Mom Has Dementia

March 15, 2015

Dear Mom,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter.  I have been thinking about how to talk with you or how to write you my concerns.  In the many conversations that we’ve had over the years, we have always been able to be frank and honest.  You have said numerous times that I am too honest when I tell people things they don’t want to hear.  However, I learned honesty from you.  You have said our whole lives, “be truthful.  It’s important to be honest.”   Sometimes the truth hurts, to hear it and to say it.  But when it’s the truth, we have to learn to accept it.

As a young adult,  I can remember you talking about this person or that person, your mother, your friend, and saying to us, “I hope I don’t get that way!  I hope you girls will tell me when I say or do something that isn’t right, or if something is off about my appearance?”  We assured you that we would.

In Dad’s last days, he wondered if you would be able to live alone.  We wondered too.  With Tamie and Mik’s occasional help, you have been able to remain in your wonderful lake home and be relatively independent.  It’s hard to believe that 10 years has passed.  However, these past five years we have seen a slow progression of your abilities and personality.  The past two years, even more difficulties. We have been gently trying to tell you here and there, that dementia is changing you. You are not like you use to be. This is not something that is easy to say to a loved one and I am so sad to hurt your feelings.

Over a year ago,  your doctor indicated that you should not be living alone.   We know this upset you, but she was being truthful.  Her concern was your safety.  Tamie and I decided that we would see how it goes, take it month by month.  You are a strong and determined woman and we love you dearly.  But the truth is,  because of your dementia, it is not good for you to be living alone any longer.  The truth is, it is time for you to live where you have some assistance with your daily activities.  We know that you can meet this challenge, just like the changes you had to accept when Dad, Brenna and Ken died.  You can get thru this transition also.

Leaving your lake home, I suppose is like a death.  It’s leaving/losing something that is familiar, that is beautiful, that brings comfort, that holds many memories, that brings warmth, it feels like where you belong.  It’s home.   We feel that way too and we know that it is even harder for you.  As you know, with every ending there is a new beginning.  After some time of adjustment, we think your new place will begin to feel like home.

Tamie and I have been patient the past two years, hoping you wouldn’t seriously hurt yourself.  While we were unsure of your ability to live alone, we have now reached the point of certainty.  All of us who love you, want you to move into assisted living as soon as possible.  We hope that you will trust our judgment, voluntarily go and not put us in the position of forcing you to move.   None of us want unpleasant memories.  I have a big lump in my throat, tears in my eyes as I am writing this.  Please don’t make us force you to move.  Please don’t be mad at us for being the loving daughters that you raised us to be.  We are only watching out for you and your safety.

Will you choose to go to assisted living as soon as space is available?
With much love,
Jo

dr pers © 2016

Note: I live a thousand miles away from Mom.   I wrote this letter in case my sister needed support,  to convince our mom to move.  My sister had taken mom two different times,  to several facilities and she indicated which was her first choice.  However, Mom kept talking about “IF she moved.”

When an apartment became available at the facility of mom’s first choice,  my sister made a deposit.  She waited till I came from out of state, and together, we informed mom that she was moving in two months. The above letter was not needed and not given to mom. 

She moved in August, 2015 and died December 2016.  She was a wonderful mother and role model.

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My Son’s Bromance

The news this morning carried a short about bromance  and it’s positive effect on men’s health and relieving stress.  I was reminded of the wonderful bromance in our family.

When BJ was about to start Junior High,  we moved to Madison, WI.  After a year of searching, we finally found a small Presbyterian church, where we were both comfortable.  It was in the Confirmation program for young teens,  that BJ met A.M. (AM)

My son collected the small and large GI Joe figures.  He rarely went anywhere without a couple 3.5 inch GI Joes in his pocket.  While he was waiting for me after church one day, he was messing with a couple GI joes.   A.M. spotted this kid with the GI Joes.  As it turned out,  AM also collected GI Joes and thus began the bromance!

