Sunday, July 14, 2013


I will go visit my son and granddaughter this afternoon, and do my level best not to cry.  My son and his wife are getting a divorce, and he has her today. It is not easy thinking about the voids that divorce creates. My son has been married to his wife for eleven years, and they dated for two years, so over a decade of memories have come and gone.

My granddaughter is the one who is going through the hardest times as she will have moved twice in 6 months from her home to an apartment, and finally to a home in Louisiana near her other grandparents. That is the logical venue for my son's soon to be ex wife, close to home and her family.

 Both parents guarantee that we will see my granddaughter like before, but time dictates that this will not happen. School activities will supersede paternal grandparent needs. My husband and I are both busy, but it was nice to know that one grandchild was just an hour away. Our other grandchildren live out of state and we get to see them about twice a year, and sometimes a third visit during the birthday month of October. We treasure those times with them.

I will pick her up tomorrow afternoon due to a prior morning commitment. She will spend the night with her Mimi and Pops. I will take her to Splashtown, and hopefully she will treasure these last normal moments as much as I will. I am thankful that she has lived so close by until this year. Her mother was always sweet to include me in adventures to shows and school activities. She was a sweet daughter-in-law, and I took pride in being a helpful mother-in-law to her. I will always treasure the moments spent with the baby, the toddler, and now the little girl.

I have prayed over and over again that they would go to counselling, but so far this has not happened. I can't give up hope that God will rescue this sweet family. I will continue to pray that God will open up doors, so that they all will return to him, and honor Him above all else. I pray that they will be given happiness and blessings in spite of the circumstances. I pray that they will all be divinely protected during this hard, hard time. I pray that my granddaughter will feel God's arms around her as she struggles with a new home, new daycare, and new routine. I pray that my daughter-in-law will find a job that is condusive to being a working mom, and that she spend quantity as well as quality time with my granddaughter. I pray that my son will maximize his time with his daughter as these years pass by so quickly, and then our children are grown.

And I will continue to cry until God dries my tears.......

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just Overwhelmed Right Now

My mom had a stroke about a year ago, recovered beautifully, and then broke her arm while trying to get her morning newspaper. She had been released to modified independence, and that included using her walker at all times. Being the independent personality that she is, she decided to retrieve her newspaper without using her walker and down she went.

We hired caregivers and rotated taking care of her between the siblings while home health provided rehabilitation and nursing. All is not well in mom land. The physical therapy evaluation would not release her from 24/7 care, and I could not be part of the rotation in June. My son and his family were coming for a visit, and I really wanted to spend as much time as possible with them. I had worked out a caregiver  with one of my siblings routine until July when we could once again share the duties. This sister rebelled sighting several family issues. I ended up getting a social worker involved, having one brother removed from the health decisions, and taking my mom to a retirement independent facility about 2 miles from another sister.

Home health has called with several concerns about my mom. She keeps forgetting her walker, and sometimes forgets to take her medications. I told the case worker that I would call twice a day and remind her to take her pills. My sister went by last night and corrected the errors with the pills. Most were ok, but the diabetes medicines weren't correct in all of her boxes.

I don't know how my mom will do in all of this, but I have paid to have more monitoring with her showers and routines. It gives me some piece of mind, but the control freak in me would like to just move her to Houston and monitor her personally. She does not want to live with any of her children and really enjoys her own space. Her home is in limbo because we all want her to get her balance back and go back home to modified independence. In 3 months if she isn't happy at all, we will start looking for a live in caregiver for my mom. If she is happy at the retirement facility, we will put her house up for sale.

I don't really know how my mom feels, but she made me get the out of hospital do-not-resuscitate paperwork done for her before her moving day. I would feel guilty about my mom's not adjusting yet, but she will actually do more for herself in this facility than she did in her home. Someone was always going by and handling her life for her from paying bills to counting pills to making sure the laundry was done and the house was clean. We are all worn out. Sounds like we don't have much patience with my mom, but we have been taking care of and rescuing her since 2006. She went in for a simple surgery and ended up with congestive heart failure that year, and it seems like there has been one issue or another every year.

