Mother's Day Memory May 2017

When my mom came to the end of her run in Colorado and I came to the end of my ability to help her stay there, I went out to bring her to a retirement home near me in California. She didn’t fight me on this, although she had resisted it previously; she knew she was no longer able to manage alone. Sitting in her living room, surrounded by half filled boxes, she said, “If I don’t like it there, I will come back.”

“No,” I said. “You’re not coming back.” The minute we left, her husband’s son would sell the condo. There was no turning back.

“Then I’m not going,” she said.

I looked at her, my hands stilled from wrapping a figurine I had given her years before. “I could lie to you,” I said.

There was a long pause as she took that in, considered, rolled it around. “What if I don’t like it?”

“Then we’ll go on from there,” I said. “We’ll try to find something you do like.”

The next two years were not easy. For either of us. I was clueless, anguished in the face of multiple decisions. I always felt like I was running a month behind unfolding events. My mother had never died before. Yet looking back, I am amazed at the amount of mutual respect and trust that we functioned in. It was built, of course, over our long relationship, but that moment of truth among the boxes set the tone. I wouldn’t lie to her or try to manipulate her. I would do my best to give her what she wanted. In return she gave me her trust. It was a great gift.

Happy Mother's Day!