Pretty Shiny Lights

I’m posting this photo, not because it’s a great picture, but because of what was happening right before I took it.

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.


5 thoughts on “Pretty Shiny Lights

  1. There’s nothing easy or comforting at a time like this because it is just truly sad. Necessary, yes … but sad nonetheless. I’m grateful that you shared this because this is an act that will be played out in numerous families and when that time comes, it helps to know you are not alone. Hugs to you, as you grieve and prepare yourself for the changes ahead.

  2. my heart goes out to you and your family. Living here with my mom I know how difficult it is to see your mom not all she use to be. I am watching my mom slip away day by day. She is getting more confused each day and is really in denial about how much help she really needs. I am now convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God sent us here at the right time….the hard part is knowing this will be our “calling” for the next 10 plus years (mom is 83 so I am not sure how long she will live) but it is what we are called to do and we are blessed to be able to help her as it helps us also. I will keep you and your mom and especially your dad in my prayers! I have to remember we do not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future…even for our parents!!!
    love you LInda!!

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