Monday, December 26, 2011

I Did It.

December 26th. One day after Christmas. I got through the holidays, folks. Lots of tears, memories of better days, and fun with the here and now. I mean you can not be too sad when you have a 16 month old and a 11 month old running around being too cute and having fun. Just look at what I mean!!

Christmas Eve:
Waiting for their presents

The 11 month old eating sausage balls. I hope he was not sick all night.

The boys in their Santa outfits. Here is the diaper they had on..........

Christmas Morning:
Kenny and Bethany had Vann's Christmas at home. However Dylan was at Nana and Papa John's house with his parents, Gigi and Uncle Christoper.

I didn't do it.... really I didn't!!

Dylan with his buddy, Uncle Christopher.

Dylan with his Nana.

Busy morning..........nap time.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Now, on to the New Year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Count Down to Christmas

Christmas time always panics me when I start thinking about it (oh, about Nov. 1st). How will I ever get everything done? And, I stay in a panic for weeks and then all of a sudden, every gift is wrapped, cookies are made, the house is decorated. I just sort of sheepishly grin. I'd done it again. Panic, panic, panic. Looks like I'd learn.  Well, maybe some day.

I got out today to buy the last two of the gifts I needed. I hadn't been gone from home more than ten minutes and the rain started and hours later, it's still coming down. Now that I am back at home I like to listen to the sound of the rain hitting the roof.

There are three more days til the big day. I need to check my list.

All gifts bought   YES
All gifts wrapped NO
Cookies made     NO
House clean        NO
Music playing     YES
Lights twinkling   YES
My anticipation growing    YES

So, it looks like I am running even. Half done, half not.  Guess I need to get busy and wrap some gifts, clean the house, make some cookies....

Hmmm. I think I will just listen to the music playing, watch the twinkling lights and listen to the rain. Tomorrow is another day,  (oh, that was Scarlet that said that, sorry)

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'll Have A Blue Christmas

I can hear that baritone voice of Elbert's singing 'I'll have a blue, blue Chistmas without you'. His voice was not extra-ordinary in any way and some songs he just couldn't carry a tune to but this was one song that he sang that I thought sounded as good as any recording I ever heard. That, and 'I'll be home for Christmas, just you wait and see'....

If those songs come on the radio or my cd player I quickly switch to something else. It just breaks my heart to hear them. No, he will not be home for Christmas this year and yes, I will have a blue, blue Christmas.

There will be plenty of mistletoe and laughter and food and family but the one person that held it all together is missing. Christmas will never be the same again. However, the family is here, the little ones with their eyes all aglow, 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight. There will be tons of food, which I don't need, but I will eat anyway. Hey, I have an excuse, Christmas comes but once a year. Dieting can start the day after!! There will be gifts to open and oooh and aaaah over.

This first Christmas without Elbert will be filled with so much sadness. Memories of the past, happy ones, but it is time to make new memories with the newest generation that he and I were responsible for starting.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Emotions... they run high

Yesterday was the Wreaths Across America where live wreaths are laid on every veterans grave in the United States. I awoke early and headed to the cemetery. As I drove along in the cold, crisp air my mind wandered  back to a similiar morning so many years ago on Dec. 10, 1950. It was on a day just like today that Elbert and I were married..... 61 years ago.

At the cemetery, I waited while the large truck arrived with the wreaths and then I got into line, along with tons of other people, to help place the greenery.

 Once I had the wreath in hand, I walked to where Elbert lay and leaned the circle of green against his tomb. It didn't look right to me and, as I straightened it, tears sprang to my eyes. So many memories, so much pride, such longing for days of yore when we were young and happy.

The ceremony followed at noon. We had a long moment of silence to honor those who had deceased. I could visualize the thousands, tens of thousands of loved ones, workers, volunteers who at this very moment sat with their heads bowed across the spanse of land from Maine to California and beyond. My heart filled with gratitude that what small part Elbert had played in keeping this country safe was being recognized and appreciated.

There was the placing of colors, the pledge to the flag, and I looked over and saw an old gentleman standing with his gnarled hand resting above his right eye in salute. I remembered the numerous times I had seen Elbert give a salute to his fellow officers, everytime he boarded the ship, when he was saluted himself. And, I remembered the last time I had seen Elbert give a salute. Our grandson was visiting and he begged his aging grandfather to don his Lt. uniform. Elbert was already deep into Alzheimers so we just slipped the jacket on and placed his hat on his head. Elbert slowly stood up and gave his grandson a salute.

