It has been four months since my last post. Much has happened and changed. The promotion of my book came to a complete halt. One of my last posts described our visit with my mother and sharing my book with her. That experience was very special for Alan and I. When I wrote that blog in September I mentioned that we would be changing Mom’s care plan at her assisted living facility and we were aware that her condition was changing somewhat, but her health was good and we certainly expected that we would be celebrating her 100th birthday next June. Alan and I then spent a few weeks at the Vineyard. My children visited us there, and they carried out the important task of spreading their father’s ashes on the Vineyard, which I wrote about in my last blog. We then headed back to see Mom again before (we thought) taking off to return to Florida. What followed became a nightmare that we never ever expected. My mother passed away on October 20, 2013.
My sister and I needed to see Mom’s doctor, as well as needing to make a decision as to whether we would hire an aide to give her more one on one support. As we began putting that plan into place, we learned from the doctor that Mom most likely had suffered a few mini strokes that had accelerated her dementia and that her weight had dropped–developments that now qualified her for the skilled nursing division of Reeds Landing, which would necessitate another move. We had only a few days to adjust to all of that. I had speculated for a long time prior to this that another change in Mom’s living situation would be extremely difficult for her and that she would not do very well with it. Emma and Alan and I worked quickly and efficiently to clear out her apartment and move some of her belongings downstairs to her new room. She had been very comfortable upstairs in assisted living and cared for by the tremendous staff there. Moving downstairs would cause her to decline rapidly. And that is exactly what happened. She was moved on September 27th. By October 3rd, she had declined so much that Hospice took over her care. Alan and I had remained in Massachusetts for two additional weeks, but felt that we needed to head on down to Florida to take care some of our own issues for a bit, but I fully expected that I would be flying back rather quickly. Our drive home was horrible because Mom had to be taken to the emergency room during our trip. The following week was a nightmare and I did little more than making phone calls to check on Mom’s condition and talk with the Hospice professionals. My sister had had plans to travel to New Orleans to visit her son and I was going to fly up there to be with Mom while Emma and Ed were away for a few days. That never happened and, instead, Alan and I flew to Massachusetts together on Friday, October 18th. Emma, Ed, Alan and I stayed with her until the end which was at 2 a.m. on Sunday, October 20th. It was all way too fast.
We planned her funeral. All of the kids arrived–from LA, New Orleans, Las Vegas, New York, and Providence. They were marvelous and a tremendous help to us. The funeral was somber, but beautiful, as was her internment at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Agawam, MA with my father.
This is the obituary that I wrote, which appeared in the local newspaper and the Westchester County paper in New York.
She is survived by two daughters, Ann Votta and her husband Alan of Sarasota, FL, and Emma Migdal and her husband Edward of Wilbraham, MA, five grandchildren, John Migdal and his wife Jackie, David Vincola, Matthew Migdal and his wife Jennifer, Leigh Vincola, and Mark Migdal, and four great-grandchildren, Macaylan, Brodie, Marley and Miles. She was predeceased by her husband, Carmen A. Patavino, in 2003.
It is never easy losing someone you love so much, and no matter how old you are, losing a parent is tough. I miss Mom very much. Although I didn’t see her every day, she was never out of my thoughts. And that is the way it remains. I think about her every day and I miss her more and more. It makes me happy, however, to have several things from her apartment now positioned at my house. And I have her ID card from Reeds Landing on my night table, so I say goodnight and good morning to her each and every day.
And now it is time to get back to promoting my book in order to continue to make her proud.
I’m so sorry. Yes, it is hard to lose a parent at any age. My sweet mother died in 1994 and I often still think, ” I have to call Mom to tell her the news” One small consolation is that we blossomed because of their love and never took it for granted. I send my best. Hope to see you amd Alan when we are in Sanibel, March 11-22.