stumbled and comforted when the hurts came.

Mom loved her family. What more needed to be said?

Her strength and courage were the threads that wove the fabric of the lives of her family. But even the strongest thread will break if subjected to enough stress. Such was the case for Mom during a yearlong stretch in 1984-1985. Her Mom had been ill for many years and finally passed in August of 1984. A short while later her Dad had gotten very sick. At 89 years of age he struggled month after month. During this time Mom had visited and cared for him daily while continuing to care for her husband and home.

Then one morning in April 1985 she got up and then called to her husband to get up. She went out to get the paper and then went to prepare breakfast. She called him again and still he did not respond. She went to shake him and then she went numb! The love of her life had died in his sleep! No warning! No nothing! She managed to call her youngest son who lived a few blocks away before she collapsed. For the first time in her life Mom needed to lean on someone else.

It became necessary for the Mad Stitcher to care for her Mom. After the funeral she took time off from her job. She handled all the financial and estate decisions since Mom was unable to decide even the smallest thing. During the three weeks following Dad's death, the Mad Stitcher decided that she needed to move back to South Carolina. She really liked living in Tennessee and enjoyed her job. But MS didn't know how long it would be before Mom could function again.

When she called the hospital to talk with the Director of Nursing about her mother's needs, the Mad Stitcher was informed that she would be back at work on Monday. This really didn't sit well with MS. So instead of giving the four-week notice that she had intended to give, she told her what she could do with her job! It probably wasn't the wisest decision she had ever made and would probably hurt her professionally, but it felt like the right thing to do.

She was glad she had made that decision when just a week later (only a month after Dad died) Mom got the call that her Dad had finally succumbed to death. The Mad Stitcher cried more for her Mom than anything or anyone else. She had lost a Mom, a Dad, and a Husband in less than nine months. MS wasn't sure how much more Mom could bear. She knew that it would be a very long time--if ever--before she would even be close to "normal".

The Mad Stitcher was unable to find a job locally so she began looking a little farther afield. She found what she was looking for in Charlotte--about 70 miles from Mom. So all that was left was to find a place to live, pray that her house in Tennessee would sell quickly, pack up, and move! Right!!

Mom was finding it difficult, and MS wasn't sure what she could do to help her. She called her every day and visited every weekend. She encouraged Mom to go out with friends or just to go to the shopping center, if nothing else, to get out of the house. It had taken years and she was just beginning to get back to the "old" Mom when Fate once more took control.

It was 6:00 am when the knock on the door awakened her. Mom's brother was there and immediately Mom knew something was wrong. The train had tried to stop but there just wasn't enough time or distance. The body had been dragged for almost half a mile and had been mangled so badly that they wouldn't let her see him. Her youngest son had been killed!

This seemed to be the final blow. Mom completely lost it. She literally could not function. the Mad Stitcher wasn't sure she would ever recover. Mom simply gave up. She had lost the will to live and the downward spiral began. she couldn't eat and began to lose weight--drastically! She lost interest in her appearance and her health. The decline in her physical health left the door wide open for disease to ravage her mental health. Slowly and insidiously Alzheimer's Disease was encroaching. Her memory was beginning to fail and her muscle control was waning. The regression was becoming more and more pronounced. And paranoia was taking over her thought processes. The Mad Stitcher prayed for a cure for this terrible disease. But in the meantime...

She loved her Mom. What more needed to be said?

I miss you, Mom!