Mom is moving next week. For the past six years, she’s lived the good life at a top-of-the-line Memory Care facility where she has watched friends come and go, die and “move around the corner” into more acute care as their dementia worsens. She’s maintained a sort of equilibrium since arriving, definitely on the slow train to full on incapacity, and that’s why she has to move. She’s out of money. She spent every last dime over the past six years on care so good, so top of the line, she has thrived. For someone with Alzheimer’s she’s pretty sharp, but not sharp enough. So, she and her dog Charlie are moving to a Medicaid facility in Oregon, nearer my brother. Thank god she can take the dog. Her life centers around that dog.
This afternoon I sprung her for an hour to show her my new RV—I showed her around, sat her down, and fired up the generator right there in the Memory Care parking lot so I could make her a cup of mint tea with sugar and milk. We sat and chatted. She admired the seats. I tried to keep the conversation on things she remembered, mainly the past, the grandkids, my brother and me. Mom talked often about getting an RV and traveling around the US in the years before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but she never quite got going.
While I was growing up, my parents were always going. We moved around a lot when I was a teenager. I went to four high schools. So, when I moved to Bellingham to attend college, I planted myself. I completed my four years and immediately signed up for graduate school. Then, I met a woman who wanted to have children, so we did. I stayed through divorce, and bought myself a house, and remarried and divorced again. Meanwhile, kids graduated and went to college. Got married. Moved away. I went to college. Again. Graduated. Got an office. And then, spent two years working alone in my house.
That working alone for two years did some stuff to us all, didn’t it? I noticed my house in ways I hadn’t before. Noticed its slow decay, realized all it would cost me, money/time/effort to keep it limping along into my dotage. Decided I wasn’t up for that much commitment. To a house. Plus, I looked on Zillow. It was a good time to sell.
The money certainly was nice, but I also realized that my house had served its purpose—it had held me for 23 years, through many starts and stops and ups and downs. Many lives lived in those four walls, and that’s just me. I did a lot of growing up while I lived in that house—the bulk of my adulthood, 23 of my 58 years. I loved a lot of things about my house. And many things about it truly annoyed me. It was not the place in which I wished to grow old. That place is somewhere else. I don’t know where yet. I’m on an adventure.
I’m going. Going to figure it out.