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grandfather were married for a short time, my
mother their only child, and then separation.
They never divorced.
Memere was always a dependant. She lived on
her husband¡¯s pension after he passed away.
She always lived with a relative, including my
parents, and then my family in her later years.
She lived in my home for seven years, follow-
ing my family¡¯s move to California. She was
amazing with my small children. She told
stories of her escapades from her younger days,
stories that I believed were not appropriate
for small ears. She cooked lovely dinners and
made sure that snacks were always available.
She showed the children how to play poker and
board games. She sat with the children and in-
troduced my beautiful four old daughter to the
in¡¯s and out¡¯s of the roller derby - my daughter
would never have heard of the roller derby
without Memere¡¯s influence.
My husband was completing his course work
for obtaining his license to work in California
hospitals as a Chemist, and our budget was
tight. My small daughter would often project
what life would be like when Dad earned his
California license and we could have money.
She would buy Dad a black horse, Mom would
have a white horse, Mike, her brother, would
have a brown horse and Memere would have
her goat.
My daughter would recite this distribution of
gifts often, but why would Memere get a goat?
Then I over heard the rational. Memere would
tire of the small children not fitting into her
world view and proclaim ¡°you kids are getting
my goat¡±. Evidently my daughter thought that
Memere¡¯s goat was missing.
My small children grew and left home, but
Memere remained. I was in the midst of a busy
career and often out of town. This left my hus-
band to deal with Memere¡¯s declining health.
Her last years were not pleasant. She suffered
from dementia - not easy when life is supposed
to be the very best - kids grown and gone - lots
of energy left to enjoy life¡¯s pleasures. She
would have night terrors, one night screaming
that her dress was missing and she would not
be ready. I hurried into her bedroom to find her
with all her dresses on, one over another.
Health & Nurturing
2014 June
Pg 7 - The Sunshine Express
She was looking for her red one.
I took her dresses off, one by one,
the blue, the green, the purple,
until we got to her robe and
nightgown. ¡°There¡¯s the red one!¡±
and back to bed.
When we could no longer care for
her, she was admitted to a care
facility. My husband dropped
by daily after work. I joined him
after my day. She would then ask
my husband how ¡°what¡¯s her
name was¡±, and he would reply
that I was rubbing her arms with
lotion. She would then reply ¡°oh
yes, that was the nurse from last evening.¡±
What lessons did this amazing woman leave for
me? As I reflect on the influence of her experiences,
it occurs to me that life is not always predictable.
I saw in her simple life a challenge to become all
that I was gifted with. I understood that limitations
were only there if a person allowed it to be. I choose
a more positive approach to life choices. I choose
health and happiness, no matter what lay before me.
What has influenced you in your life choices? How
has these experiences determined your path to hap-
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