To leave a home that you've lived in for 55 years must be a hard thing. To watch a mother struggle is almost impossible to describe. I can't say words escape me because they never arrived.
Blogging friend, Leslie talks about the insistent quality of her story-telling. I envy her ability to get it all down - to dish it out in a way her readers can bite into, chew on and digest so that the assimilation is universal.
I don't feel able to do that. Any troubles with my mother I might have wanted to hash out seem irrelevant in the face of what she must be going through. This, coming from the child that ran away from home, the one who as a teen-ager, used to flip her mother the bird.
All I feel capable of writing about is the positive things that have occurred since my sister and I moved our mother into an assisted living community. These communities, as they like to call them, are not other worldly, they are nether-worldly-with-a dash-of-imposed-cheeriness. But the good news is, it works. The staff plasters smiles on their faces and greets everyone with obsequious glee. It does create a pleasant atmosphere.
Mother was assigned a seat in the dining room. I sat with her. A very attractive 97-year-old from Norway announced that this was her table and she decided who got to sit there. A woman to her side, who appeared to be younger than me and an obvious survivor of a head trauma, explained that a very unpleasant woman used to sit at the table and had made their life miserable. They said they got her kicked out of the home. Mom and I raised eyebrows at each other. By the end of the meal, Mom had managed to get a smile from the Norwegian Ice Queen and had given her hand a squeeze wishing her a pleasant evening. Mom was workin' it.
Being forced to dress for meals and interact with people has lifted Mother out of some of her confusion. On her own, she has decided to act rather than react in this new situation. In typical role reversal mode, I am proud of her.
I took Mother to her old church Sunday. She has not felt well enough to go for months, but I knew the members would make a fuss over her since it was her Birthday. They didn't disappoint. Mother was in such a good mood afterwards, that she actually agreed to pose behind the pulpit for her daughter and what she calls "that damn camera." Sorry, Mom.
Later, back at 'the home,' some of her friends stopped by to give her gifts and have ice cream and cake. The best gift of all came from the younger woman from her dining table. Mother had admired her lamp and she brought it over and insisted on giving it to her. Whatever has happened to this woman, it has turned her into some kind of angel.
To all the well-wishers, you can't know how much it meant to me to check in during the week and see your comments, even though I had not posted. Thank you, Leslie, Rachel and Gabi and all the others who seemed to sense there was more to my plant dilemma than artistic musing.