whatever is on my mind….

Looking Back….

Yesterday was a long day.  Mom slept in her chair and I browsed through our family albums yesterday, taking a trip back through our family’s journey.  Looking at smiling faces of people long gone, the memories came flooding back.

Seeing my grandparents holding me as an infant to seeing me holding my first granddaughter.  That granddaughter represented the 5th generation on my Dad’s side and there was the picture documenting that milestone.  As I looked at my great-grandmother in that pic, I remembered her parakeet, but not it’s name…..sad the things you thought you would never forget.  I remembered how she taught me to crochet and tried to teach me how to tat, never got that down, what a shame.  When she wasn’t doing some kind of needle work, she was reading her Bible, singing a hymn or praying.  She always wore her hair (tinted with tea) in a bun on the top of her head.  I loved watching her redo the bun in the mornings.  Her hair came down to the back of her knees and she would bend over, gather it to the top of her head and use one finger to twirl it back into that bun.  When she went outside she always wore a bonnet and all her dresses came to her ankles and always had lace collars.  She would come to stay with my grandmother for a month each summer, but lived with another daughter in a neighboring town.  When she was 88 her hip broke one morning as she was bending down to wash her face.  I know she went to the hospital for a while then came back to her daughter’s home.  The doctors said she would never walk again but she did, using her walking stick.  I can still smell that faint hint of talcum powder and rose-water and feel her kiss my cheek and forehead…..she died at the age of 94 and her last words were, “come sweet Jesus“.

As I sit here this morning thinking about times past when aging parents came to live with one of their children, nursing homes were few a far between in those days, I wonder if I am just being selfish.  Mom will go to the nursing home tomorrow and I am feeling guilty about taking her away from her home and all the things and memories that surround her here.  I am sad that this time has come.  Mom has always been very independent and strong-willed but seems to have given up, she refuses to eat and drink enough to sustain her body even though she knows that is the reason she gets weaker by the day.  The last 10 weeks of trips to the cancer center have been miserable for her and for us and now I am wondering if going through that was wise.  We made that choice because the doctors told us that because the cancer wasn’t going to affect any vital organs, that it would literally eat her face before it got the best of her.  I couldn’t bear that thought….

I tell myself that since I can’t lift her, that my home is ill-suited to take care of her and that our lifestyle would change too drastically, that she will be better off and have better care in the nursing home but it still isn’t easy to do….

Praying for Grace and Mercy to face whatever comes next…..



  1. FOH, I can’t imagine the pain of making that decision. You may feel selfish, but in truth you have to decide who would do the better job of taking care of your mom.

    I pray every night for her, and for y’all to have the strength you need.

  2. Praying for you and your family right now. Praying that God will help you and comfort you and your mom. Sometimes this life is heart wrenching. He’s got us in His hands. Praying that He will be gentle and give you peace.

    Love you girl,

  3. Not easy is an understatement. As you know prayers will continue, FOH.

    What really struck me about your post are the remembrances you have of your Great Grandmother. My goodness. How you must cherish such memories. You are indeed fortunate.

    Hang in there and thanx again for sharing your journey.

    • Thank you Mrs AL, I am hanging in there! I am very thankful for all the memories, and that was for just one of my grandmothers!

  4. FOH,

    I can’t see how anyone with a beating heart could not feel guilty at the point you are, but you are not guilty of anything. Every time we make hard decisions about our children or parents guilt just seems to naturally attach to it. Your decision was indeed a very hard one to make, but it sounds like your mother is now beyond your ability to give her the care she needs around the clock. Even doctors and nurses take shifts; they can’t do it 24/7 without a break and they are much better suited to provide the necessary care. You should feel no guilt and I will pray our Lord lifts that burden from your shoulders.

    God bless.

    • I know that you are right Dave. Part of my problem is the self reliance thing and even though Mom’s income will cover 2/3 of the bill for the nursing home, the balance will be picked up by taxpayers. At least I have the knowledge that she worked hard and paid in taxes all her life too. Some of our lib friends would think, I mean feel (libs don’t think, do they?), that makes me a hypocrit. As always thank you for the prayers!

  5. FOH,

    Besides your post bringing me to tears, I am so struck over the story of your great grandma because it could have been describing my own grandmother. She too wore her hair in a bun and I loved to see her hair while down since it fell below her waist. I was awe struck. And my grandma, only 5′ tall drug my grandpa around the house when he could no longer walk at the age of 82. I don’t know how she did that. She was one strong willed woman. I don’t think I’d be capable of that. I admired her so much for her strength.

    As far as the tax payers money, FOH, we have all paid into the system and I would throw the guilt out the door. There are so many people who have had to rely on the government for something during the course of their lives. That is just the simple truth.

    However, I realize how bad you must feel over this decision. It’s heart breaking to say the least. I feel heart broken for you. And we always ask ourselves questions afterwards out of guilt. You cannot believe the guilt I’ve felt over my son’s suicide. I ask myself almost every day what could I have done to prevent it. So I guess I should not preach about throwing guilt out the door.

    My dad was dying of cancer and he stayed at his apartment with his wife as long as he could with Hospice coming in 2x a week. But, my father was a fighter and he refused to be taken to hospice until he fell and his wife could not get him up. Then he had to go.

    He died a week later in Hospice but not without fighting to the end. That man got up on his last day to go to the bathroom by himself. It was unbelievable. But, others give up and want to die.

    I continue to pray for you and your family.

    May God guide you through this most difficult process and keep you well and strong.

    • My great grandmother wasn’t even 5′ tall, she was a tiny little woman. Her husband was killed by a run away team of horses pulling a wagon, he was on the main street (still dirt) of their tiny little town and as he was coming out of the bank saw what was happening and tried to stop the team. My great grandmother still managed to raise 5 kids alone. People had no choice back then, it was be strong or else.

      I am one of people who acts and feels guilt even when I don’t do anything wrong, like slamming on the brake when I see a highway patrol even though I never speed. I have improved on that one so guess this will get better too. As always the encouragement and prayers are wonderful blessings.

      I will be praying for your continued strength too. As a Mom I know that you have dealt with the hardest thing possible.

      • FOH,

        What a story about your great grandfather! You sure do have interesting family lore to tell. You could write a book about your family. Kudos for your great grandma being able to raise 5 kids by herself but I swear I don’t know how she managed it. Do you know how she did it? That would make a great story in itself.

        That is funny about slamming on the brakes when you’re not speeding. I have the opposite problem, I am speeding. When we moved down here I got 2 speeding tickets in less than 3 months. Argh! Now I use cruise control to control me. 🙂

        Thank you for your prayers for my loss. I appreciate that a lot.

  6. Sending prayers your way, to you, your mother and your family.

  7. willibeaux

    FW! Lorraine’s and my prayers are with you and Odele as you deal with this difficult decision.

    She and I are both Octogenarians and are thankful that neither of us have a debilitating health situation.

    We try to take one day at a time trusting in God to take care of us.

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