Wednesday, June 29, 2016


My boss and I stood in front of this and laughed for way longer than we should have!

We went on a field trip today to Kennywood. It was one of their wheelchair days. We always take advantage of it since a wheelchair and an escort can get in the park for free.

Last year Glo went with me because I had a feeling it would be the last time she would be able to go. I was right.  I'm not really sure she had a good time. I can still see her trying to figure out what she was supposed to do with her corn dog.

When I went last year I said I wouldn't get these again… what did I do?  I got them again.

To use one of Chrissy's favorite words… there was too much GOO on them.  I feel sick just looking at the picture.

The residents like to go sit on the porch of the restaurant. Some got lunch from there… all wanted fries so it's a lot of running around and I get it with the no trays but people that buy 4-5 at a time… how do they expect you to carry them?  Paper trays, please?!?  I'm not the only one with this request!!

Anyway, while we were sitting there I looked over at the water fountain that always makes me smile and totally brings me back to my childhood. Hello, mushroom. I love you.

There were all kinds of characters there - super heroes, storm troupers, etc… I'm not sure why. There were also a lot of vendors with booths all around.   I got a funnel cake to share with everyone and one of the residents that couldn't make it asked if I would bring her one back.  At least they plated and put in a bag.

Everyone had a good time. I'm pooped. Amusement park work days are exhausting! ;-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

We made these creatures today… You would think I was leading a kindergarten class some times.

They really like them, though

Who knew clothespins, pom poms, feathers and pipe cleaners would come full circle…

We didn't know if they were butterflies or dragonflies or whatever so we just called them love bugs.

Monday, June 27, 2016

When we were at DiSalvo's Station the other night I heard the notification for a text message and this was on the screen…

Then, the other day, I went to my favorites to call someone and must have hit the wrong one… It started calling Glo.

I remember when my mother died. We used to get calls and they would hang up and I always thought it was her so she could hear my voice. I always pictured a line of phone booths in heaven that people could just go in and call whoever they wanted if they wanted to hear them say hello. I can't remember my mother's voice anymore. That makes me sad.
Came in to work today and this was on my desk.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

We went to a benefit for our cousin Sammy last night… The Dad went to the bathroom and was hobbling back so I sent Vinnie over with a desk chair to get him.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

They had a party at his work for my dad yesterday…

He's been at Kossman for 50 years. They had an "operation hot pepper" day. He made stuffed hot banana peppers since everyone loves them and they did everything else.

They have been trying to do this since earlier this month but he was in the hospital. He started working with them on 6/6/66. That's a lot of 6s.

Friday, June 24, 2016

We are always on the lookout for new restaurants… Gena was talking to Chrissy about Manor Grille so she put it on our list of places to try.
We've passed it enough not really knowing what it was. The only thing I knew about Manor was the Manor Murders my boss told me about!  

I got the burger with mashed potatoes on it just because. Loved the Homer Laughlin dishes, of course. Thumbs up to that.
It was ok. Not fab but we all thought everything was good. We may have to check out breakfast some time.

There was a road closure so we had to take a little detour. Really thought someone was going to come out and eat us.
Found our way to Jeanette to Antique Oddities. We haven't been there in awhile. Would love this collection… have my grandma's old one and bought one somewhere - in storage, of course.
We came across a candy store we didn't know about and while we were there there was some commotion at a bar across the street. I thought we were going to have to take cover and hunker down in the store but we decided to take our chances and go out to the car. Their candy was good.  It was Wilson's Candy. I haven't had honeycomb in a long time. My mother used to like the honeycomb from Catoris in New Ken.  Yum-o.
We ended up driving around to intentionally get lost. There was a point when we were laughing so hard I had to pull off the road… I actually couldn't see and was afraid I was going to run into something.  We ended up on Mt Thor road and saw some fabulous houses. If we didn't have a laugh fest we never would have known that neighborhood exhausted.

Then we carried on… we went to the Craftique in Greensburg… We just kept driving and driving and what did we see ahead...
3 pelos all in a row!  Wahoo!
Bonus for it being a Turners Dairy Farm!!!

Oh gosh… another pelo down the road.

We turned around in some farm store that was closed and ended the night and closed down Disalvo's Station. Liked the place and salad and dessert but the entree was just ok. I love the train going around the room… we always wanted to do that.

I feel like I've been there before but can't remember if it was me or Cindy Brady??? They were setting up for a wedding...

…and the train car is so cute. I want one for parties or just to eat dinner in.

Latrobe is on the list now of places to explore… there are some shops we want to check out that were closed. We will save them for another adventure.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One of the residents always tells this silly joke… Where does ice cream go to school…. sundae school!

I took the last two days off and came back to work to go on a field trip to Klavon's.

