Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why can't we hold onto a moment?......

It has been an up and down kind of week..

I have been cleaning out my moms things..and the more i find..the more grateful i am that there is so much for me to go thru..

I have found my mom in the pages of her daily diaries...from when she was 12 til when she was 90...there is so much...

i have found her in the notes she saved..and the things she wrote...the smell of her perfume...and the piles of scrapbooks that she saved ...
i have really grown to admire my mom so much more while going thru her things...and at times, i fall under the...why did she have to ...i am so glad she didnt have to live as a blind and deaf woman....this was the direction she was quickly heading to...

in the past few months, my mother lost all the sight in her left eye...and her right eye was at 50%. in the hospital she didnt want to read, or watch tv, or listen to anything..she was tired and she couldnt see and her hearing was failing as fact i didnt even bring her flowers...the first time, because she couldnt see them, or smell she was sleeping, she was just waiting for the end.

it is a very hard thing for a daughter to accept...

but as i read all her writings...her missing my dad...her joy of life...and her completely full life...her love of being a wife, a mother, a grandmother..... until only this past year when she was getting weaker and weaker....

i slowly am accepting this...

it is so let say this is final... final...oh i can barely say this word....i find this all so hard..

it is so painful for me too, to let go of the past, those sweet memories of youth...when everything was young...and wonderfully alive......why cant we hold onto time?


Monday, January 26, 2009

mom's secrets & love letters from old boyfriends

So I found her old love letters in the attic...
and last night I began to read them...

one of the admirers was a man named Vinny...or Vince..
as he would call himself with her..

anyhow..I met this man Many years later...when my mother and father were older...and he would come and visit..and he even became a friend of my dads..

so I had just assumed that this was a no big deal relationship...


i found love letters dating back 3 years....sooo funny...
plus others from another guy at the same time...

seemed my dad was the only one that could catch this girl!
anyhow..a few years ago...Vinny had died and mom had been best friends of his family and was still in touch with his sister...
so of course we drove to racine to go to the funeral.  mom forgot the time of the we actually arrived an hour ahead of we sat with the family...

well, when the funeral began...everyone came over to give their condolences..and i found myself shaking everyones hand..(they were sure we were with the family) dad was no longer alive at  this time..and i was sure he was really chuckling at this point...(grateful he didnt get roped into this)

anyhow..we were even invited to the family dinner afterward...

i thought at the time that was pretty strange and mom and i had a real laugh about it...

but she never told me about the 200+ love letters she had in the attic from this guy!!

oh the things we dont know about our parents....


Sunday, January 25, 2009

This was my Christmas Decor this past December..the theme was peacock..and before my mom died, I told her all about it..
everytime i found something...i would let her know..
until the day she died..she said to me..
"i think i am going to have to skip christmas this year"

that is when i knew she was going to die...really...
i cried..

so when christmas came around only a few weeks after my mom died..i had to decorate with the peacocks..i had told her all about it.. is the end of january..and we just got around to taking down the peacock tree. the end of the decorations left tonight...and i was so sad....

a peacock is supposed to mean a celebration of life.....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Birth & Dying & Foreshadowing Life

Today, I sat with my youngest daughter and talked about Frannie and her death..
I told her that the thing that surprised me the most while being with her during the dying process was that it was so similar to birth.

I remember labor..the stages...first there is the time your body is getting ready for labor and this might take weeks, then  you get into mild labor, and active labor, and then you pass the point of no return and go into transition, knowing that the baby will be born any moment. It is the most intense part..and then you give birth not long after.

Being with my mom when she was dying, I was surprised how much dying reminded me of birth...the weeks (and even months) before I watched her sleep alot and things seemed to slow down, she became less and less interested in things around her. Then she switched into active dying, when we could tell that she wouldn't  be  around much longer it became harder and harder for her to breath, harder and harder for her to live.....and then right before death, she switched over to almost a transition like behaviour..where the body is actively shutting down yet there was a battle that she went through in her body..while her spirit fought and her body fought....and not long after that .. she breathed  her last breath...........

I think that God is a great foreshadower, like a great writer..He shows the storyline of life and death all around coming out of death...thru all aspects of nature...

That brings me hope...when you look at death is sad ..but when you look at the foreshadowing of a Great have hope...for new life... breathing a last find new life ......


