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Every once in a while



So we were off to a day long, mostly; out of town event this week. I can't remember the last time we were away for most of the day. I don't like leaving Kira at this point, but it had to be done.


There is a lot going on here at the shack. I had hoped to be able to do a lot of this when I am home full time but things have just moved along at a pace of their own and we go with the flow.


A very dear friend passed over the weekend. She was 92 and had been failing for the past month, so it truly was a blessing. Her daughter and son-in-law had been her primary caregivers for the past two years.


Ann is like a second mother to Bruce. Her family and Bruce's family were farm workers. Their homes were on the farm and right next door to each other. When the farm went bust, Ann's son brought the property right behind the family homes and built his home there.


When Bruce's parents were divorced, his Dad went back to Vermont to work the Sparks family farm and his mother was forced to take a second job as a seamstress. Bruce was at Ann's home every single day, after school and most weekends. When I say Ann's daughter and son are Bruce's sister and brother, not biologically, but it is really true. And the three of them and us in-laws remain very close.


Before Bruce's stroke, I don't think two months would go by without us going to see the family an hour away in CT or them coming down to our house. And after the stroke, before Ann really began to fail, she called weekly and send cards all the time. So this was important.


I really didn't give Bruce a choice. But I think he was just waiting for my lead. There are times when he does consider how much work all of this Caregiving is. When he has something to focus on, some responsibility or connection with daily life, he really does best.


We missed PT last week because the truck wouldn't start and it was blocking the Honda - LOL. Another story. That damn truck will be the death of me - LOL. The services at the cemetary for Ann, an hour away, were for about 11am. I knew going to the funeral home, then the procession, services at the burial would be way too much, but I took Bruce to PT and brought a clothing change. Washed him up in the BR, toilet, change clothes and off we went. We were able to find good parking right next to the site so Bruce could hear and see the services. We went to Ann's son's home for a gathering later.


Now this is the rural CT hills. Roads and driveways are gravel and everything is on some sort of hill. We have been to Skip's house since the stroke. There is no getting Bruce into this home, front and back entries are at least a story off the driveway. But there is a wonderful patio right off the driveway, under the upper deck that we have used many times. Plus there was plenty of help to get Bruce in the WC over the gravel driveway.


I spent most of Tuesday afternoon packing for the day. I explained to Bruce everything I was bringing and why. The main issue, of course, toiletting. We can't get into the house. In the past we would just clear the patio - it was all family anyway, but for the services there were going to be many there that did not understand. And of course Bruce would want to share a beer with his friends and family.


The day was perfect. It was very humid and we were both exhausted when we finally got home. Kira must have slept most of the day - probably happy for the peace and quiet - LOL. Bruce was so thrilled he was able to go and pay his respects to the woman who has been so important in his life and a wonderful friend and mentor. To be able to spend time with his "brother and sister" who so love him, and their families. Debbie


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Debbie, there are special people in all of our lives who have blessed us in such a way that we need to acknowledge that on their death. I am glad Bruce was able to pay this tribute to a wonderful woman who had been such an influence for good in his life. And that you were able to enable that to happen.

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Sounds like a great trip and a good time was enjoyed by all which is always a good thing in my opinion!! I do think the truck may be in need of a new battery or driven more often...


The winters there may take a toll on batteries when a vehicle is not driven very often once or twice a week!! A small price battery charger is a good thing to have around rather than spending big bucks on a new battery these days...


I can see Bruce enjoying this special outing with family folks!!! She lived a long and fruitful life to reach 92 years of age!!

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Definitely exhausting for anyone but especially a caregiver and survivor. But it's the things like this that bring a bit of normalcy and richness to our lives and I'm glad you and Bruce have those memories to share with your family. "Adopted" family can mean more sometimes than the one we were born into!


You and Bruce are one rockin' team! Go team Sparks!!!

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Thank you all for your kind words. Bruce is still talking about it, so I know how important this was for him.


When we were cleaning out, I found a framed photo of an eighth grade class, with the picture of a little boy in the corner. It really was a lovely presentation. But I knew from the picture, the date and a Vermont school, it wasn't Bruce. It is Skip's Dad. We were able to return that on Wednesday and both Skip and Diane were thrilled.


There are pieces of nice furniture here that belong to Skip's family. Bruce was Executor to Skip's Aunt and when she died, he must have cleaned out her quarters at the farm and just brought everything to his house, since he was closer in distance. And Skip just found a trunk of Sparks' family stuff that his Dad must have brought back from Vermont when he was visiting Bruce's Dad. So needless to say, this family is close! Skip and I agreed that with the two pickups, we need to get this stuff straightened out. But I have it all in our wills and everything is tagged, so if something happens, Skip's family will get their belongings back - LOL.


Fred: friend Carl replaced the battery in the truck just last year. One of the battery cables snapped. The Row N Tow mechanic jury-rigged it to stay attached until I can get it to my mechanic - next Tuesday. But Bruce's close friend asked me not to drive it (after we had just returned from a trip down Interstate 95, many potholes) fearing the copper piece shoved into the cable head will jar loose, not where we want to get stranded - LOL. So for a few days tops, I won't push my luck.


And yes, I admit I do get caught up in the day to day goings on. Sometimes just so tired. But I do try to pay attention to the things that are truly important. Again thank you. Debbie

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Sorry for the loss of your dear friend, but glad you were able to make it to services. As tough as it gets to get out and about, sometimes it's just "grin and bear it." Sarah

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Debby, Bob also lost a cousin this last week. This was the first family death/wedding he has been able to do anything with. The visitation was from 6-8 and we went - him wearing a catheter bag for the long drive(45 min), 2 hrs there, eat out, long drive home. Funeral was 10am next day - no way, we were destroyed from the previous night's effort. Would have been nice to make the after gathering at the home with family, and perhaps could have if it had been like a 1pm funeral, and after that. But the earliness of the funeral was also early by the time the after part happened. We laid low all day, eating, tv, reading, napping. Bob had a great time, getting to see his relatives, though, he was always a social butterfly, and used to being in the public. Me... well, my trips to haul in what we need is about all the public I can stand...

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We had a double funeral this week, first the husband and then the wife, bothwithin less than a week...part two, all the way back to Queens, tomorrow. You have to thank God for every extra day.

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Colleen and Sandy: I am so sorry for your losses. Even services in one's hometown are difficult, but for all of us to have to go out of town makes the prep and the unloading a bit more difficult.


Yes, thankful for every day we are blessed with. Debbie

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Good you were able to take Bruce Debbie. I hope it was not too difficult for him.


We have not gone to any close friends/relatives funeral yet. Most of Larry's relatives live in Indiana and it would be a long 8 hour drive.



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