Monday, June 20, 2016

They said I could just leave and worry about the room later. Of course, I didn't.  I waited for the undertaker to come and get her body.  Some of the aides came in and cleaned Glo up… I started loading her stuff up… I had 5 bags of clothes which I donated to laundry to give to some of the other residents that don't have anything.

I ended up finding that other shoe…

A lady from the funeral home came… I questioned whether she would be able to move her herself and ended up helping her. We put her body on the gurney and away she went… I loaded a cart with all her belongings...

…and stuffed everything in the car.

An entire life in the back seat of my car.


By now, it was a little after midnight.

The lady that came weirdly told me that she needed clothes to be cremated in.  I thought that was a bit strange but I didn't really know… I ended up having to overturn those five bags I packed up and pulled out a few things. I had saved a few other things for Cindy to make me a Teddy Bear or something… Lily and I were up till about 3 am. washing clothes.

Chrissy didn't want me driving since I was up for almost two days so she picked me up to go to the funeral home.  She parked in the neighbors driveway and as I was walking to her car I ended up spilling iced tea all over the freshly washed shirt I had for Glo. I started crying and screaming and threw the iced tea bottle in the middle of the yard. I think the lack of sleep finally got to me and the fact that it was 11 am and our appointment was at 11 am didn't help either! She called them to let them know we were going to be late while I composed myself and we got there and had forgotten everything we planned 3 years ago!  We had to go in and identify the body which surprisingly was laid out like a viewing. I really thought they were going to pull her out of a drawer like you see on tv in some morgue scene. We walked back in and I told the undertaker that I had her clothes and he was like YOU DON"T NEED THEM. So all that fussing over the stupid clothes - seriously?  I give up. Why is the universe constantly making things difficult for me? I didn't think you needed clothes when you were being cremated but whatev. We did what we had to do and then went on to do what we do best…

We went to Murray Avenue Grill and had our own little memorial service… We honored Glo with iced tea and a reuban….

… and then I finally took a nap.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I stayed the night. I sat up on a chair and held her hand the whole night. I think I may have fallen asleep for about five minutes. It was kind of nice being there. I've never stayed the night to see what goes on and I was happy to see that the staff was attentive - to everyone. It's a weird feeling being there at night and knowing everyone is all tucked in in their beds. When I used to work late nights I would be really aware of that and it kind of creeped me out.

I continued taking pictures of her room...
I kept looking around thinking about ways I should have decorated it… made it more home-like… kept up with the holiday decorations. She was fortunate to have a nice big private room. It was because she had "behaviors" and didn't get along with anyone. Still. It was nice. ;-)  I always think about some of the ladies that share a room - sometimes not really liking who they are living with. What would it be like to spend your last days, months, years in 1/2 a room? All your possessions and treasures in 1/2  a room. That's so sad to me in a way. In a different way I feel like it's nice to be in a place like that - safe and cared for (hopefully) with a sense of security and community.  I don't know. It's all too much.

Cindy was working today so she called me in the morning to see if I needed anything. She brought me a biscuit and coffee since I really haven't eaten in what seems like a week. Glo has been pretty much unresponsive. We washed her face and I took off that damn blue nail polish. I've been thinking - is she waiting for me to take that nail polish off so she can die?!

My boss and her husband and kids came in. They brought me a vegan cinnamon roll and her step-son said the sweetest prayer by Glo's bedside. The nurse has been coming in and giving her morphine… He told me to go home. I feel bad because it's Father's Day and I already didn't have The Dad's party and now, today, is a big old mess. I told the nurse I'm going to take my chances. I was going to go see my Dad for Father's Day and I'll be back… If something happens - it was meant to be. I was ok with that now.

So… I ordered enough food for a bout 15 people from Lucci's (his favorite restaurant) and somehow managed to get there. I think I may have slept the whole way. I'm not sure. I don't know how I made it back and forth on those windy roads.  I've been up for 32 hours now. I went back to the house and we ate and I went back up to the nursing home.

Glo was now on oxygen and her breathing was getting worse. I felt like Tony by the bedside - checking for a pulse. I can still picture him shaking his head saying it's not time yet. I looked around and remembered all of us in that room when Mum died… all the kids and their spouses and my father-in-law… Deanna and Paula on the bed saying the Act of Contrition…. I held Glo's hand and put the rosary back in and said the Our Father and Hail Mary and laughed and said I couldn't remember anything else.. I swear she laughed but it was probably my imagination. It was a big difference from what - 17 of us surrounding Mum - to just me in the room - alone with Glo.

