Monday, October 11, 2010

Remembering my Mom

     I'll going to be painfully honest today.  October is really a difficult month for me.  In fact, I have cried many times this month.  Just typing this brings tears to my eyes.  I remember so much about my mom this month and I cry because she is gone and I think of the horrible debilitating disease, Alzheimer's, that took her from me three years ago.  It robbed her of her identity and her connection to family and friends..  So today I write about my mom.


Posted by Picasa
Mom and me in my Easter dress and bonnet on my slip and slide

My mom, Doris, was a very gentle person.  She had a very strong faith and was devoted to God, her family, and friends.  Growing up I can remember her reading the Bible each evening before bed.  I think some of my fondest memories with my mom involve the simplest things.  She took delight in the small things in life.  One thing I remember she taught me is to look at the cumulus clouds, but I liked to call them the big fluffy cotton candy clouds.  She showed me how you can look at them and imagine pictures of dogs, trees, mountains, dragons, and unicorns.  So if you have never taken the time to look at the clouds or you haven’t done so in a while, I encourage you to do so no matter what age you are because there is a special magic and peacefulness you feel when doing it.  I remember her teaching me how to go crawfishing.  For those of you that don’t know what a crayfish is—they are scary little crustaceans with beady little eyes and scary pinchers like lobsters.  We would go to the ditch in front of our house after a rain and we would see their piles of dirt around the hole to their house.  Mom would put some salt pork or a little raw bacon on a string with a little horseshoe nail for a weight and she would drop it into the hole just a little bit.  A crayfish just might slowly crawl to the top, grab the pork with their pinchers and then try to pull it back further into their hole, but then of course we would pull them out of the hole while they were still attached to the string.  I would usually scream and mom would tell me to be quiet and put the crayfish in the big bucket we had brought with us.  I might try to do it, but I couldn’t ever grab them though because I was terrified the pinchers would grab me.  So in the end it was always Mom who put them in the bucket.  We could do this for a long time and she would delight in how they scared me, but would still try to touch me with one.  I remember once it rained and rained and the pasture flooded and King’s Creek overflowed.  We took a long walk with our bucket and caught tons of crayfish-well maybe not tons but it looked like it to a little girl.  Now you may wonder what we did with all these crayfish.  Did we cook’em and eat’em?  Are you kidding?  Now maybe my dad and mom had eaten them at some point, but we never did.  We kept them in the bucket with some water and mud for a while and then we released them and the little creatures with their beady eyes and scary pinchers would scurry happily away.

     My mom will be remembered for her wonderful cooking, especially during the holidays when she welcomed family and friends in her home.  I will remember her teacakes, pecan pies, homemade biscuits and cinnamon rolls.  On some mornings, for no reason, she would make me the most wonderful melt in your mouth delight—chocolate gravy with biscuits and butter.  Mom had a system to her cleaning and cooking.  Every day of the week she had chores to do and she wouldn’t stop until they were finished.  We often teased her and told her that house was so clean we could eat off the floor.   When my dad was a route salesman for Coca-cola, he loved his pinto beans.  He said they were his “go” food.  So every Sunday, mom would start getting the beans ready.  She made a huge pot of beans.  I thought the beans were great on Monday, usually pretty good on Tuesday, but not so good on Wednesday or Thursday, but Dad had to have them every night except Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  This went on for years until my dad hurt his back and was no longer a route salesman for Coke.  After this, when she made pinto beans and cornbread, it was a treat we loved and they were delicious.  She would often send home a quart of pinto beans home with me cause Michael and I loved them so much.  Nobody made beans like my momma!

     My mom loved to laugh and I am thankful to have inherited this love of laughter from her.  She would say it’s better to laugh than cry.  She was also quite a trickster.  She would come up behind someone and touch the back of their knee and if they were relaxed this would cause them to almost fall to the ground.  Then she would just laugh and laugh.  She also would come up behind those she loved and give them donkey kicks.  A donkey kick is where you stand beside someone and lift your leg at the knee sideways and tap or sort of slap their bottom with your foot.  She had this down to a fine art.  Now I have done this to Michael , Jordan , and Sarah, but I have never achieved her level of proficiency.

     Mom truly had a grateful heart and she didn’t ask for much in return.  She would gladly help my sister or me when we needed help with any jobs.  She always told me, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.”  I think these are important words to live by.  Nana loved her grandkids and they loved their “NANA”.  When Alzheimer’s took her from us, we wept and missed our mom and Nana and her devotion to us.

     When she first entered the nursing home's special care unit, she could have almost been put on the housecleaning staff.  If you gave her a cloth she would happily walk around and dust things.  She was also somewhat of a mother hen.  She gave great smiles and spread laughter with some of her antics.  She would often tell the staff how pretty or beautiful they were while gently touching their faces.  She would also tell them how sweet they were.  One of the nurses told me Mom would come up behind them and give them a little “pop” on the bottom and then run away laughing before they could see who had done it.  Mom even started to dance around when they had music or when I played “heart and soul” on the piano.  She got lots of exercise walking the unit and going outdoors with her family.  She was also well known for her bicycling exercise.  She would plop down on a chair, bed, or sofa and start doing her exercise with her legs moving back and forth as if she were on her bike.   It was always wonderful when she would remember and say, “Ray or Raymond, Linda, or Tammie” In the beginning she would get angry if we asked her if Dad was an old goat.  She would say, “He’s not an old goat, he’s my sweetheart” One of the funniest things mom said while in the nursing home happened about a year before she passed away.  Mom was confined to a wheelchair at this point and she had been to lunch or just out and about and Shelly S., a family friend, who works as a social worker at E. Care Center,  was pushing her back to her room.  Another patient was wheeling herself down the hall in her wheelchair and she was complaining and griping, which is something she did on a regular basis.  At one time this lady had been mom’s roommate but then she had been placed in a private room—(thankfully, I might add!)  Mom hadn’t spoken in a while except for an occasional word or phrase.  Mom looked at her and said, “Will you be quiet?  I’ve had just about enough of you!!”  So you can see mom could still be a little feisty!!!
     Alzheimer's was never able to take my mom’s sweet spirit and warm beautiful smile.  She’s not suffering today, and I can see her up in heaven maybe even dancing a little, but whatever she’s doing, she has a big beautiful smile on her face.

      Take action against Alzheimer's by clicking here.  If you know someone that has Alzheimer's, visit and talk to them.  You never know what words might trigger memories for them.  Support other family members and friends that have relatives with this disease.  If you are interested in donating to the Memory Walk, I have a very dear student that I had in my 2nd grade class about 12 years ago that is participating in the walk.

From the Alzheimer's Association:
"Memory Walk is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Since 1989, Memory Walk has raised more than $300 million for the cause.  All Memory Walk donations benefit the Alzheimer's Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health."

1 comment:

mslulubelle said...

Alzheimer's is such an insidious disease. How poignant was your blog and reminder of this thief and the moments it steals from us. Funny, or not so, you truly begin to feel a connection with Heaven when so many you love have returned home. Of course, this dims to our relationship with our Lord and Savior.
Thanks for sharing, made me picture your momma in your kitchen and smile..........