RCH was the facility for her to complete a short-term stay with rehabilitation therapy
Meet DeeDee. DeeDee is the daughter-in-law of a strong, wonderfully funny woman who had her 95th birthday one month before she passed. “I knew my mother-in-law, who was truly my mother, for fifty years.”
DeeDee shared that she and her husband Tommy invited Harriet for Thanksgiving five years ago. During her visit, she suffered three strokes and ended up at St. Joseph’s/Barrow Neurological Institute. Upon discharge they knew that Rim Country Health & Rehabilitation was the facility to have her complete a short term stay with rehabilitation therapy.
“The remainder of 2015 she was living at Rim Country Health. She took to the place right away. Everyone was so wonderful. Between the years 2015 to the end of 2017 she lived with us. She began to get confused, lost interest in many activities and one day just fell and slipped down her walker. Harriet said ‘I need to go to the hospital.’ And, we knew she just wanted to go back to Rim Country Health.”
Upon her return to RCH, DeeDee describes her mother, “She came to life again! Re-blossomed as she carried her prized 1926 joke book around the facility to share the joke-of-the-day with her fellow residents and the RCH staff.”
At the same time, her son, DeeDee’s husband became ill. “Tommy was her everything. And, because she perked up, already knew people there and loved the activities, especially B-I-N-G-O, she just kept on saying ‘these people here are so wonderful’.
Harriet would be sure to phone DeeDee to let her know of her bingo winnings, homemade bracelets and necklaces, and that she should come and get them and send them to her great granddaughters. “They loved Nana’s bracelets.”
DeeDee’s daughter, Brandy (Harriet’s granddaughter) is building a scrapbook in her memory. I personally recall Harriet talking about how Brandy came into her room and hung a beautiful garland and attached family photos.
An adventurous life with great experiences throughout, DeeDee receives calls from Harriet’s BFF Linda. Linda tells DeeDee stories about the Mountain Mamas and the chuck wagon meals Harriet would make when she lived back in California.
DeeDee laughed and said, “Too many stories to tell. Oh, she had recipes for every holiday, but that had to be prepared ‘just like the instructions said’ or it wouldn’t be good. Many Harriet-isms are being recited and published.”
DeeDee recalls THE day she learned that her mom tested positive for Covid-19. “It was reported that she was positive. Seem long, then longer until she showed signs of being extremely tired, lost her appetite and just languishing.”
“Our family made the decision to select comfort care and sign the DNR. Another couple of weeks passed. Some days she wanted to get up, then she wanted to lay back down.”
The night before she passed, DeeDee talk to an RCH nurse that explained the retesting results were negative and there were no symptoms. She would be going back to her room. “Then I got a call the next day, sharing that she had just passed.”
“I was so deflated…these are best words to describe how I felt. In shock. Then, I fell apart. We talked on the phone every day…” DeeDee also recalls, ”During the no visitation period I’d be at the window of her room. One day I was there and she couldn’t see me. It was good timing that someone from Maintenance saw me and told her ‘it’s your daughter DeeDee out there’. I could see skid marks from her wheelchair as she headed over to the window. We kissed through the window and said ‘I Love You’. “That was the day that a brought a photo of Tommy to the window and Harriet said ‘I want a copy’ and I headed over to Walgreens and had one made.”
DeeDee knows Harriet would want to be remembered as “sassy” and “fun loving”. “She’s in Heaven telling them all the jokes!”
“If you’re moving, you leave your old broom there and buy a new one when you get to the new house.”
“Eat dessert FIRST!”
“If you leave your house by the back door, but re-enter through the front, you’re gonna get company.”
“I’ve met so many beautiful women (on the inside and out) in this place, I just can’t believe it.”
(About her son, Tommy)
Harriet said, that he’d always say, “I’ll see you and if you don’t see me, I’ll meet you around back.”
DeeDee says Tommy and Harriet are together now.
“Rim Country Health is the most compassionate, caring, loving place and has a beautiful set up for care. It’s like a mountain lodge inside, not a nursing home. Everything is done for the residents — activities, holidays, the “honor walk” when someone passes, so respectful.”
“I would absolutely still recommend Rim Country Health. I’ll always remember how she blossomed there.”