Archive for the 'Family' Category

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Aunt Joan & Uncle Henry

Last night I was googling names of family in England, and learned that my Great Aunt Joan passed away in May of 2009. And that her husband Henry passed away sometime during the holidays, and his funeral was held today.  I wasn’t as close to that side of the family as I would have liked- My grandma Riggs (on my moms side) was a WWII war bride, so she left all of her family back in England to start a new life here. Which means, for the most part, we never really got to know her side of the family. She was one of thirteen children, so she left behind a pretty large family. However, after two of her siblings, Aunt Joan and Aunt Dawn along with their husbands Henry and Phillip and a niece Carol and her husband Steve came to the states for a visit in 1987, I decided to take a trip to England to meet the rest my grandmas family. While I was there, I got to spend a couple of weeks with Aunt Joan and Uncle Henry, and I have to tell you they were both quite amazing people.

I think back to my time spent with them, and I have dozens of stories, but I can’t quite seem to put any of them down in words. The main thing- They will be missed.

In November 2008, they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

auntjoan unclehenry

Joan Jolliffe

Jolliffe Joan of New Road, Exning, passed suddenly but peacefully away at her home with her husband by her side, on Friday May 15, 2009 aged 84 years. A dearly loved mother of Carol, and a much loved nanny to Jack, Alex, Sam and Max, a dear sister and constant companion to Dawn.Funeral service at West Suffolk Crematorium Friday May 22 at 9am. Family flowers only please, donations if desired to the Sick Childrens Trust, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, c/o Southgate of Newmarket, Funeral Directors 25 Duchess Drive, Newmarket CB8 8AG

Henry Lawson Jolliffe

Jolliffe HENRY LAWSON of Exning passed away
suddenly at his home aged 85 years. Beloved husband to the late Joan, brother to Mary and a much loved dad of Carol, a dear grandad to Jack, Alex, Sam and Max, father in law to Steve and brother in law to Dawn. He will be sadly missed by all his many family and friends. Funeral service to be held at the West suffolk Crematorium Bury St. Edmunds on Tuesday 5th January 2010 at 12 midday. Family flowers only please but donations if desired may be made payable to the British Red Cross, c/o Southgate of Newmarket Funeral Directors, 25, Duchess Drive, Newmarket CB8 8AG.

The obituaries are from the Newmarket Journal in Newmarket, England

Whoopin’ Spanking!

12202009 003aWe celebrated Christmas with Jans son and his family today. Kendall, Jans (almost) 3 year old Great Granddaughter is so cute. She sure latched onto her new chimp- which she named “George”. When we asked her what Santa was gonna bring her this year, she responded with ” a whoopin’ spanking!”


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Larry, my step-dad, made these crafty little figurines for me a decade ago.
I thought they were pretty cool and figured I may as well share them with you all!
He obviously possesses a lot of patience to carve those details.

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Master Tour Rider…

10102009 2043At tonights chapter meeting Jan was awarded the Master Tour Rider Patch.  It’s really a pretty big deal to become a Master Tour Rider in GWRRA. It’s the highest level you can reach in the safety/education levels program and you have several requirements you have to accomplish in order to recieve the standing of Master Rider. You must have a certification in CPR/First Aid, you have to complete a riders course and obviously practice safe riding skills, with at least 25,000 miles of safe riding as well as several other requirements…  There are only a handful of us (me included) in our chapter that have reached this level, so it truly is an elite group of people. Yea Jan!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!Today is dads birthday- Thankfully he can spend it out of the hospital. From all accounts, and according to Kenny, dad is doing excellent. He slept great and had been doing really good at Kenny’s. A Home Health Manager came today to see how he was doing, and whether he could take care of himself. Kenny says he is still having a lot of problems with his depth perception- so that would mean no driving yet. He also said he needs a lot more physical therapy to build his strength up. But for all practical purposes he is doing great. Here is a photo Kenny snapped on his cellphone so I could update everyone. He has his eyes closed- but even so you can still see dads spirit shinning through brightly. He looks so much better than he did while I was there.

Dad… as of 5:30pm July 14th

It appears dad will be getting out of the hospital tomorrow. When I talked to him today- he still sounded really clear in his thinking and aware of the things around him. I can’t say how mush weight has been lifted these last 2 days. We went from a week ago believing that we would have to put dad in a care center, to now believing that with a little more time and therapy he will be on his own again. What an awesome feeling! He told me that he had a special Therapy session where the 2 big wigs were there (his Dr’s) and they were making him go through a handful of exercises- walking sideways with one foot crossing the other- walking backwards, turning around and walking backwards to where he started… Mostly to check his balance and coordination I’m sure. He said they were pleased with his progress.

I found out today, when Kenny took dad back to the hospital a week ago- someone there told him that dad was fine and that perhaps Kenny was the problem. I can’t believe they said that to him. Kenny did everything he could, and then some for dad. I guess since they couldn’t see an obvious problem, then of course there couldn’t be anything wrong. They have since admitted to dad and Kenny that it was their mistake in medicating him. I’m glad Kenny has gotten a little affirmation that he did what he could- and that NO it wasn’t his fault that dad was being so combative. The last 3 days that dad was with Kenny, he didn’t even know who Kenny was. He was so confused he had no idea what was going on.