For the final part of the ceremony, a bagpiper led the crowd to where the very first 25 veterans were interred in this particular cemetery.

 I stood watching as each member of some branch of service honored the person they had just placed a wreath for.

And, then the bugler began Taps...

and my mind flashed back to January 5th of this year when another bugler played Taps for Elbert's funeral.

The music for Taps is so solemn, so sad. I wonder what was going through the young mans mind when he wrote those notes first on paper. I listened to every note ringing out over the white stone tombs and I felt at peace knowing that Elbert was resting and at peace in a place where his service was truly appreciated.

As the last notes of 'Amazing Grace' vanished out of the bagpipes Shirley, John and I walked back to Elbert's grave.

 We visited at the site for a few minutes and then we walked away, daughter and wife of the veteran we loved, arm in arm.

please go to my other blog to see other pictures

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas preparations

I love Christmas... but for some reason I always get depressed during the holidays. At least I did in the last few years. I know having a sick husband did not help. I just had so many trials in my life that singing 'Jingle Bells' didn't lift my spirits one iota. Decorating the house seemed to have less and less energy and thought given to the task. There were just too many other things to have to care about and I got to where I did not care... period.... about all the hoopla over Christmas.

My life is different now, an empty hole in my heart for sure, but I have resolved to have a fresh start, to recapture some of the excitement that I have enjoyed in years past. So far I am managing very well. I started dragging out boxes and boxes of decorations and found myself feeling the excitement and the contentment putting each little piece in place. Music going in the background.... My Dickens village taking center stage in the dining room...

 I downsized my artifical tree to one I could carry from storage to house and then place on a table in the sunroom...

I found a pin on Pinterest that I liked. Here's what gave me that inspiration..

 I have a tiered silver dish ... I can do that!!  Hey, why doesn't mine look like that one above???

Something new so that I am not reminded of the 60 Christmases Elbert and I shared. Keep my mind focused on the here and now... don't think back and you will make it through the holidays, I tell myself.

I take every moment and try to enjoy it. I start my morning with a prayer... Thank you, Lord, for having him 60 years, thank you for a beautiful day and thank you for loving me when I didn't deserve to be loved. Help me live this day as You would have me. Amen

And, I'm doing alright..... so far...... stay tuned for further developments!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Things to be Thankful for

I wondered how I would do on Thanksgiving without Elbert. I did very well, missed him, of course, but I did better than I thought I would.

Grandson Ken and his wife Bethany hosted the Thanksgiving get-together this year and I believe that made all the difference in the world. Some new people, some new additions to the menu, the event held in a new location surrounded by family and little ones. Someone besides Elbert carved the turkey and grace was done by Bethany's Dad. Just a sign that things move on, people move on and it's alright. As night approached and we headed home, I felt very blessed indeed ..........

Once home I curled up in my bed and turned on the LSU-Arkansas game. I sure wanted LSU to lose ... darn it. You see, my team (Alabama) is #2 while LSU is #1. I just wanted LSU to get knocked down a number or two. But, it didn't happen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I will gather with some of the family to eat too much, play with the little ones, chat with the adults and wish I had my sweetie with me. I can see him now, standing at the head of the table carving the turkey, then he'd say grace and we'd eat until we couldn't move. That man did love to eat.

Some of the things for which I am thankful for this year

60 years of marriage to a wonderful man

A loving family

God's loving care always

Good health


Shelter, food and all I need to live each day

Sweet memories

So many blessings that appeared through the fog of grief and sadness.

I hope that each of you have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wintertime and being alone

I dread Wintertime. I dread Thanksgiving. I dread Christmas. I just dread being alone when it's cold and miserable outside and people don't come by and I can't get out. Bad time to be alone, that's for sure.

So, much of the time, when Elbert was with me, we'd sit in the sunroom and watch the birds. Yes, I have the feeders out already but it won't be the same... noone to say, 'hey, look at that little bird. He's really hungry this morning' .

