Monday, December 19, 2011

Home only 9 days

Mom came home from the nursing home on December 9th, 2011 which I felt was too early. Personally, as hard as this is for me to say, I think it's time for her to be permanently admitted to the Episcopal Church Home memory care wing. Her physical health has deteriorated drastically and with each physical decline her mental capacity plummets as well.
Last night Mom was admitted to the hospital, yet again, for what sounds to me like congestive heart failure.....again (I think this is the 5th or 6th admission in the past 6 months). I was told that she felt like she was suffocating. The constant admissions to the hospital are giving way for her dementia to completely absorb who she is. It is my opinion that Mom needs consistancy and being at home does not allow for that any longer.
I'm sad about this but I am okay with it also. This is a fact in our lives.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Special Memory from Mom's sister, Margaret Bromley, written December 2011

"The Baptism

The following story is a memory of Marilyn Bromley Forrester’s childhood as related by her younger sister, Margaret Bromley. They lived in Louisville, Kentucky in the Crescent Hill neighborhood. Their younger sister, Beverly, had not yet been born.

“Margaret, Hurry up! You must get dressed for church.” It was my mother’s voice coming from her bedroom that brought me to the reality of the day. The sun was shining and already the neighborhood was alive.

Aunt Georgie, the black woman who lived behind the house across the street was sweeping the walk and finishing her household chores before she dressed to go to her church. It was in the ‘40s and at that time in history, the black churches in the south generally began their services after noon on Sundays as the members had to help with their employers through Sunday noon dinner. When they were finished with their chores, they had the rest of the afternoon and evening free to do as they wished.

I had always wanted to go with Georgie to church because she was so happy afterwards. I had heard that they clapped and shouted “Amen” when the choir sang and the minister preached.

But I was a ‘white’ Methodist, and our church had great pride in its professional choir that sang classical religious music and a minister that always had a doctorate degree. Of course, that did not mean anything to me. I was a Methodist because everyone before me, all my ancestors for over two hundred years had been Methodists!

On this particular Sunday, my sister Marilyn and I were to join the church and be baptized as well! I was going to be one of the youngest members ever ‘taken in’ for I had made my commitment to God at age eight. Although Methodists usually baptize in infancy, my parents believed in waiting until the child could make their own decision to be baptized. Since Marilyn, who was two and one half years older, had decided to join the church and she was everything I wanted to be, I decided to join too.

The communicant classes were led by Dr. Grant, the church’s minister. He was a white haired man who looked to me to be at least eighty years old. (He actually was not ever fifty!) The lessons were all very seriously taken in that we had to memorize Bible verses, the disciples’ names, and just generally have a good knowledge of the stories in the Old and New Testaments. His last words of the last class were that we were making this commitment before God and the congregation and not to talk, giggle, or laugh when we came to the alter of the sanctuary.

All went well that Sunday that Marilyn and I were to join the church. Mother’s call had jolted me back into reality and we climbed into the car in our new Sunday best dresses and black ‘Mary Jane’ patent shoes. And we even had extra minutes to spare for the ride to church. After Sunday School, Marilyn and I gathered in the minister’s office and the entire communicants’ class filed into the sanctuary.

At the appropriate time, Dr. Grant called the class forward to the altar and began the ritual of admitting us into the “Kingdom of God”. Upon the call to baptism, Marilyn, who was next to me, and I both knelt down. Marilyn was to be baptized first. Dr. Grant put his hand into the baptismal font and cupped his hand full of water.

As he began the “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”, I looked over at Marilyn and water was running over her hair, down her face, over her nose, and onto her shoulders!

