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Evesdropping on Mom


Getting a pedicure Getting a pedicure[/caption

Every day brings a new revelation with my mom. I took her to her doctor to find out why she’s losing weight. I have had two blood tests, and now another one.
Next week she will get a CT scan. Nothing seems to stay in her system. She can only eat very small portions of food, and she doesn’t drink enough.
I leave a cup of juice at all times and snacks for her, but she doesn’t touch it unless I tell her. I’m careful not to push her too much, as she will then eat more than she can hold in her little tummy.
I’m a t a loss. Even making her milk shakes with Ensure, is too dense for her. She drinks a couple sips, and she’s full.
The only time I’ve ever seen her this small was when I was very young and she’d had a nervous breakdown. She lost so much weight and at that time, she was only 86 pounds.

She’s not depressed, nor does she feel sick. Unless she overeats. But I’m constantly trying to find new ways to help her.
She has now accepted the fact that she cannot move back to Wisconsin until she gets the weight back on and her blood pressure stable. At least this is what I’ve told her, and she feels she needs an excuse for her not being able to return.
Every season she says, “Oh, I’d move back but there’s too much snow!” Or, “I’d move back but it’s getting too hot now!” I’m prepared now, for what her excuse will be. I once called her bluff when she was fighting with me about her move back. “Go ahead,” I said. I waited and she was so perplexed that I wasn’t saying no, to her. She sat for a minute and said, “Well I can’t yet. It’s too cold.”
“Ok,” I said. “Tell me when you want to go, and I’ll help you.” I realized I had crossed over to the right side. No more pushing or pulling the weight. I just went along with it, and I could see this was all she wanted.

Yesterday she was sitting and watching her show, when out of the blue she said, Oh Carrie is up in Milwaukee. When I move there, I’ll call her and she’ll help me.”
I got that familiar stab in my heart, that I felt, the first time I realized she doesn’t know that I’m her daughter, Carrie.
I felt tears fill my eyes, as I tried to look away and asked her, “Have you heard from Carrie?” She said, “No, but she’s very busy.”
This hurt me. I can’t imagine a son or daughter not communicating for as long, as she thinks Carrie hasn’t called her.
“Then how do you know she’s in Milwaukee?” I ask. “Oh, I know. Her brother, Craig keeps in touch with her.”
I said, “I’m sure she loves you very much, even though you haven’t heard from her.”
“Oh, of course she does!” She says. Very proud and smiling as she seems to speak something that is a known fact.
“She’s off work right now.”
This is where I’m confused in my understanding of this disease. How does she connect the thought that I am, indeed off work, to care for her, and yet she doesn’t understand that I am the person she speaks of?
I long to help her understand that her daughter loves her and I feel a need to convince her that, her daughter wants to talk to her.
“Carrie loves her brother Kevin so much! She always listens to him when he talks and does so much for him.”
Here again, I’m totally perplexed. As my brother Kevin lives here too.
“She has a very big heart!” She says.

Now I’m finding this difficult. I’m stuck between my wish to let her know how special she is to, Carrie, and not brag about myself.
“She sounds like she does. She’s a Christian isn’t she?”
“Oh, yes! She always talks about God!”
“Well, then I’m sure that when she thinks of you, she is praying for you because she loves you so much.”
“I’m sure she is!
I tell her that Carrie sounds as if she kind of managed problems in the family and she agrees. She told me, she called on Carrie when there was a problem. She then said, “She’s so sweet and loving.”
I don’t think she’s ever said that to me.
I tell her that when I talk to Craig, I will make sure he tells Carrie to call her.
“Oh, yes, that would be great! I miss her!”

Now, I leave the room because I’m beginning to cry. My sweet mom, now accepts the fact that her children love her so much, yet this, Carrie cannot even call her mom?
Oh, I’m so mad at myself! What is wrong with me?
I called my son downstairs and shared this conversation.
I said, “It looks as if I’m going to have to make a phone call to grandma. Knowing that she has this respect for, ‘Carrie’s advice, I may be able to take advantage of this.
He reminded me of his call, pretending that he was her doctor and said, “Yes, she will love that. She won’t even know.”
The best part is that she will experience the joy of the love from her real daughter, instead of the imposter living with her now!
I must admit, it is humorous when I think about the whole thing.
Most people pretend to be something they’re not in this life.
I am faced with this peculiar task of pretending that I’m me! Hope I can pull this off!

