Life goes on….

So it’s almost been a month since Frankie went home to the heavens, and the reality of it all is finally settling in. The immediate weeks after a loved one dies are so consuming with tasks and obligations that you don’t really have time to absorb the reality of what has happened. Arrangements, the funeral, the cleaning out of a residence, thank you cards and just trying to find some part of normalcy takes all your energy. Then the dust settles and you realize that what has happened is real. No more holding hands, no more making him smile, no more comforting touches. That’s the part that cuts through the heart. You know that this time was coming and your brain tells you over and over that this was for the best, that he wouldn’t want to live that way. But our hearts tend to overshadow our logical thinking. The heart tugs and tugs at you saying, “no, I’m not ready to let go”! That’s our human selfishness getting in the way.

Frankie would have loved his farewell. I should say that he did love his farewell, as I am sure he was watching and was proud of his family and friends showing how much he touched their lives. The outpouring of love and support was truly beautiful. They always say that the funerals are for the living, not the departed. And I find that to be so true. You garner a lot of strength from those that gather to celebrate having that person in their lives. That’s when you realize that one person can make a big difference in another persons life. He touched a lot of people in so many different ways and it was a wonderful celebration of his life. For that, I am very grateful.

But, life goes on and and I don’t think we ever truly let go of that person as we face each day. That’s not a bad thing, if we keep it all in perspective. I’m a believer that our loved ones are with us every day, be it a parent, spouse, child, friend or partner. That they are right there helping us go about our daily routines and occasionally sending us messages that they are just fine. It’s us, the ones that they leave behind that need reminding that they are the fortunate ones, in a far better place and at peace alongside those angels. God has a plan for each of us, and when our job here on earth is done, he graciously brings us home. I am ever so thankful that God chose me to have the opportunity and privilege to help and love Frankie during this incredible journey that he had to endure. My life is better because of that. I learned a great deal from this and as much as my heart aches that I can’t hold his hand anymore, I know he is watching over me and all those that loved him.

So my message to all of you is that life so goes on and in reality it goes by very quickly. Don’t waste time on silly little troubles, be grateful for every day and for everyone in your life. It can change in a heartbeat and some one once told me:

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your future plans!!!!

Have a blessed day and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your love and support through this incredible journey with Frankie โค๏ธ

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Heaven gained an angel

My cute little Sicilian has joined the ranks of angels on probation in that glorious place called heaven! He’s the newbie waiting to see his new digs amongst so many friends and family welcoming him to paradise. It took him awhile to realize it was ok to let go and let God take it from here. And that little stinker waited til I left to take his last breath. But his son, Jon, was there holding his hand and praying by his side. I will write again in a few days, as I am really tired and need some sleep. Thank you for being with us and all your prayers during this journey โค๏ธ. I know it made a difference, a beautiful difference ๐Ÿ˜˜. All of you helped Frank and I with every single comment and support! God bless all of you and thank youโค๏ธ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ™

Slipping away

It appears that we are entering what I would call the final phase of Frankie’s journey. This has been probably the fastest decline I have witnessed throughout. He has no recognition of me now and hardly reacts, if any, to any kind of stimulation. The aides have told me that he gets agitated when they move him from the wheelchair, as it seems to hurt him as they move him. I was going to write about it Tuesday, but wanted to wait and see how he was today. Seems worse than Tuesday. It was difficult getting him to eat today. Although I was able to get him to drink to help keep him hydrated. He is so much more comfortable in his new chair. He nods into deep sleep quite often, even at meal times. Nothing seems to arouse him. His vice grip has weakened quite a bit, I am able to get my fingers out fairly easily now๐Ÿ˜”. It doesn’t seem to make any difference that you prepare for this and know it’s going to happen, it’s still so hard to watch, as is any disease. I’m just thankful I get to be with him and hopefully make his journey a little bit easier ๐Ÿ˜ข

