Pg 37 - My Life
It seems life is full of hills (good times) and valleys (bad times) as Jimmy puts it. He says if you don’t have
the valleys you really can’t appreciate the hills or the good times of your life. We were starting this year 2004 in a valley. Jimmy had lost his job; he was very depressed and hard to get along with. It is hard enough to lose your job when you are young and your whole world is ahead of you, but at the age of fifty is tough. At this age we are branded and put out to pasture. It seems that society thinks we are no longer capable of being useful. The big problem now was what we were going to do. Jimmy was not able to
look for a job in a different state. No one was calling him here in Arizona. We just bought this house and we couldn’t afford to lose it. We also had dad to worry about and how hard it would be trying to move him again.
I noticed a big change in Jimmy. The man who was always trying to be one step ahead, always micro managing his bakery, always providing for us, now had an I don’t care attitude. He didn’t want to get out of bed. He would watch TV all day long and eat. He did send out résumés but sometimes I wonder if he really tried to get a job like when he was younger. He didn’t seem to be on top of the game while he let this depression swallow him up. I would find us arguing a lot and just plain getting agitated with each other. My head would shout, not again, or why is this happening. I tried to help him but I felt like a failure because I couldn’t seem to do anything to cheer him up and sometimes, shameful to say, I would feel like giving up on him. Sometimes I wonder if this was harder to deal with than when he was having an affair. Marriage is so sacred but also one of the hardest jobs you will ever have. The give and take part is sometimes not evened out and it seems to me that I was always giving out a lot more.
Life doesn’t stop, I still had to go to work, take care of dad, and try to keep things as normal as possible for Regina and Adias. I was working midnights at the ambulance company, and would take a short nap in the morning while dad and Jimmy had their coffee and than a couple hour nap before I went back to work.
Jenny was still in the Phoenix but not allowed to leave her unit. This was hard to know that the year to be away from family didn’t start until she was deployed making her time away from her daughter even longer. This was especially hard on Adias not to be able to see her mother. So I did my mother thing and would have the girls in the neighborhood come over for dress up and play. I would take Adias to school and tuck her in at night, just like I did when her mother was gone other times.
Jimmy decided that he wanted to change careers. So as he watched the TV and an ad came on for Chef School, he enrolled. At age fifty-one my husband was going to culinary school. When we first were married Jimmy enrolled in a culinary school, but once they got to the baking part of it he quit and went to baking school instead. Many times over the years he would tell me that he made a mistake and wished
that he kept with culinary school and how he would have made a great chef. Jimmy is a fantastic cook, and I gladly give him my kitchen when he wants it. But I also remember when we were first married and he had a job at a restaurant he hated the hours and that was one of the reasons he decided to go to explore the baking part. Little did he know that bakers have terrible hours also.
When January 20 rolled around Jessica, Regina, Adias, and I celebrated both Jimmy and my father in laws birthday. Yea, their birthday is on the same day. My father in law was now turning more of a shell of a person than a person now. My heart would not stop breaking with each day as dad got worse. I am only human and yes I would get aggravated with him sometimes like when he would repeat sayings from the TV over and over again like a child, but I would also reflect to the man he use to be. This man taught us about what love and kindness was really about. To this day I am not sure I gave back to him, all the kindness he gave to me, but I know I was trying.
Jessica was on this long distant relationship. She was engaged with Zack who would call her every night. They are a funny team, to listen to them talk on the phone you would think they don’t really get along. Yet on her twentieth birthday a dozen purple tulips and a dozen pink tulips turned up at the house with a lovely card from her fiancé.
February that year, Jennifer surprised us with a short visit. They had not left yet and so she kind of snuck
home for a few days. We decided to have a little birthday party for Adias at that time so she could spend her birthday with her mother. We still had a birthday party for her with her friends on her birthday but this one was special, her mom was in town. Cake, presents, and bowling was in order. Also that is what we met Jose, the new love of Jenny’s life and her now husband.
Well I think I have to stop. It is really a busy day on the ambulance today, but I hope I am showing a
picture of love and that it takes commitment to still be in love.
Pg 36 - My Life
Welcome back to my romance blog. For those of you have just found me, I am writing a tale about life and how love is a choice. I don’t mean the first time you get those butterflies in your stomach, but to keep love alive is a job all of its own. One you have to choose to do this and then you have to take action. I have been writing about my life and all the ups and downs that I have endured and yet how we kept our love and family alive and well. So back to my story.
I got a hold of my children and told them we had to get together for Thanksgiving this year because Jenny would be out of the country for Christmas and I wanted us all to get together and support her before she left to help our country. I planned a big excursion to see the Grand Canyon.
I also bought my first artificial Christmas tree, which was small and decorated it in red, white and blue ornaments and little flags all around it. The girls seemed to have fun as they decorated it.
Thanksgiving finally came around and first the sad part was we had to put dad in a nursing home for our little retreat. We were going to be gone for three days and it hurt to know that dad couldn’t come with us. All the good times with him in the past years flooded my mind with how much fun he use to make our adventures until this terrible disease took hold of him.
