Mother’s Home

by Judy on November 19, 2013

Mom lights up when we come to visit

Mom lights up when we come to visit

She sits in the same brown chair reading the monthly calendar on her lap. The time, the day, the month or year have now lost meaning. A smile lights her darling wrinkled face when our golden retriever, Maggie, my husband, Tink Robinson, and I visit. She remembers all of us and also the names of my 2 brothers, sister-in-law and sometimes, our son, Dan, and my cousin, Carol. She often talks about her sister, Ollie, who passed away 10 years ago.

It has taken me awhile to accept that Mom has gone into the realm of forgetting but oh, you should hear her laugh! Tink teases her and says, “How’re you doin’, you sexy devil!” She throws her head back and laughs heartily. Then she says, “Oh yes, the men are just swarming around me today.” We tell her how nice her hair looks and she replies, “We have a new hairdresser you know.” She will repeat this at least another dozen times during our visit.

George and Mom in the early 1980s

George and Mom in the early 1980s

Then Mom points to something on the desk. “Who is that?” she asks. I hand her the picture. It is a photo of her with my wonderful step-father, George. I tell Mom who he is. She can’t seem to place him, but then I tell her that he was her second husband. “Oh?” she questions. I say, “Well you slept with him for over 30 years.” Then Mom laughs and says, “Well I’d better remember him then!”

Over and over during our time with her, we express our love for each other. Mom was the inspiration for my song called, “Mother’s Home”.

“Mother’s home, my love, Mother’s home little one
It’s all right to soar, testing your wings
Reaching for more
Little one, I’m still here, Little one, have no fear
Little one, Mother’s always home”

Click here to listen to an excerpt of “Mother’s Home

Mom's 95th birthday

Mom’s 95th birthday

Mom tries to tell us something, but can’t find the words. She says, “Oh Judy, I’m getting so ancient. I’m 100 you know.” She actually turned 95 just two months ago, but what’s the difference in a number.

Mom was so proud of her Grandson

Snowbird Grandma #4 and Damn Proud

Mom has forgotten that we had her over to our place for her birthday in September. We even sat her in front of the computer to have a Skype call with our son, Dan, who was in England. This whole internet thing is totally beyond her comprehension, but when she saw his image on the screen, she got all teary eyed and kept saying to our son, “Oh you’re just so handsome!” She was so proud of him when he flew Number 4 position for the Royal Canadian Airforce Snowbirds in 1996-97. Mom even had a T-shirt designed in his honor.

Mom can’t hear us very well and I discover that both batteries have died in her hearing aids. I insert new ones and write down the date they were changed. I look down at her swollen ankles bulging over her worn-out slippers. Her feet used to be a slender 5 triple-A. I went to Calgary last week (along with drawings of her feet), and came back with 4 pairs of slippers. All were too small, so I’ll be traveling there again to search for wider sizes.

Both tears and laughter surface instantly for her now. The universal language of music brings us into the moment. We sing some songs that she would know: “You are My Sunshine”, “Dear One, the World is Waiting for the Sunrise”, “K-K-K-Katy”, “A Bicycle Built for Two” – even later ones from musicals like, “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady”. She belts along with us in “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and knows most of the words. She also adds the appropriate harmonies.

Mom has always loved to laugh

Mom has always loved to laugh

Mom again begins to speak, but stops in mid-thought and says, “I’m getting so confused.” A minute later, she will forget that she said this. I put an invisible microphone in front of her mouth, put on an exaggerated cockney accent and say, “Mrs. White, would you like to try that again!” She laughs – we all do, and Maggie comes over and kisses her cheek. Now it doesn’t matter what the subject was – the mirth has wiped the slate clean. Each moment is a fresh start. A nurse comes in to take Mom down to the dining room. She wonders what we’re laughing about. We reply that ”we’re chuckling just for the fun of it …” and Mom tells her that “We’re just a bunch of nuts in this family”.

Me with my Mom on 'hat day'

Me with Mom at the ‘hat day’ tea

And so our visit has ended for today. We say ‘I Love You’ over and over again. Tink and Maggie leave to walk home as I watch the nurse take Mom into the bathroom. I see her disappear around the corner – our little Mom who used to be 5’1″ tall and is now about 4’6”. I’m smiling through misty eyes. I look around the room – quite spacious actually with a sitting room, bedroom and large bathroom which accommodates her walker. A framed picture of Mom and me wearing big hats looks back at me. We had fun wearing those last spring at the ‘hat day’ tea.

