View Full Version : My Mother


LesleyJoy
02-17-2008, 03:29 AM
Geena's post about her family brought to mind my own decidedly-elderly-and-proud-of-it mother. Please allow me to introduce her. And if you would, please post a story or two about your own family members, friends and/or patients. Thanks!

Until we learned to value each other, my mother and I dreaded being together. I now find that I can anticipate and even hold endearing my beloved mother's wild and loud eccentricities. Mother also has changed, having reconciled the indescribably astounding fact that her daughter is dull. Years of bewilderment and hurt feelings have finally given way to mutually amused and occasionally bemused acceptance.

Should you ever be in town when my mother is visiting, you may smile to see a rainbow lorikeet and a timberdoodle enjoying each other's company. You will note the lorikeet as she suddenly rockets from the ground, her vibrant coloration competing with her even louder voice. She will dart first here and then there, shrieking merrily. Then she will swoop back down again to chatter at her friend. You will also note the plump, brown timberdoodle calmly going about her business. Moving quietly through the rich bounty that exists between the woodland and the meadow, she sees the way the subtle colors, patterns, and movements of each are played out against and in each world. She is content. And so, Dear Reader, if you look carefully, you will see the lorikeet and the timberdoodle laugh together, each pleased to be as she is, each rejoicing in the exotic nature of the other.
http://australian-animals.net/rainbow.htm
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/programs/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/American_Woodcock_dtl.html


This second story is also offered to you in celebration of my mother:

My mother enjoys things, the more things the better. Do-dads, thing-a-ma-bobs, whatizs, and little ceramic figurines clutter every dusty surface of her home.

I prefer a more serene house with only a single objet d'art sitting in lovely display upon the gleaming surface of a credenza or table. Sometimes I honor the craft of a furniture maker by simply allowing the piece to stand alone, unadorned except by its own beauty.

Our respective takes on home decor causes each of us to wonder if Mother somehow left the hospital with the wrong baby.

One day my mother came to the house in a state of high excitement. Her eyes sparkled. Her cheeks glowed pink. In her arms were two very large bags. She swept past us at the door and went straight to the cherry sideboard. She snatched the fragile bowl showcased there and carelessly tossed it onto the couch. She then pulled this... thing from one of her bags and lovingly centered it on the wood.

Turning to us, she beamed her megawatt smile and chortled, "Isn't this the greatest thing you have ever seen?!" She was all but dancing in her excitement. "I know you like birds and, well, I saw this and just KNEW you had to have it!"

There, in place of my beautiful bowl, was a three-foot tall ceramic parrot. A scarlet, lime green, and chrome yellow parrot. With a big black beak. The parrot had a clock in its middle. A clock that played "Yellow Bird" on the hour.

I was speechless. My husband, who had been standing as if turned to stone, began to tremble. His face developed a tick. Suddenly with a great shout of laughter, he rushed over to my mother and enveloped her in a hug.

"Stop! Stop!" squawked my mother, sounding remarkably like a parrot herself. "That's quite enough! I'm just glad you like it. It's about time someone livened things up around here."

I didn't have the heart to tell my mother what I thought of the aesthetic value of her gift, so I thanked her for thinking of us. She snorted at me. Then she grabbed her other bag and ran into the kitchen to prepare the new meal she had just read about. "And NO! You can't help! Stay out!"

Dinner that night was a shrimp, green bean, mushroom, rice, and cream of chicken soup casserole topped with fried onion rings. At my mother's urging, we ate in the living room so as to fully appreciate not only the parrot's hourly tune, but its melodious squawking and tail movement on each quarter hour.

After my whirlwind of a parent left, I wobbled my way into the kitchen. Every drawer and cupboard door gaped open. Shrimp shells, onion skins, mushroom bits, and red bell pepper innards littered the counters and the sink. Rice crunched underfoot. A dusting of flour liberally coated everything, including the door knobs. Pots, pans, and cookie sheets covered the stove and hung like broken teeth from the mouth of the oven.

I would have turned tail and run back into the living room, but the parrot was in there. By the time I had finished restoring order to the kitchen, I felt a little stronger. But I was not strong enough to face that parrot. I went to bed.

The next morning I tiptoed out of my bedroom and peered fearfully around the corner into the living room. There, in place of that bird was my lovely, fragile bowl.

A few minutes later I found my husband in his shop conversing with "Garish," as he had named the parrot. Garish lived happily out there for years. And until the end of his days, I never went into the shop alone.

