So many of you wrote me privately and/or commented on my post about helping to move my sister-in-law into an assisted living center. I knew Sharleen was conflicted about the move–not wanting to leave her home of 40+ years, but I was happy to find her engaged with other residents every time I visited–whether whupping unsuspecting victims at Scrabble or amassing hoards of dimes from competitive Bingo and Skip-Bo (whatever that is).
She truly seemed to be doing well…until she wasn’t.
Sharleen passed away peacefully at her daughter’s home on Wednesday morning, surrounded by family. She began having trouble breathing the evening before and went into the ER. The doctors tried a number of things, but nothing seemed to help so they told the family it was time to call in hospice. My sweet niece took her mother home and Sharleen was gone the next morning. At peace. With my brother.
I’m sad, but very glad she didn’t suffer. I’m sad because I’ll miss her presence in my life and because I know her passing signifies the end of Easters-at-the-Ranch.
But I’m happy she’s no longer sad. I’m happy picturing her spirit rejoined with my brother’s. I ran across a couple of great photos I’d like to share with you. They make me smile. I hope they do you, too.
I’m off to learn lots from other Indie authors at SF UnCon.
Holy thunder and lightning, Bookgirls, that was a storm!
I usually write my blogs ahead of time, but I just got my WiFi back after two days of no connection. Since I live in the country, I signed up for a satellite service to provide access to the world at large. Well, that’s a slight overstatement since the “service” is so lousy, but regardless of the lack of speed, most days I do have access. But for the past two days, the modem’s power light came on but no one was home, if you know what I mean. The so-called brains of the outfit wouldn’t wake up. And when I tried to go online, I’d get dire warnings about not having a secure server.
I checked my roof to see if the dish was still attached. Yup. Was it still facing in the right direction? I couldn’t say, but since another couple of waves of storms were predicted, I decided to leave the unit unplugged and focus on writing.
And…um…wow. I wrote three complete chapters and I learned a whole bunch of interesting stuff about my characters. I guess what they say about connectivity decreasing productivity is right. (I’m trying to look surprised here, but it’s no shock. I’m as big a sucker for a cute puppy meme as anyone, and heart-tugging videos tug me right down the rabbit hole.)
So, here’s my dilemma: all the lights on my modem are twinkling brightly. Obviously, I’ve decided to start my day online–I’m writing this in WordPress, but what now?
How do you avoid the temptation of checking email and social media when you have other more important things to do?
On Wednesday, I got up early to write because I knew I was only going to have a partial day at my desk. My niece, Amy, had contacted me and asked if I’d be able to help move some of her mother’s things from the home her parents built in the mid-1970s to an apartment in an independent living center. Sharleen, my sister-in-law, had been living there alone since my brother passed away three years ago.
Naturally, I said, “Yes.”
I remember all too well when my sister and I moved our mother out of the home my husband had built for Mom to the very same independent living center. The move was fraught with emotion. You try to stay positive for your loved one but inside you’re dying a bit because change is hard and this change means your loved one is not the same person you want them to always be.
In my sister-in-law’s case, her health has declined since my brother died. Actually, even before that, the stress of caring for my brother at the end of his life took a heavy toll. Shar loved my brother almost as long as I’ve been alive. (I was five when they got married.) After he passed away, she tried to carry on with her business (Buchanan Hollow Nut Company), her art (watercolors) and her life, but her health just hasn’t been up to it. Depression is so not in her nature, but some days were too hard to get out of bed.
Christmas was a turning point. Shar made the decision. She needed people and routine in a safe, warm environment–not alone in a huge house twenty-five miles from town.
We all have good memories of this place. Shar’s room is directly above where my mother stayed. It’s only been a few days, and Shar told me yesterday she’s not sure she’s ready for this, but the people are friendly and so far she’s won several robust games of Scrabble. Fingers crossed the transition goes smoothly.
I’m sleeping better knowing she’s safe, but I’ll feel even better when I know she’s happy, too.
Have you had to deal with this sort of thing with a loved one? I’d be happy to pass along any tips for a smooth transition to Amy and Shar. Below is one of Shar’s watercolor paintings hanging in my house.