Mom 'dressed up' to serve tea

Mom ‘dressed up’ to serve tea

Mom has always loved dressing up. About 15 years ago, her ladies’ group had to serve tea at a function. They all agreed to dress in costume. Of course, all of the women wore fancy clothes and prim little hats – except Mom. She wanted to do something funny, so she wore a false nose and hat with huge tall feathers!

Her room seems so sparse. There is no need for ‘stuff’ anymore – just the basics. I make a note to myself to clear out all the extra paraphernalia in our home, because, how much do we need really? When we moved her to this upper level of care floor, we installed mirrors and hung as many of her paintings as would fit on the walls.

One of Mom's original oil paintings

One of Mom’s original oil paintings

Mom was always artistic, but began painting after she married George. He passed into Spirit in 2002. They lived out on his farm for many years before building a lovely home in town. It was on a half acre with an indoor swimming pool, mountain view, lush trees and garden. Mom had her very own art room and she painted hundreds of beautiful works of art – beginning with oils and very soon graduating to watercolors. Our home is filled with her paintings, as are my brothers. We cherish the memories of all the happy times, the delicious meals, games, support, love and so much laughter. It amazes me that Mom’s humor is still so present. The staff members just adore her and tell me that Mom always brightens their day.

Mom painted this watercolor at Wasa Lake, BC

Mom painted this watercolor at Wasa Lake, BC

My aunt, Ollie, Ethel Skinner (their mom) and my mom, Dori (circa 1920)

My aunt, Ollie, Ethel Skinner (their mom) and my mom, Dori (circa 1920)

I used to over-smile when I went to the Lodge – and then wonder why I was so exhausted. I know it was because I was resisting the change. My Mom was always so smart, so quick, so giving and so ‘there’ for me. Now the roles are reversed. I look at a photo of Mom at about 2 years old when she was just beginning her journey here. It seems that life passes in a blink – but that is just an earth expression. We decided we needed to measure time – and yet, there is only This Moment.

My beautiful Mom, Dori

Our beautiful Mom, Dori

I pick up 3 big print books to return to the lending library. They have been sitting there for the last 6 months and Mom can’t see well enough to read them anymore. I remember when we first moved her to the independent ground floor of the Lodge 3 years ago. She was thrilled to discover reading again. Her first large print book was a compilation of Reader’s Digest stories. I can still hear her words when she phoned to tell me all about the book. “Judy”, she said, “This story is really spicy!!” (Then she proceeded to read me a few passages – ‘the woman’s eyes drifted to his swelling manhood’, etc.) … “Judy, this is so racy, that I had to read it twice!”

I smile as I recall another incident when she lived on that floor. My brother, Jan, and wife, Sue, were vacationing in New Orleans. They phoned Mom to say hello and give her their cell phone number. Mom said, “Oh Jan, I’m so glad to have your number. Now I’ll know how to get in touch with you in case I drop dead.”

So tomorrow, I will visit again and see Mom sitting with the calendar – meaningless to her now. I think I am there to see to her needs and cheer her up. But it is really the other way around. By letting go of minutes and years and even memories, Mom is just living breath by breath. By just simply ‘being’, she is teaching me about letting go and living only NOW. The I AM within her is alive and well. One day, she won’t be sitting in her chair anymore. She will be dancing, jumping, turning cartwheels, tending flowers, painting and charming everyone with her quick wit. And she will have a beautiful reunion with her sister and mother, and also with my dad and step-father who always remained friends throughout their life here on earth.

I am blessed that I chose her for my Mom and I will forever feel her presence. My song now reveals a deeper symbolic meaning. As I breathe into the center of the words and melody, my knowing heart opens and I remember … MOTHER’S HOME.

Ollie's dog, Dusty, giving Mom kisses (photo taken in the early 1980s)

Ollie’s dog, Dusty, giving Mom kisses (photo taken in the early 1980s)

Mother’s Home, believe
Mother’s Home, just receive
As you start to see Love all around
It’s only Me
Mother’s Home, I AM Here
Mother’s Home, dry your tears
Little one, Mother’s always HOME






Click on Cover to download or purchase the whole CD

Click on Cover to download or purchase the whole CD

To listen to a clip of “Mother’s Home” – Click Here (Song #5)  If you would like to download the whole song for 99 cents – Click Here

P.S. I would love you to visit my brand new From Spirit to Story to Song Website Home for more fun and inspirational stories.

While you are there, download my song and FREE Gift for you, “Give Yourself Love”.