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Today was the attic day...
cleaning out moms house and we went into the attic and pulled down all the boxes..

if I didnt have my daughter and her friend there..i am sure i would have spent hours pouring over the books and papers i found many memories..
from my baby toys to a lamp i had when i was a old decorations...moms wedding dress and more....

then i opened one box and found all her old dresses...those from the 40s, 50s and 60s...and i found this old dress...her silk dress that she wore for this photos...when  i was a little girl, i thought she was so beautiful..and this dress was my favorite of all...

been a hard day..i find myself distracted..hard to concentrate on life...
i need to take some time with my has been 6 weeks....and i miss my mom.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stardust & the Innaguration

Today was an incredible day for millions of people have commented on all day many people watched tv...watching the America we once knew..change..and grow.. a great day...a day of hope for the future.

i remembered my mom and dad, who voted in every election since they were young. who volunteered as precinct captains and who loved being active politically. the only year Frannie did not vote, was this past year, November 2008. she was in the hospital, and unable to get out and vote. she had decided that she wanted to vote for Obama, she thought it was time for America. she had seen all the changes throughout the years...and felt it was time to give an African American a chance.
a bold statement for a white woman raised in middle america, in her age bracket.

I thought of how many time, in the last few weeks of her life, that she asked when the innaguration would be...she was loosing track of time..and thought we were ready for january to be here...she was interested in life throughout her life.... she would have loved today.....

My daughter and I watched Tv all day..the innaguration, the parade, the commentators..all of it...and then we were looking forward to the Innagural balls....and it was while I was watching michelle and barack dance to "At Last"at 10 different innagural balls, realizing that it must have be "their" song...that i got choked up...and struggled missing my mom again....

Because watching michelle and barack dance to this song, reminded me of my mother and father dancing to their song "Stardust". At any event, all through my growing up years, they would dance to that song. When my father put on his business conventions, my brother or I would always secretly go to the band director and ask them to play "Stardust". It always represented my mother and father. It was a song that they danced to when they began to date in college...and they loved to dance..and they danced to it throughout their almost 60 years of marriage.

One time, when mom and dad were quite old, we were in Jerusalem at a hotel, and when we walked into the lobby and the piano player was playing "stardust" ...and in the middle of the lobby, this couple of 58 years of marriage began to dance cheek to cheek. It was a magical moment.

At my dad's funeral, we played stardust...and last December, I sang it to mom when she was dying and at her funeral, we played it one last time.

it was at mom's funeral that i really listened to the lyrics and found out what a sad and haunting song it really was...that it really didn't speak of young love...but instead of old that lasted and now was gone...but there would always be the memory of it...

And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we're apart
You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by
Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song
Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love's refrain

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fran's lesson of true treasure....

Today, I went thru my moms house. This will definately take some time. she hung on to everything...but the thing that stands out the most was that all cards and notes really meant alot to her. She valued people, definately not things. most of her things are broken or in disrepair, but all her cards and notes were kept near her table or what she would use as a desk in her later years. She ate there, did her pills there, did her bills there, wrote letters there. it was always quite a mess when we came over and we always wanted to clean it up.

She didn't like anyone messing with her things..and poohpoohed us. Chasing us away if we lifted or changed anything that she had out. She also kept every little thing that my kids ever made her. everything...and not only did she keep them, she displayed them. it didnt matter that my children are now adults themselves...she still kept these things and displayed them as proudly as she did when 4 year old hands gave them to her.

so many things that we could throw out, should throw out..but how can we?

she also saved every single christmas card ever given to her...and the handmade ones she displayed and used for decorations every year. and she took pictures of how she put them out, so she wouldnt forget anyone..ever..or anything they gave her and that they would see how much she cared about the things they made her.

then i came upon my mommas 50th wedding anniversary cards. 18 years ago. she kept this bag near her desk as well, and when i looked through them, my heart grew sad...almost half of people who gave her cards were now dead. she had lost most of her friends...and it was clear to see why she saved everything and displayed everything..holding on to what was precious to her...her own treasures.. her friends...people who she cared for and who cared for her...

not a life built on things...but on people.

oh many lessons for me to learn...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

a toast to you momma

my daughter and i went to a movie today and it was really nice. but as i was getting up to leave, i saw all the older women with their walkers sitting where just months before my mom and i sat. for no reason and yet for all the reasons in the world, i began to just cry.

later in the evening my daughter and i sat to watch desperate housewives, the 1ooth episode and they made a complete departure from the story line and proceeded to talk about someone who was in all their lives that they barely even thought about and one by one they realized what a huge impact that person had on all of them.

then i came upstairs..and just like desperate housewives..felt like toasting my mother..someone i didnt realize what a huge impact her loss in my life would be. for you mom...thank you...a toast to you...


