Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On Saturday, I got the word that another very dear friend of our family had gone to be with the Lord Jesus. This has been a busy year for funerals. Bro. Bill Brown was our State Farm insurance agent in Portageville Missouri for many years. He was a deacon in our church. His daughters and I were very close friends. They were both in my wedding. We have remained close all these years through phone calls, emails and visits. Bro. Bill Brown had Alzheimer's Disease. Somewhere in those ten years of marriage, not only did she take care of Bro. Bill, but she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. This lady and I have some things in common, don't you think? I truly believe I could have talked with her for days. I felt like we could have been best friends. She was easy to talk to. I doubt that I will ever see her again. As you can imagine, when you attend a visitation and funeral for a loved one that died of Alzheimer's, no matter where you went, there were small groups discussing his "condition", and when it first began to show, when it first became evident to others, how they knew, etc. I found myself sitting on the back pew, talking with a friend I graduated high school with. My momma was sitting in the front, on a pew filled with ladies her age and older, including "T", one of momma's best friends. As my friend and I were engrossed in our own conversation, suddenly Thelma was there telling me I needed to come up and sit with momma for awhile. Thelma said momma was afraid they were going to turn the lights off on us, if we didn't make a move towards the door. It was 6:00 p.m. I came up there and joined those ladies. Momma had made the rounds and talked to all three of Bro. Bill's children, Billy Gene, Tammy and Kristi. Yet any time someone would make a comment on how Tammy didn't look any different, momma would ask which one was Tammy. Then she would say something like, "I would not have recognized her! I need to go and speak to her, I have not talked to her yet!" After that being repeated several times, people began to look at me funny. Yea, it was very noticeable to others. A couple of people felt it necessary to point it out to me that momma was showing some signs of Alzheimer's. Ya think?? Before long, someone else came up and got me and led me back to "meet someone" else. I saw all kinds of people from my past!! Then, here came Thelma and momma, coats on and purses on their arms, Thelma giving me the look that said "momma was ready to leave". As we were leaving, we hugged the Brown kids one more time, and each and every time, momma made some statement eluding to the fact that she had not talked to them yet, would "not have recognized you!" We loaded up and left the visitation at 6:30 p.m. After we got to Thelma's, momma sat down in the chair and kicked off her shoes. Thelma offered us cake and ice cream. Keith said that would be great, but momma declined. As Keith walked by with his dish of ice cream and cake, momma said, "well, I didn't get any ice cream!" I said, "momma, can I get you some?" She said, "Yes, just a small portion, very small, and no cake for me, just ice cream." I fixed her some, and after I sat down, Keith gave Thelma a compliment on the cake, how it was delicious. And yep, you guessed it...momma said, "I didn't get any cake!" I got up, took her dish, and went and put her a small piece of cake on the side of her ice cream. Momma didn't go to bed until nearly 10 o'clock!! I laid awake, I could not shut my mind off, running all the topics of conversation, everything momma had done, and everything I had learned about Bro. Bill and his speed of progression in this disease. The next morning, we had breakfast, and got ready to head to the church for the funeral. It was a hard service. Music played a huge part in their family life. They used to sing together all the time, as a family in church services. As a tribute to Bill, they all got up at the scheduled time and gathered around the piano, and as Tammy played the piano, the family, his daughters, his son, their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc., all gathered around and sang a medly of his favorite songs. It was very moving, and brought back all kinds of memories of the times we all joined their family, in their family home in Portageville, pushing back the chairs and furniture and joined around the piano with Bill and Alta and the family and had old fashioned sing alongs!! Then we went to the grave side service, where full military honors were bestowed. The guns were loud, but very impressive. The young man playing taps on the trumpet was equally impressive. It never ceases to impress me, no matter how many military funerals I attend. Although it was very cold and windy, I was grateful that the rain had ceased long enough for us to gather around the tent as all this was happening. Once it was done, we all joined back together at the church, as First Baptist Church of Portageville, Missouri put out a meal that was fit for a king. There we all got to relax and visit some more with the family members. I walked down the halls to the nursery. I walked to where the church offices used to be, as I remembered walking to the church after school, coming in through those back doors, and walking into daddy's office. We always stopped at the store that was right across the street and got some penny candy first, teehee. Oh man, those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end. Before long, we knew it was time for us to pack up and head north. By the time we got home, it was close to five o'clock and I was pretty tired, emotionally and physically. But here came my daughter Jenna and Cole, and we get to baby-sit my grand-daughter, Quincy Alice!! Just to let you know how tired my momma was, momma would hear Quincy make a noise behind her chair, like in the dining room, and momma would say "Quincy Alice is here??!!" We would say, yes she is! Then a few minutes (seconds??) later, Quincy would make another sound or noise, and sure enough...."Quincy Alice is here?" She did that like 6 times!! I finally motioned to my girls to bring her over here in the living room, and play with her right in front of momma please. Eventually, momma went to bed. This morning, as I was picking up some of Quincy's toys and putting them in the toy basket we leave in the living room, momma said, "when will we ever see Quincy again? She doesn't bring her for you to watch anymore?" I ever so gently remind her that the reason I am picking up these toys is that Quincy was here last nite, and we had her from about 6 until 10:30. With the impending snow, I needed to go get some groceries. Momma asked me if I was going to Festus or down here. I told her "down here, Farmington", so she said she thought she would just stay here under her blanky, sitting by the fire. I got Jessy to go with me, and away we went to town. We went to Wal-Mart and got the groceries, then the feed store and got some feed. After our "chores" were done, my daughters Kate and Jenna met us at the Chinese restaurant and we relaxed a bit and enjoyed some much needed laughter around the table. Now, supper is finished, and we are relaxed around the TV watching "Minute to Win It". Ah, to be back home and know I don't "have" to go anywhere the next few days.

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