the evolution of things

 

banner-1076214_1920In a prior posts (including staying on schedule, logging progress and challenging fears), I talked about putting together lists and organizing my mother’s time and space. It’s a process. Every time we fix one piece, there seems to be another that needs an adjustment.  These aren’t wholesale changes – just tweaking around the edges. Changing out one spreadsheet for another. Switching out furniture for something easier to use. Editing some instructions on how to use X, Y and Z to include more pictures. Simplifying … everything. Continue reading

where’s millie?

decor-2483214_1280A couple of weeks ago, my mother’s first words of the day were, “Where’s Millie?” and I froze. Millie is my mother’s younger sister who died about 42 years ago. She didn’t remember that Millie had died of a brain tumor. I think she realized that forgetting this particular piece of information was a bit unusual for her, as she was rather quiet when I told her. For the next 20 minutes or so, until I left for work, I heard her quietly say several times that she couldn’t believe that she didn’t remember.  Continue reading

death and memory loss

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Last year, my mother lost one of her best friends. It was tremendously sad for all of us, as Ginny was a wonderfully energetic woman who shuttled my mother to the doctor’s office, the grocery store, the library and anywhere else Mom needed to go. Ginny was 73 years old and, though she had been sick for a couple of months, her death was a shock. She was always busy with family, crafts, the Church, social organizations and friends, particularly my mother. She always made time for her and went out of her way to make sure Mom was safe and sound. I don’t know what we would have done without her.  Continue reading

finding an educational message

 

 

 

Television is at its best, in my opinion, when it opens a window on something new or shines a spotlight on something artistic or presents great storytelling. For my mother, television is a primary source of information. She no longer reads newspapers and rarely reads magazines. TV is her source for national and local news; she doesn’t follow the ins and outs of pop culture. However, she does like history and science.  Continue reading

finding the funny everyday

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It’s been a while since I posted about life with Mom, who is 89 years old. She is living with me now after years of living independently. Before she moved here, she had a group of friends with whom she would go shopping or work on craft projects. They would chat and laugh and enjoy each other’s company. They still do chat and laugh, but much less frequently and at a distance of 400+ miles. People don’t call as often as they used to and who writes letters anymore? Mom’s movement is more limited – it’s physically hard for her to get around and she is afraid to go out and do things because she’s in a new city. Sometimes she can’t remember where she’s going or how to get home. I think she’s afraid that if she goes out, she will be lost forever. Her world is shrinking.  Continue reading

movie magic sometimes strikes

film-596519_1280My mother is no longer able to follow complex or fast-paced movies, which is not surprising given that she is 89. Her short-term memory is problematic; she tends to do better with long-term memories. Yet, while old movies and TV shows are easier for her to follow, sometimes she still has difficulty following the story and loses track of the characters. At least with old movies, the pacing is slower (as is the flow of text in closed captioning) and the plots are a little more familiar. She also remembers some of the old actors and actresses that she watched when she was younger.   Continue reading

clearing out and letting go

clothes-2150834_1280Even in a small space, there are things to sell, give away, donate or throw away. When Mom came to live with me, she mailed several boxes of clothes, craft supplies, etc. and I found homes for them in the closet or in drawers. I sorted through my things to make space for whatever she sent down. This meant that some of my things were put out for anyone to take while other items were donated to organizations helping: women fleeing domestic violence or homeless people in Baltimore or veterans who need assistance or shelter-bound animals seeking a home. Of course, some items were thrown away, having already given their all. Item A needed space so Item B had to go.  Continue reading