My husband and I are both very independent personalities, and we stay busy. It is probably the bond that keeps us married. We always find something to do or a good book to read.  My husband has always traveled or worked away from home, so our time together is precious even if we just exist side by side. He commented that he saw me for only 6 days in 2 months after mom had broken her arm. For him to actually notice the days was a wake up call for me at the time. I knew then that a solution for mom care had to be found.

My brother wanted to move my mom to his house against her will, and that resulted in the social worker getting involved. One of my sisters had planned on mom living with her and even built her retirement home to accommodate her. After the mother's day weekend, she realized that she could not really monitor mom safely. She has her own health issues and must get her sleep at night. Night time is when my mom would slip out of bed or almost make it down the hall to the bathroom. She would forget her walker and slide down the nearest wall. She was found in the morning on the floor at my brother's house. I hired a night time caregiver for those wee hours, but my sister then revolted as she was getting the brunt of the daytime hours and could not have her life with her immediate family. I understand completely. My life has been spent more in Victoria with my mom than here in Houston. My husband's pecan orchard work is near Victoria, so I actually got to see him on the weekends.

This whole experience has been an eye opener as to what I don't want my kids to deal with when we are older. I invested in some long term care insurance for our last 3 years on this earth. I felt that my life was passing me by, but I was not in it. I was in my mom's life and doing a very poor job of caring for her. Something had to give. I talked to my sisters, and we all revisited the facility mom liked the best. Mom made her decision that day, and she signed herself up. She is there now, and already sounds happier. The routines and medicines issues can be handled with add on assistance as time goes by.

I am now enjoying my grand kids and looking forward to some fun with them. I sleep at night knowing that my mom has an on site medical alert button. She can push this anytime she falls or slips or slides down and ends up on the floor, and someone will assist her. I just hope she remembers to do so. This has definitely been a learning experience for me. The decisions were some of the most difficult I have ever had to make, but I am at peace that it is the correct decision for now. I had prayed that God would give me a solution and  that I would be at peace with the decisions. It hasn't been easy, but all is ok today in the aging parent department. I know that the facility offers lots of opportunities for my mom to have quality of life until she dies. That brings a smile to my face.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Refreshed in the Lord

     I thank God for my prayer group, Grandmothers in the Gap. It was started a couple of years ago by a sweet lady who felt the Holy Spirit's nudging at a church conference. This prayer group is not new, but it was new to us and our church members.

     I always feel the same way after praying non-stop with sisters in Christ. When two or more are gathered in my name comes rushing back into my very being during these special times. The group is a confidential one, and anything we pray about stays private. We pray for our children, grandchildren, our church and it's pastors, the nation and it's leaders, and the world in general. We pray for salvation for all. We thank God for the many blessings He has given us, but more importantly, we thank God for our salvation through Jesus Christ. Sometimes I am in awe that God chose me, and I in turn chose Him. What security that brings to believers!

     This world is just so limited in happiness and peace. We pray for personal and world peace. Sounds like something out of a Sandra Bullock movie, but I write the truth. We share each other's pain as we pray for hedges of protection for our family members. We get glimpses of our lives and understand that God is in the hard stuff, too.

     There have been times when the presence of the Holy Spirit is so strong that I have tears in my eyes. Just knowing that God is with me at the very moment I cry out to Him is a blessing like no other. Sometimes the emptiness overwhelms me and I seek solace with these ladies. They never judge or advise or council. They pray with me and for me, and I return the prayer. What a sweet Spirit is the Spirit of the Lord.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Offically a New Year

I really track time by my finished events, however great or small. My Christmas decorations came down yesterday, and I actually feel like the holiday season is over now. I will admit that the house looks sort of bare, but that is because I can't find the items that covered the tables and mantle. I can't believe I didn't put the "stuff" in the same boxes that housed the decorations. That is what I normally do, so it is just  matter of swapping out the seasonal "stuff" for the daily "stuff."

