Sunday, September 25, 2005

Never Wish Anyone Dead

Okay, after several days to cool down, I must now post that I don't truly wish my eldest brother dead.

I do wish him peace, but I don't know how he's going to find it this lifetime. But that's pretty much true of everyone, I guess.

Also, I wish I could stop posting with so many typographical errors. A spell-check and a proofread would probably help. So I'm wishing I'd start doing those more often.

Now be sure to scroll down so you can go donate some money to the Alzheimer's Association via my sister's Memory Walk on October 1.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ruth is Walking

Ruth is walking in the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk, in Memory of Mom. If you'd like to read what she wrote about it, or would like to sponsor/donate/whatever, here is where you can do that.

Also, I haven't deleted any actual comments. They were ads or something. Junk comments. Go figure.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Very Traditional Service

I finally made it back to Center on Thursday. Apparently lots had been going on. Ed, who on Monday was saying, "If we have a service, Mom is going to haunt us," or something of the like, has decided that since we're having a service, it MUST be a TRADTIONAL one. Any thoughts we had of, "We can just have everyone sing a few of her favorite hymns and maybe Dane read a few scriptures" were thrown out the window by the drunken organist (that's Ed, for those of you who don't know my brother) and by a VERY EVIL minister/preacher/overlord/whatever-they-call-the-religious-leader-in-a-Disciples-of-Christ-church.

Five songs would be out of the question, as the tradition is two at most. I'm not even sure if they asked for five songs. It might have been four.

"The church isn't air-conditioned upstairs. We don't want to go too long. (We don't want the neighbors to think we don't know how to have a service.) (We have to get our advertisement in about our church, as it's not important to respect the dead, we just want more numbers every Sunday!) "

They last two are parenthetical, because they're the unspoken actual reasons.

Anyway, Ruth called Ed to tell him that since he knows exactly what should be done, and after turning it all over to Ruth, Wade, and Leslie, went behind their back to get the EVIL OVERLORD of the church on his side (not that it takes much, apparently, as the man isn't there to help anyone through a process, but instead wants more people to come to his church each week), he can decide how everything is going to be done--except that Dane will be reading scripture. Ed didn't answer, so she left this on his voice mail, and did it politely, according to Leslie.

Friday Ruth gets a text message from Ed, referring to her as Lady Hitler (which seems like it needs to be a song title) and saying they need to talk.

The funny part is, Ruth is the non-conflict person in our family. She doesn't freak out about it, but she majorly avoids it where possible.

So, she's upset, going over to Ed's place (which is like two blocks away), and Lelise decides to drive her, and Wade wants to go with her. I decide to go with, also.

It didn't go well. Ed tried to rationalize that since songs make people cry, that's why he didn't want too many songs. Ruth didn't have much time to cry "bulls--t", because Wade jumped in with a "Shut the f--k up" shortly afer that. But seriously, "bulls--t" needs to be cried here, because here are the five songs: Come to the Church in the Wildwood, Onward Christain Solders, Bringing in the Sheaves, Count Your Blessings, and The Old Rugged Cross. Of those five, only the fifth is anywhere close to being a "weep" song, and it's not all that close.

Well, it was loud, and ended it by threatening to go to the "Traditional" service in drag and telling Ed to keep drinking because he wasn't dead yet.

Yeah, it's bad to wish people dead. And if he counted as a person, maybe I wouldn't have wished it. Okay, he counts as a person, but he's a pickled evil person.

The funy part is, we had all sorta decided to just grin-and-bear-it. Our Aunt Rachel was due to arrive about 5 minutes after Ruth got the text message, and we were just going to suck it up for her (she was the one who pulled rank and said we had to have a service at the church in the first place).

Well, they arrived about 20 minutes after we got back home, and there was no sucking it up.

The even funnier bit is, Ruth was ready to go over to Ed's on Sunday morning to make peace, then Dane told us that at church that day Ed told LaRita Poage that we had wanted TEN songs for that service.

Evil drunk organist, I tell you. Now a LYING evil drunk organist... but the "evil" kinda covers that.

Anywho, back to Saturday, the service was okay, but the flippin EVIL OVERLORD-PREACHER-WHATEVER spoke for about twenty minutes... if not longer. And this would have been fine, had it been about Patsy. But the freakin' guy turned the last half (at least) into a stinkin' advertisement for his stinkin' church.

Granted, I've learned all churches must be evil or cowards (see earlier posts), but I thought they actually gave a crap about people who died. Maybe it's only people who died and left a large amount of money to the church.

So, instead of singing songs my mother enjoyed (and as long as he spoke, we probably could have fit three more songs in, not just two), we got to find out all about the Christian Church. Neat. Wonder what his room in hell will be like.

But Dane got to read scripture.

Oh yeah, and while the drunk organist had his back to everyone playing the first song (The Old Rugged Cross), our cousins Mike and David showed up. David broke his neck years ago and is in a wheelchair. This caused Dane and a few others to start crying, and seeing Dane cry made me start crying. So you know that drunk organist bast--d was thinking, "See, I was right. Songs make people cry!"

Whatever. Ruth is gonna talk to him while she's back there this weekend. Who knows how that will go. Mainly she's worried that in a drunken fit of self-pity he's gonna flush mom's ashes down the toilet or something.