There were lots of trips back and forth to each other’s home,  setting up their GI Joes, rejoicing when the other acquired a new one, etc.  It seemed like they would do something together every weekend.  They would haul their tubs of figures and equipment back and forth.

I sometimes wondered if AM had too much influence on BJ.  One time I remember grounding BJ.   AM was giving him ideas over the phone, of what to say to me and then BJ would repeat that to me.   I was livid.  I went right over to AM’s house and of course he sent his sister to the door first.  When he finally came to the door, in my calmly controlled anger, I told him to stop telling  BJ what to do and not undermine me.  The problem was resolved.

My son had trouble remembering the when and where’s of activities.  He might know part of the information but never have the whole of it.  i suppose it was because of ADD or the medication he took.    He never knew when basketball or soccer practice was. He didn’t know the times of the dance,  when Senior pictures were due, etc.   He would call AM to find out.

They would chatter away on the phone and I would smile to myself, hearing the banter, laughing and teasing that went on.  I was thankful that BJ found a close friend that he could count on.   Even though there were girls and other friends throughout high school,  it was amazing that they remained close until they graduated.  Looking back,  I think my son’s teen years were much happier because of this bromance.

BJ went into the military soon after high school graduation.   He and AM would talk daily whenever BJ was in the states.  When overseas,  AM would put together care packages for BJ and his buddies.  BJ’s girlfriend and later his wife,  was the first to suggest the term “bromance” to me.  It was likely an adjustment for her to acknowledge the close friendship the two guys had.

Both friends were in each other’s wedding.  When each friend  has gone thru difficult times,  the other remains loyal and supportive.

After 20 years,  they remain in contact and keep up with what’s happening in their lives.  I don’t think I have ever told AM that I love him. He has enriched my son’s life and I will be forever grateful to him.  Our family was blessed and continues to be blessed by his friendship and thoughtfulness.

Since BJ was an only child,  AM has been like a brother.  This bromance has been a wonderful addition to our family.

A close friendship is downright personal.   ©  2016

 

Mom, I want to be white like you.

I always felt somewhat guilty raising a black child.  The “powers that be” preferred that children be raised by parents of the same color.  What if there aren’t enough adoptive parents of that color?  Is it more important that children stay in the foster care system rather than be adopted by  parents of a different color?  Thank goodness there were social workers in the early 1980s, who believed in the priority of placing a child in a loving home even tho our skin colors didn’t match.

One night when BJ was about 4, we were in the midst of our night-time ritual, and he blurted out, “mom, I want to be white like you.”  It hurt me to hear that.  I tried to reassure him that being black was a good thing, “black is beautiful,” but I knew it didn’t address what he was feeling.

I had tried to be intentional about buying brown and black toy figures for him to play with.  Every action figure that was black, I bought.  That is the reason we started collecting GI Joes.  He was given a black Cabbage Patch boy doll at his baptism.  Family members would look for books and other printed material that showed people of color in a positive way.

Internally, I continued to struggle with BJ’s statement.    I wanted to be able to say to him, I wish I could be black like you, but it wasn’t true.  I knew that my race did afford me certain privileges and my life would be tougher if i were a single, black woman with a child.  This was also the time period that I brought up his birth mom, her color, that he looked like her and some day we would find her when he was grown up.

I continued to struggle with BJ’s wish.  At some point that year,   I knew I could honestly say to him,  “I wish I could be black like you!”   He didn’t express wanting to be white often.  However, the next time he brought it up,  I was able to genuinely respond,  “and I wish i could be black like you!”

I suspect that my wanting to be like him,  was a truer affirmation that “black is beautiful.”  I don’t recall that issue coming up much after that.

After 15 years, it’s hard to believe we are still together.

We will be celebrating our 15th anniversary this May.  It is surprising to me that we are still together.  We are so different in many ways.  We have not married but we are committed.

She is warm blooded, I am cold blooded.  This causes problems in the car and house.  She is in a tank top, sandals and shorts, I have on long pants, merrell mocs and a sweatshirt.