A little Halloween fun

The Frankster was a good sport keeping his wig and hat on as the facility celebrated Halloween last night. He really enjoyed seeing all the children/grandchildren show up in costume to “trick or treat”!! He didn’t get the concept of handing them candy, so they were able to reach in his bucket to take some! He just smiled and smiled the whole night! It did tucker him out though! By the end of the evening, he was getting pretty cranky pants with me๐Ÿคช. But I would say, “what Frankie? Gonna send me to the moon?!” And he would mumble “yeah!!”๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ and give me that look ๐Ÿ™„. He makes me laugh! When it was over, he enjoyed apple cider and chocolate chip cookies! Although, it took awhile to eat the cookies, because he kept wanting to sip it!! I had to keep saying, open your mouth wide! At one point, he looked at me and mumbled “bucka”! Oh, I’m a buckala?! Yeah, he says! True to form, he’s still in there๐Ÿ˜œ

Strong hold

This This is Frankie gripping my fingers like a vise grip!! He is so unbelievably strong that I have to pry my fingers loose when he won’t let go๐Ÿคช. It amazes me and it’s only with his right hand, because he has now clenches his left hand in a position that he holds tight to his body and won’t open.

It’s been a very interesting couple of weeks and I haven’t had the gumption to write about it. Now that hospice is in place with him, I do feel better knowing he has someone else paying a lot of attention to him. It’s one of those catch 22 situations. Coming to terms that he has reached this pinnacle in his life of needing simple comfort care and knowing that we are now in the December of his time here. He continues to lose weight and is having more days of crankiness and just totally withdrawn. Although we never know what is Gods timing, there is another phase of grieving for him. I pray that I am able accept whatever the plan is and still give him some joy when I am with him.

His dear friend Danny and I have still taken him out to lunch every week, but even that is becoming quite a challenge to accomplish as he is so very rigid and unsteady. I give people that have to deal with carting a wheelchair around great respect! His son, Jon came up and shared lunch with us and he smiled quite a bit seeing him.

That was before the cold weather set in๐Ÿคช Danny is having a knee replacement done next week, so I told our waitress that is always here for us that we wouldn’t be back for quite a while since I can’t handle this endeavor by myself. Ten minutes later she came back to the table with a note that had her name and cell number on it and informed me that whenever I wanted to bring him, just call her and they would have help waiting to assist me getting him out of the car and helping load him back up when we were done. It made me tear up right there seeing the kindness and generosity of good people โค๏ธ. What a beautiful gesture ๐Ÿ’•

That’s about it for now folks! I’ll try not to wait so long writing again. Have a blessed day and week๐Ÿ˜‡

Another transition

Frankie has turned the corner to needing to be in a wheelchair now. He is so unsteady on his feet and has fallen twice in the last two weeks. Take a look at his left hand. This is the constant fist he keeps his hand in. Unfortunately, this causing the fingers and knuckles to swell and bruise. If I try and open his hand, it’s causes him great pain and he really gets mad at me. Then he takes his right hand and grabs hold of my hand and grips it to take it away from his left hand. Let me tell you that the grip he puts on my fingers is like vise grip and it’s hard to get him to let it go๐Ÿ˜‚. He moans when I try and it becomes quite a struggle between! I start to laugh, then he starts smiling and has that look of “go ahead, try it again, I’ll squeeze your hand tighter!!”๐Ÿ˜œ. He is a stinker some times!

I suggested to the nurse last week that perhaps it’s time to get him evaluated for hospice. The visiting doctors determined that he qualifies. Mario and I met with the hospice nurse Friday and he signed all the papers to now have hospice involved. It’s time, as he truly can not do anything for himself and his rigidity has become even more burdensome.

But, on the bright side, he got excited to see his son and he likes being in the wheelchair. He even uses his feet to try and move himself. The best part was when I was pushing him fast and telling him, let’s go get Mario, he giggled and liked that! Just like a little kid๐Ÿคช

Hopefully, hospice will get a splint for his hand, just to relax it and keep it from hurting him. It doesn’t seem to hurt him as he clenches it, but only when we try and move it, but who knows what he feels!

