Time, slipping away

Despite our best efforts, we didn’t make it on time.

Yesterday morning Darryl and Paul went to the nursing home to be with Martha. They each held her hand and spoke of what to do next. The nurse came in and said that she had 3 days left if they left her IV in and about 24 hours if they took it out.

They called Martha’s remaining siblings and family in for a final visit last night and decided to keep the IV in until the family came for one last visit. Then Paul and Darryl left to tie up some things at work intending to return later.

The kids were on their way home early from school and we were going to leave once they got home.

Paul received the call while we were still at work that his mother had passed moments before we were ready to leave.

We thought we would have more time.

When we got to the nursing home we went into her room and said our final good byes. It seemed so surreal. I tricked my mind into thinking she was still with us. Martha looked like she was asleep.

We had a little good bye service in the nursing home chapel.

While this was all happening, my son became seriously ill (I think he will be okay now). It was horrible timing. I was debating whether or not to take him to the ER.

I felt terrible ignoring the family to deal with another crisis.

It was one of the worst days of my life.

We almost got into two car accidents. Someone came close to sideswiping me and someone pulled out right in front of us. Then on the way home I called the doctor’s office, almost hit a fox all while driving on empty.

I felt like I was on empty too.

It was late when we finally got home.

I made a doctor’s appointment for my son first thing this morning.

I feel so sad.

My family is having a hard time dealing with this. My husband feels so lost without his mother. He said he misses her so terribly much already.

This weekend we will be picking our daughter up from college for the funeral. She is on tour right now with the music department. She was going to surprise her grandma by having the choir sing her a song, but there wasn’t enough time.

I had to stop myself from crying at the doctor’s office this morning.

I feel so confused. I’m forgetting the details which rarely happens to me. I feel like I am running on auto pilot without thinking.

I missed planning the funeral arrangements because I was at the doctor’s office.

Then I needed to stop for groceries. We have nothing to eat in the house. We have been making the hour and a half round trip to see Martha almost every day this week. There hasn’t been time to take care of all the little things.

At the store, I saw a daughter helping her elderly father shop. I almost started crying again.

This has been so emotionally and physically exhausting. We haven’t been sleeping well.

At least Paul had the chance to say good bye. Last week, he had the opportunity to visit his mother alone. He told her he loved her, that she was a good mother, and that he appreciated the sacrifices she made for him.

He said it was one of the hardest things that he has ever done, but it was a very special moment.

He wanted to put it off, thinking that he had more time.

But time has a way of slipping away faster than we can keep our hands on it.

 

 

 

A lot of praying, without a prayer

Playing the waiting game is never the fun and games it sounds like.

Yesterday my mom and Paul’s mom had doctor appointments.

As expected, my mom had the best news. The doctor wasn’t sure if she has glaucoma. She will have to do more waiting. But she does have cataracts and needs surgery.

My mom has always been the best driver that I ever knew, up until recently that is. I noticed little changes, like pulling out in front of traffic when she really didn’t have enough time or showing greater than necessary hesitation.

She is starting to forget little things too. She forgot my sister-in-law’s birthday. She forgot about my daughter’s holiday concerts. I found myself so busy at work that I didn’t have time to remind her either. The gradual decline is troubling at times.

My mother-in-law Martha’s decline has been more of a steep descent lately. She wanted to die at home which is not going to happen. She slept during her oncology appointment yesterday. The doctor decided to stop all treatment and keep her at the nursing home. He used words like keeping her comfortable.

I did start writing about two sentences of a eulogy. Oh, I already wrote it. I wrote it in my head while I was driving, running, and trying to sleep but I can’t seem to write it down on paper.

I started going through the old pictures. I didn’t realize how poor quality they are. The smiling images are not centered, blurry, or dark more often than not. I have gotten used to taking 50 images of the same event and deleting the ones that are not perfect. It’s not like the good old days where we took one or two pictures in an effort not to waste film and having them all turn out bad. I can’t part with the less than perfect images because that is all I have left besides the fading memories.

I feel depressed. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my grandma’s death, next week is the anniversary of the death of Aunt Grace. The despair of death and dying is surrounding me. It makes me feel nostalgic and melancholy on these bleak days of midwinter. This is the month that I lost the most loved ones and another will soon be added to the list.

