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ruthmendez are you
abc123
Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2021 10:49 AM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 2356


lurking down here in the basement? Please know that I think of you & your dad often. I hope you are both doing as well as possible. Hospice tells us that mom is stage 7, she is slowly declining, slipping further away. Recently I find myself racking my brain trying to remember a normal conversation with her, the sound of her voice. So many things racing thru my head, it hurts.

Be well & happy my friend! Merry Christmas!


ladyzetta
Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2021 12:34 PM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1704


Dear Ruth, 

I also miss your postings and the updates on your Dad. Hugs Zetta 


MandyMouse
Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2021 3:27 PM
Joined: 12/19/2021
Posts: 1


Hello.  My name is Mandy.  I found 

this website and message board

today.  Thank you for allowing me

to participate.  I wish everyone a 

healthy, meaningful and merry

Christmas.


Jo C.
Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2021 10:43 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


Hello Mandy and a very warm welcome to you.   So glad you have found this very supportive place.

If you go to the other Forums for Caregivers and also the one for Spouse/Partner;  you will find so much information as well as support. It does NOT matter if you are a primary caregiver or not, or whether you have a spouse or partner who has dementia or not; we are all welcome to Post wherever you wish on whatever Forum we wish. 

Do follow along reading on the various Forums and you will soon begin to get a  good feeling as to how things work and flow on this wonderful message board.

When you are ready and have found a Forum that best fits your feelings and/or needs, you can let us know more about yourself and your situation.

You have landed on the Musings Forum where the purpose is simply to throw out whatever one wishes to Post.  Most of the time it is off topic communications, sometimes a poem or music, etc.  The other Forums seems to be more on topic, but also have some off topic too.  Over time, we get to know one another and it can almost seem like an extended electronic family.

In any case, do feel free to Post wherever you wish and share anything you wish.  We are all here in support of one another and that now includes you too.

J.


ruthmendez
Posted: Friday, December 24, 2021 5:22 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2339


Hello abc123 and ladyzetta! Cute! You both have a new photo! And Happy Holidays! Yes, I do lurk but very rarely these days. I think I just got burned out with all the dementia stories and the never ending long road to who knows where.  Some things I can’t relate my father to and many I do in these forums.  And I think I just became accustomed to my particular experiences and …kinda feel settled. 

 My father seems the same.  No drastic change or decline…very slow or subtle progression…bed bound four years now.   His soiled diapers are filling all the landfills (probably overflowed by now).  His legs are now folded.. impossible to straighten.  And he’s very chatty during the evenings …says silly things…along with  “mama mama” and “mi papa …”

He is in hospice and it’ll be a year by end January. And I’m surprised he was not discharged in July…he ain’t dying anytime soon, I don’t think. 

He was a bit wheezy last week but quickly overcame it.  Oxygen tank and more equipment was delivered since last week, but still not needed.  I get the impression the nurses and the doc wonder what to do with him, because he is doing quite well. 

Anyway, I’ve been involved in another situation lately that is taking my focus away from just dad.  But it’s something I’ll soon have to put an end to because I cannot care for more people . I see signs of schizophrenia in a relative, I’m assuming drug abuse contributed to the problem and it’s very sad to see in a very young man. I’m very disappointed.

But looking forward to a new year while preparing mentally for what is to come.  

abc123, hang in there.  I feel dried up and not fully aware of what more to expect but lucky Dad and I have made it this far…I just hope he reaches the finish line before I do.  

 


abc123
Posted: Friday, December 24, 2021 8:16 PM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 2356


Ruth! You just made my Christmas bright! It's so nice to hear from you, thank you for letting us know how your Dad is getting along! I'm sorry about your relative, it's always hard when it's a young person. So sad. 

Take good care of you!


ruthmendez
Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 1:46 AM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2339


ruthmendez wrote:

He is in hospice and it’ll be a year by end January. And I’m surprised he was not discharged in July…he ain’t dying anytime soon, I don’t think. 

