Posted in Life, Mom

Don’t delay

Going through some old things, I found an old picture of Mom and me. It was taken during a visit to Germany and a I can tell it’s taken in her house, in the kitchen. She looks genuinely happy in this picture, with a natural, non forced smile. Few pictures like this exist prior to last year as I was there for ten month. It was almost as if she learned to live again, to enjoy basic and simple things in life and when she allowed me to take more pictures of her.

I immediately set the picture aside thinking of sharing it with her the next time we FaceTime. The last time we talked was on Sunday, except that I forgot to show her and realized it after we disconnected. “No big deal” I thought since we were going to talk the very next day again. Monday morning came but instead of talking to Mom, I woke up to a message from Germany saying that Mom would be hospitalized the same day. She has gained 15 kilos since April which appears to be all water weight. I don’t know anything else yet but I imagine the additional water in her body is causing problems with her organs etc. I am almost afraid to ask and my fingers are crossed tightly for her and for a speedy recovery. I couldn’t tell anything from talking to her the day before. She always keeps everything perfectly hidden or blows it off. “What are you going to do anyways so far away” she has responded when I confronted her, and often I think she simply doesn’t understand the seriousness of things. Perhaps she is living in a world of ignorant bliss where it’s just simpler and safer not to know. I often thought of it as a protection mechanism that kicked in after the early death of my father. I once read something about it and there is an actual medical term for it. It’s like our soul is choosing to cut certain painful things out of our life’s in order to protect ourselves from the things we might struggle to overcome.

Needless to say, I never got to talk to her and I never got to show her that picture. It made me sad, really, and like so many things happening in my life these days it made me think. How something so simple and seemingly little can turn into future regrets and missed opportunities. Some of which we may never get another chance to play out or repeat. It made me sad for her, having to face the hospital again, and having to do it alone. She has been in and out of the hospital so much over the past two years. I am not sure if there can be a time when I don’t feel sad and where my heart won’t ache for her. It is a battle that holds me within its grip, never fully allowing me to live my own life. I know what I have done for her, what sacrifices I have brought to the table and what challenges I have faced. And somehow I still can’t look at it and say that I’ve done everything I could.

For me one thing is for sure today, and that is to not delay anything if we can help it. We might never get another chance. Pick up that phone and call today, don’t wait, make it count and ask yourself if you could live with yourself if another chance never came. I know it’s not easy and often we don’t even realize the impact. But maybe we can try to be just a little bit more aware and make that conscious effort. May you never know the regrets of a missed opportunity and may peace be with you always. ❤️🦋

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Posted in Fun, Mom

Hey Siri

Recently Mom was hospitalized because of an open wound on her leg. In all actuality it happens quite frequently since her skin is as thin as tracing paper. The slightest bump will cause an open sore that could lead to infection and not healing well due to her diabetes. She has lost a few toes this way already and it’s a scary situation for sure. Luckily she was only there over the weekend, starting Friday and being back to the nursing home by Monday. Coming to think of it, I think it was more of a safety precaution since Mom’s family physician went on vacation. He was worried Mom could develop a blood clot and in the end I think everyone was relieved to know Mom was in good hands.

This all happened during the week she was mad at me and hung up on the iPad. On top of it I got sick. Now with all of it behind us, I know that her anger towards me was fear driven about her leg, and the worries of what could happen. Calling Mom per FaceTime last Monday after the hospital, I found a completely different person. Immediately I could tell how relieved she was to be back, and that yet another scary chapter was behind her. We laughed and joked, it was a real pleasure talking to her. And then she told me a story that would send us both over on giggles.

Somehow Mom activated Siri on her iPad. Of course she has no clue what that is, for what one would use it, or how to even do it. It was an accident and I’m still unsure of what exactly Mom thinks happened. Clearly there can’t be a person stuck inside the iPad and the technology is beyond what she can comprehend at nearly 81 years of age. I wouldn’t even know how to explain it to her, but I tried anyways.

She proceeds to tell me that the iPad kept talking and talking and she just wanted peace and quiet. All I can figure is that Mom mumbled something and Siri couldn’t make out what she wanted. I’m sure Siri asked several times what she could assist Mom with. Mom mumbles back something and so the conversation between Mom and Siri continues until Mom finally has enough, and tells Siri to shut up already. 😂 But wait a minute, Siri understood that, and proceeds to tell Mom that this wasn’t a nice thing to say. (Rolling in laughter). I start cracking up as she tells me the story and Mom does as well. She puts her hand over her mouth as if she got busted saying something bad and now thinks she has to watch what she is saying because the iPad heard it and reprimanded her.

