The Home Page

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Momma Has Gone Home

In this life you have parents, if you're lucky, who guide you, set examples for you and knock you into last week, when needed. I had that. I had a sister and brother who were older than me to learn from and I did that. I learned how to maneuver through my teens without getting grounded. I did that mostly by staying out of trouble. I may have been grounded a time or two, but I don't remember.
What I do remember is mostly good or funny things and I think that's just right.

My dad passed in 1978 at the age of 56 leaving Momma alone in a world where she had never been alone. She lived 45 minutes from her closest kids. She had never paid a bill. Never used a checkbook. Didn't know whom they owed what nor whether or not she had enough money to pay them. With a little guidance from her children she took it all on head first. The once completely dependent woman became Miss Independence and she remained that until just a few years ago. Five years ago she gave up driving and became dependent on Jo's Taxi. It was nice to spend time with her and help her meet her needs at the same time. It was rarely an inconvenience. Our lives have been closely intertwined for the last 5 years.  More closely than ever before.

On August 5, she left her beautiful and beloved apartment to take up residence with Roomy and I and her two grandpups. She did this willingly and was welcomed lovingly. Life was much better for us with her under our roof. She was eating better, drinking more water and being treated pretty much like a queen. For the most part, it was our pleasure to care for her. Stress happened, but it was never more important than her safety and happiness. She was happy. We were happy.

On September 9 at 2 am I was awakened by her calling my name. I reached her in seconds and saw her collapse on the hall floor just short of my bedroom doorway.  I bent to help her up. She did not assist me at all. She always helped get herself up. I sat on the floor holding her head and shoulders in my lap while Roomy called Life Alert. Before he finished giving them details, she took her last breath and I continued to hold, kiss and cry.  Momma had left for her reward knowing she was loved. Hearing my voice tell her so. Feeling wanted and part of this household, not a visitor. I am grateful for those moments. Momma began her journey to Dad from the loving arms of her baby.

I miss her already. But I carry no regrets. I loved her fully and for the most part, gave her the best I had. I am so filled with awe. The house didn't sell because she wasn't meant to go south. The house is off the market this week because we need to mourn. She was here with us because God sent her here to pass in love, not alone.

God bless her soul and Momma, thanks for being Momma.  Give Dad a big hug and lots of love from us. I know he's been waiting a long time for your arrival.

Jo


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thoughts for a Saturday

Yesterday we dropped our realtor at the end of the 90 day contract. The home we have loved and improved for our own comfort and happiness has been viewed by 14 prospective buyers. Some couples, some singles and a couple of extended families. The failure to provide the much coveted open floor plan and the apparently much coveted bathtub, has produced zero offers.

Strange because we have often complained about how noisy this kitchen is. Everyone who is in the living room can clearly hear (actually magnified) every sound made during food prep. Dishes seem to be slammed onto the solid surface cupboard or banged into the dishwasher, when in fact, they are simply being placed. Opening up the stairway wall would achieve that open concept, but it would also increase that annoying racket. It's my belief that people who want that, haven't ever lived with cooking and clean-up IN the living room. Maybe that's just me.

And the bathtub issue has blown me away! We spent $7000 removing the tub and installing an oversized stepin shower. It's awesome and very easy to clean. We have three full bathrooms and all have walkin showers. Why? Because in the last twenty years no one has taken a bath and every week I still cleaned a bathtub. On the floor, on my hands and knees, I cleaned a tub that no one living here wanted or used. Asking around, I found very few people who take baths and fewer who liked cleaning their tub. We thought we we're increasing the "want" factor, but apparently we did not.

We added an in-law suite in the basement. Finished the entire floor into a kitchen, full bath, laundry room, bedroom, tanning room and family room. Essentially doubling the living space of our home. Has that been a benefit? No one has said so.

We have a whole house generator which automatically runs everything 10 seconds after a power outage. Cost? $6000 and it's one year old.  Benefit? Nope.

The pool and landscaped backyard is appreciated, but not worth our asking price apparently.  I suppose the cost of all of that seems minimal, unless you're the one paying for it. Yes, everyone likes it, but still no offers.