 
What an idiot. Well, I’m not a nurse. I can’t tell these things.  Dad will be dying soon. I’ll get back here later when it’s over.  Food and fluids has stopped since this morning.  I’ll be busy for this last part of his life and I doubt I’ll sleep much because I’m a bit anxious and don’t want to miss being present when he’s carried off to his new life. I love papa.
Love y’all. And thank you everyone 


chrisp1653
Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 10:57 AM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1321


Hi Ruthie,

When Barbara stopped eating and just kind of fell asleep, she stayed that way for 1 week. At some point during that week, while I was checking on her and talking - as is my tendency - I asked her how she was doing and she sort of whispered, " not too good. " Those were the last words she ever spoke to me before she passed a few days later.

I know you have a life, somewhere hidden away  amongst the various other concerns that have seemingly taken over, and I hope that when all is said and done, it will resurface. I know it did for me, although it took a while.

Peace to you, sister Ruthie, and of course, to your sweet dad.


ruthmendez
Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 11:35 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2339


Hello Chris!  

I should be sleeping right now but I'm on a roll (maybe I'm afraid to sleep and dream-because dad might be in those dreams).  

My father died sometime shortly before 1:50 am this morning.  The 19th.

I was hoping I would get to watch or "be present" for his last breath.  But I did not sleep enough for two days and the exhaustion hit me at the wrong moment.  I was lying on the floor next to his hospital bed when I knocked out.  Shortly before knocking out I was telling myself,  "...you don't have to see his last breath to feel present..you already are present, Ruth!"  But I was still hoping.  

After I administered his dose at midnight, I fell asleep.  I had my alarms set for every 2 hours, so the next dose of medication was set for 2 am.  But before the next alarm I suddenly woke up and realized dad was not breathing.  I stood up to find he had passed away.  I couldn't believe it!  But I touched his head and it felt warm.  I looked at the time and it was 1:50 am.  So maybe he decided to sneak off just in time before waking me.

I don't know..I didn't realize this house would feel quite empty.  During the day I kept busy with washing and went for a long walk at the beach.  When I returned late evening....man....didn't realize I would miss hearing him.  But I look into his empty bed and say to myself, "He is not there anymore.  And he shouldn't be.  He is free in his new world with his other relatives who left before him and at peace.  He does not need to be here.  And I'll just have to figure it out."

All the nurses and chaplain are happy that dad died peacefully.  They tell me he did not suffer too much and was comfortable.  I hope so.  I really hope so.

 

 


chrisp1653
Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2022 10:23 AM
Joined: 1/23/2017
Posts: 1321


Oh Ruthie, How I do remember that Sunday night when Barbara passed. I knew it was coming, but like you, I was not right there when she did it. We had been watching the television ( Oh all right... I was the only one watching, ) and I just went over to check on her, and there she was. No visible breathing. Lips a little blue. Forehead cool to the touch.  I still want to beat myself up a little bit for not somehow sensing that exact moment when she left.  I called the hospice people, and in little more than an hour, her bed was empty and I was watching the tail lights of the van carrying her slip around the corner.

The next day, I went out to the living room and looked at that vacant bed. I have no words for describing the feeling of being in a totally empty house after 38 years of being married.

Now, almost 1 year and 1 month later, the emptiness is mostly gone, because I have learned to see her presence in her chair ( which she now shares with me ) and in the bedroom. It's a little tougher in the car, because that right hand seat just refuses to be filled.  Still, I am happy to be alive, and I do believe that she would in no way want me to be moping around in a rudderless state.

The picture I have now for my profile here is also on my computer screen as the background, and every morning when I sit down in front of it to have my breakfast I talk to her for a few seconds, so that she will know that I'm doing ok.

You take care, Ruthie, and lemme know how you're getting on.

 

Chris


ladyzetta
Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2022 1:20 PM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1704


(((((Dear Ruthie)))))

I am so sorry your Dad has left you but his spirit will always be with you. He was so lucky to have a daughter as loving and caring as you by his side. Please get some rest you deserve it. As you know your dad is in a better place. I am sending you lots of Hugs. Zetta 


SusanB-dil
Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2022 3:10 PM
Joined: 9/10/2021
Posts: 323


Ruth - sorry to hear about your loss. 

