Winter Wonderland

Downtown Venice

Downtown Venice

Jerry and I made a quick trip to Massachusetts.  Dad is 94 and Annette is 85.  Mom is 94 and in a nursing home.  Who knows how many more Christmases they have.  We needed to connect.

Lots to do at Dad’s….decorate the tree, put out candles and lights and Christmas decorations and  yes, shovel snow for three days straight.  The first day we got about eight inches but, fortunately, most of it was taken care of by the neighbors. Still, I was out for about an hour and worked up quite a sweat.  The other days there was just a dusting but it got colder and colder and colder as the week went on.  By Friday, it hurt my face just to put the trash out.  There are good reasons why I live in Florida.

I’ve said this before and I say it again….Old age is not for sissies.  You have to be brave to face those final years with grace and humor and dignity.  Annette has just been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.  I had never heard of it but I’ve had a crash course since Friday and it’s not pretty.  She’s been having trouble for about a year with memory and at first we all dismissed it as just “senior moments.”  Still it became obvious that something was seriously wrong.  I’m not sure why it took so long to get a diagnosis but that came on Friday.

And so I didn’t sleep at all Friday night thinking about how Annette was probably not sleeping, worrying about what was coming.  But when I called on Saturday and casually asked how she had made out at the doctor’s, she said she couldn’t remember, that she’d have to call Pat (her niece who was with her) to remind her what was said.  So, after the initial shock she totally forgot what had happened at the doctor’s and she had a good night’s sleep…maybe not remembering is a good thing.

Still, please pray and send positive energy to Dad and Annette.  They’re in for a rough ride and it’s breaking my heart.  The next step is going to be to help them find an good assisted living facility where they can be safe and enjoy the company of others.  I’m scared for them but I think I’m also scared for me, for all of us.  Watching them just seems like a preview of coming attractions.

In spite of all the worry and concern, we had a good time in Massachusetts….lunch with sister and nephew and his wife, dinner with three of my sisters and one niece and a great dinner out with Dad and Annette.

And now we’re home.  And loving every minute of the days before Christmas.  Went to a fabulous party with friends last night,(thanks, Martha) met another group of friends for breakfast after yoga today, went to a holiday concert at the Venice Performing Arts Center this afternoon.

A few books:  First, my favorite this week…The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  It’s a kids’ book…maybe for third to fifth graders …but oh my, it’s lovely.  The narrator is a gorilla who lives in a run-down mall with an elephant and a stray dog.  Great book…trust me.

And I read Spare Parts by Joshua Davis.  It’s about four undocumented high school kids who win a robotic competition, beating MIT and every other college and university in the contest.  Made me cry.

And Trompe L’Oeil by Nancy Reisman, about a family in Massachusetts and how tragedy and loss affects each one of them.  I’m not sure I’d recommend this one.  I did like it but it’s terribly sad.  I think I liked it because I cared about the characters and needed to find out if they could come out the other end of the tunnel. If anyone reads it, let me know.  I’d love to talk to someone about it.

And two movies….loved them both.  Loving and Moonlight.  Both wonderful but Moonlight blew me away.

So, guess that’s all for now, folks.  Have a beautiful Christmas and Hanukkah…Hanukkah’s starting late this year, right?  On the 25th?  Enjoy every minute of your time with family and friends.  And Happy New Year.  Here’s hoping 2017 will be our best year yet.  (How’s that for crazy optimism?)

Fire at Dad's

Fire at Dad’s

Dad's tree

Dad’s tree

Sunset at Dad's

Sunset at Dad’s



4 thoughts on “Winter Wonderland

  1. Karen L Rafferty

    We are all staring down at our parents’ end of life…my sister Sally and husband Larry buried his father today after a long decline. We still have Bill’s mom who is perkier than anyone (even me! 😉 ) – but you never know what may happen quickly. I lost my parents so young in my life and theirs (Mom was 49 and Dad was 73) that I almost feel lucky that it was so long ago and I don’t have to go through it now. But I feel for you – because I do remember the pain and the questioning. I pray for your parents and you as you go through this….the best thing that keeps us going is those little kids. That’s what got me through my time – and I hope that it helps you too.
    See you for yoga in February I hope –
    Love you friend…
    PS The One and Only Ivan was our school’s summer read last year – all the kids and adults loved it 😉

  2. Mary, so great that you had special time with your family up North! Sure glad it was you and not me in that snow and terrible Cold! I’m sure it is very sad seeing Annette decline but you’re right..age is blessing but with it comes many heartaches and pain. It was sooo great that you braved the weather to see them all!
    Now you and Jerry can enjoy a quiet Christmas before you’re off again!
    It was great seeing you today…you look wonderful my friend and Jerry looks great too..a bit thinner tho!
    I wish you both the Merriest, Blessed Christmas and a Happy, happy New Year! Love you, Pam

  3. Deirdre Christman

    Your family must really appreciate your love and concern. I’m sure their decline is harder on you than it is on them. Let’s not get old!

  4. I worked with the elderly for many years, but nothing prepared me for my mother’s dementia . My heart goes out to you, my friend. The best part of getting older is we learn to savor the ordinary in life.

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