Friday, December 23, 2011


Independence. What a complex word! It signifies so much that even our great country celebrates a holiday called Independence Day.

Our children become a bit more independent today than they were the day before. Most of us seek solitude or activities that scream of independence. We love being able to do what we want, where we want, when we want! And then, piece by piece our independence is taken from us. Maybe it's a controlling spouse, or a boss who micro-manages, or a disease that chips away at us. Or, maybe it's this dreaded mind game called Alzheimer's.

Eight weeks ago Mother's doctors told her that for every one's safety she should give up her driver's license. The doctors had a strong sense that it was no longer safe for Joan to drive. We went one step further and attended OSU Rehabilitation services driving center to see if she had the faculty to drive her car. After a couple hours of testing, the therapist found that Mother did not have enough memory of street signs, other street icons or the ability to react quickly in case of a sudden turn of road events.

That day began her grieving period. She loved her car and was very proud of her ability to drive almost accident free since she got her license in 1954. Only one speeding ticket and a questionable accident that ended as a no-fault claim. What she loved even more than her care is her love of being independent and being able to drive whenever and where ever she wants to. Now she needs to rely on someone else to transport her.

There's only one good thing I can say about this, and that is that Joan's car found a buyer who will take car of her precious possession. Yesterday we delivered "it" to its new home. As Mother passed by and looked into her car and lovingly petted it one more time, she began to cry. I suppose partly because she was giving up her beautiful blue baby ION, but more than likely because this non-forgiving disease was once again chipping away at the independence she has so jealously guarded throughout her life.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'll Have the Chicken Please

At a recent church dinner Mother was standing in the buffet line waiting her turn. The ministers who were serving the meal asked each person in line if they would like the white meat or the dark meat of the turkey they had prepared.

When it came time for my mother to answer the question, she pointed at the dark meat and said, "I don't like turkey, I've never liked turkey - then pointed to the white meat and said, "I'll have some of this chicken". The ministers could hardly contain their laughter, and dutifully placed the white meat on her plate. She raved throughout the dinner how moist and tasty the chicken was.

I've written this short event here so I'll remember this sweet story, and because I'm sure there will be days in the future that will be dark and overwhelming. For now, I smile and revel in the light, and hold the words of this story in my heart for future smiles!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


During a recent consult with Joan's doctor, the doctor asked me if Mother was doing anything unusual like buying ice cream every day or organizing her closet by favorite outfits or scrubbing a surface over and over again. I smiled when her doctor mentioned ice cream because recently she was purchasing at least 1/2 gallon of her favorite Butter Pecan ice cream every few days.

Now it's December and of course Christmas cookies are showing up everywhere, but not as prevalent as they were last night following our church's Christmas program. Larry and I barely sat down when I noticed that my mother was lingering over the cookie table. I decided that she probably needed help and I headed her way to assist. To my amazement, she had an eight inch paper plate filled to capacity with sugar cookies, iced cut-outs, truffles, brownies, and caramels.

I helped her back to her seat and asked her what she was going to do with all of those cookies. Proudly she said, I'm taking them home, they're all so pretty! Mother has always been into bling. If it's pretty and colorful, shinny or sparkly, she loves it, and most of the time wants to personally own whatever it is.

Being the person I am to always be thinking ten steps into the future, I jokingly mentioned to my husband that I might need to be sure when we are shopping that she doesn't toss something sparkly into her purse and walk out the store without paying. My smile quickly turned into a frown as I remembered reading newspaper articles about such things,"80 Year Old Woman Walks Out of Store Without Paying for $10,000 Braclet. "Oh my!

I don't know what our future may hold, but tonight I smile and remember the tower of cookies that Mother so neatly staked four inches high on her eight inch Christmas plate. It made her happy last evening, and that's really all that matters right now, isn't it?