Father’s Day More Difficult

My father died the Sunday before Father’s Day in 2012. Father’s Day that year was difficult, of course. But I was busy focusing on my mother and her difficulties. Then, Father’s Day last year was difficult, but I was still busy focusing on my mother and her difficulties.

My mother died in December, 2013. Though I am still dealing with the aftermath of her death, ongoing estate paperwork, and other situations, this Father’s Day has been much more difficult. Maybe it’s because I was never able to really grieve for my father after his death. After all, I was even more overwhelmed after his death with paperwork, phone calls, and texts while trying to still handle the “normal” paperwork and finances for my parents that I had been handling for several years.

I miss my dad. I’m afraid that much of him had disappeared before his death. He suffered with dementia, and that stole so much of his spirit. There were times he didn’t know my mother or where he was. There were so many things about the last two years of his life that bring tears to my eyes: the confusion and fear in his eyes, the physical deterioration from his brain not functioning well to give directions to his body, his inability to understand the frustration others expressed toward him.

Through the years when I was growing up (and even as an adult), my dad and I didn’t always agree on many things. But I always knew that he loved me. He gave me many good things–among them, a love for humor, a strong work ethic, a desire to live responsibly, a love for music, and love for God.

This year, the week leading up to Father’s Day has been more emotional and difficult than before. I wish I could hug him and tell him in person–I love you, Daddy…

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

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Open Letter to AT&T from a Customer who Died…

(After receiving the communications from AT&T referenced below, I decided to post an open letter to AT&T as if it were from my mother who died in December, 2013. Everything in this post really happened, except for my mom writing the letter, of course. Oh, and I will pay the final bill.)

Dear AT&T Credit & Collections:

Thank you for your recent communications regarding my address change and the final billing on my account.

I really appreciate the postcard AT&T sent to me at my old address to verify that I had actually changed my address. “Dear Customer who Died:  We have completed your request to change your mailing address. This letter is being sent to the previous address on file to ensure the change to your new address is valid. Thank you for using AT&T for your communication needs.” However, the address you show as the new address belongs to my daughter. It is not my new address.

It is my understanding that my daughter called you to cancel my land line, release the phone number my husband and I (and then just “I”) had for almost 45 years, and ask you to send the final billing to her at her address. I believe this was very difficult for her because this number was imbedded in her mind and heart as her parents’ phone number. The postcard you sent—addressed to me—was very hurtful for her to receive once it was forwarded to her address.

I do appreciate that AT&T sent the final billing to my daughter’s address as she requested. However, again, it was very hurtful for her to see that you had addressed the final billing to me instead of to her.

Then, you sent me a collection letter at my daughter’s address only four days after you sent the final billing. “Dear Customer who Died:  We are writing concerning the final bill. We have not yet received payment. We realize that there is occasionally a delay in settling an estate; however, we would appreciate you letting us know when we may expect payment. Please call AT&T today at 1-800-288-2020 to discuss the disposition of this account.” This I do not understand and do not appreciate. There is no way payment could have been sent to AT&T between the final bill and the collection letter since only four days had transpired between the date you mailed the final bill and the date you mailed the collection letter. And the collection letter was addressed, once again, to me instead of to my daughter. Do you really expect me to pay the final bill or call you about payment?

I am not sure when you will receive payment for the final bill. I’m afraid your thoughtless correspondence received by my daughter has caused additional anguish to her to the point that she is now incapable of handling this situation.

I, on the other hand, can try to handle this situation; however, I am confused as to how I can handle it from my new residence. You see, I don’t have access to a post office here to send payment. And I don’t have access to a phone in order to call you to “discuss the disposition of this account.” I’m afraid AT&T and the Postal Service do not operate in this land where I now reside.

I apologize for any inconvenience my inability to mail payment or discuss this with you may cause. I hope you understand how your incompetence and uncaring attitude as a “communication” company in communicating appropriately has created such anguish for my daughter and rendered her incapable of handling the situation herself. I, also, hope you understand my inability to comply with your requests from my new residence.

Sincerely,

Customer who Died

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Goodbye, Mom…

My mother passed through the door into heaven Thursday morning December 12, 2013. She had been in the hospital this time for about a month. The doctors finished draining fluid from her left lung, the lung deflated, and there was nothing else they could do for her at her age and in her condition (after many physical issues over her 83 years).