I am so disappointed. I am so deflated. I am so ready to move to Florida. I need to be re-energized.
I need an offer. I need a serious buyer who will love living here.

It's so hard for me to understand why everyone doesn't just feel at home here. The first time I walked in the front door, not this one cuz we just replaced that 2 years ago, I looked around and knew it was our home. I have never regretted the purchase for a single moment. I have honestly loved this house from that moment.

I need THAT to happen. Soon. THAT buyer needs to find us and their new, nearly maintenance free home.

Tomorrow we begin round two. Realtors who know how important online listings are. Realtors who will council us with their expertise and listen to our needs.  I only regret that we didn't go this way first. But everything happens as it's supposed to happen and tomorrow is a new beginning in this process.

I promise the new buyer that this house will become their home the moment they hold that closing paper and they will relish every summer day they spend in that pool, on that deck or poolside with a cool drink.

It's coming soon. I know it is.

Jo

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I PROMISE...

I promise list...yes, it's a list because I believe once written, things become real to me. So, it is written.

I promise:

1)  to be the person I want as a friend.

2) to answer when called upon.

3) to tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear that.

4) to love without condition or not love at all.

5) to put forth my best me 90% of the time.

6) to be there for my family, always.

7) to LISTEN better.

8) to speak mostly after thinking, it's a process.

9) to try to be the wife my husband deserves; the mom my kids deserve, the grandmother my grandbabies deserve and the daughter Momma deserves.

10) to be the friend you deserve.

I want to promise to age gracefully and never be a burden to anyone, but aging isn't always like that so instead, I'll try very hard to stay healthy and active until the end. Failing that, I'm sorry to the care givers and it's okay to ship me off somewhere. Really. But if you take me in, feel free to tell me what you need from me and I do promise to give that a try.  With luck, I'll be gone before any of that matters. I want to live until it's over, really live.

I also promise to answer any of your comments as soon as I see them!  ❤️  Cuz both of my readers are very special to me!  ��

Jo


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Losing Your Rights in Senior Years

I just finished reading Mickey Rooney's speech to Congress about how he was abused by family and how he lost his human rights in his later years.

It's a moving speech.

He was an actor.

As a senior citizen here in these United States, let me just say that as of today, I maintain all of my rights. I can eat what I want. I can sleep where and when I want. I can live where and how I want. I have a reasonably sound mind and the ability to meet my own needs. This may not always be true. When it is no longer the case, I hope someone loves me enough to intervene and make decisions "with" me to assure my safety and reasonable health as well as my happiness. In the Golden Years it really should be about happiness. I may not always see where my happiness lies and I pray that my kids or my grandkids will see it and help me focus there.

I'm not denying that elder abuse happens. I'm saying that sometimes what feels like manipulation is really caring and helping. As we age we do lose the ability to be flexible and some of us lose the ability to accept this aging thing with all it's limitations. Often the manipulator is actually trying to secure a better and safer lifestyle. Let's allow for those cases to be seen from the caregivers viewpoint.  Do you just leave your loved senior in an unsafe and unhealthy environment because they want to stay there? They say it's home and they're happy. They are actually depressed and frightened being alone. They don't see that. What then? Butt out? Go on about your own business? Or do you talk and plan and try to convince them that there is a better way? Ultimately, you hope they feel it's their choice, but in fact, it has to happen either way. Emotional blackmail? Mr. Rooney says it is. I say it's loving and protecting and avoiding life in a communal care facility that will not be home, ever.

