Monday, August 25, 2014

Part 2 Sunday visit. Closer to winter brings worries

We have been talking every few days, but I decided to call two days in a row to see what she'd remember. Mom told me Saturday to call on Sunday between 5 and 6 p.m. I was late because of a fierce and thunderous rain storm that was sweeping through here during that hour and I had to wait until nearly 6:30 before phoning. That was fine, she told me, adding how grateful she is for being able to have these talks with me. I could tell she was waiting for my call and I am sure that is a good sign, with her failing memory.

She went on to tell me how she is getting more depressed every day. She'd love to spend winter in the South, in a warmer climate, but doesn't have a place to stay. It is a recurring conversation.

Mom worried about the cold and the snow. She loves to be outside and walking her dog. But says she is having trouble walking and thinks she will fall on an icy sidewalk, break her hip and wind up in a bed somewhere surrounded by old women. 

Now I know where I get it from.

She talks about regrets. Says she has a some, a few, she has to live with them. Adds (warns) others will have to live with theirs.

Mom wants to get a hold of dad's sister Theresa, but didn't know how to track her down. She's lived in a couple of different towns since mom last talked to her. I messaged Shawn (one of my brother Dick's sons) for help. He found her phone number and address, so I will send it to mom. My Aunt Theresa, 89, was dad's youngest sister. she lived with us while I was growing up.

Mom's first recalling for today was, as always, visiting me in Northampton. She loved those trips. And she loved when the girls came to visit her. "Did I pick them up at the airport in Buffalo?" she always says. I reply yes, you did. "I forgot did they come by bus?" No, they were on a plane. "Oh that's right."

This is a common part of our conversations, so I decided to expand on it, this evening. I reminded her they stayed with her for most of the summer. How summers were special to them and they loved being at the farm and with her. As I spoke, mom would chuckle and say, "That's right, Now I remember." I went on about how they loved the pond, doing things with Liz and how they adored their Aunt Betsy. "Everyone loved Betsy," she replied. They made lifetime friendships with their cousins, ate a lot of chocolate chip cookies. Well, they enjoyed coming to her house at least as much she enjoyed coming to ours.

Mom said she was always the driver for a lot of those trips. We all know about how dad loved to talk when he was driving and the more he talked the slower he would drive. Mom laughed, yes, he wasn't a very good driver for long trips. "I remember we were coming back from Florida one time. Dennis and his wife (Vicki) was with us. I drove for so long and was getting tired. I behind a car for a while and when it pulled off the highway at an exit, kept following it. I pulled off behind and was able to get back on, but I really scared everyone and myself."

I asked her about when they first met. We all know it was at the Skating Rink in Ceres. "He was one of the jokesters that would get in the middle of the floor and do crazy things." Apparently beyond that, she's not saying for today. She started talking about going skating in Wellsville and got sidetracked, remembered she'd worked for John selling shoes in Wellsville.

"Your calls are helping me to remember and it is so wonderful. I have had a good life and so many happy times. I want to think about them and remember."

We were talking about her birthday party and she started talking about when her sister Florence married Frank Dunshie. "They had the party at our house. Some neighbor kids spiked the drinks. Frank got so mad. Some people ended up drinking to much and they had to drive home. Frank was a big guy," she said. I agreed that from all I remember of him was that I wouldn't ever want to tangle with him. But he was an awfully nice person. Mom said it would take a lot to get Frank that mad and she never saw him like that. again.

"People do things for money. They do things for show. It is love that really counts. You should do things out of love."

"They don't realize how hard it is for me to work with this (dementia). I feel like an old shoe that was thrown in the back seat."

To bring her back to happy, I told her how much Stephanie and Maia love her. She's been talking a lot about her money and what she wants to do with it when she's gone. I stay out of that. I told her Maia's response was, Grandma should spend some money on herself. Buy clothes. I told her Maia said her grandma used to like buying bras at Bon Tons. Mom said, isn't that a clothing store? I replied yes and bras are clothes. That made her laugh and maybe, remember doing that. I agreed, she shouldn't go without the things she needs.

Mom said that made sense. She doesn't have a lot of clothes anymore. She said one time she was doing her laundry in the community laundry room. She put a load in the dryer and took some clothes up to her room to put away. She was tired and sat down for a minute, but fell asleep. By the time she woke up and went back for the rest of her clothes, they were gone. A man got mad at her for not getting her clothes out of the dryer. He took all of her clothes and threw them in the dumpster. A lot of nice things, not old things she says she'd bought in Myrtle Beach.

She says Maia is right, she needs some long shorts and few other things. Maybe Dennis and Vicki will take her shopping. She's wearing a size 14, btw.

I told her how I have been walking with a neighbor. Mom was glad to hear that because she LOVES to walk. "Sometimes I get this urge. I have to do something. I can't just sit. Walking is so good. I try to have good thoughts when I am walking. It makes me feel better."

Then she again says how much my calls mean to her. I acknowledge our talks are good for me, too.

Like it or not. Without mom, I wouldn't be me.

Please note:  A story mom told about Dick's son not getting hit by a car was incorrect. He was hit, injured and flown to Buffalo for treatment. She was confused.

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