#Priceless

Posted in Life, Mom

When life happens

It was last Saturday evening that I was starting to get sick. A little discomfort here and there, still hopeful that it would pass. By Sunday morning I was in the midsts of a violent, full blown RA flare up, bringing some new symptoms never experienced before. If I never had a migraine in my life, this definitely was one. My eyes kept going cross eyed and I couldn’t shake the pounding in my head. Not even three Advil’s did the trick. All I wanted to do is sleep. There was dizziness and hot flashes. I felt lethargic with no energy, at times not even capable of forming a thought. I don’t even know how I managed the trip to the store to get medicine, and luckily I didn’t have to drive or go alone.

Another symptom were throbbing pains, especially in my hands. Walking was also painful, although partially because of a bad sunburn acquired from expired sunscreen. There wouldn’t be much to do of anything besides sleep and praying to get better. Within a few hours of running a rheumatic fever, the blisters developed on most of my upper lip and chin area. One of the worst symptoms and the one most persistent. No lotion, no make up, no nothing. Just ugliness at its finest, smack dab in your face.

Why now I thought, already knowing the answer. In a heartbeat life brings a reminder of how quickly things can change. I haven’t talked about Mom in a long time. Nothing has changed and she hates being in the nursing home. We usually Skype every other day, but something happened last Wednesday and she wasn’t herself. Just moments into the conversation I realized how agitated Mom was and I could see it all over her face. I questioned her about what was going on and she had some harsh things to say in regards to me leaving her there and being the reason as to why she must stay there. Dad came into play again, and threats came up, mixed with insults and bad names. It was very hard to hear, but I realized that she was speaking from a place of fear and being alone. I know that she has open wounds again and I’m sure she is not happy hearing about it, let alone being instructed or told what to do about it. I found out she blames me now for not being able to get better, because I am keeping her in such a horrible place. In the end I was unable to turn things around and to meet her with love and faith. She choose not wanting to have a part of it and instead closed the iPad and hung up. I would lie if I said it didn’t hurt and upset me. Yes it’s not my mother talking when she acts like this, but try and listen to it and be on the receiving end while you are doing all you can.

Nearly six months have past since I left and is losing hope and faith that I come back to take her home. Nearly six month of trying to get back on my own feet and healthy. She is out of reality that it is not possible unless her home is remodeled to accommodate her in the wheelchair. She doesn’t want to do those things, but doesn’t realize that her current housing situation (at home) no longer fits her needs and it is me who gets caught in the crossfire. She has decided not to talk to me since and it’s been almost a week of me trying to reach her. Besides today….

Monday’s and Tuesday’s are usually my days with Mother Nature, hiking, trying to get my strengths back to join a regular life again, including a job which I soon have to seriously consider. I didn’t go out on Monday for various reasons, and for not being well, physically and mentally. I could have called her, but I couldn’t bring myself to sit here, and to keep hitting redial, being sad and disappointed on top of things, knowing that her stubbornness very well prevent her from answering. I couldn’t put myself through it, although I know that if it wasn’t for me who always comes around, we probably had many occasions already to never talk again. And second, if she would have answered, I wasn’t in a position to cheerlead and cheer her up today. Nothing would have been achieved. So here we are, with me, continued at her mercy, and hopefully one day she feels like talking again. I know she has her reasons and fears, her dislikes and grudges, but I can’t bring her home and leave her to die. It almost happened a few times already. I wish she could acknowledge this, instead of punishing me with the silent treatment to inflict more guilt. There is no extra help needed and I am well there already.

Posted in Life, Mom

Emotional Rollercoaster

As emotions swept over me Saturday night, I couldn’t pinpoint at first what happened. I couldn’t explain as to why I felt so down and emotional with the need to cheer myself up. It’s always something I do and I do it automatically as if going into defense mode, not letting myself drop too far. Often I don’t even realize that I am doing it, and the only time it becomes obvious is when it doesn’t work. When I repeatedly fail to pull myself out and all of a sudden notice what is going on. That’s usually when the real bummer sets in and when I get down, feeling sad to even be in this situation. Maybe it feels a little pity full but what I feel mostly is loneliness when it happens.

