Friday, October 28, 2011


My brother Loren arrived late Wednesday night. Mom is delighted to have her boy here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Foiled Again

Karis sent me this photo of two friends visiting with Mom today. So how's that withdrawal from society coming along?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whispered Words of Wisdom

Leslie is a friend I've known for years. Really, she's a hand-me-down friend from my big brother and we only see each other very occasionally around town. Just this summer, I had the privilege of sitting down and catching up a bit with Leslie. When I posted about my "Mom Hurt", Leslie sent me this message. I've read and reread her wise, insightful words and asked if I could share them here. She generously said yes.

Gwen....I don't mean to butt in, but just felt the need to try to help you with some perspective. I too get caught with hurt feelings doing my all to help my mother, but I also work with older people and they do talk to me and share their thoughts and feelings...some they never even share with their own family.

For any older person there is a lot of pride in independence and when that starts slipping there is fear and anger....especially for a person who is usually used to control. The challenge is giving help while leaving them with a sense of control. That sense of control comforts and secures them through the declining process. It's NOT you.even though she's ready to go, she is not comfortable with the process.

When she makes those comments, liken it to your young child who throws a fit of anger that ends with," I hate you!". Do you throw your hands up and give up on that child? of course not. You recognize it for what it is. Inability to properly express what they feel. We expect our mothers to be the mature ones..understanding that we are trying to help and pat us on the head for our efforts. It's just that we need to understand that we are sort of in a role reversal and we need to be the mature ones.

Overlook those things. Continue to be with her and take advantage of the time you have left with her. The last thing you want is to look back and wish you had done things differently. Love her where she is. ( it is also reported to me that the last thing these folks want is for their children to see them this way and to be a burden to them.) It's always the closest one that gets the brunt of it. Find your joy with her where you can, recognizing that the disease ( and meds) will cause changes that are not her.

With help (Loren and sister) coming, maybe you can just be daughter and sit on the patio with her and the cat in quiet togetherness and peace. I've rambled on with good intentions. I hope you find something in all of this that will help and encourage you. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. It's a rough time. Find your joy.

Sincerely, Leslie

Thank you, Leslie.


Karis texted me this morning and I asked her if she had seen Grandma before she left for class.

Karis: Not when I left for school, but when I went between english and history (9:30), she was finishing breakfast and had showered.

We talked about grades and things, then this.

Karis: I don't think you should stop seeing Grandma. She doesn't like admitting she needs help and she doesn't like accepting it, but she really appreciates it and seeing you and the kids are big highlights to her.

We talked about Loren coming and then Ruth, and how Mom seems to be enjoying the change of people. I told her I thought this was a good time for me to take a break.

Karis: She [Mom] doesn't want you to stop being controlling. She just doesn't like that she needs it.

We talked more. Karis told me a Hitler joke (always appropriate). Then she asked me the sweetest question.

Karis: Does it waste too much gas to go home and check on Grandma between classes?

You know the deal where a kindness to your children is a kindness to you? It's the same with a kindness to your aging parent. And come to find out, it explodes exponentially when it is a kindness from your child to your aging parent.

Thank you, Karis. I love who you are.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Denial is when we think we can set aside old issues and build a new relationship with our parents. We tell ourselves that things will be different this time, that our parents have changed. What we're denying is our own feelings, perhaps anger or abandonment or betrayal. We're also denying the very real possibility that nothing has changed, that our parents will be just as they always were.

This quote from Eleanor Cade's book is permanently posted in my sidebar. I know it is truth. I know it is truth, and still I get sucked in to the hope of a different relationship with my mother. I don't know what my deal is. I really should know the sitch by now. Maybe I should read my own blog? Anyway.

As Gayle's time here with Mom drew to a close, Gayle started talking with Mom about letting me come to stay with her, or at least come in to fix her lunch. She reminded Mom of how much Mom enjoyed having her food prepared and served, and how she really hadn't been up to much activity. Mom protested that she had just "been lazy" while Gayle was visiting. As if to prove her point, on Saturday Mom scrubbed the kitchen floor. By hand.

Then after lunch, Mom insisted on washing dishes, something she hadn't done all week. By the time she sat in the red chair for a rest before dinner, Mom was really worked up. She kept telling Gayle, "Gwen is so controlling! She's just so controlling." Gayle said she kept coming back to it. "Gwen is so controlling!"

I'm sure that as an adult child caring for an aging parent, this shouldn't bother me. I know Mom is horrified at the thought of losing more independence. It is not new information that she wants to go out on her own terms. But it does bother me. A lot. Mom's words, as related to me by Gayle, really cut me to the quick. Why do a parent's words hold so much sway, even over their adult children? Are we forever looking for the blessing? I won't provide a link to the song that's playing in my head, because it would seem melodramatic. I'm heartsick.

Gayle left Sunday morning early. She is a road warrior in her Prius, driving straight through 13 hours to St. Louis. I saw Mom at church Sunday morning. I went over today to make some financial arrangements as requested. I did not linger and Mom did not invite me to stay. The hospice nurse will visit tomorrow and Loren will arrive late Wednesday night. He will stay for about a week and Ruth will come some time in November.

Me? I feel very, very done. I will help when Mom requests it, but I am done with checking, planning, anticipating, facilitating, coordinating. Done. I am now going to enjoy the blissful state of "Mom says she's fine."

Friday, October 21, 2011

After the Storm

Karis shared Mumford and Sons with me. I will be forever grateful.

And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold.

I won't die alone and be left there.
Well I guess I'll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full and man so small.
Well I'm scared of what's behind and what's before.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.


On Loving a Stray Cat

Guest Blogger Gayle writes:

Our mother has had a remarkable life. She grew up on a farm in the Kansas flint hills, lost her father at age 2, rode a horse to school, had the same teacher in a one room school house for 8 years, helped her mother keep the farm going through the depression years with 3 other siblings, cleaned the chicken coop, helped harvest wheat, went on road trips with her family out west, graduated from Kansas State University, taught school for 2 years, ran a restaurant one summer in Sharon Springs, KS, went to graduate school, married a WWII veteran and they had 5 children together, enjoyed reading out loud to her kids, always loved to cook and bake and make the healthiest food, embraced learning new things, new recipes, hospitable, reveling in hard work!

An independent woman, not a romantic, but a worker and doer. And now her life is ebbing away and she doesn't have the strength to do and achieve. She sits and watches and waits. And along came a little cat, small and stray. When all she can do is sit and be, here is love, just happy to sit nearby and exist with her. Cat food appears in the grocery cart, a dish is set out and the relationship is cemented. They watch for each other, enjoy each other's company, and sit together for hours. Mitten arches her back and rolls on the patio and her mistress thinks she is the most beautiful creature! Joy, love, contentment.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


7:30 a.m. -- Dropped Meg off to babysit.
7:45 a.m. -- Arrived at school with Ev. Hot cocoa and pumpkin delight served by Miss Catherine in the vistatorium.
8:15 a.m. -- School started for Ev. I worked with two students and wrote lesson plans.
11:30 a.m. -- Picked Meg up from babysitting at ladies' bible study. Delivered dinner to dear friend.
12:00 p.m. -- Ate our lunch at Mom's. Mom reminded me so much of Dad's last days today. Visited with Gayle. Chadda came by.
1:40 p.m. -- Returned to school to work with last student of day.

But I didn't work with my last student of the day. Instead, I had a little breakdown. I just couldn't stop crying. I pulled into the church parking lot instead of driving up to the school. It was very much like episodes after Dad died, when the sorrow would just roll over me and I couldn't do anything but go with it. Dave came out to rescue me from the parking lot and sat with me in the darkened church library. I love that man. My boss covered for me with my student and had only words of kindness and compassion. Such a treasure.

But why? Why now? I really didn't see this coming. Dave thinks maybe since my sister Gayle is here and I'm relieved of responsiblity for a bit, now I'm more free to feel and grieve. Maybe so. Or maybe it's because the memory of Dad's passing is still so fresh, I know what I'm in for this time. I can see the thestrals now.

It reminds me of when Ev was four and needed surgery on her hands. She was born with syndactyly. The first hand was done the day after her fourth birthday. We were all pretty clueless. Dave and I just sort of floated through in a daze. I remember even asking the doctor after the surgery, "Will it hurt?" Duh. They sawed through her bone and grafted skin from her hip onto her hand. Yes, it's going to hurt. A lot.

When we went back two weeks later for the other hand, Dave and I had a very different experience. I felt like we were going to collapse into a heap as we rode down in the elevator after sending Ev off down the hall with her surgery team. We knew what was coming. But you know what saved us from a total breakdown that day? When the elevator doors opened, there stood a friend of ours, looking for us. He took us to where other friends and family had gathered to wait with us, to hold us up, to hold us together.

We are not in this alone. We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but we are not alone. We get to hold Mom's hand as she says goodbye to this world. We get to hold each other together.

Tired and Fading

From Guest Blogger and Sister Extraordinaire, Gayle.

Today was slower. [Wednesday] Mom was pretty much worn out before 11 AM. She didn't even listen to her favorite radio program, because there was a guest host. That gave us more time for the activity of the day--mom made meat loaf and oven roasted potatoes while I read out loud to her from various chapters of the book she wants quoted at her funeral. She is trying to decide on which passages are to be used by Dave in his sermon. About one third of the book is underlined, so the task is harder than it might seem.

Sister Gwen with Nate and Ev came over bringing their own lunch of cabbage soup, while mom and I had meat loaf. The pleasant and lively conversation around the table was carried on by all but mom, who was in her "zoned out" mode. Her hearing is deteriorating, and it is a chore to keep listening, so she faded into the background. She did perk up a little and tell us that last night she wore her flannel pajamas and wooly socks from granddaughter Leah and stayed nice and warm. No night sweats last night, which we just learned are a sign of later stage cancer. Then mom said the quote of the day, "Did you know that withdrawing from people is a sign of approaching death?" It was all we could do to keep from rolling on the floor!

You have to understand that we come from a family of introverts, so withdrawing from people is as natural as let's say, breathing. Innate and instinctual, avoiding people just comes naturally around here!

But, it was a tough day, a day where she was aware that her body is nearing the end and the cancer is winning. Not pain, just a strangeness that she couldn't describe. A fog, even though she was clear minded. A weariness, a heaviness. She was remembering things she wished she had done differently, openly confessing her shortcomings. She was concerned about loved ones, concerned about difficult issues and even sad about the wild animals that had to be killed in Ohio. (OK, one to smile about is her worry that Gwen will hang pictures on the beautifully painted walls--such a nice paint job, you know). She is really ready to go, to be done with the little suffering she has been graciously afforded. She knows she has it easy compared to others, and she is very grateful--but just so tired...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Best Friends Forever

More from Guest Blogger. So thankful my sister Gayle is here.

Mom invited her friend Jan over, as I was an available chauffeur. Jan and mom were neighbors for years, and walking buddies that hoofed it around the greater expanses of the subdivision. Now frail and in the early stages of Alzheimer's, Jan was an eager guest, and the anorexic-looking mom folded the walker and helped her friend in and out of the car. Seated on the couch together, they watched a movie mom had read about in World magazine (I heard about it on NPR).

"Of Gods and Men" is the true story of Catholic monks in Algeria in the 1990's during the Muslim extremist uprising. Having ministered for years in a small village, the monks must decide whether to leave or stay. The story in film was riveting and the English subtitles were perfect for the situation! As mom said afterwards, it was a thoughtful and appropriate film for her in contemplating life and death.

The friends were so grateful to be together again, and they chatted like college classmates, discussing their recent readings of the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the similarities between the movie and his life. Alzheimer's and cancer seemed to be banished for an afternoon of delight between friends.

The Joy of Grocery Shopping

Guest Blogger: My big sister Gayle!

This is the oldest sister here, having arrived on the scene Saturday evening, just in time to enjoy a Sunday service with mom at church! The highlight during the Sunday School breakfast potluck was the culinary creation of Karis--sausage and egg burritos! Mom ate two of them and has requested more. After the service we scurried home for hamburgers with sliced tomatoes from the Missouri garden.

