Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reading the obituaries- Mom's not there! Me either.

This is my mom, LaVone, age 95, on her birthday, Jan. 1, 2011. The object in the foreground is an iPad, and she is speaking (and hearing) via Skype, to  her sister in Fremont, Nebraska, whose voice she hasn't heard for years because she is nearly deaf. Despite hearing aids, regular phones haven't worked for either, But here they are having a conversation!
They're both joyful/tearful.  Who says thrills end with youth?
Obits. I've been reading them forever, it seems. Always looking at the ages of demise and comparing them with my own. Now that I've reached my mid-60s, I'm seeing a lot of untimely deaths. Every day people die who are my age or younger. I don't feel old or ready to die, yet death is not uncommon at my age.  I am 66. Damn. That sounds so frickin' old! But either I am in great shape or in serious denial. I don't feel the cold fetid breath of the grim reaper. Not yet.
Fast forward to my mother, LaVone, age 95. She was born Jan. 1, 1916.
( If you think she's 94 rather than 95, let me know. There's been some heated discussion.) Hardly any obituaries feature dear departed who are her age or older. They're all dead already.
In comparison to my mom, I am dewy and fresh!

I visited her today in her nearby "independent living facility." Yeah, right. Independent. If you can plan, shop for, and clean up after, your own meals. If you can bathe unattended. If you can handle all the bullshit of insurance and taxes and hearing-aid fittings and foraging in grocery stores. If you can go anyplace on your own. None of which she can do, and shouldn't have to. And she no longer cares about any of it. What a lightening of the load!

I wish I would have had my camera today. She was with her "hair designer", previously known as a "beauty operator." She was having her nails done, which included a luxury hand and arm massage, which I highly envied. After that was scheduled an even more massage-intensive pedicure, and then a hair trim. These ministrations were going to occupy most of her afternoon. Then she would retire to her apartment to rest a bit before taking the elevator to the dining room to enjoy a chef-prepared repast. Then, perhaps to play dominoes or bunco or bingo or one of the activities her Level 1 facility has arranged for her. Or maybe she'll just retreat to her apartment and sleep in her "dump chair", which she vastly prefers to her fancy hospital-type bed.

My afternoon, on the other hand, included ensuring that her VA benefit continues, that my clients are tended to, that PK and I are fed, and that the cat gets his broasted chicken leg. I would have liked some pampering. My day will come. My mom's day is here at last. Bless her.