Posted in Life, Mom

Christmas Eve with Mom

This is a special picture and memory for me, one that has been so rare and non existent over the past decades. Spending Christmas Eve with Mom was packed with emotions and full of firsts. Taken in from a much different level than childhood memories, and the adult side now.

I don’t remember ever watching Mom unwrap a present, and here she is overjoyed about the biography book from her favorite hit duo. She was soooo surprised that I found the book and went through all the trouble of getting it. It was almost unbelievable to her that she was actually holding it in her hands. A miracle, perhaps to her. Ahem, yes, thank you, Amazon, 😉 you delivered in more ways than one.

It was a bittersweet night and our last, before departing to the U.S. I miss her greatly and I have been out of touch with her. The iPad I got her also for Christmas to keep in touch apparently performed an update overnight, now asking for a code to get back into which nobody knows or has set. It’s hard to be so far away, unable to resolve issues, with the hopes of getting to talk to her soon again. Luckily my cousin Moni remains to be a big help, but still. It’s hard going from talking and seeing each other just about every day for ten month to nothing at all. I’ve been a mess and I can only imagine how she feels. Sometimes I fear she will forget everything we worked so hard for this year, and that our closeness is getting lost. I know that none of it is really in my control, but there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about her and wonder what she is doing. How her state of mind is, if she is holding up with me being gone, and no contact at all. It truly is frightening and it’s weighing on me. I might be physically removed from the situation, but emotionally my heart is very much attached and I know it continues to affect my health.

Fact is that’s it’s almost been two weeks that I’ve been back, and I’m not getting any better. Maybe I’m not patient enough, not giving myself enough time and rest, but it’s scary since I have never felt like this. Maybe felt close to this, but not with circumstances like these. With pain 24/7, depression becomes a real contender and I struggled hard today. Nothing is resolved and I know Mom is counting on my. I know she needs me, and yet I am no good to here because I have to save myself first. In a dark cloud this morning I was wondering if it was even possible, and everything was very dreary and hopeless. Seldom have I lost my optimistic side and hope. I finally had to stop and distract myself with something that has always been very soothing to me. I painted while listening to soft music in the background. It felt good and I know that I have to allow myself some time for moments like this to nourish my soul.

Still, where do you start when everything is so overwhelming? When you feel too sick to look for a job. What is it even that I want to do now? What can I do at my age now? When you don’t have health insurance anymore because your company went bankrupt while you were in Germany caring for your ill mother. Which also means you can’t go to the doctor to get better. Guess you are just riding out that storm, fingers crossed you make it through. Oh yeah, and remember to do that with no income but your expenses continuing. What if you haven’t worked in ten month, but you are mentally exhausted? When further issues that need attention such as to dissolve a life of thirty years and all you have acquired. Selling a house, blah, blah, blah. I know I am being negative right now and hopefully I am better later. It bothers me to think of what this blog is becoming. Once a place of inspiration, it has become a place of pain. Whatever it might be, it is authentic and real, just like life, our joys and our shortcomings. It’s a place to show you, out there struggling yourself, that you are not alone, and I think that is important because we all need something to hold in to during those times. Nobody is exempt and we all have the pleasure to experience them.

I am not looking for pity, a ton of advice to prioritize things, and the obvious pointers that I am too hard on myself. The cards will fall one way or another, I just needed an outlet and to get some pressure off of my chest. Thank you for letting me do so and for still coming back to this place. It means everything.

Hugs, Xoxoxoxo 💙🦋

Posted in Mom, My story

Oh Tannenbaum

It must have been years since Mom had a Christmas tree. A few weeks ago, I spotted one at the grocery store and bought the small little tree for us to celebrate together. This morning I realized that there have only been a few occasions we actually turned on its beautiful lights, and enjoyed it’s glow. It also filled me with an urgency to change this as there isn’t much time left.

I think the next few days will be perfect as it is gloomy and gray outside. Apparently there is no more sunshine until well into next week, and I took a good look at the last rays yesterday. Rain is in the forecast and I definitely feel it in my bones.

