I am driving her to a nursing home today--my Mother and a suitcase of clothes and a painting of her childhood home in Canada.
This is a sad day. She will leave the rest home where she has lived for the last five years, where her dignity and imagined independence have been nurtured at every chance. She can't stay there any longer. She requires two people to help her stand and yet at night she somehow gets herself up and uses the commode in poor fashion. She has fallen. She is not safe there.
Her bed at the nursing home will sound an alarm when she tries to get up by herself and I know that will both frighten and upset her.
She will not thrive there.
My Mother is 97 years old. Her memory has not worked for almost a decade but in the present moment she has been bright and lucid and always as sweet as a honey bee. She has elegant hands, long beautiful fingers. Lately she has started to bite her nails down. I know that is a bad sign. More of the time now she has periods where she calls for her sisters and her mother, where she determined to get in her car and drive herself where she is supposed to be.
I had hoped she would have no need for a nursing home.
I am driving her today and my emotions are thick. Most of this is the substance of love but some is concern for myself. I do not want to see her decline. I do not want to be on edge for her, worrying that she will be frightened or harmed, knowing I am the most important link in her well being. I do not want to be exhausted from it.
I am pushing myself to hope for the best.
I know that is a wise thing to do.