I am sure items are tucked here and there in closets and drawers, and they will eventually show themselves when I begin my ritual of  getting rid of half of everything in the drawers. That is my new resolution. Just get rid of the stuff that gets in the way of what I really need.
I spent all day running errands, and was lucky enough to beat the rain. There are about ten things I need to do, but it involves bookkeeping, and remembering how to input data. Since I can't seem to remember where I keep physical objects today, I won't tackle the computer programs. I started back on my diet-bummer-and the first hurdle is always getting my sugar correct. I never, never have high sugar levels, but I do seem to take dips when it is low. It is a juggling act, but I get it level after a couple of down days of fogginess in the mental areas.
My cousin is visiting my mom today, and I wish I had gone with her, but the return day didn't work for me. I have a board meeting on Thursday, and that reminds me that I need to balance the club checkbook. I am a dime off, and I remember a time in which I would have driven myself crazy finding that dime. Now, I just write about the issue. The monthly deposits won't be finished until Friday, so I will tackle that dime then. I just figure that we have whatever the bank says we have, and that is that. It is more complicated than that for the IRS, but today is not the day to figure it out.
All is well in my world. Richard got another raise like he always does, and I get to stay retired. My grandchildren are healthy and happy, and my kids are doing fine. My mom has fully recovered from her stroke, and I may finally get a good nights sleep. I take a sleeping pill, and get 8 hours, but I still have trouble going to sleep. I restocked my melatonin today, so am really looking forward to just going to sleep tonight. Amazing how the little issues of growing older can sometimes consume us. I know how tired I am because of my inability to sort my ideas. That is why this blog is all over the place.
I am reading Ape House after finishing the Reacher books. I really think I read these before, but got interested again because of the movie. Just remembered my last chore for the day. I was supposed to go get my new glasses and new prescription. Tomorrrow..........

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winding Down the Old and.....

Contemplating the new. Our party group left with smiles last night and that was what it was all about. We talked and played LCR non-stop until the money ran out, as I had set a limit to our fun. Even the guys got into it and the last pot was a good one. We all indulged in too much food, eggnog, and vino, but we all enjoyed laughing at the anticipation a winner takes all kitty spurs. Hints included that a new neighborhood trend had begun, and I remembered thinking that I will be very happy to attend this new event. Nice to have friends who just enjoy being around each other. We got to meet a couple of new people and jokingly reserved their Colorado home for a trip in the future.  

Richard is on his way to the pecan orchard, and I am chilling while I decide if I will attend a New Year's Eve party. My grandson might be available for a visit also, and I don't want to miss that. My thoughts travel to my mom and whether or not I should have tried to visit her this weekend. The weather hinted at a messy eve and first, so I opted to stay home. Bad weather doesn't bother my husband at all, but I am a nervous wreck traveling bad roads for any reason. I let him be the adventurous one going to the hometown.

Lots of changes this year in the family dynamics have encouraged me to get my "started five years ago" projects finished. I am bound and determined to get my boys pictures put into new albums. They have all been released from the acidic pages of the old time albums, but the organization end of it all has been the biggest challenge. I think I am ready to start the next album when I discover a box of pictures I just packed away much too quickly. I find that I thought I would remember the year of the events because it was so important at the time. Not.....this just hasn't happened and I find myself thinking now in themes instead of years as the pictures just seem to flow into each other.

The digital age made the last 10 years much easier to chronicle, and sites like Shutterfly help immensely with the picture inventories. Computers and the outside storage also create amazing timetables of life's events. All very compact and accessible unless the power goes out. I love the ease with which we can just look at our lives and those we love with the quick motion of inserting a digital card into an electric picture frame. I refer to my digital picture frame as my personal TV of the events that really count. I find comfort in this kind of grounding and remembering that my family and friends bring the continuous smiles to my face.

If I am ever at an age where I have to go to a retirement home of any sort, I hope my family remembers my picture frame and the SD cards I have carefully saved in lieu  of wiping them clean. My entire life is on those cards thanks to the ability to scan and save and redeposit the old pictures to the cards. I wonder if the next generation will be as happy to find the cards and the memories as I was to put them there. They will have their own memories to contemplate and hopefully will be thankful that I had set this example for them. Who knows, but one can hope?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Just Thinking Today

