Home For A Visit

Cheryl and I were in Los Angeles last week to visit my mother. Mom just turned 82, and as she likes to say: “She’s still kickin’, not quite as high, but still kickin’!” I’ve always liked that about my mom, she has this upbeat attitude no matter what.

It sometimes makes her turn a blind eye towards things, or she’ll say that she doesn’t want to talk about something because it’s too depressing. But, she is who she is. There’s quite a lot of my mother in my story about my dad, and there will likely be a whole lot more before I finish.

Mom has been there for me in the tough times during my life, she was a mom, a friend, a provider. I’ve always admired her for her courage and tenacity too. One thing my daddy always harped about was money. My mother never ranted or raved about it, she always has been there if I needed a bit. I can never repay her for what she’s done.

I heard something neat this past week, and I’ll say it’s true of my mother. I told her after I heard this that “Some debts are not repaid, but the blessing is passed along.” I will try to always be generous with my kids, helping them out when I can, especially when they need it and I have resources to spare.

Right now times are tough, being out of work and so forth, but we’re making it. We had to give up our condo that Cheryl bought before we got married. The upkeep on the place just became too much of a hassle. I stopped keeping track last year, but having had to be in court recently about it, I counted and the place upstairs from us has had 4 major leaks in the past 3 years! Three of those leaks were in just this past year alone!

We just could not keep up with the mess and the disaster status of that place any longer. We had to let it go. Justin was living there but found a nice place to move.

Anyhow, the visit with mom went well. It’s time for some tough decisions. Mom has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s now, and the Doctor took her to task the other day over the fact that she’s still driving. We did somewhat of an assessment while there with her. We looked around for help for her too. It pretty much comes down to the reality where the Doctor is going to have to take her driver’s license from her – very soon. We all agree on that, even mom I think. She’s not going to like the lack of independence.

My mother is one of those “fiercely independent” women who’s always managed on her own. At least for the past 60 years or so! It’s a difficult time of life though. She realizes her memory is gone, regardless the cause. I think the short-term memory was damaged either from the 2 surgeries she had 3 years ago, or from the radiation following the mastectomy. It doesn’t really matter, her short-term memory is shot, and her vocabulary and a few other areas in her brain have suffered as well.

She’s still the same person, doesn’t really have “classic” alzheimer’s symptoms I don’t think, but she’s at the point where it’s going to be necessary to give up the driving. We’re going to work together, my sister and I and our spouses and mom and her Doctor to try and get her a diagnosis so she can have help at home, and get home companion care too, to drive her to bowling and such. If you have to give up driving and your life, then you might as well be dead I think, and I’m pretty sure mom feels the same.

So, we’re trying to work on those details now. The visit was pretty nice overall. The weather in LA was hot, but not excessively so at the beach. We only got inland one day, and then it was 97f degrees in Westwood, I took Cheryl to see UCLA and Westwood, but it was too hot to get out of the car. So, we drove on down to Malibu instead and had lunch at the Malibu Inn. I was shocked to see the Malibu Inn under new management, gutted pretty much. All the old pictures of surfers are gone. It’s been retasked as a “venue” for music and suffers the party crowds to drink and be rowdy and watch live music now. Sad end for a historic place. It could be so much more.

Now, just heaven forbid there should ever be a power failure in Manhattan Beach – I think my mother keeps 3 months of food in her freezers! She’s a Boy Scout I think too!

Love you mom!


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