old age

Leaving Life Behind

So I have avoided this post long enough. I have spent a little over a week trying to figure out how to write about losing someone I love deeply. My conclusion is there is no easy way. The fact that this love is the root of everything that I am, makes losing my mother all the more complicated. It is similar to the feeling I have when I speak about my father. It is a void, an emptiness, loneliness, and “A Hole in My Soul” as the band Aerosmith put it.  You carry the emptiness with you forever.

Veda M Lowrey age 84

Veda M Lowrey age 84 Rolla Missouri

So the death of my mother was unexpended but not surprising. She lived 89 wonderful years, loved deeply, lived truthfully and honestly. She worked harder than just about anyone I have ever known and gave everything to her family. Her children and brothers and sisters were everything to her and she enjoyed spending as much time as she could with all of them. She was loving, stubborn and strong and you always knew where you stood and usually, that was under her grace.  I have often wondered how she ever spent 40 years alone as a single parent raising 4 kids after the death of my father. Now at 50 with two sons of my own, I understand that it was the best thing for her and us kids. I remember how proud she was when I graduated from college and disappointed she was when I got a divorce. How she warned me about not burning the candle at both ends and tried to teach me how to slow down and enjoy the ride. Lessons that I don’t ever think I learned, but I do try to remember them when life wears me out or people try to grind me down.

Veda Maxine Lowrey age 21

Veda Maxine Lowrey age 21

I am my mothers’ daughter for better or worse and I know she is still here with me looking after me and kids. I share her passion for reading, flowers, and peaceful quiet homes where you feel safe and loved. It was a pleasant life she made for me and my siblings and we knew we were lucky to have her.

Old age is not a beauty pageant. Nothing about it is pretty,  slick or shiny. Being smart, rich or kind, will not save you from the ravages of time. The process is painful, dirty, slow and humiliating. You lose everything you worked for and often the very people that you love most. It is not meant for the weak and to live 89 years means she was a fighter and wanted what was left in this world for her. I love that about her and only hope to be the same strong fighter in my future.

photo of Boulder Colorado and the front range by Alex Smits

Photo of Boulder Co by Alex Smits used with permission

Rest in peace mom, I will think of you often as I plant my flowers, when I find a good book that I just can’t put down, and when we are eating a well-cooked meal at home with the table full of laughter and wonderful memories. Gods speed on your journey and take my love with you.

I will be returning home to Colorado in a few weeks to place my mother by my father’s side in my home town of Boulder, Co. I will be spending lots of time with family, friends and working on what the future will be like without her. Forgive me if my writing is sporadic for a couple of months. I am not sure what I will be writing about or how often, but I know I  will be posting about our trip and the revelations I make as I search for my roots. 

 

 

Categories: Colorado, Death, Family, family memories, Healing, old age, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Lewis County Fair Brings Families Together Again 2014

Powers family on the bumper cars at the LC fair 2014

Powers family on the bumper cars at the LC fair 2014, Cody and Paige in the back car, Me in the middle and Tom and Christopher in the front

 

Hot, humid, summer evenings in West Virginia are often spent at fairs and festivals. It seems that country families really enjoy standing around  visiting with old friends and passing around a new round of gossip at the county fairs. Our small county actually has two large fair events every summer. The first is the Lewis County fair where you take the little ones for their first experience on carnival rides, like the bumper cars and the carousel  horses. The other, that I will be writing about more in a following post, is the animal and project centered fair called the 4-H Jamboree.  It is on these hot evenings that families get their kids together to share in traditional country fun and young lovers find time to hold hands and kiss while sharing a night of carnival games and prizes.

This was the first year that Christopher my son and my Granddaughter Paige were really old  enough to enjoy the rides and have fun trying to win a prized gold-fish. Then something happened when the old folks also got in those aged cars, we transformed into youngsters too. For just one moment we were young again and smiles flowed freely and laughter was heard. The world faded away and the noise and lights took the place of work and bills. All we could think about was getting our wife or husbands to buy rounds a funnel cakes and fresh squeezed Lemonade. So at 45 and 50 years of age, Tom and I spent the evening enjoying making memories with our kids and grand kids. Feeding them red and blue snow cones that turned their lips and tongues vivid colors and watching them laugh and scream for MORE !

Christopher and Paige on the boat ride.

Christopher and Paige on the boat ride.

This year our family chose to see the annual Demolishen Derby. It was a great time watching family friends stuff sweaty heads into  helmets to crash old cars unfit for the road. They have several classes for everyone who wants to compete. There is a youth class for kids 12 to 18, a 4 cylinder and a 6 to 8 cylinder class for the older and heavy framed cars.