Don’t Worry Mom, One Day She’ll Be There!


IMAG1038These were the words my son spoke today. As he watched me having my meltdown with the people around me and their lack of courtesy with my mom.

We were at another crowded place and I had to find out that there was no way for my mom to see one of the shows unless I parked her wheelchair and walked her up three flights of stairs.

There was a wall which went around the dolphin pool and people were standing in front of it. I saw a young couple up front and next to them a woman with her Ipad, and it looked like her husband and son. Her husband held a camera.

As the dolphins cames swimming by and splashed, the group came flying back, right into my mom. I was so angry that they had been warned that water would splash them, yet they ran, as if it was a Tsunami, without any regard for those behind them.

I had my mom back up all the way against the back wall and here it comes again. This time the woman and her son, came flying back. I looked at her with a glare, as my mom was already having difficulty seeing because she was holding up her Ipad and filming. Something I’ve always thought to be incredibly stupid. First of all, why would you film something with an Ipad? Isn’t it like taking a piece of wood and holding it above your head? Never mind that the woman was already taking up too much room with her body in front of my little mom. But to also be holding up this thing? Why would you want to film a whole show which you could just watch? You have to be detached from the moment as you’re engaged in something like this.

Then, she gets her nice little perch in front of us again, and the dolphins come swimming by and she’s running back again. This time, I put my hand out, and I think I may have given her a little shove. Yep, I did it and I wasn’t feeling one bit of guilt.

I remembered back to the time we went to Disney and I had my mom in her wheelchair at the front, to see the parade. At the last minute, all these people crowded in front of her and she was looking at their backs.

Then to make it worse, they had all been sitting on the ground. But not when the parade started. No. They all had to begin standing. These are people who were in the front row! If I had a microphone I would have said, “Hey, listen all of you! If you’re sitting in the front on the ground, don’t be stupid and stand to obstruct the view of those behind you!” Yes, this would have been my announcement because some people are just to dense to figure it out.

But as I said to my son, “Let’s get grandma out of here, before I go ghetto on somebody!” I heard him say, “Don’t worry mom. One day she’ll be there.” “What?” I asked.

“One day that woman is going to be like grandma and she’ll see what it’s like.” “Wow!” I thought, my son really is sensitive.

I guess all isn’t lost. I think I’m presented with new challenges every day. I find myself wondering why something that seems to be common sense, just isn’t to some people.

But hearing my son say that, made it seem a little less irritating. So he really is learning. That is a huge consolation.Because, “One day I’ll be there.”

Dr Jesus Please Heal Me


Today was a hard day. They begin to blend together. One heartache after another. I find myself going off to cry quietly.
Because the flu is going around, it’s easy to pretend I have a touch of something.
My son is home educated, so I don’t have the benefit of hiding.

I’ve had sadness with my daughter. She seems like she’s slipping away from me. I feel as if I’m holding on by a thread.
I committed to pray for my children, and her especially. I told the Lord each morning as I ran on my treadmill, I would commit myself to fervent prayer.
Asking Him to “bring my daughter back from captivity. To do “whatever it takes.” Knowing perfectly well, that God hears me, and I probably won’t like the suffering involved. But I also know it’s my love for her and my responsibility for her soul, that causes me to plead with Him.

I received a sign from Him. Her life is beginning to unravel, and I ended up going to the doctor. I sprained my ankle. Yes, that’s right, on the treadmill.
Never remembering how I twisted it or turned it. I was in pain. I realized that I had been running so hard and pushing myself physically, but also spiritually.
Crying out in anguish and now my ankle is a constant reminder of her. My little girl.

Dealing with my mother is difficult as well. I received a call from the senior facility to ask me if she was going to be coming. They said that they have a spot for her but she would lose it if she doesn’t come.
She went twice, and then adamantly refused to go any more.
I was trying to brainstorm with the administrator, when I remembered how she had responded to her doctor after refusing to take her medication. I told her that I had the idea to tell him, “if he would tell her to take them, she would listen.”
It worked like a charm. He simply looked at her and said, “Honey, listen. You have to take your medicine for me, okay?” She looked at him and said, “Okay, until I go back to Wisconsin, I will.”
The doctor and I both looked at each other and smiled.

