Saturday, July 11, 2015

Memories and Mementoes for the Taking

Tammy and I have summer traditions that we look forward to each year: the Taste of Minnesota; the Uptown Art Fair; the Dakota County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair to name a few. We'll be taking a pass on each of those this year as we care for Elaine. We'll make it back to all of them again some day and I think we'll enjoy them all more than ever when we do.

My mom is slowly slipping away from us. I went to see her Wednesday night and she was so confused and making very little sense. I wondered as I sat with her in her room if she would even remember the next day that I was there at all.

I brought my camera along hoping to get a nice photo of her but I never took it out. She was too stressed to smile and I didn't feel right about taking a photo of her in the condition she was in. I tried to make small-talk but I failed to piece together a conversation from what little sense she was making.

I drove home in silence feeling sad for her situation and wondering (as I have each time I've said goodbye to her these past several weeks) if that would be the last time I'd see her. I watched a couple of balloons floating off to my left as I approached the Elko exit. I grabbed a quick shot. There's a serenity in that photo that I wish for my mom. I'm no longer praying for a miraculous recovery but instead I pray for her to leave this life as her time here is done. But her frail, faithful heart soldiers on. It keeps on doing what it has done for nearly 88 years while the rest of her body slowly shuts down and leaves her to struggle on.

Keith will be putting her town-home on the market soon. My siblings and I have been stopping by there this past week to see if there's anything of hers we'd like to have. The only thing I was really hoping to get back was a Tiffany Peony lamp I'd made for her some 15 years ago. I wanted it for Jackie, my sister. I also found several photo albums that I brought home with me with plans to go through them this winter and digitize them and eventually put them all on DVDs to give to my siblings. I wish I'd have taken time to go over them with my mom while she was still able to give me the history of some of the less familiar photos. It's too late for that now.

Going through her things as we are feels premature but it all has to be done in order to get her home on the market and cover whatever costs she will incur once she leaves the Transitional Care Unit at Three Links. I don't see her languishing in this condition for long but it's possible that she could and we need to be prepared.

I took a few minutes to take one last look around knowing that it will probably be the last time I would see her home looking the way she had it.

There have been lots of gatherings and celebrations here over the 18 or so years that she's called this home. This may be the longest she's ever lived in one place now that I think about it.

I know my dad would have been proud of the way she carried on without him.


John Hill said...

Blessings, my friend!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thank you, John.

Mona Aakre said...

Kevin, sorry to hear about your mom. It's hard to watch them slip away. Take the photo albums with you to see her. She may enjoy looking at them. Prayers to you and your family.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thank you, Mona. I just may do that.

Jackie said...

Makes you think about all that she thought about while sitting in that chair day after day, week after week, and lately month after month. So glad you captured the home and her things for posterity. So easy to forget the things that made up our home at one time. Not that "things" matter but it was her home, and that which once made up "our" home.

Kevin Gilmore said...

I agree, Jackie. She spent a lot of hours in her chair. It was a comfortable and convenient place for her to live. It will be odd to drive by there knowing I have no connection to it anymore.