Friday, September 12, 2014

Crazy August

It's funny (and some days not so amusing) how time flies by. I used to think that my aunts and uncles were so old, "I'll never be their age!" My 40's and 50's were so far down the road, you know? Now that I am near the end of that age range I wonder how it sneaked up on me! I also recall my aunts, their laughter and fun, and know that I have turned out a lot like them in that I think I am young for my age. I have been exercising and doing yoga every day because I don't want to be bent over and creaky. I want to have energy and feel good in my body when I get to be my Mom's age. I do think I'll live into my 90's as most of the women in her family have so I'd better take care! I am trying to look on the more positive side of life.

So, why am I thinking about age so much these days? Well, in the past months both my own mother and my mother-in-law have come face-to-face with some serious health situations and Dee and I have found ourselves realizing that we could lose them so quickly. It's a smack of mortality right in the face!

Back at the end of July, when our little mother and siblings reunion was ending, I watched my brother Richard hug my 91 year-old mother goodbye before he and Sherri headed back to Gilbert. The strongest feeling washed over me that these moments are precious and not to be taken lightly. It could well be the last time they hug, or the last time I see her in this life. (I don't mean to sound morbid, it's just a fact at her age!) We all went our separate ways with the hope of being together again next year. The next day, after Mom and Gena were back in Arvada, Mom woke up unable to get out of bed. Her speech was slurred. She couldn't see well and was very dizzy. Gena came in to check on her and noticed a "wandering eye". Off to the ER they went! Tests showed that our mother had been having a series of mini-strokes. Thinking back on it, she had showed signs of this for months but always brushed them off as age-related or being tired. While her situation had not been life-threatening, it made me more aware of how fragile life is and how easily it could have been worse. I call her more often now. I took it for granted for too many years that she would always be there! She's doing well, just has to rest a lot more than she likes. She has also been so sad that her favorite activities of quilting and crocheting, are not really possible anymore. That's OK Mom. We have so many treasures that you've made. We treasure them!

We returned home from Allie's wedding on August 17th, planning the next day, Monday, to do laundry and whatever else we needed to do, to be ready to drive to Washington state on Tuesday. (I know, crazy miles on our new car.) Dee's Dad called us Monday morning so upset and I could tell by my husband's face it was not good. My mother-in-law had come downstairs and collapsed in the family room. She's been sick for awhile with bronchitis and it would come and go. She was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a strange virus that had taken such strong hold on her body that she was delirious, feverish, and had an irregular heart beat. We got our laundry done as quickly as possible and less than 24 hours from the time we had gotten home we were on the road again. Our pre-planned week of togetherness and fun turned into a week of hospital time and worry as we saw her so weak and not improving. After we left from a morning visit on the second day she went into congestive heart failure! A team worked on her for a long while before the got her stabilized. Then they called Dad to let him know what had happened. It was so scary, and we were unsure what would happen to her in the following days. She was in constant A-fib and they talked about sending her to a re-hab facility to gain strength. We had to leave on Sunday and they doubted she would be released anytime before Tuesday. It was hard to leave her and especially Dad who appreciated our being there so much. My father-in-law is a spiritual man. He had followed a prompting to go back to the hospital the night before the heart failure to give her a blessing. We had been there pretty much all day and into the evening. It is about a 25 minute drive down Meridian Ave. in Puyallup to get from the hospital to their home. Dee and Dad had given Mom a priesthood blessing without any consecrated oil and planned to go back the next morning for a blessing with anointing. Dad felt strongly that they should go back "right now" and get it done. He is sure, and I agree, that it saved her life. I am so thankful for the healing power of the priesthood! She was checked out of the hospital days earlier than expected and sent straight home, not to a facility and is doing remarkably well. Blessings!!

Whew! That was almost as long as a Time Travel Tuesday post! I'll share a few photos from August with you now. Hang in there!

We took two trips into Tacoma after a morning visit at the hospital. We wanted to go by our old house and show Richard some sights. He was five when we lift and we hadn't been back fro awhile as a family. This is the back of our home. It's the one directly behind where the girl in red is walking. You can see our back patio with the pergola over it and our family room chimney, if you know what you are looking for! Oh, those trees! I do miss them. I didn't take a picture of the front of the house because it just doesn't look the same. I want to remember it like it was. It still looks like it's being taken care of, it's just not home anymore.

 After I took that photo I turned and took this one. Imagine having that in your backyard! It was so nice when the children were all younger! I had lots of fun times with Rachel and Richard at this park which we got to see being built from our backyard!

Richard climbed to the top of the giant rock in the park. It was there before the park was and the kids loved to climb it. He used to get up there and yell in his little four-year-old voice, "I'm King of the world!"

Then we drove down the hill to see the apartments we first lived in. This is our building, 'M'. Count four windows over and that was my kitchen window. Diana and Brittany can especially tell stories of playing at Westridge and driving the maintenance guy crazy walking through the beauty bark! I can still in my mind, see little Diana riding "Triksey", her red tricycle down the sidewalk.

 This was our view after backing out of our parking spot each day. Nice, huh? I suppose if we had seen it from the apartment they would have charged us more!

Then we went on Five mile Drive through the old growth of Point Defiance Park. 
That's Gig Harbor across the water.

Most of the drive looks like this, thick growth of trees and ferns. SO pretty!
Dee used to run through here in the dark every Saturday morning before swim practice
 with Coach Dick Hannula.
Gee! They could have been eaten by a vampire or something!

On Friday we came back to Tacoma and ate lunch at our favorite little spot, Steamers Seafood. 
The weather was so glorious that we ate outside and enjoyed the smell of the salt water
 and the beautiful view.

Steamers is on Titlow Beach just down the hill from our apartment and our house. The kids loved to come here and walk the rocky beach and play at the park.
Dee is telling Richard about the new Narrows Bridge that they built next to the old one. Each is one-way. The new one was barely being started when we moved away. 
We really have been gone from there for 14 years?!

The bridges are on the left, the park on the right behind the trees. Whenever a train would come through blaring it's horns the kids would all scream and cover their ears, but they loved every second of it. 
Uncle Robby once left a penny on the track for the train the smash and stretch out. It worked!

This is the view behind Steamer's. I went on a few field trips with the girls back there
 on Day Island to visit the tide pools.

This is the view of Mt. Rainier from my in-law's window upstairs. Gorgeous!
Love the signs around Puyallup that ask..."Do You Know Your Volcano Escape Route?"
Hope they never have to find out!

Our travels are over for now. Our mothers are recovering and doing well. The air is cooler here in Utah Valley and I am already mourning the passing of summer soon. I'm trying to get into a routine and get some organizing done around here and get back into my sewing. We are also looking very much forward to visit soon from this little guy!!

 I'll tell you more about THAT next time!


Gena said...

It wears me out to read it! I have to admit that I've been really sad that the summer has gone so quickly. Between the wedding and Mom's strokes it is gone and I'm exhausted. Love you!

URFAVE5 said...

It looks like it has sure been a busy summer. I'm glad that you were able to go to Seattle. I'm sad that Grandma has had health trouble and that your mother in law has also. Sometimes we get so busy in life we forget just how fragile life is. I think often about my mom and her health not being the greatest and I think about my grandma and even though she is in good health she is getting up there in years. It scares me to think of them both being gone. Even though I have Brian and my kids, Richard, siblings now, and great extended family love and support it still frightens me to think of not having either of them around. I don't know if that makes sense. Anyway, I am glad to hear that both grandma and your mother in law are doing better.

We sure love you all. We are so sad that you guys aren't able to make it for Blake and Annie's wedding but we do understand.

Lots of Love,