Friday, June 3, 2011

Nursing Home Trilogy

I.

Mom: I just feel like my brain doesn’t work very well anymore.

Daughter: That’s OK, Mom. I’m not sure mine works very well these days either.

Mom: I noticed that, but I didn’t want to say anything in front of the children.



II.

Family gathered around Mom in nursing home, making chirpy, happy small talk. We stop, realizing Mom wants to say something.

Mom: I just want to die now, so I can die while I am happy with all of you around.

Family: (Stunned silence)

(My oldest, very pragmatic, niece reports Grandma did this same thing during a family dinner with the small great-grandchildren who fell into horrified silence. Her response? “Well, you have to eat your lunch first, Grandma.”)



III:

Last Day of My Visit:

Me: I have to leave now to go back to California, Mom.

Mom: You do?

Me: I do. I have to go take care of my boys.

Mom: (Silence)

Me: I love you, Mom.

Mom: I love you too. (Motions to one of my five sisters who is standing nearby) Take care of your sister.

Me: I will.

Mom: All you girls, you take care of your sisters.

I nod, start to cry, and head toward the exit.



61 comments:

inkpuddle said...

A big hug for you, Betty.

blueviolet said...

OH crap. I started out laughing, and ended up with tears. I'm sorry, sweet Betty.

Madi and Mom said...

Oh BB those conversations are so hard....As my Mom has aged, she has always said 'old age is not for sissies'. Each day I understand what she means. It takes a brave person with lots of faith to face aging with grace. Your Mom is a beautiful lady. You are a good daughter.
Hugs
C

Mamma has spoken said...

I laughed in a sad sort of way. There is something about old age that takes the social filter away and it can either be refreshing or too blunt for most.
Glad that her lack of filter is refreshing.

Eva Gallant said...

Hugs to you. It must have been difficult to leave.

Daisy said...

Ah, sweet Betty. Hugs to you, my friend. This is both funny and poignant. I feel like you are walking the same path that I just got off of. Hold onto your sense of humor. It will help you more than anything.

Desiree said...

Oh Betty. This is so sweet and also so hard. I do think I know exactly what your Mom was feeling when she uttered those words. Sending lots of hugs for you!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Very bittersweet; sad yet triggering happy memories that will stay with you forever. Lovely picture.

CJ xx

Leah J. Utas said...

I have to say the "eat your lunch" response is wonderful. Very practical. These moments are difficult, but they are keepers.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Very bittersweet Betty, a lovely picture.

Have a good day.
Yvonne,

Teresa Evangeline said...

This is triggering some memories, both bitter and sweet. I'm glad. They needed triggering. Thank you.

You write so concisely and with such meaning.

Cool Gal said...

Very touching post, Betty. I laughed, then wanted to cry.

The photo is beautiful.

Seams Inspired said...

(((HUGS))) to you, Betty. Thanks for sharing your heart today.

Leanne said...

Oh, Betty. My heart is heavy for you. Hugging my monitor right now . . . do you feel it?

Anne Gallagher said...

Oh God Betty, how do you do it? Share your incredible mother with us and not break down and cry?

Cricket said...

Ouch.

As always, my prayers for you and your mom.

Flartus said...

I can still see the strong young woman in your mother's face. I can see why you love her so strongly.

Nat said...

Must have been awful for you to leave after that! Sending a hug your way... x

Jules said...

Wow Betty what an emotional post. Don't you find it odd that they have such clarity about the things we tend to over look?

Have a great weekend with a big hug.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Talli Roland said...

I went from laughter to tears, Betty. What a poignant scene - I hope you're okay.

Out on the prairie said...

a tough road ahead

Brian said...

Purrs and hugs to you Betty. My Dad went through that with his Mom too and she lived far away.

Georgina Dollface said...

Oh, you have this beautiful way of making me laugh and cry at the same time. Thank you for sharing these moments with us. I know it must have been really hard to leave your Mom, but I am sure she feels blessed having seen you and all her beautiful children and grandchildren.
My Mom lived 8 hours away from her Mom when she was in a care home and it was always hard for her to say goodbye. Hugs - G

EmptyNester said...

I'm crying with you Betty. Your mother is such a treasure! Sending a great big HUG your way.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sorry, Betty! Glad you got to spend some time with her though.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww BB!!!!! Big hugs from me! I feel your sadness and it's very painful - your mum is surrounded by such love and strength from her adoring family. Take care BB! x

Donna said...