I’m going a little more often to visit with him and give him lunch, as I see that the decline has taken another step forward. It’s been a tough couple weeks, as three of his fellow residents have passed on to a better place๐Ÿ˜‡

I am happy to report that my girl has found a wonderful man and I adore him. They truly click with one another and I couldn’t be happier! They are so good together โค๏ธ. I love when the universe unites two souls that are meant to be together ๐Ÿ™

So life is good as we head into the last quarter of the year! Shazam, where does the time go! Go tribe โค๏ธโšพ๏ธ

High school wrestlers

It was a great gathering of high school fellow athletes last night at Sirnas in Bedford. Frankie had a good time. He seemed to recognize most of his classmates, just couldn’t express it other than a smile ๐Ÿ˜Š. But on a few occasions, he got really excited and would say “oh noooo!” And start laughing ๐Ÿ˜‚. It is so hard to watch him mumble words, knowing he wants to say something but none of it makes sense, except to him๐Ÿ˜ณ. The guys were wonderful talking to him and reminiscing and he just kept smiling. It made me happy and sad all at the same time.

After a couple hours, we said our goodbyes and the fellas all clapped and wished him well. A good excursion for our Frankie โค๏ธ

Oh, the Frankster!

Aside from losing weight, Frankie has been pretty happy, at least when I’m around him. Of course, I tend to do and say things to him that gets him smiling or mumbling ๐Ÿ˜œ. He definitely lets you see what he likes and what or who he doesn’t like at any given moment! Yesterday, when Danny and I brought him back from his lunch excursion, one of the residents told Frankie to smile and he looked at her and said “oh shut up!”๐Ÿ˜‚. So obviously, when he ogles the women, it isn’t all of them that he likes! It was a good day for him yesterday, he understood Danny when he was telling him how to get in the car ๐Ÿ˜ณ. Usually, he has to lift Frank’s leg to get him started. Then during lunch, he actually opened his mouth wide enough to take every forkful when I said “open big Frankie “. Oh those precious moments when it seems as though he understands. He probably understands more than we think he can, but just can’t communicate it in any way.

After having a discussion with the powers that be, it appears that he is getting his face washed thoroughly every day, as his skin looks so much better. That has to make him feel more comfortable too.

As a tribute to those that perished 17 years ago during the 9/11 attack, the facility had a balloon launch. Emily told me that Frankie just lit up and laughed seeing all the balloons, but wouldn’t let go of his !! What a stinker๐Ÿ™„

It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the one year mark of having him in a memory care place. There have been many trials and tribulations experienced by all of us during this journey. But, I have to say that seeing him content and as happy as one can be going through this transition in his life, brings comfort to me and I’m sure to his sons as well.

Have a beautiful dayโค๏ธ

Flirtations

Here’s Frankie making eyes and and smiling at his pretty caregivers! He was so funny that day, just giggling and flirting with every female he saw ๐Ÿ˜œ. They would walk towards him and he would smile and mumble “ohhhh”, with no hesitation to kiss them on the cheek if they hugged him!!๐Ÿ˜˜

He is generally pretty content most days, but that one day, he seemed so happy to see everyone!! It was a grand time to see him that way.

He had a nice visit with one of his high school friends, Audrey, last week. I do believe there was some recognition of her, as he smiled when he saw her. There is a big reunion coming up for John Adams High School and quite a few of his athlete buddies will be meeting up the night before. I won’t take him to the luncheon, but I think I will take him to the smaller gathering, so it won’t be so overwhelming for him. Hopefully he will enjoy that and he recognizes some of the guys. He is very close to the weight he was in high school!๐Ÿ˜ณ. Little skinny Minnie!!