Lovingly and merrily submitted,

Joy

Julie
02-17-2008, 04:40 AM
What a wonderful story and an amazingly descriptive piece. I feel as if I am standing trembling in that kitchen with you. I'll post something about my own family later, you are a hard act to follow!

LesleyJoy
02-17-2008, 04:57 AM
I'll post something about my own family later...

Thank you, Julie. There are so many stories wrapped up in the hearts and minds of us all. I hope that you do post about your family soon. And I hope this thread will become alive with the retelling of the humorous, the pitiful, the infuriating, and the lovely tales of those near and dear to us.

I am trying to learn the art of the written word. My fondest wish is to retire (soon!) to a cabin in the piney woods so that I might write and write and write.

Joy

Mother Jones, RN
02-18-2008, 12:44 PM
This second story is also offered to you in celebration of my mother:

My mother enjoys things, the more things the better. Do-dads, thing-a-ma-bobs, whatizs, and little ceramic figurines clutter every dusty surface of her home.

I prefer a more serene house with only a single objet d'art sitting in lovely display upon the gleaming surface of a credenza or table. Sometimes I honor the craft of a furniture maker by simply allowing the piece to stand alone, unadorned except by its own beauty.

Our respective takes on home decor causes each of us to wonder if Mother somehow left the hospital with the wrong baby.

One day my mother came to the house in a state of high excitement. Her eyes sparkled. Her cheeks glowed pink. In her arms were two very large bags. She swept past us at the door and went straight to the cherry sideboard. She snatched the fragile bowl showcased there and carelessly tossed it onto the couch. She then pulled this... thing from one of her bags and lovingly centered it on the wood.

Turning to us, she beamed her megawatt smile and chortled, "Isn't this the greatest thing you have ever seen?!" She was all but dancing in her excitement. "I know you like birds and, well, I saw this and just KNEW you had to have it!"

There, in place of my beautiful bowl, was a three-foot tall ceramic parrot. A scarlet, lime green, and chrome yellow parrot. With a big black beak. The parrot had a clock in its middle. A clock that played "Yellow Bird" on the hour.

I was speechless. My husband, who had been standing as if turned to stone, began to tremble. His face developed a tick. Suddenly with a great shout of laughter, he rushed over to my mother and enveloped her in a hug.

"Stop! Stop!" squawked my mother, sounding remarkably like a parrot herself. "That's quite enough! I'm just glad you like it. It's about time someone livened things up around here."

I didn't have the heart to tell my mother what I thought of the aesthetic value of her gift, so I thanked her for thinking of us. She snorted at me. Then she grabbed her other bag and ran into the kitchen to prepare the new meal she had just read about. "And NO! You can't help! Stay out!"

Dinner that night was a shrimp, green bean, mushroom, rice, and cream of chicken soup casserole topped with fried onion rings. At my mother's urging, we ate in the living room so as to fully appreciate not only the parrot's hourly tune, but its melodious squawking and tail movement on each quarter hour.

After my whirlwind of a parent left, I wobbled my way into the kitchen. Every drawer and cupboard door gaped open. Shrimp shells, onion skins, mushroom bits, and red bell pepper innards littered the counters and the sink. Rice crunched underfoot. A dusting of flour liberally coated everything, including the door knobs. Pots, pans, and cookie sheets covered the stove and hung like broken teeth from the mouth of the oven.

I would have turned tail and run back into the living room, but the parrot was in there. By the time I had finished restoring order to the kitchen, I felt a little stronger. But I was not strong enough to face that parrot. I went to bed.

The next morning I tiptoed out of my bedroom and peered fearfully around the corner into the living room. There, in place of that bird was my lovely, fragile bowl.

A few minutes later I found my husband in his shop conversing with "Garish," as he had named the parrot. Garish lived happily out there for years. And until the end of his days, I never went into the shop alone.

Lovingly and merrily submitted,

Joy


Thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoyed reading about your mom.


MJ :pepsi:

MyOwnWoman
02-18-2008, 09:16 PM
My mother died May 7, 2000; the day after my wedding anniversary. Twelve years earlier, my mother had a heart attack that landed her in the CCU and then on an aortic ballon pump and then open heart surgery. She was 60 years old. She spent 3 months on a ventilator and eventually, much to everyone's surprised, was weaned off. After a few more weeks in the hospital, she was ready to come home with the assist of oxygen and with an ejection fraction of less than 18%. Every day we had with her was a blessing. She lived for 12 years; 12 more years than we could ever have hoped for.