Headshot-2 Mom

Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time. On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, I drove the 3½ hours to my mother’s town to meet with a VA rep. on Thursday to continue the fight I have had with them for the past year and a half. I spoke with my sister, Anita, after I arrived in town. She told me the doctors couldn’t do anything else for Mom, and Mom wanted to go home from the hospital.

We took Mom home late that night to be in her own apartment with her friends, neighbors, nurses, and aides. When we went to the hospital to get her, I wasn’t sure we could get her dressed, in the car, and home—she looked so bad. But we managed with help from the aides.

About 15 minutes after she got home, she was up walking all over with her walker, tending her plants, and looking better than she had in over a month. She looked at a picture of my dad and said how much she missed him.

Then she said she really needed a Coke, chips, and queso (she had been on a restricted diet at the hospital). Anita and I went and got her some chips and queso and fixed her a Coke. The three of us talked and laughed for a couple of hours.

Anita went home, and I bedded down on the futon in Mom’s living room. Nurses and aides made their visits during the night to care for her.

A little before 7:00 the next morning, I heard a crash in her bedroom. I found that she had slumped to the floor while trying to get up to her walker. She had knocked things from her bedside table. She said she could take hold of my arm to pull herself upright and lean against her chair-bed. She did. I pulled the call light for the nurse just as the aide came in with her morning coffee.

The nurse came, checked her, and they lifted Mom into her chair-bed. She was trying to speak again, but she was incoherent. She could not support herself. As I was talking to her, the left side of her face began to sag and her eyes clouded.

I asked the nurse to call my sister to have her come. I sat with Mom, held her hand, and sang to her as she slipped away. I sang “How Great Thou Art” because it is one of her favorite songs. And then I sang “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together” (Carol Burnett) because it seemed right after the party the three of us had together last night. Anita came quickly, and we shared time together.

What a special memory that last night will be for us. And what special expressions of love and caring we received afterward from residents of the apartment building, staff, nurses, aides, church friends, and others!

The funeral for my mother turned out very well! A very long and exhausting day. My nieces, Holly and Garalee, sang two beautiful songs to honor their grandmother. My sister and I sang a song our mother loved to hear us sing together when we were young. Many kind words and special memories were shared at the viewing and in the service by long-time and more recent friends. And then more kind words and special memories shared at the memorial we held for Mom at the retirement home (where she was known as the “plant lady”) for residents who couldn’t go to the funeral.

My niece, Holly, says she thinks Mom died on December 12th so she could be with my dad for his birthday on the 13th. I imagine he is playing his harmonica for her and they are laughing and celebrating together.

You were special to many people, Golda Lee Bailey Cawthon. You are no longer in pain, and you are rejoicing with your love of almost 63 years. And—if there are plants in heaven, I know you are tending them like you did here on earth.

IMG_0786

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My Daughters Know Their Mother

I started a new job on Monday. Soon after I arrived at work, some beautiful flowers were delivered from 1st Daughter who lives in another town. Just a few minutes after that, 2nd Daughter and 2nd Grandson appeared at my new office with another vase of beautiful flowers.

Notice any similarities? Daughters had not coordinated between themselves about what flowers they were going to give!

Obviously, my daughters know their mother’s favorite colors and flowers. I just thought this was so sweet and so neat!

What a wonderful way to start the new job!!

Thank you, my fantastic daughters!

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Thank You, Dad, and Other Veterans!

Today is a day to celebrate the men and women who have served in uniform to get and protect our freedoms. We should celebrate them all the time, but today is a special day each year to express our thanks.

My father was a veteran.

After he and my mother moved into the retirement center, this picture of him would be displayed (along with other pictures of retirement center veterans) in the lobby of the retirement center every Veterans Day.

My father died in June, 2012.

My mother went to the Veterans Day celebration that the retirement center had on Friday. At the celebration, a gentleman sang songs about country and patriotism. He then sang some songs he said his grandmother especially liked.

One of the songs he sang was “You Are My Sunshine.” This is a song that Dad used to play for my mom on his harmonica.

 

She cried when the man sang it. He apologized for singing the song and making her cry. But she told him she was glad he played it because it brought back good memories.

Thank you, Dad, for serving in the uniform to protect our freedoms. I miss you.

Thank you to all veterans. You are truly Real Super Heroes!