When I told the woman this, she said, “Maybe you should try that and have some male pretend to be  her doctor or something.” I said, “Yes, I think I can come up with something.”
I went to my son, and asked him to be the doctor. He was going to have a script which I would make for him and he would call my phone. I would give the phone to her and take it from there.
As I handed him the script, I had to make a few corrections-“oh, have to change that,” I said. It said, “Your daughter,” and she no longer recognizes that I’m her daughter.

I told her that her doctor had called and he would be calling back. “What is it about?” She asked. “Oh, I don’t know. He said he had something to speak with you about. “Oh, I hope I don’t have to go and see him,” she said.
As my son was coming down the stairs with his script and his phone he said, “Oh, I should get time for this under ‘Extra Curricular Activity, called conning the elderly!” At this I started laughing and could barely contain myself as I listened to him calling my phone.

Because I was in the threshold, I could hear his voice in the living room and on my phone. I really had to work hard to suppress a laugh, as I handed the phone to my mom. I looked and also noticed his picture coming up on the phone so, I carefully handed it to her. She had a hard time holding “these new phones,” anyway, so I stuck it up to her ear. “It’s your doctor,” I said.
“Oh!” She sounded excited. As I listened to him carefully reciting the words, I couldn’t help but think how ingenious this seemed. I even put references about her move to Wisconsin.”
“Yes, I noticed that your blood pressure is pretty high, on the tests I have.” The doctor said. “I understand you are planning to move back to Wisconsin and before you do this, we need a plan to get you healthy. I am authorizing one day a week at a center for you to speak with a nutritionist and get some exercise.”
I heard her say, “Oh yes, but I can’t move back yet. I have to wait until it’s warm.”
Now in a normal conversation, Dr. so-and-so would respond to that. But my son, not willing to deviate from the script, continued as if he was an automated phone message.
It did surprise me, however, to know that she really doesn’t want to go as much as she pretends.
At the end of the message he asked to speak to me. As I took the phone I continued on as if he was giving me more instructions. My son just making sounds once in a while.
After I hung up, my mom said, “I like that doctor. He’s so nice!”
I told her that this would be a day available to her to give her the physical and nutritional help to get her strong.
She was actually excited about this.
I called the administrator back and told her what we did. She laughed so hard and said, “And the Academy Award goes to….”

Later, as I was speaking about my grief at the situation with my daughter, my mother said, “It has to be so hard. You love her so much. She’s your daughter. I think that would be so hard, if I had to deal with that with my daughter.”
“Yes,” I thought. It would be hard. But the fortunate thing is that, she has dealt with many heartaches, including these with her daughter. She just doesn’t know it.
She looked so sweet again, as she said, “It will be okay. She’s a good girl.” I remembered her saying that all my life. Every time there was a crisis.”It will be okay.”

I thought of my daughter when she was young. She started getting warts on her feet. My stepson had them on his hands and they are very contagious. When he showed her the surgery he had to remove them, she was terrified.
I made a comment that, “I’ll have to take her to the doctor.” When she heard this she screamed. “No! Please mommy! I want Dr. Jesus to heal them!” She was crying at the thought of someone cutting her. She was so young. About 4 or 5. I felt so convicted at her words.
“Wow,” I thought. I haven’t even prayed about this. So I asked her if she really believed He could heal her. “Yes,” she said. “Okay, we’re going to pray.”
I put some oil on her feet as I prayed along with her.
The very next day, I noticed a miraculous thing, which had me rubbing my own eyes in bewilderment. It looked like little chalk specks on her feet. Every place which had a wart, or one just starting, just turned to powder. I began touching those little feet, and saw them drop off! I was amazed. But I remembered the Lord’s words, that “it is your faith which make you whole.”
My pastor commented, “If she has this kind of faith now, can you imagine what she’ll be like when she’s older?”