The happy part was that all my kids and their kids plus Jimmy and I ranging from six months to fifty years were going to be together for three days. We tried to keep hidden in the back of our minds that Jenny was going to be gone to Turkey and Iran for anywhere from 12 months to 18 months. We didn’t want that to spoil our family time. We were told at that time she had to leave by December forth. So finally everyone showed up, packed and we left for Williams, Arizona. It was fun for me just to sit back and watch the kids get reacquainted with each other and their nieces and nephews. We ate at a wonderful smorgasbord, played board games and slept in the hotel that night before we grabbed the train to the Grand Canyon. What we weren’t prepared for was how cold it was. In Phoenix it was so warm and in Williams we froze. As we got to the Grand Canyon I had reserved a few rooms for us to spend the night, so we got settled in before we went exploring. As we made it to the Canyon to see this wonderful master piece from God, Zack got down on his knees and proposed to Jessica.
So needless to say this was a wonderful family event. Now Jessica was engaged and we got to see this beautiful Canyon. It was so cold, but so beautiful. I think this is when I discovered that my little family of seven was growing and would never be the same. We had a son in law, a daughter in law, two grand children and a fiancé with us. This was the start of new family pictures to watch our family grow.
We spent the night at the Grand Canyon, played games in the evening and some of us ventured out to see the sun rise even though it was 20 degrees outside. Taking the train back to Williams there was a mock robbery with men on horses firing guns outside and then coming into the train to rob us. I don’t think we had so much fun. When we got back home we had Christmas early and let Jenny open up her
gifts. Adias had fun trying on her mother’s army cloths as Jenny packed. Plus before Jenny was supposed to leave she decided she wanted to get baptized, so that Sunday we were with her in church.
Christmas was fun this year as we put the decorations on the house. Jessica and Regina were in charge of decorating outside of the house. Jimmy was stringing lights on the roof and Adias was putting up our little Christmas town on the center island in the kitchen. My father in law just slept through all the commotion. Jennifer was gone on to her base here in town and told she could not be here for Christmas. But good luck had shown as they didn’t deploy them yet so they let her come home again for a few days at Christmas. We had our church Christmas Eve and watched It’s a Wonderful Life, an opened gifts in the morning. Dad just sat in his chair watching us, and when we gave him his gifts it took forever for him to open them. But the excitement and noise didn’t seem to bother him. He would just doze
on and off during our little family time.
Well this is enough for today. Remember that each day is
a gift, and only you can make it count. See you tomorrow.
Pg 35 - My Life
Hello and welcome back to my blog. I am sorry I have not written to much these last few days, but I have been so busy helping Jennifer with Adias’s sixteen birthday party. The party was a huge success and the
rooms were decorated so beautiful. Adias looked lovely in her peach dress and her boyfriend wore a peach tie to match. But now back to reality. I am back at work, a little worn out, and glad to have survived this event. So on with my story.
First let me explain about my father in law at this time. This man who taught us so much about life cannot
take care of himself at all. I bathe him, yet I make him brush his own teeth. Sometimes I shave him and
sometimes he shaves himself. He wears depends, which are adult diapers. He seems to have to ask my permission if he wants to go outside. He has no idea how to turn on a light switch or turn on the TV set. This disease melts the brain and even though he is relatively healthy, his ability to do even the smallest task is disappearing. I have put him on a schedule sort of. I get him up at a certain time, give him his bath and breakfast at a certain time and day care at a certain time. But when the bewitchig hour appears it is hard to have a schedule since all he wants to do is roam around the house. I tuck dad in bed at the same time and actually have a baby monitor in his room so I can hear if he gets out of bed. When he does I tuck him right back in again. I decided that maybe with a schedule it would help him know what he is suppose to be doing. I found that through my 49 years, life was challenging and always an adventure.
In October it was time to move to our new home in Arizona. Jimmy flew with Grandpa Joe because it would be too hard to drive this long distance with him in the car. When he got to Arizona Jimmy put dad into a nursing home temporarily and Jimmy started his new job. Regina, Jessica, Adias and I got into
the car and drove to Decatur first to visit my son Erik and his wife Betsy. Next we drove to Oklahoma to visit my daughter Kristina, her husband Aaron and her new son / my new grandson Damien. Those were our two little stops before the long haul ahead towards Arizona.
Our first sight was as we were leaving Oklahoma and getting into Texas was the Biggest Cross in the Western Hemisphere. I decided that since we had to take this long road trip I would try to make if fun. So we drove, spent a night in a hotel and drove some more till we were leaving New Mexico and saw a sign saying Painted Desert. This was an amazing sight to see the mountains with the rocks painted in shades of red, orange, gray and white.
Next we saw a sign showing us a way to the Grand Canyon and decided that we needed to make our trip a few hours longer and drove forward to one of God’s beautiful creations. I don’t even know how to write down any words of the beauty of the place. I took pictures but even my pictures could not show the magnificent beauty that was shown.
