Friday, February 17, 2012


When Daddy died, Mama had a stroke that
left her wheelchair bound. She lived several years beyond him. She often said, "It wasn't supposed to be this way. I told Elbert I wanted to go first!" During those unplanned years, we three children cared for her in our homes. Then she moved with us here to Florence. During the move she was at a beautiful assisted living center for respite care. We thought this would be a temporary place until we unpacked the boxes. Our plan was to move her back into our home. But she quickly grew to love her care givers at Windsor House and they loved her.

It became home and as she put it, "I'm not pining for you here." Only Mama
would use a sweet, old word like pining. I got it though. I think she actually regained a measure of dignity there where others took care of her. Once again I was simply her daughter, not her nurse.

My brother, Ricky, recently emailed me the following and included an 11 year old letter I'd emailed him.

Kathy, sometimes I tend to forget. Do you? My forgetting is the truth and simplicity of:
This is the day which the LORD hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Ps. 118:24

Each day is a gift, a treasure from God. I tend to forget that and rush about thinking in the back of my mind about the coming tomorrows. Its a mistake to live like that. Today, not tomorrow. Today.

I stumbled across an old email from you, Sis. It was a good one of a simple, Day Which The LORD Hath Made. How can we not rejoice and be glad in it?


From Kathy
December 6, 1999

Today I began with devotions and asked the Lord to order my steps--long list of errands and chores at home. He did. I debated whether to work first then go see Mama. I decided to put her first.

As I drove there, He gave me a creative idea--take her ON my errands with me. The day is gorgeous and they plopped her into my car. We didn't even take the wheelchair. She held my hand and squeezed and patted the whole time. "Some one's playing with my hand, " I teased.

"Mine too."

I had to stop in parking lots to write down our little dialogs so I'd be sure to share them with you.
First we drove to my house to "surprise" Doug. He was in the garage when we drove up, but didn't notice the car at first. "Mama, watch him when he sees YOU." He did a classic double take then jumped. She laughed hard.

We saw ours and lots of Christmas decorations riding around. She read signs out loud. "Majestic. . .there's one that says 'Strip poker'. . ."

"Do you want to play, Mama?" I asked, wondering if she even knew what it meant.

"No. I can take my own clothes off!"

"When do you do that?

She looked at me incredulously, "When I go to bed." (Silly me.)

I ran into Roses to return a video. Then to Food Lion when I saw one of her caregivers shopping. She went out to the car to greet Mama, who barely remembered seeing her, by the time I returned to the car. Her roommate told me she was crying last night, not eating supper. So I asked her about it while driving. "Where you sad yesterday. . .crying?"

"No-ooooo..." she said, puzzled at my question.

"You didn't eat supper."

"Yes, I did." So her short term memory loss probably is a good thing on those days. I asked Elizabeth if that was not unusual and she said yes, that Mama is happy most of the time. The moment is about what we have. Thank God they are mostly good.

"You look happy, Mom."

"I am."


"Cause I'm with you."

"Boy! Doesn't take much to make you happy."

She laughed. She always gets my jokes. . .or maybe she's just being nice. "Yes, it does. YOU'RE MUCH!"

"Well, I'm happy too, Mama."

"You should be."


"Cause you've got everything."

I agreed and began to list my blessings: Doug. . .kids. . .perfect grandchildren. We discussed and agreed on that one. She's very justifying.

As we left the grocery store she commented, "I don't know where I am." I explained we were going back to my house to drop off the ice cream then to her house for lunch. I explained that I lived close to her, and Bert and Ricky lived far away. ". . .because I'm the GOOD one," I teased.

She laughed again and said, "I know."

"I'm gonna tell the boys you said that, Mom."

"I don't care if you do. . .I don't care if you do one bit!"

So there! Nanny, nanny boo-boo.

Back in my driveway, I asked, "Where are we?"

She saw Doug and said, "My son's house."

I thought she might be confused, so I asked, "Who's your son?"

"My daughter's husband," she smiled.

"You never had in-laws, did you, Mama? They're all yours."

"I don't like in-laws," she agreed. "They're all mine the same."

I told her I don't like grocery shopping but she made a bad chore a pleasant one. We'll do this often on pretty days when my errands are quick stops. I parked her in front of the buildings and told her not to let any bad men get her. "No bad man wants me."

I've got a zillion things to do, but had to write this while fresh.

Go ahead, Mama, make my day. She does! When God orders my busy steps, it's always wonderful!
Ricky's wife, Gwen, wrote me back noting that this joy ride was just 3 months before Mama died unexpectedly.

This is the day the Lord has made. How will you live it?



  1. Mrs. Henderson, I LOVED your mom! It wasn't until she lived with Mr Tippett (Ricky) that I grew to know her on a more personal level. I used to "granny sit" with her. She made me laugh, and I learned alot from her during those visits! We watched alot of "Father MacGyver," as she called it. I remember her asking me to trim and file her nails for her one time, so I gave her a "manicure." What a special lady! I SOO enjoyed my time with her!

  2. From my dear cousin, Brenda L. Bond, via facebook:

    Kathy, I had a "good" cry this morning when I read your day with Kathryn. First because your mother was such a special lady and so loved by our family. Second, because it reminds me of how blessed I am that Mother is still alive (99 in June), with our help able to stay in her own home and mentally alert to tell me all of the long ago family stories as well as to the penny how much she has in her bank account. She is still in church Wed. nights and Sunday.

    Thank you for reminding me to count my blessings.

    Love to you,

  3. Evelyn Upright writes;

    That was precious Kathy.