Sunday, June 28, 2015

One Year

Friday marked one year since my Mom passed away. The week was harder than I truly expected. I had already planned on taking the day for reflection and time for me. But the loss is just as sharp as if it was happening now.

My Mom was an amazing woman. She was so outgoing and had such a zest for life. She was always ready to go on an adventure and never met anyone she couldn't talk to. Her smile was so open and friendly, people just naturally gravitated to her. She looked for the humor in all things.

She had a hard time when she had to move from the home she had known for over 30 years and never quite reconciled to living with my aunt. I am still going thru boxes from her room. She didn't get rid of much. It was as if, by having everything around her, she still had some independence. I think that's what upset her the most, not having that freedom to do as she pleased. While she was not a prisoner, she seemed to feel that living in someone else's home made her less in some way.

Watching her give up her independence a little at a time as she got sicker and weaker hurt so much. I was guilty of trying to do too much many times until I realized that I was denying her the right to make her own decisions. I wanted to take away that necessity of thinking and planning and all that goes with a serious illness so she could concentrate on getting better. I overstepped my bounds often, I think. It was done with love and I think she knew that but having been so independent, especially since my Father's death, she was unused to not having control.

Mom was a caregiver. She was the oldest of 10 children and she was expected to take care of the younger ones when my grandparents were busy with the farm or gone to the store. At 10 years old, she was taking care of babies. The last 2 were born after she married, but by then, she had me to take care of.

As she got older, she became the one who stepped in when someone was sick. She and her sisters took care of Grandpa and Granny as they aged. She was there when my aunt passed away from cancer, helping her brother and nephews. She was there when my uncle passed away from cancer, helping her sister, niece and nephew. She visited my uncle in the nursing home weekly and took water, tissues, etc. She also bought clothes and did laundry when he needed it. He is having trouble with his memory now and occasionally will ask my aunt Katheryn how Mrs. Broyles is doing. He always called Mom, Mrs. Broyles. My aunt will remind him that she passed away and he will say something like yes, I remember.

I was prepared for a really bad day on Friday since the 2 weeks before had been rough. I found myself reliving the journey from news of the tumor to the final hours daily. However, by Friday, I felt a peace and a calmness I wasn't expecting. I had good memories rolling around in my head and my heart was full of love. I think this is Mom's legacy to me; to allow the pain to run its course and then to be filled with love.

Mom, I miss you every day.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bad Blogger

It would appear that I have become quite lackadaisical about my blogging. I have good intentions but you know what they say about that!

“A good intention, with a bad approach, often leads to a poor result.”  Thomas A Edison

So there you are. Good intentions not followed through.

I have still been reading, about the only thing I'm doing on a regular basis. I've gotten way behind on my listing so here goes:

2015 Reading Challenge - 50 books
Read to date - 24 books

Time Bomb - Jonathan Kellerman

Another great book from Mr. Kellerman. I really enjoy his Alex Delaware series. Alex is a psychologist who's best friend is a police detective named Milo Sturgis. They investigate the shooting at a school which leads to other killings. The father of the girl who was the shooter (she was killed, btw) hires Alex to do a profile of his daughter. The interactions and the reasons for everything kept me guessing until the end. Love that.

Death's Acre -  William Bass

This is the story of how the Body Farm was built. The Body Farm is located in Knxoville, TN behind the University of Tennessee Hospital. Knoxville is about 60 miles southwest of where I live. It was interesting to learn how the ideas came about and how they developed the Farm into what it is today - a leading forensic laboratory studying the decomposition of bodies. I know that sounds morbid but it has helped many investigators determine how and when someone was killed. He also discussed some of the more "famous" in Knoxville that he dealt with.

Wild:From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

One of the best books I've read that also happens to be a true story. It opens with one of her boots falling off the ridge down the side of a mountain. After watching it disappear into the woods below, the throws the other boot as hard as she can after it. My admiration for this woman grew as the book progressed. She had never hiked in the wilderness and after her mother died and her life fell apart, she decided to do this. Along the way, she met lots of friends and a couple of threatening situations, but all in all, she became more aware of herself and her surroundings. She discovered that she was stronger than she knew and that the lessons her mother had taught her were still there. A great read, I highly recommend it.

Still Alice - Lisa Genova

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this but yet, I was intrigued. I have always felt that Alzheimer's was such a hard disease to deal with and that it was harder on the caregivers than the person who had it. This changed my perspective. While I still feel the caregivers are the ones who suffer most, the person affected must deal with many emotions, fear and loss being major ones. The book is written from the view of the lady who finds herself diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. She is a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world renown expert in linguistics (from Amazon description). Seeing the progression from her point of view was extremely interesting but also depressing. I cried through half of the book but it ends on a calm note. 

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles

One of my favorite authors. My mother and I shared a love of his books and she would have so enjoyed this one. Penn Cage, a retired lawyer and successful author, is mayor of Natchez, his home town. He finds himself in the middle of a situation involving his father, who is a beloved physician in town, that reaches back to the 1960's, during the Civil Rights marches and the voter registrations in Mississippi. He has to find the person who killed Dr. Cage's nurse because his father is accused of that murder. She had fled to Chicago after some terrible things happened in the 60's but came back home because she was dying of cancer. The book is not tiny, in fact, in paperback, it is 800+ pages but it wrapped me up and I couldn't put it down. It's the first in a series Mr Iles wrote after he had a a terrible traffic accident, losing his right leg below the knee. Another book I highly recommend.

Dust - Patricia Cornwell

A Kay Scarpetta book. I use to really enjoy Patricia Cornwell's books but it seemed to me that she fell down a rabbit hole in some of her later books. However, I can say this one was really good, kind of draggy in places but still good. Everything in the book , except for the last few pages, happen in a 24 hour period. I still have trouble with her style but it was easier to follow in this book. If you are a Patricia Cornwell fan, or a Kay Scarpetta one, you will enjoy this book.

All of the above books were borrowed from my local library through my Kindle except Time Bomb, Natchez Burning and Dust. I am really enjoying the ability to do this as I can get current books without having to pay anything. 

So, all caught up now. Think I'll stay that way??????

Update on Doug: First of all, I need to say a very big thank you for your comments on that post. He is doing very well. He has had some pain issues but I think that's under control now. He told me it hurts more than it did when he was 14! Well, son, you are almost 36 now. Things hurt more as you get older!

No promises! I'll be here when I can. I'm trying to stay caught up on your blogs but I'm behind on that also. But things are looking up and hopefully, I'll have more time on my hands to enjoy what I love to do.