April 22, 2015
Last May I posted Chapter 1 of this thread. At that point, Mom and I were holding on, for what a lot of the time, felt like ‘dear life.’ Almost a year later, we still often hold hands, as we find ourselves even farther down The Path. Several months ago, Mom told me if/when she ever needed extended 24-hour in-home care, it would be time for her to move to the Assisted Living section of the Senior Complex in which she lives. She also let me know that when that time came, she doubted she’d be able to make that decision and was trusting me to make it for her. We agreed that since neither one of us has ever been 89 before, we’d just both do our best to take The Next Right Step.
That time came, a few weeks ago. So now, we’re walking the walk, of our promise to each other. I’m accepting her trust and she’s accepting (with a grace that I can only pray to have if/when I’m 89) her new home and life.
As a former bank trust officer, I’m a big believer in having The Conversation (about the end of life, as we know it). I’ve made my arrangements and Mom’s made hers. So now we’re left with Right Now. For me, Right Now involves spending this week with Mom – taking her to doctors’ appointments and her favorite hair dresser. It involves stocking her mini-kitchen with yummy treats, her favorite Red Rose Tea, and trying to coerce her to drink more water. It involves finding shoes that are pretty, will stay on her feet, AND are on sale (Mom’s main priority) as she learns to walk again. It involves packing her former apartment. It involves learning to trust this new community in which she’s living, to care and love her, as I do. It involves following-up with insurance companies, legal/financial representatives, and the newspaper carrier. It involves taking time to rest and care for my body, in the midst. Mostly it involves remembering that at.any.given.moment, Right Now is stopping everything else to ask Mom questions, listen to answers/stories (ESPECIALLY when I’ve heard them all before) and paint our toenails. So our feet are pretty for where ever The Next Right Step takes us.
I know many of you have been, are, will, or would love to be on a similar journey with one or both of your parents. Godspeed. And thanks for any lessons you feel nudged to share with the rest of us. Because we are definitely not alone.