Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Enes Berg Stringam: In Memorium


A Repost on this, her birthday.

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.

Mom would have been 89 years old today.
We miss her.

Thinking of you, Mom.

9 comments:

  1. And just like the last time I read this...I'm sitting here blubbering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Delores! I just felt it needed to be said again! I'm really missing her today . . .

      Delete
  2. This is a beautiful tribute to your mother Diane, she sounds like she's an amazing lady:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Launna, she was! Busy, happy, faithful, strong. And talented. I really miss her!

      Delete
  3. That is so beautiful! It has evoked some memories for me. It brings so many things to my mind, that I hope you don't mind me sharing.

    No. 1 - " 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." That is exactly the way it was on Christmas Day for my husband and his family....when his mom passed away in 2009.

    No. 2 - "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." My mom was a nurse for 45 years. For 40 of those years, she worked in the extended care ward...the last place where the elderly and disabled went to live before leaving this life. She loved her patients and took such great care to make them comfortable even if they didn't seem to be aware that she was there. I wished often that I could be more like my angel mom. ; D

    P.S. Your mom is such a beautiful lady. I really like that picture of her. I wish I had known her in this life. She seems so beautiful inside and out. I feel a kin ship because she was raised near my own home town. ; D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing you beautiful memories, Lynn! What a beautiful, remarkable time for your husby and his family with their precious Mom. And I think there is not enough tribute paid to those wonderful people who care so deeply for our aged and aging relatives. Your mom is an angel! (And I get the feeling you are just like her!) I will be happy to introduce you to my mom. on the other side of the veil . . .

      Delete
  4. What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Diane. You made me cry. My dad has been in a nursing home for over five years. The compassion of the caregivers is outstanding, but some of the smallest kind gestures are the ones that have stayed with me. A moving post; thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Jenny! It is so heartening to see the care these people give. And you're right. It's the smallest things that you remember . . .

      Delete
  5. What a moving tribute to your mom! She is beautiful. Thank you for posting this and for linking with us at NOBH so I could read it. Every blessing, Kelly.

    ReplyDelete

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