Tuesday, March 18, 2014


It's not tomorrow.  My week was sooo busy and so sad.  My big brother went to see Jesus on the 9th of this month.  He was 82 and struggling with dementia. Bill had been a highly thought of family practice doctor for all his working life.  He graduated from Baylor in Houston, where he met his wife of 55 years, Mary Ann. They decided that where they needed to start their life was in Ft. Worth, TX, because it was halfway between parents... hers being in Houston and his being in Okla. City, OK.  That made it easier when the babies came for the grandparents, aunts and uncles to be involved in their lives. All us 6 kids were spread out over 17 years so my big brother was 14 years older than me and therefore was almost more of a father figure, especially for me and my baby brother.  I went down to Ft. Worth and stayed with Ben (baby brother) and his wife Diane and we kept ourselves busy enough to not be crying all week.  We had lots of stories to swap and laugh about over the years so there was a lot of joy and celebration of Bill's life to share. As soon as I figure out again how to transfer photos I will photo bomb you all with photos that I love of my big brother and my family... but meanwhile, back to the story.

Senility runs in our family, on our mother's side and we are all aware that it can hit any of us.  It was so frustrating to Bill because he was uber aware of what was happening but was unable to stop the progression and for a doctor that was such a hard pill to swallow (pun intended). When he had his good days he loved to pop his funny jokes and tease like he always had done but his bad days were filled with depression, sadness and tears, wanting to go home. Anyone who has dealt with senility, dementia or Alzheimer's or whatever name you give it understands the frustration and pain associated with the disease, not only for the patient but also for the caretakers. It is a roller coaster ride like no other. You learn to cherish the good times and try to bury the bad times. I am so thankful that I went down and stayed with Bill for 9 days in October while his wife (who is also 82) went for a reunion with about a dozen friends from high school days.  Had I not had that time with him the loss of my brother would have been much harder on me.  Each of us sibs know from our mom that none of us wants to go that way.  While physical pain is not a part of the equation, the mental anguish of being aware of what is happening to them in the beginning is so scary.  Not in the traditional sense of scary but scary in the sense of is "it" starting to happen to me? The only way we have all learned to deal with the possibility of 'being next' is to joke about it.  Like Carol used to joke that she was going to rent me out to the neighbors because I was so good at pulling weeds but we would have to tie me to a tree so I wouldn't wander off.  Things like that.  Kind of like the movie and t.v. show Mash. You make jokes to deal with the pain and destruction that is going on in our head.

Hate to stop on this note, but I've gone about as far as I can go without a brain rest.  I will be back!


Sara said...

i'm so sorry for your loss. Can't decide which is more cruel - having the mind go like your brother's situation or having a sharp mind trapped in a weakened body. My brother-in-law is stricken with ALS. His mind is so sharp yet, but he is losing the ability to speak and move about.

I'm glad you got to spend some quality time with him however. That helps the healing process for you.

Reddirt Woman said...

Oh, Sara... I had a dear friend that I lost to ALS and you are absolutely right about the mind being trapped in the body. It makes you wonder what lessons we are supposed to learn other than compassion for anyone with such illnesses and give thanks for those we love that don't have to suffer before they pass on. It's good to see you again and to get back on the blogging scene.

Reddirt Woman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry Short said...

Howdy Helen
Love ,hugs,and lots of
lets go forward as you are able !
Miss you a lot ,think of you often and as always sending
hapy thoughts you way .
Love with hugs
Until next time
Happy Trails

Reddirt Woman said...

Ahhh, Terry I have been so neglectful and I apologize. When you fight depression you can't seem to get past your own navel and lose touch with everyone because of being lost in yourself. I'm doing better, thanks to medication, so hope to be back in the blogging world with more regularity. Love and Hugs...

IISAFETY said...

As I read your blog, I can't help to be sad but we both knew that God gives all these as trials & we'll be able to overcome these with dignity and pride. Thanks for able to share such sensible blog.

Annie Spotwood said...

May God continue to bless You. So sorry for your loss

Debbie said...

Oh Helen...so very sorry about your brother, but it's August now so I'm sure the healing has begun. You are fortunate to have so many brothers and sisters! I have one. Our family has gotten quite small. My son, brother and one Uncle. I still consider my ex part of the family :) I sure am wordy today. I just been so concerned about you and now I do feel better. You're hanging in like the rest of us ((hugs)). Now do an update!!!

Unknown said...

Helen, you popped into my head today, and I felt like I needed to say hi. I see you haven't been posting lately, and I hope you are okay. I miss my blogging 'family' a lot. Sending a virtual hug.
Mary Ellen (formerly of Adopting M.E.)

Tatersmama said...

Ahhh, Sass! It's so good to read this, in spite of the subject matter. I miss "hearing your blogging voice", and your voice in general. I'll have to give you a call someday soon....okay? Love and BIG hugs! xoxo

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