to your mother


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mom's Obituary

This will be posted in the two local papers up near Dad, wanted to pass it along to you all.

Peggy A. Loyd, age 82, of Chambersburg, PA, passed away on Sunday, September 3, 2017, at Michaux Manor. Born in Roanoke, VA on January 13, 1935, she was the daughter of the late John Robert and Glenna MacDonald Brunk Brooks.

Peggy was a 1957 graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in Home Economics. She worked as a teacher for 13 years, retiring in   2000.  Most notably, Peggy was the examiner of the pop top beverage can for the patent office. Artistic in nature, Peggy enjoyed quilting, crocheting, and cooking. She enjoyed hearing other people laugh.

Surviving is her husband, Patrick "Pat" Loyd, whom she married on February 20, 1965 ; three children, Patrick Loyd, Jr. of Ashburn, VA, Paul Loyd of Bethesda, MD, and Peggy Anne McAloon of Leonardtown, MD; and four grandchildren.

A gathering to celebrate Peggy's life will be held on  Saturday, September 16, 2017  from 12:00 - 3:00 PM  in the upper room at Paul's Country Market, 6374 Nunnery Rd Waynesboro, PA 17268    Please park in the back.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Chambersburg, PA. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Peggy's name to the charity of one's choice. Online condolences may be offered on her Book of Memories page at

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A gathering to celebrate Mom's life will be held on 

Saturday, September 16, 2017 
from 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
in the upper room at 
Paul's Country Market
6374 Nunnery Road
Waynesboro, PA 17268

Please park in the back.
Light refreshments will be served.


Click on the arrow to hear On the Sunny Side of the Street by Louis Armstrong
performed and recorded by Brian Simms
Solar kitschy things from Mom's sunny window,
she was an avid collector.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Peggy Anne Brooks Loyd
January 13, 1935 - September 3, 2017

A date for a memorial celebration will be announced soon...
stay tuned.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Brief Update

I went to visit Mom on this past Saturday. She was very agitated when i got there but she settled down after some Ativan and morphine. She drifted in and out of a light sleep while we watched tv. 

She ate some rice pudding that I found in her fridge (Perhaps from you Nancy?) and sipped some tea. It was good to hold her hand and share the day with her.

Mom is now on routine doses of morphine to deal with the amount of pain she is withstanding. She seems to be serene and peaceful with the dosage level she is on.

As of now, Mom stays in bed except for infrequent, exhausting trips to the bathroom. She eats very little, today she needed her fruit pureed before eating a few bites. For awhile now Dad has been bringing Mom a fresh cup of coffee each visit. He thoughtfully bought a sippy cup along this afternoon and Mom was able to enjoy her fresh cup of joe in bed without spilling.

I went back to school today to prepare for the 4 year olds to show up next Tuesday.

It's okay, People, it's okay.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How Can This Be?

Mom decided week before last that she didn't want to continue blood transfusions. At that point her hemoglobin was 8.2. Mom didn't get blood work done this past week but if the trend continues it means that her hemoglobin was in the 7's this past week. Dr. Kent, Mom's palliative care doctor, said her hemoglobin may not drop a point a week as it has been, it may plateau at some point. So there's that.

This Friday I called the Manor and Mary let me know that Mom has been skipping meals, crying a lot, in pain a lot and refusing morphine for relief.

Mike and I decided to travel up Friday afternoon to visit with Mom and talk to her about the morphine option . After Mike, the kids and I traveled through a storm, behind us I saw this:

Rainbows always seem to come at a time when I need them. Strength, reassurance, hope.

We had a quick visit Friday evening.

Sidebar: Over the past few weeks she has been sending bags of stuff home. Dad slugs home a bag of non dairy creamer, some throw pillows, a small quilt.

Saturday A.M. Mom fusted around. I knew she was serious. She had me pack her framed photos, her cards and letters. She had me take a frame with a montage of pictures of family and friends off the wall. She made sure I understood she wanted me to take her scarves home with me. She took off her cross necklace and pointed to my neck.

People? She cleaned out the sock drawer of her novelty socks, only leaving the soft, fleecy, grippy kind.

This woman is a control freak. I kept reassuring her that we didn't need to do this now, I could take care of it later. No mam, no sir. SHE was going to sort her OWN socks and make sure I knew she wanted ME to take them home. Okay Mom, okay.

Mike and the kids came and they fusted around Mom's room, really making a mess of the joint and Mom loved it. Round 11:15 A.M. Saturday Mom threw her purse around her neck and pointed to all four of us and pointed to the door. I did NOT want to take Mom back to the house. My last trip up I took her back to the house when her hemoglobin was higher. She did some final things and generally fusted around. I assumed THAT was her final trip. NOPE. Mom had other plans yesterday.

I was worried that she would fall. I was worried that she would be too weak for me to transfer her from the car to her chair and so on. I threw up my hands. If I killed the woman on the bathroom floor at home, at least she died doing what she wanted to do. News report: we both made it.

