Sunday, November 11, 2018

Quote of the Day

Today, a sister in our Relief Society lesson mentioned this quote.

I liked it.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. "If you are anxious you are living in the future. "If you are at peace you are living in the present.”― Lao Tzu

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Resolving

Yesterday evening, I started to feel normal again.

It's like when you've got a bad cold or the flu.
You are mired in your sickness ... it's what you're dealing with.
Then ... you notice that, wait, you can breathe through your nose again. Or you are keeping down food. And there's this sense of wonder and relief that the previous state has worked its way through ... at least most of the way. But you know that it happened and it's mostly over.

President Russell M. Nelson has some quotes in an article I was reading:
"The only length of life that seems to satisfy the longings of the human heart is life everlasting." (“Doors of Death,” Ensign, May 1992)

"Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life." (“Doors of Death,” Ensign, May 1992)
I do know that the reason I miss my people (family and friends) who've passed on is because I love them. If I didn't love them, I wouldn't be so affected. And I know that love is worth it ... even though it can be painful.

And I do know that, as long as I live up to the covenants that I have made with my Heavenly Father, I will have a forever family ... and, as I do family history work, I find that I have a lot more family than I knew. ... And, after the resurrection, goodbyes will have such little meaning ... since it'll just be a word. A mostly archaic one at that. And that's a thought that brings some added relief.

It's nice to feel better. I'm grateful for it.

Friday, October 19, 2018

So, I've started a new blog for Nana's and Grandma Darlene's recipes.

If you care to look at it (there's not a whole lot there right now ... it's going to be a pretty big endeavor), it's at https://cookingwithnanandgram.blogspot.com/

There's two actual posts of recipes ... so ... yeah.

I haven't been sleeping well.

Last night, I remember dreaming that the van (my car) was starting to break down. And I maybe got a ticket for having sparks from under the car.
THEN, when Michael and I were driving a load of ... some stuff ... from Washington, we were going through a town and got pulled over by a deputy-guy-in-training. And he wrote a ticket for, like, $542 for something under the truck ... and when we were proving that we DIDN'T have sparks or whatever under the truck, he refused to take it away, since it would reflect badly on his homework or something.
BUT! He WOULD lower it to $537.
Yeah, thanks.

Thankfully that was just a dream.
And the only money woes we really have are because the other house still hasn't sold at all.
Good times.

We're feeding the missionaries today.
Bruise got (mostly) caught up on homework ... so he's at a friend's house (after we cranked the last two answers out this morning.
I did let him know that when he neglects or chooses not to turn in work or to not give a full effort, it reflects poorly on Michael and me, since that's a lot of how his teachers know about our family.

I will also let Bucket know that, too.

I know that things need to get done. And I'm doing some of them. But I'm not motivated.
My head and neck and shoulders hurt. I just wish that I didn't have to THINK for a while ... and I'm such the type that's always in my head. I just want a mental vacation.

I could gripe about how I do all the mother-stuff: make sure the kids are off to school/drive them to school or their bus stop, morning devotional, make sure they're eating, attempt to cook something healthy, pick them up from school or their bus stop (unless the big kids are walking home), drive the girls to their dance classes, drive Bruise and Bubbles to soccer practices, attempt to be social and happy ... or at least act like I am ..., ...

I almost wish that I had a day or a week or a month where I could just curl up in bed and hibernate. Maybe, then, when I woke up, I wouldn't be sad or overwhelmed.

I'm reading scriptures. I'm saying prayers. We're reading and praying as a family. I have a testimony. I'm going through the motions. I don't have any desire to NOT go to church or to not pray or to not read scriptures. I still really suck at the whole pondering or studying or meditating on things ... I know that I'll be blessed -- that I AM blessed -- from just TRYING. That Heavenly Father appreciates my efforts.

I don't feel like the best Ministering Sister. I get that it's a higher law. And I love that we're getting to that level as a Church and a society ... but, I kinda suck as a friend. I check in and ask them if they want a visit or could use anything ... I just know that I should be doing more. That I SHOULD be being inspired. And ... I'm ... I'm just treading water, keeping afloat just enough.

I want to be ... oh, ... confident in my spirituality. Does that even make sense?
I want to FEEL the Holy Ghost. I do okay as I'm getting a blessing. I know that my Heavenly Father is aware of me and loves me and all that. I get that. I have a testimony of that. I have knowledge of that.