Food is still one of the highlights of mom's life! She has enough strength to cook a little bit. Dear friends brought some roasted tomato soup which mom loves and craves--she has very specific food desires, and has been told by Nurse Christy, to eat what she wants. So, in that spirit, we went to mom's favorite local grocery store on Monday. She pushed the cart while I loaded it with whatever suited her fancy. I did talk her into the fresh guacamole, after she had done a little more than just tasting the sample. Later in the day, a few grandchildren came and helped finish off the delicious treat!

Mom keeps reminiscing about how much she enjoyed being at her store--the familiar and the everyday activities that become precious when strength is fading...

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Conversation from Friday a week ago. Picture Mom in Dad's red chair, Meg on the couch, me in Mom's reading chair. Mom is telling us about her phone call from Loren.

Mom: It's funny to hear Loren talk about missing Zane.

Gwen: Why's that?

Mom: I guess that's the difference between having five children and having two children.

Gwen: What do you mean?

Mom: Or maybe it's just personality. I don't remember missing anybody.

Meg and I laughed! I told Meg later that I knew Grandma didn't miss us when we left home, but I was surprised she would just come right out and say it.

Wednesday's Child

Wednesday morning, after depositing everyone where they needed to go, I popped in to Mom's for a morning visit. She was up, but had not eaten, and did not want to eat. I offered to fry an egg, but she wasn't interested. She'd been woken early with diarrhea and nothing sounded good. It brought to mind Christy's words from the day before.

Happily, I had brought supplies to make Mom a pan of Baked Oatmeal. Mom went out to sit on the back patio with her adopted cat Mittens. I stirred up the ingredients (using some of Mom's uninteresting rolled oats) and put it in the oven to bake. Mom came inside to catnap in Dad's chair. As the cinnamon-y good smell began to waft through the house, Mom started to get interested. By the time the pan came out of the oven, she had brewed a pot of coffee and was ready to try a piece. And then another. Yea!

Then in the afternoon, I went to the doctor to get help for a raging sinus infection. Ugh. I tried really hard to just push through it, but it really knocked me out for a couple of days. Now on my fourth day of antibiotics, I'm feeling better. I hate being sick! And I forgot to tell Karis The Code. We do not tell Mom/Grandma when we are sick, because she makes up things and worries. Maybe because she is so tough herself that the only kind of sick she knows is dying? I don't know. Anyway, Karis didn't spill the beans until Friday, so I was able to call Mom Friday night and go see her this (Saturday) morning. All is well.

Tuesdays with Christy

I showed up at Mom's Tuesday morning after dropping Ev off at school. I was determined to be there when Christy, Mom's hospice nurse, came for her weekly visit with Mom. I didn't have students until 1:15, so I figured I had plenty of time. We waited. And waited. Mom sat outside. Mom sat inside. Mom napped in Dad's chair. Still no Christy. Finally, around 12:30, I called to make sure she was coming. Yes, she just had to drop off a ride-along before she came. I texted and cancelled with my students. I'm so glad I did.

Christy spent an especially long time with Mom. Her blood pressure was low. Her abdomen was tender. Mom confessed her lack of energy and motivation. "It's weird, because I am so used to doing. Now I just sit like a lump." Then brigher, "I did sweep the front walk!" Christy asked Mom about her appetite, and Mom confessed she was losing interest and eating smaller portions. (For lunch, I put about 1 cup of stirfry and rice in Mom's bowl. She thought it was too much and then was surprised she ate it all.)

I told Christy about Mom taking so long to eat her oatmeal. Christy turned to Mom and asked, "Why? Why is it taking you so long to eat your oatmeal? Does it take a long time to eat all your meals?" And Mom answered, "Well, I'm just not that into my oatmeal." That made me laugh! Christy encouraged her to make something else for breakfast. Then she turned to me and said, "Probably when your mom cannot stand at the stove to make an egg or a piece of toast, then it will be time for someone to be here with her." Okay. There's my marker.

I did suggest to Mom that maybe it was time for us to bring her meals. She protested. "Oh, no, no, no!" Of course, she loves when people bring her good food. She raved about my leftover birthday stirfry. And the leftover brisket. And she is fond of the asiago cheese demi loaf from Panera. But bring her food? No.

After Christy left, I thanked Mom for letting me stay all day. Mom went to have her afternoon nap and I went to pick up Ev.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Over the past week, I have seen a marked decline in my mom. She is slow. She is tired. She is sleeping more at night and throughout the day. She still eats, but the portions are small and it takes her a long time to get a meal down. She is getting more confused and forgetful.

Friday morning, I got to Mom's around 9:15. She had only been up about 15 minutes. I spoke to her briefly, but she was less than talkative, so I headed out to complete my window washing assignment. Mom came out to the back patio to eat her breakfast of oatmeal. In the time it took her to eat her little bowl of oats, I washed the three pieces of the storm window (three times each piece, each side), dried them, and reassembled the window. I went inside to wash up and Mom came inside to sit in Dad's red chair. She didn't read or watch t.v. She just rested.

Sunday morning, Karis brought Mom to church. I greeted her and asked how she was, and she said, "Slow." She had been up the night before. I asked if her pain was back and she said, "Well...discomfort." Yes, never the P word. Just "discomfort" that won't let you sleep.

I know Mom has had some ups and downs throughout the past year. It seems this time there is no up. Today she was much the same, eating slowly and then resting. She forgot it was my birthday until Karis told me "Happy Birthday" as she left for class. She told me again (for the third time? maybe more), "Say, Gwen! Don't order that hospital bed until you talk to me!" I laughed and said, "Mom! You keep telling me that! I won't order the hospital bed without talking to you." Mom said, surprised, "I do?"

Evidently, the hospital bed is weighing heavily on Mom's mind. She told me late last week that she has changed her mind about bed placement. She now wants the hospital bed to go in the living room, like Dad. Mom said she is always thankful that the master bedroom does not remind her of Dad's death, and she does not want the children to have to associate a bedroom with her death. It is very thoughtful, but Mom has never wanted to be out there. The room she had designated is to be Karis and Meg's room, which they could handle. Putting Mom out in the living room will be a hard request to honor. Maybe it will change again.

Mom is starting to say whacky things, lose words, and mix up words. After I washed the front bedroom window, Mom put a board up in it. Karis is using the desk in the front bedroom for her schoolwork and Mom wanted to give her some privacy. Mom told me, "I put the board up because Karis had sprayed the glass to keep people from seeing in." Mom explained that Karis had sprayed window cleaner on the glass and then left it on to obscure her from outside view. When I questioned her about it, she said, "Or maybe I dreamed it. I don't know."

As the hospice nurse was leaving last Tuesday, before the really marked decline began, I asked her how I would know when it is time to have someone with Mom all the time. She said, "You'll know." Well, I must be dense, because I don't know! I called Friday after seeing Mom so tired and slow. It was Mom's nurse's day off and the on-duty nurse was no help. She took a message to have Mom's nurse call me today. No call. I'm planning to be at Mom's tomorrow when the nurse comes for her weekly visit, so hopefully I can get some decision-making help.

My sister Gayle is driving down later this week. She will be able to cook and clean for Mom, and maybe get an idea of how much daily help is called for. I don't want to take over before Mom is ready, but I don't want to leave her alone too long. Karis' role is not caregiving, and we've agreed she is to call if her grandma needs help. It would be nice if we could transition as needed, rather than wait for a crisis.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Adventures in Window Washing

Mom has been fixated on the remaining two windows in her house that haven't been washed since storm windows were installed twenty-five years ago. Twenty-five. Years ago. My bil Mark washed the dining room and living room windows when he was here for his "vacation" earlier this year. Evidently, things have changed in storm window design in the last twenty-five years, and Mark found Mom's windows to be a little archaic. Hard to work with. There is surely an extra jewel in his heavenly crown for the effort he put into cleaning Mom's windows.

And, as I started to disassemble the first of the remaining windows on Tuesday, I wondered, "Did my bil cuss loud enough for Mom to hear?" Because that is one aggravating job. Worse than Christmas lights, I would say. The panes and screen were terribly dirty and took three washes, but they did begin to sparkle. Mom popped outside every so often to offer help (?) and to ask if I would be able to finish the window that day. No thanks and yes.

Then I began to reassemble the clean window. I could not get the top portion of the storm window to butt up against the frame. Mom came out and tried to help from the outside while I tried to finagle it into position from the inside. It is so like Mom to want to help, to do, to get-er-dun, but it was a dubious situation at best. Her strength of course is waning, but the funniest part was her hearing. Mom is really losing her hearing, so communicating through two panes of glass was not effective. At all. At one point, I just held onto the window, dropped my head, and laughed and laughed! Mom laughed too. I'm sure we were a picture.

When the storm window starting pulling out of its frame, I gave up and called the guy who installed the fool things, so many years ago. David has been a friend for years and years. He took the youth group waterskiing, snowskiing, and camping when his girls were in youth group and Dave was the youth pastor. His girls babysat our kids. And now his wife Shari is fighting the effects of a tumor in her brain. I really hate cancer. Anyway, it worked out perfectly for him to come over. A friend who had been visiting Mom had just left to take Shari shopping, so David had a few free moments. He came over, showed me how to put the window back together, and took apart the last remaining window for me.

I window washed a little bit more on Thursday, then finished the job on Friday. With my new-found assembly knowledge, I didn't even have to have my ninety year old mother help me put the window back together! Now, Mom is happy and I won't have to do that job for another twenty-five years. Or so.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

So Much Sorrow, So Little Time

It seems the sorrows are piling up, sorrow upon sorrow. Someone I love fiercely is entangled in besetting sin. Another is enmeshed in dysfunction. A little someone that has my heart just found out his world is being torn in two. The cares of this world are beating down our door. People all around are saying goodbye to loved ones. And my mom changed her prayer request in the church prayer sheet to read:
It is time for me to fold my tent. Pray that I will find joy on the road to freedom.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On Course

Late last night, one of my friends lost her mom. My friend knew her mom was in poor health, in fact she had been in and out of the hospital last month. She knew her mom was released from the hospital on hospice. Not sent home to rehab and get better; sent home with palliative care. Still, it is heartwrenching to get the call that there are only days left. When my friend texted me that the hospice nurse had said her mom should go by Monday, I didn't get it. Go? Go where? Does she need to change locations? My friend had been confused by the message too, but the truth was her mom was failing. She and her family traveled yesterday, had a sweet time with her mom, and then she was gone. And, in the end, she went gently.

I am glad for my friend's mom to be free. I am so sad for my friend. I realize her mom was not young. She had lived a full life. I realize her mom was not healthy. Life at the end was physically and emotionally hard to live. I realize her mom was not perfect and theirs was not an ideal relationship. But she was her mom. And now she's gone. Death is so sad. We grieve the loss of life. We grieve the loss of relationship, both the one we had and the one we dreamed of. We grieve with our regrets and our disappointments; the words left unsaid, as well as the words we can never take back. We grieve. Not without hope, but we grieve.

I've never met my friend's mom, but I cried when I learned of her death. I feel like we are on the same course. It looks a little different for my mom, of course. No hospital stays, no drama, just the steady deterioration of an old, tired, sick body. It feels like the path is set and each day we walk a little farther along, taking steps in a direction no one wants to go. Today Mom told Karis she didn't want to get out of bed. Now, for me, that is an everyday occurance! Not for my mom. Especially not on Sunday when her favorite is teaching Sunday School and her son-in-law is preaching. I mentioned it to Mom, her reluctance to get up, and she said, "But I did!" I didn't say it, but I know the day is coming, maybe soon, when she won't have the strength to get up. I pray, like my friend for her mom, that in the end she will go gently.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fold the Tent

Yesterday, Mom really outdid herself. It must have been one of her "burst of energy" days. She was very excited and upbeat when I saw her in the morning, then she had Karis take her to the bank (I know it's just drive through, but last week she asked me to go for her), the post office (where she had Karis go in for her, but still!), and the grocery store. Mom called me early in the evening to let me know how excited she was about having Aunt Helen's daybed set up in Mom's front bedroom. (Dave and Meg went by to assemble it.) During the call, she told me she was going to Game Night up at church! Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it all.

And today Mom is tired. We went by after Nate's football game. Meg, her dog Reuben, and Nate stayed on the back porch while Ev and I went to HEB. While we were all out on the porch, Ev asked, "Is everything painted now?" We talked about Perry's work being nearly finished. He just needs to finish up on the fence. I asked Mom, "So what's next?" Mom answered,
"Next, it's time for Grandma to fold her tent."