My mother turned 90 yesterday, and we celebrated this momentous occasion at her new living arrangement in a nearby board-and-care. Getting her here took months of medical, legal, financial, and familial wrangling, all while taking care of her as she lost the ability to move and feed herself. So it feels like a huge accomplishment to have found a safe, clean place for her, but she is not well and will not improve, so it is inescapably sad too. A water-exercising lady who lunched and drove around town not more than four months ago, her birthday elicited an outpouring of texts from friends and family and a bagful of birthday cards that I read to her yesterday.
Immersed in these issues the past few months, the topic of our longer lives and long-term care needs is naturally at the forefront of my thoughts, but I’m finding it also seems to be addressed at least daily in print (now that I’m sensitized to the subject). And when I tuned in briefly to one of the recent Democratic debates, there was Amy Klobuchar discussing the long-term care dilemma she was currently facing with her own father and how she’d address this issue if elected. Of course, a female candidate would be the first to acknowledge and address the care-taking challenges of aging parents.
Now that I’m back to sleeping in my own bed and waking up to the garden again every morning, instead of a few stolen-hour visits here and there, I can appreciate some of the small details I added in anticipation of spring, like a windowbox of salvias or Moroccan daisies spilling onto gravel.
This little garden did remarkably well while I was away despite minimal rainfall — and the care it has taken of me on brief visits during these intense few months is beyond calculation.
I’m hoping Marty’s lower back now has a chance to heal. He started running again, so that’s a good sign — 4 miles yesterday! And I do have to thank Mitch (MB Maher) for taking over the lead on the upcoming Modernism Week lecture, February 20, 2020 (The Backyard: A Biography). Over the weekend he hosted a rehearsal run-through of the talk for some friends, which is the first time I’d heard it. Possibly because my mind had been pressed on practical matters for weeks on end, I was giddily enthusiastic to the point of being slightly interruptive during the presentation. I promise to be better behaved on February 20 at 9 a.m.!
Oh Denise, I wish I had a formula for coping to share with you! Each story is different and all so challenging in their own way but, if I can offer one recommendation, it’s this: don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way too. Even short breaks like a walk around the block (or through a garden center) or a lunch out help reduce the cumulative stress. I’m glad your mom is in an environment that can provide round-the-clock support. That’ll help you too.
Best wishes with the upcoming event. I’m sorry I can’s be there. (((HUG)))
90 is something to celebrate and with the in-pouring of well wishes shows a life that has been well-lived and touched many. It is hard and worrying never the less to watch a parent’s health deteriorate. Enjoy your time together and savour every moment you can. And as Kris said, look after yourself too.
Sorry to hear you and your family have been enduring difficult times. Knowing that your Mom is getting safe and professional care must ease the sorrow. Hugs. You are very strong.
I had that Salvia, and it bloomed in masses non-stop, mobbed by hummers, until I cut it back far too much. Not keen on that pink either, but if the hummers are happy…
@Kris, thanks for the wise words.
@Elaine, the phrase I’ve heard most frequently upon hearing my mom’s age is “what a blessing!” That phrase always cheers her up.
@Hoov, there are guidebooks out there for growing and caring for plants — not so much the scope of an entire human life! Looking forward to when that arm of yours is able to prune and dig again.
I’m glad your garden was able to provide you care, while you cared for your family… I hope that you knowing you are doing your best and your mom is surrounded by love and care helps also. May all the small moments and flowers bring you comfort!