Demolishen Derby car smoking from raditator

Demolishen Derby car smoking from radiator

The noise alone is a draw for me. From a distance you hear engines whining and throttles growling as the racers try to disable all the other cars in the race by smashing them until they will not run or get stuck.

cars racing at the demolishen derby

 

smoke pouring out of a Demolishen Derby car

smoke pouring out of a Demolishen Derby car

We all cheered as the last cars fought it out and the smoke rolled from the losing cars. The winners receive huge trophies and a gas card as prizes. Then the bulldozer  moves in a pulls the wreckage out of the ring and the next round begins.

As the derby ends we return to the rides and games. The kids know that with the darkening sky we are about to head home and they cry for one last ride on their favorite rides. Christopher heads to the giant slide and hollers on his way down.

gaint slide ride at the LC fair

giant slide ride at the LC fair

 

Paige on the other hand heads for the water ball ride.  This is the new ride for our family and it is something I wish I could take home with me. A large inflated tube floating on a pool of water. Much like a bouncy castle but better!

Paige Powers in Water ball ride at the fair 2014

Paige Powers in Water ball ride at the fair 2014

 

Water tube ride with Christopher

Water tube ride with Christopher and Paige.

The night slips in on us and the kids have arm loads of toys, bags full of gold-fish and blue stained lips. The parents are hot and sticky from the humid air at the fair. We hold sleepy hands as we all walk  back to the cars and trucks. Everyone is happy, we spent an evening together laughing and eating and being kids again. This is the magic of a fair, that no matter what the events are, no matter the amount of friends you see, no matter the amount of money spent, for a few hours you have fun. The same fun that your parents had at a fairs years ago. It is as if time stands still if only for a few hours and you have fun!

Fair lights at dusk heading home 2014

Fair lights at dusk heading home 2014

Categories: Demolishen Derby, family fun, family memories, Lewis County Fair, old age | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Cancer sucks! /Know One Gets Out of Here alive

Most everyone has experienced  Cancer in some way.We all know some one who has it, is recovering from it or has passed away from it. I have even owned a dog with it. It is a ruthless killer and if you are lucky to know, or  be some one who has survived it, you are a miracle. My life is up side down due to my dearly loved mother-in-laws diagnoses with throat cancer. If all you were not following to close this maybe the first time that you have seen me write about it. I was trying to let the terrible words sink in and not totally put a damper on my husbands 50th birthday party the last time I wrote about it. March 26 we were given the news that she had stage 3 throat cancer. It was a hard couple of days and my husband had a large birthday party planed 3 days later. How to celebrate the life of one loved one and stifle the tears for another one. It was a hard couple of days.4 generations of the powers family 2014 This is not even the first time I have dreaded hearing the words cancer as my X-husband passed from stomach cancer about 7 years ago at age 41, his mother soon after was also treated for cancer and survives to this day. I have seen my aunt fight to keep her breast for as long a possible fighting a little lump that would change her life. Cancer is part every species, race, age group, nation and living creature on the earth.We all fight the same battle and none of us is going to get out of here alive.

Cancer seems to either bring out the very best in people or the worst. I am proud to say that most of our family has come together in support of my mother in law. We all have heard stories about wives or husbands walking away from a sick spouse or a families falling  apart when a child becomes ill. It is a strange  thing to observe who hangs in their and who walks away. My husband and I are in the stay and fight camp. We along with his brother and sisters are all standing our ground in her fight against cancer.

Grandma is now receiving  her first round of radiation and is fighting infections of all kinds. It seems that when the cancer started to really grow in her body she was just worn down and infections of all kinds set in. It is as if one break down lead to another, some are even mental and spiritual. It has been a long hard fight but there is some light at the end of the tunnel now. The tumor is shrinking and she is slowly healing and gaining strength. At this point we are just hoping that  she will get to go home and spend some time with us. It is a simple wish from the heart with nothing flashy or brash.We know that with this type of cancer our time maybe limited so we make the best our of what time we have. grandma Wanda Dec 2013 Living surrounded by so much beauty here in the country you forget about what really happens in life sometimes. We all do, we all focus on work and dinner and paying bills, we just don’t always think about what happens at the end. It is our nature to not think about it, we are human. Then something makes you look at it again and you can only embrace the fact that it is part of the plan that we are born into, we are babies, we live, we die and the cycle begins again. This is what I see in the country every day. The farmers, the ranchers, herders live with it day in and day out, with death and birth, over and over again. I look out my kitchen window and see the hay that grows and watch as it gets mowed down in its prime, just so in the cold of winter something will live again. It is a perfect undisturbed system. I have been so lucky to share this country life with my mother in law for so many years. We lived only yards apart on the farm, we shared in the planting, growing and harvesting together. It was on the family farm that I learned about her and cycle of life that she loves still today. She taught me that every thing on the farm was a gift and that gift needed shared.

