Winter Doldrums

I am a little down today. It’s Black Friday and I’m feeling the black mood. LOL. Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with our son and his family. My daughter-in-law outdid herself. The food was amazing. And they had decided that since they had so few Thanksgiving decoration items, they would just go ahead and bring on Christmas. And it was lovely!!! The decor looked amazing and it added to the festive attitude. Our grandson made everyone welcome letters. It was so sweet. I was able to sit with each grandchild and listen to them read from their favorite new books. They are doing so very well. I am so proud of them.

This image was floating around the web and it was one of many that sort of spoke to the day. And to 2020 as a whole! LOL! We enjoyed our Thanksgiving regardless of what was going on around us. Our DIL said a lovely prayer, and then we went around the table, telling everyone what we are grateful for. My granddaughter stole the show when she told us she was grateful for hot water! And to be honest, the simplicity of that was just beautiful. It was where she was at. And she continually amazes me with what she shares. LOL.

I am sure you can see, even without a full face, that she is a character! And I thought about it and having character is a good thing. I also saw my mom yesterday; her character has stood her in good stead over her lifetime. She has end-stage Alzheimer’s and is now with Hospice care in her Assisted Living Home. Because of the chaos of Covid, people like my mom are cut off from everyone they know. We have lockdowns and our most vulnerable, our elderly, have no one to hold their hands or share stories of their lives with – no one who really knows them well. The staff are such amazing people and I know that they have developed their own family within the home, and I have seen how they care for mom. I am eternally grateful that they will be the ones spending her final days with her. But I am kind of mad it is not me. On the other hand, she is in an Assisted Living because living with us just did not work out so well. I’ve said it before, but something inside mom knew the order was wrong – she was supposed to be caring for me, in her home, because she is the mother. And it was all backwards for her, and as she descended further into Alzheimer’s World, this one confused her too much. She was frustrated and angry and I was the closest person she could take it out on. And since she has lived there, we had been able to restore our mother-daughter bond. Until yesterday.

High School Graduation 1974 – Me and Mom

Yesterday, mom did not know who I was. For the first time. And it undid me. She has no memory of being a mother, or having children running around, all the years of my childhood, of my brother and I. She has no memory of being married. She does remember she danced. The annoying part for me is that I am jealous of her years dancing, because she remembers that and not me. She took ballet and tap and was a part of the Royal Ballet – their junior troupe – until she was 18. She is 91 and she recalls that part of her life. When she asks to go home, she means New Zealand, with her mom and dad. No memory of my dad, who she met at 20 and dated until 21, when they married. During that time, they built their own home. In Mt. Roskill, New Zealand. They immigrated to the USA in 1955. I was born in 1956, and my brother in 1958. My parents divorced when I was 22. Mom remarried, to the love of her life, and was married for over 30 years. They lived on a sailboat; they traveled. They enjoyed life so very much. (They lived in so many places we used to tease them that they belonged to the Witness Protection Program!!) And my children recall him as their grandpa. He passed away about 8 years ago. She has no memory. Of any of that. None of it. Alzheimer’s steals the person away from themselves, because it rips those memories away from them, leaving them hollow. And making those of us who live beyond them, longing to have them back.

Mom turned 91 and we brought her a gift and a card. They are on lockdown, so I was only allowed to stand in the storm entry while she remained in the house. She read this card and commented how nice it was. I told her it was from us, her daughter and son-in-law. And she responded, “Oh. That’s who you are.” My heart sunk. She had been looking at me so deeply, and after she said that, I realized she was searching for familiarity. And she could not find it. What was interesting was as we were about to leave, she called me by my full name – and when mom used to call us by our first and middle names, I knew it was time to listen. This time, I was happy she associated me with my name, but there was no reason to pay attention because she had already checked out. She was being wheeled back to her recliner and called over her shoulder, “Call me sometime and we can get together. I would like that.”

Mom and I the day she moved in with us, in 2017

The days have certainly raced past these three years. The interwoven life we had when mom lived with us, has gone by far too quickly, as Alzheimer’s has just stolen more and more of Mom away. I am so very blessed we had the time we had, just she and I. We had the conversations we needed to have, so that I can ensure these last days are how she wanted to spend them. The Hospice team is incredible, and so very kind and understanding. We have zoom meetings and they do me so much good. They understand this disease and although they are there to give mom the best medical care, they are also there for me. And I feel blessed for that. The Chaplain and I hit it off, and she plans to call me regularly. Not mom, but me.

And that brings me to the winter doldrums.

It sort of feels like it is time to huddle. LOL. The holidays are fraught with all sorts of landmines, and this just brought me down. I am going to have to do some baking or play Christmas music or something, because I just paused writing this, called the Chaplain back and left a message, and had a weepy moment.

They say Alzheimer’s is the long goodbye. And I totally get that. I realized my parents are pretty much gone for me. Dad has dementia and we haven’t spoken in a couple of years, and that relationship has been purely over-the-phone, off and on, for about 30 years or more, and steadily that way for over 21 years. So we were not that close. But Mom was a different thing. To watch her shrink into herself and for us not to be able to connect, well, it is devastating. I long for some mom moments with her even at 64 years old. But I realized yesterday that I will never have that again. And it deeply struck me on Thanksgiving Day.

I am also looking to my granddaughter in her simplicity…and I will be thankful for all of it. Because the bad and the good are what make up life and it makes it richer. Moving forward, one day at a time. And appreciating hot water!

I am thankful, with my granddaughter, for hot water!


