Well, Damn.
The Love Is Listed

Listen Up, SonnyeBoy

Things are better today. I'm beginning to think that perhaps Mom is just going through that good old seven-step process. Right now she's in denial, partly anger -- I think if we just hold tight, stick together, and treat her as kindly as we can, she'll make to acceptance.

I sure hope so, anyway.

All of your comments helped; really they did. Sometimes you can't help but question yourself, even when your deepest feeling says you're doing the right thing. But Diane's comment on my entry yesterday got me thinking.

"What would you want your son to do if your marbles were there but the body was starting to go?" she asked.

It's easier to articulate what I don't want him to do.

I don't want him to have to make the kinds of decisions we're making right now. I don't want him to have to spend his money to take care of us. I don't want him to have to ride this emotional roller coaster because it's anything but a thrill ride. I don't want him to have to put me in a nursing home or assisted living. I want to go there myself, on my own accord, because I know it's the right thing to do.

And so that all of this will be possible, Joe and I have made some decisions of our own.

First, I'm signing us up for long-term care insurance when the company open enrollment period comes around. I'm still young enough that the premium won't be onerous, and having it will ensure that SonnyeBoy won't have to pay for us or figure out how to get us approved for Medicaid.

Second, I'm planning that my 75th birthday present -- at the latest -- will be a move into a retirement community with an increasing care option. If God is love and life is beautiful, we'll start out in independent living. When our needs increase, it's a short scooter ride into assisted living. From there, it's a brief wheelchair push into the skilled nursing home.

Third, I'm going to write this all down and give a copy to SonnyeBoy. I'm going to tell him to make me read it when I get cantankerous and bitchy, and to refuse delivery when I try to guilt him into anything else.

I want him to be able to live his life as fully as he can, without having me dragging at his spirit. I want him to look forward to seeing us; to visit us because he wants to and not out of obligation or because we've whined at him about how lonesome we are. When we die, I want him to remember us with love and laughter, not resentment and relief.

I'm hopeful that, when the time comes, we'll be able to choose a place that's close to the water or in the woods. Quite frankly, if the place where Mom is living is still operating at the same level that it is now, I'd move right in there. I'm awed by the setting; the services are plentiful and the staff is caring.

Plus, the Olney Ale House is really close.