We last visited Martha at the nursing home on Sunday. How I hate it there. I wondered how the young employees could work there day in and out without pondering their future fate. It seems like a nice place. I haven’t seen anyone mistreated.

What I hate is the joy that is robbed from having no hope. There is no hope that she is going to get better. There is no hope that her life will ever be the same. The despair of not having any hope left is emotionally draining. There is nothing we can do about it. Every time we see her, she is getting worse.

I have always clung to hope in the darkest times, but there isn’t a prayer although there is a lot of praying.

It was hard seeing Martha on Sunday. When we got there, she was laying in an uncomfortable position. We worked together to move her body. I lifted her shoulder while supporting her head. Her words came out in a mumbled whisper. She pointed and we guessed what was being said. She kept saying that her mouth was dry but she didn’t want to drink. She rummaged through her purse for aspirin although she just got pain medicine. She faded in and out of sleep.

Before we leave, we always take her for a walk to see the birds. The nurse carried her into a wheelchair and hooked her up to her portable oxygen tank. Paul pushed the wheelchair as I walked alongside with the IV. You would think that it would be easy to push the IV along but it rolled along like a shopping cart with a messed up wheel. I swerved around as I tried to avoid obstacles trying not rip or twist up her cords that were everywhere.

The birds flitted about in a relaxed manner. The residents spoke of the birds. They spoke of a man that comes around to clip the birds nails and clean out the cages. They spoke of this with great importance. They weren’t in a hurry, they were content to sit and watch the birds like it was the most important thing in the world.

It seemed like a mystery to me. The residents didn’t seem worried or to live in the hustle bustle world of deadlines and time constraints like most of us do, yet they have less time..

Tonight Paul and I will visit Martha. Darryl said that her condition has deteriorated considerably since our visit two days ago. We sense the urgency and are nervous when we hear the phone ring.

It could be any time now..

 

 

 

Running on the last leg

I think my treadmill is on its last leg.

We bought it used almost 2,000 miles ago.

The liner under the belt is starting to unravel. It is coming off in big chunks that look like dust. It almost looks like I don’t use my treadmill or am bad at cleaning my house.

Every time I step on it, the treadmill growls. Seriously, I didn’t gain that much weight over the holidays!

Now I have to hang on to the hand rails when I run because sometimes it stops without warning or catches which might propel me into a wall.

Hey, at least it didn’t start to smoke!

So, I am faced with having to buy a new treadmill or join a gym.

If I join the gym I would actually have to drive a half an hour, share machines with strangers, and shave once in awhile.

But I could bike and swim in the winter. It has been hard to train outside when the lakes are frozen and the roads are icy.

Plus, it would get rid of an ugly piece of furniture(?) in my small house.

There are so many pros and cons to each scenario. I liked having a gym membership, but found it harder to make it work out with my busy schedule.

What do you do to make training easier over the winter??

 

My magic wand

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When I was 34, I played the part of Glinda. I was given someone’s old ill fitting wedding dress to wear. I didn’t like it. So I dug out my wedding dress from the back closet and broke the vacuum pack seal that would forever preserve it. It still fit.

I was given a large magic wand, but the director did not like it although I did. The large wand was replaced with a smaller one and was held by some of the younger cast members.

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One morning I awoke to find my first magic wand in the front yard with a note attached. I felt young to be the receiver of pranks from a youthful crowd.

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Recently, I tried out for the part of a floozy at the local community theater. I didn’t get the part. The actor that was perfect to play the part of the floozy’s boyfriend is 18 years old, the same age as my daughter. Instead a young high school girl who never had a boyfriend was chosen to be the floozy.

What does she have that I don’t? Besides being 25 years younger?? Ha ha, oh well…hmm..

I was given the part of a homeless old bitchy hag.

I had to take a long hard look at myself in the mirror. I am not young anymore. I once was a beautiful flower, but now I’m at the end of my bloom. My petals are starting to droop…wrinkles…lines. My color is starting to fade…My hair a glistening gray…old hands…weird freckly dots..

I still like to think of myself as young. But I don’t glimpse much of that girl anymore in my self-reflection.

This past week I threw out my magic wand. It suddenly seemed a painful reminder of what I once was.

But if I could have my magic wand back and make one wish, it would be that I could feel young for just a little longer…

This year I will be 29 again…

I sneeze..

I sneeze and sneeze and sneeze. 

Am I getting sick? Or am I allergic to the tree?

The cat has fleas..

A sick child needing to be picked up from school early..

I sneeze..

Many ideas swirl through my head, but no time to write..

Work..busy during a slow time..

A weekend away to see my daughter perform..

A long drive home on snowy roads..

Cleaning.. Laundry..

Christmas parties all week…all month..

Bunco party…church choir party…sailing club party…staff party…band concert…choir concert….band concert…choir concert for my three kids in three different schools in two different towns…an overnight family Christmas party out of town…tickets to a show…singing for the Advent services every Wednesday night…singing again on Christmas Eve…Christmas Day with family…

Picking up a kid from college…visiting my dying mother-in-law…scheduling conflicts…a hair cut..a birthday party..

Should I start my Christmas shopping??

I sneeze..

Bring a dish to pass…a dish to pass…a dish to pass…Whatever shall I make?? Whatever shall I take? 

Secret Santa…a gift exchange…

No winter clothes that fit my youngest kid..

Cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry..

A sick kid, pets with fleas..

I sneeze and sneeze and sneeze…

Over the river and through the woods

  

Yesterday morning I awoke with a feeling of trepidation. I think I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect..

I drove over the river (or I should say over the railroad tracks, I’ve never seen so many tracks crossing the highway anywhere else) and through the deep dark woods of WI to take the kids to see grandma (my mother-in-law Martha). She didn’t make it over for Thanksgivng. In fact, she has gotten to the point where she is no longer eating much more than applesauce. 

For years, my son Alex and my husband Paul joined Paul’s stepdad Darryl to hunt. For the last couple of years, Martha would come to my house and spend the weekend playing cards, working puzzles, and watching movies. But she is too sick to go anywhere now. She has stage 4 terminal cancer. The chemo stopped working and the cancer has spread. The guys have been visiting her the last couple of weekends, but I haven’t had the chance to visit for awhile. I felt that it was important to take Angel out to see her while she was home from college for a few days. Will it be the last time?

I was afraid. Afraid of what I would find. Paul has been coming home upset from his time spent there. He didn’t know why. Then after awhile, he said that it was horrible seeing his mother die.

So I was afraid. My stomach felt upset. Would she be in great pain? Would she forget my name like the last time I visited. It’s hard to see someone who was once so vibrant and full of life fade away. She lost over 50 lbs and is just skin and bones. Her hair is starting to grow back in a brown patch of fuzz, so different from her black curly long hair she once had. Her gait is slow, she aged 20 years in a year. 

She was happy to see us. 

I was able to sneak away for awhile to see the deer stands. In all these years, I have never seen where they hunt.  In all those years, they only got one buck. To think just this last week we awoke to find a deer delivered to the end of our driveway, but the meat was not salvageable.  
Regardless, if they don’t bring back a buck, every year they bring back a Christmas tree. 

I had to show you a picture of Alex and Paul at Alex’s tree stand. 

Our visit with Martha went better than the girls and I expected. Martha is such an unrealistic optimist that I think she makes herself feel better. She kept talking about the day that she will get better and be able to come over to visit. That day will never come, but maybe it is better that she believes it.  It was nice to see her so upbeat and not have to see her suffer. The thought of watching a loved one suffer is unbearable.

Thanksgiving break is officially over now. Today I dropped Angel off to catch her carpool for the 4 hour drive back to school. It was strange to see her go back again with her suitcase full. I don’t always like my new reality, but I have learned to accept it. If only I could stop time for just a few seconds…

I dropped Angel off and came home to a glorious blue Christmas tree. I am excited for the beginning of the next holiday season. A time of hope and light. A time of such intense busyness that I forget all of my troubles.. 

I am going to decorate my tree tonight..

25. Dinner with anyone in history…

Day 25: If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be & what would you eat?

If I could dine with anyone in history, it would be Jesus. We wouldn’t have real food, just food for thought. I would be like a child and ask many questions… Why??

