I got up early, vacuumed the house, set out a table cloth and St. Patrick's Day plates, went to buy a cake for the P.E.O. meeting at my house, and then picked up Mom from her residence.
When I got back to the house, several ladies were parked out in front waiting.
I let them in, brought Mom into the house in her wheelchair, and began hosting the P.E.O. sisters.
After a few initial greetings, Mom said, "I want to go back now."
"No, we're going to have the P.E.O. meeting," I said. "I can't take you back. Here are some strawberries and other fruit."
I plied her with food; we sang Happy Birthday and she blew out one candle.
But the food fell out of her mouth onto her blouse. She was hunched over and not swallowing after chewing. It just fell out.
The meeting began. I couldn't attend to her and the ladies at once.
One of the ladies lost the keys to her car, so we spent most of the morning searching the street, the car, the lawns and sidewalks and the house for her keys.
It was a disaster.
Finally it was over and I took Mom back to Ocean View Assisted Living.
Never again, I said to myself.
She's not good enough to sit through a meeting like that. It's pointless.
I am trying to push her toward life, but she is declining.
I need to accept that reality and stop all this effort.