I began to giggle. I couldn’t stop! No matter that Dr. Grant’s last words before entering the worship service were ‘not to laugh’! Marilyn caught my mirth and to this day, I guess you can say that we both entered the Kingdom of God with more than a smile on our faces. I think that God probably liked that, but old Dr. Grant didn’t! "

Monday, December 5, 2011

From Mom's Birthday Book of Memories from Susan Brothers, May 1997

"Dear Marilyn,

When thinking about what to say in this birthday celebration message, it was so hard to know where to begin. It's impossible to articulate the impact, the influence, the support, the kindness and the caring you gave to me at a critical time in my life. You provided me with a glimpse of a real family and then welcomed me inside. I saw that even in the most difficult times, that families can stay together and keep loving each other. As this was something I had not experienced in my own family, seeing and knowing this helped shape my values and goals for the future. Although I was on a lengthy search, and never knew exactly where I was going, I managed to find my way.

You and Hal also influenced my life long choice of finding a life partner. I was pretty selective - - I had to be to find someone who could take a life with me! But I know that even in the most difficult times, we'll follow you and Hal in supporting and loving each other while we work our way through.

Today, even though it's not often enough, I watch Emily and Lyndsey playing together with pure amazement. Just think about Camille and I running around, keeping your life more interesting than you needed, leaves me with feelings of serious trepidation!

They are so smart and daring! I can only hope that she'll find as special a friend as I found in Camille. I also hope that she gets to experience being an extended part of a family as wonderful as yours.

Thank you so much for all you brought to my life. Knowing what a terrible communicator I am, this opportunity to wish you happy birthday is special to me. Being welcomed into your life, enriched and helped guide mine. I am very grateful to you.

With much Love, Susan B.

John Voskuhl & Emily "

From Mom's Birthday Book of Memories from Nita Bernat, May 1997


It was through running and biking partner for years...that I was introduced to Marilyn. On many a long runs when the time and miles turn into listening and therapy I heard about life and times from earlier years.
I heard about a young Marilyn, A beautiful woman with white hair at a very young age.
I heard about children and family, illness and recovery.
There have been sad times and close calls. Now it's about health and life. It's about devotion and dedication.
It is a celebration for Marilyn and about Marilyn.
Congradulations on your 60th Birthday.
You have been a real inspiration.
Nita Bernat 5/4/97"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

From Mom's 60th Birthday Book of Memories from Karen & Bob Birkemeier, May 1997

"Dear Marilyn

Though we have only known you for a short time, we value your friendship. You've endured the loudness & craziness of coming to hear the "Grind Daddy's" & we've had some really good times on those outings!
I know you've been through a lot in your 60 years & through it all, you've had the support of a Great family & lots of friends. You look wonderful, so keep up the good work, cause we want to have you around for another 60 years!
Hopefully, before too long there will be another bunch of "Grind Daddy's" to go listen to. So you will have to dig out & dust off the old ear plugs & be ready to party.
In closing, I'd like to say, you are a truly beautiful person inside & out, with a great sense of humor. Take care of yourself.
We Love You,
Karen & Bob Birkemeier"

From Mom's 60th Birthday Book of Memories from Nancy Seymour (Billington), May 1997

"To Marilyn on the Occasion of Her 60th Birthday

How can I ever thank a friend
For all she's done and said and been
For always calling at just the right time
For sharing Garibaldi salads sublime
For listening with care to all my woes
For giving me courage to meet my foes
And better yet for the laughter and fun
Through all these years under the sun
Imagine, we met only by chance
And here we are some 37 years hence
How did we ever get this old
Ah! friendship is truly better than gold!
No words or rhyme could ever express
The joy or privilege or thankfulness
In honoring Marilyn, our shining STAR
On this her very best birthday, so far!

Much love to you, dear friend,

Mom made it to age 60 on April 30, 1997!

My mothers parents both passed too early from heart disease. My grandfather, Paul Bromley, was 64 when he died of a heart attack in the few months after the 1974 tornado. My grandmother, Mary Emma Bromley, was 66 when she died. Good reason for my own mother, with heart disease, to be nervous entering into the decade of her 60's.
But it was also a BIG reason to celebrate, given the fact that she wasn't supposed to live to the age of 42. Dad planned a huge birthday party for Mom's special day. In the invitation we asked all invited guests to please write their most favorite memories of Mom or anything they could think of, even if they couldn't attend the party and either bring their paper with them or mail it to us.
We were putting togther a booklet of memories for Mom to read.
Below is what the invitation read...

