So, yesterday, with a day off and some time to spare I made a trip out to visit my mom. I had a plan in mind. a) to get her out of the house b) to take her for a ride in an air-conditioned car to do a drive-by to some assisted living facilities c) to bribe her with a sandwhich from her favorite sandwhich shop.
She didn't have time to "wrap her brain around it". So she was befuddled. We went on said journey, within a five mile radius of her house. Got the sandwich and she was ready to go home.
We looked at one (1) facility-from the parking lot.
It wasn't all gloom and doom. Nope. It was a lesson in understanding. These lessons are getting more frequent, for both me and my aging mom.
I've been trying to get her to wrap her brain around getting out of her 45 year old house that needs so much up keep, out of her comfort zone and into the world around her. Partly because she is so very lonely, (self imposed exile from the world we live in) and partly because she really isn't safe anymore in her home - alone.
All this plays on my mind. Taking her back home (total trip time, 25 minutes-10 minutes spent on sandwich prep) we talked about her finances. I placed a call to her financial planner, who it turns out is an acquaintance of mine. She returns my call, telling me that because of privacy restrictions, she cannot discuss mom's finances with me unless I have power of attorney or mom says it's ok. My mom got on the phone and told her it's ok. AND that she granted me POA about four years ago (never told me).
So, mom decides now would be a good time to go through her drawers looking for the POA documents. She sits on the bed, I rifle through her assorted belongings to go through large brown envelopes of papers from cars that she no longer owns, from home-made Mother's day cards from an 8 yr. old me, a 6 yr. old brother. I find spectacles that have one lense..."Mom, what are these?" "oh those belonged to my mother" (she passed some 51 years ago). Hankies, still smelling of spray starch and scented drawer sachets, an old driver's license held on to because the photo looked pretty good (seriously???-same weight I might add, who knew?)
I found the POA, an original and a copy. I reasoned in my mind that she didn't tell me because she feared that I might use this as a control tactic, a weapon to put her away into a nursing home against her will. Cause I'm like that right? As I spend every day off, every vacation day, most of my weekends, trying to take care of her needs, trying to bring her some speck of relief, of happiness in her clouded view of the world. Into her living room.
I'm struck by the tidbits of her life that she's saved. Savored even? 50 years pass and that's all we have, hankies and broken eyeglasses. Touch stones to the life we once lived, tangible reminders that once we touch - take us right back to that time, that place.
Later, she called me at home to tell me she remembered why she didn't give me the POA when she had it drawn up. She confesses to me that she didn't want me to sell her home and put her into an awful nursing home. "they are just awful Jack, everybody knows that you aren't treated well in those awful places".
Torn, I tell her I had already figured that out. But assisted living could give her some support. She wouldn't have to cook anymore, since she really hates cooking now. She wouldn't have to worry about who is going to mow her lawn, who is going to pick up the weeds, how is she going to go out and get her mail, what is she going to eat for supper, there's no one to talk to...
Or maybe I'm kidding myself. She might be more withdrawn in an assisted living apartment. What to do...what to do.
Keep looking, something will come my way. There's one constant in life and that is it's always changing.