Well we showed up to a town home that Jimmy’s job let us rent until Friday when the moving truck was going to show up. Quickly we cleared through the boxes and put everything away before we went to the nursing home to pick up dad. My heart broke when I saw how skinny dad was and that he wasn’t even
wearing his own clothes. Plus the fact that it was one hundred degrees outside and he was wearing a long sleeved shirt. He was totally off his schedule, confused and my job was to try and put him back on his schedule and comfort him again.
Phoenix was full of cotton plants, orange trees and cactus trees. The weather was warm, something we definitely were not use to. Jennifer, Jessica, Regina, Adias, and Grandpa Joe were all living in our home.
This can be stressful on a marriage with Jimmy at a new job, and I am looking for a job and trying to get Grandpa Joe situated. Trying to get Regina settled back into high school and Jennifer was being deployed to Turkey and Afghanistan. I was going to be mom again for Adias for the year or however long the army was going to keep Jenny.
I had to keep my cool, try to be there for Jennifer and listen to her fears about her daughter in
case she didn’t come back alive. It was hard for her as she tried to spend as much time she could with Adias before she had to leave. She seemed brave on the outside but sometimes I would catch her crying, with worry and fear. She was told she would not be home for Christmas so I decided that I needed all my kids together for Thanksgiving. One big fun reunion before she had to leave.
Well this is all for today. I have been so busy on my ambulance today it is hard to find the time to write.
Thank you for coming back and reading this and I will catch you tomorrow.
Pg 34 - My Life
Good afternoon, and what a busy day it has been so far. Jenny and Jose had to get a trailer to put all the stuff sitting in my living room that is for this big party. I took Carol, Adias and Jason to get pedicures. Carol is sixty-three years old and this is the first time she has ever had a manicure or pedicure.
That just breaks my heart. We went shopping and I helped her pick out some cloths for the party
which she preferred pants and a blouse with sleeves instead of a dress. Next was lunch and than a run to Wal-Mart for more supplies for the party. So since I have a few slow minutes and I will try to blog just a little more. Where was I?
On Sunday our tour guide took us on a yacht to cruise to the island of Isla Mujeres. We drove golf carts to a turtle’s farm. Next we sailed in a catamaran to snorkel in the Caribbean Water. I have never snorkeled before so my throat hurt from swallowing so much salt water. Before we knew it the weekend was over, but never forgotten.
As I had said I took my father in law to see his sister in laws at least once a month. It was a great time for all of us but the sad part was my father in law would forget every evening by the time I got home. A couple of times I would dial my Aunt Yolanda’s phone so he could talk to her and she would remind him of the afternoon we had. It was sad to see him cry on the phone because he just couldn’t remember.
On August 19, I learned that Jimmy got a new job, again. This time we were moving to Arizona. We
moved into dad’s house because he didn’t want to move out of his house and we wanted him to have a stable environment. Time has changed and dad has no idea where he is now, so we felt like we could move him to Arizona with us. We had a lot of chores ahead of us. We had to clean out dad’s house and
garage and get it ready to sell. We both still had our jobs. Dad was still going to the day care five days a week and Gina was still in high school.
I took pictures of my little group of friends, meaning my father in law, Aunt Ann, Aunt Betty and Aunt Yolanda and made sure that each of us had a copy. Gina had a home coming dance to go to before we moved and all of the relatives on the Gata side of the family had a big picnic to tell us good-bye.
Well a lot is going on here and I have to get off of this machine. Remember what I told you about mixed families. Well a little jealously is going on with Jose now that Jason is here. It is hard for him to see that Jason has to be part of her family, always, because of Adias. Hopefully I will get back on by Monday. Keep smiling and do something nice for someone. You maybe surprised at what an impact you might of made.
Pg 33 - My Life
Well I am finding a few minutes to try and blog a little bit. Let’s see where was I?
Let me go back to taking care of my father in law with his Alzheimer’s. This is a real tough job for any
family member to do. One of the hardest things is to see your father going through a child like state and not even know who you are. During the time of taking care Grandpa Joe, Jimmy went through a lot of
times of being aggravated with this, and remorse for getting upset. After we got dad in a day care we found out about respite care. This is where you can put your loved one in a nursing home for a few days so you can rest or just get a break from this 24hr – 7 day a week job. We decided that we needed to get away and just be with each other. So we planned a trip to Cancun, Mexico.
We did this trip through Apple vacations which include flight, hotel and food. We really did need a break and be Jimmy and Marie again. The hotel was beautiful and had four restaurants to eat free from inside. The beach was just outside of the pool of the hotel with sand so white and an ocean so blue and full of waves.
The first thing we did was parasailing. This was not an easy task to get my husband to do. He is not as adventurist as I am, and at first when I saw the man selling tickets for the parasailing my husband told me no. I was really disappointed, and I was afraid this trip was going to be another Paris trip where Jimmy’s heart was not in it. Jimmy saw the look in my eyes and how disappointed I looked, and without me saying a word he called to the guy and next thing I know we are being hooked up in a two person suit. I will never forget Jimmy’s first words as we ran with the string from the boat pulling us up from the beach. “Marie what did you get me into.” He was not happy. But once we were sailing in the sky and he saw how beautiful the worldn looked below him, he changed his mind and told me thank you. This started a whole new trend for him on this little weekend getaway.
