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River
Interests: thinking, exchanging thoughts, meeting new people, travel, outdoor activities, creative activities, writing, cooking
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She was in a solitary space, alone, unaware that we were even there. She sat up on one hip, swinging her leg from the chair, the other poised on the foot rest. She held her head with one hand, elbow propped on the arm of the chair, and rubbed her eyes with the palm of her other hand. We seemed invisible, and sensing this, we sat very quietly and still, and watched as though spying on someone in a very private moment. Momma heaved and sighed, then slumped over in the chair, squeezing her eyes shut. My sisters and I sat up, looked quizzically at each other, and waited. Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2012 at Forever My Momma
Two months ago my sisters visited a memory care facility in our area. They were impressed by many of the qualities and services offered, especially the sensitivity and understanding of the staff. In particulary, my sisters felt that the kinds of people, both staff and residents alike, and the kinds... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2012 at Forever My Momma
Momma and I are like water and oil. Even under the best of conditions, we never did very well together for long periods of time. The teasing, antagonizing, combative nature of our relationship worked well for most of my life, but Momma can no longer hold her own; and I can’t always hold my tongue. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2012 at Forever My Momma
Twenty years ago my grandmother moved into a nursing home. She had made the decision to leave her home several years earlier and then, when the time came, she went. I wish I had known then to ask what I now think are the most profound questions: What defines “the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2012 at Forever My Momma
Sister Connie is a doer; a fixer. She is action-oriented and motivated by results. While all three of us continue to believe in Momma’s intellectual capacity and we want to foster a meaningful quality of life for Momma, Connie is the one who relentlessly never gives up. Sometimes I think... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2012 at Forever My Momma
Momma told old stories as I pushed her around in her wheelchair. Son-in-law Dean bought her a block of homemade fudge. At dinner after the show, Momma told more old stories and we responded with genuine interest, as if that was the first time to hear each of them. Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2012 at Forever My Momma
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Momma is in a fuzzy, foggy world. There seems to be a thick, one-way glass wall all around her. It’s not the typical one-way glass that people put in expensive homes thought, because it is a trick glass, too. The walls around her distort all images so that nothing is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2012 at Forever My Momma
Why are you doing that? Why is the sky blue? Why is it dark now? Why is that hot? Why do I have to take a bath? Why do I have to wear a hat? Why is Daddy at work? Why can’t I have ice cream? Why is that bird singing? Why is the worm moving? Why is the grass wet? Why, Momma, why? Why? Why? Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2012 at Forever My Momma
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Daddy never had very much money, but he was a most generous giver nonetheless. When he was first courting Momma, Sundays were their regular date days. Daddy would go to Momma’s house right after church, eat the Sunday meal with her family, and then spend the day with her. As... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2012 at Forever My Momma
The truth, however, was that I could not sit there any longer. I no longer had conversational ideas, nor did I have the energy to create smiles. I was tired and depressed and most of all, I feared that if I sat there one more minute, the shifting sands would swallow me. Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2012 at Forever My Momma
Conversations vanished with the doctor’s sweet voice. All that was left now was the qualities in our personalities that worked like repelling in magnets. Momma and I, we couldn’t touch; we couldn’t connect. Momma needed these things, but I couldn’t provide them. I needed them, too, but Momma wasn’t there. Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2012 at Forever My Momma
I heard Momma speak from my earth-cave vision, then I emerged like a mechanical robot. I spoke, I drove, I did what needed to be done… Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2012 at Forever My Momma
It’s official. Momma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease last spring. And I was angry. Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2012 at Forever My Momma
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When a maid of 17, with suitors, oooooh so many, is asked to meet a man, she says, WHO is he? Yea, WHO is he? When a maid of 27, with suitors not so many, is asked to meet a man, she says, WHAT is he? … a.. just … WHAT is he? When a maid of 37, with suitors HARDLY any, is asked to meet a man, she says, WHERE is he? OOOOH, where IS he? Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2011 at Forever My Momma
