Sunday, March 3, 2013
3-3-2013 I am counting the days until Day Light Savings Time is over! 2012 was a year of change and loss for so many. Mom had to give up her independence. She spent 5 weeks in ICU after falling at home. Brain surgery followed and when I visited her, she barely recognized me and looked like a price fighter. Head totally bandaged, eyes black and blue and tubes everywhere, including a respirator. Slowly she came out of the induced coma, complications came every other day. After 3 intubations she finally was able to breathe on her own and was freed from the respirator.The care she received was incredible! Her walking again is over as she knew it. When I said my good-bye I was not sure that she would make it at all. But she spoke to me and I had hope. Promised her that if she'd live, she would see me in May for her 89th birthday. She now lives in Haus Elim, a small nursing home 5 minutes away from my sister's home. Many small towns there have local nursing homes in walking distance to family's homes, so family can visit whenever they can. At my mother's table are 8 patients, 4 of which get daily visits from family. The patients are readied for the day in the morning, have breakfast together, stay up until nap time and then coffee and cake is served in the afternoon. Dinner later. Patients can leave with family as long as they are able and no fuss is given to anyone wanting to walk with their loved one outside. No signing out, no paperwork! My mom helps with cutting herbs from the herb garden when she can. People here are involved, even in helping their fellow patients. There is a lovely inside garden and the kitchen is the heart of the place. If my mom does not want what is served, the people in the kitchen offer alternatives. When I was there to celebrate her 89th birthday, she was able to take a few steps. We practiced daily and she was happy for the progress. But after I left, no one practiced with her and so she lost that ability as well. She now lives in her wheel chair, when not in bed. She assists with the transfer, but that is about it. I wonder what goes on in her mind, having walked and hiked all her life, spending as much time in nature as time permitted. My sister says she remembers some things very well, but not others. Space and places are difficult. She sometimes still thinks she is going home, shopping and planning to prepare food. I will be seeing her again for her 90th birthday and am looking forward to having time for just for her. I will be staying at my sisters home, as my "old" home no longer "is". Eva, my sister did most of the hard work dissolving it. While I was there we met every day, deciding what would be saved and what not, what her son's wanted and what not. Since 1966 I visited my parents and after my father's death in 1987 my mother nearly every year. Now that will stop forever. I know Bear Valley Springs is my home and it is, I have no desire to return to Germany, but I will miss my visits with mom very much as they were. Eva and I are very close, it makes all easier. Our good bye was hard. Both of us knew it may be the last time we saw each other. Tears ran down our cheeks and Mutti said, don't cry, or I will have to as well. We held each others gaze and hands for a long time. I included photos of Mutti's birthday (mom), nephew David and family-his wife Nadine, daughter Stella and son Travis. Also photos of the neighborhood where the home is located and of the nursing home. One of the photos shows mom with her favorite nurse and you can still see the dent from her brain surgery. I call her just to hear her voice and she knows it is me calling. Still... After my return to Tehachapi there were changes in my work place, many of which have reversed to good, but during that time we all were in emotional turmoil. I still was in shock for having lost one of my best friends just before Christmas when Wolfgang got sick and died 4 months later. Charlotte, after over 60 years of marriage, was devastated and still is suffering much. Gratefully Charlie is doing very well and we are very happy. December 21st we celebrated our official 2nd anniversary. Tashidog and Cosocat are ok too. At the end of July my friends Carole, Susie, Ann, Jennifer and others met at Yosemite's High Country camp and we hiked to our hearts content during the day, and sat and talked at night. A wonderful respite after much sadness. All of us had major changes in life and some losses. Women friends are so very important. Be grateful for all those in your life. The rest of year 2013 raced by with work and responsibilities and here it is March 2013!