"They said she wouldn't make it, but we all knew she would,
she scared us lots of time, but she always has pulled through.
Well now she's turning 60, can you believe it's actually true!
So we're going to have a party and we hope you'll be there too!

Please join us to celebrate Marilyn's 60th Birthday
Sunday, May 4th, 1997
2-4 PM
2200 Carolina Ave.

To help us celebrate this great occation, we are gathering meanderings, memories and good wishes from all of Marilyn's friends and family and binding them together in a book.

Please use the enclosed sheet of paper to write to Marilyn. We have included more than one sheet for more than one though or incase of a mistake. Please don't feel like you have to fill them all up.

You may want to recall a fond memory, or let her know how much you appreciate her or just wish her a Happy Birthday. For those of you with "writers block" may want to place some photo's on the enclosed sheet.

Whatever you choose to do, please return your response in the enclosed envelope before April 30th.

Thanks in advance for your help. We hope this will be a warm and wonderful surprise for Marilyn, so even if you can't be there in body, your spirit and your thoughts will help her to celebrate this wonderful day. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me,
Camille Forrester Estes at XXX-XXX-XXXX"

These notes will help give more insight to what a really neat person my mother was and still is.

The Latest

Mom has been incredibly weak for the past several weeks and has been spending most all of her time in bed sleeping. Too weak to even eat much she has lost several pounds and looks very thin and fragile.

In the months past Mom has been hospitalized repeatedly for congestive heart failure; seems to be about every 4 weeks or so. The adjustments in her medication during her last hospitalization actually caused her body to severely dehydrate which only added to her weakness. She began falling regularly and this last fall was a doozy!

As stated in my post from November 29, 2011, Mom took a bad fall. She was actually using her walker when the fall happened. Dad was not in the same room with her when she fell so he doesn't know what happened but her heard the commotion. When Mom didn't call out to him, like she had before, he knew she must be really hurt. He walked into the bedroom to find her laying flat on her back with her head resting on the corner edge of the doorjam, her chin pressed against her chest. Dad said she was "knocked out". He was afraid her neck might be broken because of the way her head was resting. At the time Dad didn't realize ther the back side of her head was split. Fearing the way Mom looked Dad called 911. When the EMT's arrived it was apparent that Mom was hurt terribly. The amount of blood lost, I was told, was probably close to a couple of cups full.

Mom was hospitalized for 3 days after her fall. The gash in the back of her head was about 3-inches in length which ended up requiring 6 stitches and 7 staples. When the doctors realized that she was dehydrated it was also discovered that her kidney's were malfunctioning. From here on out her medication will teeter-totter on a razors edge between keeping her properly hydrated which I think is not an easy task. Meanwhile her dementia has taken another downturn. Thankfully she has no memory of her fall.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Memory of Mom from Bill Flarsheim

This was an email I received from Bill Flarsheim. Bill is the eldest son of dear friends of my parents, Lois & Philip Flarsheim. Thank you for this, Bill.


I'm sorry your mom is not doing well. When I saw her last June, she was having a good day, and was not too different from the woman I knew when I was growing up. The most specific memory of your mom I have Is from our kitchen on Antrim. That's when I found out she was in the same class at Atherton as Hunter S. Thompson. I had just finished reading a book of his essays. Your mom said he was something of a jerk in high school. He would do something like insult the football team, and then they would up end him into a trash can in the cafeteria. I remember other times when she and my mom would talk about people they knew at Atherton and other places growing up. I also remember her talking about her first round of open heart surgery. I know it had been a rough several months, but she was very matter of fact and upbeat about the whole thing.

I know your family is going through a very hard time. Good luck and God bless.