Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site https://familysearch.org This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
Since April 2010, I have served in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click http://mormon.org/

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Eulogy for Our Mother, A Life Well Lived


We were blessed with wonderful parents who taught us principles that have guided and helped us throughout our lives. I love, honor and respect my parents. The things I will be mentioning are things that I personally remember or that I remember Mom telling me.

Our mother was born as Dorothy May Ing on 5 May 1920, shortly after World War I. It was a very different world than we live in today. Her parents were pioneer settlers in the dry belt where the communities of Kirriemuir and Altario were soon established. It was a frontier existence. Later, she survived the great depression and WWII, and other major challenges in life.

Her ability to make lasting friendships, and her memory for names and dates was so amazing that we used to joke that if she was dropped off on a deserted island, and you returned a few hours later, you would find her surrounded by new friends and she would know their birth dates and anniversaries, and probably those of all their children!

Her parents moved to the Breton area in 1934. Dorothy and her siblings had to walk 6 kilometres to school at the sawmill town of Antross. Fortunately, in the coldest weather they could stop at the home of a kindly neighbor lady, who usually had cookies for the Ing children. This gave them a chance to warm up somewhat before continuing their journey. Dorothy finished grade 8 in Antross school, the highest grade offered there.  At school they were taught rapid calculation. So Mom was a whiz at doing mental arithmetic. I wish I had that skill!

At age 15 it was time to find employment. She went to work on the Andrew Olson dairy farm at Lone Ridge, near Pigeon Lake for three years. She often had to lift cream cans that were half her own weight. This injured her back, and she sometimes had back pains because of it many years later. The Olsons enjoyed making "long milk", a form of yogurt popular in their native Norway. So Mom was making yogurt 20 years before we could buy it in the grocery stores here. (I found this interesting, as I learned to enjoy yogurt while living in Switzerland in the 1960s, and it was years before you could buy yogurt in grocery stores in Canada. These days some stores have a whole yogurt department.) So she was a pioneer yogurt maker, maybe one of the first in Canada.

Dorothy and her sister Violet and their friend Mrs. Floyd Maine worked as cooks in lumber camps. Some photos still survive of the cooks standing on a pile of logs holding tools used by the lumberjacks.

She married George Buchanan on 22 Feb 1941 and I was born in 1942, followed by four more children over the next 10 years. The earliest home I remember was a log house on our farm 7 miles west of Breton. During the winter Dad would work in the lumber camps for wages and Mom would stay home and run the farm. She could fix almost everything.

Among my earliest memories was seeing her mark the date on the calendar that Uncle Walter would return home from the war. Another early memory was the excitement when Sexton’s store brought in some bananas. Because of the war, no one had seen tropical fruit for several years. Now things were starting to return to normal.

As a young child, I remember her and Dad discussing some of their favorite poems from the school readers, including the Inchcape Rock, where a pirate meets his deserved doom, and Abu Ben Adam where a good man is loved by God because of his love for his fellow man. Their love of reading passed along to me and other family members. My son Rob wrote and published a lengthy novel. And most of my family love reading.

My parents enjoyed visiting their friends and neighbors, and would often play board games or card games. Cribbage, hearts, and canasta were among their favorites. And they loved community dances. The young children would play in a corner of the hall while the adults danced to the intense beat of a polka or the slow rhythms of a waltz, or to a schottische or a Virginia reel, or whatever came next.

Life on the farm was not all fun and games. In fact, it was very hard work. Dad had no tractor or car at this time, so all of the work was done by hand, with the help of their trusty team of horses, Pet and Dobbin. 

When I was in Grade 2, Reg and I walked 2 miles each way to catch the school van. On one occasion Reg and I decided that we would play hookey. Instead of walking all the way to Kubejko's corner, we played until we thought it was lunch time and ate our lunch and then played some more. We were surprised that our mother figured out that we had not spent the day at school, when we arrived back home about noon. It was hard to put one over on Mom!

Mom enjoyed berry picking and on our farm there a large patch of saskatoon bushes along the creek. She made them into delicious pies and jam.

When Dad’s brother Jack and his wife Tina moved to Edmonton in 1951, we moved onto their farm, which had a new house that was built by Dad and Jack and their late father. There was no electrical service on the farms west of Breton at that time. But the new house was in the school division so the school bus came to our house. Life could not get much better!

