Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, April 9, 2012

Enes Berg Stringam: In Memorium


Mom
January 6, 1924 to April 9, 2002
My Mom was raised on a ranch in Southern Alberta.
Near Brooks.
She was the only daughter of Ellen and Petrus Berg.
And only sister to eight brothers.
She thrived on their ranch.
Then she married my Dad.
And moved to the Stringam Ranch.
Where she continued to thrive.
Even with feeding ranch hands.
Having six babies.
Cleaning, gardening, cooking, baking, sewing, driving, preserving, chore-ing, wife-ing, mother-ing.
And everything in between.
She was a marvel of ingenuity.
A tower of strength.
And a fountain of energy.
And then, after she had raised her kids and was finally ready to relax and realize her fondest dream – to spend her time writing – she got sick.
Parkinson's.
The same disease that finally claimed her father's life.
She was devastated.
But only for a while.
With her usual grit, determination and courage, she started a Parkinson's work-out group.
And a Parkinson's support group.
Which she continued to shepherd while her disease slowly overtook her.
Finally, as her condition deepened, hospitalization was required.
And she was forced to let go.
Dad placed her in a care facility in Taber, Alberta.
The finest he could find.
Then he took an apartment a block away so he could be with her every day.
Because dinner together at the end of the day was a family tradition.
And he wasn't about to let something as paltry as Parkinson's disturb that.
For several years, they continued in this manner.
Mom, slowly slipping away.
Dad attentive.
The staff of the home watching over them both.
Then, one day, Mom refused to eat.
And shortly after that, slipped quietly into a coma.
Slowly, the family gathered to say our final 'See you soon!'.
We stood beside her bed and clasped her hand.
Held her and held each other.
Then, as always happens in the Stringam family, as the minutes ticked by, we started telling stories.
And laughing.
Something Mom loved.
And, as though that was the signal she had been waiting for, Mom slipped away.
Leaving us with her sweet memory.

There is an addendum:
Dad had chosen the best care for his beloved that he could find.
And he had done well.
The people in the home were kind and attentive to Mom.
Carefully caring for her every need.
Right up until the last.
Even as she lay in a coma, and everyone knew the inevitable outcome, they made sure of her comfort.
Lying in her bed, Mom had rubbed a small sore on her heel.
Her caregiver said, “Well, that can't be comfortable. Let's fix it.”
And she proceeded to place a small, round band-aid on the aged heel.
This was a woman in a coma.
Seemingly oblivious to everything and everyone around her.
And yet, her care-givers were concerned for her comfort.
Later, when my sisters and I were dressing her for her funeral, we noticed that little band-aid.
We left it.
A symbol of the love and care we all felt for our mother.

It's been ten years today since Mom left us.
We miss her.

Thinking of you, Mom.

23 comments:

  1. I wish I could've gotten to know Gramma better. Then I read your stories, and I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I write. So we'll all remember . . .

      Delete
  2. She was very beautiful. From what I am reading she was beautiful inside and out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was, Delores. Thank you. I miss her.

      Delete
  3. "Later, when my sisters and I were dressing her for her funeral, we noticed that little band-aid.
    We left it."

    I was holding it in pretty good until I read that. Then I lost it. What a beautiful, simple and poignant statement. Your mamma raised you girls right.

    This story resembles so much of my husband's mom's story and so many others. Still fresh in our minds. Thank you for sharing your mom's story. What a beautiful woman she is. Loved that photo of her.

    And your dad....wow. What can I say. What an awesome husband and father.

    P.S. My husband and I grew up near Brooks as well. Rosemary. Your mom's family name is SO familiar to us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments, Lynn! My parents were certainly a wonderful example to us! You knew of the Berg family?! It is so exciting that you grew up in Rosemary. My uncle Woody Stringam was a bishop in Rosemary for years. And many of my husband's Seely family lived there as well. What a small, small world!

      Delete
    2. I had a feeling. ; ) My mom is presently working on a Rosemary Ward History book. Please e-mail me. crapo(at)shaw(dot)ca

      My husband grew up in the home that his dad bought from Bryce Stringam. {He still lives there.} Any relation to Woody? I could always ask my FIL, or my mom, more. Just thought you might know too.

      P.S. Oh we know the Seely Family, as well. : ) What a great family. And yes...such a SMALL world.

      Delete
  4. Ya ...Boy Your Mom looks like Mine.
    She was very beautiful.
    When ever my Dad liked something he'd say:
    Hmm Beautiful! Just like my wife. And everyone would try to see what his wife looked like. lol
    Then they'd tell him he indeed had a beautiful wife and he loved hearing it.:)
    My Mom also had Parkinsons and alzheimers from the medicine over doze. I took care of her and yes we miss them both and think of them every day.
    I love your story Diane. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Dad sounds SO sweet! Thank you for sharing your parents with me. It sounds like we have much in common! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post!!!

      Delete
  5. There are so many things about your mom worth-remembering. I'm sure she's in a better place now, looking down on you fondly. What a touching tribute...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, PPFC! I know that she is happy and watching over us. She was a wonderful person. A true lady.

      Delete
  6. Thank you for the beautiful story. When my daughters say "I miss grandma," I can only think of how important we are to each other. We lost mom around easter, too. Fifteen years ago. Her funeral was on my birthday. I was honored.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sad that the Grandma my kids remember is the one who was so frail in health. I wish they could have known the vibrant, funny, strong person she was. But I remember. And it is for my kids that I try to write down what I remember. Thank you so much for sharing your memories with me. It keeps these people alive . . .

      Delete
  7. This is my first time to visit your blog and I am moved and touched by your lovely tribute. What a beautiful woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Shelly! I'm so glad you liked my remembrance of my Mom. She was very special!

      Delete
  8. Thank you for sharing this story of your mother. Such cruel diseases there are that rob our loved ones away from us. It makes me sad and brings a tear to my eye as I think on the similarities to my husband's mother and what we went through with her as she endured cancer. She died in 1995 and I miss her as much now as I did then. It sure makes me glad in at least this way that life passes quickly. Hugs my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She just faded, day by day. It was so hard to witness. Isn't it amazing that their memory remains alive so clearly. Often, I think, "I haven't talked to Mom in a while, I should call her." Then I remember . . . Thank goodness for the knowledge we have of the Plan of Salvation and life hereafter! I know Mom is busy and happy there. Someday I will see her again.

      Delete
  9. What a beautiful mother. Sounds like we lost our moms within just a few months of each other. What blessings come from wonderful moms.

    Your dad sounds so tender in his love and care for her. What great examples.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful moms leave behind such great legacies. I feel so blessed to have had her in my life. And to still have my Dad. They are my greatest examples.

      Delete
  10. So touching. My uncle passed away from Parkinson's just before Christmas. He too was a good person, who loved life and family. Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, M! It really helps me when I write about her. Thank you, too for telling me about your uncle. We need to remember these special people!

      Delete
  11. Oh, Diane, this is such a loving and touching post! The love just flows out of your words. You're a natural-born storyteller. That you are. And your mother, what a beauty! I could have sworn I was staring at the photo of a Hollywood starlet! That hair and that lipstick! I swooned! But more important is how feisty and determined your mum was. You and your family are blessed to have had such a role model of strength and courage! As for your daddy, what a guy! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bella! You always say such kind things! I loved my Mom. I miss her. I still have my Dad with me and I pray he stays around for a while yet. But writing about them brings them close to me. Thank you for your wonderful comments! You're such a dear!

      Delete

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