Choices

Two weeks ago I visited my mom and helped her make the adjustment to assisted living. For a variety of reasons it had become apparent to the family that she needs an environment where she will be safe, and my brother took charge of pursuing her options. Through a Medicaid program called elderly waiver she is able to afford a (quite small) place in a nice, newly-renovated facility near the apartment she had been living in. So we’re all satisfied she’s done the right thing and are happy with the service she’ll be getting.

What I struggle with, though, is watching my mom get older, knowing that it will be me someday. Without children, I don’t know who will help me when the time comes. I made the choice some time ago not to have children, and as it turns out, my body had made the same decision for me. Yes, I could have adopted, but the bottom line is, as much as I love babies and older kids, I didn’t want any of my own.

AdobeStock_145424722 [Converted]So who will care for me as I age? My brother put in a lot of time and effort to help get my mom where she is today, and I did what I could as well. It all came together for her in a way it isn’t likely to for me. When I mentioned my fears to my brother, he sort of laughed and said it’s a little early to worry about that now.

It is. As scripture says, don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough trouble of its own. I do believe in planning,  but I know I can’t really plan for how I will be cared for in the future when I don’t know what my situation will be. Still, I will do what I can so I’m at least partially prepared for any eventuality.

Yes, today has enough trouble of its own.


Image Credits: Dandelions © Bigstock; Aging © Adrian Hillman–stock.adobe.com

More Stories Than Time to Tell Them

My mom called today, and with shaking voice, clearly in pain and a little pleading, said she’s having hip surgery, and asked if I would be there to help her when she came home.

home free III“Of course,” I said immediately. It didn’t matter the day, the week, the month. Of course I’d be there. My mom will be 80 next year, and I’m not going to miss any opportunity to spend time with her. She lives 700 miles away, and if anything were going to truly prompt me to move, shortening that distance would be it.

My boss & friend, Beverly, is planning for her mother’s 90th birthday party later this month. Ruby, her mama, is a wonderful woman, funny, engaging, and almost always cheerful. She’s also lost much of her memory. While she’s been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, no one’s quite certain if that diagnosis is entirely accurate. Certainly there’s dementia, but so many of the other telling signs of Alzheimer’s aren’t evident. Yet.

Ruby’s excited about her upcoming party. Her oldest son has flown in from Thailand, and until he arrived, she was telling everyone he’d be taking her to Hawaii for two weeks. Now she’s saying Beverly will be the one traveling with her.  Sometimes we hear about a boyfriend, Ray, and his private plane. Truth is, there’s no trip to Hawaii planned (and as far as we know, no Ray). It’s quite possible later this winter we’ll hear tales of her imagined vacation, and her memories of the birthday party may be of conversations and such that never take place. As long as she’s happy, no one cares.

dancersSome of her memories are very real, and she surprises those who love her with the chance telling of them. One friend over & over hears the story of Ruby’s engagement to her first husband, Beverly’s father.

It was the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, and Ruby and her friends were at a picnic (it was the South, so yes, a picnic in December). The food was wonderful, the sky was bright and everyone was dancing when they heard the news of what would be the start of U.S. involvement in WWII. Coy, the man Ruby was dating, told her they’d marry before he left for war so she’d always be taken care of in case something happened to him.

Beverly had never heard this story. She knew her parents had gotten married before he went off to war, but the details about Pearl Harbor and the picnic were new.

She doesn’t want to lose her mother and all the untold stories that will go with her.

The last time I visited my mom, we sorted through some pictures. When we came upon a photo of a particularly beautiful young woman, Mom told me about her best friend, Lee, who was killed in a plane crash when she was only 26.  I knew a little about Lee, but not all I heard that day.

It’s not just the stories, of course. It’s the moms who go with them we don’t want to lose, the sense of endless time to hear what they have to say.

So I’ll be there when my mom has surgery, and every other moment I can make it.

Image Credits: Top: (bird) © Vera Kuttelvaserova; (leaves) © imagincy; (wood table) © MaskaRad; Bottom: (outline of couple dancing) © inga; (starry sky) © yulias07; All, Fotolia.com

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