Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello my friends, it is 2015! Imagine that! The first year I can really remember is 1954, I suppose I must have been in kindergarten and had to write the date. Seems like the day before yesterday, I can feel the scratchiness of my wool coat, the cold biting my nose and fingers and the scariness of riding in a taxicab alone to school. Funny where our minds take us when we turn them loose to chase down memories. We lived in town then about 5 blocks from school and on bad days Mom would call Dot to take me to school in the cab so she didn't have to get my little sister out in the cold. Debbie had asthma and winters were rough on her as a small child. Not much better now, poor thing.
I could sit all day and let my mind run back through my sixty five years (some days I do), but I don't have time for that today. A few years ago, we began a new tradition of spending New Years Day in Evansville as a family, seeing movies, eating in favorite places and a bit of shopping. Each year has varied as to who is along, always me and my grand girls, usually the Momma's and little boys, sometimes the guys. This year everyone is going! The boys have worked so much this fall, even the day after Christmas! But they both have this weekend off. We want to see Wild and it isn't playing in Valley so we will see it there. I missed MockingJay and want to see it, too. The little boys won't be watching Wild so we will switch off and some of us will take them to a kids film. I am not a movie person, but I do love this day out with family and the big screen. Tonight we will all eat at Biaggis, a great Italian restaurant even Stephen King loved. Beautiful table settings, linen napkins, soft lights and the best pasta and bread around. Tomorrow we will gather for breakfast then leave for home as we wish, some staying to shop at Target, others driving straight back, eager to get on with a weekend at home. You can make your own guess as to which bunch does what! For me it is a chance to visit with my kids, eat, see good films and talk about the past year and the future.
 I'm so happy we started this while Steve was with us, it seems more of a real tradition this way. Not trying to create a new normal. My new normal doesn't feel normal yet, I feel out of place still. I realize I had no time to acclimate to widowhood before jumping back into caring for Mom, but I
wonder if there will ever be a normal again. We spent nearly fifty years creating this life and then it is over in a heartbeat.
We have started emptying Mom's house this past week. My goodness what an undertaking! That woman saved everything, but not in a typical hoarding way. No, everything is clean, ironed or dusted, folded neatly or wrapped in tissue paper, ready for the next person to wear or use or sit up on a shelf. I have to remember Not to do this to my kids! Reminiscing is wonderful, but as Deb says, "the first saved hankie is sweet, the 14th is ridiculous!" Or lamp or basket or chicken or picture frame or afghan or sheet set or shoe or red sweater! Dishes, China, plates/plate hangers, glass baskets, and three double closets of clothes! The little woman had it all and kept it! Debbie and I have decided
Mom is rolling on Heaven's floor, laughing at us trying to decide what to do with it all. We are attempting to give away most of it, we do not want a sale or auction of our parents' possessions. Ours is a very large extended family, with several starting housekeeping or downsizing so we have managed to share lots of furniture and housekeeping items. We all have sentimental favorites, such as; Mom's iron chicken fryer, a cricket rocker, a piece of jewelry, etc, which ensures everyone some piece of them.
The New Years weekend is almost over, it's Sunday afternoon as I pick up my iPad and finish this post. Time to really begin anew. I look forward to this year 2015 in hope that it will be easier than the last few years for my family. But we have faith that whatever challenges we face will be met with grace. No big goals or resolutions for me this year, I intend to eat the elephant one bite at a time. (For all my transformed counselor buddies!) God bless you all. Love

