Monday, March 30, 2009

Journeys In and Out of the Garden

I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend in your gardens. It was very wet here with lots of rain, wind, cold temperatures and even a few snow flurries. This is after a glorious Friday with highs in the upper sixties. Ah, March in Central Illinois!


The weather was much nicer today after a nasty frost last night. The sun was out and the wind was calm. The temp. reached 58 and would have been perfect to do a little more cleaning of garden beds. But as so often happens, life gets in the way.

I spent the better part of the day taking care of the last few details of moving my Dad. I made the decision a few weeks back that he really needed more help than I was able to give him. After his bout with Shingles, hospitalization for infection and then again for dehydration, I talked to a Social Services person. She suggested Assisted Living and gave me the name of a place. I called, went for a tour, and was VERY impressed. To make a long story short-everything fell into place very quickly and he has been ensconced in his lovely new apartment for a little over a week. Today I met, again, with the nurse and director to see how he was doing from their view point, to get his medications out of his apartment and into the CNAS' hands permanently and to give them a check for his first month's rent. ( Worth every penny!)



They assure me he is settling in very well, eating good and starting to mingle with some of the other residents. And I think he is. I stayed and had a great evening meal with him and he didn't even try to get any of those little 'digs' in that have been common the last couple of weeks.
This has been a very difficult time for the both of us. It is hard to see a parent become infirm and needing help-more help than family can give. While I have the approval of all the family, it is ultimately left to me, the oldest daughter, to make the final decisions where he is concerned. This is a heavy burden to bear. I will say, now that it's done, I am more at peace and know in my heart it was the right choice. As I said, everything fell into place so easily and quickly it was meant to be.
But on the other hand, I know this is has been extremely hard on Dad. The move represents a loss of independence-however little he did have. He is no longer driving as he could not afford his car there. That one fact takes away his 'freedom' to come and go as he pleases. I know I would be devastated if I were unable to go when and where I wanted. I know he is grieving for his former self. I will be patient and with the staff's help, he will get through this and hopefully adjust. Giving himself a chance, he will no longer be lonely, no longer lack the drive to get up in the morning and he will not have to face days with nothing to do. He will be with people who remember the things he does and his stories and theirs will provide him the opportunity to feel there is a reason to live. That is my hope for him-a chance to see he is still important to us his family and to others.

Thanks for listening to me. As I commented to Mary, who is also dealing with an aging father, writing this down and sharing it has been good therapy for me. Mary's therapy was also sharing her great photos of flowers and of course the Licker Sisters. So now, I will show you mine-flowers that is. :)
The daffodil above is in my garden. Tomorrow, I hope to see it in full bloom. And this evening while searching for that blooming daffodil, I found the tulip bud above. Just one though. I am hoping more will join it soon! On my errands, I noticed a few magnolia trees in bloom. I think the wind and heavy rains have hurt them some, but they are still a wonderful sight of spring.



This bud was just a perfect example. And besides, it gave me an excuse to usethe macro feature on my camera.




This of course is the magnolia bloom up close and personal. And another opportunity to try super macro. They really are very delicate looking-and oh so beautiful! I may frame this photo.



Okay, we've had photos in my garden and out of my garden and now we are inside my home in the garden window. My cactus, a Mammillaria Elongata is in bloom. And this year I can actually show you what the blooms look like. I posted last year on March 27th about it and showed some very blurry pictures here.





I hope you enjoy these much clearer photos. I am amazed by this cactus's innate ability to know when it is time to bloom.




Always in March, just as if it were in the desert of Arizona! Maybe Rose will see some of these in her travels out there this week.


Now I just need Aiyana to tell me how to transplant it!
Thanks for coming along with me on my journey with my Dad, and in and out of the garden. I hope you get to spend some time in your garden this week!

33 comments:

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Sounds like you have found a good option for your Dad as hard as the decision must have been for both of you. Best Friend's Aunt did so much better in an assisted living situation. She became very social and reverted to her popular girl status very quickly. Love the pictures.