I just am not feeling as inspired. And I'm sure that it's me. I've done something or NOT done something. And I'm trying to figure out what exactly I need to repent of and change (probably the  going-through-the-motions ... but I'm not sure what else to do).

And this has been happening for a few weeks. Several weeks. It's not just since Nana died.
But that's made it harder. Not going to lie about or sugarcoat that fact.

I mean, with dealing with my emotions from Nana's dementia (and then her death), I do understand why people drink.
Heck, I'm tempted to take a Percocet. But I don't.
Mostly because I know that doing that isn't going to fix anything. Escapist reading hasn't fixed anything. Not that I've done a whole lot of that the last week.

What have I done a lot of? Mindless games on my phone.
Not quite what I'm sure President Nelson had in mind when he told us to go on that 10-day social media fast.
That first day, I actually was pretty productive. Then I kinda slipped into games. Then Nana went into an unresponsive state. Then she passed. ... And, a couple days later, I emerged from avoiding Facebook and Instagram. Those are my big social-media time-sucks.

I followed the prophet. Was I ecstatic about it? Not really.
Of course ... at the same point, I don't feel ecstatic about ... anything right now, tbh.

I shaved my legs yesterday. It was past time, for sure.
I also bought blue lipstick. It would look better on a face that had foundation and sleep.

I've been trying to do some self-care. I'll eat. At some point. I try to drink water or juice ... mostly to combat crying-induced headaches. I'll do a face mask, so I don't look quite as haggard. I'll take a shower, so I don't disgust myself. I do some housework, so that something in my life looks nice and somewhat organized. I talk aloud to Nana, since I know the veil is thin. She might be here, who knows? I can't feel her. But I can't totally feel much right now.

I'm easily irritated and prefer to be mostly alone. This way no one has to be aware of how much I cry or anything. Honestly, I'm not that much fun to be around. I'm cranky or despondent. I just want some mindless task that I can do, where I don't have to think or react to anything.

More than anything, I just want Nana and Pop-pop's old house. Even just the living room. How the light would slant through the curtains on a summer's afternoon. The smells of living and traces Pop-pop's cigarette smoke interwoven into the carpet, curtains, and furniture.
I think, that in Heaven, that will be one room in my house. Or a bottle of scent, at the least.

Maybe I should steam some broccoli. That was one of the smells that would waft through from the kitchen at their house.

Christmas hasn't ever been the same since Grandma Darlene passed ... and that was 22 years ago. Mom's stepdad passed a couple years afterwards ... that had no effect. Then Pop-pop passed. And then Nana moved ... and then had to move in with my uncle and aunt ... and then was in memory care. The major memories of Christmas in my rather idyllic, for the most part, childhood centered around being at my grandparents' houses. And that .... isn't ever happening again. And, really, hasn't happened for a while.

I know that it's up to me to start making some of these memories better and all. But ... I don't really know how to start yet.
Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love being with my family. But ... there was something just magical about Christmas as a child. And I've not been able to fully replicate it for myself since Grandma Darlene passed. And, then after not having Nana and Pop-pop's house in the Christmas equation, it's been paler and sadder .... bittersweet, maybe. Maybe that's the better way to term it.

I should get a shower. My hair hurts as I've been crying off and on as I type this all.

Wow. I'm so fun to be around, aren't I? You used to come and read this blog for my witty bon mots and refusal to take life too seriously ... and now it's all mopey and bleak and guilt-ridden. Good times indeed.

Hopefully, I'll be out of this grief-induced funk soon. I can hardly stand to be around myself ... I can't imagine that you're having a great time, either.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Processing and babbling

I think I'm still processing.

Sometimes, it really sucks to be such a cerebral-type person. I wish that I were better at crafts or athletics ... so I could CHANNEL all this STUFF into that.

I want to punch things, throw things, scream ... but none of those are productive.

I did buy a needlepoint kit. Haven't had any luck really starting it.

I started a new blog ... but Nana's pickle/relish recipes on it.
I should take pictures of some of those recipe cards to go with the typed bits.

I should do a lot of things.

What do I really, really want to do?

Time travel.
Just go to Nana and Pop-pop's old house in my hometown.
Sit in their living room. Surrounded by covered windows, the russet-colored carpet, the moss-green telephone.

