Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Tribute to a Mom

I didn't plan it at all, but you have been on a journey with my mom and I since she moved to my town in 2009. Here are a few blog posts I made since that time:

September 2009 
"It is estimated that 5.3 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Recently my mom was diagnosed with this disease. The future is unknown for my mother and the rest of our family. The one thing I do know? I can make quilts to help the cause."

My first little quilt for AAQI- Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative  started by Ami Simms. This little quilt was purchased by Sue in UK and that was the start of our friendship.

August 2010
 I had a particularly rough week with my mom, feeling like everything I did was wrong. I took a bit of time out from my usual sewing and created this quilt. I've called it "improvisation", which means to make, invent or arrange off hand. This is exactly how I was feeling as I take care of my mom who is suffering from early stages of Alzheimer's.

May 1, 2012
but it reminded me of windows that can see a little here and a little there, but unable to see the full view from a big window. This reminds me of my mom's view of her world. Only last week we (my siblings and I)  have made the decision to move her into an assisted living facility. When the time comes they also have an Alzheimer's Unit that will be easy to transition to. The change will be very difficult, but in the long run it will be better for her. I've been busy dealing with a lot of the things that will need to be set up in order to make this happen. Hopefully everything will be in order, so when I go on vacation I won't have to think about it until I return. 

June 8, 2012

So, it has been an interesting 12 days since returning from vacation. My brother had volunteered to be the one to tell me mom she was moving, but anytime he hinted at it she was adamant that she was not ever moving. She went as far as to say she would sit in her chair and never leave it! lol
She wasn't that way when I talked to her (we think she was being extra nice because I had been on vacation and she missed me) so I ended up being the one to tell her. I picked her up the next morning for a tour and a full day of drs appointments and intake interviews.  Last week was hard. She didn't take the news well, but lovingly we kept moving forward and by the weekend she was ready.
Wednesday evening I was telling her that they would come and clean her apartment once a week and do her laundry and her response was , "That's included in the rent?"
Moving day is TODAY! I'm looking forward to seeing her in a safer, healthier and more social environment. I hope all goes well.

March 6, 2013
Buckin' Hay" is one I enjoyed making the most. Lately my mom's aching joints and arthritis are always from the days of buckin' hay!! I thought the strings were appropriate because whether you are buckin' hay or feeding the cows you seem to have pieces of hay all over you.

August 9, 2013
Here's a recent photo of my mom after her hair appointment and wearing her new birthday blouse. I took her for a drive to Bend yesterday to retrieve my car that was in the shop (one hour one way). She enjoyed it but what a hoot!! She thought the Enterprise rental car woman was my good friend and gave her a hug when we left.  She shook the guys hand at the body shop like "It's been great doing business with you." You have to have a sense of humor when dealing with Alzheimer's that's for sure.

October 1, 2013
There was a message on my phone yesterday from my mom (who has Alzheimer's) "Sorry I missed you,  I was out front." Nice of her to call and tell me that, but I saw her yesterday! lol lol She has gotten a bad cold twice in the last few months and every time she gets sick her mentally capacity shrinks a little and never gets better. It's funny that I notice it now, where as a couple of years ago I would not have. Overall she has been doing pretty good.

October31, 2013
Ami Simms started Alzheimer's Art Quilt initiative when her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It was a complete grass roots organization run by volunteers and 2013 will be the final year. With Ami's vision and many, many volunteers, quilt maker & quilt buyers AAQI has reached their financial goal of raising $1,000,000 before the end of 2013.

January 3, 2014
Before 2013 came to end and AAQI closed up shop I managed to purchase three more quilts. 
This one resides at my moms home. Years past she lived on a ranch, rode horses, and branded cows. I thought this one was appropriate for her. It's called "Ladies Choice at the OK Corral". 

For most of 2014 my mom has been doing relatively well, holding her own mentally and physically. But now she is wearing down. 

Summer2015:  enjoying the flowers and sunshine in her back patio. 

July 2016: Interesting for me to read the progression. She has been on hospice for a year now but only the last 3 weeks was failing fast. Thankfully she never had to move to a memory unit and passed away peacefully in the same room we moved her into in 2012. 

I've learned a lot dealing with my mom with Alzheimer's. She made some pretty big mistakes in the past, but since her mind had erased them, I had to as well. No use holding on to things that she never remembered doing. I saw her capacity to love others and bring joy in her sassiness! 
She was tired, but coherent as we celebrated her birthday on Friday. Her brother had visited her that morning so she was extra tired. We knew her time was coming. She slipped into a coma early the next morning and we stayed with her all day, playing Elvis and Jim Reeves and a variety of other oldies, until she breathed her last breath. 
I felt honored and privileged to be with her at the end of this life on earth. (She still got the last laugh since hubby and I had plans to go out of town!) 
I leave you with a few of my favorite Instagram photos. 

 My mom's best friend Virginia who has lived across the hall from her will miss her terribly. 

Best friends at the retirement home luau. 

  Thanks for all your encouragement and comments on my blog, instagram and facebook over the past 7 years and these past few difficult days.
Love to you all.

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