Sunday, September 25, 2011

In her own words.....

My mama had a birthday last week, her 88th.  Our family decided to hold an open house in her apartment because that would be easiest for her.  The cake was ordered, flowers ordered, the invitation went out on Facebook, the party was arranged.

So what is that old saying?....... the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray?????   Well, it's not just mice and men let me tell you!  Maybe it's not good to make plans.  Maybe we should have just had lunch with mama.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.

The morning before the party, I got ready to run errands.....get stuff for the party.....when a call came from one of mama's caregivers asking me to please come.

Confusion reigned!  Mama was confused about a lot of stuff, but the main thing was that she didn't understand that daddy was dead.  Wanted to call him, wanted to know where he was, wanted to know if he was at home, wanted to know if he was at the shop.  It was awful.  There are no words to tell you how awful it was or how badly it hurt to tell her over and over again that her beloved husband was no longer on this earth.

One of Daddy's favorite hymns was Dwelling In Beulah one point when mama asked where he was I just said I didn't sing it!

Mama, he's standing on the mountain underneath a cloudless sky
he's drinking from the fountain that never will run dry
Oh, yes, he's feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply
for he is dwelling in Beulah Land.

Side that song and read the lyrics, you'll be glad you did.

Those might not be the exact words to the chorus of that song, but they're close enough, and mama smiled for a moment.  A moment's reprieve from the agitation that had gripped mama's mind probably the night before and was still there on this eve of her birthday.

My sister got here after a very stressful morning of her own to find mama in this state of mind.  My brother had been there that morning before I got there.  You know, I think we had all had a fair share of stress before this part of the day even started!

We left mama only for short periods of time to go finish the party things we had to do, wondering if we should cancel the entire thing, but knowing that since the invitation was on Facebook, we didn't know who might be coming.

We went home that night only to get another call.  Cathy decided to spend the night with mama......we got mama a sedative....... we decided the party must go on.

Party day came and we got mama's room all set up.  What was mama doing?  Sleeping so soundly that we couldn't wake her.  I think I should explain that for the past several months, mama has had very little to say, sometimes not even answering direct questions.  But the day before her party, she couldn't stop talking and didn't sleep for probably 24 hours.  That plus the sedative and she slept.  And slept.  Party time came and she still slept.

Tried waking her several times.  She's not faking here folks.

The party was ready

Devin came and left with mama asleep

Things were getting tense.  Guests were filtering in and still mama slept.  It was becoming awkward.
Still wondering what in the world to do, mama's main caregiver came in, knelt down and whispered something to mama.  Miraculously, mama woke up and became the queen birthday girl!
By the way, we still don't know what Angela said to her.

Let me take this moment to say we are blessed to have caregivers that truly love mama and it shows.

Mama and her six very relieved children.

Mama's niece, cousin Ann

Mama and her two sisters in law, Aunt Evelyn and Aunt Frances

Grandchildren, Arwen and David


More neighbors......this friend just happened to be one of brother Tommy's teachers from high school.  Oh, but that's a whole other post!

the sisters with mama

a couple of my children

 grandson Chris

Grandson Matt and sister in law Lois.
By the way, young Dr. Matt is single, tall, blonde, handsome and has a great job, a new house, a great sense of humor and is also going to kill me for sharing.  But if you're a young, sweet, intelligent Christian woman......let me know and I can hook you up!  :)  Just one must love the Gators!

brothers in law......serious conversation

Grandson Bryce

sister in law, Pam bringing delicious food!

brother in law Mike with grandson Joshua

grandson Mike with his children


Sweet friends.....this is mama's good friend.  They read together most afternoons......they are both named Mary Margaret....I think that's kind of special!

Surprise!  Grandchildren Dickie and Joneida came unexpectedly from out of town

sister Debbie with mama's great-granddaughter Amanda

mama and my mama in law

grandson David




 Card and gift opening had to wait until the day after the party.......Cathy is reading birthday cards.

Nikki will kill me, I seem to be getting killed a lot in this post, but this is one of mama's beautiful caregivers.  She takes such good care of mama and makes her look beautiful every day.