I’m trying to make Christmas extra special for her and I wrapped a few presents to go under her tree. She is excited like a child, asking what is in it, if she can shake it etc. I see that childlike wonder in her eyes, and although I can’t really afford Christmas presents this year, I am grateful for the few things I could get for her that encourages that childlike play.

Posted in Life, Mom

As night-time falls

Fact is: I miss her already, and I am afraid to go. I’m a full grown adult, and still sometimes I cry for her like a small child cries for it’s Mommy. The nights are the worst, after a day spent together, to return back to her empty house while leaving her behind in a place she doesn’t want to be. It’s heartbreaking each time and soon I am going to walk out of her room for the very last time. Not in forever, but in “I don’t know when I will see you again”. It’s so hard.

I fell pretty hard today. Flat on my face slipping on the wet cobblestones. It was after doing some important business at the bank, checking of yet another piece on a hectic agenda of things needing to get done before I leave. All went well and I was relieved. I left the bank in tears and tried to hold it together. Relieved and yet feeling the sting of the “lasts” and final things creeping up, signaling my time is coming near.

Then the fall, and I hit pretty hard. Luckily I was ok besides some scrapes, bruises and a sore knee, but it was such a moment, where I wanted to cry for Mommy. I was overwhelmed, feeling the tremendous pressure of the past months and fears which have not come to pass yet.

I have to get the house ready soon and yet I want to stay in it until the last possible moment. I’m close to Mom and what is meaning the world to her. Her own four walls. I don’t have to fight of holding it together and the tears can fall whenever they feel like coming. I don’t want to spend my last days with family this way, but I struggle to be strong right now.

I know all will be ok somehow. It always is, but nothing will ever be harder then this. Honestly, I don’t know how other people have done it before me. It nearly kills you and hurts so much sometimes. I tell myself to get a grip, but I don’t really want to suppress the pain and bury it deep inside. I don’t think it will ever get easier, and sometimes I think that it is the empath in me that feels everything so much stronger than everyone else.

Posted in Life, Mom

The blues

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.

Posted in Mom, Technology

An “Epic” day

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.

Posted in Life, Mom

Fully aware

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.

Posted in Life, Mom

Human spirit

The human spirit is strong and amazing in so many ways. Incredible strong and resilient, as well as delicate and vulnerable.

These are the cranes I have folded for Mom to promote healing. The little green one is made of solid color and bares an extra special message just for Mom. It’s been a hell of a ride and she has fought so much to get to the point she is. She is a fighter and she is determined, so it goes without explanation as to why I chose these words and that message for her.

After my own heart:

I have the strengths to change my stars and brave I face each day. Nothing is impossible, and already I have defied the odds. If you tell me that it can’t be done, I will show you that it isn’t so.

More than ever these words will play an important role for her. My time here is nearly coming to an end, for now, and the message was written as a little mantra for her. I hope she continues her journey on her own, I surely need her to do so and not fall back into a deteriorating state. I’m hopeful and it’s all I can hold onto.

Xo ❤️🦋

Posted in knitting, Mom

A thousand ways to love

The picture above resembles some, yes not all of the socks Mom made for her girl, me. I had no idea until recently, that in all these years she kept making socks for me. While I lived far away, she would stay close and connected, through her socks. It was her way of staying busy and keeping sane within her four walls. You see, Mom has no drivers license and knitting was one of her only distractions besides the TV.

Some would consider it sick and I can actually see people shaking their head as I try to resist the urge to explain. Others would say that she was a hoarder, perhaps making similar assumptions that lack the real reasons, compassion and understanding. I even got the advice to give them away or to sell them cheap to get rid of them, because after all, what was I going to do with so many pairs of socks. The problem is you see, that each pair has her touch, her love and her feelings knitted right into them. She made them for me because she loves me. She may has never told me in so many words, but these socks speak a thousand words to me. Each pair is special and holds their own unique memories. I can close my eyes, and feel the love of a mother who has missed her daughter in all these years in each and every pair. How could I ever part with that?

