I'm posting this update from my birthplace, Chipley, Florida. I've been down here the last two days because my mother is enduring another of her frequent health crises. She took a headfirst fall last Thursday at the nursing home where she now lives and had to be airlifted to Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama. My sister and I have almost persuaded my father to move her to a better facility in Tallahassee, where she can be close to better medical care round the clock.
Mom was felled by a massive stroke six years ago. For most of that time, she has lived at home where my father and a series of hired caregivers have done their best to take care of her. I'm afraid, however, that she has walked out of her home for the last time. One of her greatest wishes was to die in her own home. Sadly, that is an option available to fewer and fewer of us. She may not recognize that she's had to let go of that part of her old life, but she knows something is wrong, perhaps something that can't be put right.
Until the stroke, we all assumed she would outlive my father. There's a difference of six years' age between them and Dad has had several life-threatening episodes over the last thirty years. For the first time a few days ago, Dad admitted that he might well outlive her. Swallowing that bitter pill is his part of the process of letting go.
Those of us who share a special love for Mom are all having to let go in our own ways. My sister has been able to take advantage of her proximity to stay in closer touch with the situation. I've followed it from a distance of almost four hundred miles, with only occasional visits to check on things. It's one of those things that you wish would end, until the end looms up in front of you. Trying to mourn for someone who's still living is a special challenge. I can only hope we handle it as well as we can.