She loves dogs, wanted two of them to sleep in bed with us,  I didn’t.   I endured until both died.  We have been dog free for 3 years but that will change in the near future.

She is politically conservative, I was liberal.  Times have changed and I now see the ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of liberalism.  Issue resolved.

I was active in the church, she wasn’t.  This has provided many interesting discussions and we attend church occasionally.  This is mostly due to my profound hearing loss and the difficulty of hearing what is being said.  We are on the same page:   faith is an important part of our lives.  Issue resolved.

I adopted a son as an infant, she came into our lives when he was a junior in high school.  Her upbringing was much, much tougher than mine and that was reflected in our parenting styles.  I would say that we complemented each other.  The challenge this raises now,  is who to leave certain assets to, in my will.  I imagine this is an issue for other couples where one has children, and the other doesn’t.

It is difficult for us to work together.  We are both strong women and have opinions on how things should be done.  Inevitably, one starts to boss the other.  When its time to do yard work, we work on separate projects.   We take breaks together, admire our landscaping, then return to our separate areas.  Yes, we help each other when it comes to heavy lifting.  Issue resolved.

Vacations were important to me,  not to her.  She saw them as a waste of money.  After three years together, she saw the value of traveling and relaxing from a stressful job.  Issue resolved.

Three years ago, the decision to get our motorcycle endorsements and purchase motorcycles was a time of conflict.   She thought it would be so much fun.  Our friends agreed with me, that it was a high risk activity.  She was determined.  With fear and trepidation,  I finally gave in.   She financed the cost and it has turned out that we have had some wonderful vacations and time spent together on our Honda Shadows.  I thank God every time we return safely from a ride.   We are in our early sixties and not sure how much longer we will ride.  Issue somewhat resolved.

What has kept us together in spite of our differences?   Let it be said,  every couple has problems, that is a given.  Yes, we still love each other after 15 years. However,  love is often not enough.  A long term relation ship usually needs other shared values.

We mostly agree on finances, what to spend money on.  We both are cautious in our spending.  If you have big differences in this area, it can be a big problem.

We both value monogamy and are sensitive to not flirting with others or causing doubts about our faithfulness.  We have two couple friends who also value monogamy and that helps in our socialization.  I had to be out of state for a total of three-four months last year, due to elderly mother issues.  I had no doubts that  i could trust my partner during my absence.

Another big thing that we appreciate about each other, is that we feel supported.  She loves landscaping and gardening,  I went along with it,  dug out lots of clay, built a large raised bed, laid paving stone, stacked rock, etc.   She wanted to play the flute, learn to bead,  fine with me.  I wanted to play the Ukulele,  she bought a beautiful instrument for me.  When I became interested in digital photography and Photoshop,  she made sure I had the appropriate equipment.  When one wants to get together with our family members,  the other supports it.  She has had a stressful job with long hours for 11 years.  I don’t complain.  I do most of the household, shopping, errands and yard work, so our weekends are free to play or relax.  It is a wonderful feeling when you feel supported in your choices.  It encourages freedom and trust in a relationship.

I’ve told my son and daughter-in-law, “there might occasionally  be somebody who looks better than the one you got.  The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.”  However, remember that the new mate will not be problem free,  just different issues.  Before you jeopardize your present relationship,  be sure that the present problems are an absolute deal breaker.  The “greener grass” may provide worse problems than you have now.  Be careful what you wish for!

I know its downright personal, but if you are in a long term relationship,  what has kept you together?

drp ©2016

 

 

 

Can Hillary Be Trusted?

I have been a registered Democrat  for 40 plus years.  I am shocked by the choices on the Democratic ticket.  A socialist and a crook.

When introducing Hillary at a recent rally, Madeleine Albright said, ‘there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help one another.   I wish she would have spoke up a few years back when Sarah Palin was being crucified by the Press.

I can’t support Hillary just because she is a woman. Voting for or not voting for someone because she is a woman, is sexist.   What happened to considering a candidate based on his/her qualifications, experience, leadership ability and morals?   Is being a woman, really the most important criteria for being a President.  I think not.

