Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blowing Kisses

I touch bases with my mother daily and today I hung up the phone chuckling.  "I just blew your Dad a kiss", she had said.  "Huh?" I replied.  My father passed away early last year and my mother now marvels that she never imagined she would live an entire year on her own, with a cat no less. She never had a cat before and is as mystified at the connection she feels for this furry creature as the fact that she is managing without my father.

She now hastened to add that my dad's picture had just come up on her picture screen and it was an old one of which she was quite fond, hence the kiss.

My mother is 86 and I am afraid it is too late to introduce her to a computer.  We have, however, often wished we could easily share pictures with her.  When a friend mentioned the Pix-star to me I was intrigued. It is like a digital picture frame, but with some unusual features.  It allows anyone to email pictures to the device.  They then come up automatically on the screen.

Unlike a traditional digital picture frame where someone needs to manage the card, this can be managed from afar and operates via Internet in addition to supporting a SD card. An email with a picture as an attachment is all that is required and multiple people can add to it.  A password enables one to go in and see what is on the device and organize it into folders if you wish or take some pictures off.

The one drawback is that you need an Internet connection and a person who is not computer literate may not have one.  In this case I installed wireless because it made it easier for both my sister and me when we spent time with my mother.  I wanted to make sure she got the benefit of it as well through pictures.

She is amazed when new pictures suddenly appear.  It is like magic.  She looks up as she eats breakfast and there are images of her recent visit with her great-grandson. How did they get into there she asks? She recalls how amazed her immigrant mother was at her world.  Now she often feels like her as she observes ours.  I confide to her that sometimes I'm amazed too.

When I last visited I used my mouse scanner to scan some of her old pictures and added those as well.  For elders whose memories are beginning to flag, it provides a way to keep the important people in their life visible and to remind them of special memories that they share with family members.  Sometimes I'll ask her to describe the pictures and we reminisce together about shared experiences.

When we first installed it my sister sent a message saying not to send more pictures of our late father as it made my mom sad.  A short time later she said to ignore that earlier instruction as my mom decided she liked them.  And now she’s blowing him kisses.

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