Cheryl said...

Dear Beckie......I do understand how difficult it is to make decisions for our parents......but I am sure that you have done the right thing. Dad will be better off with people around him, to care for him. You are a good daughter, and your love and caring will shine through. Your father I am sure will need a few months to settle.......it will take time but he will get there......

I can see you are enjoying your camera......love the photographs.....especially the tulip bud.......

Magnolia's are so beautiful....we have a lot here....but they do get damaged by the frost, and I think that is so sad......
For me, the little white cacti bloom is perfect.....just so perfect......

Hope the weather stays warm for you, and that you get a chance to work in your gardens.....a time to think.....a time to take the stresses away...

Thinking of you and Dad....i understand Beckie.....I am finding it more and more difficult caring for my parents and Mum in law.....

Janet said...

My goodness Beckie, what a post. I understand the anguish of having a parent put into an assisted living facility. Glad you found one that you are comfortable with.
Your photos are wonderful. I especially like the macros of the magnolia...then I saw the cactus! wow! A few of those photos are what I call 'frame quality' truly artistic!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are doing a great job taking care of your Dad Beckie. I realize it is difficult. He was more independent than some I think. He will eventually enjoy his new digs. Your blooms are beautiful. Love the cactus blooms. Your photos are great too. You are really getting the hang of your new camera. I just sent my new camera to the repair place. I hope it is back for the Spring Fling.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Beckie, aging parents is heartbreaking to deal with. We all want them to be happy in their remaining years. This place sounds nice for your Dad. I sure hope he likes it.

Great macros. I love this feature!
Marnie

Gail said...

Beckie, Your photos are wonderful and you have mastered macro! Isn't it fun...soon spring will be here and you will be shooting away!

It's wonderful news about the assisted living apartment...my mom was relieved when she moved out of her own house into a retirement community. We were, too. The apartment was meant to be~~those digs your dad made were his fears coming through. Now he feels better knowing he has less to worry about! Whenever my mom was anxious it came out sideways at us! It reminded me of a cranky toddler! What's that they say about a second childhood!

Have a good day in your garden! gail

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely photos. I'm glad you found a workable solution for you and your dad. I understand this time has been hard for both of you. I am an only child so I understand about the responsibility falling to you, though I don't have anyone to be "mad" at for not helping... It is difficult when your parent becomes someone who have to look after... as you said, I'm sure it's hard for him, too. My mom is 77 and still in excellent health, but I worry about what's to come. We're the only two family members (my parents were immigrants), so... eep. It sounds like your dad is well looked after, and getting used to his new place, though, and that's good. You're both troopers!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Beckie - I'm sure it was a difficult decision, but it was the right one. Ultimately, your dad will be happier there than feeling like a burden to you. The loss of freedom is a hard thing to bear, but once he adjusts, he will see the benefits of the move.
I love your shots of that gorgeous Magnolia!

flydragon said...

Such good news about finding and moving your father into an acceptable assisted living facility.
Sometimes it's so hard to find one that you're both comfortable with. I'm so glad you did!!!

Love, love, love that magnolia bud!!!

beckie said...

Debbi, that's one of the things I am hoping for Dad. He used to make friends everywhere he went. Thanks for your kind words.

Cheryl, I hesitated to tell this story, but I do use my blog as a journal of all sorts of life's happenings. And it reall is good therapy to write and share things that are in your life. You know I think of you and your parents a lot and always am hoping for the best for you all.

I AM enjoying my camera. I am amazed at the photos sometimes. I am really thinking of doing an album of some of them for the grand girls.

Thank you for being there for me, I so value your opinion. :)

beckie said...

Janet, I can take no responsibility for the photos. I assure you it's all the camera! But I am having fun with it and thinking of doing an album of the better ones for my grand girls. Thanks so much for your support.

Lisa, I so hope you are right. You know how stubborn Dad can be(family trait!)Glad you are getting your camera fixed. I am sure it will be back and readytoshoot by Spring Fling.

beckie said...