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I Voted!

Today, I did something that I hope all Americans of voting age did–I voted in the Presidential Election.

I don’t discuss politics. I don’t figure I’m going to change anyone’s mind about what they believe regarding the candidates and the issues. But I do take the right and privilege to vote as a very important aspect of my responsibility as an American. Especially as I get older.

I waited until about 11:00 AM to vote because I hoped the lines would be shorter. After all, many people vote early before going to work, so the lines seem to be longer then.

I was right–the line was much shorter. In fact, I hit the polling place at a very good time. There was no line at all! I walked right in, sat right down, and completed the ballot. It reminded me of a song from the old days.

(Ooops! Song interlude. . .)

“Walk Right In” by the Rooftop Singers

I love voting, and I love music! And when it works out that I can combine them–I love it even more! :-)

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Live Today and FREE Tomorrow on Amazon! I Peed My Pants for My Mom: Aging Semi-Gracefully?

My new eBook I Peed My Pants for My Mom: Aging Semi-Gracefully? is now Live on Amazon!

And it’s FREE for 5 days starting Tomorrow! (Due to some technical issues with Kindle and/or Amazon, the FREE promotion couldn’t start today.)

I Peed My Pants for My Mom: Aging Semi-Gracefully - Cover

I need your help!

I’m asking you to do just 3 easy things to help me begin promotion of this new book.

  1. Download a FREE copy of the eBook (starting tomorrow 11/5). If you don’t have a Kindle, you can quickly download a Free Kindle for your PC, or you can download a Free Kindle app for your iPad, iPhone, or Android.
  2. Read the book. The book is short and an easy read. I think you’ll really enjoy the humorous stories. Interject some good, healthy laughter into your day!
  3. Write a review on the book page at amazon.com. This is a Crucial Step! There are millions of books on amazon.com. My research about getting a book noticed by consumers on amazon.com shows that having a large number of reviews really makes a difference.

The review doesn’t need to be long or involved. Just write what you would tell a friend if you were recommending the book. Hopefully—you’ll be recommending it! :-)

I know you’re busy with your own lives and pursuits. I know I’m asking you to take time away from those things.

In return for your help—you get a FREE BOOK, some fun, healthy LAUGHTER, and the knowledge that you HELPED a struggling artist who’s trying everything she can to survive!

Oh! And you get one more thing—my undying gratitude!! :-)

Please—give me a few moments of your time and enjoy yourself, too!

Time for some R&R: Read & Review.

Thank you!

-Dawn

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eBook Release Getting Closer! This Weekend?

If everything goes according to plan, my new eBook will go Live on amazon.com this weekend! Hurray!

I Peed My Pants for My Mom: Aging Semi-Gracefully - Cover

Until the full book is available, here is a short Preview that you can check out. The Preview has an older version of the cover.

https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1111820

After you check out the Preview, leave a comment here and let me know what you think.

-Dawn

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New eBook Almost Ready for Release!

It’s almost ready!

I Peed My Pants for My Mom: Aging Semi-Gracefully? - Humor in life and aging.

After much work, discussion, work – final (maybe?) cover:

I Peed My Pants for My Mom: Aging Semi-Gracefully - Cover

I’ll be releasing the book soon as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.com.

Here is the book trailer. Take a look and let me know what you think.

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Help Me Choose a Book Cover for Adult eBook

Okay–I’ve been writing and publishing children’s books about Benjamin Boo. I love it! It is so much fun to write, photograph, and produce the children’s picture books. And I will definitely be continuing this part of my journey.

But now, dear readers, I am also going to publish an eBook for adults. Don’t be alarmed! It’s not an “adult” book. It just fits in the genre of adult fiction. Hopefully, adult humorous fiction. It will be a book of stories about growing older.

I’ve decided on the image and title for the cover. I would like your help making a decision on the final cover.

Here are the choices. I am showing them in thumbnail size because that’s the size that shows online, and the cover needs to look good in the smaller size.

#1

#2

#3

#4

The book cover needs to get attention, intrigue, and encourage someone to read the book. Please let me know in the comments which book cover you like the best.

Or–if you have suggestions that you think would help make a better book cover, let me know those.

Thank you for sharing my journey. Please help me out with this. I’m excited to read your comments!

Posted in Aging & Changing, eBooks | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments