Me, Mom, Aunt Jo, Uncle Bob, and Cousin John

Me, Mom, Aunt Jo, Uncle Bob, and Cousin John
Me, Mom, Aunt Jo, Uncle Bob, Cousin John

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Sister's Tribute

Dec. 8, 2011

Memorial to Sue Taylor Mills

Sue was my big sister, and she was a good big sister.  She taught me a lot of "girl" things - how to do my hair, how to put on lipstick, how to pluck my eyebrows.  We gave each other home permanents and haircuts.  She taught me to drive (in her car).  Not too many years ago, we were talking about our growing up times, and apparently when I was a teenager, our mother would ask Sue if I should be allowed to go certain places and do certain things.  It seems that Sue occasionally said No.  She wondered if I hated her for that. I said I didn't know about it, and if I had, I would have just thought she was looking out for me.  Once, when I was pretty young, I rolled out of bed.  I was still half asleep.  Sue got out of bed, picked me up and put me back in bed.  Another way of looking out for me.  She was 7 when I was born, and she said she got a new baby sister to play with.  She was always warm and loving to me.  As well as being a talented musician, Sue was an excellent seamstress and made beautiful clothes, which I got to wear.  Our family always ate meals together, most of the time around the kitchen table.  Sometime in my childhood I started giving my mother a kiss after every meal.  Sue once asked why I did that, and Mother said it was my way of saying Thanks.  One time the seating around the table got rearranged and after the meal I kissed Sue.  We were both surprised.  If there was anything odd about our family, it was that we all liked each other and enjoyed being together.  Meal times were always fun, and we laughed a lot.  My friends thought I was lucky to have a big sister like Sue, and I thought so too.

Leta Jo Taylor Harlow

Friday, May 4, 2012


Things My Momma Always Told Me:

You look much prettier with a smile.
Always look your best and do your best.
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
Don't smack your gum.
Don't chew with your mouth open.
Don't talk with your mouth full.
Don't run with scissors!
If you take something out, put it back when your through.
Put your dirty clothes in the hamper.
Clean up after yourself.
Make up your bed every morning.
Always say please and thank you.
Be very grateful for what you have.
But for the grace of God, there go I.
Don't chase after boys.
Kill them with kindness.
Practice makes perfect.
I'm So proud of you!
You're the daughter I always wanted!
Your Daddy loves you so much!
Your Daddy works So hard for this family.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A letter to Mom on Mother's Day 2006

Now that you've been diagnosed with AD, I wanted to share with you all that you have meant to me...hide it in your heart in the coming days ahead.
I have such happy memories rowing up with you as my mom.  I'll cherish having a school teacher as a mom.  It came with so many perks!  I got to have you all to myself on holidays and summertime.  I loved helping you decorate your classroom and bulletin boards every fall and cleaning them up every summer.  I loved coming to all your special music programs and getting to grade papers.  What a treat!  I remember you students loved you so much.  Time after time we would run into former students and they would tell me that you were their favorite teacher.
    The summers were heavenly.  I remember you reading to Kenny and me after lunch in the heat of the day, then trying to get us to take a nap.  My favorites were Winnie The Pooh, Mary Poppins, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Peter Pan, Little Women, Pippi Longstocking, Charlotte's Web...the list goes on and on.  You took us to the library every week to check out books for the sumer reading program.  When we would hear the ice cream truck coming we'd run in and ask for money for a treat and you'd usually let us.
     It seemed like the neighborhood kids usually hung out at our front or back yard playing kickball, basketball, hide and seek, jumping on the trampoline, Slip and Slide, or acting out the latest movie (Cinderella, Camelot, Wizard of Oz, The Sound Of Music, etc.).   I remember all the girls singing around the piano while you played.  The girls would come over to our house to play made many of her tiny clothes.  WOW!  You taught me how to roller skate and I spent many hours skating up and down the block.  You also taught me how to ride a bike(and tandem), jump rope, chinese jump rope, walk on stilts, and pogo stick.  When we were older, we could ride our bike shown to the public swimming pool.  I remember you encouraging me to take ballet and piano lessons.  Thank you for letting me have girlfriends over to spend the night often.  You even let me and my girlfriends toilet paper some boys houses, but always made us go back the next day and clean it up.
     Speaking of making Barbie clothes, you made many of my clothes as well.  My favorite was matching Mother and Daughter dresses of patchwork double-knit with rickrack(very unique) and we would wear them to church together.  When I got to old to dress like my mom, you made me and my best friend, Cheryl, some matching outfits in different colors.  You even made me a swimsuit once ( shiny leather like brown with a fake front zipper).  You worked so hard on my wedding making all the bridesmaids dresses and artificial silk flowers and decorations.
     I don't ever remember you and daddy fussing or arguing.  The only time dad got his feathers ruffled was at bill paying time.  I never heard you say a bad word, except once when you got a ticket for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.  At the next stop sign, you stepped on the brakes a little too hard...hence the word.
     I loved sitting next to you in church and hearing your beautiful alto voice.  I learned to sing the harmony to all the hymns.  Music filled our home everyday, either by you playing the piano or organ, or the stereo playing records(Christmas music, movie soundtracks, Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass, classical, etc...)  I was proud that you played the piano and organ for church.
     Thank you for teaching me to play the piano and sew.  I always kind of felt intimidated because you were so good and I just didn't quite have your talent.  One summer you took me and my friend Cindy to Singer for sewing lessons.  She excelled in it.  Me...not so much.
     I'm realizing that I didn't appreciate you enough.  It's just a rarity these days to find someone with as happy a childhood as you and Daddy allowed me to have.  Thank you for it all!  Mom, never forget how much I adore you, admire you, appreciate you, and love you so much!  Your loving daughter,  Kathi

The End

Mom apparently had another stroke and went into coma for several days, then passed away on December 2, 2011.  How do I feel?  Relief, sorrow, grief, alone, sad, tired, numb, burden lifted, no regrets, fear for future, purpose fulfilled, completion, what's my purpose now?, new beginning, what's next?  It's taken me awhile to want to blog again.  Other personal turmoil in the family happening.  No family celebrations through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but  starting fresh in the New Year.  So many things learned the past 6 or 7 years about Life...Family...Sacrifice...Forgiveness...Love...Mercy...Grace...Caregiving...Memories...Letting go...Moving froward.

Monday, November 28, 2011

In Times Of Need

I've been going through a personal crisis recently, not realizing that Mom was lucid enough to understand what was going on.  But just like in past situations, Mom seems to come to her mind when she intuitively senses something is not right with me<though I try hard to hide it from her>  She looked so worried and troubled the other day.  I asked her what was wrong, not really thinking she would be able to express to me what she wanted to say.  But she said,"I want to know what is going on".  With as little detail as possible, I told her.  Her brow unfurrowed and a look of such compassion overcame her face, and she became the caregiver once again.  She got teary eyed and put her hand on mine.  The next day she had another stroke and though stable, I regained my role again as the  caregiver.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Isn't This My Funeral

A couple years ago:  ME- Who are you talking to, Mom?  MOM- These people are preparing for the funeral, and I'm telling them what to do.  ME- Who's funeral?  MOM- Well, this is my funeral isn't it?  Aren't I here in the casket?  I want one of my pink dresses to match the casket, but I don't have any shoes to match.  ME- You won't be needing shoes; your feet won't be showing.  MOM- Yes they will!  And I don't want my hands to show.  ME- Ok, Mom.  MOM- I want you to sing like you did at Dad's funeral.  ME-  I can't promise that, it might be too emotional for me.  MOM- Well then for sure, the girls.  ME-  I can't promise that either, but perhaps we can prerecord something and play it there.  MOM- Well, I guess, but I'd rather you do it in person.  ME- But this is not your funeral.  You're right here in your house, in your room, in your bed, and I'm right here with you.  MOM- Well, I'm ready to go; you know I have outlived my body.  I never thought I would live this long.  ME-  Maybe it's cause I needed you here, so how about staying a little longer.  MOM- I guess I don't have a choice, do I?  ME-  I love you Mom!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

Mom has unintentionally figured out how to get out of her automatic lift recliner. She likes to feel things in her hands ( sheets, blankets, ribbons, cups, etc..) When she finds the remote, she fiddles with it and sometimes it lifts her up and out. Kind of like when a child inadvertantly makes a long distance phone call on the phone. Mom has slid out of the chair 3 times now. We're going to have to hide the controls. Luckily she hasn't gotten hurt so far. We can't seem to leave her even for a couple of minutes now. She's too weak to actually get up on her own from the chair or the bed, but she has almost rolled out of the bed recently. I just don't want to restrain her.
It seems that lately she has just gotten better enough to be more confused and restless. Don't know the reason for all this.