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Now Ellen comes twice a week to take Mom out or just be with her at home. Mom loves the attention and happiness spills over to all aspects of life. For example, Momma has things to contribute to conversations as she tells me what she did with Ellen and what’s going on in Ellen’s life. I have peace of mind knowing that Ellen is coming and that Mom is in good hands when they are together. Suddenly my insurmountable and impossible-to-solve problem has diminished to a manageable and solvable thing to deal with. Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2011 at Forever My Momma
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Never again did Momma and I share a day like that. It is one of those gifts you hold dear in your heart forever and ever. That day is a womb-like moment when we shared the same blood, the same heartbeat. It sealed us forever in a shared bond – the love of nature, and pure exhilaration in the presence of trees. Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2011 at Forever My Momma
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The unique quality about aging is that it is uncharted territory and so full of guessing at every turn. At any other stage in life, we share all the newness of that stage with others who are experiencing similar things, and we know that the challenges are limited to a fairly reliable timeline. We also expect that the challenges we face will lead us to something better. Aging ... is void of any prescribed time. Compounded by the stress of being in a vacuum of timeless forever is this strange phenomenon of personality – all the particular quirks of personality, along with a lifetime of baggage and subsequent effects on personality – swell, rise to the surface, and display themselves without the social filter of self-editing. Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2011 at Forever My Momma
The nurse explained the procedure then left us in the dressing room to change into a hospital gown. With nervous anticipation, Momma got tangled up in the strings on the gown. Once again she was frustrated. I helped her untangle herself and as I was tying the last bow under her breast, she fell into my chest – a spontaneous embrace. Just then Momma turned her face upward, barred her teeth in a forced smile, and said, “SHEE-IT.” Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2011 at Forever My Momma
When my father died in 1997, I was shocked by the sense of release I felt by finally being able to mourn the loss of this man I loved so dearly. For 10 years before he died, Alzheimer’s disease robbed us both of our relationship, but I couldn’t really mourn because he was still alive. I learned from that experience that loss has infinite forms and it can be sneaky and subtle. I am reminded of that now as I admit this steady loss I am struggling with now with Momma. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2011 at Forever My Momma
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Somehow, we two stubborn women have found a neutral way to merge our differences and live with a dog! Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2011 at Forever My Momma
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I started leaving the house whenever Hope started emptying the dishwasher. And I’d come home to find the counter-top covered with clean dishes and Momma sitting in the chair in front of the TV – happy! Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2011 at Forever My Momma
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I have always suspected Momma of being a “secret barefooter” because she too, sometimes kicks her shoes off under the table or stays shoeless in the house for long periods. I would never suggest this to her however, because I know too well her determination to disagree (gotta keep up the image, you know!) Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2011 at Forever My Momma
Here is a list of links that I think would be helpful for readers to form their own strategies and plan of action. Because each person is always and forever a unique individual, there is no set formula to follow. Instead, those of us who love an aging parent need to gather information, collect resources, and create our own plans. Keep in mind, however, that we aren’t out here all on our own charting completely new territory; the only thing that is “new” about it is that it’s only new for us and our particular situation. Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2011 at Forever My Momma
Hope is not driving anymore, but we don’t talk about it and we’ve never made a public announcement. When Mom goes out in the community, she looks great; no one knows she couldn’t possibly have arrived on her own. I wonder if I’m validating her sense of shame and worthlessness by keeping her “loss of independence” a secret? Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2011 at Forever My Momma
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Then we left him, a humped-over old man wearing a Stetson hat, standing next to his pristine white Trans Am (so white it could have been birthed in damn heaven) convertible parked in the handicapped zone. His image, dwarfed by the magnificent sky behind him and his 12 story condominium, got even smaller in the rear view mirror as we drove away. Mom and I sped off into the night and, like the disappearing image of the magnificent burning star in the sky, we too, simply disappeared from damn view. Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2011 at Forever My Momma