Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Aftermath

Mother's funeral was a full Catholic Mass. One she'd always requested. It was filled with family, friends, flowers and I thought Father Don did a good job conveying who she had been in life. I regret writing the obituary so quickly without really proofing it enough. THAT was always Mother's job. I often go over and over things like that and rework it before publishing. I should have said Love Abounds rather than Love Abound. Something silly like that. The other couple things I was able to correct before it was published. It's obviously keeping me up tonight though. Thinking of her is keeping me up.

Yesterday I had to call on all of her credit cards to cancel them. Turn off her phone and internet and write out thank you cards. It felt like I was erasing her. That didn't sit well with me. A close friend, Suzanne, suggested that I think of it more of freeing her. I hadn't considered that viewpoint. I suppose it is really stupid to think that anything of her is left here except memories so she's right. I just wish I could shake the feeling of being morose. I sit and look at two of the flower arrangements that are still thriving in my living room. I got a new frame for a very old photograph of Mother, Lisa & Myself when we were in our early twenties. I think it was the only professional photo we ever had taken. If you consider Olan Mills professional. LOL Either way it's how I like to remember us and she's beautiful and smiling in the photo.

I haven't cried nearly as much as I expected once she passed. I don't know if it's because we had so long a time to say goodbye or just the fact we know she didn't want to be living with dementia. We burned all of her old journals she wrote that she requested that were written before she was married to Willie. I found a smaller one she kept from 1999-2014 by her bedside. It's mainly contains documentation of things during those years and how she felt dealing with depression, fibromyalgia and finally cancer. It's nothing we didn't already talk about but I'm glad she was trying to find some solace in journaling through her feelings. I'm going to keep it. I can't seem to let go of it. It's her handwriting that I feel connected to. And reminds me how much more I need to really listen instead of talk.

I really hope she's finally at peace with herself, her God and with me. We all did our best but were human so were also flawed. I hope the other side is just like Sylvia Browne describes and she's gardening and studying. Two of her favorite things. I look forward to some day seeing her again but in the meantime I will do my best to keep her spirit alive in our hearts.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Carol Lynn Lacko-Beem passed away surrounded by her loved ones at Westbrook Acres under the care of Hospice Compassus on March 15, 2018. She was born in the city of Chicago, Illinois on January 16, 1940 to Lawrence and Betty Jane Lacko. She grew up there attending St. Procopious Catholic School until she moved to Iowa and spent her senior year of high school in Garwin, Iowa. She married twice before finding the love of her life William Beem, Jr. They’d recently celebrated their 33rd weddinganniversary. She worked for 32 years at Fisher Controls retiring in 1995. She leaves behind to grieve her loss two daughters, Lorinda (S. Jeremiah) and Lisa Lacko, husband William and two grandchildren, Shawn Liam Branan and Chase Reeves, and one great grandson Adrian Rhinehart. Son-in-law Greg Beem, daughter and son-in-law, Kathy and Ken Vergawen and three step-grandchildren, Kryssa, Jenna and Teia Vergawen.Carol is also survived by her three younger brothers Bill (Shirley), Steve (Kerry), and Tony (Shirley) Lacko who still reside in the Chicago area. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Carol was a vibrant, outspoken, beautiful, independent woman. She had a time in her life where she was a single parent, worked full-time and went to William Penn University at night to better herself for her family. Teaching them to work hard and never stop learning.Some of her life’s passions included herb gardening, teaching herself from the early days of computers how to navigate and she was off and running with anything techie. She loved exploring her family genealogy, read vigorously, and watched a lot of true crime shows and anything containing pop culture. She wanted to be “in the know”!Her children will take with them the undying devotion she had for them. If they ever needed something, they could always count on her and their Step Dad Willie to not let them flail alone. Love abound.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Saint Henry’s Catholic Church in Marshalltown, Iowa at 10:30. A Public visitation will be held on Tuesday night March 20, at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home from 5 – 7:00. For condolences please visit or call (641)-844-1234..

The end of the journey...

On March 15th, 2018 My Mother died. Myself, My Dad, Lisa, Shawn Liam & Lola were present for her last moments. It all went so fast. She began not eating on Saturday and by Wednesday she was dead. I'm not sure what exactly caused her death. The fact she was ready, a silent UTI, the dementia or a combination of all the above? I'm waiting to see what the death certificate shows officially but it's not like were doing an autopsy.

