Saturday, March 1, 2014


Saturday morning. The alarm goes off at 4:30. I drive two hours through snow and fog to see my mom. She is in the hospital recovering from emergency brain surgery. Has spent the last week on the rehab floor.

I am still trying to get used to this new mom. Two weeks ago I went to visit her in Colorado Springs. She wanted to go to Target. And, like always,  I had to hurry to keep up with my almost eighty-year-old mother.

Two days after that, I got a call that she had collapsed. Was in the emergency room. Needed a shunt installed in her brain.  And now she's learning to get around again. She still doesn't have very good balance, so she's using a walker.

On Thursday,  she will be released from the hospital. But not to the patio home where she has lived for the past twenty years since my dad died. Instead, she will be heading to a an assisted living facility.

So today I spent time with my mom. I went with her to occupational therapy. I sat with her while she ate warmed over French toast after occupational therapy. Went and got her coffee from the Starbucks in the hospital lobby. Talked about dismantling her home as she prepares to move from a 3000-square-foot patio home into an 1100-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment. We talked about who would take the Christmas decorations. The patio furniture and grill. Twenty years of books.

Then my sisters arrived and we went to look at the facility they have selected. It's very nice. A dining room/restaurant where my mom can eat meals as often as she wants. A movie theater. Craft room. Swimming pool. Gym. Beauty parlor. Gift shop. Lots of activities. The apartment is sunny and light. It has lots of storage space. An alert button in every room.

I think my mom will like the new place. I think she'll be less lonely than she has been for the past few years. And it will be safer, should she fall and need help.

At the same time, my heart is really heavy tonight. Somehow, until this month, my mom has never seemed old.

And now she does.


Tara said...

I don't think there is any way to prepare for this stage, Carol - but you seem to have your sisters to lean on, and I am sure that brings a measure of comfort.

Tara said...

I am hoping for the best for your mom. It is amazing how quickly our lives can change.

writekimwrite said...

Carol this tugs at my heart. Sending you hugs and prayers. This is a difficult transition. Thank you for sharing this. It helps me feel less alone when dealing with the changes aging brings to my own Dad.

Michelle said...

Carol, once again, your words brought me to tears. I feel your confusion, your pain, your heartbreak. You and your mom are in my prayers during this transition.

Linda B said...

Oh, Carol, I'm sorry that your heart is heavy, and if there's ever anything I can do please let me know. It sounds as if you all found a very nice place, but it isn't easy cleaning out, I know that for sure. Sending hugs and prayers your way! Hugs to your dear mom too!

Nanc said...

I'm sorry for your heavy heart, but just glad that your mom is recovering. I think she will really love her new place. It sounds like the 'sisters' are all really getting along and together on all this. It is not as easy for the Olson girls to get along. I still want to think my mom isn't old either. I'm working on a piece about it. Again our lives seem to cross. I'll be praying for her next transition. xo

Ramona said...

Carol, what a difficult two weeks this has been for you. I understand why your heart feels heavy. Blessings to you, your sisters, and your mom as you adjust to this new transition.

Amy Rudd said...

I am connecting with you on this. It's hard to see healthy parents go down hill health wise. My mom is now diagnosed with dementia and this will be a struggle for my whole family...asi pray for my mom I will pray for yours as well...thinking of you.

Chris said...

Sending strength and hugs, Carol. Your mom's new place sounds lovely and I think she will enjoy all the activities when she heals. Take care of yourself during this time, too!

Dana said...

Carol, wishing your mom such recovery ahead. Your appreciation for her safety and recovery is evident in your piece as well as your heartbreak and confusion. Many well wishes to you both.

Penny Jansen said...

Hoping for the best for your family. The new place does sound less lonely and more stress free. Prayers for you.