Mom Update: July 2012

Joanne ~ Mom ~ Marilyn

Visiting with my mom is always an adventure.  I never know what she’s going to say or do and it’s fascinating to watch and participate in her crazy shenanigans.  My goal was to keep her laughing.  As long as she was doing that, then I figured we were okay.  Or maybe that just made it easier for me.

My sister and I needed mom to try on a “picture outfit” for family photos we had done.  When we removed her clothing we noticed she had a wash cloth stuck down her bra and in her pocket.  We said “someone’s been folding towels today” and then proceeded to laugh hysterically.  Mom will stuff any and everything in her pockets to the point of them looking like chipmunk cheeks.  But a wash cloth in the bra was a first.

Okay, I’ll just say it.  Mom acts like a young adolescent and she’s in a, shall we say, sexual stage right now.  I don’t know how many times she lifted her shirt to show us her bra.  She was either pulling on her shirt pretending she had large pointy breasts or she was lifting her shirt and flashing us.  This activity was always followed with laughter that reminded me of a young girl at a slumber party.  Once, when we were in the car, she found a compact umbrella and well, with the size and shape of it, and with her young mind in the gutter . . .  one thing led to another and let’s just say I never imagined my mom ever doing that with an umbrella!   And she laughed and laughed like a school girl with a mischievous look in her eyes.  Okay, it was a little funny — but mostly we were just shocked.  This was so out of character for mom.

Marilyn and Mom on the back deck of Mom's new home.

I can’t count how many times we hugged.  I’m talking about the best hugs.  Mom could charge money for those hugs.  Warm, embracing, long, loving, everything is going to be okay hugs.  (sigh)

She called me by name a couple of times, but there were a few times that I was standing right next to her and she said to me, “I think that’s Joanne over there!”  I’d say, yes that kind of looks like Joanne, but I don’t think it’s her.  It felt wrong to say “I’m right here” — I didn’t want her to feel bad.   Every single day, Mom asked when I was going to cut my hair.  And every day my answer was the same — tomorrow.

We bought her new bedding, hung some more pictures and made sure her name was in all her clothing.  We danced, laughed and sang songs.  We took a hundred new photos and looked at old black and whites together.

Mom and I being silly.

Mom mentioned a couple of times that she’s ready to go home.  One time she asked where her mom was.  I wondered when that was coming, but it still surprised me.  I told her, “she’ll be here soon.”  I’m pretty sure the home she’s talking about isn’t the one she’s lived in for the last 45 years, but rather her childhood home in Wadena, MN.

Little 14 year old Ruthie Hall wants to go home.  Oh how I’d like to make her wish come true.

Mom ~ loving, funny, happy and in her 7th year with Alzheimer's.

 

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Comments

  1. Mallory Gurley says:

    Jo, you are incredible! Such an inspiration! xox

  2. Mary Ellen Kennedy Kollodge says:

    Hi Joanne ~ Today Virginia Berg Macklem called me and told me about your Mom’s move to a “new home.” It is now Sunday night, August 5, and I just have to write to tell you how much I appreciate your website and blogs. Ruth and I were childhood friends. I could tell you many, many memories I have of our adventures. Would you like me to recount some of them for you? By email? Phone? Maybe Ruthie, as I called her, would recognize some of the names and places and it would give you something to talk about. I was so surprised to see that she has gained weight. The last time I saw her was before 2001, I think. She and Gary met with some of us at the Pizza Ranch. She was so thin I was worried about her. I saw her at some of our class get togethers in Minneapolis or St. Paul, too. I will write more if you would like me to.

  3. Dianne says:

    Hi Joanne,
    I’ve thought of you often as we have something in common. After a long month, I am home still cherishing the time I was able to spend with my parents who sometimes were in the present and other times were on on adventure! I hope to see you next month when we visit our parents’ “new home” again!
    Dianne

  4. Jim Stach says:

    Joanne & Marilyn —
    Your Mom and I were classmates at Wadena High School — Class of 1955. I haven’t seen her for a couple years — the last time I did was at the Boon Docks Cafe in Wadena — the day after the tornado in June 2010. It was also the last time I saw Gary. I also remember your grandpa, Ken Hall. When I went to Wadena High School, he was the public address announcer at the football games.
    Thank you for posting the photos. It was good to see photos of your Mom — and the one of Gary.
    God bless all of you at this difficult time. Keep the faith!

    • Joanne Leonardis says:

      Hi Jim! Thank you for reaching out to my family. It’s so nice hearing from my mom’s school friends! She is well and I’ll let her know you are thinking of her. Thank you ~ Joanne

  5. Betty Heather Taylor says:

    Hi Ruthie! I remember being with you and Mary Ellen Kennedy Kollodge on different occasions – fun times – your pictures are so pretty – I thank your daughters for this wonderful site to keep in contact – May God Bless You — Betty Heather Taylor

    • Joanne Leonardis says:

      Hi Betty, It is so nice to hear from you! I’m so glad you found this website where you can get updates on my mom. I’ll be seeing her next week and I’ll be sure to say hello from you. Thank you ~ Joanne

  6. Helen Kay (Anderson) McClintock says:

    Oh my Dear Dear Friend Ruth. We had so many many good times together from grade school to the time we were married. We had many sleepovers and they were such good times both at the Hall’s and at my house in Wadena. We continued our friendship after we graduated when we were both down here in Minneapolis and got together at least once a week.Time passes and we were married and each had a family and then did not keep in touch as much as we should have. We did keep in touch for many years at birthdays and Christmas so were able to keep up with famalies. The last time I saw her was at a friend’s funeral a couple years ago and we did have a good time talking about “old times”. I would really like to come see her if you think that would be ok.
    If so you can send the address to my Email if you prefer. And your wonderful Dad. Would love to hear about him to. He was a special friend.
    You are wonderful, beautiful daughters. Thank you for taking care of you beautiful Mom and gettung her in the right place.

    • Joanne Leonardis says:

      Helen Kay, So nice to hear from you! My mother spoke of you often. I’ll be sure to send you her contact information. J.

  7. Ina Mae Nygren Smith says:

    Dear Ruthie,
    I am remembering the good times we had lunching in Colorado Springs when your daughter was attending the Air Force Academy. Thank you for taking the time to look me up. It was so fun to reminisce about highschool days and you always had lots of news about our classmates.
    Thank you to your daughters for keeping us in the loop. The pictures are great!
    May God give you strength in this season of your life.
    Ina

    • Joanne Leonardis says:

      Thank you for reaching out Ina Mae! It’s so good to hear from you. I’ll be visiting mom next week and hope to post another update. Thank you for your kind words and well wishes. Joanne

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