I don't get a lot of opportunities to just be on my schedule. Today is one of those days. In fact, this whole weekend is mine. Just mine. I will drink coffee in pajamas all day if I choose to do so. I won't, but it is nice to know that I can. I have a list of things to do, and I will get the list finished, but it will be on my schedule. I don't even have to make dinner tonight for my hard working husband. What a treat. Next week will be another blur as I visit my mom and go to the doctor with her. She is sad and having a hard time since losing her sister. It is hard to be the only remaining sibling of a generation. Scares me to think about it. The last fun event happened last night. We went to a granddaughter's program, and what a joy to once again see 3 and 4 year olds singing and telling the Christmas story. The end was wonderful with all trying to outsing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." It was a hoot. Then, Richard took me down a few streets with Christmas lights. Rare occasion, that one, as lights are definitely not his thing. I will do my own sightseeing this weekend too. This year has passed so quickly. I turned around and my best bud grandson is now 12. Twelve. He was just 5 when we met him. My granddaughters are 4 and almost 4. It was just yesterday we were flying to NC to meet the new brunette, and three months later, rushing to the hospital to greet the new blond. My mom had the blessing of seeing the newborn, too. Both fathers were in awe of the new life, and the love that was in their eyes just melted my heart. On another note, I am bound and determined to finish a project I started 6 years ago. My grandson was living with his dad, and as a gift to my new daughter-in-law, I arranged to fly him back home on Christmas Day. We had a grand time while there, and I found these Night Before Christmas books, and thought then and there about making a keepsake for the grandchildren. At the time, I bought 4 because both daughter-in-laws were pregnant. Lo and behold, 5 years later, I am accomplishing this treasure. The treasure is probably more mine than theirs, as I love the feeling I get when I look through pictures and just remember. Some people jog. I look at memories. The NC family visited between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and what fun we had. My granddaughters both love the outdoors, and the parks are one of our favorite places to spend time. Just the moment when the cuties first could swing by themselves brings joy to my heart. Reagan got to ice skate for the first time, and I wondered if my younger son was taken back to his first ice skating in the very same Woodlands mall many years ago. I was also taken back to the year my older son skated for the first time in the Galleria mall. Back then, Richard and I sat at a Mexican restaurant and watched as David mastered the skates. Years later, we sat as adults in the same part of Houston and watched the light parade one Thanksgiving evening. I look forward to history repeats as the grandchildren get older. Hopefully, we will expand on the memories as time goes by. I was able to get both girls to Victoria to see my mom, and I took a cute picture of the great grandmother with the girls in the coats mom got them for Christmas. We have had several gift exchanges already as I wanted to see their faces. I am sure that I will treasure that moment in time forever. If I had been thinking, I would have gotten me in the picture as well. I will frame that picture of my mom and take it to her next week. We will smile together. Some people jog. I look at pictures of the great times together.......always will.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My favorite aunt passed away this morning at 7:20. Ola Olivia Alexander Gara has joined the Lord and is no longering suffering from cancer. She battled bravely to the end, God was merciful and she is no longer in pain. She leaves behind two daughters, Jennifer Gail Gara Gietzen (Jeff) and Katheryn Alexis Gara Morton (Jeff) and three grandchildren, Alex and Kyle Bayley and Claudia Gietzen. She is also survived by her sister, Bettie Joy Alexander Bethke, my mom. Nieces and nephews include: Rebecca Smith (Richard), Marsha Bain (David), Marvin Mikeska, Judy Higdon, Bettie Hairston,and Dale Alexander. She leaves behind great nephews and nieces: Jason Mikeska, David Keefer, Justin Smith, Bryan Jones, Ashley Higdon, Mathew Bain, Britney Bain, and Christine Mikeska. Great-grand nieces and nephews include: Kaleb Mikeska, Kamryn Keefer, Jonathan Stafford(by marriage)and Reagan Smith, Emily Bain, Christopher and Jonathan Brockwell, David, Nicole and Dryden Jones. I mention the extended family because my Aunt Ola took great care to make sure we knew she was always thinking of us. Christmas always included boxes of cute gifts from the oldest niece to the youngest great-grand nephew. I was always surprised at her ability to remember everyone as most of the previously mentioned relatives are my mom's side of the family. I gave up long ago trying to get individual gifts just to say I love you, but I admire people who do this. We are enjoying the company of my aunt's sweetheart for about 15 years. I remember the evolution of this relationship well. My aunt loved to square dance, and met Francis through this hobby. They danced together for years, and Ola's wish was to die on the dance floor. That's an interesting way to end one's life. Die while engaged in something you love doing. I want to go that way.....maybe while painting a sunset over the ocean. My aunt has once again inspired me. She always did.