Friday, October 30, 2009

Party, Peg, Pincusions and Pictures

Everyone loves a party, that was always the philosophy of Grandma Peg, my husbands grandmother. I have shared with you, her story of alzheimer's. Just two months ago, we didn't think she would live the week, which was how hospice prepared us (Hospice workers are amazing btw!). Though here we are two months later and she is better in both spirits and in her health-sort of. She has rebounded amazingly. Which in itself is both a blessing and a curse.

Peg sits in her small nursing home room, with no tv or radio, for she cannot remember how to use them accurately. She cannot read for her eyesight is so poor. She sits, waiting for her time to come. It's such a sad existence, one that makes me more aware of my own mortality and drums up discussions with my husband of my own wishes and vice versa. Yes, it's a deep subject, but it is one that I cannot help but think of. Yesterday I gathered up the portable CD player, some music (Nicklecreek & Sinatra), hats, teacups and saucers, napkins, blueberry scones and freshly prepared hot tea and I set out to the nursing home to surprise Peg with a tea party. Tea was always a daily ritual with her, hot tea in the afternoon.
When I found her she was lying in the bed, in a fetal position though she was awake, "Who's there?" Peg called softy as I opened the door to a darkend room. "It's the party committee!" I announced as I drew open her shades and allowed the sunlight to dance across her bedcovers.
I helped her up and slid her bed tray over to the bed. I put the music on, plopped a big red hat on top of Peg's head and we "had ourselves a party". I was a bit saddened when I brought up a conversation that she and I have shared on many occasions, for to me it always interested me. It was a subject that she and I had in common, we both love Frank Sinatra. She went to see him when she was a much younger woman, before she was a mother, when she was just a newly wedded woman. She used to paint a vivid picture of being there,  how excited she was. Her words painted the image in my head so much so that I could imagine old blue eyes on the darkened stage, a spotlight encircling him like a halo, and smell the stale of cigerette smoke that lay heavy and visible  in the air of the art deco style lounge. Today, Peg had no memory of it. It saddened me, but only for a moment, until I began to tell her the story she told me many times. I tried to paint that picture that she told to me throughout the years. For a moment, a brief smile crept across her lips, but it wasn't that she remembered, I think she could just visualize the seen as I had so many times. Soon enough, I could see she was becoming tired. I gathered up all my party makings and tucked Peg back into bed with Frank's memory -hopefully still fresh in her short memory. "Draw the blinds please, I don't like the sunlight..." And I realized all to clearly in this metaphoric moment, how the sunlight had indeed faded from Peg's life. The party goer, the party starter that she once was, was now just content to just lie in bed in a darkened room, waiting for the real celebration to start, her "homecoming".

And this dear friends is where I was yesterday, last night my daughter had a football game in which she cheered so I am behind in my visits to Thrifty Thursday. I WILL be by soon though, I promise. I so genuinely appreciative of all who participated and visited, those that commented or sent an email. You are so appreciated and loved!
I do want to share something that I found at my doorstep yesterday. A package, inside was a card from my sweet friend, "Mamie" Jane. (The card by the way was created by blogger, Diva Kreszl @ Diva's Musings).I am going to frame the card!

Jane sent me one of her adorable pincusions that she handmade lovingly from thrifty finds!!!!

It's gorgeous! I absolutley LOVE it, Jane!!!I can almost see it smiling at me. OK, that me smiling at it in the reflection, but I think it is just as happy for I am certain it can feel the love. I will treasure it always, Jane and think of you, my sweet friend when I look at it. Sincere Thanks for my Treasure! It is the kindness of people around us that lift us in such ways, they will never know, but will always be remembered. Thankyou!!

This weekend is Halloween! Don't forget to capture your costumed family members in photographs to enter into the Tales from Bloggeritaville Halloween contest! Email in your pictures (remember to give names, your blog address and the title of your photo/aka tell us what the costume is). I'll be posting the pictures early next week! Be sure to drop by and vote for your favorite! You can read more about the contest in yesterday's post-click here.
Sing*Dance*Live (really LIVE)


Keetha Broyles said...

Leigh, I just LOVE that you did this for Peg.