My father, who had never done a lick of "womanly" work in his life took on the role of her caregiver. He'd wash the clothes and bring them up for her to fold. In addition to having a weak heart, she had spinal stenosis that was getting progressively worse to the point that she could only walk a few steps with a walker. Of course, she was not a surgical candidate so she had to bear the pain. He bought her a "cart" so she could get around easier. He built her a ramp to make it easy for her to go outside and enjoy the weather. She found new found freedom in her cart and started to go shopping and other places with her mobilized cart.

As the years went on, my mother got progressively worse and it became harder and harder for my father to take care of the house, the garden, and my mother. My brother and I pitched in, but my father being the proud man that he is, only allowed us to bathe her and occassionally cook a meal for the two of them. Things were running along smoothly for a time; my brother living directly behind my parents keeping a close watch on them both.

In April, my brother's daughter was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of nine. My brother was devastated and his attention turned from his parents to his own daughter, which of course is natural. I saw my mother daily but he hadn't seen her for a week after his daughter's diagnosis and when he saw her he told me in the past week she had gotten really old looking. I took a good hard look at my mother and he was right. Something told me the end was approaching.

My mother, in her giving heart, told my brother it was time to "let her go" and take care of his daughter. A day or two later, my mother was in the hospital on drips to sustain her life and an approaching ventilator to help her breathe.

She asked for all her children and grandchildren and one by one, she asked them if it was "ok for her to go home, she was tired." We all knew what she meant. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I told my mother that despite the fact that I'd miss her every day, it was okay for her to go home, she's fought a good fight and I was proud of her.

After her family gave her "permission" to die, my mother asked us to take her home to be with her family. My brother and I had to fight the doctors and the powers that be to take her home even threatening to take her out of the hospital AMA. In fact, I told the doctor, "Either you discharge her and let her come home with me and you write a prescription for pain medication to ease her dying, or I'll take her home AMA and everytime you see me here, you will be reminded that you allowed my mother to die in misery.

He released her, with pain medication. We took her home that afternoon and by the morning she was gone; her last words professing her love for her husband. Her death brought peace to her and she died with her family surrounding her just as she wanted.

A month went by and my father started to have chest pain. He was in as deep depression to the point that he would not eat and he would not bathe. I'd visit him every day and he said nothing; never asking for a thing until the day he begged me to move back into the house with him because he couldn't face it alone. My father has never asked anything of me, so after talking to my husband, we decided to move back home. His depression continued, his body odor worsening by the day until I told him that he would either bathe or I'd bathe him. He bathed begrudgingly.

His chest pain increased to the point of hospitalization; so one month after my mother died, my father had a heart attack. What's worse he was so depressed that he refused to have the heart surgery that would save his life. I tried everything to get him to change his mind but to no avail. Finally, out of mere frustration and anger I told him, "You are nothing but selfish. My children lost their grandmother a month ago whom they adored and you are going to allow them to lose their grandfather not even a month later. How dare you do that to your grandchildren whom you profess to love...and how dare you do that to me."

One week later, he had open heart surgery. He was still grumpy and depressed, but he was a tiny bit better. Slowly, very slowly, he recovered from his surgery; but his depression remained. I didn't know what to do, I was at a loss.

This whole time, my youngest daughter was pestering me for a dog. I didn't have time for a dog, I didn't want a dog, and my father didn't want a dog in the house. "It was too much caring for a dog," my father insisted. A light bulb came on instantly. Yes, we were going to get a dog and the dog was going to give him purpose! I was right, the 4 lb. Yorkie wormed her way into his heart and he now had a purpose for living; something depended on him.

Eight years have gone by since the death of my mother. I still think of her daily, but in a loving light filled with a smile most of the time. My father and I talk about her from time to time and he can even laugh as I tell stories of things I remember when I was a child. Life for him is much better.

Life for me? Well, let's just say that although my father is now 76 years old, he still climbs up on the roof to fix the shingles or the gutters. He gets angry if I ask him not to go up on the roof while nobody is home. "What am I, and invalid?" I just roll my eyes and shake my head. I come home to a sink full of dishes he has messed up during the day. I come home to projects that he starts in the basement but manages to mess up the entire house with. I am constantly being told that what I cook is good, but "man, your mother was a great cook." He tells me I like like her. He tells me he loves me. He tells me he's proud of me. He tells me I've ruined my body with the tattoo I have on my leg and in between my shoulders. He loves my husband, and adores my children. He drives me crazy on a daily basis and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wow...what a long post. I guess I needed that.

PS: Where is spell check when you need it?

geenaRN
02-19-2008, 02:43 AM
I've loved reading about your mothers!

