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"The Long Slogging..." by Brad Michael Moore

"I'll Be Climbing Up That Hill!" © 2018 Brad Michael Moore

In 2004, after my mom's husband died, her doctor told me he figured she had 6 months to live - if she stayed out on their farm - the road dust had her in a state of chronic pneumonia. So I moved her to my home -where I had built a manufactured home specifically for her - all 6' windows, extra exit door to the outside from the Master Bedroom - in case of a fire in front - where the other two standard front & back doors are. I became her, "Sole Caregiver," legally. The doctor was right about the road dust - she lived in a 90-100 year-old house less that 25 yards from a rock road. Back when the old country house was built - it was horse and buggy days... Today, with private rodeo rings peppered into the backroads Cowboy estates, and with several decades of severe oil & gas exploration - long trailers hooked to giant trucks, and O&G Industry running drill rigs and tons of water trucks bringing in fresh water and taking fracked carcinogenic water out - all going 45 to 65 MPH! Well, you can imagine what a dry day, and a south wind brings to a house on the north side of the road - plus, their bedroom was in front of the house - with a view of the front porch, and the road 25 yards beyond!!!

My mom lived with her 3rd husband for near 29-years. He turned out to be a psycho and a mental abuser, who treated my mom as his personal servant all that time. She had to cook him 3 meals a day - red meat, butter, bread, cream [ice cream or dairy cream] were always required. Anything goes wrong - a steak gets over-cooked, wtf - he'd rage and vent, and demean... Wes was known to force mom out of the truck on many a dark night - unto a dark and dusty road if he got pissed at her, and shes having to walk home, or depend on the kindness of strangers. Wes would some lock her up in the washroom for hours - no bigger than a closet - with a washer & dryer included. Her friends, and my family begged her for years to leave him - it was like "Stockholm Syndrome," I once got her to move into a house the elderly lady next door to me had on her property. Still she went back - and, at first, Wes made sure she took all of her cats with her, but, when he allowed her back - she couldn't bring her cats back - so we had to pay an extra 6 months rent for the cats to live in their own country home for a half a year, and guess who had to feed them - since he'd hardly ever let her out of their house to go visit her cherished animals. Finally, country rumors got around over how Wes was - and then he allowed her to bring her cats home... 

So, when I said I built her a house next to my own - I didn't mention I actually built it in 2003 - while Wes was alive - once again - to give my mom another opportunity to get out permanently. Mom was ill all the time & Wes wouldn't always allow her medical attention when she needed it. This whole scenario is what got me to leave Dallas to begin with in 1993. I knew that male abusers picked out women with poor male family structure. Mom's father was dead - no brothers, and three sons to the wind. I know if I move out close enough to her to keep a close eye on them - It would intimidate Wes like hell, and, I would be able, just by my presence, lessen his abusive behavior. Wes immediately threatened my life, and I had to get a Restraining Order warranted against him. It was a bad situation - to put it mildly. 

As luck would have it [for Mom] Wes had a heart-attack in mid-2003. They called me to their house late one evening. As soon as I got there, (I had some Medical Training, from working a stint with the TDC [Texas Department of Corrections - now renamed] and so I was able to do a quick medical assessment with both tools & knowledge I had, and medical instruments they had around their house - they were both in bad health. I quickly determined Wes has suffered a Cardiac Event & immediately call EMS - who took Wes to Palo Pinto Hospital - where they helicoptered Wes to Harris, Fort Worth, where he underwent multiple Bypass surgery - Can't remember - but it was 3-5 bypasses. So, now, I am taking care of both Wes and Mom. She could drive, but not really, - except locally. So I did the doctor appointments for the both of them, and grocery shopping as well. Wes was on Warfarin (Coumadin), which has some severe dietary restrictions. But Wes had to eat what he always ate [as described somewhere above]... So, about 9 months later {4/'04] I get another call from mom asking me to come over to the house - Wes was acting funny. So I went over again and did another assessment, and it appeared to me Wes was Stroking. I immediately called EMS [which was what they should have done both times!] and they came and carted Wes off to Palo Pinto again - with us not to far behind. At PPGH, they stabilized Wes by 1:30 am that morning, and suggested we go home & catch our rest - which is what they said Wes needed too. At 10 the next morning the doctors called and asked us to get there as soon as possible. Sometime in the hour or so before we returned, Wes had a major Stroke. I knew he was gone as soon as I saw him, but it took till 3:30, that afternoon, for the rest of his body to figure out what I already knew - and finally let him go. His entire body - from the neck down was an ashen yellow color, but from the neck up to the top of his head was so red as to almost be purple. 

So I take Mom home, and in two days she's in the hospital for exhaustion, pneumonia, and another host of issues that her doctor could now, more fully, attend to... This is when he gave me the "12-Week Notice..." Wes didn't have a Will, so under Texas Probate Law - Mom got 1/2 of everything, and Wes's only child - by his first marriage, got the other 1/2! His daughter wanted all the money she could get out of this transaction - so, we sold the farm, auctioned off all the farm equipment - I won't list all the equipment Wes had - let's just say it included a Cotton Gin... So, Mom moves to my place - which, luckily, I had had the foresight to be prepared for - having the extra house. The doctor was wrong about Mom's life expectancy. Living out from under the rule of a madman, and suddenly having no one to boss her around - and having a home where her pets could live in safety, and with a pond in the backyard - living off a paved highway - 1/4 mile from the house. I had just given my Mother Nirvana! This added 9 more years to the end of her life, and she spent most of it peaceful, happy, once again - a Mother Nature's Child. 

As time marched on, the years of abuse, being way over-weight, and getting Breast Cancer in 2010 all conspired against my mom. She survived the Cancer, and I had Home Health Care nurses 3 days a week, and some of mom's closest friends would also come on nurse's days off to spend time with mom and allow me to rest - something I had been year's going short of. You see, Mom, Gwendolyn [Gwen], had Onset Dementia, and likely Alzheimer's - which is not readily diagnosable - except by a brain autopsy. Jack County Resources Officer told me, when it became evident Gwen had become a, "Fall Risk," after a half dozen calls I had to make to EMS for their free, "Lift & Assist," runs - to come out and help me get mom up off the floor after a fall. She was still obese, had real bad knees, and no upper body strength - so when mom went down - she was hardly taller than you, she could not get back up on her own - plus she had so many issues with her neck, back & legs - it took two strong men to get her up - though I figured out a trick, using a rolled up sheet, to where - when she fell in a good place - near a bed or couch - I could sometimes get her up by myself. Eventually, I had to put her in a home, and those next 23 months were even more eventful as all the description above - so I won't go into that. My mother passed away on Sunday morning, February 15th, at 8:32 am, and I got to watch her last breath alone, with her. I also watched my mothers mothers final breath, in Dallas, at Baylor Hospital  back in 1999. I dont like seeing people die. Wes didnt fight near a hard as my grandmother, and my mom was the most stubborn of the three  she died the hardest death I have ever known, or heard about  her suffering was biblical…

My art, which suffer mightily - during the latter years, slowly began to return it's muse to me, and almost one year to the day of Gwen's passing away - I hit full-tilt-boggy! I have been creating art like gangbusters ever since. Just thought you might appreciate the story - it explains what happened to me. I am nothing like the being I use to be - I am a totally different man - with, perhaps, even more flaws than before - just different ones, mostly... I must also admit - I am a better Human Being for going through this experience. My mother gave me life! Giving her some of her' life back was a true pleasure for me.

Sincerely, Brad Michael Moore

"Feeding Time," © Guy Milton Moore

"Dream Angel," © 2010 Brad Michael Moore {Premonition}