2021: Z – Mama in Photos…
Z… Zee Best for last
I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.
I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!
Z… Z Last Photos of Mama
I’m not sure whether I took this photo of mama or not, but I love it… she looked so happy here and it’s the face I’ll always remember of her. Mama never took a bad photo, no matter what type of funny face she made! There’s not a day that goes by that something doesn’t bring her to mind!
Mama just couldn’t resist telling Santa what a good girl she’s been! Must have been cold… she’s dressed in a long sleeved turtleneck… too bad I can’t see the shoes… flip flops I bet!
I found another photo of us having lunch at The Blue Willow restaurant with me in the photo, next to mama. Guess someone grabbed my camera and had me sit down. When it’s usually your camera… you don’t often show up in the photos as much.
Another great photo of mama from the late 70’s or early 80’s… the TV set almost tells the age of the photo. Did she didn’t sit there to show off the new TV… who knows, but I love photographs that show the things we owned in years past… the things in the backgrounds of photos is often what my eye picks out first. So many things in the backgrounds of her photos that I never found when we cleaned out… she enjoyed change and often discarded the older items as she brought new into the house… many things went out in the gardens. I’m not sure what she’s holding in her hand, but it seems to be a remote… could she really be showing off a new TV with a remote? Well, I’ll never know now.
Mama holding a photograph of her and Allan… of whom she shared the last twenty-five years with, even though they actually never married. She always said that after her divorce… she would never marry again… so if and when she ever wanted to leave, she would be able to just pack her bags and leave… no court papers needed. (Note she wore the same white dress in the photograph as in the above photo… maybe that was the same day they went to take pictures together)
This was one of the last photos taken of mama before it started to go downhill and life for her alone wasn’t safe anymore… no matter how strongly she disagreed on that! The last few years of mama’s life, she stopped cutting her hair… and refused to allow anyone to take her to have it cut… always saying, “they’ll never cut it to suit me.” Mama had always cut her own hair, all her life… she had been a beautician and was very fussy about how she wanted her hair cut. She often sat in bed at night… snip, snip, snip… and never leave any hair in the bed!
I never liked seeing her with long hair, as she had always told me, “never let me grow my hair long like an old woman, never let me look like Granny Gurt“… whoever that was? But she refused all help on the hair cutting aspect, but when she pinned it up she looked fine, but hanging long… well, that was another un-pictured look. She looked tired in this photo… and she often said that she had reached the point of being too tired to live, as she could no longer live life… she really wanted to go home… go home to the farm where she always said she was the happiest she had ever been.
Mama often talked about how she never wanted to get old… it really seemed to scare her and I can understand that as I celebrate a birthday every year… I’d much rather un-celebrate a birthday and go back the other way.
Writing my last post of Z was a little bittersweet for me… as it’s the end of my posting of looking back through mama’s life and remembering all the fun times we shared. Even though the last couple of years was very hard for me in seeing the change in her… I’m erasing those bad memories… and only remembering the good… as those times weren’t truly my mother. She told me that one day I would understand the changes, but it would be too late… and she was right.
If I could turn back the hands of times… I would have made more changes and better choices, but I can’t. I did the best I knew how at the time, whether right or wrong. Mama wasn’t the easiest of people to make suggestions too, and as she aged with dementia, it became even harder to make any suggestion to her. We butted heads on most of our last times together, but deep in my heart I knew she loved me and I tried my best to keep remembering that. The one thing I’m thankful for… she never forgot my face, or sound of my voice. Anytime I called her in the nursing home or hospital, she knew immediately who I was… no matter what kind of day she was having.
Those conversations in the nursing home were often strained as there was only one thing on her mind, and only one thing she wanted to discuss… she wanted to go home! She loved her home, where she’d last lived for over forty years… loved her clothes… loved her treasures… loved her gardens… loved her memories created there, but most of all, she loved her cat Boo! She worried more about who was caring for Boo, then she cared for herself!
Even though she was terribly unhappy there, sometimes I’d hear of things that happened that made me laugh… knowing there was still some fight and determination left in her at age 90… like the time I had a call from the physical therapist. I was called to tell me that they now knew that yes she could walk and bend better than they first had thought. When mama first was admitted during Covid, she was quarantined in a ward for two weeks… and that frustrated her so much…, as she didn’t like anyone to tell her where she could and couldn’t go. It wasn’t long before mama escaped that ward and suddenly appeared in the physical therapy room… and when asked how she got there. “Oh, I just bent down and unzipped that stupid plastic curtain you have at the end of the hall.” Where there’s a will… there was a way for her… and mama figured it out pretty quick. No matter how they tried to quarantine her, she’d always manage to escape out of that ward when they turned their backs!
Mama even “really” escaped on another day! I can just picture her sitting outside her room in a chair watching the outside doors open and close… and on one day, when that door didn’t actually close and lock… Mama made her great escape, but only managed to walk around in their backyard area before someone realized she was outside. She told them she was looking for the bus stop as she was going home. I’ve read that many say they are looking for the bus in those type situations… even those that have never ridden a bus in their life.
THANK YOU for being my Mother… and thank you for giving me all these wonderful photos and memories!!!
My previous years of A to Z Challenges:
- 2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
- 2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
- 2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
- 2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
- 2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!
© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved