Mom Took Sick VII

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Me and Mulva watched an old movie last night, “Silkwood”, which was real good. It had a real funny joke in it about Indian (Native American) naming conventions for their children. The “Silkwood” joke was much funnier than the one Daddy used to tell about “Falling Rocks”. There would have been hell to pay if Daddy had told the “Silkwood” joke, so I guess the right thing was done all around.

When we left off our story, I am flying through the night, and I mean literally flying. I am leaving Asheville headed for home. I glanced at the speedometer and it was to the North of 95 mph. My astute observational skills realized getting locked up in North Carolina would just be the icing on the cake. I dialed it back to 65 and tried to control the molten cauldron of lava that was my brain.

Fortunately for all, Jackson was on the scene. He had met up with his daughter Mattie, made the transfer of the keys, including the all important garbage key, and visited a while with Mom before she drifted off. Jackson reported Mom’s repeated reference to her fuchsia blanket had diminished to about every third sentence. Jackson had explained to Mom they were going to take her to a rehab facility the next day and that she would be there to get her strength back. At first Mom related that she was happy to stay at Memorial Mission, that they were taking good care of her. Jackson explained that the hospital needed the bed for really sick people and that Mom was well enough to where she could go to a hospital that would build her up to the point of caring for herself again. Mom bought it. To clarify, that was everyone’s best wish, that Mom be able to care for herself and be happy doing it. Daddy would say the odds of that happening were about as good as hitting a hard four, but we hold out hope.

At this point, I’m going to interrupt the narration a bit to fill in a little more background about Jackson, I realize I skimped quite a bit on his profile page.

Jackson can do anything, I mean literally, anything. He played bass guitar and electric flute in a rock and roll band that opened for many of the big names back in the 70’s. He trained as an electrician, but he can do anything that needs to be done in the construction of a house. He owns a couple of hundred acres of land that back up to a national forest. The land had an old log cabin on it that Jackson took completely apart and re-chinked himself. The interior is a comfy modern getaway for folks who come to visit. Jackson has worked in stained glass, etched glass and other mediums to satisfy that artistic spirit that resides within him. He even does his own auto repair in his big old garage that houses his music studio on the second floor. He is truly a Renaissance man. Jackson is an outlier in our family, and I needed to point that out before going further. I suspect his success in life is directly proportional to the amount of time spent under Mom’s wing. He had the least.

To continue on with the main feature, I’m using the drive back home to clear my head and to catalog the events of the last three days. I’m making mental notes of calls I have to make, starting with my bail bondsman. I’m trying to piece together the events that transpired between Thanksgiving when Mom was ok, and New Years when she was near death. The actions of my sister and aunt are undecipherable. Charlotte did not visit Mom in the hospital while I was there. Maybe she sent the crazy Ann Wallace as her surrogate, who knows?

Finally, I roll into the driveway of TackyToo, and Mulva seems happy to see me. We visit for a while, and I tell Mulva I need to send an email to everyone while it’s still fresh in my mind. Driving always helps me cut through the clutter, and I wanted to get my thoughts down before I slept. I send the following email to Jackson, Edna, Charlotte and Maggie:

First thanks to everyone for their support in getting us to this point.
I thought I’d write down a few observations with some goals for the transition of Mom’s care so that hopefully we can present a united front to her and put her in a situation that doesn’t place an undue burden on any family member while providing mom with a comfortable and safe environment.
First off, Mom was very near death, probably one or two days away without intervention. She is still very weak and her dementia is very strong even though her vitals have come back very well. She is currently too weak physically to take care of herself without full time care – 24X7. Mentally, I don’t think she’s got a shot at looking out for herself. The doctor is aware of her dementia and believes she needs a stay in a physical rehabilitation facility until she can handle basic functions by herself physically. If all goes as according to plan, this should occur Monday. Maggie will be able to chose from three or four facilities and it will be paid for by medicare.
All of us have worked very hard to honor Mom’s wishes to die in her own space, with Charlotte and Edna bearing the lion’s share of the load and the abuse that comes with it. I think this is the opportunity to get her in some place that will take care of her medications and hopefully make her feel more secure of her surroundings.
After Mom gets her strength back in the rehab facility, we will have to make the next decision, which I believe involves a full time care facility. A full time private duty nurse (someone who can MAKE Mom take her medications) will be extraordinarily expensive and will deplete Mom’s savings pretty quickly.
My opinion is that a “friend of a friend, who knows someone who use to care for an elderly person” is out of the question. In addition to the 24X7 coverage issue, that friend of a friend might not have Mom’s best interest at heart and here I will give this Ann Wallace person as an example. I won’t recount my encounter with her here, Edna and Jackson know what happened.
I feel that involving grandchildren or great grandchildren as care takers is ludicrous.
So the bullet points are:
1. No drama, everyone positive about getting Mom healthy and strong again, no martyrdom needed by anyone.
2. Transition Mom to a physical rehab facility, Jackson and Maggie will handle this
3. Evaluate her mental state and determine if she can live independently on any level.
I will be working on Mom’s finances until I get them squared away, I’ve had her mail forwarded to here. I’ll pay her outstanding bills today.
Jackson will be taking Mom’s jewelry back with him to Chattanooga for safe keeping and will catalog it and Mom’s brick a brack. My take is that the brick a brack has little value other than sentimental, but to be fair to everyone Jackson will catalog it and other items in the condo.
Best to all,