Of all the places I think of, their house is where I feel most at home. It was a huge part of my childhood. Even after they renovated their kitchen and added a dining room, the living room stayed nearly the same. The couch always facing the front wall. Pop-pop's chair next to that corner table, usually with an ashtray on it. The TV in the corner to the right of the fireplace. The draft coming through the cracks of the door to where the firewood was stored.

If I could bottle two scents from my childhood, to just open whenever needed, I think they'd be Nana and Pop-pop's house (with a small vial of the smell of their attic) and the pharmacy on Main Street in my hometown. It always smelled the same. And, even though I didn't go in there all the time, it was just a good smell. When I went in there a few years ago, it still smelled JUST THE SAME. And I was transported to being, oh, six? Seven? And walking in there with my dad and buying a doll or Tinkerbell perfume or paper dolls.

I hate that saying ... that you can never go home again. But, in a few months, really, once we finally get my mom moved up here, I won't really have ANY reason to go back to Canyonville.
My dad and other family are in different towns. JAvelin, who ran the natural food store, passed from cancer. Arnie, my choir teacher, passed away. They sold my home ward (congregation)'s building, so everyone meets at a different building in a different town.

...

It almost feels like my childhood is totally out of reach anymore.
And I don't feel ready to be an adult.

...
...
...

My Nana's favorite ice cream was Umpqua's Peach on the Beach.
Mostly because she liked saying the name.

I always associate Bugles chips and Diet Orange Slice soda with her.
"Do you want some orange?" She'd ask. I'd agree. She'd pour me some and have "just a squosh" for herself.

I don't even really care for Bugles chips. But sometimes, when I'm really missing her, I'll buy a bag. I'll eat a handful or two, then give them to the kids. It's not the same.
She also almost always had coffee candy around (which I still take as a guilty pleasure. I don't drink coffee, but I love coffee candy). Freedent gum is what she'd always have in her purse. I try to carry a pack around as well. Just the smell of it takes me back to riding in her car.

She'd get her hair done, a wet set, about every couple weeks. Usually on a Saturday morning. Sometimes, I'd tag along. Alice (the hairdresser downtown) would let me play with her huge, gorgeous dollhouses while Nana had her hair done.

Nana and Pop-pop, when he was alive, would go, nearly every day to Lynn's restaurant (or later, to the deli/cafe at Pioneer Supersave/Floyd's) and drink coffee and chat with everyone. One of the things about a small town is that you can do that. They'd be regulars there. People would know they could find them there.

When I interviewed for my first job, Alvie (my boss over at Shop Smart) looked at my application, looked back at me, then asked, "Are you related to Bruce and Jean (Pop-pop and Nana)?"
"Yes, they're my grandparents." "You can start tomorrow." "Okay."
As I carried people's groceries out to their car, and they found out that I was Bruce and Jean's granddaughter, Allanna (as opposed to any others running about ... this was the next town away, where I had my job), they'd gush about my grandfolks.

...

My mom's mom, Grandma Darlene, passed suddenly. And she lived in the big town, about a half-hour's drive away. I spent some time with her. But not as much. Since her husband sexually abused my mom and aunt. Mom was adamant that I was NEVER to be left alone with him. Since, by the time I was born, he was retired and around a lot, I usually spent a lot more time with Nana. She was one of my playmates when I was little.

I wish that I had more memories of Grandma Darlene.
I called her up, once, when one of our cats was giving birth. Grandma was cat-mad, like me. She talked me through being midwife to ... was it Mittens? No, must have been Jasmine/Jazzy-cat.
She collected tea cups. She gave me one, but it broke. Shattered. I've been upset about that ever since.
Her house was always about 70ºF year-round. In summertime, when I was a lanky colt of a seven-year-old, I'd go inside after being out in the 85/90º heat and nearly freeze. She had a bunch of Disney books, with accompanying cassettes. I'd sit and listen/read those.
One of the books she had, in a cardboard box full of toys for the grandkids to play with was "The Sweet Smell of Christmas," a scratch-and-sniff book. I made sure to buy my own copy when I found it as an adult. She got me started on lots of different books. Anne of Green Gables, The Cat Who... series, Magnifi-cat, ... She was a reader. Probably, partly, to escape her childhood ... which could have been much happier. She collected gnomes. Got a few signed by the sculptor. She and her husband took me once, to get the one she gave me signed. I lost my (cheapo) ring from the county fair in their car. She bought me a new ring at The Emporium (most of you wouldn't remember that store ... it's like Kohls ... a nice department store). It was an aquamarine heart with a little gold band (with hollow hearts on either side of the stone). I was confused why she'd (1) spend THAT much money and (2) why I'd get an aquamarine ... it's not my birthstone.

