Mom and me before I said goodbye last weekend

Sheesh. It’s been over a year since I had anything much to write here. Having a job seems to have something to do with that; then there is the post-COVID fatigue I had last year. I wish I had my act together better.

The rest of 2022 was fairly uneventful for me and my family. Well, with the exception of Val needing hospitalization the week before Christmas. A blip on the Kirkemo radar. On New Year’s Eve, I managed to book a trip home to Virginia for myself and Val in March. Then 2023 arrived. It crept in the usual way: little fanfare, no fireworks or parties and no excitement. Just the way I like it. Then Val and I got COVID… AGAIN… and spent the last half of Febuary recovering and whining. Oh, and sleeping. That fatigue is indomitable.

And on February 27, with 5 days left before we were supposed to hop on that plane, the unthinkable happened and our lives were irrevocably changed. Forever. My 85 year old mother fell backward down the basement stairs and broke her skull, facial bones, clavicle, ribs and her C2-C7 vertebrae; she was unconscious until she got to the hospital and sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. I had to wait a few days to clear a negative COVID test and I moved up our departure 2 days. Vic headed up to Fairfax to help Dad navigate decisions and relay information. She held down the fort until I could take over.

It’s been a very difficult 2 months since that fateful day. I’ve made 2 trips home since then and another one is on the horizon. Three weeks later, Mom was discharged to the hospital’s inpatient rehab facility and is now in a skilled nursing facility to finish rehab. She’s doing well in some areas and not well in others. It’s been hard on everyone, but most of all, my Dad. He just turned 86 and his life has completely changed; he’s still trying to figure out what the future looks like. The Mom I had before the fall is gone; new brain injured Mom is an imposter of her with all sorts of weird issues and difficulties. I never imagined this life for either of them.

Needless to say, I’ve been updating a Caring Bridge site to keep friends and family in the loop and keep in touch. It helps Dad and the rest of us manage the communication so we’re not on the phone all day long but being mindful that people love her and care about her and us.

So if you want to read about our adventures, please feel free to click the link to her Caring Bridge site, which I try to update as often as I can. There are days where we have nothing to say so expect that. But when I do update (like tonight), sometimes my keyboard has a case of diarrhea. Apologies to all you visualizing souls!

Author: Betsey K.

Mother of two daughters, a Siamese cat and a 3 legged dog. Genealogy hack. Research nut. Search engine proficient. Daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece and ex-wife. And a person who strives for balance and peace.

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