Friday, April 27, 2007

Smelling the Lilacs

Today I'm in despair.
After hearing from Elisa what a terrible place this nursing home is, compared to others, I don't know what to do. I just finished having all Mom's furniture moved here and getting her settled here.
Should I hang the photos on the walls?
I woke early, anxious about having Mom in Country Villa.
Take care of yourself, Al-Anon says. So I went to an Al-Anon meeting at 7:35 am and then went for a jog on the beach.
I thoroughly enjoyed running on the sand in the fresh air, seeing the waves and mountains in the distance, but it was a warm morning. I took off my nylon jacket and tied it around my waist.
A few minutes later, perhaps while I was reaching to touch an anemone on the rocks of the breakwater, my cell phone fell out of the pocket of the jacket.
I noticed it as missing ten minutes later and retraced my steps, looking for it.
At first there was no trace of it, but on a second tracing of my route, it appeared gleaming on the sand, washed up by a wave.
I opened it up and dried to let it dry in the air, but the poor thing had died.
That meant a trip to the Cingular store before going to see Mom.
The clerk was very kind and soon had me on the phone to the insurance company to have it replaced.
"I apologize for your loss, ma'am," the insurance representative said.
Wow! He was apologizing to me! I liked it, even if he was reading from a script.
I left the store grateful that in 3-4 business days, a replacement would appear in the mail (not new but used/repaired).
I decided to stop at a 7/11 store to buy flowers for Mom.
And suddenly there they were: bunches of sweet-smelling lavender lilacs for sale, just like those on the big bush in my grandmother's home in Telluride when I was a child.
I knew Mom would love them, and so did I, even though the bunch cost $16.
Maybe everything would be all right, now that we had lilacs.
~ ~ ~
When I took the lilacs to Mom, she commented, "This is a pretty good place you picked out for me."
"Oh, you like it?" I asked, hopefully.
"Yeah, it's okay," she said. She sounded resigned.
I could tell she was thinking, If Anne picked out this place, it must be the best she could do.
I had never actually told her, "We are moving you to a new residence, skilled nursing." I had just hoped that having her same furniture, bedside lights, and other things would convince her that she was safe and in more or less the same place.
I was counting on Emily's insight, "The recliner is her home." I was hoping Mom wouldn't perceive much of a change in her environment.
But Emily had visited yesterday and had explained the move to her, so she now understood that we had made a choice and that she had been moved.
All I could do was go on with the rest of my day and hope for the best.
Maybe it would work out. Emily was a physical therapist before becoming a pastor, and she had approved Country Villa during her visit to Mom. It seemed to be about the best we could do.

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