Memorial at the Beach – Day Two
On our way to the coast, mom and I stopped in at daughter #2’s work to swap cars with her. My daughter’s little SUV is much more comfortable for mom to get in and out of than my car. We were able to tour my daughter’s new building (assisted living). When mom paused and asked, “Are all of these amenities included in the rent?” I had a very small spark of hope. Mom was clearly impressed with the community, what it has to offer and that her granddaughter in in charge of healthcare for its residents. Baby steps.
The drive to the coast was just fine in and of itself. Mom was very repetitive. She told me one story (about her mother wondering what to do with the family car after her father died) twice in 5 minutes. The down side was the level of forgetfulness/repetitiveness. The upside is that she was cheerful, and enjoyed seeing the sites along the way.
When we got to coast mom was distressed, repeatedly, that other folks weren’t on the property and asked me multiple times when they’d be back. I had to say I didn’t know. She went so far as to ask if the others knew we were arriving today. I assured her they did, and they were on a day trip.
I’ve just learned the power of, “I don’t know.” Many times when I try to answer questions, or reassure mom, it leads to angsty push-back from her if she doesn’t like or understand my answers. I observed when I say, “I don’t know.” She’s able to suspend her agitation for a while, or at least focus it away from me. This is a powerful tool.
Mom is staying in our friend’s trailer (next to ours). There were uncountable emails regarding the trailer’s amenities: Did it have water, power, heat, a bathroom, etc. Mom was informed by the owners, via email, not to use the toilet as there was no black water hook-up. Upon arrival she was repeatedly distressed to find that there was no water in the trailer. I kept saying we’d find out about it when folks returned from their day trip. We learned that there was water in the trailer’s fresh water tank, but it wasn’t advisable to drink it. A pitcher of fresh water was placed on the counter, the water pump was turned on, so mom could wash her face, and we said goodnight after a pretty good day. All was well with the world. Three minutes later we heard a knocking on the ‘street’ side of our trailer. “Hello?” asked my husband. It was mom asking for toilet paper. I handed her a roll, after encouraging her to come around to the door. I reminded her to use the outhouses, and what it took to empty the black water tank of the trailer she was staying in. We’ll leave our friends with an extra money for the time and expense it’s going to take them to deal with this.
Seven of us enjoyed a campfire last night with songs and stories. Mom soaked up every note and verse. It was really wonderful to see her enjoy herself so much.