We know Hillary has been a senator and Secretary of State.  Can you name any significant accomplishments?  I can’t either.

What happened on her watch as Secretary of State?  The Mideast literally turned chaotic and Isis mushroomed.  In the case of Benghazi,  her State Department did not attempt to rescue  U. S. Embassy staff while they were being attacked, resulting in 4 deaths.   I don’t think there has ever been such a blatant abandonment of Americans.  Has she got our backs?  No.

On top of that,  she emails her daughter within hours, that this was a terrorist attack but yet tells the American public that the attack was related to a video.   She repeats the same video story to the loved ones of the fallen embassy staff.  There is now proof that this was a lie and cover up.   Can you trust what Hillary says?   No.

Added 4-6-16:  A few days ago, Hillary makes the statement at a Town Hall meeting  “we didn’t loose a single person in Libya.”   Does she think we have forgotten or is it a sign of dementia?   Unbelievable.  

Secondly, Hillary set up a private server for government matters, storing this info on a  server, on her personal property.  Once again, she is playing dumb.    Come on folks, all staff receive training on these matters when they work for the government.  If she is not intelligent enough to realize how easily classified and top secret email can be hacked from a personal server,  she is not intelligent or wise enough to be President.  People are serving jail time for lesser offenses.  It’s called espionage!

The big question is, why would someone risk and even desire to handle important government communication on one’s personal server?  It has to do with wanting to hide communications and hide where the information is coming from and going to.  In other words, it appears she is doing something she isn’t suppose to and doesn’t want anyone to find out.  Having your own network allows you to destroy any of the communications that might hurt you.   It would be difficult to do that on the government’s server.  Fortunately, there are techniques to recover hard drives and servers that are wiped.  Can we trust Hillary?  No.

There are rumblings about Hillary requesting donations from foreign governments for the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State. This is called a conflict of interest.  I wonder if she made promises or owes favors to foreign leaders?  Is that a good thing for America?  No.

Lastly,  do you really want Bill prowling the White House again while Hillary is busy being President?  Google his women problems stemming back to his Attorney General days in Arkansas.   We can’t trust either of them.

The Democratic nominees are a socialist and a crook.  Who in their right mind would vote for either?  If you’ve got a brain that works,  consider someone on the Republican side.  We can’t afford not to.

Being an educated voter is downright personal!   dr pers  © 2016

My posts about Bernie the socialist,  “why would any American vote for a socialist?”   See my other post, “Capitalism or Socialism“?

Finding My Son’s Birth Mother

It was a day that I knew would come sooner or later.  When he was a young adult, I had given BJ his birth mother’s first and last name,  first names of his sisters and where he was born. It was enough for him to find his birth sisters via Facebook.  His sisters gave him phone numbers.  He called and talked to his grandmother first, then set up a date and time to talk with his birth mom.  His mom felt so blessed that she was finally able to talk with him and know that he alive and loved.

He found out that his birth family had been looking for him a long time.  They had heard of some adoption abuse cases and began to wonder if BJ had been adopted to that kind of home.  He assured them that this was not the case.  He had a good life, good family and was showered with love.

A year later we began to plan for a meeting of the two families.  Since I lived a little over two hours away from his birth family, BJ would fly from CA to OK and we would drive together to Texas.  His wife and son could not make this trip.  My partner, BJ and I would travel to Ft. Worth together.

When I talked to the grandmother about coming to visit, we had anticipated a small gathering:  the  grandmother, birth mother and her other children.  The grandmother got excited about the visit, and invited her sisters, close friends, other relatives, etc.  With PTSD, BJ was not comfortable in large groups.  The three of us were excited and apprehensive about the little gathering that had now become a larger gathering.

I was not sure what kind of reception my white partner and I might receive from this black crowd.  I know that transracial adoption was and is controversial.  There was no way to know if this black family would feel resentful or angry towards us.

When we arrived at the grandmother’s house, we were greeted warmly and graciously with hugs.  There were relatives of all ages who had come to see the returning  “baby who was now a man.”

