I remember a conversation I had not that long ago with mom about her inability to walk on her own. Mom had been living in an acute care facility for 1 year, essentially lying in a bed and sometimes sitting in a wheelchair. She would get physical therapy, or at least it was ordered. I do know that she would often ‘refuse’ her therapy for the day. Therapy was several times a week with the assumption that there was work she’d do on her own in-between. Somewhere in Mom’s mind, living here was akin to full-time maid service so why go elsewhere? Apparently it was no problem paying $12,000.00/per month. At this point, Mom and Dad paid $140,000.00 for Mom to have 24/7 Concierge service.
Physical therapy is ordered when some physical component has changed in the body, or is not working properly. The idea is that physical therapy works in conjunction with the patient performing prescribed exercises on their own. This way, improvement moves along at a faster rate.
One year passes and Mom has very little improvement. Her kneecap suffered another breakage after another fall. It could have been her femur that broke I really don’t remember. There were many falls and multiple breakages over the years.
Mom and Dad had not been together for over one year and Kath, Gib and I decided they needed to be together and it was time to reunite them. Together Mom and Dad would need to be in a Senior Living home which neither of them wanted. There was no viable solution however since neither of the two could care for themselves as one person. Living together was actually a safer as three meals per day, 27/7 nurse, beautiful hotel-like accommodations, and much much more. It was everything a senior could ask for in a Senior Living home. Overall living expenses did increase to $15,000.00/per month, but at least they could be together. Neither one of them saw this new situation as a benefit.
Once together, and while speaking with Mom on the phone one day, I was making conversation and asking her questions about their new place. Conversation was difficult because Mom and Dad didn’t make a lot of positive conversation. Much of it was negative with many complaints about this or that. Unfortunate. So much was still left to live for and most all of it was filled with displeasure. I’m sure their displeasure stemmed from a now-realized hard reality of the inevitable outcome. I asked mom how her physical therapy was going, I always asked and would try to encourage her to keep going all the time. She always said that she was trying, but we never saw positive results. Hard to imagine she could have been trying as diligently as she claimed because she was also filled with a lot of excuses as to why she needed to cancel her appointment or would request a different therapist. She would tell me the therapist would hurt her. When I heard that statement, as it was often, I would remind Mom that physical therapy is sometimes painful to some degree but that it’s got to be done.
Mom went on about how much she liked her physical therapy much better at the ‘other place’. This one (the new place) was ‘different’ she would say. At that point I said ‘Mom, it’s a good thing this physical therapy is different because the last place worked on you for one year and you were not able to improve.’ Mom said to me ‘Oh honey, I was hoping for a miracle’. I didn’t know what I could tell mom to make her understand anything different than what was already in her head. I replied ‘Mom, the miracle is that God gave you the physical ability to do something but it wasn’t going to suddenly happen, you must work for it’! That is the miracle.
My comment was not something she wanted to hear.
Mom did have a faith, however I think her faith was rooted in some romantic idea of how miracles happened, how they transpired in fictional stories and fantastical movies. Mom was waiting for a miracle that was never going to manifest as she envisioned it would. I’m sorry mom, sorry that you became increasingly despondent upon the weight of your impending mortality. It didn’t have to be this way. But maybe that’s just me talking. Maybe it was supposed to be this way, in fact it was supposed to be this way. This is how it was all meant to be.
You gave me a lot in life, and I took, and I took. I’m sure you would say that there is nothing you’d do differently if you had the chance to do it all over again. Me, I would take less and give more to you and everyone around me. I still have time left and want to do just that. Your challenges have taught me much, and I’m still learning. You had that miracle mom. It was there all along, and your statement of frustration was not one of frustration at all. Your statement during our phone conversation was a plea for me to open my eyes for all that is in front of me!
It’s been six months since you left us and I am just now coming to understand what you wanted me to understand and internalize all along. My statement to you was actually for me, and I didn’t even realize it was.
No more waiting huh Mom, the miracle IS here.