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A SandwichBlogger Experience

Many of my generation have lost one or both of their parents. I fall into the latter category. The 3rd anniversary of my mother’s passing is coming up on May the 30th. I got to thinking about how much we Boomers and Sandwich Generationers have in common after reading Ronni Bennett’s series on her Mom’s final days.

I recommend “A Mother’s Last, Best Lesson” for anyone who has a critically ill parent or who has just lost a parent.

The most outstanding thing that Ronni and I have in common is that our Mothers’ deaths changed our lives in very big and important ways. I’ll let you read her series to find out how it changed her life. In my case it made me take a close look at priorities and allowed me to focus on living in the moment.

 This may sound like ethereal stuff but it is not. We moved from Phoenix to Hickory, NC. My wife and I are pursuing second careers and we are struggling with all the things our kids did when they started out. Only in our case our age is more a handicap than an advantage.

I refuse to let the stuff of life get me down these days. I have put my faith in God and my own ability to make the best of any situation thrown at us. And I know we can’t do it alone. We are reaching out to whoever can help us in job searching and blogging and all facets of our lives.

An important lesson for me has been my own vunerablilty and at times powerlessness to change circumstances.

My mother survived my Dad by 18 years and as long as she was alive I still felt connected to my family’s history and my roots. Now that I’m the oldest with the family name I feel incompetent to hand down even the little I know of my parents families and their place in History. I had always depended on my Mother to answer family questions and I miss just that small aspect of our relationship deeply.

We were not that close after I went in the Marines in 1967. We came back into close contact after Dad died in 1986 and then our lives went in separate directions again. She moved back to Selma, Alabama from Phoenix where we were and we moved from Phoenix to Colorado and then Flagstaff, Arizona. So we only saw each other every 18 months or so when we could afford to go back to Selma and visit her.

Even phone communication and letters where minimal. So we were dismayed when we got the call that she had been put in the Alzheimer’s wing of a hospital in Montgomery, Alabama. They kept her there 30 days, experimented with what drugs to give her and generally used up all her insurance and then dumped her in a nursing home. It was  an awful experience for her and a troubling one for my wife and me.

I will not go in to detail here about her last few months. That’s for another day. I will just leave you with this. The loss of a parent is a big deal to a BabyBoomer and the loss of your last surviving parent a much bigger deal. At least it was for me.

After almost 3 years I recently wrote this poem to help me deal with what happened. Here it is:

Rain & Pain

Writing on this wintry nite, drizzle then downpour, then not

Remembering cities I’ve lived in and missed getting my shot

If you’re successful in Phoenix then why go away?

Just to dodge a million people you dodged every day

There was work there and family and plenty of friends

Sure it got hot and gritty when parched by dry winds

And pools filled your evenings then hot tubs and sleep

Awaking next morning and taking the leap

Into the maelstrom of cars and business and deals

Wondering, questioning is this all real?

No water, no clouds, no green, not a tree

Is this the environment I envisioned for me?

Then getting the phone call from Parent back east

You’re needed in Selma to watch at a feast

Of mind eating, unreasonable, dementia and joy

Sure she still knows you, you were her boy

Some days you know her just like she knows you

Others less clear are the things you need do

To reconcile changes that came to your world

And talk to a Mother who thinks she’s a girl

After days and then weeks of progress you thought

To bring her more closely as she said you ought

To your town cross country at least a home near

Where she could live out her time without fear

Of being neglected and being alone

Being so fragile just skin on the bone

She sensed the necessity of travel though far

The need to be close, just minutes by car

We thought out a plan, executed it well

Were happy and pleased how her fears it did quell

Foolishly, unhumbly our hopes we dared raise

For God called her home in only six days



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