The grandmother and I had agreed ahead of time that an hour and a half would be long enough for our first visit.  Thirty minutes into the visit, his birth mother had not yet arrived.  The grandmother called her daughter and with my limited hearing, I could tell that she was not happy.  Evidently, the mother was having second thoughts and was afraid for whatever reasons.

Another 15-20 minutes passed, and suddenly his birth mother burst into the apartment.  She looked anxiously around and then rushed to BJ.   I have never witnessed such an intense hug and display of motherly emotion.  She appeared to be grateful, relieved, sorrowful and joyful, all rolled into one.  I was overcome with tears as it was a sight to see.  I imagine that every adoptive mother would want their child to welcomed by his/her birth mother as mine was.

I was extremely grateful that BJ had experienced such a warm welcome and I am sure it helped him to resolve some questions.  The worry I carried over the years, about what kind of reception he would receive from his birth family,  melted away.

I had prepared two photo booklets for the grandmother and mother.  I tried to show a timeline of his life:  his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins,  major vacation trips, his hobbies, accomplishments, etc.  I think they were assured that he was well taken care of, had lots of opportunities, and obviously loved by our family.

His birth mother texted me several times to restate the blessing she received from our contact and visit with them.

Its another family story that is downright personal.

©2016   drp

See:  Mom, I want to find my birth mother  part 1
Searching  for his birth mother      part 2

 

Capitalism or Socialism?

Why is there unhappiness with capitalism?  If it’s related to the scandal of Wall Street bailouts and big bank bailouts,  I understand the frustration.  The American taxpayers should not have to bail out businesses who were greedy and made bad decisions.  Most of us suffer the consequences for our bad decisions, why shouldn’t they?

If you want to know how the banking industry began, read the book,  “Creature of Jekyll Island.”  It is a thick book, but even if you read the first part and the last part, it is worth the price of the book.  I have never been so shocked at how few people/entities,  control the banks,  and the realization of how the banking system works. It has been four years since I read that book and it still boggles my mind.

While capitalism has it’s problems, is socialism the answer?  For those of you who consider yourselves middle class,  wealth distribution is not going to help you, but hurt you.  It is a myth of socialism that the majority are going to live as one large happy nation, sharing the wealth of the rich.   Socialism seems like a “just economy”, but unfortunately it doesn’t work.  It is even more disturbing that younger generations have been taught in school/college that socialism works.  Where in the world does socialism have a strong  economy?

Capitalism and competition is what encourages businesses to innovate, to give consumers more options.  Take away capitalism, and you have to take what is given by Big Brother.  Let the government provide one or two options for housing, healthcare, food and transportation, and you will be sickened by the reality of socialism.

Socialism does not give birth to companies like Facebook, Apple, Dell, and Microsoft.  We can hardly imagine our lives without the creative products of these companies.  Remember the monoply of AT & T?  This would have been the government option.  What’s happened since the break up of AT& T?  We have options like Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket and more.  The competitive players of Amazon and Netflix are forcing big cable companies to rethink their services.  Capitalism  and competition provide better options and lower pricing for the people.

Countries are healthier and stronger when they encourage entrepreneurship, new ideas and creativity.  America is unique in this regard and we are the envy of many nations. People come to this country expecting to follow their dream, to work hard and earn a better life for themselves.

Are the haters envious of  the American dream because they haven’t been successful, or made some bad decisions, or just don’t want to work that hard?   Granted, there have been obscene bonuses and injustice on Wall Street, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Capitalism is not our enemy,  it is a means for living free with options and a chance to improve your life.

Be careful of what you wish or vote for.  If we go down the socialism pathway,  it’s nearly impossible to go back.   In fact, it’s easy to slip into communism with the right person at the helm.  Socialism will not only cost you your freedoms,  it will rob you of your chance to rise up and better your life.

Living free with options is downright personal.

dr pers  ©2016

Read:  Why on earth would you vote for a socialist?