We found an apple tour guide and decided to take a tour for both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we went to Chimuch, a journey back in time with the Mayan village. We saw how the sad the people lived and had to pay Paso’s to use a toilet that flushed. We hiked in the forest, swam in an underground cavern called a Chimuch Cave where the water was crystal clear.We experienced rappelling, zip lining, kayaking, and ate a typical Mayan lunch. Next we went to Coba and rode bikes to the second highest temple in the Yucatan Peninsula, and climbed up the ancient ruins.
This was a day I would never forget. I call it being at the right place at the right time. We were standing with Mayan people that talk Spanish and some white people like us in a forest where there was a cliff at least fifty feet if not more tall so that we could do our rappelling and zip lining. I remember asking the tour guide if they had a 911 system and how it works and he just laughed at me and said no. I asked him if they had ambulances and he laughed again asking all of us in the van if we were ready for an adrenalin rush.
All of a sudden a mother started yelling, “Help, my child! Help, my child!” over and over again. I ran to the end of the cliff and below was a small child, maybe five years old lying face down at the bottom.
I tried to tell anyone and everyone who was listening I was a medic and that I needed to get down there. No one understood what I was saying so the father of the child yelled that I was a nurse before the men lead me the way down the old steep stone stairs to the child.
As I got closer to the child my guide actually took me by the shoulder and picked me up and told me I had to go back up that too many people were down there. The father screamed “She’s a nurse,” again, before the guide would let me pass. The father ran with me to the small child laying so still in the only small patch of grass there. As I reached the child I felt his neck, and yes there was a pulse. Next the child started to cry. I was so happy to hear that sound. I held C-spine and started barking out orders to these men standing around me. I was a little scared as I watched some blood running on the ground by the child’s head.
I yelled that I needed something straight to lay the child on and they found a long board. The father and I very carefully rolled the child around, setting the child on the board and all I could see were big brown eyes peering up at me and a loud scream. The child had a huge laceration to his head but everything else seemed alright. I barked out orders again telling the men I needed soft to put to each side of his face to keep his face in position and the men took of their shirts for me to roll up. I told them I needed to strap the boy down and the men took off their belts.
Carefully the men picked up the board with the child strapped on it and brought the child up the steep slippery rock steps. The child was doing well. He would look at me and cry and squeeze my hands and push his feet any time I asked.
The guide was correct in laughing at me I guess when I asked about an ambulance. They did not have one. So now we had to figure out how we were going to bring this child to a hospital that was far away.
Someone with a hatch back volunteered to bring the boy and his parents to the hospital so the board was laid into the car sticking out the back. We got a call later that day stating that the boy was alright after all.
I do believe in angles because to the right of this child was a pond of water and to the left of this child were huge rocks. There were trees all around him, yet he fell in the only little patch of grass there was.
Ha Ha and I said I wasn’t going to write today. Well I can’t promise I will write tomorrow but I will try. This is all for today. Remember that God is watching you ALWAYS. P.S. these are the pictures of the place where the child fell.
I am sorry
Good morning everyone,
I probably won’t be blogging to much this week, and I want to apologize ahead of time. This is a very special and busy week. My oldest grandbaby is turning sixteen years old on the twenty-sixth and my daughter Jennifer is having a real big formal party for her on Saturday. I mean we have to actually get all dressed up with the men in suits and women in formal dresses. What an exciting few days ahead of us.
This is also an uncomfortable week for my son in law, because Jenny paid for Adias’s real dad and his mother to come into town and enjoy the party. He doesn’t understand why they have to be here.
This is one of the things that are hard on marriages. If you get married and you have children from someone else this can be hard for the two of you, because the other person will have to always be in your life. There seems to be a competition going on, with the other spouse confused as to what their role is in the life of the child they are now parenting.
In Jenny’s case she wasn’t married before, she just had a baby in high school, yet her husband feels betrayed and confused when the other man’s name is mentioned or he calls his daughter. It isn’t right or wrong, this is a natural response. I guess the other spouse has to have faith and try to put on the shoes of the other parent.
We are busy, busy, and busy with all kind of chores to do for this big event. I am babysitting my grandbabies and I have Carol here, Adias’s grandmother from Oklahoma and I am hoping to make her
feel comfortable in our home. We have to do the women things like get our hair done and get manicures. We have to fix the hall on Saturday before this big party and my husband has a lot of cooking to do for this.
So if I get a chance to blog this week I will but I am just telling you in advance it may not be until Monday before I can blog again. Thank you for reading this and have a great day!!!!!
Pg 32 - My Life
Good morning and welcome back to my romance blog. Just and FYI I do have my newest book Rosemary & Antonio for free on Amazon. I am trying to get my book out there for others to see and hopefully get some reviews on it. So if you are interested it would be greatly appreciated.
