Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Mom

This is a picture of me, my daughter Nichelle and my mom, Marilyn. Nichelle is 19 now, so this picture was taken in September 1989. My mother is still living, but she lives in California and I'm up in Montana. This was the last picture that was taken of us together -- 19 years ago.

My father died when I was around 2, so my mom worked very hard to support her 3 children. She was a nurse, often working as a charge nurse or the director of nurses, so she had a very stressful job. She spent most of her career in geriatrics, so I spent most of my childhood in nursing homes waiting for her to get off work. I saw her working with the patients and she was very good at what she did. She loved the patients and it showed.

Yesterday afternoon I read this story on the news. It made me sick, it made me angry and it made me cry. You see, after giving her whole life as a nurse in a nursing home, my mom is now a patient in one. She had several bad strokes that left her nearly paralyzed, bedridden, unable to speak and unable to eat. She's been like this for over 4 years. Reading what these 6 teenage girls did to those nursing home patients broke my heart. Those patients are people. They could have been my mother. They could be your mother. Chances are, they are someones mother. The sad thing with my mom is that she is fully aware of what's going on around her, but she can't communicate. My brother comes into her room sometimes and finds the nurses have left the TV on the Food Network. That's kind of mean if you think about my mom not having food in her mouth for over 4 years. If anyone knows what goes on in nursing homes, it's my mom. However, she's completely helpless. She can't speak for herself, nor could she defend herself if she had to. What those girls did in MN was sickening. It was inhumane. It hit a nerve and upset me. I don't know how I'd react if I were in the same room with them because I am so filled with rage, anger and disgust. What they did was cruel.

I haven't seen my mom since October 2006 when we left the state to move here. The last few times I saw her were awkward. I can't talk to her on the phone because she can't speak. She will never be able to. I've come to realize that I probably won't see her again. If you know someone in a nursing home, please visit them or send them a card to tell them you're thinking about them. And if you could, please keep my mom in your thoughts. I don't know what I'd do if something like this happened to her. What those girls did was unacceptable and my heart goes out to the patients and their families. I apologize for such a depressing post, but I appreciate you reading it.


  1. Rena, first of all, I'm really sorry about your Mom and I'll keep her in my prayers.
    Well, I don't know what to say about the news. It makes me sick. I wish people were more responsible to understand every action has a consequence. It's just absurd they do all these atrocious things and still think it's a laughing matter. they should rot in jail!

  2. Wow that's just unbelievable - almost. My Dad was in a nursing home at the end. He had Alzheimer's Disease. Some days he'd remember us - others, he didn't. It was sooo hard.

    One idea I had reading this post. You could call the nursing home and ask the caregiver to hold the phone up to your Mom's ear, so you could talk to her. If she's alert, she'd hear you.

    Just an idea.

  3. OMG - I have tears in my eyes after reading that article. What kind of person does something like that? I can't even imagine.

    As for writing about it in your blog, I am glad you did. The world is not all happiness and sunshine and we can't pretend it is. We all need to talk about the hard topics so that people stop hiding their heads in the sand when it comes to difficult situations.

    I will keep your mom in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. And there is no punishment. Probation, that's it. And some people wonder what's wrong with society today, what happened. There is no consequence for their actions and most know it. I'm sorry Rena. HUGS

  5. I'm sorry about your mom, Rena. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers.
    My mom's name is Marilyn too, Rena. She also worked in nursing homes. Part of my childhood she worked and part she was a stay at home mom. She doesn't work in the nursing home anymore. Now she works for the state going in and investigating complaints that come in from nursing homes. She loves her job and she really loves vising with residents. She is assigned to the same nursing homes, so she has gotten to know some of the residents.
    As for the news story, I'm speechless. I just don't understand how people can be so cruel. No jail time for these teenagers is outrageous.

  6. Renata -- Thank you for your thoughts & prayers. I appreciate it.

    Kim -- I'm sorry to hear you had to go through so much with your dad. It's hard to watch. You're right about the phone thing and I could do that. For the most part, my brother goes there everyday to be with her and he keeps me up to date on her condition. The last thing I heard was that the staff was over-medicating her and she was really out of it from that. I hope they've gotten that taken care of.

    Tracy -- Thanks. I don't know how people can be so cruel. It makes no sense. And to go to school later and laugh about it is just sickening.

    Nancy -- I'm thinking this annoyn is you! :) If not, let me know. Yes, it's very disturbing that there is no jail time for these girls. It's not right. If Rick was their probation officer, I wouldn't let him rest until he made their lives a living hell.

    Erin -- Thanks so much for your comments. Thank God for people like your mom. My hat is off to her, big time!

    Thanks again everyone. Christmas is hard being so far away. It's even more difficult finding a gift for my mom because she literally can't DO anything. She can't eat either, so food is out of the question. And she lives in the CA desert, so it's hot most of the time and blankets and slippers aren't needed that much. About the only thing I can send her are pictures, videos and nightgowns.

  7. I will absolutely keep you and your mom in my thoughts, especially as the holidays get closer.

    I am sure that those pictures and videos bring her more joy than anything else. They would for me if I was in her situation.

  8. That is a heartbreaking story, but thanks for posting it. We've had challenges with nursing home care in our family (nothing as horrific). It's a difficult situation.

    Sending good wishes for your Mom.
    Very sweet picture, by the way.

  9. That is a beautiful picture of three generations, Rena!
    That article does upset me. I don't understand how people can actually do things like that to other human beings! I hope that at least this brings more attention to how the elderly should be treated better and there are more checks and balances on this.
    Your mom and you are in my prayers, Rena!

  10. I'm sorry to hear about your mom, Rena. My dad was in a nursing home, though he recovered enough to return home for three months before he died. Even that was hard; your situation is so much harder. I, too, was incredulous that these kids, at ages 18 or 19, don't get jail time! Is elder abuse less a crime than child abuse?

  11. Thank you for sharing your story about your mom, Rena. I had no idea. God bless her.

    I had not heard about the nursing home story. F*ing kids. I'm sorry for swearing, but there are way too many kids these days who have absolutely no respect for anyone, many times not even themselves. Makes my blood boil.

    My grandfather (Dad's side) spent his last years in a nursing home. He had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. I just remember him being such a kind and funny man.

    Anyway, I hope you're able to see her again soon, Rena.


  12. You and your mom are in my thoughts and prayers...Hugs...

    It is horrible what some people think is fun and how others will go along with it...I hope they get the book thrown at them...

  13. That's so awful. I honestly don't know how people can do those things. Just because someone is in a nursing home or old or incapacitated doesn't mean they are no longer human.

    Sorry to hear about your mom. I hope you get to see her again some day. Sending hugs your way and keeping your mom in my thoughts.

  14. Rena, my prayers are with you and your mom.

    My mother had a stroke, but she only lived about two 1/2 weeks afterwards. She couldn't talk, but she heard, and her eyes spoke volumes. I was able to be with her the time she had left. When people would call, I held the phone to her ear so she could hear. She enjoyed hearing from people who couldn't be there.

    So many parents any more don't teach their children to respect other people. And if their children should be called to face the consequences of their actions, the parents want the children to be excused because, "they're just children, and kids will be kids." It more than sad, it's disgusting.

  15. Oh Rena, How difficult it must be. I think know a little about how you feel. My sister takes care of our mother, who is now mostly bedridden, at home. But at least she can eat and talk.

    As for those hateful, evil teens...a part of me hopes they are treated the same way when they get old and decrepit, but that's not very nice of me, now is it?

  16. Carrie -- Last year we gave her a digital photo frame, so she can have lots of photos in one place. Those things are absolutely wonderful! I love mine too.

    Adrienne -- Thank you. Yes, horrid things go on in a lot of those places. That's what makes it sad because my mom knows that and there's nothing she can do. It's just one of those super sucky situations. After her first stroke, I figured she could "go at anytime" or "drag on for years". I had honestly hoped the latter wouldn't be the case, but it has been.

    Kelly -- Thank you for making me see a "silver lining" about the photo being 3 generations. I hadn't thought about that. Thanks.

    Marcia -- I know what you mean about them needing sticter punishment. I actually emailed Bill O'Reilly on Fox News yesterday with the article and link to my blog. I'm hoping he will pick it up on his show and bring more attention to it. Not sure if he will, but I had to try.

    Gale -- Thanks. I'm sorry to hear you had to deal with your grandfather being in a nursing home. My grandma (mom's side) was in one and it was difficult too. I totally agree with you about kids today. Parents have tried too hard to be their kids' friends, not their parents, and it's taking a toll on society now.

    Brenda -- I hope they do too, but it doesn't sound like they're going to even get jail time. If they do something else, then they might. That's why I was saying if Rick was their parole officer, I'd hope he'd make their lives a living hell. There's just no excuse for abusing the elderly. NONE.

    Stephanie -- Thank you. I'm hoping I can see her again sometime too, but I'm also trying to prepare myself that I won't. It's just one of those things, I guess.

    Vivian -- I agree that people have lost the ability to respect others. We live in such a "what's in it for me" society. You're right that it's more than sad, it's disgusting. It really is.

    Bish -- Boy, do I agree with you on that last statement. What goes around, comes around! Or is it the other way around? The part that really bothered me was when it said they spat in the patients' mouths. What kind of people are they? Are they even people? :(

    Thank you again everyone. I appreciate all your replies.

    And TRACY -- my hat is off to you too for what you posted on the other board about calling your local nursing home to see if you could volunteer your time and bring your kids in to see the residents. You're awesome! Thank you!


  17. Oh, Rena, suspended jail sentences are just not good enough for those creeps. What a horrible thing to happen to those people.

    Your mum is in my thoughts, it must be hard to be alert under those circumstances, my nana was in a nursing home till the end, and I know she hated it a lot of the time, she was such a great nana.