reconciliation

Pool Party

By the time we were up and had eaten breakfast and Mom had finished her two morning naps, it was 1:00 PM and I was really needing an outing. Lucy was working again today, so she agreed to drive Esther and Mom and I to one of the many pools gracing this complex. I put …

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Reunion Day 1

Mom woke up disoriented today, certain we were party-crashing her sister’s house, that we shouldn’t be there, that we were imposing, and that she was ready to go home. I wondered if I should give her a dose of the Ativan I’d brought along, but by the time my cousins Judi and Stuart showed up …

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A Trip to Florida

I debated whether to blog this trip and once I decided to, I wondered whether or not I could possibly call it a Virtual Vacation. This is clearly not going to be an exotic armchair adventure in Bali or a Scottish adventure or a travelogue through Mexico. It’s going to be a journey into old …

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Visiting Mom

sunshine.villa.bus

We slowly made our way down the flowered hallways, flowered wallpaper lining our pathway, flowers edging the muted carpet on the floor. I deliberately shortened my stride, moving so slowly it felt like the walking meditation I’d done 20 minutes at a time at Spirit Rock Meditation Center on 10 day Vipassana retreats. My mother was teetering nearby, floating with an expression on her face that looked sweet and empty at the same time. I’d taken her on a walk around the second floor of the building, up the elevator, circling three hallways, and back again. We passed the front desk, the music room, the library, and around the corner past the activity room, the place with the large looseleaf notebook out front where you can sign up for outings on the first day of the month—the scenic drives, a monthly movie, outings to Walgreens or Rite Aid to stock up on shampoo or Depends.

The first time I saw the Sunshine Villa bus, six months ago, I looked at the huge letters across the side of the bus on both sides, shouting out for all to see: Sunshine Villa Assisted Living and Memory Care. I remember thinking at the time, there was no way Mom would ever live here, ride in a bus like that. It would be way too humiliating. I felt the same way when I visited on Saint Patrick’s day and the halls were full of little cardboard shamrocks and leprechauns or at Halloween when black cats and orange pumpkins lined the halls. For the entire month of December, canned Christmas carols blared from speakers in the hall. That would be hell on earth for my proud Jewish mother, to be in such a goyisha place. It was like a holiday curriculum at a preschool on steroids. Is this what they think old people want?

Now, six months after my first visit, Mom was living here, being helped up into the van with the letters screaming Memory Care on the side, enjoying the scenic drives to nowhere.

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