Marriage is one of the toughest jobs you will ever encounter. So many factors tribute to why marriages fail. Some it is money. We have had our share of bad times when I would be counting pennies for a gallon of milk. I remember one time when I use to keep any change we get back in this bottle and had to empty it so I could pay the electric bill. Some fail because of children. Our children take a lot of our time and we don’t give our spouses as much of our time as we use to. It is hard to find the time to be romantic, or just go out on a date. We forget that the kids didn’t ask to be born and now you have to change the way you live with a new role of responsibility. One of my hard parts with my husband was the fact he didn’t like to change dirty diapers and he would let the kids sit in them if he thought I would be home soon. Another reason for divorce is our differences with each other. My husband and I are very different people and one of the biggest things for me was the fact he was not as outgoing as he seemed when we first got together. Although he loved that I was so free spirited and alive this also drove him nuts especially in the morning when I am awake the fullest and he likes to wake up slow. Of course marriage infidelity is a big one. We did go through that one with Jimmy having an affair and I did my part by kissing another man. Even the struggles of taking care of someone who needs more help than you realized. Taking care of Grandpa Joe was a lot harder than we anticipated. We would argue because I thought that Jimmy was a lot harder on him than he should be at times.
With this said I guess I am saying love is a choice again. We chose to stick it out and be as one to get through all the trials that were handed to us. At the same time we were rewarded. I guess a reward is different for many people. Our reward was the love from our children, watching them grow, being involved in their lives. I also take it a reward as the opportunity to take care of Grandpa Joe to his final day.
I tried my hardest to make life at my father in laws house fun. June rolled around and Jessica was back with us so now I had two of my children living with us. This house only had three bedrooms and Gina’s was very small so in the formal dining room we moved the table out and made it a bedroom for Jessica. My girl friend from high school, Lynn came over a lot to see me also. We took walks together and she would sometimes just sit at the house with me as I watched Grandpa Joe.
Dad was now at the daycare five days a week for four hours a day. I was working two midnights a week. I had to make the summer count now that I was back in Chicago. So we took little trips, sometimes taking Grandpa Joe and sometimes in the four hours he would be at the day care. We took him to the Decatur Fair, and to picnics around at the park by the house. We took him to Adias soft ball games.
Sometimes just Jessica, Gina, Adias , Lynn and I would tour Chicago for a couple of hours while he was at the daycare. We would go one day to China Town, or one day to Old Town. We went to the zoo, and Navy Pier. We spent time at the beach and the museums. I was in heaven again, because I love Chicago and I felt like I was giving the couple of kids at home some great memories.
In July Erik and Betsy planned on getting married. Yep number two in my family. So of course Kristina came down for the wedding which gave me the perfect opportunity to give her a baby shower with all the relatives. Plus Grandpa Joe seemed to love to hold this tiny baby. I know you think I must sound funny, but since we have lived so far away for so long it just felt so good to have a reason to have all the great Aunts and cousins over. Grandpa Joe’s house was full of women again and I was having fun decorating, cooking and showing off my second grandchild.
Finally July 19, 2003 Erik and Betsy got married. The sad part of this wedding is the fact I could not bring Grandpa Joe with us. My sister in law came over to stay with him as we went to Decatur for a couple of days for this wonderful event. I know it was sad also for my son to have only one set of grandparents at his wedding, but he also understood why Grandpa Joe could not come. There is no way with his Alzheimer’s that we could take care of him in a hotel room and at a wedding. Plus the fact I was the
photographer which kept me very busy. The wedding was beautiful, and a lot of the relatives from Wisconsin showed up since it wasn’t too bad of a drive for them, including my Grandma Clara Ricci which is their Great Grandma. What an honor to have her show up for this festive occasion.
During this time dad has had some major changes. First he doesn’t stand still anymore. He has the
need to rock back and forth from one foot to the other. He seems to have the need to ask permission now to go anywhere around the house. He asks to go on car rides but shortly after we are gone he will say “To far, take me home.” So he is getting a little more impatient. He is constantly forgetting what he is
doing or where he is going. He will tell me he has to go to the bathroom but walk into his bedroom before going back to his chair. He does not want to bath anymore. So now I am taking on the job of bathing him, and he is real impatient about baths, yelling at me “hurry up” or “that’s enough.” He continues to walk from the front door down the drive way to the mail box and then back to the house. It is so hard to see him like this.
Well I hope you are all having a great day and will blog soon. Take care, LIVE, LOVE & LAUGH. You only get one chance.
Pg 31 - My Life
Good Saturday to you all. I am so excited this morning. I remember telling you that I published another book called Rosemary & Antonio. Well I put it on Amazon and their promotion for the next 5 days a person can get it for free. I checked the ratings and it looks like I have given away 70 books so far with the ratings of 2,427 in the free kindle store and #62 in kindle store fiction historical romances. I am so excited. I know you probably think I am crazy, why give a book away for free? I just want to see if people
will read what I wrote. My books are going slowly and a lot of that is because I don’t have the money to really advertise. So maybe if they like what they read they will purchase my other books, just a thought. Anyway I am excited to see these books go. Well on with my story.
