Tag Archive | family

Through Grandma’s Eyes

DSC_6475Eyes in wonder of a mind long lost to the consequences of time.  That is what I see when I look in my grandmother’s eyes.  A mind in turmoil.  Saddened.  Lost.  Confused.  Scared.  Sometimes at peace and sometimes filled with anger.  All the stages that someone with Alzheimer’s go through.  At least I reckon so.

We don’t honestly know what goes on in someone’s mind.  Not when they are lucid so definitely not when the sands of time have taken their toll.

I wonder what is behind these eyes.  Is she trapped in a world where she knows what is going on but cannot break through?  Something similar to “Locked in” syndrome.  Is she just as lost in her own mind as much as she appears to be?  Does she know that her mind is fading?  Did she know?

It would seem her days of knowing us at all have completely gone.  She still seems to recognize my grandpa, or at least has an idea of his importance to her.  She is often concerned about him getting in trouble. When I am there, she’s constantly telling him that he needs to get home, or that he needs to get to bed.  That he shouldn’t be up there.  We laugh, but I know we all hold our sadness.  The mind of a woman we love is long gone from the woman we knew.

My grandpa still sits with her ever day.  I would expect no less.  They have been married for almost 70 years.  Fools tell him he needs a break.  He probably does, but the love of his life is not at home, she is there-in a nursing home.  One that should be reprimanded for many of reasons.  He is there because she is there.  He is there to make sure she is taken care of…the way that it should be.  I would want that.  And again, I would expect no less from the man I call grandpa.

I took these pictures yesterday.  I did what I consider heavy editing.  I wanted them to reflect the sadness, the loss, the emptiness, and yet…the beauty I see when I look at them. I hope that I was able to portray that in these photos.  Most importantly, I hope that you like them too.  DSC_6476
Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

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Never Easy

DSC_0900Just after 10pm, the news that was expected for years finally came.  It has been over a decade since the initial diagnosis.  Seems like forever, doesn’t it?  Every year, there was news…rarely ever good news.  The cancer was here and now it is there.  The chemo is not working. The radiation is not working.  Then there was hope and then it was dashed.  A roller coaster for well over 10 years. So this day should not have been any surprise. But then there was a blood clot.   DSC_09152A blood cot. How is that for an ironic twist?  The man lived with cancer for over 10 years only to be taken to his bed by a blood clot.  One that they could not get to because of the cancer.  Yeah…Was it the blood clot?  Was it the cancer? Truth is, it was probably both.  Now it does not matter, my uncle is gone.  DSC_0914Even though I knew this day was coming, it doesn’t make it any easier.  And for the first time, I really don’t know what I should say.  What do you say to your dad whom just lost his brother?  Your grandpa who is watching is wife fade away and now has to bury his son?  Parents aren’t supposed to bury children, right?  So what do you say?  I honestly do not know.

Tears are light, not because I do not care. I do care. I am upset, but I knew the day was coming.  I also know this is the second uncle in just under two months that I have to say goodbye to. Not to mention all the other BS that life keeps throwing at me.  I’m tired.  I’m numb and I’m at a loss for all the things that I’m supposed to say.  For how I am supposed to be reacting.  Who, or what, determines that anyway?DSC_0894The only thing that I know…one of the strongest men I know has finally closed his eyes for the last time.  He no longer has to deal with the pain that came with his daily routine.  He can rest.  So go rest high on that mountain, Uncle Mark.  You have fought long and hard.  You lived long past what they said you would.  You have earned the right to rest, but thank you for fighting as hard as you did and for as long as you did.  You are loved. You are missed, but rest.  It is time.

Montana Rose Photography

Family

An aunt and uncle.  The aunt married into the family.  Both have pretty serious health issues, both stay out late at pool matches.  I’m not sure what that says about me, because the night I took these pictures it was somewhere around 8 or nine Indiana time and I was ready for bed.  They on the other hand were off to the pool hall so that my uncle could play pool.  Something that he and one of my cousins have done for as long as I can remember.  Whatever keeps you young, I suppose.  I should find something like that.  However, to be fair…my uncle was dozing off while we were there.

She on the other hand…always vibrant and full of life. At least while we are around. She is one of those very perky and positive people.  One that always seems to be on the up end of hill.  Sometimes, I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I am sure that makes me sound like a horrible person, but I’m also sure that I’m not alone.  Maybe I am.  I mean, don’t get me wrong…I think that it is amazing that she is always so perky…but just sometimes.  She’s often at a 12 on a scale of 1-10 and I wish that she’d dial it back to an 8.

