The Necessity of Distance, Even (Especially) from My Mom
The world, our country, Commonwealth, communities, and personal lives are in the process of adjusting to a seismic shift in the way we do everything.
Two weekends ago, I drove out to Twin Rivers Nursing and Rehab where my mother is a resident.
As is typical for a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I got her into my car and we went for a drive and got something to eat. A cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake is her standard order. Who would argue, right?
Mom has dementia and it comes and goes. But when we're driving through Owensboro, the city she adores, she's sharp as a tack and even will make pointed, lucid, and sometimes derisively funny comments about certain things.
She likes to see the old homes where she lived here in town and remembers them all extraordinarily well.
There's her childhood home on Griffith Place where she used to climb out her bedroom window onto the balcony then make her way into a nearby tree where she'd read the afternoon away, leaving my grandparents to wonder where in the world she was.
There's the home on 22nd Street where she was living as a young adult during her engagement and then when she got married. It still looks exactly as it did in a family photo I've seen a million times--one of her and my dad in 1957, coming out the front door after their wedding reception with guests throwing rice on them.
There's the beautiful old two-story on 24th Street that's nearly a century old. It's where her grandmother and then MY grandmother lived.
And then there's the house on Sunrise Drive where Mom and Dad moved in 1964, the house I grew up in.
We hit them all.
But that now has to pause for an indeterminate length of time.
As many businesses and places where people may congregate now have to close in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes got the lockdown order early on.
It was just two days after our last drive that we learned that no non-essential visitors would be allowed to visit. For business purposes, they may come into the lobby but are to have no contact with any resident.
The elderly are at a high risk for catching the virus, so drastic, yet necessary steps had to be taken.
My sister and I are totally fine with it. Mom is there to live a safe existence in the first place. So this step makes perfect sense.
I'll miss the drives. Mom's stories about growing up are always fun and it's hard to hear them through a glass door, but that's the new reality in which we live.
And she totally gets it. She's a retired nurse and when all of this is explained to her in terms of it being a health crisis, she nods her head and is right there with us.
We'll get through this. We're a tough lot.
Hey, we'll ALL get through this...if for no other reason than we have to.