Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pillville: the Iowa Version, part 2

Silos and barn, shot from a moving car

Something feels all wrong, taking care of my mom in Iowa. This is the place where she took care of me. The place where she laid down the law and cooked dinner every night. The place where she lit the candles on our birthday cakes, The place where she once held court at my brother's kitchen table when we gathered there to bring our far-flung family back together. Yesterday, after three nights with her here, we wheeled her away from that kitchen table and drove her to the nursing home where she will live out her days.

But it's better than it sounds. People know people in small towns. People know almost everyone. We hadn't been in the nursing home but a few minutes when one of the nurses ran up to hug my sister-in-law. They used to work together. Another staff member came up to introduce herself because her parents live next door to my aunt. One of the residents waylaid us more than once. Some relative of his married one of my mom's great aunts. He was quite familiar with our family tree and wanted to talk about it. 

My brother and I spent all day at the nursing home yesterday. Unpacking, labeling my mom's clothes, measuring the space for a new recliner, making arrangements to have pictures hung and wine served with her dinner, filling out a mountain of paperwork.

Afterwards we drove back into our little town next to the bigger town where the nursing home is. We went to a furniture store on main street and within a few minutes found the perfect chair for my mom's room.

This morning we delivered the chair and took care of a few more loose ends. The place and the staff continued to impress. The view across the street from the nursing home is a bit much. But my mom's room faces an enormous deck out back instead of a cemetery.

And this afternoon as I was getting ready to leave, this was delivered to her room. She thought it was too early to drink, so she saved it for dinner. I carried her glass of wine to the dining room, and that's where my brother and I left her.

Last night I went out to dinner with a friend. Is it a special occasion? the waitress asked. Yes, I said after I stumbled for a moment. I've just retired.


37paddington said...

I don't know the right words but I'm here, bearing witness.

lily cedar said...

Sending hugs.

Catrina said...

That's gotta be tough! Remember, you have friends who are always rooting for you!

Ms. Moon said...

In a way, this is simply immense. And in another way- it is simply just one more step in the path of life.
I can't even imagine what you're going through in your heart and mind. And body.
But your mother is home now. And you have brought her safely there.
Be proud.

Karen Pokraka said...

You've done a beautiful job in all of this as far as I can tell. I hope you can rest easy, knowing she is safe and at home in a town that knows her. That is very precious.

Joanne said...

Wow. You have retired. I am sure it is with mixed feelings but a relaxation deep in your bones. It seems as if your mom is being taken care of well. I hope you can rest easy.

Romy WYLLIE said...

We all feel for you. So hard to leave your Mum but it sounds as though it is a good place to live our her last days. Just pray that they as comfortable as can be and take comfort in knowing that you have done everything you could, and as you say it is time to retire from caretaking and get on with your own life. Thinking of you and praying for your mother. Romy