You will have quite an adjustment time, now, I'm sure...   Know that you were there and you were with him.  and perhaps he even knew that.

((hugs))


Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, January 22, 2022 11:50 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


Dear Ruth, I just saw your message and am so sorry.   It is heartening to know that his actual passing was peaceful; even though you were not awake, you were by his side as his spirit left his body.   I so hope you can take solace in knowing how much you gave your father of yourself over the years and how you have gone the distance and thensome.

With your avatar photo, I will always remember what an adorable face your father had.  You have been a blessing to him and were his guardian angel on earth.

So hope that you will find your way in the new way of being, it takes time to find out who we are after such a loss. 

If and when you feel up to it, let us know how you are doing; we will be thinking of you and once here, we are always part of this extended electronic family.

Warm thoughts are being sent your way,

J.


ruthmendez
Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2022 9:49 AM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2339


 Chris, ladyzetta, Susan, and Jo C thank you so much.  I’m doing ok and have been looking for walking trails (and going out with my neighbor but I have to make sure that doesn’t get too expensive-she’s treating next time).

I walked a short trail at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego last Saturday and how embarrassing to realize how out of shape I am.  It is a short trail with some hills and I worried that I would not make it back in time before sunset and remember or find where I left my car!

I’ll keep working on it.  I’m getting recommendations of easy trails for caution (so I don’t get stuck midway and need rescue-helicopter and all-that would be silly).

I’m working on my father’s services and funeral.  I’m ok with it being a bit delayed.  I don’t want to rush everything and he has many siblings.  So it’s a big family.  

I’ll leave you with this song that I dedicate to my dad.  Although the lyrics is about a dancer, I still feel these can be his words about his dementia and being set free.

Thank you everyone.  I’ll be around every now and then. Love ya! 

Electricity from Elton John

 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cWekKrlkzow&feature=youtu.be


ladyzetta
Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2022 6:40 PM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1704


Ruthie, that is a beautiful song, Thank You for sharing. Hugs Zetta
Jo C.
Posted: Friday, January 28, 2022 9:00 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


Hello Ruthie, well; if you need a rescue helicopter off Sunset Cliffs, I would see you on the TV news as I live farther "up" in SoCal.  Glad you made it back to your car.

You will later be putting together the services for your father, your last gift to him.  When my dear mother died, I also had her memorial services some time after she had passed. We too had to make allowances for her relatives to come from a distance and it also let me catch my breath a bit after the death.  I wanted to be able to give her that last "gift," and that was in the personal nature of her service. Didn't have anyone else to help.  Guess that I inadvertantly latched onto that memorial service with all-in focus still operating on that balled up energy from the time of her care; it also helped me to internally process things without knowing that I was doing it.   It kind of took over by itself and off I went.  Cuckoo.

I had Kinkos make a large poster sized photo of her which I had put at the front of the church on an easel with flowers on each side of it.   I also went through photos from throughout her life and had a disc of the photos made which was able to be shown on a screen for the people who attended the service.   It was really cool and really showed her in the span of her life before dementia. 

Had music with a few carefully chosen pieces in the background and a soloist who sang my mother's favorite most beautiful piece; "Ave Maria."  Music provided by the church folks.  That unconscious energy found me writing her eulogy at about 2:00 am one morning, (was too nervous and teary feeling to read it myself, so had the minister do it.)  Also had a special service program made with her photo on the front and of all things, for some dorky reason, I had Kinkos who printed the program also make a two sided copy of her wonderful old fashioned recipes for items she was known for like her molasses cookies, date bars, and pasties . . . printed it on pink paper and tucked inside the programs. I goofily actually titled it, "A Gift From Mary." (my mother's name.)  Groan.  Why?  I do not know why . . . I was on auto pilot on full steam and it probably was helping me to process the aftermath deep inside in that unconscious manner while doing the last that I could do.  

After the service was past, I suddenly had that oooooommphphph . . . . all air let out, where everything came to a standstill, but by that time the effect was a bit softer. I just needed it to let be.

It has been several years and I find myself deeply missing her.  The years of dementia which had somehow become her identity and was fraught with so much negativity has fallen away. In reality, it was but a small part of her life; in the here and now, I now think of her in terms of all her life prior to dementia - all the years from earliest childhood memories through to the year prior to her illness.  I now also more acutely remember all I have to be so thankful for in what she was and did in small or larger ways in her and my life;  it really is her true identity of who she actually was.   I still talk to her from time to time.  Perhaps her soul can hear me; perhaps not . . . . yet, I wish I had said more out loud while she was living and could process it . . . . regrets regarding that.  After she was ill, I did still tell her I loved her and shared memories I had like little stories for her, but by that time she was not processing conversation well.  May she have felt the love even if she could not process it. 

From one daughter to another, I send you my warmest thoughts and a warm hug.  You did good Ruthie; you really, really did.

J.


jfkoc
Posted: Friday, January 28, 2022 6:05 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20789


Thinking of you...the sadness, the quiet and the strange sense of relief....all difficult.....you are in my heart...............
Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, February 5, 2022 3:03 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


Hello Ruthie; here I am looking for you because I have been thinking of you.   Am looking forward to hearing from you when you are up to it and feel like doing it.

J.


ruthmendez
Posted: Monday, February 7, 2022 9:24 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2339


jfkoc wrote:
Thinking of you...the sadness, the quiet and the strange sense of relief....all difficult.....you are in my heart...............
Hello Judith.  This is exactly how I felt immediately after...but confused with the emotions.  Almost guilty if I'm not sad enough...but the other day a co-worker gave me a condolence card that many colleagues signed off and that got me teary eyed...
I do feel the relief..and yet looking for other things to focus on but I'm trying not to collect more relatives who may need caregiving.  I really want to stop that. 

ruthmendez
Posted: Monday, February 7, 2022 10:34 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2339


Hello JoC.  You are very creative and had such good ideas for your mom's services.  I too collected photos of my father.  Unfortunately, it appears I have countless photos from his last 4 years and not enough from his early years.  But I combined over 200 images that will be displayed in a tribute movie.  I hope people don't get bored seeing him in bed, image after image...

My neighbor has created a collage of photos of him and will soon have it printed out. I'm hoping I can include that as display for the viewing.  

The services will be this Friday and Saturday. I know. It's so belated...but I appreciate the wait, actually.  

When the Hospice nurse came to confirm his passing, she warned my sister and I that there would be a delay at the mortuary, because of COVID??  I understood it had to do with the current higher number of deaths, but I might be wrong.

However, I didn't get that impression from the mortuary, but the church did not have an opening for a funeral mass for the rest of January.  My father would have wanted a mass (he requested that to me before he became more ill).  And a family relative softly requested a weekend service to accommodate family's availability, which is not a problem for me (odd to request that because most of his siblings are retired!  But not a huge issue). So that's why this service is so delayed for trying to schedule a viewing and mass the following day.

I have written drafts and rewrote drafts of the eulogy....I think at this point I'll just use it as a guide of what I want to say so it doesn't sound too rehearsed....but I'm a little worried nothing will come out but a crackly voice and my words will be inaudible.  I'll try my best.  We'll see how it goes.  

I'm worried the services will exhaust me, and the family is a little overwhelming, but they are helpful people so I'm hopeful I'll get through this ok.  I'm not too anxious right now to get it over with, but when they come my feeling may change because it is a family of 15 siblings, and most will attend with their children (a lot of people! oh God). 

Recently I tried a new walking trail that was recommended to me and will try some more.  Last Friday night my nephew and I walked at the beach boardwalk and tried the new trail the following day.  I think I'm slowly able to endure longer distances or more hills.  I would like to walk most of the trails before it gets too hot.  So as soon as the services are over, I'm moving on with trying new adventures.  The walking trail adventures.   Getting chased by mountain lions and lizards....bear spraying everything....looking for stops to use a restroom, memorizing the trail to find my way back to the vehicle...all of that before sunsets.  What an adventure!