His buddy, Danny, continues to come every week and we take Frankie to lunch at First Watch! It makes for a nice visit as the people there always remember us and take good care of our time there, very accommodating. Some weeks, Frankie seems to understand how he is to get in the car, even though he still needs help and prompting, and other days, he has no clue what we are asking him to do! Guess it just comes with the territory!! But while we are there, he absolutely loves to people watch, especially the ladies ๐Ÿ˜‚. He so loves his cranberry juice each time we are there and eats every thing I feed him. Although, there are times when I say to open wide, and he purses his lips like he is ready to drink๐Ÿ˜œ. Or he will open his mouth, then shut it real quick and bite the fork, causing the food to drop! Most of the time, I catch it as I put my hand underneath, but there are those times I’m not quick enough!! Oh well, it’s not much worse than when toddlers are at a restaurant and leave an array of food on the floor when they leaveโ˜บ๏ธ

He took a little spill this week at the facility, but fortunately only scraped his arm a little. Ended up on his butt, and didn’t do a face plant!! Thankful for small miracles ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

On a little side note, I want to talk about how impactful a few simple words said to someone can linger a long time. My grandson, who is in second grade, is a very picky eater. His Mom works hard at creating very healthy muffins for him, disguised with chocolate chips to encourage him to eat them (filled with purรฉed veggies)! This year she found an even better recipe that he loves. Since I pack his lunch every morning, I wrapped 4 small muffins along with his fruit, etc., for him to eat. When he came home from school, I unpacked his lunch box and saw he didn’t eat his muffins. When I asked him why, he said he didn’t have time. So I said, how about you eat the muffins first, then your fruit and then your goodies! He started to cry. When I asked him why, he responded that the lunch lady told him that he can’t eat the muffins first, because they don’t look healthy!!๐Ÿ˜ณ. I was really upset! I asked him if she told him that on that day. He said “no, it was last year, and I don’t want to get in trouble!” I wiped his tears and told him I was sorry and didn’t realize that. I was furious. The lunch lady handled it the wrong way. She should have sent a note home to the parent. She didn’t know how healthy they were, she simply made a wrong assumption. Anyhow, the point I am making is that a simple statement made by her to a six year old, a year ago, has stayed with him every single school day at lunch time. That poor kid has worried about what was in his lunch every day. It explains why he would ask me what I packed!!

It’s just another reminder about what we say and how we say things. Choose your words carefully and think what those words will mean to the person hearing them!!

Okay, that’s my spiel for today๐Ÿ˜. Have a good one! Hard to believe it’s Labor Day weekend coming up! Have to plan a ride to downtown to try and catch those Blue Angels flying at the air show!!

Lunchtime anyone?!

so Frankie likes to just look at me taking pictures of him with two of his wonderful caregivers, Naisha and Delores. They are always smiling with him, even if he is being stubborn with them๐Ÿ˜‚. He looks like he is ready to make a toast!!๐Ÿ˜œ. I will say that he is better at accepting food into his mouth than when I was feeding my toddlers! Although, there are those times when he turns his head and purses his lips then gives me that look like, what are you doing!?!!! I just keep at it and say, open wide Frankie and sure enough, the hanger opens for the plane to land the food ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. I thank him and tell him what a good boy he is! And he just gives me a look! I know he wants so badly to say something sarcastic to me, but just can’t! It’s a fun and cruel game all at the same time.

This Debbie, another fantastic caregiver โค๏ธ. Don’t you love the look on his face! Like, now what are you doing?!!! They all make me feel very special when I am there and that truly helps the soul along this journey.

So the people at Maplewood loved hearing the story about Frankie conveniently “borrowing ” the black eyed Susan’s from peoples yards on our anniversaries! When I was home that Tuesday evening, I received a message on my phone with the following picture:

The caption below it read “Happy Anniversary Sue, love Frankie “. That was done and sent by Adena from Maplewood! Can you believe how thoughtful that wasโค๏ธ. My goodness, for her to do that was so considerate and touching! It just amazes me๐Ÿ˜Š

So never lose sight of how impactful a simple act of kindness can be๐Ÿ’•

Have a wonderful day all โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜˜