09 December 2009

MY MOTHER 3/18/1909 - 11/25/2009

My 95 year old mother had been on a waiting list for an assisted living facility for over 14 months. Meanwhile she had in-home help when I couldn't be there.

Her health and dementia had slowly worsened over the past five years, but she seemed to go down hill very swiftly in the last three months. Still, she could dress and feed herself. She took her medications, but someone had to put out the correct pills each day so she wouldn't take the wrong ones. Physically, she was frail, but had very little wrong with her.

Recently, she fell in her home between her daytime and night-time help. We thought she had a stroke because she was not walking and had no recollection of her fall. We took her to the emergency room where it was determined that she did not have a stroke. Although she had only minor physical injuries, they decided to keep her for observation. She was disorientated and very listless, and somewhat dehydrated. She knew she was in the hospital, but did not understand why.

Several days later, she seemed to be doing fairly well ---she was walking short distances with help, feeding herself and alert, although somewhat disoriented. However, her doctor recommended we place her in a nursing home for a month or so after leaving the hospital and we were looking into that possibility.

However, during the early hours of November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving, she died peacefully in her sleep.

My Aunt Jeanne, my mother's youngest sister, died the day before Thanksgiving in 2006. Their grandfather died the day before Thanksgiving in 1946. If I were a superstitious person, I might worry every time that holiday rolled around.

I've been out of touch because my mother seemed to be deteriorating so quickly. Then I was visiting the hospital and taking care of her home. Since her death I have been contacting everyone, arranging a memorial service, taking care of matters (bills, insurance, the will, etc.) helping my niece move into my mother's home, disposing of my mothers' belongings, and dealing with lawyers and probate.

My mother left written instructions that she wanted to be cremated with no viewing, which suited me fine. I have never liked funeral homes and avoid them whenever possible. She requested only a memorial service. Since there was to be no viewing, there was no rush for the service. I didn't want to do it over Thanksgiving weekend. The next week, the church was busy with a large meeting and several weddings. Also a good friend of my mother's was having a 100th birthday party that week and I didn't want to put a damper on that, so we scheduled the service for two weeks after her death.

My mother was not well-educated, but she was very smart and well-read. She had many talents. She was a caring person who was involved in a lot of volunteer work. Yet, she was not perfect and also had a dark side that many people never saw.

Probably, I will not be blogging until at least January. When I return, I will write about my mother's life on my other blog, Pro Artz.


  1. really a wonderful tribute. my mom just fell this last weekend. makes me anxious in seeing her age.

  2. I just read what you left in G-man's comments.

    My heart goes out to you, I know what you're feeling and what work it is for you too to get things settled with your mom's estate.