The thing on Sunday, the thing we originally planned and Ed opted not to attend, was great. It's what I want when I'm dead. We planned for 50 and 30-some-odd showed up (I wish my Aunt Rachel and my cousins Cheryl and Karen could have stayed, as I think they would have enjoyed it), and I learned stuff about my mom I never knew. Only Peggy Swon wept while speaking, and that was okay because she kept apologizing about it, so it was sorta funny.

Whatever you want to happen while you're dead, you should probably write it down. And if you have a drunk jerk for your first-born, make it clear in some sort of legal document that he not be allowed to have anything to do with your services.

But I'm not bitter.

Several people e-mailed pictures of them wearing red over the weekend. I think I'm going to declare August 20 (Mom's birthday) as "wear-red-for-Patsy-day" every year, and have people e-mail me pics of them in red. Think anybody will?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Rest In Peace

Patsy Ann (Hickerson) Riggs
August 20, 1930 - September 6, 2005
She didn't smoke, and she couldn't stand the smell--let alone the taste--of beer.
This picture is a joke. She liked to laugh. She thought it was more useful than crying.

Thanks for the prayers/thoughts/karma

I was going to go to bed as soon as I got home from school yesterday, but didn't. Then there were phone calls from Ruth and Leslie, as they both were heading to Center. Rusty had been calling the nursing home throughout the day to get Mom's vitals, and she thought it was going to be soon.

I finally got to bed a little after 8:00.

Ruth got the call when she was about 5 minutes from the nursing home. She left me a message (there's a long story about why the phone upstairs doesn't work, and my bedroom is upstairs) shortly after that. I woke up at 2:30 this morning, and came downstairs to see if there was a message. It was the first message.

Thanks to everyone who prayed or thought of us or sent us karma.

I honestly thought the relief that she wasn't suffering any more would somehow make this feel better.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Prayer Request

For those of you who have a deity of choice, and of those, those who has a deity of choice that takes requests:

Ruth called this morning (read: YESTERDAY morning, as I've just now gotten home, and it's after midnight) to let me know Mom "isn't responding" to the nurses. She's not eating, and as per Mom's wishes, they aren't going to go to any excessive steps to keep her alive. Originally Ruth was told it could be 7 to 10 days, or it could be a month, or... etc.

So Ruth and I decided to go home to see Mom one last time. Sara wanted to go to, so we went and got her, and drove her bigger vehicle (which eats more gas, but will carry all us big folk all the better).

Ruth had gotten it more nailed down to 7 to 10 days on the whole "waiting period" thing. So we felt justified in our road-tripping.

If you haven't figured it out by now (those of you who know me, especially), my family deals with stuff mostly through humor. We had some fun chitchat all the way home, and many laughs were had.

Mom has always been vocal about not wanting a funeral. There's some disagreement as to whether or not she wanted any service at all (memorial, for instance), but I do agree with Ruth that she has said she didn't want people feeling like they had to get dressed up, etc. (or something along those lines).

So, discussion with Wade, Dane, Ed, (and the three of us) over what to do. Ed mentions "mom has some labored breathing, and doesn't really look around". Dane, Ruth, Sara, and I head to Palmyra to the nursing home.

Yeah, "some laboered breathing".

A visual: Have you ever seen an animal (maybe a happy-go-lucky dog, or maybe a rabbit) that has been hit by a car, and is lying at the side of the road, breathing hard, maybe in a lot of pain and maybe in shock?

An audible: Have you heard that animal taking each breath as if it might be the last?

That's what we walked in on, except the animal was the woman who brought us into the world. Sara lost it (this is no surprise, because she is the least skilled at keeping her upset bottled up), and that made it hard for us not to lose it.

I wanted to hold Mom's hand one last time, but she was sorta wrapped in her blanket, and I didn't want to unwrap her and maybe make her cold. So, after several minutes, I settled for stroking her hair, kissing her cheek, and whispering to her that if she needed to go, she should. We would understand.

This was after Ruth stood by her a while, and while Sara came and went from the room as her mood would allow.

Sara went to give Mom a kiss, and I needed to lower the side rail. I told Dane if he wanted to kiss mom, I could help him get to her, or if he didn't want to, that was good too.

Dane isn't very vocal about his wants sometimes, you see, and I do this thing where I ask him way too many questions.

Anyway, as I lower the bar for Dane, that's when he loses it... and that's when I lose it and Ruth loses it. Sara re-lost it to the point of just going to the vehicle.

So here's the prayer request, because it was the first thought I had when I came into that room and saw and heard this woman for whom I have so much love and all other kinds of emotions in my heart: An amazing miracle would be nice... the kind where she comes back as good as she was 10 years ago, like nothing ever happened. Or... this part where her breath comes in loud gasps, and she stares off at the wall like she sees Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Bud and Aunt Deana Mae gently waving her on to their part of the universe, and all the people still here who love her listen to each gasp wondering if it will be the last while at the same time wondering if she's scared or panicked or simply wishing it would all be over... this part needs to be as short as possible. If we're talking 7 to 10 days, I vote 7 or less.

She wasn't perfect in this life. She didn't live her live without bringing pain to others. Who has? But she wasn't Hitler. She didn't go out of her way to cause pain. She tried to do the best she could with what she had where she was.

So pray everything comes back to normal in a very Deus Ex Machina sort of way, or she goes to be with the family that is waiting for her on the other side, and goes soon.

I'd appreciate it.