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