It’s been a while since I updated this blog, and our lives continue to change. But Our Father walks behind and before us, and knows each bend in the road.
Just days after we sent out our 2017 Christmas letter, Mom fell and broke her hip. She was still living in her little cottage next to Brenda and Quang’s house at the time. She was in the hospital and rehab over the holidays, so after we visited her and made sure she was going to be okay, we went ahead and drove up to Michigan to spend Christmas with Dave’s and Laura’s families and to wait for little Matthew to make his appearance. Even though he was late, we were able to be at Dave’s for the birth and for a few days after Matthew was born (at home, and very quickly, as is Amy’s custom!) on January 2, 2018. Then we left to go back to Georgia and begin what was to become another year of caregiving.
After Art’s mom went to heaven in September of 2016, we had a little over a year alone together, which was wonderful. But then the Lord called us back to caregiving again. We didn’t know that at the time, but we did know that Mom was coming home from rehab and that she needed someone with her full-time. Since Brenda’s family couldn’t provide that, we decided to move into her little apartment with her, temporarily, so that we could take care of her and decide what to do next.
It was one of the hardest things we have ever done. She was upset and disoriented from all that she had been through, and our being in the apartment upset her little world that she had ordered so closely. Though she was still as sweet as ever, it was very hard for all of us. We knew that this was temporary, and prayed for an answer. A lovely personal care home on Toccoa Creek, right near Toccoa Falls, seemed to be the perfect answer. Brenda could even stop in on her lunch hour (she was now working at Toccoa Falls) to see her Nana. But it was not to be. It was a hard transition for Mom, who had been through so much already, and due to some misunderstandings, Mom developed a serious infection with scary side effects and ended up in the hospital again. Though the infection was speedily rectified, the home would not take her back. And since she had been in two hospitals, two rehab places, and the care home, plus having us living with her for a time, we felt that she needed to just come home with us and have some stability. So in February of 2018 she came to live with us in Tennessee.
After a few months with us, Mom improved so much that we decided we could all move to Michigan temporarily to live in my childhood home in Clawson and spend our time fixing it up to sell or rent. Our last renters had left in January, so after ten years away, Mom returned to her house with us. We ended up spending the rest of the year there. Art spent countless hours working on the house—electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, drywall work, painting, repairs, outdoor and yard work—even tearing out and rebuilding the kitchen! And I helped as I could. While there we enjoyed spending time with our Michigan family as well as with old and new friends.
So we discovered that to a certain extent you can go home again. Our one-block-long street, Knollwood, had not changed physically very much in the 55 years since I left to go to college at age 17. Several of the original owners or their children still live on the street and we enjoyed renewing acquaintance with them, as well as getting to know our other neighbors. When Dad and Mom moved here in 1953, they chose Knollwood because it was a lovely wide street with a park at the end. In summer we visited the park for several events, not the least of which was the annual Independence Day celebration. Mom was able to watch the fireworks from the front porch! Clawson is a great little town, just a little over a mile square, and we explored all of its streets on our daily walks.
We were also blessed with visits from all my siblings! And we spent time with our relatives who live in the Detroit area. Art’s cousin Don lives less than a mile away, and graciously allowed Art to use his workshop and tools when needed. We were also able to visit our family in West Michigan for several birthday celebrations and over the holidays, when Bryan’s family visited from Russia. We even got to see little Matthew turn a year old. It turned out to be a good year, full of grace from our heavenly Father.