I would start at the beginning with the age old question that I asked my Sunday school teachers as a kid. If God created the world, then who created God?? Just have faith is not a good enough answer. You really don’t know either.

How did it all begin? I do believe in the creation story. No other theory makes any more sense to me. How could people evolve over millions of years accidentally from cells? Seriously, how? If that happened by accident, how come people can’t replicate that today with all of the advances in modern science? How could all of the different races and varieties of animals and trees evolve? If that is the case, why isn’t evolution still happening today?

How old is the world anyway?¬† If not evolution, then how did all the different cultures and races start from Adam and Eve? Is the Garden of Eden an actual place? Or are we just blocked from the knowledge that they had before they sinned? Help me understand the continuum of time. I can barely grasp tomorrow’s time change.

Does everything happen for a reason? Or just certain things? Or do we live in a world of sheer coincidence? Did Judas have a choice when he betrayed You? Or was he given no choice because it was meant to happen? Or did you just know what he was going to choose before he chose it? How much control do you allow us to have over our lives? Can our prayers change our circumstances or the circumstances of others in any way?

Is all life sacred? I believe so…but if given the option to go back in time, would I try to convince Hitler’s mother to have an abortion? Why did you allow the Holocaust to happen to your chosen people anyway? If all life is sacred, then how about the life of the prisoner on death row?? Should we kill others who have murdered? I believe in justice, but should we be the ones to administer it?

How could David be a man after your own heart? He was a man who had it all…good looks, riches, and hundreds of beautiful women to sleep with whenever he wanted to. Yet he had to kill off a man to take his wife and broke almost every commandment that you gave us. Why him? Why not the Pharisee who tried to be pious?

Why is the Old Testament focused so much on rules and rituals and the New Testament on love and grace? It seems so extremely black and white to me. I don’t understand. What happened to your miracles? Why do bad things happen to good people? What happens to the souls of the people who never had the opportunity to believe?

Why? Why? Why? I just want to understand.

 

And so it begins…

It happened this past weekend. I was hoping with my last child I would have just a little more time..

Angel has been dating her boyfriend for almost 3 years.. Alex has had a girlfriend for the last 4 months…Thankfully, I approve of their choices!

I imagined Arabella staying single and living at home forever….hmmm… Maybe this type of thinking is an irrational coping mechanism?? Why can’t time just stop for a little while??

My friend Cindy was over this past weekend. One of her son’s is two days younger than Arabella. A group of neighborhood kids decided to go for a bike ride. One of the boys admitted to Cindy’s son that he has a crush on Arabella. Or maybe it was more of a ‘stay away I like her’ kind of thing.

Cindy’s son told Arabella that this boy has a crush on her. Arabella confronted this boy about his feelings towards her. The poor guy got so flustered that he steered his bike right into the ditch. He was crashed, crushed, hurt, and full of dirt calling out for his mother.

Arabella only likes him as a friend.

And so it begins…

Does anybody know what time it is?

Every time I think about the clocks in my house, the Chicago tune ‘Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is’ pops into my head.

“Does anybody really know what time it is

I don’t

Does anybody really care

About time”

Time after time, I start my day off on the wrong foot. The clock on the left is in my living room. This is the clock that I rely on to get the kids on the bus in the morning and it is the clock that tells me when I should go to bed at night. I am not sure how a digital clock loses time, but this one does. After a month, the clock loses 10 minutes. You would think that 10 minutes really wouldn’t matter, right? Have you ever had a kid miss the bus? Not something that you would want to watch. Or have you ever had to deal with me when I don’t get exactly 8 hours of sleep? Don’t wind me up.

The “clock” in the middle is my iPhone and it is always right, just like me. Okay, okay the clock is always right and I always write. Wrong right. Sorry.. Time to switch gears.

The “clock” on the right is my iPad. It has never been right (except in this picture). I think that it was probably designed for a procrastinator. The strange thing is that if I publish a blog on the iPad, it won’t actually publish until 12 minutes later because it seems to be confused about the time. Has anyone ever heard of an iPad with the incorrect time?? People just give me a strange¬†confused look if I tell them my iPad is off. I can tell they are thinking that I am a little bit off. It ticks me off a little, but not to the point where I want to clock someone.