Wednesday, December 06, 2017


My sweet friend Barbara, who, among her many talents is a skilled hairdresser, came over to my parents' house and gave my mom a new haircut! Doesn't Mom look pretty? I think a little beauty pampering was just what she needed to cheer her up a bit.

And here's one from last week, with Kali & Mom napping together.

And just to show how crazy exciting things get around here, here's one from today...
(Note Kali's sneer!)

This morning we went to consult with a doctor who does palliative radiation, and he thinks a short course (a week or so) may help decrease Mom's pain. So, worth a try.
After the consultation Dad went off to spend the day volunteering at the greenhouse at Reynolda Gardens and Mom hung out with me. We watched a cooking sort of show and then I read "Understood Betsy."

Oh, and last Sunday was the Community Christmas Concert. It's an event I enjoy every year, and this year I'd mentioned wanting to go to Ed, but then all the bounce was gone from my bungee and I didn't feel up to it. But he said we should go anyway, so we did. And it was Exactly What I Needed. Just lovely. I'm so lucky to have Ed.

Happy December!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

Well, my brother and his wife left yesterday afternoon (his daughter had to leave Thanksgiving, after dessert, as the store where she is employed required her on Friday), so the house now seems very quiet. We're still finding the odd bits and slices of leftovers in the fridge but, as the priest reminded us in church today, next Sunday is the first of Advent. Before we move along, though, I wanted to take another look back at our holiday week!

(My brother and his sweet wife. That "newlywed" thing hasn't worn off -- they're pretty darned cute!)

(Ed and his bird.)

(Watching the parade)

(Me, trimming beans)
(Finn. He says beans are not nearly as good as turkey, but much better than celery.)

(Katie, trimming beans. She actually did other things too.)

(Daddy took us out to Pirate's Landing.)

We watched Casablanca. Still a great movie.

My brother brought his guitar. Ed has fallen out of the habit of practicing and my brother gave him some tips to get him back on track.

 (Finny loves Mabel SO much.) 

Ed signed on to do the shopping (and wrapping) for our church for three children who were in need of presents. Those are three lucky children, as Ed is a fine shopper, and it was nice for him to revisit the toy aisles! Two children in the family will get battery powered motorbikes, and Ed charged the batteries for them. Livy was interested!

Finn has now loved Mabel all to bits. Silly pup.

I went over to my parents' house on Friday and Saturday to be part of the discussions with the various members of the hospice team who visited to sign my mom up for their services and help us get started. They are all warm, kind people, and I'm deeply grateful for the services they are going to be providing, but the discussions were hard. My mom is smart and put all her wishes regarding her final illness, pain management, and death in writing, so it's all pretty clear, but I still felt utterly heartless having these clinical conversations, with the health professional who be involved, in front of my poor, wordless mother. All the various interventions they would not be implementing, the final arrangements, etc. A couple years back our church had a "class" where we were supposed to start planning our own funeral services -- the readings we'd like, favorite hymns, songs for the wake, and so on -- and it seemed rather jolly. This was not like that. Ed and I have been saying for quite a while that we need to put together directives for our final days, but now it appears a more daunting project. What seemed in my mom's directive, back when I read it several years ago, to be rational and reasonable now is actually determining the "saving" actions her care team will Not be providing. And I think she made good choices. In fact, I might easily copy her directives word for word -- it's a good plan. But it's still hard to accept the reality of it. Still, she's handling it with the courage she's always shown, and I guess our part is to buck up and fill her remaining time with love and cheerfulness, pies, good books, and beautiful music. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Family is Visiting

My little brother and his lovely wife and one of his lovely daughters are here! They are excellent company, and my mom really seems happy they are here.

I went for a nice little walk with them yesterday at Stone Mountain, and they're back again there today! (And today the skies are bright and gorgeous blue, though it's still too cold.)

(I especially love this last picture. Fifty-three years of love and happy companionship.)

Yesterday, Tuesday, my brother went with us to see the oncologist, following Monday's PET scan. No surprises, but the news, now that all the relevant information is in, is still devastating. The oncologist is very kind and sympathetic, though, and she is very impressed with the experience and qualifications of Mom's new primary care doctor, who has expensive experience in hospice and palliative care. They are going to consult and get things moving to get Mom in hospice care, which, they say, will provide home health people, nurses, a doctor, and any medical equipment we might need down the road. The cancer is horrible (as the CAT indicated, the PET shows that it's in her right lung and a couple spots in the spine now), but at least she is being cared for by caring, competent people. And my dad is revealing levels of gentleness and patience in his care for her that, I think, surprise even him.

Here are a few other recent pictures...

(Mom watching me cook. She was, up until just the last couple years, an absolutely Brilliant cook and baker, and I always feel a little silly cooking in front of her. I suspect that she's thinking, "Why didn't she pay better attention when I showed her how to do that?" And she's right!)

Finn, waiting to catch a treat. He's getting a bit better at catching!

Happy lap dog.

And a few from dinner last night...

And then some gratuitous Finn and Livy pictures! (Ed says I never post pictures of Livy. But here they are, honey!)