Now that my mom’s been here for a little over a month, people are starting to ask how it’s going, or what it’s like having her here. They often say it in code, too, so that presumably I can reply in code with something to the effect of: “IT SUCKS!! Get her out of here!!!” Except, that wouldn’t be what my answer is.
They all worry about Honey, too. Because what (sane) man could possibly want his mother-in-law living with him in the prime of his life, except one who is so clearly henpecked that he’s afraid of his own shadow? Well, not this man. Honey loves my mother. He really, truly cares for her. Kind of like a Ruth/Naomi thing. Except for a lot of stuff, but I digress….
Over the past 4 years my mom has been through a lot. Physically, mentally, emotionally, you name it and she’s been through it. It all started when returning from lunch at the ZCMI center one day – As she was beginning to cross the street to her office at Church Headquarters, some guy driving and talking on his phone came around the corner and hit her. The next few years followed with many broken or shattered limbs, a knee replacement, a shoulder replacement, a heart attack, a diagnosis of osteoporosis, and a jump-start to a life with osteoarthritis. The sprinkles on top of this sundae came this past January, when, on her way to her car at o’ dark thirty to drive to work, she slipped on an icy portion of uneven sidewalk and shattered her wrist, resulting in the placement of a metal plate and fork to keep her hand attached to her arm.
We’ve never been in a position to help mom, either financially or even just to take care of her during her various injuries. Living 800 miles away kind of puts a limit on what you can do, no matter how good your intentions. My sister and her family live near, but she’s got four kids and they’re always on the go. My brother and his small family were there, too, but he is always at school or work, and as much as I like his wife, T, she’s got her hands full with their little ones and couldn’t be much help, either. Although I’m sure it’s the last thing in the universe my mom wanted, we both knew it was time for her to come and stay here. At first we weren’t sure if it was short-term or not, but the more I see her struggle with the severe pain of her condition, the clearer it becomes that it will be forever. And that’s just fine with us! Here there are no stairs, no ice, and a pool to do physical therapy in. My boys are old enough to take care of themselves for the most part, and we never go anywhere (but shopping!) so I have all the time in the world to make sure Mom takes her medicines, vitamins, and makes it to her doctor appointments.
Already we are making progress in returning her to as healthy as she can be! We have found her a wonderful and caring doctor who is doing everything he can to make Mom more comfortable. The Lord has really put the right people in our path. Every one we’ve met from the PA at the urgent care, to the Costco pharmacist, to her own physician has also had some sort of back problem and it’s made them quick to empathize with Mom’s condition and to make sure she is well taken care of.
I’ve noticed that Mom’s memory is improving, too. When you are under so much stress the short term memory becomes non-existent. But now that Mom is free to take it easy on herself and has us to make sure she’s getting all her needs met, it’s melting away. And underneath is a vibrant woman, who is not as old as she claims to feel. 60 is not the end of life, it’s the new 40! So now instead of “I’m so old!” we’re changing that thought to “I’m so beat up!”. Because you can repair your body, but you can’t roll back the clock!
There’s so much more I want to say about my mother, but I think I’ll stop here. I didn’t write this post today to give myself or my family a pat on the back for taking on my mother, I wrote it so people can know just how bad her pain is. It’s brutal. Some days, it’s all she can do to get out of bed. And with that pain comes depression of the darkest kind. But no more. Mom, you carried me all those years I lived with you, now it’s my turn. (Insert cheesy Josh Groban song here)
I know it’s early, but Happy Mother’s Day!
(now go hug or call your mother! or the woman who filled in for her, they can be one and the same.)