The phone rang at 7 a.m. Its jangling didn’t wake me despite the early hour, but I was still in bed. Reaching across my husband, I pulled the receiver off the cradle and answered. On the other end of the line my mother, with a catch in her voice blurted, “I waited until I thought you’d be up. I have a horrible pain in my back and I don’t know what to do.”
Arnie tickled me and I frowned at him and shook my head. I said, “I’ll be right over to take you to the clinic, Mom.”
My mother was approaching her 99th birthday and had never before called to complain of pain. I rolled out of bed and quickly dressed. It was Valentine’s Day 2005, less than one month before Mom would pass away.
For her first 28 years of life my Mom lived half a mile down the road from the farm where I grew up. When she married Daddy, she made her one and only lifetime move. After Daddy died, the many years took their toll, but my siblings and I were able to provide the care she needed. My two bachelor brothers lived with her and helped by making meals and keeping her company. I took care of her healthcare, shopping and personal needs. Together, we were able to keep her living at home until that last hospitalization. Continue reading