With much consideration and hand-wringing and coordination, we have decided that my Dad will continue to live in his house as long as he is physically capable of getting around. We have arranged for some daily assistance and companionship, and we have lots of friends and neighbors willing to step up and help.
So, until he decides that it is time to make a change or he just needs too much hands on care to stay by himself, we don't have to make that drastic change in his life on top of the loss of his wife of 55 years. We are at peace with this decision, and it has relieved a layer of stress for now.
My Mom continues a gentle decline according to the Hospice doctors. She is still coherent and witty but the medication is taking its toll. She wants to be awake and alert for all of her visitors, but the pain and nausea and anxiety medicines to keep her comfortable make her sleepy and her days are running together.
In our daily visits, we're never sure what we are going to get although we hope for some quality time in between the sleep periods. In between the daily visits, we exist and take care of my Dad.
And I continue to go through photos and scrapbooks and the many Bibles she has scattered throughout the house. She kept everything. There is a book of obituaries of everyone she knew, family or not. There is a book of birthdays. There are newspaper articles and clippings and announcements from everything I've ever done including baseball box scores, graduations, and job promotions.
There are little notes and sayings and poems and scripture references. I'm not sure where this came from, but I found the following scribbled down on a piece of paper.
Seven Rules For Life
- Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
- What others think of you is none of your business.
- Time heals everything, give it time.
- Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
- Stop thinking too much. It's all right not to know the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.
- No one else in charge of your happiness except you.
- Smile. You don't own all the problems in the world.
That is some great advice. Ironically, and unfortunately, there are a couple of those I wish she would have heeded more. Sadly, she didn't always take ownership of her own happiness. She has certainly had an interesting, complicated past, but she gave the best she had to me.
I have enjoyed looking at the old black and white photos, some I don't remember seeing before. My Mom was certainly a pretty young lady back in the day. I'll share some photos with you.
Here she is at age thirteen in January 1946.
And here she is just prior to her sixteenth birthday in 1948.
Not sure when this photo was taken with her cousin.
She got married the first time in 1949 at age seventeen, and this is a photo with her first husband, Buck, and her daughter, Linda, my half sister, who was born in 1950.
Eventually (it's a long story that I'll share someday), she got together with my Dad and after living in San Antonio and Los Angeles for awhile, they got married in 1959 in southern Indiana.
They were back living in Los Angeles when I was born in Burbank in 1963. They adopted me ....
and I began my traveling days moving from California to Indiana, back to California and finally, a month before my fourth birthday in 1967, to the farm I grew up on outside of Louisville, Kentucky.
I suppose I came to be an RVer through an ingrained nomadic spirit.
That trailer was before my time, but my Dad built a motorhome on an old work truck chassis, and I remember sitting up in the front windshield (no seatbelt of course) on cross-country trips.
Perhaps I'll include some more photos in my next post, but for now I just wanted to give everyone an update and share some of the pics we've come across in our reminiscing. Thanks for listening.