Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Betty Louise Hadfield - 1939 High School Senior

The crack of an early morning thunderstorm woke me up at 4 am this morning.  I couldn't get back to sleep.  Perhaps because yesterday I received bad news about my Mother.

Mom is now living with my brother John and his wife Barbara and daughter Nancy in Greenville, SC.  She is now 86 years old.  Her health has taken a noticeable downtown in the last year.  In fact, we moved her from her home in Pennsylvania last October, where she lived with my other brother Isaac.  We felt that her health couldn't take another winter in Pennsylvania, and in retrospect that was an good decision given last winter's two back to back blizzards.

Betty Hadfield Tipton with me, "Number 1 Son" - 1941

Like her two older sisters, Mom is also suffering from dementia.  Her oldest sister, Grace, died shortly after being placed in a nursing home.  Mom's other older sister, Jeanette, is still living in a nursing home.  My brothers and I are doing everything we can to keep her out of a nursing home.  We made that promise to her.  We intend to keep it.

My Mom with her older sister Grace - 2005

Yesterday I received bad news from my sister-in-law.  Mom had fallen again.  She has fallen a number of times in the past year but so far, no broken bones.  Barbara also said that her potassium level was discovered to be so low, that the doctor was amazed that she was still alive.

The doctor has since stabilized her potassium levels but I am afraid this is the beginning of the end.  Her body seems to be shutting down.  Mom cannot walk on her own now.  She needs a wheel chair.

She almost always gets names confused.  John doesn't even correct her now when she calls him "Isaac."

Brother John with Mom working a puzzle 2010

My father died ten years ago on August 22, 2000.  He and Mom were married for sixty years.  "Pop" was the only man Mom ever knew.  He was the only man she ever wanted.  When he died, she was never the same.  The past ten years has been a slow decline, accelerated in the past two years.

Mom and Pop 1940 - she's pregnant with Number 1 Son

Mom and Pop - 1982

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was calling her almost every night sharing my life with her.  I have two younger brothers.  I am the Oldest Son.  I was Mom's Number 1 son.  In fact, that's how I always signed all my cards to her......."Number One Son."  Of course this was tongue in cheek but everyone knew we had a special relationship.

Mom and Number One Son - July 2002

Recently I found out some information in my genealogy research about how she got her name "Betty."  I wanted to share this information with her but I can't talk to her now.  She gets too confused.  She doesn't understand what I'm talking about.  I miss talking to my Mother and best friend.

Mom with her Three Boys - 1951
Mom and her Three Boys -  2005

This morning when the thunder woke me up, I felt like this was more than thunder.  I feel like this is a portent of bad news to come.

I don't know how I'm going to handle this.
Mom 2010 - my best friend


nitewrit said...


So sorry your mom has come to this. She is such a lovely woman. I share those apprehensions, as you know.


Ron said...


Thank you for your concern. Yes, I know you also share the same apprehension. Isn't it interesting that after all these years our lives are still so parallel? Both of our mothers have been such a big influence in our lives. We both have been so fortunte to have these wonderful women as our mothers. We could not have asked for better.


Mark said...

I hope that I'm years away from this situation and I will enjoy every minute with my Mom that I have. Gay sons always have a special bond with their Mothers. Your Mother looks like a special lady.
Can I say that you resemble your father? It's a compliment.
Take care of yourself No. One Son.
Your Friend, m.

Ron said...

Thank you Mark. Maybe I shouldn't write about my Mother on my blog but she was such a big part of my life. You're right, gay sons have a special relationship with their Mother. I am no exception. My Mom was always my best friend. I'll never be the same once she is gone. I sort of hoped this day would never come. But I knew it would.
Yes, as I've gotten older I am turning into my father. I even has his same mannerisms. It's ironic because I was never that close to my father. Again, a typical gay son. Distant from his father and close to his mother. I'm the stereotype.

G said...

Glenn and I are sending you our love and support. M & G


I love the pictures and tribute to your mother, Ron. I'm also very sorry that she's not doing well, but all of you have done the very best you can for her, and that's the most important thing at this point in her life.

My mother is also 86; lives alone, and is blessed with good health (even after having had breast cancer). My mom runs her friends around in the car - to the doctors; hospital, etc., and we only worry that she'll one day overdo or have a car accident.

I think about my mother every day as you do; talk with her, and feel comforted each time when I hear her sound strong and happy.

I know the day will possibly come when my mother won't be in my life, and it will leave a big hole as it does in everyone's life when they lose a parent.

Let's just hope you're picking up on the fact she was not feeling well and now that the doctor is in control, she very well might improve.

These things are out of our control; the doctors will do their best, and you can all be glad you've been such wonderful children to her and given her such joy in her life. Diane

Ron said...

Thank you so much from my heart for your kind and thoughtful comments. You are very lucky that your mother is still in good health. It is so sad to see my Mother go this way. She feared this her whole life and it is happening now.

Ron said...

Mike and Glenn,

Thank you for your concern. It is much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Thinking of you both.
Cousin Norman

Ron said...

An e-mail comment from my cousin Elaine, who is the daughter of one of my Mom's older sisters who is being cared for in a nursing home:


I'm just checking my messages and was glad to see I had one from you.

Now, I'm looking at the pictures of Aunt Betty while your lovely music is playing and you're writing about her, and I'm bawling like a baby!

I hadn't seen the senior picture of her and I 'm adding it to others of her.

You and Aunt Betty "had" the same relationship as my Mom and I.

I always enjoyed taking Mom places more than going with my friends and that made it so much harder when we couldn't do it anymore.

You said you seem to have the mannerisms of your Dad -- no wonder --you are the one that looks the most like your Dad. (He was extremely handsome
so you know what that means (no matter what he said about you). Also, it isn't hard to tell which son Aunt Betty is holding in the picture --I could tell it was you at first glance.

I just loved being around Aunt Grace and I wish that I had seen more of Aunt Betty. I thank you for taking me to her house and bringing her to mine.

My Mom now has shingles and Carole is still struggling with the complications from crohn's. She thought she'd be back to work by now but may be facing surgery.

Why do things have to be so sad???