Jo C.
Posted: Tuesday, February 8, 2022 4:32 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


You have everything in hand Ruth; the service will be lovely and very meaningful.   Your father has been blessed by such a dear and caring daughter in multiple ways.

It is a lot getting it altogether, but as said, it is something done out of love and it also as said, for me it took up energy that needed a place to be as one learns to decelerate.  It is not at all late to do this - waiting a bit is just fine; it gives time for you to get yourself acclimated, to get all and sundry done, and to give time for those who must get themselves there from away places time to arrange things.  The mechanics of it all seem to take over for that period of time.

Being honest, there was no way I wanted my house full of people after the service which is kind of the way things are done in our "circle."  I wanted my house to be private and free of any further folderol so we would have peace.  I knew I would be like a balloon out of air.  I decided instead to hold the post funeral gathering in a very nice church room that could accommodate everyone.  It did not cost anything for the room.

We had so many coming but I was not entirely certain of the count.  Some came quite a distance with hours of driving, but needed to head home rather quickly, so I felt it best to provide food.   The church had the nice room set up with tables and chairs, and supplied the tablecloths.  There was also a kitchen adjacent, but I decided to cater the food.  I did a lot of looking and gasped at some of the prices, but found a nice smaller deli that did the entire setup; overall I think it cost around $700 for everything including from the deli, to the cakes, to the dishes and cups, napkins and plasticware, to the drinks; everything included which seemed a lot,  but actually wasn't considering the number of people. We had multiple different kinds of meats, multiple different kinds of salads, rolls, some warm goodies, cookies, from the deli; the church ladies did a beautiful ham, I decided to do cakes and got two sheet cakes from CostCo and they were really good.  Coffee, tea, sodas, small bottles of water and we were good to go.  The deli people were awesome and everything looked very nice and I did not have to prepare a bit of it.

My friend who did her LOs funeral in no way wanted to go through the hassle of food, so she had huge platters of different kinds of cookies - CostCo again - and had urns of coffee, tea, and soda done in the hall of the church the service had been at.   It was very nice, congenial, and had minimal fuss involved.

Some can afford to do fancier, but that amount for me was significant and I did not want to go any farther.  I hardly remember all of the people and what was even talked about.  I was by that time in kind of a little fog.  The church did the setup and take down of the tables and their tablecloths, etc.  We cleaned up the food table and it was easy with a bit of foil and saran.  We had to pay for the organist/pianist and the soloist, I think it was $150 each for the two of them.   Could have done without them, but it was more seemly for my offering in honor of my mother and it was nice to have the music when the photo disc was played on a large screen at the front of the church to the side of the altar.

Many are fortunate in that they do not have to do the food thing and that is just fine.  It is the service that counts.   You are doing a good job in honoring your fathers wish for a mass to be said.  Good daughter.

So those were the mechanics of what was involved with the service and the immediate aferward.

The feelings of loss mixed with a sort of near relief and so many memories are there and will be for awhile.  There was a writing about this in a book I read, I shall see if I can find it and print it here.

I am sure it will be a lovely day Ruthie; you will do better than I did. I knew my limits and knew if I read the eulogy myself, I would be in tears or worse.  Thankfully I knew the really nice Pastor fairly well and he read the eulogy for me which was done perfectly and kept me from making a scene with hiccups, snortles and gulps and other assorted noises.  I do not cry like a gentle lady; my body does the whole noisy, snotty, red faced thing.  Sigh. 

I will be thinking of you on Friday and Saturday; let us know how it went and how you are. A hug is being sent your way along the electronic trail.

Soon you will be walking those other trails you are so looking forward to and feeling the accumulated stress evaporate. 

J.
 


Jo C.
Posted: Tuesday, February 8, 2022 4:39 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


Here it is:

"A strange peace had settled over the house . . . it was a kind of a relief that death brings when the illness has been long and filled with pain.  The bereavement is there, the sense of loneliness and loss, but it is momentarily dulled by sheer exhaustion.  For a little while all one can feel is that at least one can sleep without fear, without the gnawing anxiety and the guilt; if even for a moment one relaxes and forgets to be watchful and afraid."

Author:  Anne Perry


Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, February 10, 2022 4:53 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


Tomorrow is Friday; the beginning of the two days of services and family arriving.  I will be thinking of you and sending warmest of thoughts your way.

J.


ruthmendez
Posted: Monday, February 14, 2022 11:29 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2339


Hello Jo C.  Thank you for the "good vides" (stealing Jim Broede's words).

I was pleased with the services, but I think I should have been more prepared.  When I read your message about the food, I was a bit worried.  

I chose desserts as part of the contract for the viewing (originally, I misunderstood it to be snacks).  Then my aunt offered to prepare food and she stayed at my home overnight to have it ready the following day after the grave site visit.

A couple of my aunts requested to do that.  I said it was ok, but oh my God there were too many folks in this little home after the grave site service.  The good thing many left after the service and didn't come to the house. The bad thing is we ended up with too much food.  But my aunts helped passing out leftovers as people were leaving.

My neighbor helped lending some of her tables and chairs.  I just remained calm as all my aunts got together and did all the work.  They are used to having big family get-togethers and parties, but they have larger size homes.  I was a little embarrassed about my small place, but I kept cool.  I was grateful for them.  Also, my neighbor advised me earlier to not be proud and that I should say "yes!" if any of my family members offered to help.  So, I did say "yes".   

At mass, I did get crackly when I read the first reading Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 in Spanish.  The crackly began at "a time to weep".  And then again at "time to dance" which reminded me of dad's terrible moves, then again at "time to lose" which reminded me of his loss of time.  Even though my neighbor suggested to me not to read it so I wouldn't stress (I was worried about my poor pronunciation in Spanish), I decided I had to do it.  I did practice in advance.  I held strong although a bit embarrassed that they could tell I was weeping.  I told myself "...why the heck are you weeping when you haven't been weeping all this time?!  This is about your dad not you!  Read it!"  That was just my way to get through.  

At my request, my aunt helped me with the second reading.  She did great.  And prior to the services, the Priest warned me his Spanish was not too great, but I told him between me and him we'll do just fine.  And we all did.  

I did do the eulogy.  I was able to get through it.  My aunt did one too.  And fortunately, things worked out that my sister did not get an opportunity to say hers (which I don't think she understands or cares what a eulogy is), as she was going to say something that was not fair to my father.  I'll keep that to myself.  It is over, and God has his ways. He really looked out for my dad for his final years.  And my father left with the honor he deserved.

I'm happy it was a lovely service.  May he rest in peace.


ladyzetta
Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 1:51 PM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1704


(((((Ruthie))))))

Your Dad is at peace. He was looking down with a very proud smile on his face, seeing all the loving things you had done for him and for his service. Your Dads spirit will always be with you. Now it's time for you to rest. Hugs Zetta  


Jo C.
Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2022 3:52 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12915


Hello Dear Ruthie:  What a truly lovely service given in love from a lovely daughter.  I agree; how proud your father would be of his dear daughter.  Once again Ruth, you "did good."

Your aunts were wonderful to put their hands to do what needed doing, and bless them; what wonderful magic they pulled off with all the food and getting things set up.  It is hard to have a crowd of people in one's house after such a service, kudos to you for holding up.  Best to have too much food for the mourners than not enough; the experienced aunts were wise in making certain no one would be left hungry.  It can certainly be an exhausting day both physically and mentally but you did it and you did it so well. 

I am in awe you bravely did the reading in Spanish - good for you and I know it was from the heart as was the entire service in honor of your beloved father.

Let us know how you are doing, we sure will be thinking of you.

Big hug being sent to Miss Ruth from one daughter to another,

J.