Later, I learned that my mom had another brother that only lived a few hours. His birthstone was aquamarine. Also, my youngest daughter shares his birthday. I know that Grandma had a hand in that. I never knew his birthdate until after Bubbles was a few years old (Thanks, Ancestry.com. That was good info!)

Also, Grandma Darlene was a very good pie-maker. I did NOT inherit that skill. I find pie dough to be finicky. I lack the patience to deal with it. Julie, my aunt, is a much better piemaker than I am. I should work harder. The smell of roasting turkey takes me back to Grandma Darlene's house for Thanksgivings and Christmas Day celebrations. She would always have (stale) strawberry wafer cookies in the cookie jar (which was shaped like a mushroom. It was part of a set of canisters on her kitchen counter). She and her husband were diabetic, so it was either stale wafers or sugar-free hand candies. Or diet soda. I think they also had popsicles around, though, too.

I found Archies comic books around her bedroom. I enjoy a good comic book.

It was such a shock when she passed. Mom and Julie took it pretty hard. They had only recently had a family meeting where they told their youngest brother (who has children ... two of them are girls) about what their stepfather (his father) did to them. Julie was sure that it was because they brought that to light that their mom died. My mom countered that, no, Grandma was relieved that it was out in the open.

Regardless, she passed in her sleep. None of us were expecting it.

I don't know if that made it easier or harder to deal with. Nana had dementia for years. She'd been given around a 2-4 year prognosis when she was diagnosed, if I recall correctly. That was ... at least five years ago. The last few years have been the hardest. It was tough to hear Nana ask why Pop-pop wasn't coming to visit her, why he'd left her. A couple years ago, Nana told me that she had only just realized that he'd died. Though, the next time I saw her, she wasn't aware of his passing.

How confusing and heart-breaking to have to relearn/re-realize these things.
And seeing someone go through this isn't anything of an enjoyable experience.

Even going to visit her earlier this month, KNOWING that this would probably be the last time ... that wasn't easy. Especially since we weren't to let on. I would have tried to get a whole family picture with Nana ... but I kept crying off and on. So I have a few pictures of the kids with her.

...

I grew up haivng three grandmothers. The other one was Grammy, my mom's stepmom. They lived down in California, so I only rarely saw them. Pat (that was her name) and I got along. She wrote to me more than I wrote back (I've never been a great one for writing letters. Email is more my thing. SO much faster and it doesn't matter if you're going to the post office or have stamps). She passed soon after Bruise and Bucket were born.

Grampy is remarried. I still have one grandfather alive (though, next time he catches pneumonia, will be the last, so they say). His wife is younger than my mom. She's very nice.
Shockingly, I was the first one of the family to send her a mother's day card. I think that cemented my favored status, ha ha. But she's really very nice. I will have her around for a long time, so I'm not totally a grand-orphan.

Yes, that's one thing that I worry about. Is it because I'm an only child?
I never thought that being an orphan would be a great experience. My mom is a huge source of security for me. Michael, too, of course.

But, without any siblings, I always figured that I'd end up dying alone. I figured that I'd never be an aunt (for some reason, when I thought that, apparently I never considered that I'd marry someone who wasn't an only child? Logic, that's a funny concept).

Doing family history has been a good thing. I actually have extended family (cousins and whatnot) up here. I have an extended cousin in my church ward (congregation). Our kids' doctor is that cousin's uncle (and a slightly closer relation). I have family here.

One of my friends who I used to Visit Teach is an extended cousin (to both Michael and me, funnily enough. She's a closer relative to Michael, for the record).

And there's the gospel ... so that even though I've lost my biological grandmothers, I know that I haven't really lost them. We'll do/finish their temple work ... and I will have them forever.

But, oh, I just really want them NOW.