We had a good Christmas and most of my kids had to leave after our trip to the museum. I decided to have a big family get together with all the relatives like they do with the family Gaeta picnics. Jimmy and I were busy cooking and baking and on December 27 we had everyone over. It was great to see everyone, especially since we had been gone again for a while and missed some more of the family picnics. Dad sort of stayed in the shadows. People would go up to him and say hi. I could tell he didn’t really recognize all of them, which broke my heart. There was so much noise and laughter in the house and I was hoping we weren’t scaring him. When I finally found him sitting quietly in his chair with a dazed look on his face I decided that we should do karaoke. Dad got up and had fun with that. He didn’t sing but he danced so one of my kids would sing and me and dad danced the night away.
January finally arrived and it was Jessica’s birthday. She hadn’t gone back to school yet. My life was so different now, and no one really around. I found that people were avoiding us, because they didn’t like to see dad with his Alzheimer’s so I brought Jessica to a restaurant with Grandpa Joe for her birthday. I whispered to the waitress that it was Jessica’s birthday, so after we ate the waitresses came over to our table with a balloon and ice cream and sang happy birthday to her. Dad was charming and flirted with the waitresses. This was one of those times you could not tell he had Alzheimer’s and I knew I had to treasure this moment because once dusk came, the bewitching hour dad would be lost again. I was missing my parties that I love to throw for birthdays so I got sneaky and for Jimmy’s fiftieth birthday I planned a big surprise party for him at a place called The Wild Olive. One of Jimmy’s cousins’s owned the bar and he reserved a room for me. I passed out invitations to the relatives again and to his co-workers and to my surprise a lot of them showed up. I decorated the room and had a huge birthday cake plus I had the food catered. We had a lot of fun talking, dancing and playing pool. But the best part was when my father in law decided to take me into the main bar and dance with me on the dance floor. He still knew how to do the two step and twirled me around all over the floor. He looked so happy at that moment in time.
I was at least once a month taking trips with my father in law to see his sisters in laws and having lunch with them. Aunt Ann, Aunt Yolanda, Grandpa Joe, and I would first go to the nursing home to see Aunt Betty, and then go on to lunch. They all seemed to treasure these little field trips plus I love those ladies so much. It was just an excuse for me to get to know them even better.
I tried to keep dad busy, with strolls in the mall or at the park. One afternoon Jimmy and I picked up Aunt Ann and took her to the park with us. Dad really enjoyed walking around this excursion with Aunty Ann. I also put dad in a new day care that was closer to the house. It was only the second day he was there that I found the front door locked to the facility. It seems that dad would wonder out of there so they had to lock the door to keep him safe.
I remember one time in February when I got a phone call from Regina. Jimmy and I both were working but I was getting off and dad was supposed to be sleeping along with Gina. Gina called saying that Grandpa had been up since 5am and mad at her because she won’t call the bus company. I kept her on the phone until I got home and then I proceeded to take care of dad. I got his coffee ready for him but he was so upset. He ranted on that the bus just left and there are no more drivers! A woman is waiting for the bus. I had no idea what he was talking about which made him more angry with me. Finally he accused me of getting him fired from his job. Sometimes dealing with life was pretty difficult. I had to comfort Gina also who was upset with Grandpa and his accusations.
March came and it was time for Regina’s sixteenth birthday. I wasn’t sure how to make it special for her, after all none of her siblings were living with us or around us. We asked her what she wanted and her reply was she wanted to spend it with her best friend Lindsey from Oklahoma and go to a Bulls game. So that is what we did. We flew in her girlfriend and Jimmy got them matching shirts and hats and the three of them enjoyed the Bulls game together. I couldn’t go because I had to watch dad, but then I am not really into sports, except when my kids played them.
In April I decided to plan a special wedding shower for Betsy, my Erik’s fiancée. This was actually the first time I was at home where relatives live to have a big shower like this. Well plus that fact that this was only the second wedding in our family and we didn’t live by Kristina when she got engaged. So it was planned and a lot of the women showed up along with Betsy’s mother. My father in law looked a little loss with all these women around. I really tried hard to keep a normal life while taking care of dad without upsetting him to much or getting him off his routine too much. The older women, my Aunt Anne, Aunt Yolanda, and his sister Aunt Mary kept conversation with him and that really helped.
On May 23, my newest grandchild was born. Damien Michael Morris to my oldest daughter Kristina and her husband Arin. Of course I had to take a trip to see all of them leaving Jimmy and Regina to take care of Grandpa Joe. Jenny was still living in Oklahoma so I got to see her and Adias also. I forgot how wonderful it was to hold such a small and precious child again. My mother instincts kicked up and of course the empty nest syndrome hit me again when I had to go back home.
I decided to volunteer at the day care center so I brought in my beauty supplies and would do some of the women’s hair for free. I really missed doing hair and this was so much fun to see their smiling faces as I showed them how pretty they looked when I finished. I also got to do a sneak preview on what dad does when he is there. To my surprise he has a nick name of Smoky Joe, and no he does not smoke. Only he doesn’t recognize any of them so he smiles and waves when they say hi. After being there for maybe an hour and a half he gets his coat on waiting to go home. They try to get him interested in their games or exercising or even painting but it is no use. He will listen to the reading of the news paper and than just fall asleep. That really broke my heart, but I still brought him there five days a week for four hours to give myself a break.
