Tag Archives: elderly parents

Family Reunion- Leise Rieselt Der Schnee

Dave pushes his Dad through the snow to a Christmas party. They are singing Leise Reiselt Der Schnee

It is snowing like crazy here in Leamington Ontario. Dave says in all his years growing up here he doesn’t think he ever saw so much snow.  Yesterday morning we went to pick up his Dad from the nursing home to take him over to Dave’s Tante Gatte’s nearby apartment for a Christmas get together. It was cold and snowing heavily although the flakes were huge and soft. Getting Dad who is almost ninety three years old all bundled up with his gloves and hat and pushing the wheelchair through the snow was a bit of an adventure. I think Dave and his Dad are looking at the townhouse just across the street where Dave’s parents lived for many years after they had moved off of their vegetable farm. Here is Dave with two of his beautiful aunts, Tante Helga and Tante Gatte. Tante Gatte who is ninety years old and still swims everyday, drives her car and is known for her volunteer work had made all kinds of wonderful traditional Mennonite baking for our family get together- zwiebach, stollen, raisin bread and portzelky. Here is Dave with his other two beautiful aunts, Tante Margaret and Tante Marion. Dave visits with his cousin Rudy Neufeld who had organized the family reunion. Rudy runs Neufeld Learning Systems a company that makes software for math teachers. It was nice to see Dave’s cousin Ruth.  Many years ago we went to college together  and our children in Saskatoon are good friends. Ruth is a talented artist. Check out her website. 

Here I’m visiting with Dave’s cousin Judy.  She’s telling me that her grandchildren and daughter from Arizona are coming to spend three months with her while their Dad does an optometry rotation in New York State. 

I took a photo of Dave’s Dad with his four siblings all in their eighties and nineties. Uncle Johnny, Tante Gatte, Dad, Tante Margaret and Uncle Abe. As we pushed Dad back to the nursing home Dave started whistling a German Christmas song about snow called Leise Rieselt Der Schnee (Softly Falls the Snow) and Dad who has a rich bass voice started singing. He remembered all the words. The three of of us sang three verses by the time we got Dad back to his room. Before we left Dad said, “That was a nice party.”

Other posts about Dave’s Dad……

Autograph Book From a Conscientious Objector’s Camp

A Visit With Dad

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Lets Talk About Our Parents

Everyone is talking about their parents.  Lately it seems the main topic of conversation when we get together to socialize with people is “their parents.”   Here are excerpts from a few recent conversations.

“I went to Alberta so I could be with my Mom during her geriatric assessment. They told me she has Alzheimer’s. When I shared the news with her she said cheerfully, “Well everyone has something wrong with them.” 

“My Mom says a handy thing about growing old is you don’t need to buy new books. You can just read the same ones over and over, because right after you finish a book you forget what it’s about.”

” We are busy planning my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday party. She is very excited about it and really looking forward to it.  She keeps asking how many people she can invite and she doesn’t believe us when we say, “As many as you want.”

“I know my Dad needs to give up his driver’s licence. His driving is downright dangerous. But how do we tell him? “

“I haven’t been to Saskatchewan for a long time to see Mom.  She has dementia and she hasn’t recognized me for a couple of years.” 

“My mom still swims for an hour everyday—six days a week. She’d swim on Sunday too but my Dad put his foot down about that.” 

“Mom should be in an assisted living place, but she won’t go; so we end up driving the hundred kilometers to her home every week to help her with housework and yard work.” 

“This week I have to take both my mother and my mother-in-law to appointments. I take my mom grocery shopping every week. ” 

“My mother-in-law admits this last stage of her life is the hardest. ‘Growing old is not for cowards’, she says honestly.”

I notice not only do all my friends seem to be talking about their parents, but when I talk to my sister and brothers we usually include something about our parents in  our conversation as well—how we think they are doing health wise—what we need to do to support them, or what family activities we should plan for them to enjoy.

A decade or so ago conversations with our friends revolved around our children, now they revolve around our parents.  

I don’t really mind talking about aging parents. It is helpful to know how other people are supporting their elderly mothers and fathers; but it is interesting to note the way the subject can at times completely monopolize the conversation of the fifty-something crowd. 

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