Posts Tagged ‘family’

It’s been a very sad day today as we said a final farewell to my Mum

Margaret Jackson Watson Johnson (nee Gilchrist)

27/09/1931 – 06/09/2015

Mum 70th

I had hoped to write a tribute to my Mum today, but I’m afraid it’s just too soon for me to be able to write anything that would do my Mum justice, so I’ll save my thoughts for another day once we get back to some kind of normality (whatever that means!).

So today, I simply want to express my gratitude to everyone who has offered support and love to us during these very difficult days by phoning, visiting in person or by sending us cards or flowers. You will never know just how much your support has meant to us.

To those of you who have helped us get everything sorted out for the funeral today and helped with the funeral itself, a huge thank you.

To the many of you who shared with us today at Rutherglen Salvation Army and then at the cemetery before returning to Rutherglen Salvation Army for refreshments, thank you for taking the time to support us on this most difficult of days, we really did appreciate it.

Mum never liked making a fuss about anything, so I’m sure she would have been embarrassed by the number of people who came to say farewell to her today, as well as by all that was said about her. However, to me it simply shows how well-respected my Mum was and the huge impact and influence she had on many, none more so than on me!

Mum’s family have been a part of Rutherglen Salvation Army since the Salvation Army first started in Rutherglen, and Mum has been a soldier there for many years, so it was fitting we celebrated her life there before we laid her in her final resting place. Mum loved Salvation Army music abd she loved a “good old army march“, but as a member of the songsters (adult singing group) for many years she also loved singing. One of her favourite songs was Jesus Thou Art Everything To Me as it was also her testimony. So for you today Mum, here’s your testimony in song:

Mum you’re now at rest, and I believe you have been reunited with Dad. I miss you and Dad so much, and I will love and remember you both forever.

Rest in peace Mum xxx

Mum 1952

Well thank goodness that’s us just about at the end of 2013, because for me, although it seems to have been a very quick year, it’s been a really rotten year!

Dad at our weddingI’m getting a feeling of deja vu here, as I seem to recall saying at the end of 2012 it had been a tough year for me…if I’d know what lay ahead in 2013, 2012 would have seemed like a walk in the park!

So we’re almost at the end of 2012. I don’t know about you, but this year seems to be over nearly as soon as it began! I know some will tell me that’s a sign of getting old, but I refuse to believe that, as I think it’s simply been because there’s been so much going on in my life this year…again.

I should have known when 2013 it was going to be a tough year as right from the start of the year it was apparent that Dad’s dementia was deteriorating, as from just before the close of 2012, Dad would not eat or drink anything, and thus was hospitalised on 4th January for the 2nd time in a few months.

Sadly this time he did not recover, and at the start of February Dad was discharged from hospital to his nursing home on end of life care. I think it was only when the nurses at the nursing home said “end of life care” that Mum finally realised what the hospital had been saying for the last couple of weeks. On the 21st of February, my Dad lost his life to vascular dementia.

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)In January my Aunt Mae (Mum’s sister) was moved from her care home to the nursing home my Dad was in, as her dementia was causing her to become violent towards the staff at her care home and they could no longer cope with her there.

The week after Dad’s funeral, we got summoned to my Aunt Mae’s care home as they were waiting on an ambulance for her as she had a bad chest infection. It turned out they thought she’s had a mild stroke, but when they went to do the CT scan to confirm this, she had another stroke. Sadly on 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, due to a combination of her stroke and her dementia.

I’m not quite sure how I got through those months as being the guardian for both my Dad and Aunt Mae, I had to do all the organisation (with help from Mum and Sandy), clear out both Dad’s and Aunt Mae’s belongings from the nursing home, stay strong form Mum who, as you can imagine, was devastated. To be honest I don’t think it really all hit me until about May and then I really struggled to come to terms with the death of 2 of the people I’ve been closest to.

Unfortunately this was not the end of the bereavements for my family, as in mid November my Dad’s sister died, also from dementia, which knocked my Mum for six again, as we were always quite close with my Auntie Mabel and her family as when I was young, we used to spend just about the whole of our summer holiday’s in Cambridge with her and her family.

Sandy’s side of my family also suffered a couple of bereavements this year, so all in all we’ve had far more than our fair share of family bereavements this year. Add to these bereavements, my hubby’s health issues and my own on-going health issues, and you can see it’s not been a great year for us.

I’m still finding life quite tough just now, as I continue to miss my Dad in particular, but there’s one song that has been stuck in my head for a few months now which keeps reminding me that no matter what I’m facing, and how bad life seems, God is there for me and He will always be there for me – Here’s Kutless with Promise of a Lifetime:

So as you can see 2013 has been a rotten year so I’ll be glad to see the back of it! 2014 can only be a better year can’t it!

I hope your 2013 has been a far happier year than mine has been, however if not, I hope you have had the love and support of family and friends to help you through the year.

I pray that as we look ahead to 2014 you may go forward with confidence knowing that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

The Promise of a Lifetime by Kutless
 
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away Then I remember the pledge you made to me 

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change

I still remember the pledge you made to me

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime  I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside

I am comforted
To know your always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime.
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see
My heart is open to the promise of a lifetime 

It’s two days to Christmas, and I’m sure we’re all trying frantically to make sure our homes are ready for Christmas and all the family who will descend on us. But have you stopped to think of those who have family members who won’t be home for Christmas this year, and how empty their home feels to them this Christmas:

  • Some may have family who are serving in the armed forces somewhere;
  • Some may live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their families;
  • Some may have lost a loved one to illness or old age in this last year, so may be alone;
  • Some may simply have no family to share Christmas with.

So spare a thought this Christmas for those who may not be finding Christmas such a joyous occasion, as for them Christmas may just be reminding them of their loneliness.

For those of you awaiting the arrival of loved ones this Christmas, cherish them and enjoy your celebrations together, as you are fortunate to have family to share this special time with.

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)Today, the 23rd October, is another sad day for us, as today would have been my Aunt Mae’s 91st birthday.

It’s now just over 6 months since my Aunt Mae passed away, but just typing these words have started my tears flowing again. In many ways it seems like just yesterday Aunt Mae passed away, just 6 weeks after my Dad died. However in many other ways it seems like an eternity since both Aunt Mae and Dad were here with us.

I have thought of my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

I have shed many tears every day since Aunt Mae died.

I have missed my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

As Aunt Mae’s dementia worsened, she, just like my Dad, failed to recognised us or acknowledge that she knew us and latterly her personality completely changed, as she went from being a loving caring person to someone who was angry and aggressive…that just wasn’t my Aunt Mae. Having said that, during her final few days in the hospital, she did seem to have a the odd moment of clarity, as at one point when Mum apparently told her I was on my way in to see her she smiled and tried to say my name…

I am in no way saying there was no bond between Aunt Mae and the rest of my family, but I know there was always a special place in her heart for me, after all I was named after her as Mum and Dad gave me her name as my middle name, Mary.

These have been incredibly difficult months for my family, and my Mum in particular – Mum’s struggled to come to terms with the death of first my Dad and then Aunt Mae, but she’s getting there, as am I. I would however ask that today, as we remember my Aunt Mae in particular, on what would have been her birthday, that you continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve the death of two much-loved members of our family, my Aunt Mae and my Dad.

I love you Aunt Mae, and I miss you so much. You’ll always be in my thoughts and firmly in my heart. Dorothy xxx

dementia-handsI was disappointed and saddened a few days ago to hear someone who said they had experience of a family member suffering from dementia, say that dementia was simply about memory loss. Yes, it is about memory loss, but it’s also about so much more than that!

While there are still people who consider dementia just to be about memory loss, I don’t think it’ll ever be considered as a serious life-changing and life-threatening illness – We all forget things sometimes, so to me, talking about dementia as simply memory loss, almost seems to trivialise it as we tend to think of those instances when we ourselves have temporarily forgotten something.

From personal experience dementia is so much more than just forgetting things, it’s about the change in their personality – those who have been mild mannered and caring may become aggressive and angry; it’s about no longer being able to care for and look after yourself; it’s about no longer understanding that you have to eat and drink to live.

For me one of the worst things was seeing the fear in their eyes of my Dad and Aunt Mae as they realised what is happening to them, knowing they could do nothing to stop the illness take over their lives. Forget a few thing doesn’t do that to anyone, dementia does, and it’s heart wrenching.

Here’s just some of the symptoms dementia suffers may experience, not all suffers experience all these symptoms but they will definitively experience some…you can see at a glance it’s more than just about forgetting things!

  • increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require concentration and planning
  • memory loss
  • depression
  • changes in personality and mood e.g. A person who was previously withdrawn may become very outgoing, or vice versa; a quite mild mannered person my become loud and aggressive.
  • periods of mental confusion
  • wandering during the night
  • aggression
  • low attention span
  • believing in things that are not true
  • slower movement,
  • shaking and trembling of arms and legs
  • shuffling while walking,
  • problems sleeping
  • visual hallucinations
  • compulsive behaviour,
  • speaking far less than usual, or not speaking at all,
  • having problems finding the right words to express themselves

I hope you never have to cope with anyone in your family or any friends suffer from dementia because it really is a cruel illness – I’ve been there and witnessed it first hand with several very close family members, and therefore have seen first hand how it affects not only the sufferer but their family and friends too…it’s awful.

Please always remember, dementia is  not just about forgetting a few things, it’s about so much more!

Today is my Mum’s birthday (and no I’m going to tell you what age she is today!), and is it’s also another day when I’m sure we’ve both thought a lot about my Dad as it’s Mum’s first birthday since my Dad and my Aunt Mae passed away.

I had hoped to take this week off work so I could spend more time with Mum in the run up to her birthday, but that ended up not being possible. I have however spent some time with Mum several night’s this week so that hopefully she hasn’t all her time thinking about Dad and Aunt Mae not being with us any more.

We have arranged to take Mum out for dinner tonight to celebrate her birthday so hopefully she’ll enjoy that and, although we’ll probably end up talking about my Dad and my Aunt Mae tonight as we often do, but hopefully it’ll be because we’re remembering the good times we spent with them rather than focusing on the fact that they both ended up with dementia/Alzheimer’s and ultimate both died because of that awful illness.

So happy birthday Mum. I hope that despite it being a another day when we’ll think of those who are no longer with us, we’ve managed to make it a good day for you.

happy birthday mum

Relationship_with_God

This last week my blog posts have focused on faith, culminating in finishing yesterday’s blog post by asking you:

Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you have faith in Christ?

So I asked you yesterday about your faith, but what the faith of those you love, your family and friends, do they believe in Jesus Christ?

Well for me that question has played very heavily on my mind since my Dad died earlier this year. Why? Because my Dad always said he didn’t believe in God and therefore, as far as I know, he died with no faith…

Having said that, several people have told me that because Dad had dementia and therefore found it difficult to communicate with us or understand what we were saying to him or asking of him, that doesn’t mean he didn’t find God, or more accurately God didn’t find him, before he took his final breath.

I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this for months, however some words from another family member have given me some comfort – Please remember as you read this that just 6 weeks after my Dad died, my Mum’s sister, my Aunt Mae also died:

Aunt Mae was a very proud and loyal Salvationist and although your dad wasn’t a believer, he’ll be watching over you proud that you are and I’m sure he will be up there now learning about what you, your mum and Aunt Mae have spent your lives celebrating! God will have a place for him, he was a great person with a huge heart. I don’t think there’s anything for you to wish you had done more, when someone lives their whole life a certain way without the guidance, maybe its hard to adapt. Aunt Mae will be showing him the light.

god-is-in-controlEven as I write this post, the tears are streaming down my face, because those words remind me that yes, Dad professed no faith for many years, but who knows what seed Mum, Aunt Mae and I may have planted and how that seed may have grown as Dad’s dementia took him from us. I’m reminded that in the last few months that Dad lived at home with Mum, he would burst into tears during some of the songs/hymns when Mum was watching Songs of Praise on a Sunday night. He could never tell us why he cried, however I now look back on those occasions and wonder, and pray, that somehow God managed to reach Dad through the music.

I have prayed so many times in these last few months that Dad found God before he died. I also continue to pray that God will use me to influence my other family members who have not yet given their heart to God, because when my time comes to leave this world, I want to be sure I’ll be reunited with my whole family in heaven – but, at this moment I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

If any of your loved ones have not yet accepted God into their life, I pray that they too will God before their time on earth is over.

As some of you will know, a few days ago it was my birthday. Birthdays are normally a time of great celebration, even if we’re not very happy bout the age we are now celebrating. However this birthday for me was tinged with sadness, as it was the first birthday I’d celebrated without my Dad.

Dad in hospitalYes, my last birthday with Dad was spent visiting him in hospital, and while I remember he never spoke to us at all during our visit that day (in fact he hid under the covers the whole time), it was still special to me as our family was all together on my birthday.

Yes, hubby keeps trying to remind me that even last year at my birthday, it wasn’t really my Dad anymore, and therefore rather than have him here as a shell of himself unable to recognise or communicate with us anymore, it really is better for him that he passed away peacefully earlier this year. That of course is reasonably easy to say (or type in this case!), but so difficult to truly accept, as I really miss my Dad.

These last few days I’ve shed a whole load of tears for Dad as I miss him so much, not the person he was latterly in these last few years, but the person who brought me up, taught me and inspired me. I know I should be thankful for him that his suffering is over but, I’m only human, and therefore I continue to miss my Dad.

You may think I’m already crazy, or, by the time you’ve read todays blog post, i may have confirmed to you just how crazy I am…

Why? Because if you’ve never had a pet, you will probably not understand just how attached you get to them, they become just another member of the family. I’m sure every pet owner would agree with me in saying that our pets are just members of our family…so I’m not the only mad person around!

TiggerOver the last 3 weeks our cat Tigger, who will be 18 next Sunday, has not been too well, so we’ve had to take him to the vets a number of times. initially we went too concerned as he was just a wee bit off colour, but last Sunday everything came to a head, when, from first thing in the morning he just lay on our bed, not getting up for food or to go to the toilet, and other than turning over every little while, there he stayed, the whole of Sunday…In fact by Monday morning when woke up, Tigger had still not moved from the bed, and was now very weak and listless. We were very worried.

We called the vet as soon as it opened on Monday morning, and were told to take Tigger straight down. If you’ve never had a pet you will not understand just how worried we were about Tigger…we really thought it might almost time to say goodbye to him…and that would be no less difficult than with any other member of our family.

The vet was very concerned about Tigger too, so kept him in for to do some tests and to try to get him rehydrated again. To cut a long story short, after various blood tests it was confirmed that thankfully, Tigger’s liver and kidney functions were fine (this had been a major concerned as liver or kidney failure are common problems in cats), however they did show that Tigger has pancreatitis.

thCAO2MEKGApparently there is no known cause of pancreatitis in cats, but unfortunately there is no cure or specific treatment for pancreatitis in cat. Thankfully though, it need not be a life ending illness for a cat, as if they are closely monitored to ensure they are take on enough food/liquids, as the illness can make them feel like they do not want to eat/drink, and that is obviously a problem. The other potential problem is it could be a tumour in his pancreas…although the vet tells us he thinks this is unlikely, it’s still a major concern, because I fit is a tumour, it would be kinder just to say goodbye to Tigger.

For now, it’s just a case of trying to make sure Tigger eats and drink, although this has already been proving difficult, as having got him home on Wednesday night, he hardly ate anything Wednesday night or all day Thursday, so ended up back in the vets on Friday to be rehydrated again.

We got Tigger home again yesterday, and while he ate a little bit yesterday we were concerned he wasn’t eating enough again. Today however, he’s seemed a bit more back to normal and eating more, albeit we’ve been offering him fish and turkey rather than his usual cat food. So today we are much happier.

Tigger is obviously not out the woods yet, as things can very quickly take a turn for the worse if we can’t get him to eat anything. Although this weekend having had pain medication as well as antibiotics to get him, there’s definitely been a bit of improvement, so we are hoping there is nothing more sinister going on and by managing his condition he will be ok for a while yet…we’ll see what the vet has to say on Monday!

Pet are just like members of our family, we love them and they love us in return, when they are in pain, we feel for them, when they pass away we will mourn for them, just as we mourn the loss of any family member.

Dad at our weddingIt’s been a tough day for me today as it’s Father’s Day today – if you’ve been following my blog for a few months you’ll know that my Dad passed away earlier this year.

It’s not been a tough day because it’s the first Father’s Day I’ve not had to buy a card and present for my Dad, as I never did that…not because I didn’t love Dad, but because he believed Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc were all just about companies making money from all the commercialisation that comes with all those events. I have to say, I do agree with Dad on that, as after all, we always agreed that our love for one another should be shown each and every day not just expressed by a the amount of money/effort put into a present once a year on a day defined by others.

These last few weeks, I’ve been finding myself thinking more and more of Dad (not that I’ve ever stopped thinking of him) and getting very emotional. People keep telling me it’ll get easier with time, but at the moment I feel it’s actually getting harder!

Anyway, for all you other folk out there who have had to get through today, Father’s Day, I hope you have managed to get through what will have been a tough day for you. For those of you who still have you dad with you, cherish them, tell them you love because otherwise, when they are no longer here with you anymore, you’ll wish you’d told them more often how much they meant to you…I know I do!