As I lay down to sleep the Grateful Dead’s song is rumbling in my brain. “What a long strange trip it’s been”.


Meet the Lites – Jackson

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. I’m gettin’ all sophisticated with this hardware, and software, and hard drives, and video files, and what not in the pursuit of getting the park peeper, Mr. B.A. Ware out of my hair once and for all. Mulva got this community college nerd to come out and set all of this stuff up so I can come over to the Rec room and review the day’s films. We don’t have the peeper yet, but time is on my side.

Today we’re going to talk about my brother Jackson, and in some ways it may be the most painful memories of all. Jackson Lee Lite, named after Daddy’s two favorite Confederate generals, was born in 1953 when I was three and a half. My earliest memory of my little brother was his white hair, not blonde mind you, white. He was “cotton-topped”, where my sister and I were of the ginger persuasion. Fortunately, Jackson’s and my hair color darkened as we aged, whereas Charlotte’s just got incredibly thin.

I don’t have many memories of Jackson specifically until we went to live with Daddy. Pre- divorce, I remember he was always sent out to play with me. He hung out in my group of friends, but he never was a pain in the butt. He just seemed to go along with the rest of us. He never complained, never was the whiny little brother that made everyone change their plans because he couldn’t keep up.

After we moved in with Daddy, he was always my constant playmate. It couldn’t have been easy for him. If I was learning a wrestling move I had seen on Live Atlanta Wrestling, it was Jackson who provided the sparring partner. If I was teaching myself Judo from a book, it was Jackson who took the falls. If I was learning how to “bull” over someone in football, as opposed to running around them, it was Jackson who took the hit. It couldn’t have been easy.

Being the younger sibling has to be hard in a normal family, we were not normal. During the period after the divorce, and Jackson moving to Mom’s, we had a catch as catch can lifestyle that one normally attributes to inner city kids. Because Daddy’s job was sales, it required him to be out most nights so that he could make his pitch when the husbands were home. Jackson and I would come home from school and play outside until it was time for us to come in and eat supper.

Supper was generally tomato soup and grilled cheese, which I would cook. If we were lucky, Daddy would have left us something like Oreos or Brach’s chocolate stars for desert. I made sure Jackson did his homework, bathed when it was obviously needed, and then sent him to bed by 10 o’clock. I would try to stay up until Daddy would come home.

I started working after school when I was thirteen and Jackson got a paper route about the same time, when he was ten. Daddy “borrowed” money from me, and just plain confiscated Jackson’s receipts. Medical or dental care was just not in the cards. My nose was broken twice while wrestling, and it took my nose being visibly misplaced to prompt Daddy into action. Jackson carried a bean in his nose, shot there by a bean gun, for a really long time before I could shame Daddy into taking Jackson to have it removed. Dentist visits were as likely as an audience with the Queen of England. Not bloody likely, as they say.

This pattern was only broken by Daddy’s courting exploits, and other misadventures that required us leaving TackyToo for a while. In spite of being moved back and forth, we got good grades, did sports, and neither one of us got arrested.

I applaud Jackson’s calm disposition, high intelligence and pleasant demeanor for getting him through. He has been without parents most all of his life, but he has still managed to achieve highly himself. I’ve always felt guilty for leaving him and ultimately for him going to live with Mom, which was not the answer. All I can say is, I’m sorry I wasn’t a better brother, Jackson deserved to have a better childhood.

I am sad now and I think I’ll hit the elliptical for a while to see if I can work off some of these feelings.