Lake Tahoe…simply gorgeous and a place that never gets old. As time is winding down, everything is bittersweet. There are people, things and places I will always miss, regardless if I am in the states or in Germany. Such one place is Lake Tahoe and the serene beauty of the lake and sierras.
This year has been a year of great progress and no matter how hard, often disappointing, and challenging, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have given it all, and nothing was held back. I am at peace with what I achieved and I know Mom and I have never been closer. There are challenges and just the other day she said unimaginable things again. Those are very hard to hear at times, but I know they are driven by fear and she knows that I am the only who can or would take her out of what she consider hell, the nursing home. I am asking her to be patient and to trust in me. Something she struggles with at times while it’s costing her a pretty penny each month to do so, and while her hands are tied.
I don’t have the answers for the future, but this has never felt right, and I always said that I can’t envision the story to end like this. Who knows, maybe I will in the future and think that she belongs in the senior home, maybe I’m not. Either way I will always fight for her and her happiness.
This is my last week here and my time on the blog will be limited. I will post but most likely just photographs with brief descriptions to maximize my time with Mom. Please bare with me during this tough transition.
I got to visit a few Christmas markets over the weekend and it’s been something I always fondly thought of in the states. There is nothing like it, and it’s fun to mingle amongst people from near and far. Stands line the street filled with homemade goods and rare gift ideas, in addition to all the food vendors.
The top picture showcases my nieces Leni & Emily in front of the famous Käthe Wohlfahrt Store in Rothenburg. It’s a Christmas store that is open year round and usually is packed with tourists. It is a tradition to pose in front of the giant Christmas vehicle and I usually get a picture sent from my cousin. This time was there myself to take the picture.
Emi in front of one of the many magical stalls. The spirit is high at the Christmas markets, and neat things can be found even for the pickiest of recipients.
The family…Moms sister, my cousin and nieces and me enjoying a glass of Glühwein, Children’s punch and a tasty waffle.
Those who have learned to carry their own light no longer fear the darkness. They know it eventually reveals their strength in living color.
~Stephen L Lizotte
Picture: Christmas market booth in Rothenburg o. d. T. ❤️
Inside the church St. George during my trip to Eisenach.
The anxiety crept in again and no matter how hard I try I can’t help it. Time is closing in with only days left until I leave. What a crazy bittersweet feeling. A true love-hate affair. I haven’t packed, a few things are left to do and then there is the house, Mom’s castle and getting it ready to be uninhabited. It should be easy enough to flip the power switch to cut all electricity, but there are also pipes that need to be drained of all water so they don’t freeze without the house being heated. I should do it the day before Christmas Eve as I want to spend as much time as possible with Mom, but then it means I can no longer stay in the house.
I have asked Mom a few times now if she wants to go to church on Christmas Eve and she hasn’t fully committed. Everything is up in the air. A few goodbyes need to be said, but no plans have been finalized. All I know is that I can’t wait until the last minute and some feelings might get hurt. These moments belong to Mom whether she wants them or not.
We hit another wall today with the iPad. One thing led to another and pretty soon the ugly face of the same fight raised its ugly head once more. You see it was never a matter of being worried that she can’t learn how to operate it (she is doing fine with it) but a matter of whether she will use the iPad to talk to me. Everything was fine without it before she thinks, but things have changed she does not want to acknowledge. Her reality about the care home is still out of whack and in her mind I am still to blame that she is there. She does not want to stay there and she doesn’t realize that she can’t get out alone. What she hears is that this is up to her and me. Further there is nothing wrong with her she thinks, which automatically places all blame on me. I must be the one that makes it impossible for her to get home and my Dad would be so disappointed and would never tolerate it if he was alive she says. I will have to wait and see, and can only take one day at a time. While there are many cant’s, there are also many can’s and I’m focused on what I can impact and influence, and leave what I can’t. Easier said then done, and sometimes it works and others it doesn’t. What I do realize, no matter how unfair things seem sometime, is that Mom’s reaction are ruled by fear. The fear of me leaving, the fear of being alone again, of having lost control of her life and the fear of her life which changed from everything she once knew.
I went to bed before 9PM to just rest last night. I took a few aspirins for my troubled heart that gave me much pressure and freight, and just laid down. I focused on my breathing and on staying calm. There is no doubt that the stresses of the year passed has further negatively affected my health. From an active and movement point of view to other reasons, and here too…I am trying to do the best I can. I have to get through it and it’s nothing anyone can do for me.
