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’re gone, Mom 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 hers.
Because she suffers from dementia, Mom doesn’t remember her home of almost fifty years. Sometimes she doesn’t recognize my home, and asks, “Is there a restroom in this place?”
Once I drove her to a doctor appointment and told her it was the Christmas season and pointed to the decorations. She replied, “Warmest December I can remember” not realizing she was in Florida. I giggled. Her seeing Christmas decorations amongst green grass and flowers confused her.
When I moved her south, it was an experience to remember. It started after my father died. I stayed with her a few months to let her adjust to life without her husband. During the time, family and friends came by the house and asked what I planned for Mom. I told them she was moving to Florida with me and asked them not to say goodbye.
She didn’t know she was moving, I explained. She wouldn’t remember so there was no reason to put her through the anguish. Some disagreed, so I relented and told my mother I was moving her to Florida with me. She cried and said she wished she’d die. An hour later, she didn’t remember the conversation.
Though I regret putting her through the sorrow, I could at least tell people I’d told her of the impending move. I never mentioned it again. As the moving day neared, I reminded her often of our approaching 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.
When we left, several family members hugged her and cried. She looked at them, confused. She was the only one who didn’t know she wasn’t coming back.
When we arrived at our home, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren were there. After a few days, they left, and my mother never asked to go home. By then, she believed she was home.
Since she thinks it’s her home, she’ll instruct me to turn off a light in the next room. It’s as if I’m a child in her Midwest home, again. There’s no use telling her I prefer the light on, or it costs less than a penny an hour for the bulb to burn. I know she’ll 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’s our life for a while. We had our children young and planned on having “golden years” for travel. Rather than traveling on vacations, I go to doctor appointments and pharmacies. Though I can’t leave the house without having someone watch my mother, I tell myself to relax 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