So July starts next week? Really? Where the poop did June go? Just yesterday I was turning a page on my monthly calendar at work to smile at two adorable little kittens. And now, at the end of this week, I’ll turn another calendar page, revealing the latest adorable kitten. My Dad’s trip to Alaska seemed so far away, and now, my dad, his brother, and my two oldest nephews are exploring the great state. How did that happen? June was supposed to be my “kick back and take it easy” month, and I only kicked back and took it easy a few days out of the month.

The beginning of June marked a short trip to Iowa to watch my niece, Tova, perform in an elaborate dance recital. Dance has always fascinated me, and I’ve always loved watching a good dance performance. I was pretty impressed with the size of the dance company and some of the performances. After the recital, Krissy threw a party for her kids and some of their friends before Ethan and Gavin left for their road trip to Alaska. The weekend was capped off with RiffTrax of “Breaking Dawn: Part II” – “One could argue that it never really began” – and trip to a yogurt bar.

While Dad was on his road trip to Alaska, Mom would stay with Krissy for about three weeks and would spend the remainder of the trip at a memory care facility in La Crosse. I didn’t quite like the idea of Mom staying at a memory care facility, but my place was too small for three people and two cats and wasn’t a safe environment (big staircase). After a few days with Mom, Krissy needed help. We understood that Mom needed time to adjust in a somewhat new environment with Dad. Without going into too much detail, Mom needed more care than Krissy could provide.


By the end of the first week in June, I made unexpected plans to spend the next week with Krissy to help care for Mom. Fortunately, my supervisors at work completely understood the necessity to take an unexpected week off. Not to mention, Krissy very rarely admits she needs help with anything. So when she said, “I need you, Jenny,” I knew she was in trouble. Between the two of us, we were able to care for Mom until new troubling issues developed. Once again, I’ll spare the details of the new issues, but Krissy and I knew we could no longer provide Mom with the care she needs.

My sisters and I love our mom with all our hearts and want to give her everything we have because she gave us so much when we were younger. She’s our mom, and our fierce determination and maternal instincts just kick in to provide and care for her. To admit that we can’t provide her with the care she needs is just incredibly heartbreaking because we just want to give her everything she needs. Because we can’t provide a higher level of care, we feel like complete failures. My mind knows that’s not the truth, but my heart has trouble accepting that.

Prior to Dad’s trip, Charlie and I visited a few memory care facilities in the La Crosse area. About a week or two before the trip, our top choice memory care facility – Ashland House (fake name) – didn’t have any openings. Fine. No problem. So, Dad made plans with the Plan B facility – Bellflower Homes (another fake name) – which was a little bigger but not quite as homey as the Ashland House. God gave my sisters and I a gift a few days before the new troubling developments began, the Ashland House director said it had an opening for Mom.


I said thank you but no thanks because we were set to admit Mom at Bellflower Homes in another week. Between the two of us, we were able to handle Mom and her issues. Then everything went downhill quick later that night, and a decision was made to admit Mom earlier than planned. The next day, Krissy and I made a ton of phone calls, signed paperwork, kept Becky in the loop, and planned a quick trip to Rochester. Long story short – we were able to withdraw Mom from Bellflower and admit her at the Ashland House.

I’m not providing full detail of the admittance because I’m not really ready to share that experience. I returned to work the next day, somewhat refreshed after being away for more than a week. After work, I hopped the city bus to visit Mom at the Ashland House. Life was slowly returning to normal. Then I somehow managed to pull a lower back muscle that ruined all of my weekend plans. The pain made me quite miserable over the weekend, and I visited my doctor on Monday, who gave me some pain meds and muscle relaxants. Yay!

Once again, my supervisors were amazingly understanding that I needed two days off (Monday and Tuesday) before heading back to work. I am truly blessed to have this job. If I’m not on the pain meds or muscle relaxant, my back muscle still bothers me and makes me curse like a sailor at times. The doctor said the muscle will heal itself over time, which could take anywhere from two to three weeks. I’m back at work for a few more days before Charlie and I head to the Twin Cities for a little mini-vacation. I sure hope to see brighter days in July.

Categories: Jennifer Elliott

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