I told her it was ok to go… that everyone was ok here. I was ok and I would miss her. I told her it was Father's Day and I bet her Dad was waiting for her. When she threatened to kill herself (out of frustration and drama) as she often did, one of the aides had to stay with her for 24 hours because Resolve was called because she just so happened to say it when the State was there doing a survey! Brandy was always so good to her. I got a text from her that she was gone for the day but she told all the other aides that if Glo went tonight they had to come in the room and open the window because Glo always wanted to get the hell out of there and she didn't want her to have to wait!  She told me that Glo would always tell her stories about her dad and what they would do and where he would take her. Then she would say, that little stinker came along, meaning my mother. I love that today is Father's Day.

I was there for a few more hours and her breathing got worse and I could smell death. She gasped a few times and opened her eyes and I watched them flutter from side to side. It was the weirdest thing. It wasn't up and down - it was side to side and I don't think I'll ever forget it. She was still holding my hand pretty tight and, without a sound, took her last breath and she was gone…

I gave her a kiss, said I love you and opened the window.

Goodnight, Glo.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Honestly,  I wasn't even going to go to Seneca today. I really needed and wanted to get some stuff done at the house. If anything, I was going to go up after dinner and just check in. Hospice didn't seem that concerned and actually said Glo was slightly better yesterday. I got a call around 3 in the afternoon and Jen, the nurse, said I should probably get up there.

I got to the room and she was in and out of it. Really kind of fighting some times with fists in the air. I asked her if she saw anyone. I expected (and maybe wanted) all these dead people in the room with us. She didn't really say anything. I guess that was a no.

I had gone to bed last night around 3 am and was up at 7. I started doing some stuff in the basement and hadn't eaten. I ended up eating her cookies and pudding.

Her eyes are starting to sink in. She's not really responding but she's holding my hand really tight.

I've started taking pictures of the room. What would be the last thing she "sees" from her bed...

What the windowsill looked like...

The pictures that were on the wall...

Her jewelry box that now contained a bunch of junk jewelry from the sales there and the plastic beads from the parties we had.

I can't help thinking - "how did we get here - how the hell…"  I know, obligatory RENT reference. ;-)

It was just like RoseBud -  taking pictures on the ground to document the life she "saw." I feel like I need to remember this though I don't know why I want to.

I can't help thinking this is going to be me.

Or will I have no one?

Will I be all alone?

So I continued… opening drawers and closets and photographing everything just the way it was. From the life she had to this - a plastic water pitcher with her room number on it...

… and one shoe because I quit looking for the other and she hasn't been able to walk so it didn't really matter.

Who would have thought it would end like this? She was so particular and had everything just so and here we are in a nursing home. I'm grateful I was able to be here so much since I worked here. I feel guilty though for all those times I didn't stay longer because I was in such a hurry to get out of work. I can't catch my breath over it some times though I know I did more than most would.  I tried. I just wish I would have done better… did more.

I can't stop thinking about how this is going to be me with no husband and no children and what happens if I have a dog... Who will take care of it?  Carey will. Carey will take care of it for me. ;-)

I know this isn't about me or my dog and the nurses are telling me I don't need to stay and Sweet Jimmy the nurse  is saying he doesn't want me to get sick and I should go. What if she wants me to go? I wasn't there when my Mother died in the hospice. I was in her bed with David and Gypsy and now everyone is going to be gone  - one by one until it's just me.


I found this card on her night stand.

…and I found this in her dresser from one of the priest visits.

I put it one hand (because I don't want her to suffer eternal fire) and a plastic rosary in the other.

Sweet Jimmy is coming in more often and giving her morphine. I think she's comfortable. I'm not sure. Part of me is hoping it's going to be soon and part of me wants this to go on forever. I'm regretting changing her POLST when we went over it. I kind of wish I would have gone against her wishes and did more than comfort care.  I know this is no way to live but, I've said it before, is this the way to die?

I know I can leave but I don't want to. I remember when we were in Norfolk and Dave got the call about Daddy and I remember saying " I don't want him to die alone."

I don't want her to die alone either so I've decided to stay the night.

Friday, June 17, 2016

I was off today. I debated on going out. Chrissy and I didn't really have a plan and we had to get back to get my pretend/her real son to work so we knew it was going to be a lot of watching the clock and driving back and forth. I was worried about something happening to Glo (as always) and felt guilty for not being there. I saw her last night and she was - no better/no worse.
I haven't been feeling that great and not really getting anything done at the house or storage so in true SAP- study (or everything else) avoidance procedure, I chose to go play around. We did some shopping and then went to Elena's for lunch. I got the starfish.

We stopped at 380 Auction because Chrissy needed some flowers she can only find there. I didn't need any but ended up with a cart full by the time we left.

We dropped Michael off at work and kind of wandered aimlessly stopping here and there until it was dinner time and landed at this place that Sally told Chrissy about.

It turned out to be a fun day. I can't wait to go to sleep.

I want to go to bed and wake up twenty years ago.