Decisions

It’s time to find my own way in the world. The past few weeks have past quickly, and I feel driven to make some important decisions.  Time to face the fact that life has an end, and I need to make the most of my time.

My garage filled with my parents belongings. It was hard to leave the house and pass by the totality of their possessions. My need for order sent me into a frenzy of organizing. The large items such as the huge California king bed, frame and damaged furniture went curbside for trash removal. Usable furniture found new homes with some new refugees. Since my parents entered this country as refugees with empty paper suitcases this felt like a good call. Some items I brought into my home as my mother would want.  My bedroom has three lamps brought over by my Great Aunt Shoshana from Shanghai after World War II. I have seen them in my mother’s room my entire life. They now sport new lampshades, and I enjoy seeing them on my nightstand.

IMG_0701

I saved some items of clothing from my father and mother. Vitas, the hospice organization that helped my mother in the last week, sent me a note that volunteers can create a memory bear out of these materials.  I finally gathered the items, wrote a bit about why the items were chosen, and I will ask for 3 bears (one for me, my daughter, and granddaughter) be created uniting clothing from both my parents in one bear each.

Getting my garage cleaned out is almost done. I have been thinking of getting a new car, and I want to be able to park inside. After 8 weeks I finally can park my car in the garage. Yeah!  Kind of narrowed it down to 3 choices.  I am looking for a SUV. Toyota Highlander, Subaru Forester or Subaru Outback. But I need to test drive them to see how I like the feel. Think I will be checking cars out this week. Been looking at all kind of cars in the parking lots. And silly as this sounds, color has importance in my decision also. Maybe I should get a hybrid. You never know about the price of gas. Probably will make this decision this week.

My parent’s passing has also brought new factors into play.  I have lived in my house for 31 years. There was no way I could think of moving away from this area after I brought my parents to Sacramento 9 years ago. Now we should decide if we want to remain here in Sacramento, or leave the city, state, or country.

At the end of 2016 I was planning on remodeling inside and out. Now before I take on expense and aggravation we should decide where we want to live. After some thought and dreaming we ruled out moving to the Bay Area.That would be bucking the trend: moving from more expensive to a lower cost of living. Wanting to find a place on a single level I checked out a Del Web retirement community. I saw some nice 2 bedroom layouts with about the same square footage, and a small landscaped yard. Plenty of activities to do, and a monthly fee for participation. This also didn’t quite seem right. Too much like following my parents path. They sold their houses and moved to Del Web in Sun City West, Arizona. For me this would not be as drastic since Roseville is only 20 minutes from my home. But one reason my Mom moved was to get my Dad involved with activities. This doesn’t work.  And do I want to live in a retirement community for “active seniors”? It isn’t completely off the table, but it may be near the edge.   There is the condo route, and there are only a few that meets my single story garden cottage feel that I am looking for. Increase in property taxes, and high HOA fees are a negative. Staying where I am, and paying for a landscaped yard, doing all remodeling and hiring a gardener and an occasional house cleaner will probably be cheaper. That is as long as we stay in California. I ruled out Florida as a permanent house change.  Maybe a short term rental would work. I wouldn’t want to worry about a property on the other side of the country. I decided that I didn’t need to make a decision this quickly anyway.

Vacation plans have us stumped.  I need to apply for passports just to be ready to travel. Probably start with a trip to the coast, or Lake Tahoe.  A new car will get us on the road. Maybe Libby will join us, or go visit her dog hotel. Many of my friends have taken some fun sounding trips. Any suggestions for a photo loving, laid back trip.

Have you found yourself in this position with many decisions to make, and also have the freedom to make them?  How does this make you feel? I move from excited to stressed. Procrastination in not the path I plan to take. Now I need to relax and enjoy the change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest In Peace Alina

My mother’s journey on Earth is over. She died on Tuesday February 7, 2017.  When I left North Avenue Villa early Tuesday morning I felt that the time was soon. I felt that Tuesday would be the day. Alina lived without her Arthur for 21 weeks.

On Thursday my Mom was laid to rest at Home of Peace, a Jewish Cemetery in Sacramento. Rabbi Reuven Taff met with me and my brother on Wednesday. In addition to sharing family stories I appreciated the time taken to listen to me. It allowed me some peace at a stressful time. The rainy day seemed fitting.

In the Chapel my brothers and I told stories about my Mom. Each had a different realationship to her. But what made me proud was my son Joshua’s rememberances. And then my granddaughter Alyssa spoke. Right from the heart. My goodness I will always be glad that I included her in my visits to Mom. Time well spent!

