I Still Miss you MOM!

It’s been two years since you left Mom and I just wanted to let you know that I still miss you.  I’ve missed you for more than ten years even though you left the earth just two years ago.

I’ve missed you for that long because of how Alzheimer’s robbed me of you.

I missed being in the middle of my life and not having your wisdom to help me see that the future has great opportunities.

I missed talking to you about menopause.

I missed not being able to help you with things I see my husband is able to help his mom with.

Your great granddaughter Natalie!

Your great granddaughter Natalie!

Mom and me, my second Easter Sunday

Mom and me, my second Easter Sunday

My beautiful mom as a teenager.

My beautiful mom as a teenager.

My favorite family photo!

My favorite family photo!

The infamous wedding picture

The infamous wedding picture

My beautiful mom!

My beautiful mom!

I’m sad that you didn’t get to meet your first great-granddaughter, Natalie.

I miss bringing you flowers on my birthday.

I miss apologizing for what a shitty kid I was to you.

I love you Mom!

Farewell to my mom



My mom passed away early this morning.  Mom had Alzheimer’s for more than 10 years but in the end it was a blessing that she died of pneumonia.

Yesterday, mom’s care giver called me and told me that the end was near.  I was in a class for Long Term Care and decided to leave and go visit.  When I got there, I talked to her care giver, Baby, and she suggested that my sisters and I all see her together at the same time.

Within an hour Sharon and Janice were there.  We gathered around her bed and talked to her and shared funny stories.  Mom was sleeping the whole time from the morphine used to help her feel no pain from the pneumonia, but I know she heard us.

We talked about the beautiful dresses that she made us, including our prom dresses.  You knew you would go the prom with a unique dress and that’s pretty important for a girl!  Each of us told mom it was okay to go and that we loved her.  We told her when she was ready to go, just go.  We would be fine.

Mom was a perfect mom in so many ways.  She always made us lunches which included home-made cookies and whatever sandwich you wanted.  She sewed most of our clothes.  She did the cooking and the cleaning.  I never took that for granted.  For example if I got to school and didn’t eat what she made for me, instead of throwing it away, I would take it back home because I knew she made it for me.  Mom made her children a top priority in her life and we always knew that.

Since she got Alzheimer’s our relationship changed.  There were no more conversations about how to make things.  I couldn’t ask her when she started menopause since she couldn’t remember anything.  The disease changed her personality and she became combative and we couldn’t really have lunch anymore.

My sisters and I will miss my mom, but knowing that she has moved on gives us such relief.

Thank you Mom, for all you did for us.  I love you!  May I meet you in your next life mom, wherever that may be.  And may you move on and be happy for eternity.

Moving On

It’s so hard to watch your mom slip away.  Despite everything that happens in your life, when the death of a loved one is close, you have  to stop and respect the process. More

Dear Alyson

You missed a great gathering in your honor Saturday, January 28th.  Carlos, your mom and dad and Carlos’ family were all there.  I saw Bernadette (luckily most everyone had name tags) and Roland the roommate (that’s what his tag said!).  So many people.   The only one missing was you. More

My Friend Alyson

When I first started this blog, it was supposed to be about my parents and all the things they are going through and my thoughts etc.  But now I believe the perils of aging encompasses a lot more things.  For instance when people get sick how the body ages it and sometimes a person dies from the aging.

That’s the case with my friend Alyson Sayuk-Rodriguez.  I know as I write this I will cry all the way through it.  I try my best to be a closet crier.  You know the kind – only cries in the car or the shower.  The shower is best because you come out with red eyes but you do anyway when you take a shower.

I’m crying because my friend died on December 3rd, just a week after she turned 33.  If you don’t know the story, you may ask how did that happen to a 33 year-old.  I’ll tell you how, but that’s not really important except for the part about the perils of aging.  Alyson was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer back in January or February 2011.  I remember when I found out.  I was on Facebook one Sunday morning, hadn’t seen Alyson since my birthday in December, and saw that she got married.  I had no idea why she did that when she was planning a wedding for October 1st.  I remember when she and Carlos first set their wedding date.  It was almost two years out.  I asked her over cocktails, why wait so long and my patient friend Alyson said why not.  She and Carlos were having such a great life and they were happy and it didn’t really matter!  So okay, what could I say.  Alyson, being just 31 at the time was so much wiser than I was at 31!  But that’s why I liked her so much.

Alyson & Luciana at my birthday party 12-10-2010

So back to the first marriage.  Once I saw the photos on Facebook, I sent a text and asked what was up?  Did they decide to forego the October wedding?  She texted back no, they were still doing the big wedding.  I asked, why two weddings.  Then she told me about her diagnosis.  I was stunned.  She said the doctors were optimistic.  I didn’t believe her.  I wanted to believe her, but I just couldn’t.  But there was no way in hell I was going to be negative .  The power of positive thinking is really important.  So I kept thinking positive thoughts and sending her positive thoughts.  I sent Alyson some emails and texts here and there, asking her how she was doing.  At one point she said she was doing a second round of chemo.  She really didn’t feel up to doing lunch because she wasn’t feeling well from the chemo.  At one point, Alyson said she’d be the only bride ever who had to gain weight to fit into her wedding dress.

So I got the save the date card in the mail, and then finally the wedding invitation.  As expected, October 1st was the date.  This was a long time for me to go without seeing Alyson.  We used to get together more frequently for lunch or drinks after work and give each other the scoop on our lives.

