Wednesday, July 12, 2017

To There and Back Again

As I mentioned last time, I was recently in West Virginia visiting with my mother. Here are a few pictures from the trip.

Although we drove through rain most of the way, were still able to make decent time--7 hours with stops.

It was still raining when we got there, so we spent a while outside with my mother just listening to and watching the rain. It was very pleasant and yet another thing that you don't think about missing until you realize it through someone else's perspective.

My mother's nursing home is on a hill surrounded by woods. There is a paved walking path outside that we took her on 2-3 times a day. We saw lots of birds, bunnies, deer, and this millipede. After seeing this creepy-crawly, I figured out the difference between a centipede and a millipede. Centipedes usually have one pair of legs attached to each segment. Millipedes usually have two pair of legs attached to each segment. If you look carefully at the picture, you will see two legs attached to each part. Sometimes of them are together and sometimes of them are apart 

Every time we go to visit my mother, we sort through some of the things in her house. This time I found old papers containing this Easter Card I made in 3rd grade. The interesting thing about all of this sorting is just when we think we have found all of something, we find more. Just like I thought I had already gone through all of my things and then found more of them this time.

We decided to take the back way home and make a few stops along the way. The main destination was Blackwater Falls. This is where Ward and I spent our honeymoon, so to speak. A better description would be this is where we spent our wedding night and was the first stop on our 3-day drive to New Orleans where we were going to live. Neither of us remember much about that time other than how tired we were. So we wanted to visit the falls when we had time to relax and enjoy them.

We also saw rhododendron in the woods. Rhododendron is native to West Virginia and became the state flower in 1903.

This is the base of a rhododendron and it brought back memories of geology field camp. There were huge thickets of rhododendron, so large that you couldn't find a way around them, so you had to go through them. However, the branches were just big enough that you couldn't bend them but big enough you couldn't break them making the traverse quite difficult. Oh, and to top it all off, there were usually greenbrier vines with thorns laced through out. Fun, fun.

There's the first part of the trip. Tomorrow, I'll show you the rest. Until then...


  1. Those photos are gorgeous.
    Mom misses seeing city lights at night. For most of their post kids at home life they had a very active social life .Up until about 4 months before he died, Mom and Dad were still going out at night
    Do you still have your mom's house. My sister and I were thinking we might be able to get Mom to move on a trail basis and see if she likes it, knowing her house would remain intact and be available if she decided she needed to move back.

    1. We still have my mother's house, but it's a very complicated situation because of the her nursing home expenses, insurance, etc. We worked it all out with an elder lawyer. It is working great for us now because it's where we stay when we visit. And it's especially good that we are getting time to slowly get rid of things. We have someone local taking care of it.

      When my father had to move away from home, he was fairly typical that for the first several months he wanted to go home. However, my mother has only asked a couple of times to go back.

      You are at a very difficult time with your mother. Are you looking at a community with independent living that gradually increases the help as needed. That seems to work well for a lot of people. I don't know how well she can handle a major change at this point, but she has the potential to be a lot happier with a move to a place where she doesn't have to worry about the upkeep of a house and yard. And who knows, when she isn't worried about her house, she might be more relaxed, easier to get along with and have a sharper mind.

      Good luck.

    2. We moved my mom to an independent living facility a year ago, and it has been a good thing for her (hard, though, as she moved across the state away from friends and can no longer drive). She has grown to enjoy her community and they do occasional outings (grocery store, free concerts, etc.) which is nice and takes some pressure off me to always have to be taking her everywhere. They provide 1 meal a day and many residents make that work for lunch and supper; they also provide housekeeping (which also helps them keep an eye on what is going on in the apartments and notice any red flags).

      June, I love your mom's slipper boots! And it looks like you drove through beautiful territory. We enjoyed seeing wild rhododendrons last year in the Smokey Mountains.

    3. My mother got those boots because of her sensitive skin and was easily bruised. She loves them and wears them every day.

  2. Oh your pictures reminded me of my trip last month, from the rainy drive on the highway to the waterfall and the rhododendrons! How nice that you and your husband were able to revisit your "honeymoon" location and enjoy it this time! And it must be nice for your mom to have had you visit as well. Does the staff not take her on "walks" around the grounds when you're not around to do so?

    1. There are regular events outside that the residents can go to but they don't have time for daily walks with them. They are too busy keeping them safe (lots of wanders), taking them to the bathroom, changing their clothes, giving their meds, feeding them, etc. to have much time for outside walks. And when they go out they have to worry about protecting their very sensitive eyes and skin. So a walk outside is not as simple for them to do as it would seem. However, they do an excellent job of taking care of the patients and creating a family like atmosphere.

      However, the helper that we hire to come in every day does take my mother out regularly. Taking walks is just one of our "things" when we visit.

  3. I've seen my share of rain lately I'm pretty close to West Virginia so I was probably waiting out that same storm itching to get back outside.

    I think it's wonderful you find so much time to be able to visit your mother and to have such a lovely place to take her on walks.

    1. Lois, we were probably about an hour from where you live at one point if I understand it right from what you've said. It was a big rain system, so we were probably in the same one.

      My sisters and I all love the walking path and the location of the hospital/nursing home where my mother is. It is very peaceful and a nice place to go to when the stress gets overwhelming.

  4. Beautiful photos! I'm sure your mother loved having you visit her. How nice that you are able to stay at your mother's home while you visit her and you are finding items from your childhood, like that Easter card!

    You know, I never thought of someone not being able to go outside to experience the rain, etc.


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