Mom got sick last night and had an unfortunate accident in her bed. Sandy, the manager, went down at 3:30 a.m. and changed the bed and her clothes. When I went over this morning, I suggested that she might start wearing Depends underwear to bed at night, just to avoid these types of accidents in the future.
Of course, she resisted. First, it was embarrassing to have an accident. But I am practical. If she has accidents (this is the second) she will end up having to move. I don't want her to have to move, so I am suggesting something that will keep her safe and more comfortable.
She said, "That would be a mess."
No, mom, not as much of a mess as having the manager come at 3:30 a.m. to change the bed. That is not in the job description, although they are exceedingly gracious and kind to mom.
In that moment, I realized for the thousandth time how bone tired I am of hearing no. Of going through her sicknesses and her neediness but not having the cooperation. But friend Ted once told me, "That is what you will miss the most, being needed." I know that. I also know I'll miss her knowing pats on my knee, her concern for me, even when I get impatient at her concern, her loving kindnesses, her grit and tenacity, my mom.
But just once, I said, I'd like to hear, "That sounds like a good idea."
Through the last decade I’ve been confronted time and again with the nos, the resistance, the not wanting to let go of her independence, the not wanting caregivers, the not wanting the cane, not wanting what will make it easier for me, but always wanting what is easier for her.
I get it. That is what has resulted in her being 101.
But it's certainly no fun. It's hard work being this old, and as she has said many times, growing old is not for sissys.