Thursday, January 13, 2005

remembering dates

My sister Maxine, a winter Texan, called last night and reminded me that a year ago yesterday, our mom passed away.  I had realized she died in January, because it happened about the time my daughter and I had planned to fly to visit Maxine in her winter home.  Instead, she came up here and we buried our mom.  But I hadn't given a thought to the exact date.

I'm awful about dates.  I can't tell you a single grandchild's birthdate:  I know what months they were born in, and I always remember that my oldest grandchild, Arick, was born on either the 5th, 6th, or 7th, because he was one day away from my dad's birthday.  But the only birth dates I really know are my parents', my husband's, and my two kids.  Of course, my parents are both deceased; so I'm sure those dates will soon fade from memory.

I don't make a big deal of birthdays, not even my own... except that the year I turned fifty, I asked for a surprise party.  My poor husband couldn't think of anyone to invite, so that was pretty much a failure; but he did try.  I asked him, "What about all my old aunts and uncles?"

My mom, who lived on our property in a mobile home at the time, took the cue and had a second surprise party, and that time it was a surprise!  There were aunts and uncles, (all dead now) and a couple of cousins.  It was great, and just what I had in mind.

When Cliff turned fifty the next year, I held a surprise party for him that was very successful, with over fifty in attendence.  People he'd worked with at various jobs were there, and a few of his relatives.  He still talks about it; it was the only real birthday party he ever had in his life.

We threw a birthday party for my mom when she turned ninety, at the nursing home.  There wasn't a huge turnout, but it was touching how far some people came to give her their regards.  Our son and his family came for that occasion, from Georgia.  This shot of Jim and my mom was taken at that time:

Mother hadn't seen Jim for a few years, so it was a happy event for her; she got to meet Jim's wife and his youngest child for the first time.  She really went downhill shortly after that, so I'm glad we had the party when we did.  The nursing home she stayed in was far better than average, but I do hope I'm spared having to be in such a place if I get to the point I can't wait on myself; because there just isn't enough staff on hand to take care of people who are immobile.  Most of the employees there did their best... but the patients are so needy.



ryanagi said...

My husband's grandmother is in a nursing home. It's a nice one, but there are still things that make me cringe. I used to think it would be great to live to be 99 (like her), but I don't think so any more. I'd only want to live that long if I were still in reasonably good health and able to live independently.

lowis6535 said...

I can relate to the birthday stuff; I tell my grandkids: "If you want a birthday present from me... you gotta remind me!"..

NURSING HOMES: I have two friends who earn a little extra money tending to needs of the elderly... daily, or several times a week... as hired by the families.  I could not; could not reconcile myself to some of them being terminal.

Now that I'm retired, my dream is to take a laptop... and maybe my camera & printer to the V.A. hospital or nursing homes, and help people write memoirs.

plieck30 said...

Oh so you have a sister named Maxine too. I do too, she is ten years older then me. Nice picture of your Mom and I am sure she enjoyed her party. Paula