The End Game


My mom is the reason Cheryl and I are here in Southern California. I grew up here, and in fact, am living now in the house I grew up in (mom never left this house). She had a knee replacement surgery in 2007, a few weeks after which she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors advised against a “Lumpectomy” in order to “Get it all” (with a total Mastectomy). Well, mom said “I don’t need that thing anymore, cut it off.” In her typical matter of fact way (she was nearing 80 at the time).

So, they did the Mastectomy, and didn’t get all the cancer! I could have SMACKED that surgeon! So, they then had to do radiation (like 6 treatments). Between the 2 surgeries and radiation, she lost her short-term memory. It wasn’t “Classic” Alzheimer’s with a slow gradual loss of memory, it was very abrupt. 6 months before (prior to any of those surgeries) she had perfect memory, and was still managing all her own affairs. After then – she was reduced to the point where she couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast, or would ask you the same thing 5 times in a row in 5 minutes.

Tragic. We knew it was serious, so Cheryl and I started praying – in 2007 if we were supposed to move in with her. We lived in CO at the time, and were both employed even. Then, in 2009, I was laid off, and Cheryl lost her job in 2010. I couldn’t get a job (CO is like that, very cyclical) as a Software Engineer anywhere, so finally we realized we were done with CO.

We lost a house, a condo, more than half our “Stuff” (it’s all just stuff!) but we were able to come to CA and move in with my mom and help take care of her. My sister had been taking care of her up to that point. So, God answered that prayer, and we got here, in Dec. 2010 to start taking care of my mom. In Mar. 2011, she fell and broke her hip. Is God’s timing amazing?

We are still pretty amazed by it all. We lived with mom for over 2.5 years before her situation became medically severe enough to require that she be moved into a care facility. We found Silverado and just LOVE it. It’s in the old South Bay Hospital building, the entire South Wing was converted into the “Senior Living” facility, and they specialize in memory issues.

Mom is comfortable there, if not happy. They do lots of activities, and she is very well taken care of. Insurance doesn’t pay for it, but she had plenty of money (unlike us!). It’s just amazing how this elderly care issue is coming to be an issue for so many of us. And you know what? In a few more years – it will be our turn.

I sure hope they’ve cured Alzheimer’s by then! It’s a cruel way to go, losing your memories of who you were, all the things you did, the places you went, the lives you touched. Mom was so vibrant. She still remembers us, my sister and I, and Cheryl (my wife). She knows she has grandkids, but cannot remember their names most of the time.

She knows she had husbands, some of the time she probably thinks I am her 2nd husband (my daddy, Beau, or “Antoine” deBeaubien). But that’s OK. I always say “Hi mom!” when we go to visit her, and she smiles. She’ll pretend like she remembers anyone who goes into visit her, folks she’s known. At 86 now, she’s outlived a lot of friends, and all 3 husbands. As my sister always says: Getting old ain’t for sissies!


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