Friday, March 7, 2014


Yesterday, after 18 days, my mom was released from the hospital. Except she didn't go home. At least not home to the place where she has lived for the past twenty years. Instead, she moved into a two bedroom apartment at a senior center. One of my sisters spent the afternoon with my mom with yesterday. My other sister spent the night. And I took the day off from work today.

I got there just a little before eight. My mom and sister had just finished breakfast in the dining room/restaurant and were waiting for me in the lobby.

We went up the elevator to my mom's apartment on the second floor. My sisters and brother-in-law have done a fantastic job getting the place together- since last weekend, they've bought a new couch and chair, moved beds, dressers, dishes, sheets and towels, and just generally made the place home.

This morning, I talked to the hospital billing department. And went to the grocery store. And cleaned up a little bit. Then my mom and I went to the dining room for lunch, exchanged her medical alert necklace for a medical alert bracelet and looked for the library (a girl has to have her priorities, ya know?). I had planned on staying for the afternoon, but a Colorado snowstorm blew in, so I headed back to Denver about 3.

I think the new living situation is going to be good for my mom. She has her own space, but there's an alert button in every room if she needs help. She has a kitchen, but she can eat meals in a dining room if she wants to. There's a bus for group events and a driver for individual appointments and meetings, which will be good, since my mom can't drive right now, or maybe ever. And there are people around and all kinds of clubs and activities and things to do.

At the same time, the whole process feels a little like leaving a reluctant five-year-old at the door of the kindergarten classroom. You know, one of those kids that watches everyone painting or building with blocks or writing stories, but hides behind her mom, not quite sure she wants to try it out herself. My mom is that five-year-old right now. She's not quite comfortable, yet, with going down to the dining room by herself. She hates using a walker and is embarrassed to have her friends see her. She doesn't know whether she will try any of the clubs and activities. She misses her independence.

I close her door this afternoon and walk away with a huge lump in my throat. I wonder how long it will be before my mom will jump in and get comfortable in her new life.


Lisa Keeler said...

Your writing is so honest and you describe a transition that many of us are experiencing with aging parents. Your voice comes through sl clearly and when I read the line about the lump in your throat, I had one in mine too. Good luck.

Chris said...

I'm glad your mom is in a new place with lots of opportunities. I can only imagine your feelings as you left. So tricky. Best wishes to mom in her new environment.

elsie said...

Hopefully some activity will interest her and she will join in soon. It is difficult to lose your independence.

Michelle said...

It's amazing to think of the transitions in that phase of life. But it is quite similar to kindergarten but with more knowledge. I hope she takes advantage of her options to keep busy, meet new friends, and gain a new understanding of independence.

Tara said...

As I've read your blog posts about this period in your family's life, I am so struck by the way you and your siblings have come together to make this transition work for your mom. It takes so much planning and effort and cooperation...and love. I hope your mom settles in comfortably, Carol.

Ona said...

I think that's a great analogy - I'm glad your mom has a place with the opportunity for comfort and happiness. I got a lump in my throat when you described leaving her, like you would leave a kindergartner. Such a great way to put it.
- Ona (

Becky Shillington said...

Oh Carol, I know this is hard! It sounds like your mom has a great attitude, though--that is huge. I hope she adjusts quickly, and is very happy in her new home.

Unknown said...

We are going through a similar situation with my grandfather. He has Alzheimer. I was struck by this comment: "At the same time, the whole process feels a little like leaving a reluctant five-year-old at the door of the kindergarten classroom." That's how I feel about my grandfather, knowing he needs the same care as a young child. Maureen wrote a similar post last week that also has me reflecting. My grandfather helped to provide for us and now he needs us to provide for him. This cycle of life is so bitter sweet. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope your mom settles in comfortably soon.

Linda B said...

Happy that I found yesterday's slice, too, Carol & to hear about your mom. It is like leaving that little kindergartner. I'm sorry it was hard for you, too. My mom, a long while ago, moved into such a place, but she had already sold and given a lot away to move to a smaller apartment first, then she needed more help. I know your mom is not mine, but my mom was an introvert & didn't have many friends, yet going to the dining room was her beginning, & she began to have a good time. She was never well enough to access all the other activities, but she did like feeling safer. I hope that helps a little. Best wishes & hugs to you!