My mother is an amazing person in that she takes care of everyone around her (she IS a nurse after all!) to the point of not really taking time for herself. She's under a lot of stress with my grandmother being ill (and ornery) and I wish I knew what I could do to ease her burden from so far away.

My grandmother was a wonderful grandmother. My sister and I would take turns going shopping with her every Saturday. She was always patient with us and we loved going and staying at her house.

She was so happy when Gabe was born and loved to make him giggle and laugh. Last time we were home, though, she barely looked at him. It makes me so sad that she has to spend her last days so depressed and angry. She's making it difficult for people to be around her, but maybe she just wants to be alone.

From what my mom tells me, I don't want to see her like this. I want to remember her as a happy person. But then I think that maybe that's selfish.

PixelRN
02-19-2008, 11:00 AM
I'll bet you anything she wants you to remember her as a happy person also. Which may be why she is responding in that way. (i.e pushing people away emotionally.)

At any rate, hang in there, geena, it is a tough thing to go through and I wish I had more answers for you.

Julie
02-20-2008, 01:40 AM
Coping with our parents and grandparents as they get older is difficult. I guess that many of us will experience this in a different way to our ancesters seeing as people are living longer, often with long term conditions and also we don't always live close by. My grandmother was a very special person who had a big impact on my life and who my son and his cousins adored. I can imagine that had she not died quite suddenly she might have reacted to life in a care home and being dependant in a similar way to yours Geena.

In the end she was taken ill suddenly with a bowel obstruction and because of her heart problems (which she had suffered from for 20 years) was unable to withstand surgery. We as a family spent a day and a night in the realisation she wouldn't survive so we had time to say goodbye (even if she didn't necessarily know we were there). Plus I had kept my promise that no one would be jumping up and down on her chest (as she so nicely put it).

LesleyJoy
02-22-2008, 12:02 PM
...From what my mom tells me, I don't want to see her like this. I want to remember her as a happy person. But then I think that maybe that's selfish.

(((((Geena))))) Remember your grandmother's happier times. They are important. Important also is the sadness/anger she is currently experiencing. You already know this. Please go see her when you have the opportunity. Whether she shows it or not, your loving presence will mean something to her.

The reason I say these things is that once upon a time when I was so sad that life seemed not worth living, my friends quietly stood by my side. Or they sat in the dust with me, silent. They did not try to fix things. They simply kept me company. And by their wordless and comforting presence they encouraged me to rest, to regain my strength, to heal. There is no praise high enough for these dear people who so willingly witnessed my grief.

Joy

LesleyJoy
02-22-2008, 12:06 PM
One fine afternoon my husband invited me to sit with him WAY UP THERE, in the cab of the used Michigan front-end loader he had just purchased. I had been admiring the way the machine moved big logs from one side of the yard to the other and from on and off trucks, so I gladly accepted his offer. Looking around to see if the coast was clear, I gathered my dress in one hand, and climbed up, up, up until I reached the cab. My GOODNESS, things looked different from up there! And there was no place to sit, either, except on my husband's lap. So I did. All 9 months pregnant of me.

With his strong arms around either side of me, he put that loader through its paces. Up and down went the pinchers, lifting tons of trees like tinker toys. The machine roared like an ancient dinosaur as it moved forward and backward, reaching up and over with pleasing precision.

Finally it was time for me to leave. George stopped the machine and I prepared to disembark. Looking down, I discovered that the ground was farther away than it had been. Much farther. And we had gained an audience, too. One of the guys working with my husband had stopped doing whatever it was he was supposed to have been doing and was standing there, grinning, at the sight of me and my belly teetering in the doorway of the cab.

I turned my back, gathered my dress and reached down with one foot - but my legs had mysteriously become shorter. I pulled myself back up to the cab and stood there, the wind blowing against me.

Jake walked closer and hollered up, "Do you want a ladder, Missus?" My husband knew enough not to say one word. I glanced down over my shoulder at Jake, and refused.

"Well, then, do you want me to come get you?" he offered.

That did it. I told Jake to fetch the ladder, thinking I could get down before he returned. As soon as he rounded the corner of the loader, I let go of my dress, and rappelled, there's no other word for it, down the side of the machine, the dress billowing around my head.

Upon touchdown, I adjusted my dress, smoothed my hair and turned around to see Jake and three other guys standing as if turned to stone. Each had a silly look on his face. As I said to my dear husband later that night, it's not as if they hadn't seen pink panties before. After all, each of them was married. But perhaps it was all the little red hearts - with the yellow smiley faces - that had captured their attention.