I keep standing on His promises for her life. I now feel the incredible pain which the Prodigal Father had felt, when his son went out of his home into darkness.
The hurt and concern attached to his well-being. I’m praying that I will also experience the joy of restoration.
With every painful step I take, I pray, Dr. Jesus please heal us!

Elder Swag


The greatest part of being old. You get to speak in code. Oh, the younger people think they have their very own language, i.e. Urban Dictionary. But I have just begun to realize the benefits of being old. I didn’t always look forward to it. But now I know, I’ve accepted my fate. I’m not worried. I know I have, what I like to call, ‘Elder Swag.’

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I guess it came as quite a shock, that I am actually counted among these stodgy people. I never imagined this day. I think it hit me a few weeks back, when I was in Denny’s. I sat at a table, with my son, his father, my brother and my mother. As the waitress handed us our menus, my ex husband said, “You know, you get a senior discount.”

After I finished choking on my coffee, (which was also discounted) I commented, “But I’m only 55!” “Yea, it says right here,” he began to point at the menu, and had I not needed to put my glasses on, I would have missed it.

“What in the world? That is waaaaay too young!” I said. A little irritated and somewhat excited at the same time. As if winning some kind of a prize, only to find out it was a re-gift, of a bad fruitcake.

“I don’t know if I should be happy or mad!” I said. But at that moment Rick looked at me and said, “Be happy until you’re finished eating. Then get mad.”

At this point I looked around and thought, “Hey, wait a minute! Everyone at this table, except my son, qualified for this discount.” Now I don’t feel so bad. I seem to have a lot of company.Then I started feeling sorry for the poor kid. Having such old people for parents.

Today, as I walked with my mom, she continued talking about her kids. I felt bad when she said, “she really doesn’t hear from her kids.” I tried to convince her that I am her kid. I just don’t want her to feel she’s neglected. But to no avail. She’s just not believing that I belong to her. I have been sad at times and at others amused, that she really doesn’t remember. I find that after an argument, she forgets we had one. When I place her, ‘memory patch,’ on her, I rub a little off for myself.

I felt better to finally understand that I don’t have a need for her to know I’m her daughter, as it is important that she knows, her children haven’t forgotten her. I told her this. “Mom, I just want you to know your daughter hasn’t neglected you. I am your daughter.” “Oh, come on! Do you think I’ve lost my mind?” She asked. I didn’t answer, although it was sitting at the very edge of my mouth, (no, just a part of it)

I sat and watched some shows with her later and I was laughing at all the medical problems which seemed to be an epidemic now. Or am I just more aware, since I’m a senior? I wondered out loud, “Why do all these problems come in code now? Acronyms for something which I’ve never heard of as being a condition. I wouldn’t say that the inablity to keep your legs still is a problem. If it is, my son has it too. But then there has to be a condition for being stuck in the sofa, like my mom. I’m sure I haven’t heard of it yet.

OAB-overactive bladder? Why don’t they just say, “I pee a lot? Or call it IPAL?” “Hey man! Don’t use a long word, where a short one will do.” Didn’t Mark Twain say that? My mother was laughing. She has not lost her humor. That’s good. I said, “Mom, they say that if your legs move to much, you have “Restless Leg Syndrome.” She is incredulous, as she says, “What?” I said, “Yea, I’m convinced that the doctors are making this stuff up, so they can sell medication.”

I told her, I’m sure that AARP, had something to do with this code language too. They started the whole club mentality. Like we should covet the idea of being accepted. All these ailments with the leaky pipes and things which always were normal, for old people. I guess it’s more exciting in the old conversations too. It’s like a special club and if you don’t know what the codes stand for, you sure aren’t in it! I picture an old dude standing at the entrance to the senior center, like a spy thriller, “What do you got?” Hmmm, as the old guy with his walker looks down, “Oh yea, IBS, with a side of Gert!” “Okay, come on in.”

Then they tell us that, if you have one of these conditions and are prescribed medicine, You are the one responsible to tell your doctor about all your medical history. Hey, isn’t that the doctors job? Why do we have to pay them, if we have to tell them what’s wrong?