You gave her a party with dignity. She looks stunning in her red hat and dress.

PlantSomeRoots@Lakewood said...

Such a beautiful post on Grandma Peg. It brought a smile to my face and tears to my bittersweet. Thanks for sharing.
Living it up at Lakewood,

Mari said...

I love this post! What a wonderful thing to do with Peg. She may not remember it, but you brought her joy for that afternoon.

Joyce said...

What a wonderful post. My Mom had Alzheimers and so I can really relate to your post. Made me cry as it is so sad. If you lose your hat you can buy a new one but if you lose your memory well that fits the saying "Money can't buy". I posted about my Mom last May for Mothers day on how for one brief second she knew who I was that day. I am happy that for you were able to remember her memories from years gone.

Jane said...

Leigh - I really enjoyed reading about your day with Peg. It is sad to think that her memories of special times in her life have escaped her but I was touched by your devotion to her, spending time to help brighten her day. She is very lucky to have family who is there for her.
I'm glad you received the pincushion...better late than never!! :-)
Happy Halloween.

TRICIA @ The Zoo said...

Good morning, Leigh.

This post was so beautifully written. I felt as if I was sitting there with you enjoying your tea. At the same time, I was crying with tears streaming down my face. Karlee said, "Mama, you sad. Iss otay." My grandmother passed away a number of years ago and she suffered from Alzheimer's as well.
It's so wonderful that you can keep those memories alive for Peg. So wonderful that you can pass them down to your children. That when he "homecoming" truly comes, she will always be with you.

Thank you for sharing this today.
It touched me in a very special way.


Derek said...

Leigh, I'm so glad you wrote about this. My mom's sister, Laura, was just as you described Peg.... once full of life, and the life of the party, but then sadly at the end, all that was gone. She passed yesterday morning and we will leave for Florida this afternoon for her services. Over the past 3 or 4 years, Mama and "the sisters" have made trips back and forth a couple of times a month, and I was able to go down just a couple of months ago to visit her. I'm so glad I did. Enjoy your time with Peg. You won't regret it. And thanks again for such a touching post.

Kate Bagley said...

What a beautiful and touching post. You may have drawn the blinds so she could sleep, but I am certain that you provided some gorgeous sunlight in her room!

Joyce @ Cheap Frills said...

Best of luck to your family and grandmother.

In honor of you sharing all of your ideas, projects and creativity I am passing along the Kreativ Blogger award to you. I'll be posting a link to my blog shortly! Congrats and hope you can play along!

Ally0005 said...

What a sweet story. Oh how I loved my grandmother and would love to talk to her.


Cass @ That Old House said...

Oh Leigh, like so many others, you made me cry. My own mother, 88, is an Alzheimer's prisoner, also in Hospice care; she spends most of her time in bed now, and is no longer really eating. It's a terrible transition for the family -- how your wishes for her future change as she deteriorates and continues to "dissolve." It's just the cruelest long goodbye; my dad especially suffers.

However -- in the past few months i've been trying to focus on Mom's wonderful life, to remember that she had the exact life she dreamed of and wanted, and had a wonderfully happy and useful life. I miss her very much, it breaks my heart.

Your Peg is lucky to have devoted family members -- some of the people who live on my mom's floor get almost no visitors. So sad.

Blessings ... Cass

Barbara said...

Wonderful, inspiring post. Peg may not remember it, but you brought her great happiness!

4thelove! said...

busy days dont leave much room for remembering the important things in life. . thank you for reminding me that life is more than the every day routine. Love the you... ~HM

Anonymous said...

Thank you, sweet daughter, for doing this for Peg. You were her ray of sunlight in that room.
I cried reading your post.....Peg has been so much fun to be with...but not the same "full of life" spirit that we know. Now she patiently waits for the Savior's call.When He calls, Peg will have life again....eternal life. A life beyond our comprehention.

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

Keetha, I appreciate, it is my pleasure to try and make her life as comfortable and joyful as we can in these final moments.

TY, Cindy, Barbara,High Mae, Mom & Mari! I appreciate your sweet comments and thoughfulness!