Later that evening as she laid in bed exhausted but peaceful, I told her that I had talked to Dad and we both agreed that if she wants to take morphine to help with her pain management we were okay with that. It would be her decision to make. She screwed up her face as if to say "quit yapping, I ain't touchin' that stuff".

Sidebar: Mom and Dad's belief on morphine is that we use it at the end. Mom has emphatically said NO whenever we have discussed her taking morphine. Morphine makes her loopy, uncomfortable in her own skin, not herself. In her eyes, morphine is a vehicle towards putting her out. Done.

When I asked  Mom last night if it was time for morphine, her eyes went wide and she said NO. I assured her it was her choice, she is the only one who knows her level of pain and what she is willing to tolerate. She ho hummed and pointed to the door for me to go. Sweet dreams, Mama.

We returned this A.M. to low humity, blue skies and sunshine on the mountain.

After Mom enjoyed some hazelnut coffee and a cranberry orange muffin from Rutters, we headed outside.

Julie wheeled Mom around the parking lot two times and then Mom parked herself in the sun, in her glory.

Mom seemed tired. She had gone all day yesterday without rest, not getting back into bed until 4 P.M. when she is used to 2 naps a day. She had really pushed herself and it was showing today.

We got her back inside, I wrote a note card saying "Please call  Peggy Anne" so she can point to it if she wants to talk to me, gathered our stuff, and Julie pushed Mom to the door to say goodbye.

We had an uneventful three-point-five hour trip home. Our usual stops and no traffic (unheard of). We arrived home by 2:30 P.M.

3:45 P.M. I'm sitting outside of Dollar General (we are making our own eclipse glasses, thanks  Rycraft, cause NOBODY has eclipse big whoop) and I get a call from the Manor. Jennifer tells me Mom has asked for morphine. I talk to Mom and she just moans. I tell her she is making a good choice and that I love her. I ask Jennifer to tape the "Please call Peggy Anne" card to Mom's T.V. remote. I call Dad. I call Doris (Mom's angel driver/friend from the Manor). They both head over to bring Mom comfort as we don't know how Mom will react to the morphine. I let Paul know what's up. He called Mom and talked to her. Dad has headed home, Doris is still there.

I'm gonna hold tight here at home. For all we know, this lady will be up and eating breakfast tomorrow. I was just up there and Mom had the chance to start morphine with me there. She chose to wait and that's okay with me. She's rascally like that. This is her show, certainly not mine.

Mom's choosing some extreme self care at this point. Choices that are good for her body and good for her mind. Self care is good for the body and soul, regardless of the price. I am going to make choices that are good for my body and good for my mind. I'm going to encourage my family to do the same. Perhaps you can too. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Little Visitor

Mom's hemoglobin dipped below 8 last week and she received a blood transfusion last Friday, July 21st. She did her usual singing when the transfusion was over and seemed a little more perky.

When I visited the Manor this Wednesday, everyone mentioned how Mom didn't bounce back like she usually does after a transfusion. She has been skipping meals, occasionally not choosing to dress for the day, getting up later. Mom would shun me for telling you all, so don't tell her I told you, the woman is in pain. A tremendous amount of pain. She can put on a good show, but her stamina for keeping up the front is weakening.

Mom's hemoglobin usually gets up to 10 after a transfusion. This time it topped out at 9.1. We are anxious to see what next Wednesday's blood work will bring; if the loosing 1 point a week trend will continue or if her hemoglobin will drop more significantly.

We have recently noticed that if Mom is low on the hemoglobin level, it is difficult to have her come to the house. She is weak and I have a hard time transferring her from chair to toilet to chair to car seat. I get anxious about keeping her safe on my watch. A couple times recently we have chosen to visit at the Manor because in her weaken condition it's just not safe to bring Mom down the mountain.

Since she had just gotten a transfusion, this past Thursday I brought Mom down the mountain for lunch at the house. Crab cakes, spiced shrimp, hot crab dip, yummy baby tomatoes, unripened mango, hot coffee with hazelnut creamer and ice cold water. We all had a great visit. We watched birds, took care of Julie's 3 babies (oh Mom laughed about that), and ate way too much food. Mom spent some time going through a couple drawers and closets, forcing objects upon me, some wanted - some unwanted. Satisfied with her visit, I got Mom back up the mountain in time for a nap before supper.

Dad recently invested in an oil diffusor and some frankincense, an essential oil known to help with pain. Her Dr wrote the orders so Mom can take melatonin before she sleeps to help her painful body rest. Mom doesn't want to up her pain meds, she doesn't want to add to the cocktail, she seems to just want to suffer through. We all know she is an ox and right about now she is showing her true colors. She's gonna meet this pain head on and show it who is boss till shes ready to be done.

I love the staff at the Manor. When I was visiting a couple weeks ago, an off duty care provider came bustling through Mom's door, trying to man handle this over-sized Chihuahua. She laughed and explained to me that she had told Mom that her puppy was getting big and that Mom TOLD HER to bring the puppy in for Mom to see for herself. Dad and I talk like this all the time, "Mom said..." "Your mother said..." as if Mom is actually speaking words rather than communicating through gestures and a game of 20 questions. The Manor staff see Mom just like we do; a strong woman who can bring a smile to your face, make you feel better by holding your hand, and dee by gum you better listen to her when she SPEAKS TO YOU.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

This is the Hardest Part

Don't worry people, the hardest part isn't all that big of a whoop, but for me it's heart wrenching at times.

The following pictures are from a visit in May (perhaps) with Becca (Mom's super-woman physical therapist/sister of Mom's palliative care dr.. Dr. Kent/dear friend) and her entourage of kiddos. My words won't match the pictures, but they sure are pleasant at which to look.

Here it is, June 29, 2017. About three months after Mom returned home from the hospital for her last stay there.

Mom for the most part is feeling better than she has in maybe years. No swelling in her legs. She is usually alert and peppy. She makes lots of people laugh and smile. Mom, for the most part, feels great.

Normal hemoglobin levels are about 11. Hemoglobin is the stuff that transports oxygen around our bodies. Low hemoglobin can make a person tired, make their organs and muscles not function correctly, make them feel yucky. The highest Mom's hemoglobin gets is just over 10. Let us not forget the episode a few year ago where her hemoglobin was hovering near a 5...the same day Mom had dressed herself, made herself a fried egg, transferred in and out of the car a few times to get her blood drawn, then was casually reading the paper when Dad got the call to take her to the ER. People, someone else with a 5 point level of hemoglobin would be dead in the bed. This lady? Just another day in paradise. 

Let us remember that mom's newest Dr holds the title palliative care. No life-saving episodes for Mom anymore, just trying to keep her comfortable and have a good quality of life. So. Without chemo, Mom's hemoglobin level drops 1 point a week. Her hemoglobin starts at a 10 after a transfusion, then each week drops a point (do the math, do the math) so about every four weeks she has been getting a transfusion.

When the blood work comes back with a 7.6, I get on the phone with Dr. Kent and she asks me the same question every four weeks.

"How is her quality of life?"
"Well, she went to the bonfire last Saturday night and roasted marshmallows."
"Okay, I'll order the transfusion for tomorrow. Peggy Anne? Remember that at some point this is not going to be the solution."
"I understand Dr. Kent, it's about quality of life. Thanks so much for all you do for my mom."

Then Mom gets the transfusion.

Fast forward to four weeks later. I call Dr. Kent.

"How is her quality of life?"
"Well, she went to the tea party last Tuesday. And when my husband took her Chinese food on Wednesday, she hooped and hollered and caused a good ruckus."
"Okay, I'll order the transfusion for tomorrow. Peggy Anne? Remember that at some point this is not going to be the solution."
"I understand Dr. Kent, it's about quality of life. Thanks so much for all you do for my mom."

Then Mom gets the transfusion.

Aaaaaaand four weeks later? I call Dr. Kent.

"How is her quality of life?"
"Well, when I spoke to her Friday, she fussed at me cause she wanted new bras because her current ones didn't fit right. She insisted that she wanted to go to Walmart HERSELF to try some on."
"Okay, I'll order the transfusion for tomorrow. Peggy Anne? Remember that at some point this is not going to be the solution."
"I understand Dr. Kent, it's about quality of life. Thanks so much for all you do for my mom."

Then Mom gets the transfusion.

And so it goes.  Mom's pain level has increased (cancer progressing, deep bone pain) so we upped the meds and that seems to be working.  Today life is good for Mom.

Okay People, HERE is the hardest thing.

This. This picture right here. For me? This is the hardest thing. You see, since the stroke close to 12 years ago, this is how Mom's place at the kitchen table has looked. There was a place-mat there and she had her ice cold water and a hot creamy cup of coffee, straws in both, please. 

For a little over a year now, since Mom has been at the Manor, I make sure the place-mat is there before I bring her to the house. I fill the cup of ice cold water and make her a fresh creamy cup of hot coffee instead of how she did it herself over the years. We have a grand old time futtsing around the house, cleaning out closets, straightening fabric, and moving Dad's papers so he can curse her with a smile after she has left.

People? This     breaks my heart. 

Cause after all the hootin' and hollerin' is said and done and I've returned Mom safely to the Manor up the mountain, I return back to the house to see this.

These mugs shout at me:

Mom is not here.
The house seems to have a Mom-sized hole in it.
She will not sip from these straws tomorrow.
She doesn't live here anymore.

Seeing these bad-boys sitting on that place-mat hits me in the gut like a punch. For a moment, it truly takes my breath away.

Then as quickly as it came, the feeling escapes me. I put the mugs in the dishwasher, laughing because when I open the dishwasher a month from now during my next visit, those mugs will be in the top rack, freshly warm and clean, cause Dad prides himself at having each dish in the house clean before I come, regardless of how long it's been.

Hey, People, I got a little drippy on you, but know that my sad outlook and attitude can quickly change into an attitude of gratitude. This lady is ALIVE, People, when she should have been dead years ago. 



Ain't nothin' to be sad about that.