Kenny was telling me today that the look in dads eyes has even changed greatly. A week ago they were kind of empty and lost. They are now filled with life and spark. Kenny will be taking dad back to his house again- I don’t expect there will be the problems that they had the first time around.

Even though this isn’t the end of the story of dads recovery- I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who sent their thoughts and prayers to dad and the family. It really means a lot.

Dad… as of 5:00pm July 13th

When I talked to dad today- it was a lot like talking to pre brain injury dad… we had a good conversation and he seemed really clear about what was going on around him. Aside from the extremely loud tv in his room, he seemed just like he use to be. He asked me about fishing- told me that Kenny hadn’t been catching much… At one point he said he felt like he was in prison, rather than a hospital. He told me they had monitors on his bed and chair- and any time he got up they would go off… I told him they had those on his bed while I was there- his response was that I hadn’t been to see him yet this year- when I told him I spent a week with him at the hospital, he just kinda sighed and said that the nurses admitted that the Dr’s had over medicated him. But it seems that they are getting things leveled out. It was so scary seeing how confused he was while I was there- but if this conversation is any indication- then he is becoming more clear headed.

Dad… as of 2:00pm July 11th

Things seem to be looking up- During Kenny’s visit with dad today, Kenny said he was a lot more coherent and not as confused as he had been. He knew what day it was, where as in the past he would have to sit and think about it- and typically had to look a the calendar to figure it out! Not to say this is the cure all, but it sounds like the change in meds has made a markable change in his cognitive state. And when I talked to him on the phone he seemed to be more alert! At this time there is a nurse with him at all times- she tracks his every move on a log- this way they can monitor the changes as he takes his meds. From what Kenny was saying, they believe his meds are responsible for about 99% of his abnormal behaviors from the last few weeks. They want to keep him for about another week to make sure the med changes is working well. It also appears that Dad doesn’t remember even being at Kennys. Which is probably a good thing since there was the confrontation between the two of them. Lets just hope this change in meds make all the difference…

Back in the hospital…

Dad is back in the hospital, they need to evaluate his medication. Last night he got up in the middle of the night and was really confused. My brother went in to see what he was up to and I guess my dad elbowed him in the mouth saying that Kenny was trying to set the house on fire, and wasn’t going to let anyone out of the house. It took a long time Back in the hospital...for Kenny to calm him down- he even had to show dad his drivers license to prove that he was indeed Kenny. After he was settled, Kenny put him back in bed and within just minutes he was back up freaking out that he had seen an intruder walking in the living room (which was actually Kenny). It got to the point that Kenny couldn’t keep him calm or restrained and he ended up taking him to the hospital for an evaluation. We are hoping his increased agitation is just an imbalance in his meds and not from the brain injury, or Alzheimer’s. I hate the feeling of helplessness, but I know there is nothing I can do- there is no way I would be able to restrain him if I were there. Kenny is pretty upset- he’s feeling like he has let dad down. We have all tried to tell Kenny he did the best he could, and he shouldn’t beat himself up about it all. I’m proud of Kenny for doing what he has. Unless a change in medication makes a huge difference in his cognitive state, there will be no choice but to put him in a care facility.

Finally…. an update about Dad!
(and my trip to Nebraska)

Finally.... an update about Dad! (and my trip to Nebraska)
Finally.... an update about Dad! (and my trip to Nebraska)Well, it’s been quite awhile since I last updated… Anyway, here it is about 3 1/2 weeks since my dad fell. We found out what actually happened- Apparently he was letting his cute dog JR out the back door, when JR accidentally tripped him up. He fell down 2 flights of stairs and was knocked out for about 2.5 hours. As you know, just over 3 weeks ago he had surgery to remove a blood clot from the right side of his brain and they have continued to monitor the bleeding on the rest of the brain. He appears to be out of the woods physically, but he still has a lot of issues related to the brain injury.

Finally.... an update about Dad! (and my trip to Nebraska)
Dad is being released from the hospital tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) and he will be staying with my brother Kenny while he continues outpatient rehabilitation where he will recieve Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy. He still struggles with short term memory loss as well as confusion. He has some medical conditions that are contributing to his confusion, and hopefully once things balance out for him, he will become more aware of his surroundings. The Dr told us he was “expected” to return to a fairly normal state, he of course will suffer some sort of deficit from the brain injury, but we can only hope it’s fairly limited. I know Kenny is nervous about the responsibility ahead of him with dad living with him (hopefully he will only be there temporarily and can return to living on his own again), but I know Kenny possesses everything in his heart that he will need to help dad.
Finally.... an update about Dad! (and my trip to Nebraska)

While I was in Nebraska, I got to see a few other people who are special to me- Above: My good friend Mary drove to Kearney from North Platte to have lunch with me- It was her birthday, so it made a special visit even better! Below: I got to spend some time with my Grandma- I sure miss her. I also spent time with Aunt Barb and Uncle Mose (although I didn’t get a photo of them… darn it!) Here’s a special shout out to Uncle Mose- “Thanks Uncle Mose- you’re a sweetheart!” (he knows why…)

Finally.... an update about Dad! (and my trip to Nebraska)

For the record… I am now in Nashville, TN and will be home tomorrow afternoon!