Sunday, February 25, 2007


I heard newborn babies wailin'
Like a Mournin' Dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without Love
Do I understand your question, Man
Is it Hopeless and Forlorn
"Come in" she said "I'll give ya Shelter from the Storm"
bob dylan

Part 5
On December 1st, my Mother died at home. She had battled Emphysema and Cancer for several years. On her birthday in 1982 she had had a Major stroke; after months in the hospital, she recovered enough to go home and from there her capabilities improved to where she could drive and be fairly independent.
She had tried to take care of my father in the year or two that he was in the beginning stages, she had tried to be able to keep him at home, but the effects of Alzheimers demand much more care than what she could provide. Putting her Husband into a VA hospital just must have been gut wrenching for her.
I remember a Christmas where she had gone down and brought him home. It must have been about 1980 or so. When I came over the next day, she had already taken him back. I got the feeling that she wasn't able to handle him being there emotionally and she had already taken him back to the VA Hospital, 100 miles from home. She never tried that again.
Gut wrenching stuff.
In 1984 I married and the girl I married was an Angel. you have already read how she and Dad had gotten along and I want you to now that she probably added a year and much happiness to my mothers life as well. The Xmrs B'holes spent a lot of time with my Mother.
The only wish or hope that my Mother really had, except for the hope that she would live to see some little Bulletholes, was that she die before Dad. If she had had to bury Dad, that just would have been too much.
We spent Thanksgiving '86 and the following weekend with Mom. She had begun to take Morphine to help ease the pain she was in from the Cancer, but we had a good Weekend.
On Monday she started to fare badly, and that evening the Lungs just gave out. I had to call the Police and Fire Departments, the Funeral Home and then began the task of calling family and friends.
Finally I had to call work and it was my friend Jeff that answered the phone. Thats when I lost it. I could barely speak.
I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it was that Mom should go first.

March, 1987
We brought my grandmother home from a Nursing Home, hired a Nurse, set her up in the guest bedroom and hung Family Pictures all over the Walls. She had been in the Nursing home so long that she was like Dad, maybe worse. But after a few weeks, she began to come back; there were moments that she seemed to recognise us, and had become quite fond it seemed of certain pictures on the walls that we moved closer to her. Mostly it was the Pictures of my Grandfather, her husband. After about 3 months, she died. You can't imagine how good it felt to have brought her home to spend her last days with us.

A few months in the future, the VA Administration would move Dad from the VA hospital into a Private Nursing Home, setting the stage for the last part of this story.


Anonymous said...

this is heart wrenching, steve....reminds me of the hard decision to move my grandmother from her home of 30+ years into an assisted care facility.......she was exhibiting the signs of senile dementia......forgetting to turn off the oven or stove....kept falling and cracking hips, hematoma in brain from a fall discovered 3 months after the one lived near enough by to help out.......she kicked out everyone we hired.......harder still to sell her home and all her cherished possessions in an see all those things so carefully bought and preserved from a depression era child......ransacked by strangers...yes - tough decisions, sad memories. I'm fortunate that both of my parents are fairly young and healthy........but I know, too, my days are coming....

Old Lady said...

Damn it! It's not right to spend your life with someone and then separate when you need each other the most! The damn extended care facilities need to make allowances for such things. Damn, damn, damn!

Annelisa said...

Sounds like you had a caring family, Steve. I know how hard it is for people to make the decision to move someone they love into a home, but sometimes you come to the point of simply not being able to cope with the care of them, and know they would be better off being looked after elsewhere.

I looked after my mum at home for over 2 years, until her wanderings at night became too worrying. It was hard work, and broke up my family (the kids couldn't take the changes in her, and one started hiding in her room, to avoid contact :-( ) I came to the point where I realised I was spending too much time trying to look after my mum, and not enough for my kids, who were feeling the lack of attention.

I was sad when I read about your mum, but when it comes down to it, at least she had you - her family- to love and care for her. What more can a mum want?

And you did a great thing bringing your grandmother back to live out the rest of her life in a proper home.