© Judy Armstrong 2013




{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila Callen November 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Oh Judy, this was so beautiful. So similar to the feelings and experiences I had when my dad was aged. My mom was so far away I didn’t have the luxury of regular visits with her during those years, but dad lived nearby. Those times will always be treasured!


Judy November 20, 2013 at 4:58 am

Thanks Sheila. And I remember your Dad so well. I loved that we found each other again Sheila. It was meant to be! Forever friends!


Carolyn Cooledge November 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Judy this blog touched me deeply. I had the joy of meeting your Mom. What a special lady! Love you bunches.


Judy November 20, 2013 at 4:59 am

Hi Carolyn, love you bunches too. I’m so happy that you met my Mom. What wonderful times we all shared at Fort Steele! Keeping the memories in my heart always.


Jerry Boyd November 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

It makes me cry, but it is nice to be reminded that my Mother is always HOME. Your Mother is giving you such a huge gift with her grace in living moment to moment in joy.


Judy November 20, 2013 at 5:01 am

Hi Jerry, how sweet of you to read my blog when you have many challenges of your own right now. I’m sending love to you and to you Mother at HOME. Yes, we will always cherish our Moms and keep them in our hearts.


Linda November 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm

What a special lady and blessing to all who know her and love her! Loved her artwork and wonderful sense of humor! Thank you for sharing your heartfelt journey with your precious mom. God Bless you both in every way and always.


Judy November 20, 2013 at 5:02 am

Hi Linda, I so appreciate your comments on my blog. Mom would be thrilled that you appreciate her artwork. Miss you Linda. Big love beaming your way, Judy


Susan November 20, 2013 at 5:46 am

I love this story Judy! In one way, your taking us on this journey brings a tear to the eye because of her gradually failing capacities, but in another way, you have painted such a wonderful picture of all the elements of Dori’s life that I felt very peaceful as I read the last sentence. It’s all good, complete, and no life ever dies. Thank you Judy!


Judy November 23, 2013 at 4:56 am

Hi Susan, I am so touched that you would not only read my blog, but comment on it as well. Yes, it’s true, life goes on. Will be visiting Mom again tomorrow and am grateful. Love and blessings to you, Judy


Kinga Biro November 21, 2013 at 5:35 am

What a sweet loving tribute to your mom…yes, changes come, transformation occurs as life moves us forward, but as you said, there is really only this present moment, and it is perfect…reminded me of my mom and the many blessings she bestowed on me and on everyone around her…we play it forward as life moves us along the way…hugs to you, Tink and Maggie.


Judy November 23, 2013 at 4:57 am

Hi Kinga, yes, I keep learning to be present right Now! Mom reminds me of this every day. Sending hugs back to you from all of us here.


brenda November 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm


Your mother loves you soo much, it was a blessing for me to see her when you took me to her room in the lodge. She is a wonderful soul, a teacher to all of us…and I could so relate to your beautiful article. Your mom is delightful, and to see your beautiful memories in the photos, to read your wonderful feelings of how you feel, is a blessing for us all. Thankyou for sharing so beautifully your mom and the song you have written for her. It is beautiful! She is powerful, and such a loving soul, her i am is alive and well for sure…what she shares so beautifully and innocently with everyone in the lodge and with your family comes right from her heart…and she does know inside whom she is speaking too..and how much they mean to her…i feel she knows what is really going on. You and Tink, Maggie, and your beautiful family resonate with her at a deep level…and she lights up just to see your beautiful soul, your smile when you say hello. She is so beautiful, her face is a glow, and you can feel her spirit as you gaze upon her in your photos. What a blessing she is to me, and to us all…thankyou for sharing your mother with me!! and all of us here! Your love for her is entwined within her soul…as she hugs you in her heart…and her in your heart. A beautiful energy of the heart..two hearts beating as one…and Tink as well! Thankyou for sharing such a beautiful story of your mom..i was touched by her love when i met her and did not really want to say goodbye!! She is love, light, and so much more….as you are! Blessings my dear sweet soul sister!!! My heart goes out to you….my mom is starting this journey now..and your lovely writing has inspired me to have more patience with her when i see her. Your writing teaches my heart to open more…with compassion for my own family. Thankyou Judy for all you are, and all that you do!!! WArmest Hugs…and lots of love!!xoxoxoxo Brenda


Judy November 28, 2013 at 5:47 am

Mom keeps saying that ‘old age is for the birds’. She doesn’t like it at all really and yet, she still manages to laugh! And sing! She certainly is teaching me many lessons. Thanks Brenda! Love, Judy


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