Thank YOU Derek, for your kind comment. I am so very sorry for your loss, though I am sure that in Laura's passing you will chose to celebrate the life she lived. I can imagine the celebration in her life renewed in the light of the Lord. I will lift your family in my prayers. Safe Travels, friend.

Thank you, Joyce Cass and Tricia, for your sweet comments!!! I really do appreciate that. Yes, you know very well the situation since you have seen it and experienced it before yourself. Its a most pitiful thing. Heartbreaking. We used to pray for Peg's recovery, now we pray for her "homecoming". Her quality of life is non existent, so sad. I am trying to think of anything I can do to occupy her mind, I would be driven mad to just lie in a room with little stimulation. She's a trooper- as much as she can be.
Thank you, my sweet friend, for your comments. I am so very sorry for your loss.

KAte, I am a big beleiver in a little sunshine can brighten ones spirit anytime.

Joyce at Cheap Frills, I am most honored. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

Ally, I agree with you. Both of my grandmothers have passed on. I miss there stories, their loving hugs. What I would encourage everyone, if you are lucky enough to have them here still, record their stories, be it on tape or have them, or you write them down so that future generations can have those treasures. It is your family history, just as world historym we mnust preserve so we will remember and learn.

Betty said...

What a touching account...You know, Peg may not remember the visit but you will and it will be a blessing for you as long as you live.

My brother, seventeen years older than me, has Alzheimer's and weekly I see him decline. I try to capture each moment that we have to make memories for later. I have a sign on my refrigerator that says 'a day is not lost if a memory is made'...


My Vintage Treasures said...

What a great post!

Joyce @ Cheap Frills said...

Hi again. Here is the link as promised. In honor of Peg perhaps??

Best wishes,

Jessica said...

feel free to use them. just drag and pull them to a folder, and it should work!!!

thank you so much for leaving a comment!!!!!! i love your blog!

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Leigh, this is an amazing that you told so well. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about how she wanted the drapes drawn. I can see a sparkle in Peg's eye with her red hat on. It makes me so sad to know that loved ones live their final days alone and without any memory of the past.

You are an angel....


Gwen said...

Having lost two grandparents to Alzheimer's, I can really relate to your day with Peg. It was heartbreaking to watch them waste away physically while their memory is stolen bit by bit. Every moment was bittersweet and at times I am found myself so angry at the disease that it surprised me.

I don't want to get worked up, so let me just close by saying Happy Halloween and let's find a cure!

jennifer said...

This was just precious Leigh. The comments are almost as touching as your post.

Blessings my friend.

Erica said...

This is such a nice post......what you did for Peg was make her very happy for the moment.

Thank you for sharing this today.
It touched me in a special way, have a good day!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Leigh, how touching! I really feel for you, precious. What a lovely thing to do for her, and I know she must have appreciated it. That is such a viscious disease, but you just keep doing your part to help her. One of Mr. Magpie's great aunts was in a fetal position for years, but she would get a look of recognition on her face and think he was her dad. She adored her dad.

You never know what goes on inside someone's head when they are in that state, but kindness needs no language and is universally understood.


Sheila :-)

Debra from Bungalow said...

Hi Leigh, Yes I can definitely relate. Alzheimer's holds it's victims in an unknown place. You did a wonderful and loving thing.....
I found it hard to read because it felt so familiar.

Tracy Suzanne said...

Hi Leigh. Thanks for coming by and leaving me such kind comments. I followed your suggestion and came over to read a little about Grandma Peg. And I'm so glad I did. What you did was lovely. It's very hard to go when you know it's going to be so heartbreaking. What a wonderful new memory you have. My parents died way to soon but I'm so grateful that I didn't have to see them grow tired of living with nothing to do and no desire to do it. Watching my MIL, I can't help but think of my own mortality. I started to get scared of living to long. I know that's terrible when so many others want more time. I'm just scared of being as unhappy as she is or that my children will have to see me in this way. Of course worrying doesn't add a day to our life and sure doesn't make us any happier so my goal this year is to give all I have to the Lord, both good and bad and search for his direction.

Sorry I went on so long, but this was such a moving post.

Thank you for your kindness, Leigh. I'm wishing you blessings and warm hugs...Tracy :)