She had a .22 rifle but I only remember her using it once. An owl was threatening her chickens, and she killed it with a single shot. I remember that this owl had a huge wingspan. By the way, this was at night, and she could see the silhouette of the owl against the sky. We were impressed by the accuracy of her shooting.

In 1951 Pearson’s sawmill in Breton closed down so Mom and Dad took a motor trip to BC with their friends the Zwiers family looking for work. The wind was so strong in the foothills that they parked the two cars to form a wind break to keep the tent from blowing over. And in the mountains, the engine of Dad’s Model A Ford would overheat, and they would need to pull over and stop to give the engine a chance to cool down. To the children it was an adventure. One of the Zwiers girls recalled, “We all begged to be allowed to ride in Buchanan's car mainly because it was older and broke down a lot. We could do a lot of things during a break down. When I was finally allowed to ride with them Dad's carload [went ahead and] stopped to wait for us, they had an ice cream cone while waiting. Needless to say we did not have time to stop for one. Boy was I ever mad!”

Then in 1952, Dad got a job as a pipe fitter’s helper in the “oil patch” in Camrose and he came home on weekends.

In 1953, we followed Dad to Camrose. We lived in a mobile home park in a skid shack. It was about the size of tiny holiday trailer and laid out in a similar fashion. It must have been extremely awkward for Mom, but she took it in good humor. There was barely enough room on the floor for the seven of us to sleep. During the summer, we older kids slept in a tent which gave more room for Mom and Dad and the two smallest children. School started late that year because of the polio epidemic. Dad was able to buy a 1938 Ford V8, a much more practical car than the slow old Model A.

Camrose was tough for us children, so after several months Mom and Dad gave up a steady income to return to the farm. Then Dad received a job offer at Edgewater Sawmills in BC through Chris Zwiers. Before school started, we had moved to a mountain paradise. Mom and Dad formed lasting friendships there too.

We had a square dancing club with the Zwiers, Shelstom, and Pattison families, who all had children of about the same age. We did a variety of different kinds of dances and it must have looked funny to see adults dancing sometimes with young children, but it was a lot of fun.

In the summer, we sometimes had multi-family picnics, and Dorothy’s potato salad was a perennial favorite. Dad liked her chocolate cake, whereas I was more partial to her pies and cookies. If our route home took us through Radium, we would sometimes stop at the CreeMee for soft serve ice cream, which was a new thing at the time. I also remember us attending movies as a family, sitting in our car together at the Radium Drive In Theatre.

Mom was an avid gardener, berry picker, and canner of fruits and vegetables. Edgewater had an excellent climate for gardening, and she loved it.

Edgewater was a sawmill town and there were very few jobs for women. Mom managed to earn a little money each November by bundling Christmas trees for shipment, and some summers she worked cleaning cabins in Radium. When tying Christmas trees, we wore a finger ring that included tiny knife blade for cutting the twine. One year she earned enough to buy a new kitchen table and chairs that she needed.

Mom decided to wall-paper the house we were renting, and I remember us kids helping her to remove the 7 previous layers of wallpaper. What a job!  But the results were very nice.

After renting for three years, they decided to build a house, so they bought a double lot, and they bought the old Edgewater medical clinic and moved it onto the lot. Mom helped Dad build three bedrooms onto it. This home is still in use more than 60 years later.

So Mom was not only a home maker, she was also a home builder! She had previously helped Dad to build a house in Breton, and now she helped him to build a house in Edgewater.

In 1969 Mom and Dad were asked to come back to Breton to take care of Dad’s brother Jack, who had serious health problems. Jack passed away in 1974 and Dad followed in 1975.

Mom was an athlete too, and not just in horseshoe pitching, at our Ing family reunions! She was a competitive bowler, bocce ball player, and floor curler. In fact one of the difficulties with moving to Leduc was the need to get rid of her large collection of sports trophies. She bowled in Drayton Valley for 30 years. Twice her bocce ball team competed in the Alberta Seniors Games. They won a bronze medal one year in Airdrie and gold the next in Lethbridge. In Breton the Seniors had a 14-passenger van that they used for trips. Mom lived an active life during her retirement years.

She learned to drive after Dad’s death. Imagine learning to drive at age 55! It gave her the mobility to look after her own needs and to travel to see friends and family members. She even made some trips to Edgewater to visit friends there.