Well I think that is enough for today. I hope you all have a great weekend. Keep smiling and counting your blessings.
Pg 30 - My Life
Happy Friday to all of you. It is hard to go to work and still be under the weather. I just can’t seem to kick this cold, flu whatever it is I got. My ambulance was pretty slow all day, so I did my blogging and I am almost done with an afghan that I am making a friend. At around eight forty five pm I decided to close my eyes just in case we would be up all night. But the tones went off at nine pm and we were up all night doing calls. So needless to say, I am exhausted. I did sleep for three hours when I got home, but how am I suppose to get rid of this cold without the right kind of sleep. I am looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight before going in again in the morning for another twenty-four hours. So on with my story.
Alzheimer’s is a very strange and disturbing disease. This disease takes the mind of the loved one you know and love and slowly melts it away so that soon they don’t remember anything. Just like in a twilight zone movie they are lost. I was still under the impression I could help bring dad back. So I did things like take out the photo albums and have him tell me who the people were in them. The sad part to this experiment is whenever he saw a picture of his wife he would ask me where she was and why did she leave him. I tried my hardest to remind him that she died and that they were very happy together. I would question him making him tell me his name and birthday, which I found he could tell me his birthday but not how old he was. Then he said something profound, he said that sometimes he does not know who he is.
Dad was lost in his head, and my name now was Lady to him. Hey Lady, he would say, give me the phone so that I could call my son. That would break Jimmy’s heart. Oh yea, Jimmy was working full time now and I went part time. I tried to put dad on a schedule so maybe that would help him. He didn’t want to take a bath so I would trick him by telling him that I just finished my bath and drew up water for him. He couldn’t understand that if he fought in WWII and they didn’t make him bathe, so why should I make him. This disease was progressing so fast he even forgot he was now in his own home. He would tell me that he was sorry he was working so late and could he stay the night and go home in the morning. Sometimes dad would argue with us, telling us that we were stealing his money or why are we putting him in jail.
I could see the reason Jimmy and I had to resolve our problems and we did. We needed to be strong for each other as we took care of his dad. It hurt to see Jimmy upset when dad would be in his sun downing moods, and not very nice to us. I needed to comfort dad, get him in his p j’s and put him to bed with a kiss on the forehead, then I needed to comfort Jimmy because of his little patience with his father, he would be so down on himself.
I did find that life was really a learning lesson taking care of dad. I would find myself short tempered with him sometimes also and would get discouraged. I ran and prayed daily and finally decided that dad needed to go to a day care center for adults. Yep, there really is such a thing. I called the faculty in the phone book and made an appointment. I figured that maybe he needed to be with some people his age sometimes and I could use a little break to sleep, clean or even just read. The idea was for dad to be gone for two afternoons a week. They would be the days I got off my midnight shift so that I could sleep. It only took a couple of times at the day care before I saw another side of this disease. Dad was now showing physical violence. He yelled at the day care workers and when I went to pick him up he would not let me put his coat on him. He simply didn’t recognize me and yelled “No you are not taking me back
to Germany. You are all Nazi’s. You are all trying to kill me.” It took me and two other people to get dad in the car and dad was kicking and swearing.
Well Christmas couldn’t get here fast enough. My friend Evett and her kids came up for a visit and helped trim our Christmas tree. All my kids came into town, and I really needed the feeling of family and children and not to have an empty nest for a few days. I found I was missing my younger life when my kids were small and dependent on me. I missed the laughter, the noise and the cuddling. Christmas Eve was great going to Aunt Mary’s house like we had been doing for the last couple of years. Christmas day was even more fun with all the kids in this small house opening gifts. Even dad seemed to enjoy himself. Oh yea, that is when I found out my oldest daughter was going to have a baby making me a grandmother again.
I love the museums in Chicago and so before they all had to leave to go back to their own lives, we ventured to the Museum of Science and Industry. Of course we took dad with us, and it was cute watching my kids take turns pushing dad in his wheel chair. This was a learning experience for my kids also as they watched this disease take their grandfather away from them.
OK that is enough for today. I know you are wondering how I call this a romantic blog. I am telling my life and it has to do with all kinds of love and how love is a choice. Have a great day. Remember to love with
your whole heart. Don’t put off telling someone you love them today.
Pg 29 - My Life
Good day to you all. Sorry but I have been under the weather the last few days so I will try and catch up today. Hope you are doing well. On with my story.
This was one of the hardest moves I have ever made. Kristina was married living in Oklahoma. Jennifer took off with Adias to Oklahoma. Erik got an apartment because he was in love and wasn’t going to let Betsy out of his sight. Jessica decided to go to Maryland for college so she could be near Zack. Regina was still in high school so she didn’t have a choice but to come with us.