Plandemic – Lockdowns – Holidays

So, don’t judge me too harshly. Yes, our tree is up. So are all our decorations around the house. We have not put up anything outside, as of today. That may change, but who knows? My daughter-in-law helped me do this while my husband traveled for work last week. I was worried he would not be happy, but he just shook his head and said, “Why not? I’m just glad I didn’t have to do it!” He was also impressed our DIL climbed down under the house to our crawl space, brought all the boxes up, and then put them all back down there, again! She was my hero of the week!!

If you are familiar with Jim Shore’s creations, you will recognize the style, if not the statue. I am in love with all Jim Shore! His representations just make me smile. These two Santas are on the side table by my chair in our living room. I love looking at them so much. The world is so chaotic right now, why not have some Christmas? I am different in that I am devoutly Christian and am not moving the Birth of Christ or anything of that nature. We have started Advent, so I feel like it’s time to decorate anyway. But, I do not leave the Christ Child in my nativity scenes. I play this game with our kids and hide him daily. I tell them, “Find Christ and keep Him in your lives every day!” Well, now that we have just one at home, and he is almost 22 years old, I did not think he would care. He came in the house in the evening after we had put up the tree. He walked in and audibly sighed and said, “I like it. A lot.” Later on in the evening, as he and I were eating dinner, he shouts, “Found Him!” I laughed. I really did not think he would care at this point. So since he found Him, I had to move The Christ Child around.

Our singing, stuffed, Santa in camo is holding the Christ Child on his knee. We will see if He is found the next time one of our kids or grandchildren are over! And I love the movement of the Christ Child throughout our house. It makes Him come alive in a silly game. But my kids love it, even as adults. My grandchildren play the game when they are here, too. There is nothing wrong placing Christmas decor up in your home if you feel the pull. I personally enjoy a lit tree because it gets dark around 4:00pm here, and does not get light in the mornings until almost 10am. I love sitting with just the tree on, drinking my morning brew. After all, it is 2020 and it has been an awful year. Our state is closing down today, for three weeks. I have no idea what Thanksgiving will be like. I bought a tiny ham for my husband and myself if it’s cancelled and it’s just the two of us!!

This was my first Jim Shore. I fell in love with the simplicity, and with the style and how engaging it was. My husband, and my DIL the other day, keeps telling me Santa rides a sleigh with reindeer, and I know that. But this is whimsical and just cute. It is a pain to store, because it comes in two pieces and the styrofoam is getting old. LOL. In this era where we have to be at home all the time, why not have the things around you that bring you momentary joy when you glance their way? Why not celebrate the coming Birth of our Savior now, when the world around us is afraid – afraid of catching a bug (with a 99% survival rate I might add) and afraid of each other? We’re all masked and hiding from one another. I feel the worst for children. When out shopping I rarely mask up (I always wear one at my doctor’s office) and quite often people will pull their kids away from me, because, well, you know, “the Rona”! Kids rarely catch it and are not germ-spreaders. I wish the main source of information would give accurate information. Most people are scared and think they’ll die. They won’t. My dad, who will be 94 soon, was in the hospital with both Covid, pneumonia, and strep. He survived. In fact, he was up and walking and feeling fine after 2 days in the hospital. He was symptom-free. He was one of the “vulnerable” population, too. I have a friend who is very vulnerable and yes, she would not survive, but she has so many other issues that would contribute – she’s on O2 constantly, among other things. So I get the concern. But that portion of the population is very small. We should quarantine them and let the rest of us roam freely – no mask required (they don’t do anything other than identify us as obedient sheep anyway).

One of the things I think we have forgotten in this era of masks, anger, and distrust, is the simplicity of service. We can opt to be kind to one another, even if we disagree. Our current status here was moved to locked down as of today. It means the CDC enacted strict distancing and basically asks everyone to work from home and stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. It is no way to live. Engendering fear in the populace is the art of control. And we begin to turn in our neighbors for not wearing a mask or for having people not of your household, even though they are family, over for celebrations. Good heavens, people! What has happened to us since March? That is only 8 months. In that short space of time, our country and our world has disintegrated into families locked in their homes, with little to no social interaction, children not playing with friends or going to school (I homeschooled so being at a brick and mortal school was not a priority). We just don’t want to risk getting sick. Which is kind of silly when you think in 2019 they estimated (still not sure – good old CDC) the deaths from the flu to be 34,000. And with all the shoddy reporting these days, somehow the CDC believes 1,000 people per day are being diagnosed with the Chy-na flu. (aka Covid-19). The deaths are just not happening. The news – the mainstream media – is making Covid out to be the great killer. It just is not. It is a form of the flu and it is very virulent. So wash your hands. Maintain good personal hygiene. Go outside! Get in the sun! Take vitamins. Eat home-cooked, good-for-you meals. Exercise with your kids. Play with one another. And decorate to make yourselves happy. Enact service with your family – do things for one another. Be kind to those you meet. Do not be fearful. The plandemic, because I do believe this was international germ warfare, is not going to destroy our country. We may come out of it different people, but don’t be the one who is narcing on their neighbor for no mask or having a birthday party!

I stand at this window when I wash dishes. And I love to be reminded of things. I placed the items there to direct my thinking when I am standing there. I see the sock-darner of my grandmother; I see the cross, the angel, the icon of Christ, and now I see my Santas. My husband made those for me. There is another one, and he is red, and he is over by my stand mixer (They match). I try to see these things and remember to get my head straight. I pray when I see the Cross, and I see the Holy Water. I have cute little figurines from my kids up there (a character from the movie, Avatar, and a little gnome my husband found). Why I am telling you this is that the world is against us. The NEW WORLD ORDER (NWO) does not want us meditating on the past with our families; the future and praying to God. They do not want our families intact – they want the State to care for us.

And there you have it…the holidays so far….