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Monday, July 10, 2017

Seeing St. Maries

St. Maries is still so beautiful after all these years! I had missed this small logging town far more then I had first realized when I teared up as we drove on in together my Auntie Val and I.

We came in from Sandpoint where she lived, which is a 2 hour drive.....(not that long if you have someone to chat with)

I noticed how changed this town of my childhood was, yet I felt happy to see some things stay exactly the same too! I saw the old play ground I use to swing on and the public pool I learned to swim in for hours trying to stay close to my older cousins who could jump off the diving board so naturally. (Oh the memories came flooding my heart and my mind as we arrived)  The nursing home was tucked up into the surrounding hills of the old neighborhood where my Grandpa Rudy Klein built most of the places up! Now his wife Grandma Eva has moved back to the community in her need for better care. I was really looking forward to seeing her again, while understanding she might not recognize me anymore. I know how to not talk so fast or loudly when the elderly struggle to understand or to hear, I have learned waiting for them to talk to me or share a story is far more relaxing and comfort then to try and share to much about my life all at once. I also have learned that asking lots of questions can upset people who have dementia or Alzheimer, my husband's Grandma is in the very severe stages of Alzheimer so whatever attitude you carry with you she will mirror it exactly!  I find it fascinating how important understanding all of these things are for a better visit in a nursing home. They are not scary, sad nor are they depressing to me. Yes we all will die one day, some of us may even die in a nursing home but that's not the worse way to go at least for me, I am very social, I am very grateful nursing homes exists for people to have help in getting around, to have a sense of independence yet never be all alone in the last days of life too. My Grandma Eva looked really good with company in her room as we first got there. She recognized me and gave me a hug, she asked about my parents then seemed to forget who my parents were as we sat awhile but I didn't mind, she even said "You look like someone I should know." which made me smile and I admired her cheerfulness, her playful kid like attitude was so endearing to my heart, that I knew I was very glad I had gone to see her! I loved seeing Aunt Kaisie and my Auntie Val together in getting their Mom's room in order and her birthday party planned. For Grandma Eva was 83 years old........and when she turned 80 we had a huge family reunion and public park party! How odd that it feels like just yesterday when my husband and I attended bringing in his homemade wine and hugging so many old friends not just family! Grandma was a spit fire spunky woman that day so 3 years had flown right on by in the blink of an eye as I sat beside her peacefully happy to just listen to her.  
When my cousin Henry arrived, my heart was bursting for joy! He looked good as always having just finished another funeral ceremony so as an elderly man roll up to us asking for Henry's help on his DVD player I tagged along admiring that my beloved cousin who is always caring, was a natural with the old gentleman. When we headed back to our Grandma's room he said "All those years working for Radio Shack comes in handy now and then." I laughed and we walked arm in arm. Have I mention that I love him so much? He's always makes me so proud, so easily happy again....
(Our short time together was truly wonderful that weekend)    
Going to St. Maries made me want to stay longer and see much more of the Saint Joe river again, of the lavender farm and all the different little shops. I enjoyed a yummy dinner with my Cousin Stephanie and her parents Uncle Tony and Aunt Kaisie that over looked a truly beautiful golf course! I hope to come back to visit with them more at the end of the summer.....yet it was all so refreshing, so inspiring and sweet to be with them. We even shared a bit about my brother Derek that warmed my heart and made me know I was EXACTLY where I was meant to be!
Before we went off to our place for the night Auntie Val and I went to say good night to Grandma. As she gave me a hug saying "It's so good that you are here!" I replied "I am happy to be back in St. Maries, Grandma." She nodded with a nice smile saying "You always were!" sudden tears surprised me and I choked back one last hug while she said "Tell your family I send my love! I wish I could come down for a visit. I would love to see them all." The moment was so special, so endearing as my Auntie Val told her mom that she will bring me back in the morning. I felt in awe of being there. I could see my Aunt's devotion to her mother, the friendship they have and the realization we are all running out of time. 

I left St. Maries knowing I will be back, knowing it had been good for my soul to be there!

I have such a big extended family that started out from there, from the adorable magical logging town in Idaho!  Now as my Grandma spends her last days safely cared for there. My memories of all the good times win out! My hope for the future is found among the landscape of pine trees and clover, if my last days were in that very same place I would be okay with that. I would simply be "Home."

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