Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Family, Friends and Finding Things

Hey, Y'all,
I couldn't really decide what I wanted to write about today...there are so many good ideas that begin with an "f", so here goes.

FAMILY - What makes a family? Whew, in the light of modern day times, that can be a lulu of a question. But I am not headed in that direction. I have added members to my family that are not necessarily akin to me by blood, marriage, or such. When Mark and Allie came to Tennessee over 13 years ago, they joined our church and that was when I met them. They came all the way from Washington state to this neck of the woods. When I heard their last name and looked at Mark, I just knew he was related somehow to my son-in-law in Texas. They resembled each other too much not to be. It turns out they were first cousins, and had not seen each other for a long time. They became family to us, and we to them. I guess you could say we adopted each other. They are like children and their children and grandchildren are like our very own. They have taken care of us like we were their parents, and we all love each other. Allie calls me her mom, and the kids and grandkids call us Aunt Ruby and Uncle Dub.

Our neighbors up on the hill moved into the house up there just about a year and a half ago. We began inviting them down for supper, getting to know them, and they have been a Godsend to us. Scott has taken time off to take me to Nashville for a medical appointment last year, and wouldn't take a penny for it, even though he missed work to do so. Laurie has become so very close to me, a best friend that I can walk up the hill to talk to or call on the phone. She comes in each day, bringing the mail to me from the mail box down the hill. (We live on a rural mail route). The children are such fun to be around and are a blessing to know.
We decided that the family could call us Aunt Ruby and Uncle Dub as well.

We have friends at church that we have had for a long time, Gene, Judy, and her mama, Marian that are like family as well and have been in our home often as family would be. We love them like family but they just call us by our first names and we talk often and have them in to dinner often as they can come. They are sisters and brother to me and Dub.

My friend, Ina Ray, who lives in Knoxville, I have known for more than 20 years is like a sister to me and we have been through thick and thin, cried and laughed together. She is a sister to me. Friends that I made at CNC and at school teaching with them for 26 years, are so very dear to me and I don't know what I would do without them. They are sisters to me as well, as the sisters-and brothers in Christ at church.

I don't have a lot of family members left that are in my generation, but they are very dear to me and Dub, of course. All my siblings are gone, but three of my sisters-in-law are still with us, Praise God. We love them dearly, along with their family members (siblings and children and grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, btw). Two of Dub's siblings are passed on as well along with their mates, but he has one sister remaining, who is in the throes of dementia as well, and is being cared for by their niece, Donna and her husband. Donna and her three sisters are the offspring of Dub's sister who has passed on. They are all very dear to us.

We have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren that we all love dearly and that love us. We are most blessed to have such a large and wonderful family.

I guess I have combined Family and Friends as a subject, haven't I? I just love people and to be around them. They keep me going; they encourage me; they delight me with conversation and laughter. I enjoy meeting new people, and that may be one reason I love blogging. Someone asked me if I plan what I am going to write, and I told them that I just sit down and the words begin flowing from my head to my fingers and there they are. I have a small notion of what I am going to say, and it just takes whatever direction it is going to almost by itself.

If you have ever lived with someone who has dementia or Alzheimer's disease, then you are aware that they quite often put items someplace and then when they go back they can't find them. I spend a lot of time looking for Dub's articles that he puts away. Every day when he "loads his pockets" (this is what he calls it) with his pocket knife, his folding scissors, his billfold, and his handkerchief with coins tied up in it, and his pocket handkerchief that he carries in a back pocket, quite often can't find those items. He comes in and says, "I can't find my pocket knife Or I can't find the stuff I load my pockets with."

So I go look and sometimes they will be in a dresser or where he just didn't see them. Getting ready to go somewhere is a challenge in itself. He will be already out to the car, and I will see that he doesn't have his clipon sunglasses (his eyes are extra sensitive to the sunlight) or he doesn't have his ball cap that he wears outside, or he forgot his cane, and so it is back into the house so I can look for them. (He sits in the car and waits). It used to annoy me, but when I realized that he really can't remember them, I stopped being annoyed. Sometimes it takes me awhile to find said items because he has put them somewhere difficult to locate. This is why I always set a time for us to leave the house fifteen minutes earlier than it would normally be.

He has collected several little model cars of various kinds, and they are lined up along the mantel in the living room. Not long ago, he got the idea into his head that he had some in the basement, and I tried to convince him that they were not there. Finally, I unlocked the basement door and carefully let him go down and look. He just couldn't understand, he thought they were really there and then he wanted to know what had happened to them. He thought someone had come in and taken them. I have since had a padlock put on the basement door.

Time has slowed down for us tremendously. He has been looking through his picture collection for a picture of me in a bathing suit from about 40 years ago. I looked much better then, of course, and he couldn't find it. Yesterday, I had an idea, and we sat down and looked through two boxes of pictures of acquaintances and family. He could not identify very many of them and has forgotten the names of some close family members of ours. He really enjoyed looking at the pictures though, and we will probably do it again before too long. I couldn't find the picture he was looking for, though. I think I have it on my computer in a collection of family pictures. I will find it and print it up for him so that he will have it.

He spends a lot of his time sleeping and even tires of television sometimes. We do go out onto the front porch and just sit, watching the birds and talking about things we see in the distance. I realized that I may not have a lot more time with him when he is still remembering who I am. He looked at a picture of me with daughter, Carol and granddaughter, Emily. He identified me as his mother, and couldn't identify Carol or Emily. I know it must have been my white hair that made him think I was his mother, surely. A great deal of the time he identifies me in person as his Aunt Lula. Part of the problem may be his vision, he doesn't see too well any more.

Ah, there is much more I could write, but I don't want to bore anyone with what might be repetition.

To my friends and family, if I have left anyone out of my friends and family section, please forgive me.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. Lots of stuff to occupy me. Gramps is up eating breakfast and plans to be back in bed soon. I still have not had breakfast. I slept in until nearly 7:30 this morning, so I got a late start in posting. Much love to each of you. Bye for now. More later.


Lisa said...

Great post Grammy -- I really enjoyed reading about how much you enjoy people. What a blessing to have such wonderful family and friends in your life.

Have a blessed day!

Ellie said...

You really hit a home run with how
important friends can be and how
some really are your family! Enjoy
the memories and reflecting back is so much fun! Thanks for sharing
what is special!


Where would we all be without friends Ruby? sometime one can talk to a friend easier than a close relative. I enjoyed your post as usual, you and a few others I have as followers go quite a way back and I thank you for your support,
Take care.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

This is a delightful post. Your "voice" is so natural and friendly. Your insights into your day to day experiences with your husband due to alzhiemer's are touching. I can't imagine feeling like my husband was in many ways a stranger at times. I'm sure that blogging about it is a wonderful outlet for you, but it is also a blessing to me.