Slowly I began to realize that it had to do with the heartfelt Mother’s Day post I written for Mom. That on this special day that was coming up, Mother’s Day, I missed her even more and wished I could have held her tight and be with her. The effects lingered all throughout the next day and talking to Mom this morning via FaceTime, it was almost as if she picked up on it, as if my mood had transferred to her. I think it’s always special days like these, or special memories about days that are not so ordinary, that make it tougher for her to be where she is. And I think that it is not just a matter of missing her, but also knowing this on a subconscious and conscious level, not being in a position to do much or help, that brought on my own blues.

What I can say? They say that the bond between a mother and a daughter is special and that a mother will always want the beat for her daughter. This definitely true, but it also works the other way around and this daughter will always want the best for her mother. ❤️

Posted in Love, Mom

No one like you

There is no one like you Mom, and I hope all daughters feel that way about their mothers. Today and any day. There is a special bond that connects us for all eternity, through thick and thin. Today on Mother’s Day it is not nearly enough to celebrate you and give thanks for all that you have done for me. I wouldn’t be here without you, but you have given me so much more than life. You are the strongest person I know and some things are hard for me to imagine on how you have managed to overcome them.

You were a hottie and hard to get until you finally agreed to give Dad a chance. I am so glad that I got to learn some of those stories while spending time with you last year. I never knew them before and the love you and Dad shared, was the love of soulmates. Last year brought us closer than ever, and I loved to laugh with you. It makes me wish and long for different circumstances, where you are able to walk and continue to live in your loved, familiar surroundings, but it isn’t so. Maybe this is yet to come, and it is our hopes and dreams that keep us alive. We need to continue to believe.

On this Mother’s Day I am happier than ever to be your daughter and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for being you, a young child that survived a war, the early loss of her husband, a life lived unselfish taking care of your parents, dedicated in many ways to your only child (me), living her life thousands of miles away from you. The impact of such has never been greater and more obvious to me. You have overcome incredible odds, immeasurable pain and heartache, and you are still here, my hero. I love you Mom and I miss you this very much, especially today.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the wonderful mothers out there. May your day be blessed and may you always know how much you are valued, appreciated and loved. Thank you for all you do …❤️🦋

Posted in Inspiration, Life, Mom

Milestone

Recently I got involved with felting, mostly wet felting, and have made a few things since then. One such thing is this purse, made of multi color felt. It was my first attempt at such a project and my biggest piece so far. The gold accent piece on the front used to be a necklace I was in the process of discarding. I decided to reclaim it and it lives on with a new purpose. The strap was also repurposed from another bag, and I loved the matching gold accents.

While in the process of making the bag, one day I showed it to Mom who immediately fell in love with it. At that time it looked more like a clutch, missing the strap. Throughout the process, Mom would ask several more times to see the bag, and kept expressing her interest and likes for the piece. It was then that I decided that it should be hers. I finished it off and on it’s way it went, to Germany, to be with Mom, for Mother’s Day and every day there after.

We usually talk every other day through FaceTime, and today Mom received a little added surprise when the package arrived. There was no waiting until Mother’s Day, and she opened it right away. I should have known, could I really expect different, that she would wait? I don’t think so. I wish I could have seen the surprise on her face, and I’m sure it was unexpected that this would be the content of the package. Still I could see the love and happiness all over her face, hours later as she took it upon herself to show me her treasure as if it hadn’t come from me. She was sharing it anew, showing it off with a big smile on her face. In the meantime a nurse entered the room and full of pride she offered to show her as well, commenting that her daughter had made and sent her this beautiful purse. It was at that point that my heart melted and where I knew with certainty that I did the right thing in sending it to her. I learned just how meaningful it was for her, and for one of the few times in our life’s together, I knew that she was proud of me. Coming to think of, handmade things have always been a bridge and a connection point for us. Something we share in common, something that can impress Mom, and something she values. Perhaps even most important, it was something she could contribute with, hold a conversation without feeling lost or knowing too little about. She knew a thing or two and could appreciate good workmanship, which in turn called for interaction exchanges.