Truth is, I probably wouldn’t actually change it.  It is who she is and there are way too many people out there that try to change how others are.  There are also way too many negative people out there (I’m guilty of that myself) and it is good to have perky people in the mix.

Either way they are family and that is where we are with that.

 

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

A Fighter….

DSC_0916A cliché title for an all too familiar story.  Cancer and the person that it is trying to claim.

I never really knew if I would actually get a chance to take these pictures.  I honestly didn’t think it would come.  I work so much that it is hard on me to drive several hours to visit people.  I mainly want to curly up in a ball to sleep, but that is neither here nor there.  The point is, I rarely get over there and I figured that the next time I was able to…well, I figured it would be too late.  That was never my intent, it just seems to be how my life works out for me sometimes.  Anyway, here is the man.

My uncle.  Mark, early sixties, father of one. He has been battling cancer since 2010.  At least that is when we found out about it and by then it was already stage four.  I suspect he had it for sometime, but he was one of those that rarely went to the doctor.  And now he has more visits than anyone person should ever have to endure.

When the family was first informed, he had stage four liver and colon cancer.  Chemo and surgery appeared to have worked, but then the cancer manifested else where.  That is how it has been since the family found out.  Chemo and radiation, cancer moves else where.  I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t sitting here wondering if this has been the truth.  He doesn’t want people to worry about him; especially, my grandpa-he has enough on his plate.  My uncle has told my dad multiple things that were never supposed to and on other ears, in regards to his health…..my daddy.  Truth be told, you want to keep a secret, you might have better luck telling a small town gossip hen. I kid…kind of.  The trouble is, my dad usually tells my mom and she is the head hen.  But this is not about them.

The chemo is no longer working.  The radiation has been tapped.  Borrowed time is an understatement.  When the chemo and radiation stopped working, he and my dad headed to St. Louis to visit Barnes Jewish Hospital.  They had a trial and he was to see if he qualified.  He did for two separate trial drugs….neither worked.  He was told he needed to see my cousin, in short…he was told to make peace and get closure and say good-byes.  But here, this day, on a sad day for some…he was in good spirits.  Or at least, he faked it.  Told stories. Gave directions.  Acted like there wasn’t a thing wrong that couldn’t be tolerated.

I guess fighter is the best way to describe him. Honestly he is one of the strongest men I know.  He is the third of three of uncles to have cancer and so far the one to last the longest.  I’ve buried two now because of losing battles.  Soon, he will join them, though…he’s on my dad’s side so he will not be sitting at any ghostly tables with the other two.  The table he will be sitting at, will probably have more love and laughter.  Angels singing.  He goes to church regularly when he can.  Helps take care of his ex-wife whom is also battling cancer.  Sang in the church choir until he could no longer.  I’m not saying that he was better than my other two uncles.   My parents just come from two completely different sides of the track and sometimes it is painfully obvious just how different.

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Amazing how different people can come together and get along.  It is possible, though these days you wouldn’t know it by looking around.  It is also so disheartening to see how much cancer really does just tear into us like it is nothing.  I mean, I knew the statistics of cancer related deaths, but I guess I never really thought about it in terms of my family.

As for my uncle, I don’t know what to say.  He was around as I was growing up and I was close to my cousin at the time (not the one he needs to see, this cousin was his stepson at the time), but then he and his wife split up and he eventually moved back to Illinois and we lived in Oklahoma….we would see him during the holidays and that is it, but he’s always been good to me.  So, he really is a good man, a good uncle.  Always around and always lending a helping hand.  The things you are supposed to say about a person.

I don’t know if these will be the last of the pictures that I get to take of him.  I don’t know if I will get to see him again.  When the chemo stops working, borrowed time gets called in on its loan.  I don’t have any pictures of him from before, but I now have these.  It isn’t how one should want to remember a person, but I think that they are as good as anything.   He looks frail, but he doesn’t look sad and he doesn’t look like death is standing next to him.  He was telling his stories and joking around.  Being the uncle that I’ve always known when he’s not mad at the kids.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and I hope that you like the pictures.  Much like the last ones I posted, I don’t know what I was hoping to convey but I hope that they convey something.

DSC_0900Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography