Grandma (mother’s mother) passed away a few days ago, on Good Friday. She was born in 1917. She had Alzheimer’s. How she passed was a blessing.


She was ‘special’ over the last waning months. She became more and more like a child each day. It was like an old person, with years of experiences, acting like a child and knowing how to be demanding like an adult. Oh, the stories my sister and her family could tell.


My sister was not happy with the care she received in the ‘home’. She wasn’t treated badly. It just wasn’t… family. She wanted to care for her in her home and that’s what she did. She took Grandma into her home.


The first day home Grandma was a little ‘anxious’. She was upset. So, she picked up her alarm clock and called 911. She told them that they’d locked her up in the church office. Grandma volunteered a lot at church. She believed in Jesus Christ as her Savior and worked tirelessly to serve him.


Life was rough for the first few days. My sister and her family had to get ‘creative’. When Grandma wouldn’t behave they used those “Magic” (written) words, “Jackie said”.


Jackie was my mother, her daughter. When Grandma wasn’t doing what they wanted her to do they would write notes “from” Jackie that said things like, “Jackie said, be quiet and eat your dinner”, “Jackie said, behave and take your pills”… things like that. It worked. Grandma was suspicious at times because the 6 and 7 year olds were giving her the notes… that THEY wrote.


One time she called for Homer, my father. So, Tom, the oldest nephew, put on an old cap, sweater, and big glasses. He walked into the room, sat down in the chair and ‘fell’ asleep.


Grandma was concerned that she wasn’t at home. My parents live on Skipper Lane. My sister lives on Tiger Hole Rd. They created a sign that said Tiger Hole Rd. When it was dinnertime they wheeled her past the sign and said, “Dinnertime. We’re at Deborah’s”. Afterwards, they wheeled her back to her bedroom past the sign that said Skipper Lane and said, “We’re home.”


Then, they found out that Walgreens didn’t fill all of Grandma’s prescriptions… especially the one for anxiety. Oh. Was that an important one?

Grandma fell and broke her hip in December. She was on Coumadin… a blood thinner. That caused problems. She coughed up some dark nasty stuff one day. So, they took her to St. Lukes. The doctors tested her blood to determine how thick it was. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being thick, 10 being thin, her’s was an 8.5. They had to do something. They thought she was bleeding internally. They needed to do an endoscopy. That’s a problem for old people, especially those with Alzheimer’s. The anesthesia is the problem. Old people can react negatively to anesthesia. But, they had to do it anyway.


While we were in the emergency room waiting for a bed to come available in the ICU the doctor decided he needed a sample… a stool sample. My sister was out in the waiting room with her husband. I was taking my turn and sitting with Grandma. So, I got to help roll her over on her side. She yelled and objected. But, the doctor did it anyway. Afterwards, she looked up at me and said, “Why don’t you pick on somebody your own size?”


Oh, and, then one of the nurses had to do something to her. Grandma said no. The nurse persisted. Grandma got that look on her face and went for the stethoscope around the nurse’s neck. She didn’t quite make it. But, the nurse in the ICU did get a right cross from Grandma. Well, ok… it was as bad as a little old lady could do.


They did the endoscopy. The anesthesia caused problems… things she wouldn’t recover from. It appeared that she’d had a stroke. However, nobody ‘saw’ her have one. The doctor came in the next day, saw the condition she was in and asked my sister if she’d rather take her home. She did. That was on Monday. Grandma went ‘home’ and slowly deteriorated after that.


To help ease her pain we gave her some morphine. However, she didn’t eat ice, like mother. We had to spike her ice cream. She loved vanilla ice cream. When I asked her if she’d like some she didn’t hesitate. Each day she got worse. But, she wasn’t in any pain. On Thursday night we figured she would not make it through the night, or at least would not make it through the next day. We quit giving her morphine altogether because she didn’t appear to need it.


My aunt and I took turns sitting and watching over her. I couldn’t sleep. So, I sat up a little while with my aunt. The next morning we were in the parlor with my grandmother, talking to my sister. My sister gave me one of the funniest looks. I was wearing one of my favorite t-shirts to sleep in. It was a t-shirt with a picture of a rowing machine on it. Across the top of it it said, “Till Death Do Us Part!!!” Ugh. Bad, Paul. Very Bad, Paul. My sister just saw the word “Death” and wondered if I was waiting for Grandma to wake up, read the ‘sign’ and take it as a message that it was something she was supposed to ‘do’.


We were comfortable with Grandma dieing. She’s expressed a desire to die, to go home and be with Jesus. So, the t-shirt wasn’t the end of the world. We had to laugh.


Grandma survived the night. However, her breathing got shallower with each passing hour. Sometime around 8:30 am we realized that the time was drawing near. It was raining outside.


Her breathing diminished with each breath until finally it stopped. It was as if she were asleep and just quit breathing. We watched as the vein in her neck quit pulsing. Then, we knew that she was gone.


The thunder clapped as the angels whisked her away.

Noisy Angels.




I am doing fantastic. I forget the simple things… sometimes.


I’ve been on medication to correct the incontinence caused by the surgery. That’s gone very well. As you know, manly pads are a part of the daily routine. Well… the problem is I forget things once in a while. I simply forgot last week… not once, but, twice. The good news is that I didn’t need them.


That’s an answer to prayer. We’ll see how things go. They say that some men use them just for the peace of mind. I think I may need a little peace of mind for a while longer.


The Lupron hasn’t been a big deal. I get occasional hot flashes… which come in handy sometimes. I got hot flashes when I held Grandma’s cold hands in the hospital. That was a blessing. But, overall, they haven’t been a really big issue.


I haven’t had any really bad mood swings, that I could tell… so, I guess that’s doing well, too. I really need to get back to exercising. I just haven’t had a lot of free time to do that lately. So, it’s on the list of things to do.


Overall… I am very happy and doing very well.