Well I survived my April A to Z blog challenge of blogging everyday except for Sundays… off for good behavior. It was a fun and emotional blog in writing and showcasing my mom through photos and memories. I lost my mom on Nov. 30, 2020… not from Covid, but through the horrible disease of Dementia. Mama was 90, and for the most part, except the last year or so, lived a pretty good life… so unfair that we have to be go out of this world in pain… whether emotional or actual pain. Life can get pretty unfair to us at the end… and I’m not looking forward to getting any older… too many things run through my head daily.
March and April were very busy months for me as we traveled to my mother’s house… to clean out for the closing in late March. This is the second time I’ve gone through cleaning out a parents home… helped hubby with his parents house, which had pretty much been a family home to me also. Mama had lived in this last home over forty plus years… so even though I actually never grew up there, it was my last connection to a home with her. It was where I spent every summer visiting with my children… and later visiting with my husband. We never seemed to vacation anywhere other than going to visit mama. I was born in Georgia… and I loved going home to my roots every summer. Going home to see mama, eat my so-loved Southern foods, drink sweet tea and beg hubby to always stop at every stand, by the side of the road, for boiled peanuts.
The first two weeks spent in Georgia was cleaning and closing out mama’s house… and even though we had somewhat cleaned parts of it on our last couple trips last year, this was the final cleaning. It was hard thinking and realizing that once I walked out the door on the day of the closing… that I’d never be able to walk back in. I tried to put it out of my mind most days, as it only made me tear up. I was really nervous walking in the lawyer’s office for the closing, but I put it out of my mind… as the last thing I wanted was to tear up in there. I did good… no tears. Sometimes I feel like it really hasn’t hit me yet… that all those visits to my mother’s house are really over. Last year we drove down four times (960 miles) to check on her… no more trips to Georgia now… who knows! I was born in Georgia, but I’ve lived in Connecticut fifty years now this year… way more years, but it’d never feel right to not visit Georgia again .
After the house closing, we packed and headed to Florida to visit my son, daughter in law, and granddaughters… the car was so packed that I had to even leave “stuff” with a friend for pickup on the return home. Some people have no problem in throwing out someone else’s stuff… but I was very emotional in what things I wanted or had to part with. All in all… some came home with me for now… and I’m sure at a later date I can maybe part with it, but for now, it’s mine. Mama had lots of treasures… worthless or not… she loved her things.
Some people have said to me, “I bet you feel better now, that you don’t have her house lingering over your head.” I really hate when that’s said to me… as I don’t feel better. In one way I might not feel so stressed in knowing that I don’t have to clean out her house, but on the other hand, I don’t have a family home to go back to anymore.
Heading to sunny Florida… I love when I first begin seeing the palm trees! Just seeing this photo puts me in the mood to pack for a road trip to Florida!
We celebrated Easter with my son’s family… and the English Piecing Paper “patch” dogs were finally finished for the granddaughters Easter baskets… and they were a big hit! The weather was awesome there… and by the time we got back home, we went from 80 plus days to lows of 30. We had left CT. on a cold 28 degree day in early March, and by the time we stopped for the night in Virginia, it was an awesome 70 degrees… and by the time we arrived in Georgia, it was a hot and humid 90… what a big difference! After being in sunny warm Florida for over two weeks, it definitely was shock coming back home to cold weather again!
Easter in Florida… what could be better than eating outside! Girls decorated an awesome Easter bunny cake while my son cooked on the grill!
I was even treated to Sunday morning breakfast! So spoiled I was!
My Florida granddaughters, Ana, Ella and Nina with their Easter baskets and the Scottie patchwork dogs I sewed.. which was finished nightly in the hotels and in Georgia. To learn how to make them, head over HERE.
I celebrated my birthday before leaving Florida, and my daughter in law did an awesome job in decorating… it was so nice enjoying my day with them… the granddaughters drew cards and even made me my very own jar of memories.
GiGi’s memory jar filled with their memories of me… the best gift ever! I spend many crafting days with the girls… and will post separately on our craft days!
Teary-eyed photo for me… knowing it was my last day with them… but they all looked good! I’m just a too-emotional girl!
My morning view outside our room… and on our last morning a Sand Crane stopped to say goodbye. Often in the morning, I’d find various birds around like the mama duck and her ducklings that swam away faster than I could run for my camera! I loved looking out every morning… awesome clouds in Florida.
On road beside our hotel was lined with flags and palm trees… so pretty!
Before leaving Florida, I received an email that mama’s gravestone was delivered and placed in the McKinley family plot in Siloam. We stopped to see it in person on our way home… made me sad to think about it. Living so far away from her is going to almost make me feel like that she’s still really there, and I’m just not visiting. I guess I’ll have to keep myself busy and make new plans for us instead of driving to Georgia so often.
I always have to stop at the Florida welcome gift centers… you know the ones that advertise a 6 foot alligator… but they don’t tell you that it’s stuffed… but they do have the cutest baby alligators in a tank. While I took a video, this little guy was lunging at hubbys finger… guess it was lunch time! I did spot two “live” alligators in canals near our hotel… I’m always looking when we drive by any water.
Per mama’s request, I scattered her ashes at the gravesite of her parents, daughter Monica, and her brother Leroy… and also near the farm where she grew up… of where mama always said she was the happiest. Her cat Boo’s ashes were scattered along with hers… as they were inseparable and needed to be together… for forever. Before we left her house, I also left some ashes throughout her gardens… wouldn’t have been right, to not have left leave ashes in her gardens… as they were her love… when she often spent morning to evening… I often wondered where she got her strength from.
Visited my mother’s grave and left two white roses from us… even though I had seen the gravestone in my email… seeing it in person as a final goodbye is never easy.
Heading home so packed! Hubby laughed as he said, “I’m driving home like a trucker… only using side mirrors.” I could never have driven that way, but we made it home safely! We are always packed, but never like this!
Upon returning home in mid April, I finished my other two Scottie dogs for the Connecticut granddaughters… can you believe I made 5! I swore after the 5th, that I’d never sew another, but my daughter-in-law looked so forlorn when she didn’t get one, that I began another one and sent it off to her. I have one more in the works for me… cut out of my coveted Nancy Drew fabric. I’ve never hoarded fabric before… but it’s so pretty, that I honestly hate to cut it… although I did make myself a couple of masks.
McKinley and Grace in Connecticut… and were excited to receive their Scottie dogs as a late Easter gift from GiGi.
How lucky am I… being treated to two birthdays… as long as I don’t have to add two years… I’m ok with that! My daughter and son-in-law took us out for dinner and the girls picked out a special cake! A wonderful evening was had by all… and yes Melissa, “we need to do this more often.”
Hubby and I enjoyed seeing the girls after being away for almost 6 weeks. But I’m rested now… and ready for another road trip!
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