She recalled an incident when the grandchildren were small. Richard, Evelyn and Jason were quarreling over a riding toy. Jason jumped on it and rode away. She found this very amusing.

In 1990 Mom sold the house and moved into the Breton seniors apartments on Willow Drive. Her sister Violet Matthews joined her in an apartment across the hall, which made it very convenient for us to visit them both. They were lovely visits. She and Vi were especially close, best friends as well as sisters. Vi was her companion when she came to our family events, such as holidays, baptisms, and later missionary farewells and home-comings, and weddings.

She was a great quilter and made quilts for all the babies in the family.

In 2009, as their health was declining, Mom and Vi moved into Planeview Manor in Leduc. Later Mom moved into Extendicare, where she has lived for the past few years.

I attended church with her in Edgewater. I think she has always believed in God, and had faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior. During her trip to England with her mother in 1970, they stayed with her aunt’s family. The five of them must have filled the tiny Austin Mini to capacity, as they passed the hours on the road singing traditional English hymns.

She has always been a very loving person, deeply interested in her family and friends and her community. She belonged to the Edgewater Senior Citizens Club, Edgewater Radium Hospital Auxiliary, and the Breton Golden Age Club.

Mom has always had the courage and confidence to move forward. In recent years she has told us that she was ready to move on to a better place. This past three years have been a difficult trial for her, with a serious decline in her abilities, and with Vi’s death.

I love and honor my mother. Thank you Mom! Shortly, we will lay your body in the grave but your spirit is now enjoying the company of Dad and other loved ones who have gone before. You are now free from the infirmities of old age. We will miss you, but we know you will never be far away!


Other family members recalled:

In her 98 years of life my Mom saw the whole world change both socially and technologically.
She grew up in a generation and an era when struggle and doing without was not unusual but normal. Mom learned early that you had to be strong and when hard times came you had to push through them with the belief that things would get better.
Mom went from the age of horse and buggy to the modern age. She lived in an era where friends were counted on for help and in turn they could count on her. Mom was a strong person but never confused kindness and compassion with weakness. Mom made friends easily and most of them lasted a lifetime. She was community minded and took part in any activities she could where ever she lived.
Mom always knew when it was time to move on to the next chapter in her life as her health and age dictated.
Mom was always there for us, always loving and caring.


One of my favorite memories was when grandma came to stay with Rob, Andrew, James and me during the summer of 1986.  You and Mom took Blaine and Evelyn to BC for Expo 86 and to visit Ryan Hillaby. 
Grandma taught Rob and I to play Crazy Rummy.  Every night we would put the little boys to bed and then Rob and I stayed up late playing cards with Grandma.  Rob just wasn't having any luck and hadn't won a game all week.  On the last night of Grandma's visit we stayed up extra late to give Rob one last chance.  It was after 1 am when Rob finally won and we headed off to bed.  We laughed about that visit and our card games for years after!
Grandma always had a wonderful outlook on life.  She told me many times that she had no regrets in life.  She had people she loved who loved her back.  She said the only thing she would have changed is she wished she could have had more years with her husband.


My favorite memories of Grandma are not any specific event, but I always loved Grandma and Aunt Vi coming to visit us, bringing carmel popcorn, and playing cards with us. Some of our favorite family games like Canasta, were from Grandma getting the family together and teaching them how to play cards and just socializing and spending time together.
I also thought it was really neat that Grandma liked to bowl and had earned many trophies.
She was the only grandparent that I really got to know and I will miss her but I am grateful for the wonderful life she was able to live and the example she was to our family.



Friday, May 25, 2018

Mom's Obituary


Dorothy May Buchanan
May 5, 1920 – May 20, 2018

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of our beautiful mother and friend on the evening of Sunday, May 20, 2018 at the remarkable age of 98 years. For the past few years, Leduc had become her home, but the majority of her years were spent in the Breton area. Together, Dorothy and her husband George worked extremely hard and were blessed to have raised five children. 1975 was a difficult year for Dorothy and her family, as they grieved the loss of her husband George. In time, the family grew to include 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Dorothy will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by her children, Bill (Judy), Reg (Carol), Lloyd, Ed (Michelle) and Judy (Bernie) Tetreau along with their families; sister, Myrtle (Evans) Carson, numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and many life-long friends. She was predeceased by her loving husband, George; sisters, Marion and Violet and brothers, Walter and Charlie.  Funeral Services will be held at Breton Community Hall on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. with interment to follow at Breton Cemetery.  For those who so desire, memorial contributions in Dorothy’s honour may be made directly to the Breton Community Hall Building Fund or to the Breton Golden Age Club  Condolences may be sent to www.serenity.ca  Arrangements in care of Joelle Valliere, Funeral Director at:
SERENITY FUNERAL SERVICE
DRAYTON VALLEY
780.542.3338     www.serenity.ca

There will be a viewing at 12:00 noon.
The casket will be closed during the funeral service.

                                                             

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Happy 98th Birthday Mom!

On Saturday we had a little birthday party for my mother. Eighteen members of her family were there, including one son from Cranbrook, one from Calgary, a grandson for High River, and the rest of us from the Edmonton area. This gave us a chance to get caught up on the family news and my youngest brother showed us the photos he took last month in China. It was also the first chance in a long time to take photos of Mom with her five children.

Mom was tired, as you can see in the photo. After an hour and a half she asked us to take her to her room. We love you Mom, thank you for being the wonderful person that you are!


Friday, April 06, 2018

5-Generations, Thoughts of Drumquin

5 GENERATIONS

On Good Friday we were finally able to coordinate our schedules so that three families could make a trip to visit my mother. She is now 97, soon to be 98.

There were two car loads of us. My granddaughter, T, was especially anxious to get a 5-generation photo with her new baby. We found Mom sitting at a table in the dining room and brought her into the TV/social room to visit and take some photos. She was somewhat disoriented but my daughter, L, has a special talent for communication, and we visited with Mom from about 10:15-11:00 am. She kept asking us where her sister Vi was, and whether she would come and visit her today. She deeply misses her deceased sister, who was her best friend and constant companion at family outings and social events for the past 40 years. This past year or two has been very hard on my mother.


DRUMQUIN

After returning home I looked at youtube videos of Druquin, County Tyrone, Ireland and sent the following to my family:

Dear Family,

On Youtube, I came across some beautiful videos of this village where some of our family lived in the 1840s, and where we have DNA matches with the Buchanans of Kirlish and Cooel. The flight video shows churches and other sights that would have been familiar to our family. (William Buchanan and Anne Thompson were married in the Lower Langfield church on 24 Mar 1846.)

Besides the aerial views, I enjoyed the haunting melody and words of "The Hills Above Drumquin", which includes references to Cooel (now pronounced "cool") and Kirlish and Langfield. I am seldom described as "sentimental" but it actually brought a tear to my eye.

I hope you enjoy it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-J67ToqtnE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MisnvnixvF0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64nwdhuUKEo

Love,
Dad/Grandpa/Bill
blog: http://billbuchanan.blogspot.com
site: http://billbuchanan.x10.mx

EASTER

That evening we had a special musical program to celebrate Easter, entitled "He Is Risen". Some of our family members were in the choir. I was surprised at the difficulty of finding a parking spot for the car and seats for the two of us in the chapel. It was a thrilling retelling of the age-old story of Christ's love, his suffering for our sins and our hurts, and his victory over death. Christ lives!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Louisa Ellen Wright



Grandma impressed me as a person of great inward strength and courage. She had seen both poverty and wealth.  In England, she worked as a servant for some wealthy families, one was named Stokes. Lady Stokes entertained royalty from other countries - with their fine clothes and all their jewelry. The ladies often wore heavy silk dresses, so stiff that the dresses could probably stand up even if no one was wearing them. They also wore necklaces of diamonds or pearls. The gentlemen were elegantly dressed as well, with diamond cufflinks, tie pins, etc. Louisa worked in the kitchen, but the girls who served the tables would leave the door open a crack so that the kitchen help (like Louisa) could enjoy the spectacle too. The milk delivery man would call “Milko, Milko” as he approached the house. This was good until the parrot learned to imitate his call, sending the cooks on many false errands. Then he’d laugh at them!

