Saturday, August 1, 2009

Not quite the week we thought it would be

Dennis' Mom came to stay with us for the past 5 days.

I thought it was so cute the way she brought her passport with her.
Dennis picked her up from her assisted living facility, and drove her here from LA.

We took her to the Clovis Community play of Beauty and the Beast. Elora came too and we all loved it, but Phyllis didn't seem impressed. We have noticed a definite difference in her. She talks less and gets confused easily. She asked me one day during lunch, "So have you always lived in Oregon?"

We hope she enjoyed our short time with her, but we couldn't tell. Last summer she loved her twice a day walks, and took pride in her cell phone, and doing stitchery, and reading her novels. Her favorite author was Nicholas Sparks.

This time she didn't even mention those things, or have any interest in doing them.

She had a 'take it or leave it' attitude about her nightly routine of watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. I had taped several episodes for her but she didn't seem to care.

She didn't seem particularly depressed, just uninterested. Like she doesn't remember what her interests are.

It's sad.

Reminds us both of how my Mom was at the beginning of her downward spiral with Alzheimer's.

Here she is many years ago with Dennis' father. He died in 1986.Phyllis is a very remarkable woman, after all, she raised Dennis. Her 5 children were everything to her. Dennis told me how he use to walk home from school at lunch time just so he could be with her in the middle of his school day.

Phyllis' childhood was not easy. Her father took off in 1930, when she was just 3, and her 2 sisters were 6 months, and 5 years old. He just got up and left one day, never to be seen again.

Her Mom, Den's Grandma, had to go to work at a girls' school leaving her Mom to raise the 3 girls. Phyllis' Mom would only see her daughters on the weekends all of their growing up years.
She was looking forward to going back "home" today.

Den came back sad tonight. It's hard watching his Mom change and get older, and sort of become someone else. I've often wondered why we have to go through such struggles before our lives are over.


Mary said...

Dennis sure looks like his dad! It really is so difficult to see our parents decline, and it's hard to imagine that will be us someday, with our children sadly puzzled by the changes in us. Yet I imagine that will be one of the things that will make the resurrection so glorious, being reunited with our loved ones restored to the prime of their lives!

Dennis said...

As a kid, I stayed out of trouble (most of the time) because I never wanted to disappoint my mother. She was the best.


Dad and Susan said...

Dear Jill,

What an exceptional man Dennis is. His words above are what every mom hopes for.

When I was reading the post, these are some words that came to mind: moving, emotional touching, distressing, sad. I think these can be summed up in this one word: poignant.

As pictures of Jonus and Tea are part of the beginning of live, so too is the ebbing of the cycle of life evidenced in this post.

Thankfully, an eternal perspective helps to ease our concerns. Being "natural men" means that we will be sad and grieve. On a higher level, we rejoice.

Love, Dad and Susan

grandmapeg said...

I agree with Mary that Dennis sure does look like his dad! I think the pictures of Phyllis show a woman who has lived a good, strong life. If her other children are even half as good as Dennis is, then she has accomplished what we as mothers all want to achieve. It is sad to see our parents age and decline in health, but I agree with what has been said above, that when we are resurrected it will be glorious and a cause to rejoice. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures of a loving son and mother.

Rebecca said...

that is the first thing I noticed as well, how much Dennis looks like his father! It is a hard thing when we become the caretakers of our parents. I guess it is the circle of life, they take care of us and we take care of them. But, still it is hard to see.

Tom and Karen Mortensen said...

I am not sure what to say except I know that I want to say something. I have been here a few times trying to say something. I like and agree with what everyone so far has said.

There is one question I would like to ask God someday. How come there has to always be a "tragedy" before someone dies? Look at my dad, your mom, Bill, Robin, Chris. I just don't get it. Any insight.

Dennis is very lucky to have such a wonderful mother. Even though I don't know here, she must have been great because Dennis is so awesome.

Sue said...

My husband's mom had Altzheimer's and it was very hard on him watching her slowly sort of "disappear." He did a lot grieving, even before she died.

Life has its challenges, that's for sure.


Kris said...

Thank you so much for sharing these things Jill, as well as the pictures. I got pretty choked up reading about grandma. It is hard to see things for her changing so much. I love you and Dad for bringing her to be with you for the week. It had to have meant so much to her and even more to my Dad. I love the tenderness and compassion that you so willingly give.

Eileen said...

Yes, Jill, I thought the same thing as I was reading this post, that your mother-in-law may be in the beginning of Alzheimer's Disease. It sounds very much like my Mom was.
You and Dennis, and his Mom, and your family will be in my prayers. We all know what a tough path this is to walk down.
Dennis' Mom is Blessed to have you two in her life, and I believe that somewhere deep down in her spirit she will always know that.
All the best,

Kim said...

I really loved reading this post and seeing the photos. I too am sad to see my grandma lose interest in the things she has enjoyed so much -- and I also see a woman who has had much strength throughout her life. Learning more about her as I get older makes me appreciate and love her even more. Thank you for having her in your home for the last week. I'm sure it meant the world to her as it did last year.


Lisa said...

I felt that same sadness when I saw my mom this past weekend. I'm going back in a few days, but WHAT A CHANGE. She went from being strong & vibrant to almost a scardy cat. So weird & so sad to see.

I feel Dennis' pain.