Passages


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This week my mother fell for the fifth time since January. I couldn’t be reached by phone to rush across town to open her door,  so emergency personnel broker her door down. She was fine after the firemen picked her up off the floor and sat her in her chair. Her blood sugar was very high and she had been dizzy.

I didn’t find any of this out until the next day when I checked my phone messages. I called her and she sounded a million miles away, very weak. She said she didn’t know why she fell. She felt fine now. I talked to her care-giver who told me that mom hadn’t been taking her medications in a timely manner. A doctor’s appointment was arranged.

Thank heavens for Facebook.

I messaged the doctor before the appointment to explain what had been going on. The doctor asked my mother during the visit what she wanted to do to feel safer? My mother and I had been discussing a nursing home where there is 24-hour care. She has cried and worried and resisted the idea before now. She hasn’t set foot in a nursing home since the 1970’s. Most nursing home facilities are very much improved from the 1970’s. The doctor asked her what would happen if she fell and broke a bone? After all, she does have severe osteoporosis. My mother shrugged. The doctor said, “I would feel more at peace if you were being taken care of all the time.”

No tears this time except from me.

My mother nodded, “Well I can’t cook anymore anyway. Can’t lift the pots!”

She can’t cook any longer. The one thing that she has always loved to do. She can’t do it. Never mind she can’t make it to the toilet, or can’t dress herself, or is falling when there is no one to pick her up, no – she can’t cook!

I knew she would find the marker that tipped the scales somewhere.

You see, I didn’t want to rush her this time. When my father passed away. I rushed her. I packed her up before he was in the grave and took her body (but not soul) out of her home and into mine. If she had been capable she would have kicked and screamed the entire trip. She was almost ready for the home at that moment, but I wanted to help her get strong, to have that last fling. So I -oh-so-politely encouraged her to do her own laundry, take out her own trash, do her own dishes, things my sainted father had been doing for her for twenty years and the reason for her condition.

She DID get stronger. She made her own bed, picked up after herself, called for pizza delivery. But she grizzled about my abruptly moving her out of her home and worse – taking her five bedroom ranch home and reducing everything to a garage full of boxes – within four months of my father’s passing. She was actively mourning losing her mate of sixty years AND her things. And I was responsible.

Eight months later, I found an independent living facility for seniors where there was security. Unlike her home out in the country where there had been several armed robberies and doors being kicked in. This time we moved her, she was more willing.  She was ready to get away from me.

Within months of being there, she was truly happy. She blossomed in the camaraderie of fellow seniors, especially the ice-cream socials. She gained weight. She walked the halls. Her blood pressure was good. Her anger at me waned. She even told me one day that she was thankful for me. “If I hadn’t lived with you I wouldn’t love this place so much.”

I think she meant she was thankful.

So today I called her social worker. I called a nursing home my brother and I had chosen. There is a bed available. All systems go. This is tough though. I keep telling myself that she will love to get involved in all the activities and having her hair done at the on-site beauty salon.

My daughter is due to have her baby this week. We are thrilled. Baby CoraBelle will soon be here. Finally.

I know my mother wants to see the baby, especially precious as her birthday is this week. She’ll be 86.

My cup is full. I grab my schedule as I can. Isn’t it that our life’s portion is meted out by hours, minutes, seconds. These portions add up to become passages. We didn’t witness the beginning, we don’t know the end. Life is in the journey.

2 thoughts on “Passages”

  1. Oh Becky…thank you for sharing this. We going through very similar things with my folks…my dad has dementia…we think mom does too, and she has very severe mobility issues. Problem is….they are in Michigan, and I am in Washington. It’s incredibly stressful. I don’t want them to leave their home, but I want them safe. My dad falls…and hurts himself. (He can get up). Mom falls, and can’t get up and dad’s too weak these days to help her up. They have a necklace that they can use to get help…but don’t use it…because they don’t want to disturb their neighbors! So…the decision process is not doing to well. God Bless you and your momma…and congratulations on your granddaughters upcoming entrance to the world!!!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. It’s really hard. My husband’s parents are in a similar situation in Arkansas. They don’t want help but we can’t see any other way around what is going on. My mother-in-law should not be driving, but does. She can’t stand up long enough to cook anything and her husband has vertigo so severe he can hardly sit up. But they refuse any help other than family but they won’t let us move them closer. My heart goes out to you! Thank you!

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