Louisa was engaged to marry Wally, a merchant sailor on the "Montezuma" and the future looked good. But on his last voyage before their marriage, he was drowned when the boat capsized while returning to the ship one night. It has been speculated that the sailors had been too boisterous, leading to the tragedy, but we do not know. Apparently Wally’s body was never found, just his cap with his name in it. He had signed everything over to Louisa because of their impending marriage, but she refused to accept it, sending everything to his widowed mother. Louisa had an oil painting of the Montezuma, which she kept throughout her life and I later inherited it.


Louisa’s life had been turned upside down by this tragedy, but life goes on. Later, someone suggested that she write to Richard Ing, a young single man they knew, who had moved to Canada as a boy, about 15 years previously, and who had sent money for passage to Canada to his mother and his sister just a few years previously. “Dick” and “Lou” wrote letters back and forth, and finally he proposed, asking her to come to Canada and marry him.

On her trip to Canada, the Salvation Army band on shore played "God be with you 'til we meet again", as the ship left port. They could hear it far out to sea. When the band on the ship asked for requests, one of the porters always requested "Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?", thinking of his missing son. On the ship she looked after a little girl named Dorothy [Wilson], who was traveling to Canada. Louisa’s daughter Dorothy was named after her. One day little Dorothy was skipping on the deck, when her shoe flew off her foot and into the ocean.

She was a passenger on the White Star Line’s Laurentic, Tonnage: 9254, Total adult passengers: 1543, Leaving Liverpool, June 24th 1913, to Quebec. (The Titanic disaster was probably on the minds of many.)


The passenger manifest of the RMS Laurentic describes her as: Wright, Louisa age 28; travelling with the Salvation Army group; Single; To be married to R. Ing, Wilhelmina, Alta; Born in England, English; Landing in Montreal, Que; Employed as a Maid in UK and as a Maid in Canada; Religion: Church of England; Travelling from port by Canadian Pacific Railway.

Richard knew when Louisa should arrive at the closest railway station, which was at Macklin, Saskatchewan, and travelled there with friends from Kirriemuir, Alberta, to be ready to meet his bride and get married. But the railway journey from Montreal ran into a problem. Somewhere north of Lake Superior, a landslide had blocked the railway tracks. It took several hours to clear the tracks so that the train could continue its journey. As a result, it was almost midnight when the train arrived at Macklin, and so Louisa and Richard were married at the minister’s house at midnight. Louisa was horrified to discover that the trunk holding her wedding dress could not be found, so she was married in the dress that she was travelling in.

During the night they were awakened by the sound of shouting and pounding on the roof. “It’s the Indians, isn’t it?”, she asked anxiously, expecting to be scalped any minute.  Richard laughed. “No it is probably just my friends.” He was right, of course. Friends had come to celebrate the wedding.
The next day, they made the trip to Richard’s homestead cabin. This was a much humbler place to work than the mansions where she had served in England. But this small framed-lumber house was hers. And some neighborhood homes were sod cabins or dug-outs, so a framed lumber house looked very good in comparison.

Richard’s brother James Ing’s family lived nearby. When Louisa first visited them, Jim’s wife Jane was in the garden on her hand and knees with her face in a row of vegetables. “Whatever is Jane doing?”, she asked. “Her eyesight is very poor, and she is weeding her garden”, he explained. Aunty Jane soon became completely blind, but she continued to do nearly all of her household tasks except for taking the bread out of the oven. Uncle Jim looked after this. The two families remained very close, so that as the children grew up the cousins were almost like siblings.

Richard loved to tease. Jim’s children were favorite targets. They were in a quandry, “What will we do if Aunty Lou can’t stand his teasing and decides to go back to England?” They discussed it and decided “We will still call her Aunty Lou!” They did not need to worry. Louisa was there to stay. They had a wonderful marriage full of love and laughter. Their children said that they could not remember either parent spanking any of the children.

Times were difficult. They lived in one of the areas hardest hit by drought. In fact they moved in the 1920s to avoid the drought, only to be overtaken by the drought again and again. Finally they moved to the Norbuck area in the late 1930s, where they farmed until their retirement to Breton about 1948.
They saw their two sons and two of their sons-in-law join the army to fight in World War 2. They had no way of knowing that all four would return safely, but we thank God that they did.

I remember as a young child, visiting them on their farm. There was a frame house and a log house. Used 22 shells had been pounded into the ends of some of the logs to spell out initials. I thought that was very clever. Grandma kept milk cold in a pan sitting in a small creek that flowed through the farm. And they had a 3-legged dog that had lost a leg in an accident, but could still run and play.

The house in Breton was a frame house that had a living room, kitchen/dining room, bedroom and guests room. Both houses had the Montezuma painting and the old mantle clock. And on the wall, were words from the patriotic song, “There Will Always Be an England.”
There'll always be an England
While there's a country lane,
Wherever there's a cottage small
Beside a field of grain.
There'll always be an England
While there's a busy street,
Wherever there's a turning wheel,
A million marching feet. …
There'll always be an England,
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.

Louisa believed in the importance of daily prayers, and her bedtime prayer was usually
“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
She taught this prayer to me, and when she was in her 90s I found her offering this same prayer.

Louisa loved to sing, and she sang constantly throughout the day as she did her work. Even when she was down on her knees scrubbing the floor she would be singing. She often sang the hymns "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?"

She set a powerful example, in my opinion.

Obituary
On Jan. 26, 1986, Louisa Ellen Ing of Wetaskiwin passed away at the age of 101 years. Louisa Ing was born in London, England, December 12, 1884, came to Canada in 1913 and married Richard Ing. The first 12 years of their marriage they lived on the prairie in the Kirriemuir district moving to Breton and Wetaskiwin in the later years. She spent ten years in Stony Plain Nursing Home, coming to Wetaskiwin Auxiliary Hospital last April.

In her younger years she was an avid gardener and loved to grow flowers. She loved to sing, especially the old country songs which she sang until just a few months ago. She enjoyed her family and on her 100th birthday had a party with all her family there. She leaves to mourn her loss her loving family Marion of Wetaskiwin, Walter of Breton, Charlie of Breton, Dorothy of Breton, Violet of Winfield and Myrtle of Clive, 18 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Richard in 1967 and two grandsons.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

One of my favorite love stories from our Buchanan family history

I wrote this for another purpose and then decided to include it in my blog.



In 1903 William Andrew Buchanan was 29 years old, single, and owned a blacksmith shop in Neepawa, Manitoba. 

The family of George Watson stopped for a few months to visit relatives in the area, while George went on west looking for opportunities in the Northwest Territories in the vicinity of Edmonton. Bill Buchanan was totally smitten by the 22-year old daughter Elizabeth Jane Watson. 

Bill sold his business, and when the George Watson family moved west to Leduc, he followed them and on 3 May 1905, Bill & Lizzie were married in Edmonton. They had 4 children, my father was the oldest.

Lizzie suffered from asthma, and in 1920 they moved to Tacoma, Washington, perhaps in the hope that she would benefit from a change in climate. Unfortunately, she died there of kidney failure in 1923, and Bill brought the family back to Alberta. 

Bill was only 49 years old and in good health and owned his own business. His youngest child was only 11 years old. Most men in his circumstances would have remarried but he never did.

Apparently no woman could replace Lizzie, who was the love of his life.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Wonderful Visit with My Mother

My mother, aged 97, has lived in an extended care facility for about 5 years.
This morning I had the best visit with her that I have had for the past year or so.

We arrived about 10 am and stayed until 11 am. She was in the cafeteria when we arrived, so we moved her to the visiting area. Mom knew who we were and was perfectly alert.  I read her some of my early memories and we were able to talk about old times. We were able to ask her about things and she was able to us about things. It was like old times.

Our visits with her before Christmas were not so good. We were uncertain whether she recognized us.

But our visit when we came with Laurel's family on January 2nd went much better. We arrived about 10:15 and we stayed for about a half hour. She recognized us, and we explained that Tananda and Nathan are expecting their baby in late February, which will be Mom's first great-great grandchild. We took some "4.8" generation photos.

Apparently, my brother Ed and his wife visited her at Christmas, and she did not recognize them and told them to go away.

James and Karin visited her on January 4th, and had a good visit, although Mom couldn't remember who was pregnant.


Those of you who have loved ones suffering from dementia, know what this is like. Sometimes, there are good days and there are bad days. We have found that visits early in the day work best, before she gets tired. And during our best recent visits I have read written accounts of my early life, which trigger her memories.

I love my mother and I am grateful for the wonderful example she has been throughout my life. In recent months we have felt that she is slipping away from us. It is a real blessing to have a visit like the one today.