While in Germany, I noticed that in all the years alone Mom had lost her joy for life. There were few things that made her happy these days, and she forgot to value and appreciate the things, if someone did something for her. I think she gotten used to having to fend for herself and to be on her own. She never got her drivers license, which left her vulnerable and dependent to some extend. I guess her way of gratitude was displayed in the form of her paying her way through life in monetary form. Somewhere along those lines common courtesy gestures such as saying thank you fell to the wayside and just stayed unspoken. There were many things I did/bought for Mom while being there and it always was a somewhat uncomfortable moment for her. Something she simply wasn’t used to. She would try to quickly change the subject and distract the conversation into a new direction. I would try to work with her, to verbalize her gratitude and learn to say thank you again in a relaxed and playing manner. I know she understood and yet it remained uncomfortable for her to say a simple “Thank you”. She never did and I didn’t pressure the subject, but I would always gently tell her “You’re welcome” as if in response to her telling me her thank you’s.

I didn’t do it today though and her happiness was evident. It was enough to witness, and it wasn’t a matter of her thanking me for what I had done, that was never the point and what I was after. She was so proud and happy today, but most of all it was clear as day that she had found her joy in life again, in a small thing that made such a big difference. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, but she would hold a surprise for me as well that was yet to come. She was ready and it was time to take another step…even if it wasn’t the physical kind I wish she could also take.

It was at the end of our conversation that she said “All of my many thanks and gratitude to you, for my bag” and smiled. To have experienced such a milestone with her and such a happy moment in a place she still struggles to adjust to, is simply priceless and something I will carry in my heart forever, and for all times to come. 💙

Posted in Family, Mom

Blessings

Blessings can come in many different ways, and yesterday I received one that touched multiple people. Unexpectedly and without my knowledge of such grand, scheme, plan, I received a few pictures from Mom’s cousin yesterday. Wednesday was what we used to call “salt day”, and every first Wednesday of the month we went to the salt pools to let all the troubles float away and enjoy a few hours in great company. I remember the first time when she convinced me to go, and I am sure glad that I did. I got to learn so much more about her, meeting a beautiful soul with so much in common, and the rest has been history ever since. A fond friendship was formed that never existed prior and perhaps couldn’t have as timing is everything and our life experiences often mold us together, bringing the right people into our lives at the right times.

We have stayed in contact ever since, and yesterday she sent me a few pictures. It was salt day and it is not uncommon that she visits Mom on those days to say hi. Mom has her own fond memories of a younger time spent with her cousin and they share a beautiful, natural bond that touches my heart. I didn’t know about the plan of taking the visit to the next level, and she, along with her boyfriend Herbert (such a sweetheart, she met at the salt pools while I was there), took Mom on a little trip out of the nursing home. I instantly welled up seeing Mom so happy and carefree, for whatever amount of time possible. It was huge for her and I can only imagine how it must feel to be in the same room day after day without feeling the sunshine or being able to be outside. Her last trip outside was on October the 13th 2018 with me, and I am grateful for the blessing of seeing Mom smile from ear to ear, and the blessing that was given to her by enjoying a different quality of life and a few hours of distraction. 💙

Posted in Mom

Art & Metamorphosis

Mom made some butterfly art the other day which really surprised me. She can knit and might make a tapestry out of cross stitches, but she never really had a thing for doing crafts. She says she has no patience for it which in turn I never understood. Knitting socks is not exactly a thing that doesn’t require patience, but to each their own I guess. The nurses at the home have tried to involve her in classes and events several times without avail, until now it seems.

Talking to Mom, (all is well again, and we both have avoided the subject of a recent incident when she wheeled herself out of the picture because she no longer wanted to talk to me, but didn’t know how to turn the iPad off) she told me that the nurse asked her if she could help her with the butterfly’s. Well played dear nurse and a clever approach, since Mom will not say no when it comes to helping someone. Apparently she has helped this so said nurse a few times already (according to Mom, because the tasks would be too difficult for the old ones and it is what Mom calls the other tenants). Remember that she is 80 years young, and far from being old.

I couldn’t help but smile seeing all the butterfly’s end up on Mom’s wall right next to her bed and at the table where she sits. I think the cutout, and in this case a butterfly was a perfect subject considering how much has changed in a year. Last year on her death bed, Mom has learned to smile much more these days and she truly has left her cocoon and emerged as a butterfly, in metamorphosis and still trying to find her way.