We'd sit and watch the snow falling. We didn't have much snow in Alabama so we enjoyed the snowfalls in Virginia. It always seemed so magical, coming down in big flakes. I suppose the magic will be gone out of it this year.

In early December Elbert and I would bundle up and walk up the street to see our son-in-law's latest creation of Christmas lights on their house. This year I will make excuses... it's too cold, I am busy, can't go right now.

We always would get a call on Christmas morning ... 'come over, the kids are up and ready for Santa' and Elbert and I (already up and waiting) would walk over and we'd sit around the tree and open presents. Then, it got too much for Elbert, tire him out and he really didn't know what the hullabaloo was all about. He didn't even know that the presents were for him and that he was supposed to open them.

Yes, I dread all these first events... I have to focus on the here and now.

I can enjoy the birds and I might even start making note of all the different kinds I see

If we get snowfall I hope it is enough so that I can make 'snow cream'. I'd like that.

I might put my coat on and wander down the street. I will need to take a picture of all the lights. How else will I share them with all my wonderful blogging friends?

Christmas morning I will be waiting for that phone call. And, I will walk over and find my place beside the tree. I'll play with baby Dylan (he'll be 11 months by then) and I'll try to keep him from snatching ornaments off the tree.

I'll miss my guy that was always beside me, laughing and enjoying the family and all his presents.

Yep, I will make it, day by day, with a lot of help from God, family and friends. And, there will be memories made for me to cherish in years to come. In years to come, it will be easier, I think. Just not this year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Veterans Day

I wanted to share with you a bit of our Veterans Day. Shirley and I went on Saturday and found the graves with flags waving in the breeze. It was such an awesome sight and such a peaceful scene. Here are a few pictures of our visit with Elbert and all the others buried at A.G. Horton Veterans Cemetery.

Daughter Shirley drew a heart in the sand with WB on it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hmmmm.... Puzzling Question

I was having lunch with girlfriends the other day when one (a widow of about 2 years) started talking about certain widows in our town who have taken off their wedding rings. It seemed to disturb her a lot and she explained that she considered herself and her husband still married and always would.

She just kept talking about it and then asked to see my left hand!! I pulled it up from my lap (we were eating lunch, you know, and being the etiquette queen that I am.. hehe.., I did have my hand in my lap). She glanced at it and saw that there was a ring there and said, 'Oh, you still have yours on'.

I so could have said 'yes' since she didn't notice and assumed it was my wedding ring. (It was costume jewelry)  It could have slipped by so easily but I HAD to explain. What is it with Southern Gals who think they have to explain every little detail about every little thing? So, I am telling her that I have arthritus in my knuckles and can't wear my wedding rings anymore. Did she not notice this before Elbert passed away or is it more relavant now than it was then?

So, you know me, I got that on my mind and I just wondered what the protocol is on wearing rings. If they still fit, I mean. Elbert is still, and will always be, the other half of me. However, our physical partnership is gone. Does that mean we are still married? The vows say 'until death do us part'. In a huge sense I feel married and yet in another I don't. Is that strange? or a bad thing? The partner that I made a lifelong contract with on our wedding day is not here to hold me, help me make decisions, share in my joys and pain. I feel disconnected from that partnership because of that.

This is a new struggle I am having in this 'grieving process'. If I am to move on, I need to know in my heart what I am to carry with me to this new place in my life. Oh geez, life sure is tough. I guess I will take each day as it comes and one of these days it will become clear to me. If not, I'll be okay.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Missing my Fun Partner


                     I'm missing my trick or treat partner who was always fun to be with..............

                              He loved handing out candy to all the little ones in their costumes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Train Wreck or Not?

I ran across this quote from Corrie Ten Boom and knew that I wanted to share it with all of you. It says,

'When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.'

Wow, that's pretty powerful. Regardless of what we face in life, regardless of what age we are, regardless, regardless we don't jump off the train!! Nothing is more true than when we are caring for a loved one with Alzheimers. That train runs along the track going places on pretty days with the sun shining brightly and the beautiful landscape developing before our eyes. and Boom... oh, gee, no pun intended there... the track runs through a mountain and it gets dark enough in there you can't see your hand in front of your face.