I met Alyson back when she was a carrier rep.  Fresh from college, she went to work for Standard of Oregon.  After a few years, she worked for Assurant, then on to a general agency, LISI.  Many people in the insurance field are torn between two aspects of the job, sales and service.  Sales means more money and more pressure, service means less money, a little less pressure, but for those who like it, satisfaction that you are helping people.  Alyson was really good at detail.  I mean really good.  As a sales rep, she would actually complete as much of the application as possible, so as a broker, I just had to look over a few things, mark a couple of boxes and sign my name.  Now that was great service.

But Alyson was so much more than a sales and service person.  We used to golf together.  We golfed with my friend Sharon Rettig.  We would just play nine holes for fun.  Alyson would never walk like Sharon and I, but insisted on taking a cart.  She said part of the fun was driving the golf cart.  You gotta love that!

Alyson and I played golf in several industry tournaments.  We actually play a beautiful course in Half Moon Bay once and our team came in dead last.  I was really pissed but Alyson thought it was hysterical.  I left my loser trophy under the table when we left.  I huffed off indignant that the tournament would give us such an embarrassing thing.  But Alyson proudly took her trophy home to show Carlos that she finally won a golf trophy.  I wish I would have kept my trophy.

I miss my friend and I can’t stop thinking about her.  I keep going back to her Facebook page.  That’s where  I saw her wedding pictures and that’s where I saw the post from Carlos that she died on December 3, 2011.

Alyson had an aggressive form of cancer that just took her from us.  Sometimes it just happens and there’s nothing we can do about it.  It ravaged her and aged her and then her body was done.  I’m glad she’s not in pain.  She was a real trooper.  Alyson didn’t want anyone to know about the suffering.  If she saw me sitting here crying, like I’m actually doing right now, she would tell me to get over it and that’s just life.

All in good time my friend.  All in good time.

Where’s Lonna?

I was in the emergency room with my mom a couple of days ago.  This was her third trip this year.  The first time, she broke her hip, the second time she developed a blood clot three months later from the broken hip and this time it’s pneumonia. More

My Perfect Dad

I recently told my Dad that he was perfect.  He lowered his head and chuckled a little and said “If you only knew.”

Maybe he misunderstood.  A perfect person has many imperfections.  A perfect dog chews things up and barks at the wind.  It’s just the nature of the beast.Jim Rider 6-1949 More

Am I a Selfish Person?

I cried through my meditation this morning.  I seem to do that frequently now.  When it comes to chanting about my parents and their health issues, it’s very difficult.  I chant for my Dad to make the decision to take care of himself and follow doctor’s orders.  I want my Dad to get better.  He’s really a fun guy to hang out with.  I’m afraid that he will start to get down if his health doesn’t improve.

Here’s what my question pertains to “Am I a Selfish Person?”.  This has to do with my Mom.  When I chant for her I chant for her passing.  She’s not quite physically ready to go yet, but I think her body will be done in a couple of years.  But I chant for her to pass because I think she’s living a miserable life.  This is not to say that anything negative about her care-givers.  They are fantastic people.  I don’t know how they do what they do.Mom graduation 1955.JPG

If she could stand outside of herself and see what’s going on, she would be mortified.  She would want to go.  I went to see her yesterday, to drop off some sleeping medication and some pajamas.  The pajamas are really like onesies that newborns wear.  But these zip in the back so she can’t get them off and pull off her diaper.  Yes, my Mom wears diapers.

See what I mean?  It’s torture.

Aging parents introduction

My inspiration for this blog is many things.  I feel the need to write about my parents who are aging and need support.  My Dad will never be old in my heart.  He will always be the cool guy that he looked like back in 1960 when I first met him.  He was 27 at the time I first met him.  My Mom will always be the woman who would do everything in her power to support me when I was a little girl.  I wonder if I had children would I have battled for mine like she did for hers?

But things do change over a fifty year period.  The Daddy I thought was a super hero confesses that he was not a perfect person.

My Mom, who has Alzheimer’s, has to confess nothing.  I have been robbed of that conversation with her because of her illness.

I am so glad I can have the conversation with my Dad.  In his recent illness issues, I state to everyone that my Dad can stay with me if no one else wants him.  That he was a perfect Dad.  He just shakes his head and laughs.  Well, heck who is perfect?  I don’t really think my Dad was perfect, ever.  Being human does that to you.  I’m just glad I can have a conversation with him.  I don’t get that option with my Mom.

Being perfect doesn’t mean you are perfect.  It means that you are a perfect human being with faults and failures and successes.  It’s just life and I love life.

Today I stopped by my Mom’s place.  She lives in a Board and Care Facility.  The people who work there are angels.  I can’t imagine doing what they do for a living.  Today, my Mom’s care giver asked her if she knew who I was.  She said yes, her (my) name is Lona.  Lona was a friend of my Moms at the assisted living facility where she lived before we moved her this year.  Lona died a few years ago.  Mom doesn’t make many friends.  She never has, but Lona was a friend to her.  I was very surprised Mom could remember her name considering they both had Alzheimer’s.

Mom had a boyfriend at the assisted living facility for a while until he dumped her for a red-head!  But when she introduced my sister to her boyfriend, she couldn’t remember his name and he couldn’t remember her name.  But she could remember Lona’s name.

I decided it was okay if she doesn’t remember my name.  Sometimes she does remember my name and sometimes she thinks my name is Gen, which is short for Genevieve, her sister.  I sat with her on the couch and we talked about nothing.  Everything was a mish mash in her head, but that was okay too.