This evening I will enjoy a German Christmas market and distract my mind while getting some exercise. It is freezing outside, but there is always Glühwein and I’m looking forward to that and taking some pictures.
Picture taken in Santa Cruz, California.
I will be flying over the pacific soon and be near that spot. There is something soothing in the crashing of the waves and it will feel as if I am coming full circle.
My last day before leaving to Germany was spent at that ocean playing the ukulele. Ten month later my first day back might be spent at that ocean, playing the ukulele once more. Everything in between will remain packed with emotions and the memory of never being the same person again. We constantly evolve and change and nothing stays the same.
If you don’t do wild things while you’re young, you will have nothing to smile about when you are old.
This picture was shot overlooking Moraine Lake in Canada. It was an epic day I will never forgot, and gosh Canada…you are beautiful. This trip is a few years old, but I remember driving the Icefield Parkway as if it was yesterday. I still see the bears (my favorite animal) walking alongside of the road, and after each turn was another majestic peak to be admired. I will definitely be back some day.
Today was another epic day, although of a completely different nature. For the first time I got to face time with my 80 year young Mom. It was nothing short of a breakthrough considering that she has spent most of her life within her four walls, alone.
A few days ago I purchased an iPad for her as an early Christmas present, and for when I’m gone. It was very important for me to be able to contact her and talk to her on a daily basis. It’s the next best thing besides being there in person. It was last Sunday that I set everything up for her and we did a few test runs. Then came my day at home on Monday and I called 24 times the iPad told me today, with no avail. I couldn’t figure out why she would not answer and today I found out why. On the lock screen you actually have to swipe to accept a call vs just hitting the button. Bless it lol, and today Mom learned how to swipe.
After leaving for the day, and arriving back at home, I called her and she answered. It was such an amazing feeling, and I was so happy to FaceTime with her. It was epic on a whole other level and she smiled from ear to ear. Tomorrow morning we are going to try again, and with practice I hope it will become second nature and easier for her to use.
I’m closing and in cases like this we are blessed to have today’s technology. I know there is much controversy around it, about forgetting how to interact as humans and everybody just starring at their screens. But to be able to stay in touch and see each other over thousands of miles away, is pretty significant and awesome I think.
Time is racing and I’m trying to make the best out of the time I still have left with Mom. I haven’t written much and have fought mental exhaustion. I don’t work and yet I don’t have the time. A strange concept I never understood until now. It’s quite possible to get stuck in a day to day routine that leaves little time for else. I know it’s not helping that I still battle pains from the chronic RA and the stresses of months past. I accomplish more on some days vs others and my life quality varies from day to day.
Soon I will find myself high above the clouds on the long journey back to the states. It’s such a bittersweet feeling and although I’m looking forward to my life the way it was before, I’m worried. Nothing is the same and everything has changed. Few things for the better, but there is plenty left to worry about. I know what you are thinking. Stay positive and don’t worry. Things will always work out as intended. Life finds a way, and you are right. I’m merely stating some current thoughts and emotions as time draws near and it helps to get them off of my chest.
Not all days are equal, and more and more the darkness creeps in and tries to overwhelm me. I try to stay busy, to keep my thoughts in check. It’s when I rest, get up in the morning and finish the day, that it is worse. I know that I simply have too much time on my hands to let my thoughts wander. Of course I know and made good headways today. I got a lot done and tomorrow is another full day trying to accomplish all things that need to be done. I think it’s quite miraculous how some things have worked out on my time table. Someone came by to read the water gauge which is an annual event. Luckily it happened while I was here, on my day away from Mom and while still in Germany. The same happened with a few parcels, which arrived in the same miraculous way. Someone high above is watching out for me. Thank you.
A big peace of mind is that I bought Mom a iPad for Christmas. I spent a few hours setting it up with her yesterday. For the first time in her life my 80 year old mother has an email address and a Pinterest account. We FaceTime’d while I was there yesterday and she still is a big rusty of what to do. She stares at the screen but doesn’t make the connection yet to hit the green button to accept the call. Today I didn’t get a hold of her and we need much more practice until I go. I will have to write some things down for her. It brings me some peace of mind and comfort to be able to reach her once I’m gone, if we manage the process and I’m very hopeful.