Saturday, January 17, 2009

the senior living center without my mom

went to the Senior center today...taught the class on making many older people who are so used to death they thought i should be "over it" by now.

over it? this is my is it possible to be over her death? i miss her so much and going to where she lived last was painful... i longed to go back to the house she lived in before she moved there. the place i still feel her warm embrace...but i spent the hour and a half and went to the senior living center..said hi to the staff and felt USED. are they kidding? why would i want to come back as tho there is a place for me there...

i embraced the elderly thing when my mother was there..i was involved...was committed to seeing the people..but has been a month and i think it is not time..not now..not there...but the women who were there for the class were kind and warm..and i was happy and sweet and kind as well..but inside i felt quite sad...and came home with a stomach ache.

i think that is from the hidden feelings...

i miss frannie...i miss my momma


Friday, January 16, 2009

Going back to the senior living center...

Frannie was a fun person..always had alot of friends and loads of activities. She was a starter...she was even voted woman of the year. She was president of her woman's club and started so many other clubs in her community. She was Active with a large A.
So when she turned 91, her body was not as active as her mind, and as the daughter along with my brother, we had to make the call and get her into a Senior living center. The kind that you have your own apartment, and someone to make sure you take your pills, and a place where everyone eats.
She hated it. She was mad and angry..but at 108lbs and 5ft 8" she had to be cared for. And she would not allow anyone to live with her, and she would not live with either of us. She was stubborn and angry. Angrier than I ever saw her, angrier than she was when I was 13 and rebellous, but in her heart she knew she had to move. We didn't sell her house. We told her she could go home if she had someone live with her. She refused. So she began to stay in a senior living center. And I began to volunteer. All the time. I was there almost much as I possibly could. I knew everyone. I decided to embrace this season and help her cope, as well as us having some quality time together.
She left for the hospital in the end of October 2008, and didnt go back to her newly decorated room.
The Senior Center called me today, they want me to come over tomorrow, help teach a class.
(I taught alot of classes there) They said they missed me, and that the residents missed me.
I dont want to go....but I need to cross this bridge. is it too soon?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Introducing Frances Louise Black Green

This is Frances, but her friends called her Fran, and her best friends called her Frannie. I called her Mommy, and when I got older, I called her momma, and my children called her Noni. (she wanted Nana, but my first daughter and first grandchild, just couldn't say it right, so Noni stuck)
My brother would call her Mother and sometime with that strong tone, but that is what brothers do. Oh, and Dad would call her FRANNIE with a strong tone sometimes too, I guess it is a guy thing.
Her name was Frances Louise Black. Her older sister was Viriginia Black and when she married, she married a man named George Icke. Ginnie went from Black to Icke. When one of their daughters married, She married a Brown, so it went Black-Icke-Brown. When my mother got married, she married a Green. So Frannie Black became a Green.
Later, when my Aunt died, my Uncle remarried and married a woman named White. He turned her Icke as well.
This is a completely true story and has absolutely nothing to do with this blog..but thought it was well worth documenting!
My mother was a strong woman. She was raised by a strong woman who married later in life and lost her husband when my mother was only 11 years old. Grace, my mothers mom, took over her husbands business, not a common thing to do in 1928. Her husband was an insurance man, and while the depression was hitting so many, Grace sold insurance, and landed some big accounts. This sent my mother through Northwestern University earning a nice teaching degree and having a positive attitude towards everything in life. That positivity was the very thing, that kept her alive until she was 91+ with her family at her side.
But this blog is also going to be about all the stuff that seems to happen to us who are left..I guess I just need a place to write...
so for wonderful moms..and lessons about to be learned...