Two Days Is Not Enough

| July 1, 2018 | 4 Replies

Tonight it hit me, two days is not enough. What was I thinking, scheduling only an evening and two days with my mother? I hadn’t seen her since September, mainly because I’ve been recovering from a broken arm for five months. But, I didn’t want to be gone more than a week or so, after missing seven weeks of my garden last summer traveling in Europe and the Southeast. I also wanted to visit my brother in Virginia, and a Late Bloomer fan in Ashland, Kentucky. But, after being with my mother today, and seeing how emotional she got, it hit me.

Two Days Is Not Enough
Two Days is Not Enough - cemetery

Mother and Me at Daddy’s Grave

Getting old ain’t for sissies, Betty Davis supposedly said. Surprisingly, to us both, my mother has gotten old. She has short term memory loss, and after a day of her repeating the same questions over and over to me, I thought for the first time, might she forget me? Might there come a time when she didn’t know who I was? I put it to her and she said, “We don’t know what will happen.” True enough. I asked her if her mother (who lived to 97) forgot who she was, and she said that Grandmother would ask, “Now, who are you?” And mother would say, “I’m Bobbie June, your oldest daughter.” And Grandmother would say, “Yes, that’s right.”

Two Days is Not Enough - old friends

Mother visiting old friend Dan Wilson

The beauty of a blog is I can write about my garden, my chickens (if I had any) or whatever is on my mind. And what’s on my mind is the very special relationship I have with my mother. Only until the last couple of years did I consider living in California and being so far away from her was hard on her. She was always so active and involved and BUSY. (Wonder who I got that from?) She soldiered on for 18 years after Daddy died. But last August, she moved away from the town where she spent her entire adult life and the few friends she had that were still alive, and began a life in assisted living in an unfamiliar place.

To get off to a good start, I scheduled an outing on Day 1: drive back to hometown, see Daddy’s grave, visit old friends, lunch with my sister, husband and daughter, drive back to Nashville and get her a manicure and pedicure. I was amazed she had the energy for it all. She had a great time and I hope she can remember it.

Two Days is Not Enough - Mother and photo

Mother holding her favorite photograph of her and her mother laughing, taken by me in the early 1990’s

Today, on the other hand, was about straightening up her room. I was organizing her clothes (most of which she bought from my sister after she stopped teaching) as she can no longer do this herself. And I begged her to get rid of a few things, so the much smaller closet she must now make do with isn’t so crowded. She became tearful. “I lost my husband, my home, my friends, I’ve  lost so much.” I took them all out of the closet, rearranged things, washed many of them down in the laundry room, and put everything back, only a little more organized. She was happy. When you have short term memory loss, it’s so easy to get confused. Clutter and not knowing where things are leads to more confusion and frustration. I was trying to minimize that for her, but in the process, I was hurting her.

Two Days is Not Enough - manicure

Mother’s manicure. She was very happy with it.

You may have already experienced these issues with parents, or will in future. It can be brutal to see your once vital, unstoppable mother slow down, lose memory, eyesight and mobility. It was for me today. She kept apologizing for being emotional, and I told her, she didn’t need to apologize, that it’s not her fault.

~

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  1. Been 7 years now since KC died and managing this homestead alone is not easy . Soon my time will come and I never want to be in a home or leave here .In reality that only happens in America .Most cultures aged stay with family .We tried to have my husbands day stay with us and he spent many summers here in his airstream and even bought a pool for his morning swims. He just could not handle this lifestyle .He stayed till the end in a retirement community in Florida and my husband had to go down several times to help him .Luckily his mind was fine till the end (almost 90 )I think he had some sort of brain tumor .It was a beautiful solution for him and I understand. I am glad I got to spend a week with him about a week before he passed .I loved my husbands folks… his mom and dad. Ideally I will find someone to live with me family or not for my last days who loves this way of life …

    • I truly hope and pray that happens for you, Sharon. In the long meantime, I pray you will find some young, right-minded folks to come and help you and learn all about the right way to eat and grow food. It would be a win-win.

  2. Tracy Garns says:

    You have a beautiful mama. It is hard. I’m sure she appreciates so much any time spent together. I pray you get many more wonderful visits.

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