The next dilemma is the whole Medicare/Social Security paperwork. My ex husband came over to ask for help in filling out his paperwork. Complicated more by his newly diagnosed cataracts. He said, “Don’t you think it’s kind of goofy, that when you’re this age, and you’re at the most difficult stage of your life, that you have to read and fill out all of this?” “Hmm, I said. That’s a valid point. Believe me, it’s designed to confuse. “Yea,” he said. “But think about someone like your poor mom trying to figure this out. The really take advantage of older people!” Incidentally, that’s a key strategy to point out old people which you consider much older than you. It minimizes the impact. (I do it all the time)

He sure is right about that. And it can only get worse. If I’m the one in charge of these other old people and we are all in this together; the trip to Denny’s is the easiest part of the journey. I’m thinking that the Old Fogies should have their own dictionary very soon. My mother has been telling my son for years, that, poop is not a word. “Poop deck or pooped out,” but no word such as poop!” She says. Well, I had to break the news about Al Roker’s own use of the word on national television. She was in shock at this. “See mom? It is now a part of our vocabulary. You know it is if someone like, Al Roker said it.”

In the old days, people just talked about their surgery’s and compared scars.These days the stars and football players alike, are modeling Depends. Oh sure, they say they’re not wearing them, just for advertising. (Yea, sure, whatever you say) But it won’t be long. May as well get comfortable.

We will be sitting in our rockers trying to text each other with those large print braille phones. Good thing we got a jump on the technology, so some of our abbreviations are part of normal conversation now. Since our arthritic fingers, just won’t be able to type on a keyboard and we sure want to tell our old buddies about the latest medical discovery. Which will most definitely be something cool. Like, BBS, (Butt, Boob Sag) With some great medication to tighten it all up.  Or perhaps, CFS, (Crooked Finger Syndrome) from all those fist bumps, or bird flipping, we did in our rebellious youth. Oh, and don’t forget about the PF(Purple Flurp) My son use this to describe the purple hue of bruising on our hands. All the years, of slapping our hands in ‘high fives.’ All the wear and tear, especially on those true sports jocks. How painful.

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We will not be able to hear each other, since we’re part of that, “Teenage Wasteland,” which has now become an ‘Old Fart Dumping Ground.’ I’m already beginning to see the future. When I watched the Stones the other day, I was scared. Why haven’t I ever noticed that even Keith Richards looks ancient? Okay, he has always been scary. But for some reason, he was the one person I thought I could always count on, as just having the crazy look. How could he possible become old, when he was using the medicines, long before he needed them? That was a real dose of reality. No more denying.

I’ve made up my mind; I’m signing off and filling out my AARP, before I forget what it is!

The Stranger Who Came to Stay


 

 

 

 

Well, today it happened. It came without any indication. The woman who has sat in the same place on my couch, for 2 years and 3 months, told me, “I’m not your mom!” As she laughed at me like I was crazy.

I fumbled for answers to this. Wait a minute, I thought I had the solution to jog her memory. I pointed at my brother, (her first-born son) and said, “he’s your son.” She answered, “He’s not my son!”

She looked incredulous as I asked her about her other son and daughter. “They’re not my kids!” Well, I was shocked as I tried to reason with her. She told me my other brother was just some guy that helped her move into her apartment in Milwaukee.

A little while later I pointed out the massive hurricane, headed for New York. “I’ve been to New York,” She said. “I know, I took you,” I responded. “You didn’t take me!” Again, with a look amusement, she stated, “My daughter, Carrie took me.” “Mom, that’s me!” I said, unwilling to believe this was actually happening. “You’re not Carrie!,” she said.

I couldn’t tell you how odd this was to me. A combination of bewilderment, mixed with pain. As if I was holding her by a rope, across a raging river, and she was losing her grasp. “Mom!” “Stop calling me that!” she says, “I’m not your mom!”

I know, I think, if I can just remind her of my brother she lost when I was so young. I bring up his name. “That’s Kim’s son!” “Yes, mom, but she named him after your son, my brother.” “What? That’s just crazy!” At this point she tells me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I go into the next room. There are the pictures we had just been looking at the other day. All her pictures which I had brought down from her room. I had hoped we could put them into albums and she would enjoy looking at all the memories. There is the photo album, I had put together after our trip to New York. I had taken her to see the Rockettes Christmas Show. I took my daughter as well. Here is where I will be able to help her ‘snap out of it.

