we sit out on the balcony with them, in the long northern twilight, talking and laughing and letting the heat of the day dissipate into memory. dad has just fallen and scraped his elbow, startling mom who found him on the floor...she called for dennis just as he was walking in the door. the shock of it still trembles in the air.
yesterday we drove out to the senior's center where they are on the list of 'next admissions'...the cold granite fact is that when someone dies, a room will become available for them. we walked through the home with mom- dad did not want to come. she was so pitifully cheerful and positive...thankful that we would take the time to see where they are probably going to be living short months from now.
we planned furniture layouts, measured the rooms, peeked and nodded and smiled and shook hands with staff...we tried so hard. we succeeded in being happy and positive and decisive. this is where they will go. this is where they will live.
and in the aftermath of that hour, i watched mom walk back into her own little apartment on her arthritic crippled feet and i looked at her eyes...and i saw her gather her strength and bear up under it all like a warrior and i was in awe. her blue eyes took in her home...the lovely things she has, the beautiful furniture and the simple treasures, and i saw her box them up in her mind and put them away and lay it all aside for the future that she can no longer handle.
old age is not for the faint of heart.
it takes dignity and courage and determination...the tantrums come of course, mostly from dad...but the difficult choice of giving up all independence, even temporarily in mom's case, is hard. just hard.
when it's my turn i hope i am graceful and gentle and accepting. i am learning. but it's hard.