I pray constantly that I will have the wisdom required to help my mom through her Golden Years. I pray that the love we share will not be tattered and blemished because I insist on her safety. As we are preparing to move south where she will live with us, I pray her happiness will return and my sanity will also. I pray that this move can happen soon for I hear her telling people she has to move. I was so hoping by now she would be be saying she is going to move, rather than has to move.  I know that she feels I am making decisions for her without her input. I am making decisions for her because she has told me that she fears being alone sometimes and yet wants to stay in her own home. She has told me that it's nearing the time that she must move in with us. Yet, left entirely to her, she would remain where she is. She'd love for me to move in with her. I can't. We have dogs and her apartment complex doesn't allow dogs. I have a husband with whom I've planned to move south for many years. I have made every decision along this path considering her needs and her passions. We will be certain to have a walk-in shower for her. We will have a screened in porch. We will have a place that is just hers for her privacy. We will figure a fair financial arrangement so she isn't feeling like a freeloader, but will have a better life. That can be her decision alone, the money thing will matter to her, doesn't matter to us. All of her furniture will be in our new home because it matters to her and I want it to feel like her home. I feel we have made some decisions together, but she feels like I have made them all. Perspective. I get it. Giving up independence. I get that, too. But having a better quality of whatever time we have left together trumps all for me.

Hope she gets that.

Jo


Friday, July 18, 2014

When the Mom is Still the Mom

Today we crossed another milestone of sorts. I bought Momma a beautiful and very functional walker. It's purple and has a cool seat with a padded back rest. Yep, it's as cool as a walker can be. But it's a walker. Now, some would be happy to be able to walk safely just by pushing this little cutie around and some would even be excited to be able to venture outside alone because of it. Some would simply say it'll be nice to use for the night time potty trips and tell you it should be stored in the bedroom next to the bed for just such a case. Oh, that is my Momma...the last one.

I have been watching her stagger and catch herself for months. I have worried constantly about her falling while home alone. I have been reminding her constantly of the "Help I've Fallen" necklace function. That it must be worn at all times. Sometimes it's on the table beside her when I stop in. She takes it off if we are leaving the apartment. She doesn't sleep with it, but keeps it right beside her bed and tells me she carries it with her if she gets up. I hope that is true. I truly believe this walker could restore her independence somewhat. It could make her feel safe venturing outside or even just going around the apartment. She walked so smoothly and so quickly when she tried it out. I was amazed how well she did with it and she seemed unimpressed. It was as if she thinks she always walks like that. I made it very clear that she does not. I hope she listened.

For those of you who have not been in this position, may I just say it's very hard some days to be the kid. I want so much for her that she is unwilling to do. She is still my mom. She is still in charge of her own life. I have limits and I am fighting to keep myself in them. It is my nature to nag her into being more active and eating better and doing what she could do before she is not able. Every week there is something else she is no longer able to do. Her strength is failing rapidly. It's very hard to allow this to happen when you are so aware of how little she would need to do to regain that strength. I am not good at this. I am learning how to keep my big mouth shut, but I'm not exactly there, yet. I'm sure she hopes I get there soon. I hope so, too. Nagging is not working and only upsets us both. Yes, I know this. Yes, I want to be the loving daughter who allows her to be whatever makes her happy. I'm working on this...

The walker was parked in the kitchen when I left because she doesn't like it in the middle of her living room floor. UGH. She does not have company often, but it bothers her just sitting there next to where she sits, though it would only be helpful from that spot. I give up. I hope she figures out how much simpler her mobility would be using it and having it close by. I also hope that I learn to let it be.

I am so blessed to have such a fiesty momma and such a fun person to hang out with and to care for. I am so blessed that she is healthy and for the most part independent in nature and spirit. But mostly I am blessed that at 91 she still wants to be with me even if I am a nag. She knows I only want what's best for her, but I need to learn that what is best for her now is whatever she wants. Period.

If you have this in your future...take my advice and start now learning to butt out. Provide what is needed and offer whatever help is needed and otherwise, shut-up. Just love and enjoy and provide. That's where I'm trying to get.

Jo

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Thinking...

Following three showings of our home over the week-end, I am both excited and concerned. The realtor is confused because only one person has suggested the price could come down, so she'll wait for a while. The other "buyers" feel it's priced to sell. I know it's priced where we need it to be in order to move with Momma and find suitable houses in our new destination, Ormond Beach, FL.

ABSOLUTELY determined to stay another winter if our price can't be met. Momma can move in here at the end of our contract to sell and we'll just settle in. That isn't a horrible thing, but just means probably two moves for her and her furniture will have to go to storage, I think.