Monday, December 15, 2014

Loss

Hello,
      We lost our mom Nov. 30 after a five year journey with Alzheimer's Disease. My girls, I pray your families are never exposed to this horrific disease. It steals lives slowly, gradually taking away loved ones and leaving empty bodies in their place. And the most terrifying thing is they know they are being taken and cannot stop going. Blessedly, for us, Mom rallied after suffering strokes on that last Tuesday. Her speech was effected for a few hours, but during the night she called out to someone...someone who wasn't there. When she did open her eyes, she appeared to know us and know what was happening to her. She thanked us for staying at home with her and taking care of her. "I have good kids", she repeated often. It had been decided much earlier that no extreme measures would be taken should she have such a stroke, she never wanted to just take up space on this earth. She was ready to go Home. We all agreed and thought we were ready to let her go, but as it was happening we realized it was not so easy to let go forever. For five days and nights, we sat at her bedside, lay beside her on the big bed she had shared with our Dad. Attending to her basic care, keeping her clean, dry and comfortable. Holding her hand, listening to her speak with that someone only she could see. We all agreed it was Dad or her guardian angel, come to take her home.
Now most of you didn't know my mom, I know, but she was a beautiful, classy lady, sweet and humble, heart as pure as gold. She lived for her family.
All she ever asked of us was to be kept at home, she had a dreadful fear of nursing homes. We did that for her for five years, never leaving her alone. I believe she saw we were coming to the end of our strength to keep it up and chose to go. The one other thing she asked was to be buried in her gown and robe and no eye glasses! She would see others dressed up and lying in their caskets and say, " do they think they are going out after this?" She wanted to meet her maker, warm and cozy, ready to enjoy eternity. Mom looked so peaceful and pretty in her aqua bedclothes. She was always the prettiest girl in the room, Dad said, and she was still the day we laid her to rest.
It has been two weeks and we are slowly marking off items from our To Do list. The big challenge will be the personal items she had acquired in her eighty five years. Add to that, the collections Dad brought into their home and, People, we have a boatload of stuff! We know our parents are looking down and laughing at the trick they've played on us. They are together in Heaven and we four are dealing with STUFF. Just like they always told us it would be. We cannot be sad, knowing that they are together again, they were soul mates for 53 years. And now forever.
We all have kids and grandkids and life continues, not the same but as it should, as it always has been.
I've ordered all my Christmas gifts online, now to wrap them. I miss having babies to buy for, our 10 and 11 year old boys aren't nearly as fun to buy for since they ask for Teepees and Nerf guns. Oh, and a goat! Our girls are all grown up, too, clothing, handbags, electronics, not a BabyDoll on any list. I've made peanut butter cookies, peanut butter fudge, have my sugar cookie dough in the fridge, thinking about some spiced nuts, maybe. And hard cinnamon candy is next week.
I have a baby quilt for my niece cut and ready to sew. Courtney embroidered farm animal block and I cut some baby-like fabrics for the other blocks. I have a sweet alphabet print for the backing. He will be my baby brothers first grand child and we are all thrilled he is almost here. Rob's kids call my sister and I grandma instead of aunt because we are some much older than their dad. I was 18 and Deb 16 when he was born, he is less than a year older than our Stephen. He was with us most of the time growing up. He has always been a blessing to our family, kept Dad and Mom young keeping up with him.
Talk to me, Ladies, I miss you all. God Bless your families this year and keep you safe. Love, Hedy

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Limbo

Where does time go? It flies thru life like it has something special going on, never slowing down for us to catch up on life. Days can pass without notice, weeks slide by and the month is gone...where? Try as I may, I haven't been able to slow down time. And I have tried so many ways, prayer and mediation help during the time spent in them, but when I return to my daily life it is either time to get up or go to bed. Where does time go?
Being a widow isn't what I expected, at all. Mom was widowed fifteen years ago and now I wish I had asked her what life was like for her without my dad. She forgets now that he is gone and wonders why he isn't home for supper. I wish I had asked her how it felt to make decisions alone after years of having a partner to help decide what to do. I wish I had asked her how she dealt with knowing he would not be taking the TV remote and watching mind numbing reruns again and again. I wish I had asked her how she continued to have a life without him. How she kept celebrating birthdays and holidays and the simple things when he wasn't there by her side. It is too late to ask her for advice now, she is the one asking..." Is Bob gone?"  " Did Steve die?" " Where do I live?" " Who are you?". I did not know it would be all the little things in life that stopped my heart because Stephen King was gone, I thought those big moments would be the difficult things. I was wrong.
These things have been on my mind recently, I don't dwell on them, really, just find myself wondering sometimes. Usually I am fine, coping with this new life. I keep calm and carry on, as Churchill advised the British during WWII. I don't seem to have time to think much or worry, life needs tending to. I take each day as it comes, dealing with challenges as they pop up, just like before. I stay with Mom a few days each week, we talk about the past because that is where she lives now. I help keep her cared for and her home clean, just as if it were still a home. I sleep with her and she holds my hand, I cook her meals and sometimes need to feed her. She tells me she has it made and I smile at that, happy she feels that way. At home I waste time sitting and thinking, about what I don't know. I sit down and two hours later the time is gone. I haven't sewn or read much lately, the creative urge isn't there. I have projects stacked, lists made, but few thinks get accomplished. Limbo is what it may be called, I am in Limbo, waiting for sometime. What? I cannot imagine.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer finally arrives

