So, I had a list of errands to do yesterday. Target. Bed Bath and Beyond. Michael’s. Staples. A relatively normal list of stores to run through on a Sunday afternoon.
And yet, halfway through the third store, the heaviness started to sink in. The shopping trip was to pick up items to make Mom’s room at the new facility a little nicer or more organized. On my list: a label maker to mark her belongings. A couple more pairs of pants that fit to be sure she has enough clothes between laundry loads. A cheap wall hanging picture frame that will hold several family photos on her wall. A set of pretty sheets to fit a twin bed.
If you have been reading this blog for a while now, you will know that I have procrastinated this day. But it’s arriving and I am trying to be prepared.
Buying the stuff of course is the easy part of the preparation. Accepting that I will henceforth see Mom in a small locked facility and that she will likely end her life in such a place is a whole other thing to prepare for. I know I am not ready. This feels too much to be the beginning of the end. And who among us are ready to accept the end? Who is ready to drop off the person who loved you and supported you, and say, these strangers will care for you now?
I do not regret the decision, but I regret the circumstances that bring me here. It saddens me that we don’t know how to do better. And that my life circumstances are such that I cannot do more.
So, I buy soft new sheets and fake flowers to decorate Mom’s new room. At least my once upon a time an interior designer mother will see some beauty in this increasing isolation.
July 13, 2015 at 8:07 pm
My heart is heavy for you. Not because you are doing something wrong but because you carry the weight and there is a time to grieve.
July 13, 2015 at 9:29 pm
Thank you Shirley.
July 13, 2015 at 9:19 pm
It is now three and a half years since my husband went into the nursing home and it took us about a year to adjust and not be heartbroken. Now that we have accepted that this decision was a good one we are happy. It will take time but I so understand what you went through on this shopping expedition as it could have been me writing this – even the fake flowers! Sending love and encouragement to you xx
July 13, 2015 at 9:29 pm
Thank you! It is heart breaking, isn’t it? But is does warm my heart to hear your connection to this – fake flowers and all!
July 14, 2015 at 4:12 am
It will get easier.
July 13, 2015 at 10:25 pm
I admire the closeness you have with your mom and your dedication. I can’t imagine going on this journey with a parent at your young age. I watch my elderly parents and some of the residents at Dad’s facility and I sometimes wonder if this is my future. I don’t worry about it much. I’m Buddhist…so, whatever happens, happens. Your blog is terrific.
July 14, 2015 at 7:08 am
It must be tough. Thinking of you – and your mum. It’s probably more difficult for you than for her.
July 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm
This time of transition carries its struggles for the future resident of a care community, and for the family that initiates the move. Guilt is a horrifically big monster that must be tamed in order to remember the very good reasons why such a decision was made. Focus on what brought you to this place and congratulate yourself for exercising the wisdom required to protect someone you love. I know you and the entire family will weather this emotional storm.
July 14, 2015 at 8:38 pm
God Bless You. I understand. I have “been there” and “done that”…the pain can be unbearable, and the relief fleeting. You are doing the very best you can for your mother, as she has done for you. What matters is your intention. What matters if your perseverance. What matters is your presence. What matters is your love. What matters is your love.
What matters is your love. And she feels that, knows that, and is wrapped in it. As you are wrapped in hers.