I hate goodbyes. I really do.

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15

Nana passed this morning.

There's a letter in the mailbox, waiting to be sent to her. I wrote it before I got the phone call. Put a stamp on it and put it in the box before I got the news.

I wrote it, knowing that she might never get it or hear it read aloud in the same room as she was.

I'm going to allow it to be mailed.

Since we've been grieving for Nana the last few years anyways, this is almost a relief.
Almost.

I'm glad that she's back with Pop-pop. I'm glad that she's no longer in any pain, that she has all her memories back, that she gets to see her mother and father and brothers again.

... Christmas hasn't been the same since Grandma Darlene died. It changed a lot of the dynamics of our family traditions. It's been twelve years and I still don't feel the same about Christmas as I did. I still love Christmas, but there's this bittersweet element that was never there before.

Christmas changed even more after Pop-pop passed and Nana sold their house. Then my aunt and uncle took Nana in. Nothing was worse ... just more different.

...
...

My dad, when he called (after I'd received the news from Aunt I ... and called Michael and my mom to let them know), mentioned that it was the 15th. Pop-pop passed August 15 ... so maybe they had a thing for the number 15 (it's not their anniversary, in case you wondered).

No viewing. No funeral. There will be a family get-together later this summer.

I should send down flowers to Dad and L ... as well as Uncle Mike and I ... and Uncle Steve. That would be kind. Not that it accomplishes much ... but it's something. Maybe something with Amaryllis flowers. Those always remind me of Nana for whatever reason.

I think I had more than an inkling that it'd be soon -- her passing. I woke up this morning with "Each Life That Touches Ours for Good" in my head. I got the kids off to school, letting them know that Aunt I and I had talked last night (and that Nana was still alive, still unresponsive, but not in any pain) ... wrote the letter, cried, put it in the mailbox, took a shower, put on CuddlDuds (in black, how fitting), since I felt that I could use something comforting ... and nothing like cozy thermals, right? (Unless you have flannel sheets and an electric blanket or mattress pad). I read some blog posts ... and got the call.

Michael asked if I wanted him to come home early. I told him that I'd be okay.
I would rather cry without witnesses. 

I am aware that this is not a bad thing. Death is a natural part of living.
You'd think, with how morbid I tend to be, that this would be easy to deal with.
I find the concept of death fascinating. I could study the mourning rituals of different ages and cultures for weeks.
... I just find it harrowing to endure it first-person. Though, I do understand some aspects of, say, Victorian mourning. Covering the mirrors --- you don't have to see your tear-streaked and mottled-blotchy face. Not a bad idea.

I'll be okay.
I already have my calendar marked for when I can start her temple work.
Knowing that I can do that for her ... and get her and Pop-pop sealed? That helps.
Knowing that she's back to herself again, even if I can't be with her or hug her to hear her voice over the phone ... it's still hard. But endurable.

This separation isn't for forever.
In fact, it WON'T be.

It still sucks and I hate it. But it is temporary.
I will get her back. And Pop-pop. And Grandma Darlene. And all my other people who've gone where I can't follow yet.

I should go take some Tylenol, though. Crying gives me a headache.
I think I'm going to curl up with something sweet and brainless to watch.

I won't rail against God. Because I know that this is a merciful thing.
She didn't suffer. She was with people who loved her. She was loved by so many.
She's back with her family. She's back with Pop-pop.
She can watch over us all ... and regale us with all the gossip when we meet up again.
And it will be good. Something to look forward to.




Friday, October 12, 2018

A Turn for the Worse ... Here's my brain dump

My aunt called this morning.

Nana is still alive, but she took a big turn for the worse last night. Today, she's unresponsive. She's not in any pain (I knew that the hospice workers and her memory care nurses were good). But, she's not long for this world. I am going to miss her.

They took her out to her favorite lunch on Tuesday. She ate really well. She was okay until about yesterday night. It's not long until she can be reunited with Pop-pop. She's been waiting for that for about seventeen years.

I am going to miss her.
Lots.

But this is not a terrible thing.
I will miss her because I love her.
We will be able to do her temple work ... I think she'll accept it.
We will seal her to Pop-pop. This way they can have an eternal marriage. Even with the dementia, she's never stopped loving him.

