Our family outings have changed throughout the years. As we’ve all gotten older, we’ve spent more time visiting loved ones who may not be in the best health. Today, we went to see my aunt in a nursing home in Scarsdale; she is my mother’s only loving sibling.
The first thing that struck me was that her memory was spotty. While she knew who we were, my aunt admitted that she thought my mom had died. Perhaps it was her mind’s way of coping with my mother’s current battle with Cancer. My aunt also thought my father’s bloated stomach was due to weight gain. She forgot about all of his medical issues the last two years. And, she looked at my cane and wondered why I had it. She didn’t remember my spine procedures or autoimmune disease. She even thought I had a children; a painful fallacy.
What she did remember was the love and bond between us. She joked and laughed with us but in between the smiles she repeatedly tried to get us to take her home.
I understood her frustration being trapped away from everything and everyone who is familiar to you for weeks on end. I’ve been there and felt the same sense of disorientation, loneliness and frustration. Yet, I knew my mom, my dad and I had to do what was best for her and that was to leave her there. It was hard to say goodbye but we promised her we’d be back to shower her with love so the distance between us isn’t so great.