August has been hazy, hot, and humid as it always is in the Ohio Valley, but this year, even more so because the summer has been so mild till now. We were fooled into thinking we would get by August without those HHH days. Fools. Football has started at school, poor boys and a few brave girls, sweating like horses, dropping in the field like flies. Overcome with the heat. Our Caleb is playing on the county fifth grade team, a big surprise, he likes it! Ours has never been a family for organized group sports. Stephen King played his senior year on Paoli High School's first football team, son Stephen played high school basketball and tennis, Courtney and Joe were in marching band for years and years. Gavin is playing soccer this year and Caleb will play 5th grade basketball this winter. But, overall we've never been school athletics groupies. I'm anxious to watch a few games with my boys playing. 
Life back in OC has fallen into its old path, caring for Mom on weekends and Wednesday, staying home the rest of the week. I make excuses not to get out a lot, preferring to be at home. I did go back to the gym for a couple of weeks, but over worked my sick muscles and have to regroup till the inflammation dies down. Lupus is fickle, demanding movement and rest simultaneously. Once a body part is injured, they all join in and swell and scream in pain. I'm better this week, but moving slowly and cautiously, not daring to insult any muscle or joint. The gym will have to wait a bit longer.
Mom continues to decline with not many good days any more. We take her for drives around the county a time or two each week, but getting in and out of the house is challenging. The one step in her house is into the kitchen from the garage and she barely makes it. Each time feels as if we are climbing Everest, she battles to make it up. Stephen is going to fix an iron rail for her to use this week. I know that will give her more security for getting out. Mom still knows everyone when she sees us, but gets confused about who is who in conversation frequently mixing the Grandkids with the wrong parents. Some compare caring for an Alzheimer's patient with childcare, but I don't agree childcare is life giving, learning, teaching, living, Alzheimer's is a deathwatch. Watching as your beloved mother slips away, unable to stop it or make it better, just being there, holding a hand, 
washing a frail body, brushing thin hair, listening to long forgotten stories told over and over. An 
honor to serve, but so painful to experience. I'm so thankful we have a strong, loving family to share this.
I've actually finished a quilt this week and am binding another! I made them for my nephew's kids, Collier is two and her big brother Whitt is four. I don't get to spend much time with them, as they live in Louisville, but they are two special little people. I hand quilted Collier's, something I had second thoughts about as soon as I started. But I really loved the process and even made my own binding. Whitt's has seam tape and is hand tied, not quilted. It is a cowboy print patchwork, so fittingly simple. I'm more of a fabric collector than a quilter, but I think I will finish a crazy quilt I started for Courtney in OZ and quilt one I pieced for Shayla years ago. There's also a beautiful stack of London voile prints that demand a special project. Truthfully, I probably have enough fabric to provide all my kids, Grandkids, nieces and nephews with a quilt or two. But that's a pie in the sky thought, I know myself better than that. 
It has been a year since we lost Steve and life has moved on in many ways, yet I continue to be surprised that he isn't here when I come home. I still listen when I wake for the sound of him making coffee in the kitchen, greeting the cats as he opens the back door to feed them. I drove his little blue truck last week and it felt like a big hug to climb into that little cab, full of his stuff. Straw hat, gloves, sunglasses, notepads, tools and all his plunder, just waiting for him. I often feel as if I, too, am waiting. Waiting for my life to restart, maybe, I don't know. I've never done this before. But I miss him with every breath I take. 
Oh, I almost forgot, I bought myself a bike! Crazy old lady can't even pedal the exercise bike at the gym because the knee won't bend, thinks she is going to bike to town! Well, I know I won't if I don't have a bike!
Talk to me, Ladies. Take care. Hedy

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Busy week.

