Flatwoods

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
    in secure homes,
    in undisturbed places of rest.

Isaiah 32:18 NIV

When my Mom was a child her family lived in Flatwoods, Kentucky while my grandfather worked for the railroad.  For some reason, my mom always equated living there with some of her best memories, even though she was only four at the time.  She told me that when one of the babies was born the children were sent to Preacher Cyrus’s house around the corner (Billy Ray’s grandfather).  His children played with Mom’s older siblings and it seems that when there was a birth they were sent to the Cyrus home to wait it out.

One of her memories was of an upstairs room wallpapered in newspaper print.  She remembered a skeleton on the paper, probably from an advertisement.  She also remembered walking across the back alley to the post office.  Once some cousins from grandma’s side of the family sent them a large box of clothes with chocolate laying on top.  She remembered having to help her brother Bill, lug the box home from the post office.

 

The blue house was the one Mom lived in; White house was the Cyrus house

Several years ago she and Dad went back to Flatwoods looking for the house and the old post office. The post office no longer existed but the foundation was there.  They stopped to take a look; a local policeman stopped by to see if he could help them.  They shared their story with him and he confirmed that the post office had at one time stood on that spot. They had trouble finding the street she had lived on so they stopped in at a local mart for directions.  A gentleman there remembered the Maddox’s – turned out he had played with Mom’s brother, Billy, so he knew exactly where they needed to go.  When they arrived at the house the current owners came out to talk to them and showed them around their home. Some things had changed over the years but Mom still recognized it.  It was a great day for Mom getting to revisit a place that had been lodged in her heart since childhood.

In 2014, before Mom’s memories were completely gone and she still mentioned Flatwoods we took another drive.  By this time the street she had lived on had been renamed Cyrus Ct. after Billy Ray. The house he owned pre-Achy Breaky Heart sits next door to the house Mom had lived in. This time we had to go to the Library to find the directions because Mom’s memories were scattered, Dad couldn’t remember the name of the first street we needed to turn on and the alley behind the house had been opened so it was situated a little different.

All we had to go on was that it was around the corner from the Cyrus home, so I marched into the Flatwoods library and told them we were looking for my Mom’s childhood home that was around the corner from the Cyrus’s.  I’m sure they thought we were just curious and being nosy.  They got out the map and showed us the street and explained how to get there. So we did a drive by and took a few pictures.  It was a bittersweet day because I knew Mom’s memories were fading fast and that it would probably be her last trip to Flatwoods to walk down memory lane.

 

I’m not sure of the reason that Flatwoods had such a tug on Mom’s heart but it did. It seemed that Flatwoods represented a happy time in her life. Don’t we all have memories of those places that represent some of our greatest happiness in life?  I’m glad we took her back one last time.

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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Anywhere But Here

Only by the Grace of God that this is not my mother or your mother. Please check out what Overwhelmed by Joy has to say and then come back here to finish reading. This is a topic I have purposely not written about on my blog before.  Today seemed like the right time to share.

the foundation of joy makes the hurt bearable
the foundation of joy makes the hurt bearable

Dementia is a disease that affects everyone close to the person and just when you think you have it figured out the game changes.  There are no rules and nobody wins. You learn to take it one day at a time, except for the times you don’t.  You learn to find humor so that you won’t cry, except for the times you do.

You spend your time waffling back and forth between feelings of guilt, inadequacy, frustration, fatigue, anger, worry.  All of these emotions are rooted in the fact that  you want to be anywhere but here, yet you can’t imagine not being here. You want to do what’s right, but sometimes you just want to walk away.  Then you attack yourself for being selfish.  Because you have your mind.  You’ve only lost your life as you knew it and grieving what you have given up seems so small in comparison to watching your loved one give up so much more.

On a good day things seem almost normal and you can laugh and share memories, but in an instant that can change and you’re left wondering what you said wrong.  You watch as your loved one walks away from you feeling like somehow you have let them down, even though you know you didn’t mean to.  Then there are the times you engage and say things you later regret because you know they don’t really mean to shut you out.

You find yourself trying to figure out patterns and anticipate moods, only to realize that you are just twirling in circles and there are no answers. Only questions.  Then you remember.  He knows your pain.  He suffered too.  And He will be with you.  You are reminded once again that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  And you know that it is only by the mercies of God that the journey can be traveled with Grace.

Finding mercy in His Grace,

Sadie

Love Speaks in Everyday Moments

Today I had a date of sorts with my husband.  It wasn’t planned.  He needed an ink cartridge and one was not to be found in the small burg in which we live, so a trip to the neighboring college town was in order.  I decided to go with.  So, it was an impromptu date.  I’m calling it a date because:  1.  It was just the two of us and 2. It involved our new favorite Italian Restaurant for lunch.

It wasn’t romantic – we didn’t  hold hands or kiss or flirt or anything like that.  We were just together.  The fact that it was just the two of us was not all that remarkable since we don’t  have kids and often it is just the two or us.  The fact that we ate lunch out doesn’t really make it all that special either since we tend to eat out often.  And, even the fact that we were together was not all that remarkable, because, these days we spend a lot of time together since neither of us leaves home on a regular basis to go to work.   So, maybe it wasn’t really a date.

That doesn’t matter.  What matters to me is that we are together.  We still count.  We  go with the ebb and flow of life with each other and even if we’re not officially on a date we can still enjoy each other’s company.  We have settled into a rhythm of life.  We can know what the other is thinking without saying a word.  Sometimes in the silence of just being together there is magic.  Being together is like being wrapped in a blanket on a cold winter’s day.  You feel safe, cozy, protected and blessed.  Your eyes meet, you smile and you know your world is right. You know that love speaks in the everyday moments of life and even an ordinary trip for an ink cartridge is something special.

 

And every time he plays, I fall in love all over again.

Loving in Grace,

Sadie