She won't have dementia anymore. Her ankle won't hurt her (from a car accident long before I was born). She won't have to manage her diabetes. These are all reasons to be happy.

But I will miss her.

When I got the call today, from Aunt I, my mom was up. She was the first person that I told. Then I told the kids. Then I messaged Michael (since he was on site at a job ... or I'd probably have told him first).

In other news, we ALMOST were able to sell our old house. But the buyers backed out after inspection.  So, if we're counting, and we are, here's the line-up of failures:

  • An offer was made, sight-unseen, for above asking price. ... They decided against selling their house. So that fell through.
  • An offer was made and accepted, right about asking price. ... He couldn't get funding and the offer had to be terminated.
  • An offer was made (lowball. Seriously, we'd already dropped asking price by $5,000. They offered $15,000 below THAT.), counteroffers flew back and forth. Finally, we got about the minimum that we were looking for as profit. Their inspector didn't like the place. Our realtor tried to see if we could fix things up and move forward. They weren't interested.
And that will bring us into a third month of not selling that house. Fun times.

And, OF COURSE, Mother Nature decides that THIS is the PERFECT TIME to give me confirmation that I'm not pregnant. (No, we're not trying. ... Honestly, I'd gladly take a text/email instead of menstruation. ANY TIME.)

We had a bit of a parenting-fiasco that hit this week. Kids eating upstairs. Kids getting into ice cream and leaving it out to melt. Grades nosediving. Lying about eating upstairs and getting into food. Good times. That was Wednesday evening. Bubbles missed her soccer practice. Bruise got his sleepover this weekend cancelled. The kids opted to put themselves to bed early, after cleaning their rooms, without dinner.

Confessions were made the following morning. The big kids turned in missing/corrected work. Grades are improved. Resolutions were made. Restitution is in progress.
Especially after I told them (after confessions were made), the scope of their punishment that they (NARROWLY) escaped:
  • No watching TV
  • Taking away the clock radios (No radio)
  • No extracurriculars (soccer/dance)
  • No parties/sleepovers
  • Dad and I sell their tablets, since they won't be using them
  • No Halloween costumes/trick-or-treating ... they weren't aware that this was even an option on the table. Once I told them this, as I was taking the big kids to their bus drop-off, they were SHOCKED that it was even a possibility. They were VERY GLAD that they confessed before these were put into practice.
We also had a DISCUSSION about honesty, integrity, and accountability. And about how, when you lie, you're damaging that relationship. When you make it a habit of telling the truth, we can give the benefit of the doubt for HONEST mistakes ... but, if you haven't established that trust from continued honesty, there's no room for us to extend that grace.

I think ... I HOPE ... that this is the end of this.

Also, when Bucket declares that "I didn't even know that we had _____," we can't give the benefit of the doubt anymore. Since she's already used that more than once when she was VERY MUCH AWARE of the existence in our possession of ice cream and other treats.

Yes, we're really mean parents.
Mean parents who are determined to groom some DANG, GOOD CITIZENS to release into the wild in another 6-12 years. Or thereabouts.
We want them to have the skills that they need to succeed in life, to make friends and influence people, to establish rewarding careers, to vote responsibly, to impact the world in positive ways.

And also have parents who can trust them.

Win-win, right? #goals

I'm keeping my chin up. But it's not been the easiest couple of weeks.

I am looking forward, though, to when we only own ONE house. That'll be nice.

In some nice news, Bruise made it onto the National AYSO team. He'll get to compete in Hawaii. That means that Michael and I might get to go to Hawaii, right? We've never been to Hawaii. Heck, I've never been off this continent. The farthest north I've been was Victoria, B.C. The farthest south has been San Diego. The farthest east has been Mississippi. ... I'm not that much of a world traveler. Not from lack of desire, mind you. Just lack of money and time. For now. Someday, we'll get all our ducks in order.

After we sell a house, ha ha ha...

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

How do you grieve for someone who's still alive?

So, my Nana has dementia. She's been in a memory care facility for a while. My aunt was taking care of her for a few years before that.

My for-all-purposes-stepmom called today to let me know that Nana isn't doing so well. Nana is pretty old, true. She's been missing my Pop-pop for over a decade (when she's aware that he's passed on. Sometimes, she just wonders why he doesn't come to see her). Her kidneys are failing. She's been put into hospice care.

