David created a new word today. Equithermic. This will mean nothing to you right now, but in a few months you will appreciate the genius of it. In can’t say more so it will have to remain a mystery.
I thought it would be nice to give you an update on mothers including but not limited to mine. We had dinner with Sidney and Howard last night. They are not a gay couple (although it is OK to be gay), Sidney is a beautiful woman. Howard is a handsome guy—physical description does not enhance the point of the blob. Sidney and Howard had to cancel a trip to St. Bart’s because their mothers weren’t feeling well. Howard flew to California and Sidney to Arizona. When most of the friends who are our age get together we often spend time talking about our mother woe’s because, like when we had children, it’s something we all have in common and it is unfortunately, not boring.
Sidney had recently moved her mother from an independent, to an assisted living facility. This was difficult for many reasons, not the least involving more downsizing. They spent days going through her things and deciding what she needed and what she didn’t. They admitted that there were things (like a denim jacket) they knew she needed, but they gave them away because after days of tossing, it’s just something that happens. One of the things they thought she didn’t need were fifteen boxes of unused holiday cards.
To their surprise, along came Christmas and she noticed the cards were gone. She called Sidney to ask what had been done with the ‘nice’ holiday cards. Sidney confessed that they had been tossed but she would replace them. Which she did. When Sidney and Howard received their card from her mother, it said; “Dear Sidney and Howard, I would have sent you a nice Christmas card, but I didn’t have any.”
My mother has an attic full of unopened gifts from catalogues and a basement filled with closets of clothes that are not antiques but are old and moldy. She also has a closet with 27 (no joke) pairs of navy or black elastic waisted pants—I won’t even tell you about the shoes. Three years ago my brother and sister-in-law and I went threw the attic and cleaned it out. The unusable crap she had collected filled the entire garage from floor to ceiling. Luckily Jeffrey’s friend Chris had a truck and he hauled it all away. He probably made a fortune on e-bay, but we were happy to sacrifice the money because we were just pleased to be rid of it. She promised she wouldn’t shop by mail anymore.
This week I went to mom’s to check in and pay some bills. There was an invoice for 3 onion choppers. “Mom” I inquired, “did you actually buy these or were they sent by mistake? Unfortunately it was an intentional purchase. One for her one for me and one for my cousin Rosalie—If you’re reading this I hope this doesn’t spoil the surprise. Rosalie has recently redone her kitchen. Not only is it spectacular but she had every known kitchen tool and appliance. She does not need a plastic onion chopper. Nor do I. When I told my mother that it was a waste of money to buy either of us an onion chopper she said, “OK I’ll give it to Jordan, or Sheila, or Helen or Ronnie” – clearly anyone she knows who has a kitchen. My mother has always been a shopaholic but in the past she would shop and return. It’s just lately that the catalogue has become queen. And when I tried to talk to her about it, all she said was... ‘it’s the only way I get pleasure.’
What are we to do? How sad it is that nothing else makes her happy, but thank god she’s feeling OK and she has wonderful full time care. By the way, when we go to California to see David’s mom , (who is older than mine but thank god, in an independent living facility and in great shape, we are going to have dinner in the facility dining hall. I hope it’s as colorful as my mom’s rehab but we’ll let you know).
Soozie’s mom is in a rehab center because she fell a few weeks ago and instead of X-raying her back, (where they would have found a fracture) they let her move around until the pain was so debilitating that she couldn’t move at all. In addition, because of the pain medication and who knows what else they gave her, she was, as Soozie says, “ava buttle.” In Yiddish this means terribly confused or out of it. So every time Soozie left her room, and returned, she thought it was for the first time and didn’t understand why Soozie wasn’t spending more time with her. Grandma Fran is better now but having lived in assisted living for many years, she still asks Soozie when she’s going home.
It’s hard to be patient, know the right thing to do/say, and have a life unencumbered by parental responsibility. We have all decided we want to check out before we live our lives like this. Or before our children have to take responsibility for us. The best we can do at this point is find some humor in each encounter and hope that by the time we get to that parental place in the home—someone has found a painless, pleasurable, pill. We’re just sayin...Iris