Today is Sunday and I've been fighting what I think is influenza B now all week. I think Chase brought it home and now it's hit J extremely hard. Being exhausted isn't helping emotionally but after sleeping yesterday I am feeling better today. I hope that's the last of it. Watching J suffer though is really difficult for me since I could really use being able to lean on him instead. The secretions and cough he's experiencing keep reminding me of Mother's last days and final moments. I wish I could turn it off but it is what it is. Today is harder than when we made her arrangements. I realize that the reason I want to see her and feel a deep need to see her, is because it's all that I have left of her. Even though I realize she's gone and it's only her physical body it still looks like her. I need to prepare myself too and it's going to take a few days to process. We cannot see her until tomorrow I found out so it's more of the waiting game. The hair dresser has to make her look pretty first and she can't do that until tomorrow morning. Thankfully My Dad is ready to go with me then to see her after we go pay for the grave opening. My sister is not ready to see her. The last thing I want is to be a blubbering idiot the day of visitation, greeting all of her friends paying their respects. Being prepared will help with that. At least I hope so.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Six and Three Quarter Months

     Mother has been at WestBrook Acres now nearly 7 months. It doesn't seem possible. She never wanted to be in a nursing home but there are many things in life we never want to happen, yet it does. Unfortunately right now the flu is full bloom everywhere including one case in the dementia unit. Therefore family & friends are discouraged from visiting. That's been going on now for almost 2 weeks. Ironically the staff tells us that she seems to be coping well but I'm sure she's really missing my Dad. I know he's missing her. If he were to get it or bring it in though that could kill her. They've already given all residents Tamiflu, as a preventative, in case others catch it due to numerous positive cases in the main area of WBA.

     My Dad's brother David passed away about 3 weeks ago due to complications of COPD & pneumonia. My cousin Hannah is now left to grieve in their rental house alone with her Dad's dog. She had been taking care of him for the last couple years as his emphysema deteriorated. Her brother Adam is a good guy but is of no help really since he's a convicted felon for drugs and recovering addict. He's also quite co-dependent in his current relationship. Dad is helping her though a bit financially until the life insurance comes in and I think she'll get through it in time.

     Chase, My youngest, is believed to have Dysthymia. Persistent Depression it's also known as. My therapist has suspected him having it for quite some time when she saw him and it's only progressed. It's really affecting our family, his school and his relationships with friends, family. He refuses to get help though and he's 17 1/2. My therapist tells me I should force him to at least see his pediatrician and see if they can get him to agree to medication. He admits to me he has depression and anxiety but that he can handle it. Yet his anger has erupted to the point where he throws things including his phone. Once at the couch but missed and broke the picture window. He's now having to replace the $600 it costs to fix. He's not getting up for school, claims he has insomnia yet when he gets to sleep finally he doesn't wake up and stays in bed for long periods of time especially on weekends. He's withdrawn. He doesn't think that anyone likes him and that's he's naturally just a dick making it difficult to be happy or friendly. I'm in the process of convincing him to see the Doctor. I can't force him to take medication so I don't know that even going will make a change. I fear for him.

     My cousin Meghann had a partial mastectomy the other day to remove breast cancer. She's recovering well at home now but I worry about her. She has to do chemo I believe but will not need radiation. I hope that stays true because that is what we think brought on Mother's dementia. They radiated her brain though as a preventative without really realizing that it was also cooking her brain at the same time. And though it could bring about these things 'down the road' they were told, who knew it was only 5 years before she was in full blow Dementia. Making one wonder if the preventative was more lethal than the disease. Either were terminal.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

5 months, 22 days

It's the second day of 2018. Mother has been living in WB Acres for 5 months and 22 days. She has gotten used to being there it seems but has good and bad days. Her cognitive state is pretty much the same. Short term memory is affected but she remembers things from her childhood. She recognizes everyone but has no real concept of time. Her Macular Degeneration appears to be holding steady so we are able to go 9 weeks between injections this time around. It's challenging though to get her to focus on keeping her eyes open and her head back for the numbing drops. Her focus is fleeting at best.

It was our first time celebrating the holidays with her not at home and I was quite anxious about how it would go. Thanksgiving didn't go so well. She really wanted to go home and it turned out we had to leave since she was just getting more and more upset at us. Christmas went better with us bringing goodies and dinner from home to share with about 5 of us privately in the facility conference room. She was the center of attention and got all the gifts we'd brought her. I had shutterfly make a book of many of our family members so that she could look at it when feeling lonely. She likes to look at pictures and seemed to enjoy the book. Dad bought her the most beautiful wool cardigan from Ireland that was especially warm and cozy. She looked lovely in it. Until the facility washed and DRIED it. It shrunk so badly she cannot even wear it. Needless to say we were not happy about this but what are you going to do. He went out and got her some less expensive cardigans instead that are washable but it's such a shame resident cannot have anything really nice without someone losing it, stealing it or destroying it. It's not just at this facility either that this is the case. We should have told them not to launder the sweater but it was an expensive lesson on our part at this point. I did buy her an inexpensive ring she can wear instead of her wedding rings just in case she lost them. So far it's still there!

I don't know what 2018 will bring in terms of her care or how things will go since we are still navigating one day at a time. I pray that whatever it is will keep her safe and my Dad can continue to be healthy enough to visit her 4 times a week. That is the only thing that truly makes her happy.