Thursday evening after meeting Abbie’s horse and taking picutres of Abbie and Joey, on our way home I called Mom to see how she was doing. We had broken the news to her that day that she was going to have to go live at Prairie House, the assisted care facility 5 minutes from home, where Grandma Tate lived up until last April. Dad just can’t care for her any longer as he tries to recover from this illness, infection, whatever we want to call it.
I had made calls all week, arranged meetings with the people at Prairie House, consented for medical records to be ordered, started lists of things Mom will need, all without a shred of emotion. We (Cheryl, Ken, Dad, and I) had made a decision and with Cheryl out of the country, it fell to me to make the arrangements.
It wasn’t until I had Mom on the phone and heard her talk about it that I fell apart. She told me she had cried a lot earlier in the day. She knew it was coming, but thought she “would have been further gone, mentally before it came to this.” We all thought it would be later, that she would be less “with it”. After ‘I love you’s’ and ‘we’ll talk tomorrow’s’, I broke down. Have you ever cried so hard you couldn’t breathe? That was me. Thursday night in Haggen’s parking lot while Rick ran inside to pick something up. Body wracking sobs.
I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me or for my Mom, or for my Dad. I say it because no one had told me how hard this would be. Or maybe someone has, but I didn’t know it would ever have anything to do with me, so I didn’t listen. But now I know.
Now I know that when you make the decision to move a parent from their home, away from the person they’ve lived with for some 55 years, it is no small thing. It’s life changing, devastating and has a finality that makes it hard to breathe.
When Rick and I were driving up Alabama Hill toward the lake the moon was just coming up, big and bright and gold and Rick looked over at my camera and said, “that’s going to look really great from the boat launch at Bloedel Donavan.”
That was what he said, but what he meant was, ‘I’ll do anything, even stop and let you take pictures of the sky, if it helps you not feel so sad.’
I didn’t get any good pictures; my glasses were so tear-stained I couldn’t get a good focus and I couldn’t remember the trick to shooting the moon, but for about 7 minutes my brain could focus on something else and I could breathe again.
…Kinda like when a small child pitches a fit and someone shows them a pretty shiney thing to distract them.