The Best Friend

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My Mom lost one of her best friends today and I have been sad all day. I love this picture of both Don and Marilyn so happy at our wedding. She has been a part of my life ever since I can remember and I know my home town is grieving her loss.

I think you are a lucky person when you can find a human being that you can connect with and my Mom was lucky to have found Marilyn. There were many pictures to pick from but I kept coming back to this one, so happy and I can still hear her gentle laugh.

My first memories of Marilyn was driving in our old car, heading out to Glacial Lake State Park. She gave me a long lecture on my habit of biting my nails, but soften the blow by saying that I had a “cute figure”. I wasn’t even sure what that meant at the time.

I used to spent hours at their house when Mom and Dad went out. We used to come out at night and watch the bats fly around and how Don used to say they wouldn’t bite us. Uff-da. I remember how their house was layed out and the hours we spent playing cards and how their kitchen table was a little nook. She was always baking and her kitchen was heaven.

After my Dad died, she looked out for my Mom and reported back to me. She was the one to call and say, “Your Mom got turned around on her walk today”, and “You know she is living off toast and cheese”. She was firm but gentle and told me I needed to do something soon. Even though the words were hard to hear, I listened and did what she said. I moved her into Holly Ridge and Marilyn was devoted to visiting her, taking her out to church and meals.

When I made the decision to move Mom closer to me, Marilyn was one of my first calls. I asked her opinion and she gave me advice. She wanted Mom to live closer to me and that we would both be happier. Again, she was correct. It was hard to move her away from her friends but I hoped they would see each other again some day. They never got the chance.

In the last few years, I have received the sweetest, most encouraging cards and emails from Marilyn. She would remind me how much she missed Mom and tell me that I’m doing ok and that she was proud of me. I have saved all of her cards and they hold a special place in my heart. Even though we were 120 miles away, I still felt her love. Just like a second mother.

Tomorrow, I will bring her picture and let Mom know. We last sent her flowers a few months ago and I know Mom was happy about that.

Peace and love to her family. I know she was very proud of all of them. Bless you, Marilyn. You were a loved friend.

Jodi

The Four Men

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Today was my  regular Thursday visit with Mom. Emme and I made blueberry muffins last night and I brought her banana’s and caramel corn, which she loved! She ate almost everything and finished if off with coffee. Overall, it was a good visit.

For the last month, she has been asking about four different men. Today, it was her father, Charlie. “Have you seen my Dad today?” She has asked me this question before and it is the hardest question for me to answer. The other three men are easier for me, for some reason.

In nursing school, you are told to state the truth when a forgetful person asks you a question. I find it easier to go with the flow and try to judge how your answer will affect the person. I’ve had patients weep after you tell them their husband has passed away. Recently, I visited a man, after his wife had died and he had forgotten she died. It was like opening the wound all over again. He had simply forgotten she had died and it was painful to watch his grief. Every day the aide would report that he would wake up and call for her. It’s hard for people to imagine this.

I find myself pausing and not knowing how to answer this. She’s asked before and I told her that he is not here and she seemed ok with that. She seems to move on to either her brother, my brother or my dad.

Today I told her that he has been gone for a long time, even before I was born. I told her that I’ve heard through family, of what a good father he was, raising four children and owning a country store. I can see the look on her face of sadness and she is very quiet. I feel I should have told her he’s not here, like I did before. I know she will ask about him again.

She has been asking for these four men: My father, my brother, her brother and her father. All men important to her and family.

One, gone for a very long time and her memories of him must be surfacing.

One, married to her four days shy of sixty years and her love.

One, willing to come and see her if we can get him a ride. Her connection to him still present after almost eighty-eight years.

One, having a difficult time with her loss.

All four men coming up in her memories. I wish that heaven gave you five minutes with a loved one and that she could see two of them, knowing they are looking out for her from up above.

As I was driving home, I thought of a project I could do for her. I found four pictures of all off them and I will get a frame and put them in there. That way, when she asks about them, I will let her know they are right here, right beside her. I hope this gives her comfort.

As I left today, she said, “You drive safe!” Once a mother, always a mother.

Jodi

Day  #127 of hospice care…