Mama had a surprise visit from her cousin

We had been cleaning out a drawer in mama's bedroom because there were some bugs there and found one of mama's diaries....Cathy took it out of the box and it opened to something mama wrote about three weeks after daddy died in 1996.  In that entry, she wrote in her own words and in great detail about the day before and the night (or early morning) that daddy died.  She even wrote her prayer that God let daddy be o.k. but for His will to be done.  We talked a bit about whether or not to read it to her and decided not to make a decision.

The day after her party in the late afternoon, mama asked again if I knew where daddy was.  I said a quick prayer for wisdom and asked her if she wanted me to read the words she had written about that day and she said yes.  So with lots of fear about how she would react, I read that entry to her.  After 15 years, it was still very emotional for me reading the details so I expected her to be very emotional.........but when I was finished reading and looked up, she said very matter of factly.......that was good writing.  Stunned, but very relieved I hoped she would now remember and her mind would be relieved.

She still asks and has her moments, but she's much better.  Realistically, we know that she's going to have good and bad days from now until the time that God calls her home, but we don't want her to be confused or frightened.

Whew......some may wonder why I told all the bad stuff along with the party stuff.

This is why........

You may be going through something similar and it may help to know you're not alone!!

 He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4  The Message

These verses are from the paraphrase the Message.  I usually don't like quoting from it, but it just seemed to catch the heart of the matter.

Whatever you may be going through, be assured someone else has walked your path too.......but much more than that be assured that if you love Him, He walks with you too!


Dawn said...

I love The Message and that passage has been guiding me for many years now.

I couldn't get to your mom's words - was it supposed to link? I'd love to.

I'd also love to know what her caretaker whispered in her ear to wake her up! That's amazing.

Glad it turned out okay!

Barbara said...

Nancy, loved your post. The "bad" stuff is not "bad"'s just REAL! And thank you for sharing the whole story, because all of us are living REAL lives and we love to hear the whole story! Your mom is blessed to have children who care so very much for her!

The Hatcher's said...

That sounds like an emotional roller coaster. My mom had a very difficult time with her parents aging and passing. I am sure I will with my own parents.I pray that your family and your mom will have peace from God and strength.

debi said...

Really loved this post and I am so glad you shared what you that is important to know, because, you never know.

Praying for your Mom to have peace and clarity in the days ahead.


Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am thankful that she did wake up and enjoyed some of her party. What a wonderful turnout you had.
This post hit close to home for me.
My dad turned 88 this year. He is still doing very well but I know my heart will break into pieces if I experience what you did with your mother the day before her party. ((HUGS))

Cathy said...

And when Mama did wake up and saw everyone, she actually gave a little speech. She said she was so happy to see everyone, and that she loved them all and missed the ones who where not with us. Then later she asked if Aunt Bernice(who is 96 and in a nursing home) was there. We said no, she could not make it. Mama said that was okay because she was there at 1:00 that am. I must have dosed off, because I was there and did not see my sweet sorry I missed her. But everything came together and it was a nice party. We are a truly blessed family.

Auntie Bliss said...

Well I'll say this...she only looks 70 or so. Wow...lots of people came!!! It is so hard to think we will be like that someday.

Donnetta said...

This was so sweet for you all to plan for her.

Glad to hear that she was able to wake and enjoy the party given those first "unsure" moments.

And thank you for the reminder at the end of this post...

Whatever I am going through, He walks with me. Just the encouragement I needed for today!

Sweet Tea said...

My Mom still lives alone but she is "slipping". It's so difficult to see one who has always been a rock of strength become frail and confused. Gonna need a lot of God in the days ahead...I love the lengths you and your siblings went to to give her a happy birthday. She raised some great kids!

His Song to Sing said...

Very sweet story, Nancy. What a special woman to have all those loved ones want to celebrate her after all these years. God is Good all the time even ... no, especially in the times we don't know what to do or say. Thanks for your encouraging words today through this story.

Deb said...

it is hard raising your parents...we have found with my FIL it is better not to tell him in advance about any plans...better to just spring it on him right before it happens...if not he will worry himself to death...he has dimentia...and has had a mild stroke...and is 80 years old

Needled Mom said...

The good with the bad is really what life is all about. isn't it? You are truly blessed to have such wonderful caregivers for your mom and I am so glad that she did enjoy the party in the end.