LesleyJoy
02-22-2008, 12:13 PM
...Life for me? Well, let's just say that although my father is now 76 years old, he still climbs up on the roof to fix the shingles or the gutters. He gets angry if I ask him not to go up on the roof while nobody is home. "What am I, and invalid?" I just roll my eyes and shake my head. I come home to a sink full of dishes he has messed up during the day. I come home to projects that he starts in the basement but manages to mess up the entire house with. I am constantly being told that what I cook is good, but "man, your mother was a great cook." He tells me I like like her. He tells me he loves me. He tells me he's proud of me. He tells me I've ruined my body with the tattoo I have on my leg and in between my shoulders. He loves my husband, and adores my children. He drives me crazy on a daily basis and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wow...what a long post. I guess I needed that.

PS: Where is spell check when you need it?

GREAT mother and father story, MOW! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

LesleyJoy
02-22-2008, 12:15 PM
Coping with our parents and grandparents as they get older is difficult... We as a family spent a day and a night in the realisation she wouldn't survive so we had time to say goodbye (even if she didn't necessarily know we were there). Plus I had kept my promise that no one would be jumping up and down on her chest (as she so nicely put it).

Wonderful story, Julie. Thank you.

gracenotes1
02-23-2008, 10:18 AM
Great stories. Joy--you have the makings af a great nurse writer. When you decide to pursue this get with me and I can get you on a path to several things that have helped me.

Yesterday I posted a story about my husband under the "Laughter" thread. I edited and removed it because it was too long. But I will post it here. Laughter is good like medicine!!!

I enjoy reading your stories here. Thanks Joy for telling me about this thread.



Dumpsters Are Deeper Than They Look

I love my husband. He can still make me laugh after 23 years together. Yesterday, I grew a new love bud because of the laughter he caused in me, again. My cheeks are sore this morning from laughing so hard at his antics yesterday.

I had a Doctor's appointment at 11:00 am. We have to travel to Decatur for major shopping and doctors etc. It is 30 minutes away from our home in the country. While I was in the Doctor's office my husband called around to some carpet stores to see if they had any remnants that he could purchase. He only needed a few yards to pad some shelves for his workshop. One of the stores, Rock Bottom Carpets, told him to come on by and he could have all the remnants he wanted. Just get them out of the dumpster in the back of the store. Seemed easy enough--and free.

We went to IHOP--our favorite place to eat after a Doctor's visit. And then we found Rock Bottom Carpets--drove around to the back and we could see that the dumpster was full of new carpet, just pieces that had been cut off. It wasn't full of garbage or I would have refused to let him get it. It wasn't used carpet either. Thank Goodness.

If you have seen my photos on my profile then you know what he looks like. His nickname given to him by his high school football coach is "Bear". Many still call him that. That tells you a little about his physical appearance. As I sat in the truck and watched him go about this task I prayed that he would not get hurt or fall.

He climbed up and over the top of the big green dumpster. Then he hopped in and disappeared. I no longer could see his head. He raised his hand up so I knew he was okay. Every now and then I would see the top of his head bobbing up and down as he looked through the carpet for the right piece. He found a large rolled piece and threw it out of the dumpster into the back of the truck. I waited and waited and still didn't see him. I thought 'well he is looking for another piece'. Actually he was trying to figure out how he was going to get out of that dumpster.

20 years ago he would have not had a problem but at 47 years old and 20 pounds too much on his belly, he had a dilemma on his hands. I watched as he struggled to raise himself up high enough to throw his leg over. Finally he got his belly over the side which gave him some leverage :) and then he threw his leg over. Finally he was sitting on the top side of the dumpster. Now he had to jump or shimmy down. He made the decision to shimmy. His belt got caught on something and it interrupted his shimmy down.

I was laughing so hard. He looked so funny trying to throw himself, big belly and all, over the side. I suppose I was laughing too to keep from crying. I was so afraid he would fall and I was praying "Lord, please help him get out of that dumpster in one piece."

I got so tickled but I didn't know how he was going to be feeling by the time he got to the truck. So I hid my laughter the best I could. He got to the door of the truck and he had the funniest look on his face.

He said, "You know, those dumpsters are deeper than they look. I didn't think I was going to get out of there." I busted out laughing and he did too. I could only imagine having to call the fire department and say, "yes Mr. Fireman, could you come to the back of Rock Bottom Carpets and get my husband out of the dumpster?"

This morning when he got up, I said, "How are you feeling this morning?"

He said, "My belly is so sore. Why is my belly so sore?" Then he remembered and said, "Oh yeah, the dumpster, remind me not to do that again!"

I am so glad he still makes me laugh after all these years together.