Marnie, I was so very impressed with this place-looks like a very upscale hotel! And it did come together so quickly and wasily, I am sure it was meant to be.

I am having way to much fun with my new camera! :)

Gail, I don't think mastered is quite the term I would use. It's more like lucky and take several shots to get one that is right. :)

I know Dad's 'digs' were his insecurities coming iut and I tried to be patient. It was the right thing to do and we will settle into it. So glad your Mom is enjoying her place. I think they really do feel more secure and a lot less lonely. Thanks for your concern.

beckie said...

Monica, I feel for you. It's so difficult being the 'one'. But we love them and try our best. I glad you like the photos!

MMD, i'm sure you are right. It will take a period of adjustment for both of us. I know I did the right thing.:)

I was surprised when I down loaded the pictures that the magnolia came out so well. I sooo like my camera!

beckie said...

Flydragon, thanks, thanks, thanks! I was very impressed with this place. It si so lovely and everyone I have met is super.

joey said...

Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post and your lovely photos, Beckie (you're really capturing some fine shots, I'm impressed :) After my 2 horrific caretaking years with my sister, I can appreciate how difficult it has been for both of you (still involved overseeing her care). Please know you have done the right thing. Seems like caretaking never ends (hubby in therapy for torn rotater cuff, then a back MRI on Fri for his 5 herniated disks, daughter-in-law having knee surgury next week ~ luckily I'm still in 1 piece to be with grandboys and play nurse :) Whoops, and then there's the garden and Garden Club! These are some of my journeys in and out of the garden :)

Please stay well yourself ... don't know what I'd do if I didn't have Thelma & Louise adventures to look forward to!

Aiyana said...

It's good to hear you are making peace with your difficult decision. I agree that losing independence is extremely difficult for older folks. It's something I hate to think about for myself.
To transplant the cactus into a pot--use a 1/3 each mix of course sand, 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 perlite or pumice. Cacti need very porous soil. Do not water for at least a week after transplant. This gives any damaged roots time to heal. Otherwise, the roots could rot. The main thing to remember, water only when dry. The easiest way to kill a cactus is overwatering. It needs lots of sun, and no hard freezes. That should be it. Easy care!

perennialgardener said...

It's hard making decisions for your father I know. My grandparents live with us at the moment out of necessity. Someday in the future I may not be able to provide the care they need. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Kathleen said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes Beckie. It's so poignant and heart felt. I am dealing with this same issue with my aunt (who is more like a mother to me). It has to be so difficult to give up your independence and face the fact that you need assistance. What a rough transition to make after being a healthy, vital adult. I hope you do get peace from the decision ~ caregiving is such a hard job, it has to feel good to know your dad is being looked after well and you are not exhausted from the emotional, physical and mental stress. Meanwhile your camera is doing an incredible job. I especially love the magnolia shots. Thinking of you...

Naturegirl said...

Beckie I know only too well the sadness we feel when it is realized that our parents need assisted living. I was on that journey with my mother several years back..I found that my blog and all the flowers that I posted was my respite as it is difficult on us emotionally.
YES I see those cacti blossoms here while in Arizona..I'm here until May 1st hope that Rosie gets in touch w/ me and I can meet up w/ her at the DBG.
Allow your flowers to make your heart feel light!hugs NG

Rose said...

Beckie, I know how hard it was for you to decide your Dad needed to move, but I also know how difficult it has been for you trying to help him in so many ways the past few years. I think you have found the best option, and there are so many positives for him in this place--as opposed to a nursing home--that I hope he sees the positive side and adjusts to it. These decisions are never easy.

You and your new camera are doing so well--amazing photos! I love the cactus bloom; yes, everything is in bloom here right now in AZ. Hubby and Daughter are not quite so interested in my plant obsession, though:) It was only 78 today, but I still managed to get a sunburn at the Cubs' game.

Wendy said...

