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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

First Day of 2008

The first day of 2008 started off with new thoughts and new goals. After midnight, I pulled out my new journal and wrote in it for the first day of the New Year. I began my journal by attaching Keith’s list of reflective questions inside the front cover and wrote my heartfelt answers to those questions. I even made a list of simple, yet manageable goals for the year. I’ll talk about those later, but one goal is to write in my journal every night before I go to sleep. Thank you, Betsy. I’m taking your writing challenge. Lights were out and I was asleep by 1:00.

Two is an early riser, but I was surprised when he woke up at 4:30 and told me he was going home. I walked him downstairs and went back to bed. I didn’t get up until 9:00. He came back down and sat with me to enjoy our morning coffee as we always do. He looked unusually tired and when I asked him about it, he said, “No wonder you’re always so tired. I know Mother gets up during the night, but she didn’t last night. Even when she doesn’t get up, you can’t possibly get any sleep with the way she snores.” I burst out laughing and so did he. He’s right. Whether Mom gets up during the night or not, I don’t get much sleep with her constant snoring. Funny though, last night, I didn’t hear a thing—not her snoring, not his snoring, nothing—I slept fine. I felt so comfortable with him there; I slept sound for the first time in a long time.

He left to go back home and I got Mom up to get her day started. I got her breakfast ready and we sat and talked while she ate. Then I convinced her to get into the shower without too much of a problem. We didn’t finish with all the bathroom detail until just before noon.

Mom sat at the kitchen table and peeled potatoes while I put the traditional pork and sauerkraut and kielbasa in a roasting pan to make for dinner. Once everything was in the oven, she sat in her chair in the living room and colored for the afternoon, while I sat in my chair and tried to finish writing a book review that’s been far too long in finishing.

I called Two around 4:00 and he came down to eat dinner with us. The conversation at dinner was quite different. For a moment, we thought Mom was fairly lucid when she asked, “Have my sons called?” “No, Mom. No one has called today.” “When do I go back to club?” “Tomorrow Mom. You had today off because of the holiday.” Then she looked at Two and said, “I’m glad you’re here for dinner.” It’s so difficult at times to know if Mom knows Two or not. She’s so good at talking to people and sounding like she’s a best friend with them. It wasn’t long before I realized she didn’t even know me. Or at least I think she didn’t. When she said, “You two are my best friends,” I sort of got the idea that at that moment, Two and I were, in her mind, just friends of hers. Then again, she may have been sincere about her statement. She’s always said I’m her best friend. I didn’t interject that I was her daughter, being her best friend has always been fine with me.

After dinner, Two sat and talked for a while and then went back to our house. It was time to get Mom washed and dressed for bed and she was sound asleep by 5:30.

Just now as I was ready to close this writing, I heard her get out of bed. She woke up at 9:00 after a dream and yelled up the steps. I started walking down the steps to see what was bothering her and she asked me if Mr. N. was upstairs. I told her no and directed her back to bed. On the days she isn’t at day care she asks all day when she goes back. Evidently, she misses being with her friends there. Glad I slept sound last night. I think tonight will be a long night again since Mr. N. is on her mind. Goodnight everyone. I’m going to catch my z’s in between Mr. N.’s visits. LOL

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Blogger nancy said...

i'm glad you had a good night sleep last night. i remember cherishing those as you never know when the next one will come. glad you had good times with two as well.

i can tell you must have some german heritage in you. pork roast and sauerkraut. that is what i must make ever new year's for good luck as well. i also burn a bayberry candle for good luck for the year. remember i mentioned in an earlier post how superstitious i am?

1/01/2008 11:23 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

My dad used to call our heritage a 57 Hienz mix, and there is most definitely a lot of superstitions in there, too. LOL

1/02/2008 5:04 PM  
Blogger flintysooner said...

Usually when Judy would come over she would sleep really great the first night. But by sometime the next day or sometimes the following she would be in tears. I never slept differently when she was there - was just always on alert. It was always emotionally wrenching for me though when she left - and obviously for her too.

But when I'd go to her house and sleep over my Friday night that would be my one night to relax and sleep without being on. Then we both had an emotionally tough day on Saturday. But I still wouldn't take anything for those Friday nights.

It's a difficult way to live. I still remember how hard it was. But I'm glad we took the chance and even with the stress it all seems more than worthwhile now.

Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your situation.

1/02/2008 8:14 PM  
Blogger rilera said...

I wish Mom enjoyed club as much as your mom does.

It sounds like you had such a peaceful first day of 2008. I wish for more days like that for you.

1/02/2008 10:55 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Terry, When I first started reading your blog and realized that you and Judy lived separately, as Two and I do, I realized there was someone else out there that was going through what we were. It is emotionally wrenching after spending that time together and having him leave and it's just as emotional for him too. You're right, even with the added stress and feeling of lonliness after those nights, I wouldn't trade anything for the times he's stayed. I knew if anyone understood our situation, you would, because you've been there. Two and I have even talked about how you and Judy are back together now and how difficult you two must find it at times to adjust to all that time together. I know we're concerned about learning how to live with each other all over again, but I hope that with come naturally and without too much stress. I hope that for you and Judy too. Thanks my friend, I appreciate you so much.

Thank you, Robyn. We did have a very peaceful day together. What is it about day care that your mom doesn't enjoy? When I first started taking Mom, I took her on the day they played bingo. She loves bingo, so I knew that would be a good day. She also used to loved to read, so I took some of her older paperback books to give the day care to use for bingo prizes for her. Since she loved bingo and won a book as a prize, that made it worth going for her. After a while, she lost more and more memory and she just loves going to socialize now. I think my email address is in my profile. Feel free to email me if you want to talk. Maybe I can help with some suggestions on how to get your mom more interested.

1/02/2008 11:36 PM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

One of the hardest parts of my caregiver journey was the lack of sleep. Even though Mom wasn't a night wanderer, she would 'puttz' in her room. She'd dig through drawers or keep the TV on all night and the sound blared through her monitor. I am one who needs 8 - 10 hours each night. I rarely got more than 5. Honestly, I think I am still catching up and it has been 2 months.

I'm glad you are starting out on the right foot. Hang tough, Joanne.

1/03/2008 8:30 AM  
Blogger Lori1955 said...

Ah, a good nights sleep. Those are definetly to be cherished. I can't even imagine how hard it must be for you and Two to live apart. I think every day you are gaining stars in your crown.

By the way, I read your old post on do overs. Excellent!!

1/03/2008 9:50 AM  
Blogger rilera said...

Hi Joanne, I tried to send an email but it came back undeliverable. Mom has a great deal of trouble with walking. Now that it's cold she refuses to go to day care. When she does go she complains that she's not like the others there. Trying to get her anywhere is a production because of her inability to move around.

1/03/2008 8:29 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Betsy, I know what you mean about being a person who needs 8-10 hours sleep. I was that way, too. I'm lucky if I get 4. Mom used to puttz in her room and go through drawers too. Now she does that and roams around the house. LOL Hope you catch up on some of that sleep you lost. I don't know that any of us will ever realy catch up, but our bodies may just slowly get back to our normal routine. I'm hanging in, really.

Yeah, you'd think after three years we'd be used to not living together, Lori. It just doesn't seem to work like that. LOL We do cherish the time we do spend together, though. I'm glad you enjoyed the link. ;)

I fixed my email addy. It should go through now. Try sending again and we can discuss some suggestions through email.

1/04/2008 5:54 PM