Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy 99th, Mom

Today my mother is 99. She is doing all right for a 99 year old. Her main complaint yesterday was that the day was so long. No wonder. She's bored.

She is nearly blind and rather hard-of-hearing. She can no longer read and has complained for some time now about her difficulty in understanding the library's Talking Books. She's given up on television, except for Charles Stanley and the late D. James Kennedy, two evangelists. A hearing aid? Not on your life. This is a woman who still spends an hour a day at her dressing table, rolling up her long white hair and securing it with a bow coordinated with her outfit. Appearances count!

When she moved here from Meadville, PA, nearly nine years ago, my husband and I were afraid that, being somewhat of a loner, she would grow to rely too much on us for companionship. This is exactly what happened. One of the few activities she enjoyed while still in her own home was leading a weekly Bible study. With her approval, I made a few phone calls and found out about a small group that met at a nearby Lutheran church. It comprised eight elderly women and one man. The man even offered to stop by and pick her up. It was all set. She seemed pleased.

A few days before the first meeting, I looked at the calendar. "Oh, no," I said. "You have a doctor's appointment on the day of your Bible study."

"I'm not going," she said.

"What? Why not? I can cancel your doctor's appointment."

"I've changed my mind."

"But why?"

"I just have, that's all."

She soon came up with a couple of reasons:

1. "Even though those women are Christians, I know women and how catty they can be. They'll say, 'She's blind, so why is she coming to BIble Study if she can't take her turn reading?'"

2. "When the weather turns bad, I'll have to lean on that man's arm when I get out of the car. If it's icy, we'll both go down."

Nothing I could say would change her mind.


Treasia said...

It sounds as if you are going through the same thing now as my mother is. My grandmother is "spoiled rotten to the core". Not saying your mother is but meaning that grandmother is doing the same thing here. Someone has always lived with her and that someone is now getting remarried and her new hubby has moved in. Grandmother has always depended on her for entertainment and is having a hard time dealing with this now.

Best wishes on this.

forsythia said...

My mother is also "spoiled rotten." If I leave the house for any length of time, I hear, "Where WERE you all this time?" when I get home. If I spend what she considers too much time helping my daughters with our grandsons, she says I am spoiling them. Good luck with your grandmother. I wish I could hold out the hope that things will get better, but I don't think that's likely. It's not easy getting to be ancient, and it's not easy on the families of the "ancient ones" either.

Nancy said...

It sounds like you and your husband are the only ones she is comfortable with letting you see her as she is now. I think we take our pride with us to the end.

Juanuchis said...

Dad is 90, Mom is 85. They're both in darn good shape for their ages. Mom, though, can't hear well, and the only time she wears her hearing aid is at church. Otherwise I realize I'll have to repeat myself two or three times.

But I'm thankful to have them still, even if at times the parent/child role is reversed.