It is hard to watch our parents deteriorate. I do understand. And as the eldest daughter, I also had to make decisions regarding my mother's care.
I am glad you found such a good place for your Dad. It sounds like it's just right for him. I am sure he will be happier once settled in, even though it is heart-breaking to make that kind of decision.

I absolutely love your pics! The tulip bud looks full of promise. And your cactus flowers so pretty. Isn't it fun watching daffodils unfurl? You've done well with your camera.
Hugs

beckie said...

Joey, thank you for your kind words. I know your sister's care was hard on you as much as you wanted to do it. Sometimes we just have to admit we are not the best solution to the problem. Hope your husband and DIL do okay-I'm sure you won't mind having the boys to play-er take care of. :)

Aiyana, I have told my daughter when our time comes just do what she thinks is best and don't let us bully her.:)

The cactus is at least 15 years old and in only it's 2nd container. It seems to enjoy the garden window, but really is getting too large and when I do get it repotted, it may not fit. But I do love those March blooms!

beckie said...

Racquel, I think you are doing an amazing job with your grandparents. I am sure they are very grateful. But yes the time may come when it is in their best interests to find other care. It is a difficult journey,

Kathleen, thank you for your kindness and understanding. Life is not always fair.

I am flattered that you like my photos! Yours are my inspiration. :)

beckie said...

Anna, yes thank goodness for blogging and gardening. this wonderful community of friends have been so supportive. I know they helped you.

It would be so neat if you and Rose were to meet and share the DBG. If you do-take pictures!

beckie said...

Rose, your frienship all these years has helped me through so many tough times. I thank you for that!

Sounds like you are having a great time. I know daughter is thrilled to have you both. Sunburn!!! It's jacket weather here still, but the sun was out today and I got some yard work done. Tell all hi and give daughter a hug from me.

Wendy, I know there are a lot of us in the same boat. The 'sandwich generation'. But at least our parents are living longer and our kids and grand kids have a chance to know them.

I am enjoying my camera! I probably spend way too much time taking pictures though. :) Glad you enjoyed them.

Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity said...

What a beautiful blog you have. I love your photos. I wish you the best in dealing with a aging parent. It can be tough. If you are like me working in the garden is great theraphy. I am so glad warmer weather is on the way.

Meems said...

Dear Beckie,
Journeys indeed. YOu have certainly had one with your dad. You've made some very thougtful decisions that sound like they will be best for everyone involved. Life is full of adjustments... some we like better than others. Finding a new home for a parent has to be one of the hardes things in the world. Before long I think you are right in your assessment... he will have new friends and the activities there will perk him right up.

As for your garden blooms... they are all a treat to see... the ones in and out of your garden. Love those magnolia blooms.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Beckie, I have been so caught up in working out in the garden, I haven't kept up too well with all my cyber friends! I know it was a hard decision to make, but I think the way it all fell into place has got to give you some peace about your decision. You may find your relationship with your father improves now that he is "on his own" again in assisted living. They have help there when needed, but have enough autonomy to feel like they are on their own. Also, having social interactions with others his age will make him feel less isolated.

Your garden is coming to life! Spring is such an exciting time of year in the garden...take care Beckie...your post was very uplifting and one that we all can identify with in some form or fashion.

Hugs filled with love,
jenny

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beckie, what beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing your story about your Dad, my parents are in the process of moving from their home into an apartment, a process that is difficult.

tina said...

I really feel bad for your father. You summed up his quandary perfectly. Aging is so hard. I am glad spring is finally reaching you!

Mountain Mama said...

All your flowers are so pretty and sure make me excited to have more blooming arpund here.

I spent a little time outside cleaning gardens this morning. It was drizzling but not enough to get me wet. It feels good to get out there and make a difference in the gardens.

Sue said...

Hi Beckie,
This must have been one I read from my iphone at work, and didn't get it replied to. I'm glad your dad was able to go to such a caring place. I hope he is continuing to adjust well.

alex216 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
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參觀,Thanks