The move in with my mom is a work in process. A very slow process. I’m finding out how easy it is to gather stuff. For instance, I have enough rags to fill a garbage bin. Do they reproduce while in the dark linen closet?
I’ve compartmentalized the emotional part of the move. It’s there, lurking like a scary spirit being on the edges of my consciousness. But I’m consumed with the difficult task of deciding what stuff to keep and what to donate/sell/give/trash.
Meanwhile, my mom becomes more frail, more forgetful, and more dependent. At ninety-four, she’s slowed down to a snail’s pace. When we’re together, I watch for the signs of another stroke. Each time she takes a nap, I check to be sure she’s breathing.
I dread the day when she doesn’t wake up in the morning.
A friend shared her experience of watching her mother have a stroke. I had chills as the words poured out of her. “She just . . . collapsed. Her head lolled to one side, and her words slurred.” This is every adult child/caregiver’s nightmare.
On the flip side, my mother is excited to have company around. She’s less lonely and a bit more engaged. She loves listening to Mike and me banter while we cook or do the dishes. We no longer take dinner to her, then scurry back home the minute everyone stops chewing. Instead, she chats while we clean up before heading into her bedroom to watch Jeopardy or listen to a book on tape.
I’m grateful to be able to give my mom joy in her last years here on Earth.
Jane S. Daly is the author of two books, Because of Grace (2015) and The Caregiving Season (2016). She is also the treasurer of Inspire Christian Writers and West Coast Christian Writers.