Proverbs 27:1 NIV Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. NASB
No matter where we go or how long we have been gone, my mother is always glad to get home. As I pull the car into the garage, she always says, “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” She lives with me now, so my home is now her home. Once I asked her how long she had lived here, and she responded simply, “a long time.”
Because she suffers from dementia, I don’t think she remembers her home of nearly fifty years. Somewhere in her mind, my house is mixed with hers. Whenever the doctor asks what town she is in, she replies with the name of her hometown. She lived in the Midwest until I moved her to Florida to live with me.
As I drive her to one of her many doctor appointments, I try to keep her in touch with reality by telling her the day of the week and the month. A while back I informed her it was Christmas time and pointed to the Christmas decorations. She replied, “warmest December I can remember” not realizing she was in Florida. I giggled. Seeing Christmas decorations amongst green grass and flowers was confusing for her.
Moving her south was an experience to be remembered. It started after my father died unexpectedly. I stayed with her a few months to let her adjust to life without her husband. During that time, many family and friends came by the house and asked what I was going to do with my mother. I told them she was moving to Florida with me.
I told them not to say goodbye because she didn’t know she was moving. I explained, she wouldn’t remember so there was no use putting her through the pain. Many disagreed. So, one day I told my mother that I would be taking her from her home and moving her to Florida with me. She began to cry and said she wished she could just die. An hour later she couldn’t remember the conversation.
Though I regret putting her through the pain, I could at least tell people I had told her of the move, which I never did again. As the moving day neared, I reminded her repeatedly we were going on a trip to Florida to see her grandchildren. She informed me she wouldn’t fly because “planes leave the ground.” So, we traveled to Florida on a two-day train trip which I thought would be more comfortable for her than a car.
On the day we left several close family members hugged her and cried a little. She looked at them confused. She was the only one who didn’t realize she wasn’t coming home again.
We moved her into our home, and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to visit. After a few days they left, and my mother never asked when she would be going home. It seems she thinks this is her home, and I am visiting.
She will tell me to turn off a light in the next room just like I’m a child in her Midwest home. There’s no use telling her I like the light on or it costs less than a penny an hour for that bulb to be on. I know she will respond as she did when I was living at home, “Better a penny in my pocket than at the power company.” So, my wife and I are living in semi-darkness for a few years.
This wasn’t our long-term plan, but it is our life for a while. We had our children young and planned on having “golden years” for travel. Rather than traveling on vacations, I’m going to doctor appointments and pharmacies. Though I can’t leave the house without having someone watch my mother, I tell myself to relax, be patient, and trust God. Those days will come, but in the meantime, I will enjoy and care for my mother. The scriptures teach us it pleases God.
© Copyright 2018 Ronald Milburn