I know...another post so soon? But I'm just feeling like sharing. Mom and I had a quiet weekend, not much activity, but she did at least sleep all night. I cooked a meal from Trent's garden for us and Mom ate really well. She seldom eats much. I cleaned the garage and porches early Sunday before the awful heat built up. Jeez, Indiana could be the tropics in July! 
Stephen, Shawn and the Yahoos came for Pizza and ice cream Sunday evening. It was good to go home to company. I love the still quiet of my house, but these guys are always a welcome treat. Nothing special just reading the Sunday paper, playing on their electronics and watching some TV, but I loved every minute. Sunday evenings have always been our family time since the kids married and moved out of the house, alway home on Sunday. 
On Tuesday, I had a date with my little boys, lunch and go karts! Gavin and I put out a load of bedding on the clothes line before the others got here. I strung a couple of new lines last week. But I didn't allow for stretching and the sheets were dragging the grass by the time everything was hung. We thought on this problem for a bit, then decide to stick the ladder under the line to prop it up! "Great idea, Grandma", Gavin was so proud of us! I was ticked that I'd gotten cotton line instead of coated wire.  It turned out Madeleine was included, she loves to kart, too. Gavin turned into an Indy driver! What a surprise, he is usually the cautious one. Caleb was quite taken back to be overtaken by his little cousin. A lesson learned there! Size doesn't matter, it is skill. We even went to WalMart, I felt like a traitor, but nowhere else to shop locally. Gav picked out a Nascar game for his xBox, Caleb couldn't find anything he wanted after Gma refused to buy Call of Duty. What are they thinking letting him play those games? Maddie didn't ask for a thing, she knew it was a boys' day. The three girls had theirs last week. And we have school clothes shopping coming soon. 
I've cleaned house and washed a load of laundry today. Heading back to Mom's this afternoon. She has failed so much this year, weak and confused so much of the time. I'm taking a walker that Steve used to her today. Some mornings she can barely walk. I think this may give her just enough support to help get from the bed to the kitchen table and couch. She seldom moves beyond there. I'm planning to get her outside today, the weather is perfect this week. We can watch the traffic on her street and talk about past neighbors! Her neighborhood is a place of family homes with the families aging away; widows or widowers and empty houses. It was so full of life thirty years ago. 
I have to run, Gavin left some important items here yesterday and must have them! He is expanding his Lego city and needs the characters he left. Plus his library book on chicken care. And his DS game and UA hoodie...love my little genius. 
Talk to me, I enjoy the company. Love.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Home again, home again jiggity jig!

How fast three months can pass, my trip of a lifetime is over. I'm home again, home again jiggity jig. It's Friday afternoon, I got home very late Wednesday night and I'm still in a daze.

Hello all, my daze has lingered for two weeks now. My body refuses to come back from OZ, at least my internal workings. I haven't slept three nights in those fourteen. I've never been much of a sleeper, but this is getting ridiculous! 
My stay in Australia was a once in a lifetime dream come true! All my life, I've considered OZ to be a magical place and it is. The landscapes alone are other worldly, the native animals are quirky and straight from a fairy tale, the Queenslander houses are bright and airy and inspire living. Day to day life is similar to our life here  in the US, but there are enough differences to make each day an adventure. Because all living takes place around the edges of the country, you are never far from the ocean or the mountains. We visited both within a couple of hours from home...amazing for this Hoosier who drives twelve hours to get an ocean fix. 
I visited during fall/winter and slept with my windows open each night, got a glow from that constant sunshine and only saw rain three days out of the 86 I was there! I laughed, smiled and giggled more than I had in two years, frequently feeling like a five year old in my delight with the sights. I'd met my son-in-law years ago when we were young, but got to get to know him on this trip. Ken is a gentle giant, a real, old-fashioned gentleman. I enjoyed his intelligence, kindness, wit and graciousness, but loved him for his devotion to my daughter. His focus appears to be making her happy, enjoying his family and entertaining anyone within his sphere. Courtney is happier and more at peace than I've ever seen her. THAT is worth the distance apart. A mom just wants to see her children happy with their place in this world and I've seen that here. 
Yesterday my girls and I had a Gma day shopping and lunching in Bloomington, so much fun. We even saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night with Shawn and Caleb. A sad yet good movie that showed a possible? path of humankind. Those Planet movies have gotten me since Charlton Heston's first adventure years ago. With today's computer advances, they are so real!
Off to Mom's for the weekend! Talk to me. Love