My friends turned out to support me. I again asked Anne to help with the Meal of Condolences. Liz offered to host the meal at her house. Such a trememdous relief for me.  Zelda, Eva, Susan, Diane, Liz and Anne are such special friends. Thank you!

I feel sad that our time together is over. I tried my best to take care of her. My parents are together, and they gave me a great foundation. I know that her heart was with my Dad. They met after the war and saved each other!  Another Holocaust Survivor has past. I am grateful for having my Mom.

0811_18_arthuralina_7748

Endings and Beginnings

My Mom is in hospice at North Avenue Villa Board and Care home, and there has been continuous care nurses for the past few days.  I respect her wishes to join my Dad, and allow the dying process to control her. Today is day 7 without food or water.

Vitas helps to make sure that she is comfortable. The first couple of days were difficult. Mom was in pain, and the comfort drugs did not make much of a dent. Very hard to watch and hear. My brothers arrived a couple of days into the process, and we take turns sitting by her side. Being able to take a break helps.  My daughter provided some delicious home cooked meals. That was a big support.

When my Dad passed away about  5 months ago we knew my mother would want to be with her husband. So no additional funeral planning is necessary.

For most of my life I have taken direction from my responsibilities: education, marriage, jobs, kids, grandkids, and parents. It has been nearly 9 years since I moved my parents to Sacramento. Before that I was traveling back and forth to Arizona to help there.  Never experienced empty nest time, and about 3 years ago my oldest grandson came to live with us. I understand that it is hard for young people to start out, but I feel that I now need to grab the reins of my life with my husband.

After my Dad died I had no time to really grieve because I made it my role to take care of Mom the way my Dad had taken care of her. I tried to make this time together a new journey for her. I did not succeed because inevitably Mom never accepted her Arthur’s death. We could spend the day together and suddenly she would say we should check on Dad.

Since I spent many days together I thought it would be interesting to find out about the happier times in my Mom’s life before the Nazis came and destroyed her youth.  Each time I visited I picked a new topic: favorite foods, toys, sports. Sometimes I would ask about my grandparents. When I was growing up I heard so little about them. I barely knew more than their name.  I wanted to hear what they were like from her 14 year old point of view. Talking like this made time together enjoyable. But sometimes my Mom would drift into sadness, or an agitated Alzheimer state would appear. I never knew what Mom would  meet me. I do know that my dog Libby would be ready for all her emotions, and she would smile

For the first time the direction my life takes will be of my own choosing. This takes me out of my comfort zone. Plenty going through my head. I can’t even figure out how life may change. Maybe it is time to figure out my Bucket List.  Time is marching along faster and faster and I know that eventually I will become less independent. Need to grab some gusto with my husband and dog Libby!

1611_01_coppsquarry_5074

My path is opening up. Where will it lead me?

 Care for Alzheimer’s 

Trust is something you earn over time. But when I am in unfamiliar territory and new idea float around I do not know who to trust. This is the 4th time I am visiting my mother in the ER. I am becoming familiar with the work up routine. But what comes after disturbs me.  Where to turn? Who to believe? Just met the care takers a couple of times. Change in Mom so dramatic.  All I know is that the ER is not the place for her. Been here since 9:00 am and she looks peaceful at the moment. 

Board and Care talks the good talk but I can’t seem to feel trust. Mom is not settling in by a long shot. All I hear is more meds needed and she is not drinking 8 glasses of water. They have her in wheelchair sitting all day. Only time I hear her do anything (scream) is when something is being done to care for her. So hard to listen to her suffering. 

Social workers just explained hospice to me. Sounds like this might help with trust issue. Or would that be more hands in the pot. 

Two days have past and arrangements have been made. Back at board and care hospice is set up. For the past two days Mom has been on continuous care. Different nurses come and sit by her side.  This is called comfort care. Medications for her agitation and pain. With no food or liquid intake she will be joining Dad soon.  

Today she seemed to rest comfortably, and I understand that she will remain here under hospice care.  It is a peaceful setting. Room is set up with a hospital bed, and hospice provides needed supplies.  I am taking the evening shift and the room is quiet, there are care takers around, and a little white shih tzu named Angel pops in every once in a while. Rosie made me a plate of food, so my needs are even being met. I am feeling better about caring for Mom here at North Ave. Villa.

I imagine that Mom is dreaming of being together with her Arthur soon.