You can't jump off. Your loved one needs you and you don't abandon love. So, you sit tight and trust in the engineer of our lives (God) and before you know it, the train pops out the hole at the end of the tunnel and the sun is shining once more. You just gotta learn to not be afraid of the dark!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Suggestions about wandering

As I read my dear friend Dolores' blog at this morning I knew that I had already walked that path and perhaps some suggestions I found helpful might be of benefit to her and to the rest of you.

David has begun to wander. Oh, I remember those days. Scary, yes. You just never know when they will become confused about their space or not know where you are... or where 'home' is, and head out the door. Elbert was forever trying to go 'home' so I tried the chain on the door.

Didn't work. He wasn't dumb... he just slid that chain until it became disconnected and out he went. Well, so much for that.

I found great peace of mind in a very simple solution. My son in law screwed in very small door alarms on all my doors and I knew everytime Elbert opened an outside door. These alarms can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot (maybe even Walmart, I haven't looked there). They come in two small pieces, one to attach to the edge of your door, the other goes on the door frame and when the door is opened the alarm goes off.

A small thingamajig (*I don't know what it's called) the alarm part I guess.... the receiver... anyway it plugs into the wall. It's small so it's no distraction. And, you can just unplug it when you don't want the alarms to be activated.

Hope this helps.

Peace of mind is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This caught my eye and my heart

Yes, I have gotten caught up in the interesting world of Pinterest. And, this pin really made me stop and think. It came from Thank her for putting these thoughts in my head this morning.

'A true love story never ends'.......... and that says it all. If two people truly love each other, through all the trials that life has to offer, and love each other even after death... then that love story never ends.

I still feel the love so deeply that Elbert and I shared, through being young and so unprepared for life, through raising a family with all it's struggles and joys, through growing older, through Alzheimers and then through death. We were joined as one on Dec. 10, 1950 and all these years later we still are one.

Cherish each day you have with your loved one, keep that flame of love burning brightly. Then someday you may have that love to carry you through days that you will be alone.

Friday, October 7, 2011


There is nothing more important to us grown-ups than to see the world through the eyes of a child. We get so caught up in our struggle to survive this life that we forget to enjoy those tiny little moments that are special and are filled with joy.

I spent yesterday in Charlottesville, Va. two and a half hours away from home in an apple orchard atop Carter's Mountain with my 8 month old great-grandson (and his Nana, Papa John and Mom). His little eyes took in everything, things we adults would have not paid any attention to... the tractor going by pulling a trailer full of apples, the feel of a pumpkin stem

                  the red apples hidden amongst the leaves, people going by, a mill wheel turning

The sound of metal strips when you run your fingers through them.  

Just so curious about this world we live in.

And, that was renewal for me... to put grief in the back recesses of my mind and to watch this adorable child learn and grow.

It was a good day!!

To read about the entire trip go to

Monday, October 3, 2011

Waiting on myself

I used to have a difficult time being on the puny list when I was taking care of Elbert. Not too long after he was diagnosed with Alzheimers, I found out I had colon cancer. He could still be left alone at that time and I had lots of people in and out seeing about the both of us so that worked out pretty well. That was 10 years ago.

Elbert helping me up the front steps after my cancer surgery

Then, a couple of years later I had one total knee replacement. He was some worse by that time and although the doctor suggested I go to a rehab place to get my therapy out of the way, I knew I had better go home as soon as I was released from the hospital. I could tell my absence disturbed him. Even when I got home he couldn't figure it all out. But, he was able to help me with my exercises.

I'm listening to music in my own bed after knee surgery. And, get a sweet kiss.

One year later I had the second knee done. A little tougher for the both of us. I needed him to be helpful and he could not comprehend what I was saying. So, we struggled through that. Again the family helped tremendously.

The therapist has me walking down the sidewalk in front of my house.

I am so thankful that those serious surgeries are behind me. And, I think I am pretty healthy for an ancient old woman. However, just recently I have been having some Fall allergy issues (infected sinuses, sore throat etc) and I was thinking that I am dealing with getting better pretty well. No extra stress that caregiving always put on me... I just lay in bed and didn't care if I got up or not. I watched way too much football on Saturday, all stretched out on the couch. But, that was okay. I rested, took my medicine and this morning I felt well enough to join Shirley at Hardees for our Monday biscuit. I bet by tomorrow I will be raring to go.... somewhere, anywhere, nowhere. Just raring!!