We had a house full of kids and grandkids last week and hosted a Fourth Party for around 50 or more of our Heroux family. Now that they've all gone back to their own homes and lives, it's very quiet here and as always, a little depressing. Having our quiet, routine life back is a bit comfortable and still a bit too quiet for the first week or so that they aren't here. I really miss them.

Keeping the house ready to show isn't an issue at all, but keeping us out of here for an hour or two with the dogs in the very hot summer has been annoying. We are spending more money in gas to keep the car running to keep puppies cool than we usually spend in a month!  All part of wanting to sell during what we feel is the best time to showcase this resort type backyard.  Maybe we should showcase the extra lot to the east as a winter wonderland for snowmobiling instead.

Mentally making a list of things to improve if we reach the end of this contract without a sale. All the time hoping we don't need to do that.

Noticing a lot of self-improvement posts the last couple of weeks on my news feed. You know, losing weight, exercising, eating healthier, new hair styles and clothing lines all directed at "looking"
better or different. I am always amused by these. I am looking at 65 in my very near future and I simply don't care if I'm "all that" anymore. I honestly don't. I care that I'm healthy. I care that I stay active enough to take care of the things I need to do, but the whole size zero jeans, cut to my navel tops or flappy upper arms...don't care. I have lots of old lady skin. Lots! I don't like it, but it's mine so I don't look at it. I cover it up a lot because I don't want to see it. I don't do make-up hardly ever because I don't want to. I wear my hair as simply as I can and still not cringe when I pass a mirror, but it's far from stylish or current. It's just me. I have been wondering at what point in my life did I actually get this way? I can't remember now, but I know it was gradual. I didn't wake up one day and just start buying clothes that are comfortable over clothes that are cool. For the record, Momma isn't there yet. She still cares a LOT about how she looks. Hair must be done. Clothes must be matched and by her standards, in style.

Done thinking for now...happy Monday people!  If you want to be loved...you gotta love. ❤️

Jo

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

RELOCATION

Back in the fall of 2013 Roomy and I decided to travel to the south and seek an area for retirement. We hoped to be ready for a move in another year. So the plan was to look around the Georgia and Florida border area and maybe some warmer parts of Florida and then up through Atlanta on the way home. We were just looking for a town or county or general location. Since my mom is 91 now and still living in her own apartment, we were thinking a duplex or in-law suite would be perfect. We were planning for her comfort and safety. She seemed okay with the move, in theory.  Though reminding me that she might not be a part of the move because who knows how many days she has left, she never indicated that it would not be a good thing. So we proceeded.

The trip was concluded when we found Ormond Beach, Florida. It felt like our home from the beginning of our tour. We drove around and checked parks, the inter-coastal waterway and current homes for sale. We walked. We drove. We ate. Then we headed up the Atlantic coast to St. Augustine for a visit with friends. We had found our future hometown.

Jacksonville was nice, Savannah was incredible and Atlanta was miserable. None of that mattered. We headed home.

While we were off dreaming and planning, Momma had a medical issue and my sister handled it and took care of her until we got back home. Although we cut our trip short by a week, we had found our spot and were comfortable with the choice. Momma had forgotten that she was part of the plan and declared she had no plan to move and this was all new to her. She said she would not be moving again.

Once we got home and I was able to have a good talk with her, she understood that she simply couldn't stay in the apartment alone much longer. She accepts, though isn't thrilled with, moving with us and into our home. There will not be a need for an in-law suite, just a private bedroom and bath. We're all on the same page again. We moved our plan up a year because I don't want her to have to move twice. If our house sells soon, we won't be in Michigan another winter.

The house is now on the market and showing well. The search for a home in Ormond Beach is on going. I keep a list of what's available.  I will go down once this one is set to close and hopefully, we will be able to move smoothly from here to there. All three of us and two furbabies.

It's a process, but I know it's the right thing for us. I know she will be happier and healthier living in our home.

Relocation is underway and so far, things look good. I believe everything happens as it's supposed to happen and I am going along for the ride.

Jo