A First for Everything

She’s led a sheltered life, my mother. Eighty-two years in a small New England community where stoplights are as rare as Starbucks. She recently left this comfort zone to be closer to me, her only daughter.

She’s in a care home in Arizona five minutes from me now, in an environment that could not be more dissimilar from the small island farmhouse where she’s lived for the past fifty years.

And in the two short weeks since she’s moved, everything is a “first”:

  • Cacti and tumbleweeds
  • The blinking of a crosswalk sign
  • The delight in a Target Run
  • A homeless man on the corner
  • Assaulting a care home staffer at 2 a.m
  • A trip to the ER
  • Riding on an elevator
  • Talking to a doctor
  • Sleeping overnight in the hospital
  • Getting an MRI

The rapid progression of Alzheimer’s has been a dark sail through murky, rough waters. More continues to be revealed. A cancer diagnosis. Memory care replacing assisted living. Hospice.

I’m staying strong for my mom, crying silently in the sterile hallway of the hospital that employs more people than live on her island. And remembering the advice of a dear friend who’s been there:

“Grasp the good days and tuck them away to think about on the bad days.”