Posted in Life, Mom

When things catch up – again

The last couple of days have been filled with emotions. I need a good cry, and I can feel the energy building. I get vulnerable when I feel like this and I know that I’m fine one moment, and lose it the next when something triggers the emotional button. Today somebody stopped me on the road to inquire about Mom. “So, does she know who you are, does she even recognize you anymore when you visit her”? I almost lost it then, and people talk I guess, wonder, and gossip.

Mom is doing better then expected and she has started to regain her energy. She is doing strengths training and her efforts are being rewarded. With help and support, she manages a few steps already, something nobody ever thought would be possible again. She is dedicated and committed to be independent, and to do most everything on her own. 99% of the time she is going to the bathroom by herself, albeit it being strenuous and takes effort. She has to coordinate since she can’t free stand by herself and needs to hold on with one hand. Have you ever tried to pull your pants up with one hand only? You get the idea of what challenges she is facing while still not standing solid in her legs. She is a fighter, and there is no doubt that I have my warrior spirit from her. So what’s wrong? Why do I feel like singing “The days are better, but the nights are still so long”?

Everything is going well and still time catches up with me ever so often. The days are better and although I enjoy my evenings just hanging out, it is those that have become sooo long. Yet, I don’t want to be somewhere else, I just wished to share those times with a special someone. With the time change, it is getting dark around 5PM which makes for a long evening. Sometimes I wish I could sleep, but laying down is still a bit of an issue with the shoulder. I read an article today pointing out that apparently I’m not the only one and many experience extreme shoulder pain. I will look into specific exercise to hopefully avoid another chronic issue.

Long evenings have left plenty of time to think and miss some of what used to be my normality. I know I have to leave soon and go back to the states, and yet I’m afraid to leave Mom alone and don’t want to go. I’m still struggling to see Mom in her forever place, the nursing home. I still don’t think that she belongs there for the rest of her life. Not the way she is doing now and how she is thriving. Back in February, absolutely did she belong there, and it was her best chance of survival. Now, is a different story, and to have her living unhappy for the rest of her days on my conscience, is no easy task. This of course is not the main reason and it’s always about her. I still feel that if god willing, I need to help her change her stars. I can’t turn my back on her and I don’t believe that she is in the best place possible.

Awhile back I asked for Mom’s monthly bill to be sent to me, at the house address. Before it was given to Mom and she would get upset each time about her spending her savings, blah blah blah. What was she going to do with the bill anyways. First it is paid through automatic withdrawal and secondly she doesn’t walk, how would she take care of anything. Supposedly diagnosed with dementia (which in my mind is questionable and she knows everything) but the doctor seems to believe that she has it, and yet she is expected to check over the bill? It’s ridiculous at times and I’m sorry and I don’t mean to mean, but does anyone think anymore. To avoid the whole fiasco of Mom seeing the bill, I asked if it could be sent to the house, to me. It could be addressed to Mom as well, just please don’t hand her the bill to open any wounds and leave her unsettled. Simple right? Well it worked one month and now we are back to square one. Admin comes into the room while I’m visiting Mom and hands me the bill, as if Mom didn’t know what it was. So now, in front of her, you have bypassed her as if she has nothing to say anymore, by making her feel even more helpless and not in charge of her life at all. What a fail and clear occurrence that what I asked for was not really listened to or understood. How could I ever leave her, a human life in the hands of someone that can’t even get the basics straight?

Yet, I need to tend to my life in the states and I’m lonely here in Germany. Mom fills a huge part of my day which I love, but I come back to an empty house that no matter how much I keep myself busy, still only leaves me, myself and I in the company of each other. Sometimes the reminders that this can’t go on forever are painfully obvious, and it is when everything catches up again.

Posted in Fun, Mom

Bless her heart

Dad’s sister and Mom

I usually bring the iPad with me when visiting Mom. I usually play music for her, show her funny videos of pictures of animals she enjoys. Anything that makes her smile and laugh is game here. Playing her favorite music group, she already warned me to not erase those songs from the iPad. Hahaha. Ok Mom, I should forever keep them safely in there.

The other day after showing her another set of raccoon pictures, she all of a sudden looked at me real serious and asked me if “that gadget” (the iPad) had new stuff in there every day? 😳😂

Bless her heart.