The review – re-evaluation was just a few days ago to determine Mom’s level of care and support needed. This will go for the physical as well as the monetary support and so far I have not heard anything. I thought it might be a touchy subject which made me avoid asking too many questions, but Mom seemed ok and remained calm. A big relief and shortly we should know what’s next and what to expect. Fingers crossed her support continues in every way possible.

Picture courtesy of my cousin Moni who’s birthday is today. Happy birthday, may your day be filled with blessings and special moments.

Posted in Mom, My story

This and that

It’s been awhile that I have talked about Mom and our journey on here. So many of you have been with me from the beginning, supporting me, and I feel that I have left you hanging a bit, while I was trying to find my way again, getting over some hurdles.

It’s been a tough three month being back in the states, mainly due to struggling with my health and the worst winter in ten years. Go figure, but things are finally looking up. My days are still a mixed bag, but I think overall there is progress and the RA might be easing off. Maybe it’s because the weather is finally turning, maybe it’s because I am full of adrenaline and excitement to chase my dreams. Maybe it is because things are finally moving on and I have accepted a few things for what they are. It doesn’t really matter as long as things continue to improve.

Fact is that Mom struggles to realize how bad things have been for me. Her fears take over at times and she simply can’t understand. There is a re-evaluation scheduled later this week to determine the level of care she requires, which in turn will determine what kind of financial support she receives. She is all upset about it, can’t understand what they want from her, and wants is to go home. I am solely responsible to make this happen for her and she doesn’t want to hear that I have not been well. What a scary time it must be for her and my heart goes out to her even throughout her stubborn phases. She hasn’t talked to me since Friday of last week and I don’t know if something is wrong with the iPad or if she simply is blowing me off. It wouldn’t be the first time and all I can do is wait.

The evaluation should be a good thing for her, although there are pros and cons. The good thing is that she is doing much better compared to last year where she was on her deathbed, but it could also mean less monetary support. She doesn’t care and there is no reasoning with her. I know that everything will find it’s way, all I can do is to strive for my best, to be strong for her, and to keep the faith.

I got to clear out the house a bit today. Well moving things from one place to another is more like it, while making a pile for a garage sale. It felt good, I felt a little lighter, less burdened afterwards, and it was more than I could do in recent weeks passed. It’s a start and I hope the hurt in my wrist is just temporary and will go away. The swelling in my left hand has improved to the point that I can almost make a fist again, and that’s good news. Mars retrograde is still in full swing, and while it can be a time of struggle for many, I think it has been a phase or clarity for me. I’d like to think that I’m back on track. Oh, and I finally heard back from the job today and learned that the Spanish speaking candidate was selected for the position. It’s all good and how things are suppose to be.

I am keeping the faith…

Posted in Life, Mom

I wish you enough…

I came across a little article titled “I wish you enough”, that spoke to me on many different levels. It stirred back emotions, worries and fears, especially today, after a not so good conversation with Mom. I know there will be “those” from time to time, and I know that it is her own fear that is driving her behavior at times.

I wish you enough reminded me of saying goodbye to Mom the last two times I have been to Germany. Once she was in the hospital, sick, and the last time I left her behind safe, but in a place she doesn’t care to be. Although there have been many goodbyes over the course of nearly thirty years away, it is those last two that are burned into my memory. Easily some of the content of this article could be applied to those times, never knowing if it would be our very last goodbye. I can tell you that it weighs very heavy on you, and it will taint your soul with worry and fear.

Perhaps in our case the roles are reversed and it is me who is the one to say I wish you enough. Perhaps it is both of us and I know you care in your own way. You just can’t express love, because it was love and being vulnerable that has hurt you and broke your heart. Regardless of the reason and whether you say it or not, I already know, don’t worry. But today it is me to say to you “I wish you enough”….

I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughters departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said “I love you and I wish you enough”. The daughter replied “Mom our life together has been more than enough”. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough too Mom. They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I sat.

Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?” “Yes I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever goodbye?”

“I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral”, she said. When you were saying goodbye I heard you say “I wish you enough”. May I ask what that means? She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.”

She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. “When we said “I wish you enough” we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them. Then turning toward me she shared the following, reciting it from memory-

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hello’s to get you through the final goodbye.” She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them.

You are not forgotten and I wish you enough….