I tried calling her today. She couldn't hear me over the phone (She wears hearing aids). She sounds healthy and in good spirits.

My stepdad has dementia. My mom is his primary caregiver. She puts up with a lot of verbal and emotional abuse. Gaslighting is a regular thing. It would be easier if we knew HOW accountable he was and when he was really lucid. He's not the same person he was. He told my mom that he loves her (he's sad that she's going to be moving up here soon. His children are stepping in to help take care of him. He's rather burned some bridges with two of them ... if he's not happy about a situation, it's like he goes out of his way --wittingly or no -- to ensure that NO ONE is happy). ... she responded that, with how he's treated her the last couple years, it's rather hard to believe that.

I don't like dementia.

I don't like any of its forms.

I don't like mourning people even before they've passed.

My Nana is still really sweet ... maybe even sweeter than she was when I was little. She (last we visited) still knew who Michael was, I was, and the kids are. That's pretty good. She doesn't recognize one of my cousins, which is sad.

I try to write Nana letters. I hope that she stays with us long enough to get this one.
I find it hard to write Nana letters ... not because I don't like to write or because I don't love her ... but because I find it hard not to write some of the things that I'd want to say ... because I don't want to take a chance of hurting her or confusing her.
"I miss who you were."
"I wish that you remembered [S] when you saw her."
"I love seeing you, but I hate crying afterwards."
"I wish that you were closer and could come visit our new house. I think you'd love it. I wish I could ask you about some of the features, since you might have an idea of what they were intended for."
"I wish that you knew that Pop-pop isn't avoiding you and that he hasn't abandoned you."
"I wish that I could take you to the temple while you're alive ... but I am planning, as soon as I can, to do your work and get you sealed to Pop-pop. I miss him, too."
"Thank you for always asking after my mom when we visit you. It makes me feel better to know that you really do love her -- even though things were REALLY ROUGH (especially for her) after the divorce. I wish that my dad had told you that they were separating before you found out from someone else in town."
"I miss going to your house when I was little. I miss you serving me fresh strawberries with cream and sugar. I miss your clam chowder. I miss how your house smelled. I miss dressing up with [S] in your nightgowns. I miss how you would buy us matching Christmas presents and she and I would go and have a fashion show after we opened presents."
"I miss how you'd tell me stories of when I was little." "I miss how when I'd call you and as soon as I'd say, 'Hi, Nana!' and you KNEW it was me, since I'm the only one who calls you that -- or you'd call up and ask to speak to 'Princess Budderfwy,' since that was your favorite mispronunciation of mine when I was learning to speak. No one else calls me Princess Budderfwy ... just like no one else calls me an 'onery little critter' like Pop-pop would. And, really, I did deserve that."
"I miss playing Megan and Sundance when I was little, even though you weren't wild about giving me horsie rides on your back when I was 5 and you were fifty-seven (or so)."
"I miss how you were ALWAYS 57 whenever I asked how old you were. You will always be 57 to me. I am constantly getting closer and closer to getting as old ... and older ... than you." "I miss going to musicals at the Hult Center with you."
"I miss going shopping with you."
"I miss walking to your house."
"Do you remember that silver patent-leather pair of Sketchers you bought me when I was, what, fifteen? And how you told me about the looks people gave you -- an old lady trying on silver sneakers -- since you and I had the same shoe size? I kept those sneakers until they were falling apart because they made me smile every time I saw them and remembered your story. I might just go buy another pair of silver Sketchers for that reason."

I don't know about you ... but I think I'm going to go sit in the shower and cry.
I hate it when people go where I can't follow. I hate it when dementia changes people.

I need to get control of my emotions before the kids get home.

As my stepmom said, Nana's gone into hospice care. We don't know how long she has. It could be soon. Or it could be months down the line. We don't know.

Honestly, it would be a bit easier to have more of an idea.
We had been planning on going down for a visit on what was the weekend AFTER Pop-pop passed.
The kids are in school. There's soccer and General Conference. I have meetings and activities that are a bit harder to work around ... but ... I could just pull the kids out of school and take one day off if we need to.

Once I can talk without sounding stuffed up and weepy, I think I'll call my aunt and ask for their plans. Once I can get to that point.  (Oh, why can't everyone just text. It's easier to conceal my emotional nature that way.)