Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thanks for the Memories

This is my Mom's Baby picture. She is 83 years old now. We scanned the picture & brought her an 8.5 x 11 copy. she asked-- Is this ME? She recognized her baby picture-- they also told her there was someone behind her holding her up. I used to think she had her one hand in a kind of a *power to the people* pose. She was hanging on. She still IS hanging on, and she has hung in there, through a lot of rough stuff, for much of her life.

I have to say how much I respect & admire her fortitude. She endured some heavy stuff in her life, including taking care of her Father & Mother, raising two kids as a single parent, essentially. Mom regrets having postponed joy, or having missed the boat to do more fun things or the good stuff, in life. She did not retire until she was 76, and retirement was a downhill spiral of medical woes.

Looking back, she said "Heaven better be good", lamenting out loud that she had helped others all her life, and wondering when her break would come. It was just honest, open thoughts that her good karma seemed to have not arrived. She has every right to think that way.

On the flip side the "event" she had last year- a stroke, did not yield a deblitating paralysis, but caused her Doctor to revoke her license to drive, and medically order that she no longer live alone. It kind of goes into the *when life gives you lemons, make lemonade* philosophy. Mom never wanted to go into a facility, but she needs 24/7 care, and they had a particularly harsh winter with double the average amount of snow & ice. Mom was able to stay at the facility, and get her labwork, dental , counseling, church & live entertainment done, without ever setting foot out in the snowy winter.

I am so glad I went to visit her every chance I had, in between the house project. In the last 4 days I was there, Mom had contracted Noro Virus, and the Unit was quarintined. I could not visit her from Tuesday on. Our happy memory would be the days we spent together, and the previous Sunday, we put her in a wheelchair & took her out to the onsite Gazebo on a nice sunny day. We enjoyed a few hours visit, Mom, my Sister & I.

The Nature of Mom is such that on Easter, for a large family meal gathering, she could barely walk & struggled on the stairs @ my Sister's place-- she repeatedly asked my Sister if she wanted help in the kitchen! Her true spirit-the core desire to be helpful lives on, even past the point when her physical body is declining. What a sweetheart.

Twists & Turns

I had asked Mom if she would like me to give a few things to friends, as we cleared the house. She said yes, that was OK. So we donated 90% of the stuff to the Salvation Army, and gave a few things to different friends of hers.
The next week, Mom said she wanted the little faux tiffany table lamp. That was one of the few items I had given to her close friend, Mary. We took Mom & Mary out to brunch & gave the Mary the lamp later, after we had Mom settled back in her room.
The next day, Mom brought it up again- only this time with a more heated tone. "You have no right to give that away". Uh-Oh. Mom was serious & seriously pissed. I could tell from the look and the tone, Mom was going to hang on to this topic. I did not want this on my head.
Thankfully, I had not put that on the Salvation Army Truck for donation!

I wound up calling my Mom's friend, and explaining the situation.
Mary is a gem & said, no problem-- she can have the lamp back-- she was glad Mom was cognizant enough to be feisty about it, and ultimately, if it will make her happy, we want her to be happy . Whew!
I apologized profusely, and she said she would deliver it on Saturday to Mom & visit her.

The next day, I said to Mom- Mary is going to bring you the table lamp.

Mom asked: What lamp?

Farewell Old House~

I don't know if I will see the interior of my childhood house ever again. Not only did we go through all it's contents- the old metallic Christmas tree circa the 60's. My sisters Disc-GO-case, packed full of the records known as 45's that had single tunes on each side. I went through them to reminisce- Louie Louie, Come Together, She Loves You, Come on down to my Boat Baby, Hair, Let the Sunshine/Aquarious, Sky Rider. We wrote our names on our records, but apparently shared the case.
A lovely powder blue plastic that Maureen artfully put mod flower power flower stickers on. Downright Groovy.

Because I live a far distance, anything I would be keeping, would have to be something I would be willing to pay to ship. But I am a sentimental girl who craved heirloom things. Stuff Grandma gave Mom & now passing into my generation. The silverware set, the depression era wine goblets. Do I NEED more forks or glasses? No, not really-- but this stuff is special, and I want momentos- things I can pass on to my kids.
So let's just say it cost a small fortune to ship those things- even at the ground rate (least expensive), but I want that link & connection. These items are NOT going to sit & collect dust either. Life is for living & I am not going to save things for another day that may never come. I do have a new perspective about living life now & don;t postpone joy. Cheers- or Nasdrovia (Russian for to your good health??)

Example of how things went...

The car. Mom's car sat for a year in the garage. We were to get it, so I could have transportation when my sister returned to work the 2nd week I was there. The battery was dead, and the back tire very low. My Sister had it towed, and a new battery installed, oil changed & tire addressed. Good to go. Not exactly.
the City Sticker had expired. So my sister got that updated. The State license tag expired april 1st, but in order to get the tag, the car had to be emissions tested first! Done & done. All that probably cost upwards of $400 bucks- but it is now up & running & legal. The plan is to sell the car. A 1997 vehicle that has 29,000 miles on it!
The car had to be running in order to sell it. But this is a sampling of how what seemed like simple projects turned into multi layered complex issues. We also discovered, visitor day permits were required for vehicles, or you get a $50 dollar ticket. A lot of things with the house, lamp, car etc... were like this- hoops and hurdles we'd not considered kept popping up... and somehow we cleared them all.

So time marches forward, and life is full of unknowns.
The day we were driving home from Mom's house, after Salvation Army packed the bulk of everything out, on the radio in the car they were playing a Bob Hope tune-- Thanks for the Memories.