November in Massachusetts

Dad and Annette's House

Dad and Annette’s House

I NEVER liked November up north.  It’s gray.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  It’s brown.  I know there are bright blue sunny days in November.  I just can’t remember any.

So here I am…and the weather is my picture of November…with constant drizzle and clouds.  BUT it’s warm inside and it warms my heart, just to see Dad and Annette managing so well and to see my mom content and peaceful.

Dad really is doing well.  There is a constant parade of visitors…PT, OT, visitng nurse, health aide to help him shower and speech and language therapist. And he just rolls with it and does what ever they ask cheerfully.

What he DOESN’T do is use his cane or walker.  He’d rather just manage on his own.  Not good.  EVERYONE who comes in tells him he needs to use the cane and preferably the walker…that a fall would not be pretty.  And he smiles and nods his head and puts it carefully in a corner so it won’t be in his way.  Annette and I decided we’re going to tell him he walks like an old man (he’s 93) when he walks without something…kind of shuffling, hunched over, head down.  I keep saying “shoulders back, be the tallest guy in the room”..(sound like Elin, huh?)

My major goal was to find a “companion service” to come in and stay with dad when Annette had appointments or wanted to get together with friends.  He’s doing well but she certainly doesn’t want to leave him alone. It was frustrating.  Every organization I called wanted a schedule and three hour minimum, etc.  They don’t need someone on a regular basis…not now, anyway.  Finally the Physcial Therapist suggested I check and see if there was a Seniors Helping Seniors organization around Pittsfield. She knew they were near Boston…hadn’t heard of one in western Massachusetts but it was worth a try.

And yes, there is.  And yes, they are very flexible.  And the director is from (small world)  Sarasota, Florida and is great.  She’s coming next week to sit down with dad and Annette and get started.  Yay.

Mom is in a good nursing home and seems content but kind of in a fog (meds?)  I’m not sure she recognized me.    She seemed happy to have the company and maybe figured out that I was one of the daughters (there are six) but who I was…not quite sure.

It’s hard.  I am so aware that no one lasts forever.  I guess we all know that but it is so “in my face” this week.  I think we all know what’s coming…probably sooner than we’d like.  Still we make the most of the days we have…Karen and Paula came for dinner last night.  Lots of fun.  Karen is a gourmet cook and gave them a “dinner of the month” for Christmas last year. I got the benefit of her November treat.  Tonight we may go out to a local Italian place and tomorrow night we’re going to a “New Christy Minstrels” concert.

And I head home on Sunday…fingers crossed that Dad and Annette will be able to come to Florida in March as planned.  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Here’s Dad playing card games on the computer.



9 thoughts on “November in Massachusetts

  1. Sounds like a bittersweet visit. We are at a point in our lives where those of us lucky enough to still have our parents know that our time with them is limited. Cherish it.

    Just read a great book. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. Great read.

  2. Good for him! I can manage to play games until I fall asleep. My friend Roy wouldn’t use his cane either…drug it behind him like leading a reluctant dog wearing a leash! Hopefully PT can work on his posture. Will be good to have you home…& thanks for the reminder of November weather but I’ll still bitch next week when the heat & humidity return!

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Glad your visit is going so well. Just seeing your dad play games on the computer would have bee worth the trip, but you found the substitute caregiver. Hooray! Sorry it’s so hard seeing your mom in her present condition. Maybe on some level she knows you’re there. Looking forward to your return!

  4. A fabulous entry Mary, as all of them have been! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your journey with us! I cannot tell you how many times I think back to the time I got to spend co-teaching with you at Cranberry, it was a great gift for me at that point in my life and career and your mentors hip made me a better teacher! Thank you again for being so kind and working with me!

  5. It is really hard, isn’t it? Your dad sounds a lot like my dad was in his last couple of years. Canes and walkers? For old me! I’m not old, said he (at age 93) He was a walking, talking trip hazard and, unfortunately, did take more tumbles than he cared to talk about in his last couple of years. No broken bones, thankfully, but bumps and bruises to beat the band. Thinking of you!

  6. I so enjoyed reading about your folks Mary. You are all so dear to me. I keep each one of you in my heart. Give everyone my love.

  7. Mary, your dad looks great! It must be all that November sunshine you and your siblings are bringing him. Your post warmed my heart. Love is the beauty of the soul.

  8. Mary, so glad you were able to make the trip to see your Mom and Dad. It is so sad watching our parents decline before our eyes. So glad you could hook your Dad up with services and so great for your sister too! You’re a good daughter! Enjoy those delicious dinners! Hope to see you at yoga one of these warmer mornings! Safe travels. Miss you, Pam

  9. You are so resourceful! Although there is little one can do to stem the tides of aging, it must feel good to have been able to set up something to help make life easier for Dad and Annette. It was wonderful to see you last week, and we look forward to more fun with you and Jerry.

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