Grandma Wanda Powers with Christopher

Grandma Wanda Powers with Christopher

My family and  I know that what seems like an ending is really just the beginning.  A new beginning for her no matter where it takes her and for all of us who get to learn to step forward and teach others about what she has taught us over her 76 years. Cancer sucks,on that we can all agree, but it is really only a step towards the next phase in the journey. One that she is prepared to take and we will stand by her all the way.

Spike buck horns in the woods

Spike buck horns in the woods

 

Categories: Death, Family, family memories, Healing, health, old age | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Generation X …trying to doing the right thing

Christophers 3rd birthday with Grandma Wanda and Grandpa Jim and Cody helping with gift

Christopher’s 3rd birthday with Grandma Wanda and Grandpa Jim and Cody helping with gift

       I hate to admit it but I am a Gen-X-er. Not a hippy or yuppy and that puts me and my friends in a strange place. We are the generation that the government informed ,you will not have money from social security, you will not make more money then your parents and you will need a college education if you some how are able to make more money then your folks. Chances are that you will not live in one place more than seven years and you will have to care for your children and those ageing parents of yours at the same time.  The generation of “The Big squeeze” really.

  I guess at 45, I am now really in the middle of my own personal “Big squeeze”. I have found over the years that anything promised to past generations is all but gone for mine. Pensions, unions, Insurance, retirement, job security, homes, have dried up blown away. My generation, the “Me” generation, had fun while the party lasted ( it was a big over blown drug induced ego trip for years) but some how the hangover just never really went away. I am still waiting to say “yea things are going great I have my dreams and security too”. 

    The last few of years of my life have been a lesson on, “do what is right”, not for money, fame or glory. Just do what is right and except the blessings from that lesson. As most of you already know I have a young son who I gave birth to about two months before my 40th birthday  after 17 years of not getting pregnant. It seemed almost impossible to think that I was going to go through the whole process again. Then about the same time my Mother who was about to have her 80 birthday informed the family that she wanted to move out of her home into a senior community. She had grown tired of home ownership and of the up keep. That same christmas my step father in law who was 79 began the slow decline into dementia, then  Alzheimer’s making my mother-in-laws life a daily struggle. This began my step into the life that america predicted almost 25 years ago. I am a worker/care giver who doesn’t receive any pay for most of the things I do.

    So now 4 years later, I still do  “what is right”. I quit my 40 hour a week job to stay home more for my son ( the best for him) and lost half my income to work part-time in the evenings. My family  helped my mother sell her home in the worst of the economic crises, and lost about 40,000$ in the process, to make sure she was happy and well taken care of (the very best for her). I have helped with my mother-in-laws and father-in-laws care( the best I could do for them). The Hospice nurses took over much of grandpa Jim’s care this week, but mom will not leave his side. Leaving me and the other kids to do the shopping, cleaning, bill paying, yard work that has totally over whelming them ( the very best I can do for someone who is dying). These duties are like a job added on to a list of things I already do. I am feeling the “Big Squeeze” of less money and more demands placed in front of me. It is hard to balance childhood and old age with little or no pay.

Christopher with his Grandma 12-11-12

Christopher with his Grandma 12-23-12

     I am sure that at some point I will be a full-time care giver to my mother-in-law also. I am now wondering if I will get any type of retirement benefits at all and will I in the future have enough money to live comfortably on. Care givers rarely get paid for their time and if social security dries up 25 years from now what about me? What happens to those of us who choose to take care of the children and elderly. What kind of future do we have. I hope to have a husband who keeps  a good income into his 60’s but, I maybe the wife of a man who is suffering. It is likely that I will be his caregiver in his time of need. That I will spend the rest of my life  dedicated to the people I love and not the things that the world says I should have.

     It is a future that is full of hard work and frustration and low wages but it is “the right thing to do” for my family. I am not sure why I couldn’t get that abortion and continue to have a banking career that would lead me down the professional path with more money and better benefits. I am not sure why my brothers and I couldn’t make my mother stay in a house she hated so we could have sold it for more money and received more of an inheritance. I am not sure why I can’t say no to my mother in law if she calles me to help turn her husband over in his hospital bed and run to the store for medications and baby powder. I am not sure what I did to end up this type of woman, God just opened the door and I just grew into her.

   All I know is this, when you squeeze grapes  and let them age you get some of the finest wine in the world. Maybe, In my “big squeeze” I will bear the finest gifts for those I love  and that is my aim.  I just hope that others of Generation X know that they are not alone in the struggle to leave behind the “Me” part of our generation. It is not easy and I am not rich in material things but I am happy and content with my change from caring only for “me” to caring for the “we” in my family.

Me, my daughter-in-law Jamie , Christopher and my grand daughter Paige

Me, my daughter-in-law Jamie , Christopher and my grand-daughter Paige

Categories: About me, child care, Family, Generation X, health, old age | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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