Thursday, January 29, 2015

Battling the Elements, so to speak...

Yesterday, on my way to tea at a girlfriend's house, The Man took me first to Morrison's Dry Cleaners to pick up my down jacket. I was anxious to get it  because the weather here has turned decidedly chilly -- especially when considering the wind/chill factor. Suddenly, instead of the plus three the thermometer was reading, it was feeling like minus eight. (We are talking centigrade, here, folks!) I picked up the jacket and before leaving the store I took off the padded raincoat I was wearing and donned the much warmer downy replacement and followed The Man who had left a few minutes earlier to wait for me in the car.

Just as well I had donned the down! Several paces from the store a sudden fierce whirlwind took hold of me and spun me around -- I was holding the coat I had been wearing earlier, which didn't help. At the same time a mixture of rain, snow and sleet lashed down upon me making it almost impossible to see. It was difficult to stay on my feet, but I did manage to make my way slowly toward the car. At last, I was nearly there only a few more seconds ...

when what to my wondering ears did I hear, but the car starting up and thrown into gear!

Horror struck and wind blown I watched as the old red Volvo wound its way to the other side of the car park to the entrance of the store I had just exited. Snow and rain and hail, not to mention wind continued to pummel me and I began to try to get to where the car now was. Then The Man saw  me and slowly made his way back to where I was standing. I opened the door -- not easy in the wind and with the elements making their way into the car before me and The Man bawling me out for not waiting for him in the store like any sensible person would do!!!

I closed the car door and the wind stopped, as did the snow, as did the rain, as did the sleet. Then The Man took me to my girlfriend's house, where I had a very nice cup of tea and a delicious piece of cake!

Here are some pictures from my friends in Cape Cod where a blizzard is a blizzard:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Mother, Going with the Flow...

Early the morning of January 9, my dear mother died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 95. Only 11 days before she had moved to a new home to be nearer to my youngest sister in the state of Vermont. Unfortunately, she had  contracted the flu and was no longer strong enough to recover. Last August the same thing happened and despite being warned that she had only hours left, somehow threw off the illness and survived another 5 months. 

As frail as she was before the illness in August, she become much more frail and was wheelchair bound. And she also had long periods of being extremely confused about where she was and who she might be talking about. So, without a doubt, she was ready to 'go home'.At the time of her death, she had not been told that my brother had died.

In the last months of her life she often spoke about being ready for death, but as various ills befell her, she simply replied that, "I'm just going with the flow"! In fact, when my sister visited her on the second day of her last illness, expecting her to be close to death, she had in fact rallied again and was quite lively and chipper, and repeated what had become her mantra of 'going with the flow"...

In April there will be a joint memorial service in Kent, Connecticut in the same church where we had the service for my father. A few days before her ashes will be interred next to my father. It is all being arranged and we all agree. We all know that the tragedies of the past weeks all for the very best, but, of course, we are all very sad.

She was the last of her generation. I imagine them being all back together now and my brother with them. All  are free of illnesses and infirmities. That generation and the one before left our family a legacy rich in love and goodness and they all of them live in my heart.

What startles me is the sobering thought, that I am now the family Matriarch!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

My Brother

December was a very sad month for my family. My dear brother, Bill, died on the 30th of December of congestive heart failure due to Parkinson's dementia. I have written about the onset of his illness. Looking back over my posts in 2014 I am surprised to discover that I did not blog anything about my visit with Bill in April. I had not idea it would be the last time I saw him.

He was living in a nursing home in Raleigh, North Carolina, near his wonderful only son and wonderful daughter-in-law. They picked me up at the airport and I was welcomed with open arms.

When I saw my brother the next morning, he was greatly changed from the athletic 6 foot three inch 'big' brother he had been when I last saw him 20 months earlier. Bill had always stood straight and tall. When I saw him for the first time in the nursing home I was taken aback to see him hunched over on a sofa like a very old man.

He knew me right away and with a little prodding straightened up and was ready for a visit. I had been well prepared for his disorientation and confusion about where he was and what he was doing there. Since his collapse several months before his mind had become seriously re-wired. For example, as we walked along the corridor together he explained to me that this was the railroad station and we were walking along the track. Walking to his room later, he pointed out that several of the rooms were the offices of the CEO of his company. However, he was able to come back with me to his son's home where we enjoyed a barbecue and sat outside in perfect Raleigh spring weather -- no bugs and no extreme heat!

In November Bill had a fall and broke his hip. The prognosis was that we would be wheelchair bound -- probably permanently. In early December my two sisters were able to visit him for the first time and they had a lovely visit, which Bill and they very much enjoyed. His son told me that it was soon after that that he began to fail. He called me on Boxing Day, December 26, to say that his father had become very lethargic on Christmas Day and that his Doctor said to prepare for the end -- probably that night. They were surprised he managed a few days more. He was only 64...

The same day, my mother, suffering from old age dementia and very very confused, was moved from her nursing home to a new place 10 minutes away from my youngest sister. Life throws up such sudden unexpected changes. From one day to the next the world can turn upside down and turmoil reign. But when I stop to examine my life and my family, I see how fortunate I am that we are so loving and kind and caring toward each other and that is truly a great deal in this life.