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Pictures are a wonderful thing

Today, a picture popped in my memories of me and Ms. Judy from three years ago.

I was in my first season at the Stampede, and had only made it back home once before this trip. Going from seeing your friends and family all the time to only seeing them twice a year was tough, so I was excited to come home and spend a little time with my loved ones. We had 4 shows the Saturday before, and as soon as they were over I drove all night to be home. I hung out in Nashville on Sunday, and then woke up early to head to Sparta to be with Ms. Judy.

She didn’t know I was coming, and the look on her face when I walked up on her front porch was something I’ll never forget. She was ecstatic that her baby boy was home.

I took her to lunch at the local meat and 3 by her house. After lunch, I asked her what she wanted to do. She told me she wanted to go see some friends, so we went and had a good visit with them. By this point, Ms. Judy was experiencing sundowners, so as excited as she was to see friends, she didn’t want to stay long. Sundowners is a horrible symptom of dementia where the affected begins to get anxious, hyperactive, and confused as the day turns into the late afternoon and night. She was starting to get anxious, so I told her let’s go for a drive. We said goodbye to her friends, and hit the road.

I took Ms. Judy all thru the backroads of Sparta. The fall colors were gorgeous, and she ooh’d and aah’d at the foliage. We told stories of our childhoods. We showed me where her and Papa Earl originally stayed when they got to Sparta. I drove her down to the old house and we reminisced about all the good times we had there. She was calm, fluid, and having a great time. I really felt like that drive helped her that day.

I took her home before the sun set. I made sure she had food and everything she needed before I left. She was sad to see me leave, and I was sad to leave her, but I needed to go see some more friends and family before I left to go back to Branson.

Before I left, we took the picture you see at the top of the blog. I hit the “live”feature on it today, and heard her voice. It warmed and broke my heart. If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have spent that whole trip with her – driving her all over and listening to her stories. There was a time where I genuinely thought Ms. Judy would live forever. I wish I was right about that.

2018 was probably the last really good year we had with her. I hate that I was so far away for most of that year, but I will forever cherish this picture and that beautiful fall day driving Ms. Judy around

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