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May - Month Two in OZ

Hello all,
May has been a beautiful month here and no day more perfect than today. As I sit on the balcony of our vacation rental a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean, the large cargo ships move in and out of Brisbane harbor, waves crash on the flat rocks, and sailboats zip past. I am so blessed to experience all of this and cannot describe what it means to me. As I get older, my soul seems to crave the water. It lifts the trouble from my heart and mind and allows the wind to blow them away. I breathe better at the ocean, not with my lungs, with my being. I feel so much a part of nature and God's creation while watching, listening, breathing the sea. So peaceful, so calming. 

We arrived here at Caloundra on Friday, it is only a two hour drive from Courtney's house. I was like a five year old anticipating my first glimpse of water; the change in the sky came first, that lovely lightness, then the landscape changed, tunnels of Norfolk pines towering on each side of the road guiding us toward our destination, ahh there it was...the water crashing in the distance, spreading out as far as I could see. It had only been three weeks since I'd been on Bribie Island watching this same water but it seemed ages since I'd had my needed dose. How do I manage once or twice a year back home?  We are here till Sunday, I hope to place each moment in a box and store it away for remembering during the long, hot summer in Indiana. 

On Saturday we walked the boardwalk bordering the town, people were everywhere. Not in overwhelming crowds, just in clusters spread along the beach and park and shops. Life was going on here, a kickball game at a birthday party, a wedding being set-up with white chairs and blue tulle, windsurfers zooming along the edge of the beach sometimes skipping out of the water into the air. Courtney and I giggled at it all unable to contain the joy bubbling up in us. I took photos of everything and everyone, attempting to capture all that living. 

Sunday was another treat. We went to the street market, a sort of flea market without the tacky bits.  Food, art, crafts, linens, pottery, street performers, a few questionable sellers of questionable products (maybe), but  it was fun. I'm not a shopper, you all know that unless we are talking online, but this place inspired shopping. I needed a hat for sun protection, a tablecloth for my redecorated dining room, a print with princess and a unicorn for Bella's birthday, a sign marking "King's Beach" for Nina's pool deck, a bag of passion fruit for our yogurt and the world's most delicious pineapple. All this, of course must ride home on my lap when we leave on Sunday, Ken says!

Our Aunt Edna and cousin Kathy came on Monday to spend the rest of the week here. Edna is an Aussie girl who lives in French Lick, Kathy is her daughter-in-law. She is really our cousin, having married my Dad's cousin Jim during the war, but we have always referred to them as our favorite uncle and aunt. She is, however, Ken's aunt! His Mum's sister. Don't be concerned, there is no blood connection between Courtney and Ken, they just met at a family dinner years ago! A long story for another time.  Sharing paradise with family makes it that much better.

Courtney will be having surgery on Monday after our return, we would appreciate prayers. It is a simple procedure, taking an hour only, but will require a hospital stay and a few weeks recovery. I hope to have her on her feet before leaving for the US. That will give us a month for recovery and a bit more traveling. They have a trip to Coochiemudlo Island and one to a ranch belonging to friends scheduled for June. Ken is retired Navy and as an amazing assortment of interesting family and friends around Australia. I've enjoyed meeting them and hearing their stories. Dinner conversations are a treat. I've always been an eager student and I'm thrilled with all the  tales being shared.

Time for an afternoon walk, everyone is napping or reading on the balcony, I think I will  stroll down to the park for a few minutes and BREATHE in some sea air. Take care Ladies. Talk to me. Love