As my mother grew older, she regularly scoffed at the suggestion that she should consider purchasing nursing home insurance.
Indeed, the thought of my powerhouse mom shut away in a long care facility seemed preposterous. She was the poster girl for an active senior life style. Volunteer work, friends, good books, travel, and visits from her grandkids filled her calendar.
I blithely assumed that would be my mom’s life style forever. Well, not forever but until she died, which I hoped would occur when she dropped dead, never knowing what hit her—or alternatively, died in her sleep.
Silly me. Surely I knew that assumptions and expectations about the future don’t always pan out. After all, my husband and I have John Lennon’s quip, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans,” posted in our music studio.
Two days ago, my dear sisters and I found ourselves touring the memory care unit at the assisted living place where our mom has resided for the past three years. Her dementia has significantly progressed, and it’s looking like the time to move her may be imminent.
The staff in the memory care unit is lovely, and they are clearly making every effort to engage the residents and help them live as good a quality of life as possible in their remaining years. Our family members will still be able to visit often and take her out.
Yet there’s no question that for my mom, this is the last stop. The thought of putting her through another major life change is painful. She is already so confused and sad—not understanding why her mother and father (who died in the 1960s) haven’t come to take her back home to their Connecticut farm.
I miss who my mom used to be, and I know she misses that person too. She often asks me, “When will I go back to being who I was?”
I never can come up with a good answer.
My heart hurts.