Sunday, October 12, 2008

Precious Memories on a Precious Day

Every day is an opportunity to capture memories with our loved ones. Whether we use photographs, recordings or written personal histories, we are preserving our heritage for future generations.

Today we celebrated the 90th birthdays of both my Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law. He never tires of telling everyone that she is four days older than him. They are lovely people who until now have lived on the farm "homeplace" for over sixty years, in spite of declining health. They have finally agreed (in principal, at least) that it is almost time to move to an assisted living facility.

My husband & I took them to a concert today to hear the Glen Miller Orchestra. They both enjoyed it, especially my Mother-In-Law. It was sweet to see her tapping her foot in time to the music, even if she can't remember what town she is in or who we are. I was glad to see her enjoying the snappy music, even if tomorrow she may not recall having been there.

So we make the most of the good days when we can carry on a conversation and we get through the days the best we can when we cannot. Either way, each day is precious when we make precious memories.

4 comments:

Patricia said...

Dear Beth,
Your writing this makes me think of the last few years with my mom. I had finally gotten to the place where I was no longer impatient with the effects of aging that I saw, and instead was able to just enjoy the time with her. We had gotten to the point of becoming good friends, with the ability to step back when we needed breaks.

Mostly, I felt the privelege and preciousness of having the time with her. I wish there had been more.
Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Patricia

Elizabeth (Beth) LaMie said...

Patricia,
I am so glad the blog reminded of your mom once you were able to enjoy the remaining time with her. It is such a difficult time to go through.

For good or bad, my Mom and Dad both passed away suddenly in their sleep, but 7 years apart. I had wanted to say good-bye, but this lingering limbo is actually a much tougher way to go.

Beth

Susan Kuhn Frost said...

Beth, you are right that music is one of the last intellectual skills to go as someone ages. My mother had severe dementia, couldn't walk, and also wasn't sure where she was. One day in the hallway of her nursing home, where all the residents were lined up for the day, I started singing to her some of the songs she always sung. When I got to, "I'm an old cow hand, on the Rio Grande," she got very excited, rose up in her chair and sang out, "And my legs ain't bowed, and my cheeks ain't tan!" She looked so pleased for a moment, then fell back into her more typical state. I have so many memories like that. The most amazing thing is that she and I resolved every last issue between us, and expressed our deep love for each other, with out ever saying a word. She couldn't...but we communicated beautifully over the last few years of her life. So I don't ever let anyone get away with saying that nursing homes are bad places...they can be wonderful places.

Elizabeth (Beth) LaMie said...

Susan,
I love that you sang to your mother and that she responded. We never know what will get through to them on any given day.

As far as the perceptions of nursing homes, I think it is like everything else we experience - some good, some bad and some the best we can do.

Thanks for your comment.

Beth