Sometimes I get so busy, I forget to be.
To enjoy the moment.
To savor the relationships.
Then something happens that jerks me back to reality.
April 11th at 5:00 in the morning I got a phone call from the nursing home where my mother in law lives. When they went in to take her vital signs, she was gone. She had passed away in her sleep. One tear on her cheek. A big smile on her face.
The past couple of years have been difficult for her as her dementia worsened. I’ve written before about the nightmare of moving her out of her apartment of twenty years and finding placement for her, but once she settled into her new home, her true nature came out.
She loved her family. “You’re family and I love you with all my heart, ” she told all of us over and over.
She thought every other resident in the nursing home was a family member and she spent her time caring for them.
Pushing them around in their wheelchairs.
Helping them find their lost shoe or purse.
Lamenting over the difficulties of life.
She thought her roommate, Grace, with the deep gravelly voice was her nephew, Tim. On each visit she told me he had been sick and he had just returned from the hospital. I didn’t argue.
Whenever her sister Shelby visited from out of town, she urged to her to stay and spend the night. “There’s plenty of beds here,” she’d say.
She loved to socialize. She had friends everywhere. Even when she barely knew who I was she’d always greet me with, “I’m so glad you came to see me.” She always thanked me for coming when I left.
In the end, she just faded away. Less mobile. Less talkative. I’d ask her what she was thinking and she’d look up startled. “I don’t know” she’d say.
In her last phone conversation with her sister, she told Shelby, “I got to go, Alton’s coming to get her.” We didn’t realize that she was right.
Sarah Frances Spruill.
Mother in Love.
You were loved.