I bring the album in and show her the pictures. With each picture she tells me that wasn’t my daughter and it isn’t our trip. I didn’t know what my motivation was anymore. “Am I trying to help her remember? Or am I trying to make myself forget…that she is slipping away from me.

I had taken her to her neurologist about two months ago. She had a complete personality change. Light-hearted and easy-going. Laughing constantly. She was a different person. “What happened to her?” I asked him. “Well, she’s declining, but it’s normal. At least at this point, you should be able to get her involved in a senior center with day care. She won’t fight you now.”

As sure as the sun comes up, I signed her up for two days a week, and the other personality showed up. Sharp as could be, and fighting me as she always had before. “I’m not going back to that place!” She said. “That’s a nut house!” “Oh, this is great,”I thought. Just when I thought I ‘d get a little break.

I knew something had happened, because ever since she arrived at my home, she had checked off the days on her calendar. And then she stopped. As I shared this with her doctor he said, “Is it a Mayan calendar?” I cracked up, in spite of the loss I felt.

But this is the sign that something had happened. And her doctor never shared the true diagnosis until I had him fill out the paperwork for the senior center. With a listing of Dementia, and Alzheimer’s, I was in total shock. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know something was wrong. But he had told me she had TIA’s, which he explained were mini-strokes.

“Okay,” I thought, I can live with that. As if just hearing the word mini, made everything better. No need to worry. But there is no minimizing this. As I’ve watched her slowly lose ground and I give her round the clock care, I’m at a loss for how to deal with this woman, who is now stubborn and unwilling to take part in her life. Physically hitting me and calling me names, when I’ve tried taking her to, the retreat.

Each time I mention, just getting away for a few hours, and telling her she will have some friends, so she can talk about me. That’s just not enough of a bribe for her.

Today, as I listened to her talking about her daughter, ‘Carrie,’ I had the oddest feeling. I felt as if I was prying to ask her about this daughter. I could almost see a sense of pride in her, when she talked about her. I felt as if this was, “the fly on the wall.” eavesdropping on her conversation with someone else, as she bragged about me. For the first time in my life, I felt as if she was proud of me.

Perhaps this was the Lord’s way of showing me the affection which I never received from her. To show the side of my mother which left when I was a child. There was no time for this then. Too much tragedy and I had to grow up quickly. The roles were reversed.

But now I can hear, that she really does appreciate me. Even though we are becoming strangers. And I have found some humor in it, at times. When we were going through the pictures, at one point she had said, she didn’t know me. As I struggled to convince her that I was her daughter, she stubbornly refused to accept this nonsense. I finally said, “Well, then who am I?” To which she replied, “I don’t know who you are!” And I said, “Well, then I’m going to ask you what you’re doing here, living in a stranger’s house?”

She still manages to laugh at my son. And when he came in later, I mentioned something about him being her grandson. “Oh if you say so.” she said. Unwilling to hurt the boys feelings. She just decided to let us believe this.

She told me she could get ready for bed herself. So I let her. But when I went to check on her, I asked her, “Are you okay mom?” “Yes,” she said. And I did what I always do. I bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek and a big hug. I said, “Goodnight mom.” “Goodnight,” She said. With the sweetest smile, and then she said, “See you in the morning.”

I guess in her mind, I may be a stranger. But a familiar stranger. And in some way, it’s security to her. She’s allowing me to call her, ‘mom,’ because she is staying here. I hope her daughter, Carrie doesn’t mind.

The Simple Life


My brother is just so funny. I feel blessed to have him in my life. He makes me laugh so hard.  It’s wonderful for my mother to share this time with him too, since he had been living apart from her for many years.

I’ve noticed that he and the other people with special needs bring home beautiful pictures. The other day I was looking at this picture and I said, “Kevin, this is not yours. You’ve taken someone else’s picture by mistake.” He promptly picked up a pen and crossed out the other persons name and wrote his own name on the top! Then he said, “There you go.” As if life is just that easy. Take what you want. I wonder how many times he’s seen that done I thought. “Hmm,” I said. “He’d make a great attorney!”

