I moved my mother to a small residential care home that gives great care, at the same time I was scheduled to take a week’s vacation. When I returned six days later, I went to see how she was doing and the first thing she said, “How did you know I was here?” I explained I had picked out the home and she said it was a very good one (nice for me to hear).
She has vascular dementia so her short-term memory is impaired but she was very aware that she had not seen me in six days. We chatted for a few minutes with the other five residents before it was time to eat and then I accompanied her to the dinner table to continue chatting with her and all the residents.
As she finished her meal, she gave the caregiver a kiss and then a hug and thanked her for everything she had done for her and then turned to me and said, “Taking me home now?” Wow, I didn’t expect that. I said, “No, you need to stay here.” And she said, “What about my home?” Well, thinking she was talking about her home of 58 years I explained that her grandson was taking care of that house. She said, “No, the other house” and I responded with the name of the Assisted Living she had resided in for 18 months prior to two months in skilled care and she said, “Yes!”
I had to tell her we gave that up because we can’t pay for two places. She has always understood money and that was ok with her – while again telling me that this new home was a good home. I told her if she gets well, she could return to Assisted Living and she said, “Am I sick?”
Needless to say, I drove home in tears but, once I synthesized her comment, I was thinking how wonderful that she has no idea she is nearing the end of her life and that her sweet, tender heart is failing her.
Gracious, appreciative mom – I am privileged to be your daughter.