I finally found out what empty nest was for a mother of five to have all of them but one leave in a single day. I was having trouble handling this. But we had no choice. We had to take care of dad, or I guess we could put him in a nursing home, but that idea was not registering in my head.
We drove to Palos Heights, Illinois to his house. Joanne had a truck in the driveway taking out her belongings and we were putting in ours. Grandpa Joe was so confused. We took out dad’s
refrigerator and put in ours. We had boxes all over the house. Dad was sneaking around the corners trying to figure out what was going on. I mean when we first got there we said hi to dad and told him we were moving in but I am not sure he really understood what we were telling him.
Finally he walked around all the boxes and asked me what we were doing with his stuff. He said that he put his hard work and sweat into this place and now we were packing him up. I tried to explain to him that we were moving in and Jimmy opened the boxes to show him that the stuff in side was not his. This was the first time for me to see him so confused and it hurt to see this man who taught me so much of life appear so helpless.
The next day we were busy cleaning out kitchen cabinets and closets. Some of the old dishes that were in the family for years I boxed up for my kids to keep as a reminder of their grandparents. Dad just watched me, and seemed pretty confused with all my hustle around his kitchen.
Dad had his own room so Jimmy and I made mom’s old room ours and the third bedroom we painted and fixed for Gina hoping to make her feel at home in her grandparents house. My task was to help Regina have a normal life in high school while trying to take care of dad with his Alzheimer’s.
We also made a doctor’s appointment for him at the VA which was an adventure in itself. He did not want to go. This man never went to see doctors except when he was in the army so why now. He was upset in the car asking us why we were bringing him to an old people’s home but was polite to the nurses and doctor when we finally arrived.
Mean while my niece Becky and her son and Nicole came to visit me. We explored Navy Pier and had such a great time in the city of Chicago. Jimmy and I were looking for jobs and Regina was back in high school.
I made plans to go to lunch with Aunty Ann and Aunt Yolanda. They were my mother in law’s sisters and great friends of my father in law. So that morning when dad was getting ready Jimmy had to help dad shave. It seemed that dad was using the wrong side of the razor as he tried to get the beard off his face. Dad kept asking me over and over again where we are going like a child. I think this was the first time we really could see that dementia had taken over his mind. He was just so confused.
As I drove to get the aunts, we were in a traffic jam, and dad was impatient wanting me to drive on the shoulder of the road. He had been a truck driver all his life so I was pretty sure this was aggravating him to have me chauffer him around. Dad looked as cute as he let the two women hold each of his arms as we entered the restaurant and after wards we went to the nursing home to see Aunt Betty. I decided that
one of my jobs while living here was to let the four of them get together as much as possible. We had a good time but the sad part was by the time we got home dad completely forgot where we had been.
I decided that I was going to take dad out more often; maybe his mind would come back to him. Yes sometimes I am really naïve. So I took dad to the Lincoln Park Zoo in down town Chicago. It was such
a pretty day but I am not sure that dad thought it was such a good idea like I did. He complained all the way there, and after I put him in the wheel chair to push him around he still wasn’t real happy. It wasn’t until I bought him lunch that he settled down. I than took him across Lake Shore Drive and we strolled down to the beach and walked along listening to the seagulls. It was a pleasant day, one that I will
always remember but I am afraid that one he forgot by the time we got back home.
I found my new job of taking care of dad was going to be a lot harder than I thought. Neither of us was ready for his confusion. For instant Jimmy bought him an electric shaver since he was having trouble with the other kind, plus putting a rash on his face. But dad kept constantly misplacing it. So we bought another one and hid it. When he would lose one we would bring out the other one and go on a man hunt for the first one. Plus one time we went to the store and when we came back we found my father in law in the bathroom, he had the top of the toilet tank off and water and feces were on the bathroom floor and in the sink. He was frustrated telling us that he was fixing the toilet. To see my father in law so confused broke our heart. This man could do anything. In fact when we first got married he built an apartment in the basement of his house for us to live in the first year. And this house he owns now, really needed a lot of work and he did it all himself.
I finally found a job at Trace Ambulance. This meant Jimmy was going to have to watch dad full time. What a hard job for Jimmy. He found he didn’t have the patience that he needed to take care of dad. So the hunt was on for Jimmy to quickly find a full time job so that I could go part time and do more of the caring for dad.
My son Erik and his girlfriend which was now his fiancé came to visit us and we toured the John Hancock
Building. My girlfriend Evett and her boys came for a visit with a tour of The Science and Industry museum. I needed little excursions like that because I was really missing my kids and I was driving my poor Regina nuts. I just wanted her company all the time.
The holidays rolled around with Thanksgiving at dad’s house. Jimmy was busing cooking the Turkey with Joanne and her daughter, Melissa and my Erik, plus Cousin Colleen came for the evening. Dad had a good time eating, listening to the conversation and letting us know that this was his house we were in. It was like he was reminding himself where he was at.
Well I think I will finish for today. Remember that to the world you may be just one person but sometimes to just one person you may be their world. Take care.
I am the Author
a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and still believe in the power of love &