My mother and I were laughing so hard at him. In his world forgery was nothing. If you like it, make it yours.

I looked at all of the artwork and started looking at the things in my home. I realized that life is just too short to collect things. The beauty of simple things that the artwork my brother produces, is better than anything one can purchase.

I sat in my living room and was sad when I noticed a small cardboard box which held the belongings which my mother was left with after being moved from her home. I took a picture. I cried to think this was so important to her.The Barbie dolls which she used to knit clothing for. No one could believe that she could do this and it was something that she took great pride in. The little Charlie Brown that plays music. The pictures. I managed to get the bronze shoes from my brother Dennis who had passed away as a baby. These she somehow never lost in all of her shuffling through the years. It is difficult to see my mother’s life reduced to a cardboard box. But then I look around and feel the weight of all the things in my life holding me down. I don’t want anything in my life. I can’t stand things holding me back from what is important. I hate greed and what it does to people. It hurts me to see what it has done. I don’t want to take care of things. Although I love looking at my brother’s pictures. And my mother’s things. It’s cute, but we all have the propensity to collect. So I want to bring joy to other’s by giving.

Now I got my mom into a pottery class to learn something new. She was making me laugh with her antics. When the teacher told her to “pinch her pot,” she said, “What?” “Yea, I said, “That meant something completely different in the 70’s!” Now she’s learning a different skill at 82 and she’ll be able to make new memories and so will I.

I realized that life is not about owning things. In fact the more time I spend with my mother, the more fleeting I see that our time is on this earth. I see that those who have robbed and tried to fill their lives with things, are missing the most important qualities.

My mother and I listened to my brother talking last night. He was telling us about the lipstick that he was going to give his girlfriend at school. He was going to put it in his purse. It’s really a fannypack. He crams all kinds of stuff into that purse. Sometimes I’ll check it just too unload some things. It’s so stuffed full. I just have to see what he’s carrying around and it’s funny. Pictures of things unrelated. I try to connect the subjects, but can’t seem to and move on. The objects make no sense,but they amuse me.

The keychains that I have given him have all found a place on this pack. I have actually had to remove some,because it has become unsafe. The weight of this is ridiculous. And the fact that one of them is a round basketball for coins, makes it hilarious with his gait and when he bowls, underhanded, my son made the remark that it’s a good thing I didn’t give him the bull’s you know what, to hang from this pack, or it would be quite a sight to behold, when he bends down to bowl! This visual just made me crack up.

He is very animated. And when he tells us that someone threw up at school it’s hilarious. He is over the top. I don’t think it happened the way he tells us and at times, I only wish I could place a hidden camera on him. There was one day that he told me that one person threw up and another girl was told that “she stinks and needed to go into the bathroom,” while the teacher was spraying the bathroom. And later, he said the same girl was his girlfriend. My son, who is not easily grossed out, said, “Come on, I don’t want to hear this! You’re girlfriend stinks!” And my brother as proud as could be, said, “Yes, she stinks! Right?” Wow! That’s unconditional love at it’s best! And, all I can say is, those special education teacher’s work very hard, and deserve pay raises!!! Treat them well. They’re very special people.

But,people like my brother are also very special and he keeps me centered. I sometimes find I’m taking him for granted and when I come back to him, I find humor in his simple words and beauty in the world around him. It is just what God was trying to point out to all of us and the reason He told us that “the meek would inherit the earth.”

Look at what a mess we have made of all of this. Greedy people have tried to use people like my brother for selfish gain. I’ve had people say, “They look at your brother like a throwaway.” That has brought me unspeakable pain.” Yes, even at his birth they thought he wouldn’t live. But God had a different plan. And his plans were to bring men to repentance through my brother. Yes, my brother who is so innocent. Who would take an art project and cross someones name and sign his name, would do this with anything. He knows no difference. He tells me everything costs “a hundred dollars.”

But who cares? My brother puts everything in perspective. Whether it a billion dollars or a penny, in his mind it’s the same price. Just as the value of a soul is worth more than everything. And as the Lord has said, “Woe to the man who gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul.”

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