Hindered Hobbies

“I better get busy on dishcloths”

“I was so mad when Jackie Caulicout was chosen to sing at graduation”


” we both sang, and there were 2 events,  class night and graduation, I would have preferred graduation but I got class night and she got to sing at graduation.”

high school graduation
moms high school graduation


Mom has had so many hobbies and interests; music and singing were right up there at the top of her hobby list along with,  gardening, reading, traveling,  crocheting, crossword puzzles, and so much more.   She struggles to do all of them.  

Mom had a beautiful voice, she took  voice lessons at  Boston Conservatory, she use to sing at weddings,  I mean, she could sing and sing well.  She loved music.  She played the piano and organ her whole life.  I still think she can play when she sits at a keyboard, maybe not perfectly but she can tap out a recognizeable tune.  She will try to sing along in any musical situation and wants to sing on key, when she cant, she just stops.  Her voice is weak and cracks a lot so she feels unable to sing around others.  She does sing for the little ones though,  so” 2 little blackbirds”,  “pat- a- cake” and “rock a bye baby” have become  my favorite songs that she sings.





When we see old people who have lost the abilities to do so many things,  I dont think we always realize that they have a variety of history which includes their hobbies. The things they once enjoyed doing they can not longer do.  The things they looked forward to doing. The things that when they were working and raising families they didn’t have time to do.  Hobbies.  Hindered now by their physical and congnitive abilities.

So moms beautiful singing, has been replaced with lullibies and tapping out “A” “B” “C” on the piano.  I try to play music more often at home so she can at least hear what she once enjoyed.


Just stirring from her after dinner nap

“What time is it?”

“It is 7:30 “

“ohhh, I might as well get comfortable in my bed.”

“okay mom, good night, Ill come and tuck you in”

“I’ll probably read for a little while .”

She doesn’t read.

The  church newsletter  arrived and she picked it up to read it,  her hands tremble so much that she can not find the words as they dance around..  It seems like a very long time  that she spends  sitting and staring at that paper.   I can only  hope she has read at least some of it.  Even after she reads it,  the newsletter, or anything , she will forget she has read it and attempt the process once more.

Often we read to mom, not a whole book or anything, but tidbits of information, brief articles from the paper, the church newsletter and even a new recipe.

Such an avid reader at one time, with a wide range of interests.  Reading was one of her favorite hobbies.  Books or gift certificates to get books has always been  a great gift idea for mom. We would frequently go to the used book store with a bag full of books she had read and trade them in for  yet another bag full to be read.  She had an incredible range of interests,  religions, romance novels. She would read about places and people, from Royals and Bette White, to training your dog with Ceasar Milan.

“what are you reading mom?”

“I forget,   I’m sure it will come back to me as soon as I  read a couple if pages.”

“what about the quote book I got you for Christmas, it’s beside your bed.  I thought you might enjoy it.”

The book is 365 positive quotes, they are very short quotes.  I love the book, it is quite positive and I was hoping it could hold her interest long enough for her to read and retain at least one short quote or a  piece of a quote or part of what she had read.

quote book

It was a couple years ago when I realized she was just not reading or if she was then  she was not comprehending.     I would go her room to tuck her in or  to turn out her light  and she would be there with a book open on her chest and she was fast asleep.  Oh, I know, who hasn’t done that, right.   I know, but that was not the sign she was not reading or comprehending.    The next night it was a different book, opened to the middle of the book.  Every once in a while she will retrieve a previously read book from the bookcase.

“I think I’ll read this book , I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet.It was in the bookcase”

For years we both read every night, we would share our books with each other before we went to purchase or trade them  in for more.  We have not bought or traded any books in a few years.

She doesn’t read.

What can you replace reading with?


Mom has traveled all over the country, often times by herself.  I already told you about her last trip to Florida to see Scot, so she can no longer travel alone.

How do you replace travel?


Mom started really crocheting a lot  when she quit smoking (another admirable trait). (She didn’t really smoke very long either, and  back when she started smoking it was the so called cool thing to do and she was, well,  she was cool.)

Crocheting, they say,  is a lost art. Mom has crochet for at least 50 years, but most of it has been in the last 30 years.  She has made such beautiful afghans, sweaters, mittens, stuffed animals, curtains (I loved my curtains, she made me) and so much more.  She taught me to crochet a long time ago, but I did not do anywhere as much as she did.   I’m trying to find pictures of some of her best work.


I first noticed her having  difficulty with crocheting  about the same time everything else started falling apart, a few years back.


“This is the third time I have ripped this out, these directions are to confusing.”

“let me look, see if I can help”

I would read her the pattern from the book as she would crochet the item.  Eventually I would just complete the difficult parts for her.  Her abilities evolved to only being able to complete the simplest pattern or stitch.

“I should get busy on making dishcloths.”

”everyone loves them, that’s for sure”

Her heart and intent are  as always is in the right place, and she carries her crochet bag , with her hook and crochet cotton with her everyday when she goes to daycare, still.   I have mentioned that maybe she should just leave that bag home since she really doesn’t have time to work on dishcloths at daycare, but she insists.

“you never know when, I might get a chance to work on it”

She has not made a dishcloth in well over a year, she can’t.

How do you replace crocheting?


A few years back, quite a few now.

“I guess I just don’t watch enough T.V. ,  I am having a hard time with the crossword this week.”

Slowly crossword puzzles transitioned to word searches  ( she will still carry her word search books with her, in the same bag as her crocheting) and now  that has been replaced with the coloring.


She is unable to  garden, travel,  play the piano, crochet a new dishcloth, or complete a crossword,  due to either her cognitive or physical limitations.

Do  we attempt to find new hobbies that  fit with her new  (lesser) abilities?  Are her interests even the same as they once were?  How do I concentrate on what she can do, when I only see her losing her ability to do all the things she loved doing?  What now?  

  Old age has a very cruel side.


watching the chickens or looking at photos  (replaces reading?)
mom picking weeds
picking the grass out between the rocks  (replaces gardening?)







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