Ahhhhh...sweet Betty...
(((HUGS)))

Pat said...

I see you have your mother's sense of humor.

This is sweet and sad all mixed into one.

Eve said...

It's good you got to spend time with your Mom..a great sense of humour carries us through all sorts of life's ups and downs. It's good to see that you and your Mom both have a healthy dose of humour! Peace to you

Peggy K said...

Puddles! You have me sitting here in puddles!! Had to be tough to leave! Good thing the niece will make sure she eats her lunch.

Linda said...

Your mom is blessed to have you and your sisters, and you're blessed to have her. My mom died when I was 30. That was a hard thing to experience, but I was spared the kind of stretched-out grief that you're going through. I absolutely loved the first conversation of the trilogy.

Sarah said...

I'm glad to see your family members were able to use humor in all that sadness. Your mom sounds very sweet and sharp.

jenny_o said...

You captured the different moods of a nursing home so well! Everything from crack-me-up to the pain of decline. Thanks for letting us go along with you.

Linda Myers said...

How lovely you're all there for her. I still remember some of those unfiltered comments from my mother.

Joann Mannix said...

Oh Betty, I'm so sorry. It's such an awful beast of a thing, isn't it? It is one of those diseases that I hope and constantly pray that we make big strides in rapid time. God Bless your Mom and all of you through this journey.

Cheeseboy said...

Aw, she sounds beyond awesome. Keeps you laughing to the end, eh?

Jenny said...

It's something about the nursing home that makes your heart sad the second you put your foot inside the door.

I'm sorry for all this. How lovely your family can all gather around her. That's what I would want more than anything.

Hugs and prayers coming your way.

Your Mom sounds absolutely lovely. I think you take after her!

Liz said...

I bet it was so hard to leave. Hugs to you, BB.

Lydia K said...

Oh Betty. Hugs.

Ms. A said...

Thoughts, prayers and blessings to each and every one of you. Especially your Mom.

Katherines Corner said...

I'm crying now too...I know how hard that is. My Mum ( Mom, Mother) is in Washington... Big hugs for you!

Sara said...

Ohhh, your family is eight kinds of wonderful. Hugs ♥

Baby Sister said...

This gave me chills up and down. It's such a hard thing to go through. I'm so sorry Betty.

Bouncin' Barb said...

I love that she wanted you to take care of each other. That is so sweet. I can only imagine how sad you were to leave. Extra hugs for you (((HUGS)))

Gigi said...

What a beautiful mom you have! I know how hard it was to leave. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Catherine said...

Oh Betty. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. So bitter sweet. It sounds like your whole family has a wonderful sense of humour. Sometimes that's what gets us through our hardest times.

Sending you warm thoughts and big hugs today Betty!
xo Catherine

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, what a bittersweet post. Hugs to you and your family.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Oh, Betty, that's beautiful, and sad, and sweet. God bless you. God bless your Mama!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

You created a bunch of tears and laughter into this very touching post.
Take care of yourself.
xoRobyn

Nancy said...

Oh, my dear -- laughing and crying all at the same time.

Mommy on the Spot said...

Oh, my! How bittersweet!! Beautiful picture of the two you.

Ally said...

Betty, I'm totally crying. Lately, all you bloggers are making me cry without trying. I just understand. I know it. We are living it with Grandma. Hugs xoxo.

SUGAR MOON said...

Betty, thanks for sharing. So sorry. My prayers are with you and your mom.

slommler said...

Oh dear! This is tough! I am so sorry! You will have my prayers as will your mom.
Hugging you
SueAnn

Ann said...

your niece's response to your mother was priceless. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to leave. Big hug

Brian (not the cat) said...

It's nice to see that despite her Alzheimer's, she is still in there, still herself at some level, including her wit(I also see that it must run in the family).

Hilary said...

That sure tugs at the emotions. I'm so sorry your family is going through this. You made me laugh with that first one.. and cry with the last one. Hugs to you.

Lin said...

That's tough, Betty. On some level, it is funny and honest, but on another--it is very painful. All you can do is love her and tell her that over and over again. And laugh. Laugh with her again and again. That is what you remember in the end--love and laughter.

Trisha Dawn said...

I LOVE those little stories. It really captures her!

The Adorkable Ditz said...

:(

Annie said...

Never easy, but thinking of you.