Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Memories......

My Mom is in an Alzheimer's unit in Eugene,OR. I try to visit her as often as possible. She is at the stage where she doesn't remember me or my sister....the funny thing is she remembered Finn, my Border Collie when we went for a visit.



Finn is a funny dog, where most dogs love children, Finn loves the elderly. He will seek them out of a room full of people. He loves to snuggle with them and lay his head on their knee. Every chance I get I take him with me to visit my Mom and her "roomies". It takes a while for me to make it from one end of the building to the other.

Up until my Mom was really having difficulties we would take trips together every year. These are the greatest memories I have of my Mother. We took trips back East to visit family and to see the leaves change in the Fall, a trip up to Nova Scotia to visit a part of the world neither of us had seen, and to the SW to visit the Grand Canyon one last time (even though it was fogged in....we laughed and recalled memories of having seen it before). We visited a pueblo and one of the old Zuni women clasped my Moms hand (not seeing many elders she could identify with that came to visit the pueblos) and didn't want to let her go. I wish we could have stayed for a longer visit they seemed to understand each other even without speaking the same language.

One of the things I received from my Mom were some old pics of when she was little. She has been a dancer since she could walk and taught dancing (ballet, tap, jazz, hawaiian, tahitian, etc) for most of her life. I thought I would share some of those pics with you. She is old enough that she was actually part of the Ziegfield Follies as a child.

I apologize for the lousy pics of her photos, I just can't aim my flash.
One set is titled Heaven and Hell...



I just know this one was when she was a "little pony" this one was my favorite as a kid....

And these are the others, I have them all on a wall in my hallway to the office.





I wish I had taken the time to talk more to my Mom about all she had experienced in her lifetime. We covered quite a bit on our trips, but probably one of the saddest things for me was when she didn't recognize any of the family in the photos she had taken throughout her lifetime.

16 comments:

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

What wonderful photos of your mother! I love looking at old photos, it doesn't matter if I knew the person or not. I'm sad for you that your mom doesn't remember so much of both hers and your pasts. I understand what you mean when you say you wish you had asked her more about her life.

Have you thought about having Finn certified as a therapy dog? It sounds like it would be a good job for him.

Joanna said...

My Mother has passed and I flew to California this summer for a family reunion and spend quality time with my Aunt, Mama's only sister, who has Altzheimers. She's resides in a nice assisted-living facility. My Aunt struggles but we really enjoyed our time together.

Like cancer, I think many more families are affected by one member with Altzheimers, very sad.

If your mother is recognizing Finn, that is wonderful. He brings her happiness. :-)

goatgirl said...

What beautiful pictures of your mom. Just think how thrilled she would be that you are sharing them with all your friends. Be thankful for all the memories you do have and don't think about what you may have missed talking about.
Finn is such a good boy.
Mt father-in-law had Alzheimers and one of my fondest memories of him is when I visited him in the nursing home and he was at a stage where he remembered very little. We started talking about dogs and I told him I had 12 (I was showing Shelties, had a few in for training, and had a litter at the time so that accounts for the large number) he raised his eyebrows and I said "Is that too many?" He said, "Well that's enough." Then he said, "But that's ok it's your hobby and you like to do that." He remembered me.
Dogs, I love them.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I really enjoyed reading about your Mother, and seeing those amazing photos. What talent to be able to do ballet, and especially work for the Zeigfield Follies.
You must be so proud of her, and you are so lucky to have all those special memories together from your travels.
My mother died when I was only 8 years old and I sadly, have hardly any memories of her at all.

Finn is a great dog. He reminds me a little of a Great Pyrenees because he's so fluffy and big.
I think that would be such a gift and tribute to your Mother if you ever decided to get Finn certified as a Therapy Dog.

Thanks again for sharing about your beautiful Mother.

~Lisa
New Mexico

Kay Lodahl said...

I know how hard it gets for you sometimes, Tammy. I remember the tears when we would get together over coffee and you talked about your mother losing her memories. Glad you were able to make your own with her. Those pictures are real treasures.

And hurray for Finn. Has he wore in a ditch at the bottom of the hill yet??!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Aw, Tammy...those pictures are wonderful. I think Finn is an incredibly special dog. To be able to bring comfort and happiness to people, who probably have very little of either at this point, is an incredible gift. You are a wonderful daughter for loving your mom so much. How special those trips must have been for her. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to visit her now and have her not recognize you. (hug)

Ishtar said...

I read you on this one, even though my mother died of cancer, and having been so close, we did not leave things undone. But I still read you on it, so very very loud. It's the sad part about loving; it costs. And it should. Your mother was beautiful! She still is. And how precious to have a bonding moment through Finn! No wonder he is so special!

A big hug from Niger,
Esther

Eve said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts and pictures with us Tammy. I still have my mom and think I will spend a little extra time talking about the old times with her today. I'm glad you can still have and recall memories of and with her with good ol Finn involved. I love the pictures!!

Susan said...

Tammy, your post made me cry. My mom has been gone for almost 22 years and I still miss her. I wish I had had the opportunity to travel with her. She would have loved it so much. The photos of you mom are beautiful and what a precious inheritance from her. She may not have the memories, but you have them through her and that's what matters the most.

Finn sounds like a wonderful dog. Isn't it amazing how some dogs just know who needs them the most? I wish I could hug him right now.

Kara said...

Tammy thank you so much for telling us such a special story about your mom, you, and Finn. Those trips sound so wonderful. What a great dog Finn is! Love the old pictures of your mom!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

None of my loved ones have lost their memories; I can't imagine how hard that would be -- to lose them before you lose them! (((((HUGS)))))

Claire said...

Beautiful memories - thanks for sharing them. I love it that you went to Nova Scotia with your Mom - that is where I am from originally! I think that Finn is a remarkable dog and sometimes animals can be receptive to things we humans can never sense. I think he senses her need at this time. How special to have all those photographs. They are like little time capsules.

mudranch said...

Wow, those old photos are definitely something to be cherished. I love the history of families, it is so interesting to see where people came from and how people lived "way back when." Thanks for sharing your mom with us, I am sorry she has alzheimers but it is neat that you have those memories to hold on to. Give a big hug to Finn... What a neat dog.

Karen B. said...

I enjoyed reading this post about your mother, what an interesting life story she must have. Thanks for sharing some of the neat details of your trips with her, too.

patchworkfibers said...

It's wonderful to have the pictures. What a interesting person! Thank you for sharing such great photos!

shadow mountain jacobs farm said...

What a great story, thank you for sharing your memories with us. Those photos a lovely and special. My Mother has been gone now for 12 years and I sure wish we could have done some traveling like you did with your Mom. Cherish that time with her, you are blessed to have had it.