We Are a Family of Five

I’ve been talking a lot about my mom lately.  That’s just where my head is at.  But you should know that I’m not the only one concerned about my mom.  I have an older sister and a younger brother who have been right here with me all the way.

We are a family of five.

My brother John lives in Minneapolis near my parents.  He has the task of “being there” since my sister and I live far away.  So my brother has been helping with things like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow.  Groceries, laundry and even doing the floors have also been on his to-do list since my dad is on crutches.  But the biggest help John has been is just knowing he’s nearby in case my parent’s need assistance on short notice.   It’s a lot of pressure being the only one there — but my sister and I are so grateful for his presence and eagerness to help when needed.

Joanne pulling John, 1967

My sister Marilyn lives in Texas but has been generous with her time and so helpful with her expertise in the medical field.  While I manage my mom’s medications and medical issues, my sister manages my dad’s.  The sharing of these two responsibilities has been invaluable as both parents have health issues.  You know our mom has Alzheimer’s disease, but our dad was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation.   (There’s prostate issues too, but my dad is pretending they don’t exist).  And with his recent ankle surgery, my dad’s a walking pharmacy.  So my sister is on top of his medical and medication management.  Thank God!

Marilyn and Joanne, 1965

The three of us also helped clean out my parents house in 2011.  I haven’t mentioned this before, but my mom became a bit of a hoarder in her later years and trust me when I say it took the three of us an entire week to clean out the house.  That’s another story.

What I’m saying is I am not alone.  I have my sister and brother.

The three of us pulling together and perhaps becoming closer has been a beautiful blessing during this difficult time.   They have my love, admiration and respect.  Always.

5 thoughts on “We Are a Family of Five”

  1. Joanne,
    You and your siblings are truly blessed to have each others support. I can tell you from the experience of my former job that caregiving most often falls to only one adult child. The other children are usually on the sidelines causing chaos and directing criticism to the caregiver. So I’m thankful that you and your sister and brother are on this journey together. Even excercises like cleaning out your parents home can be a wonderful bonding experience; reminiscing, laughing and crying together. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during the closing chapters of your parents life. Thanks for promoting Alzheirmer’s research and treatment.

    1. Karen! It’s so nice to hear from you! Yes, you DO KNOW about this topic — and you’re right, it can be a bit tricky navigating these “closing chapters” of my parents lives. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs, but I like to think there’s been more ups — I’m not sure if my siblings will agree or not! Thank you so much dear Karen for sharing. I hope you are well and enjoying that beautiful granddaughter of yours! ~ Joanne

  2. I love how each one of you has taken on a specific responsibility with helping your parents…very smart and I would expect it helps prevent conflict.

      1. Joanne it is so nice to be able to keep up on my sister Ruth. I would love to be able to come and visit with her, but I had a torn and detatched retna. I had the surgery and then had to almost stand on my head in bed for two weeks for it to start to heal. I am having trouble with the retna swelling and so have to go in every two weeks for three shots into the retna. I also do eye drops every 6 hours. I am not enjoying it. I know your dad had surgery and his eye healed. I wish mine would do the same. I now have scar tissue on the retna which happens with the surgery I had. I also have a cataract on the other eye so pretty soon I will need a guide dog. When this all heals we are hoping to be able to travel. I want to say hello to Helen Kay and Mary Ellen. Helen looks great as does Ruth. I have wanted to call her, but tears start and I am unable to do the call. Keep up on the wonderful postings as that is the only thing I can do at the present time.

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