As you may know, my mom sold the Ponderosa a few years ago and moved to a place called Edenwald in Towson.
Edenwald? What is it?
It's a big building full of retired people, but that's not important now.
Actually, though, it is. They have three levels of domicile there: the independent living, where Mom has been since June of '08, the assisted living, and the nursing home care. Mom has thrived since moving there, because, alone in the house, she mainly sat and watched Regis all day and did not do much more. Surrounded by people of her own age bracket - let's describe them as the sort of people who have to dress for dinner and they LIKE doing that! - she has had a lot of zest and fun, and even a tad of vim and vigor now and then.
But osteoporosis has been looming over her like the Spirit of St Louis at that museum in DC. She was 2 when Lindbergh became the first person to fly to France and wonder where his luggage wound up. Osteoporosis means her bones are brittle, and now she has three fractured vertebrae. There is not much the doctors can do for someone aged 85 with broken bones like that, so she is Rush-ing around taking Oxycodone and gobbling Tylenol to go with it. And she has had to move to the assisted living area for a while, so that she can have her meals and meds and someone can be around to help her if she drops her remote, or whatever.
It makes one think about the stages of life. We're born and we run in the playground and then one day we run to catch a bus to see "Oliver Twist," and later, our shins hurt like the Dickens. And then, there's no more running, and the doctor says well, let's try this, and pretty soon, just getting down to the auditorium to hear a mandolin orchestra, with no strings attached, is a big deal.
Oh, so you were letting the Dickens joke slide, but you draw the line at a mandolin without any strings, eh? Good to know how far I can push it.
Mom has been widowed for almost 14 years now, and she talks of being with Dad again sometimes. I know I couldn't make 14 days without Peggy, so it's not easy. I happen to believe in predestination, and we all know there is a due date stamped in the Big Book Of Life. What we have to hope for is a maximum of comfort and a minimum of pain, and also a favorable face-to-face meeting with The Pilot when we have crossed the bar.
But don't get ahead of the story here. There are plenty of years left on Mom's calendar. For all I know, she'll be around to vote for Sasha Obama for president. Sasha, at nine years of age, speaks Chinese with Hu Jintao at a White House dinner. When I was nine, I ordered a Chinese dinner at a place called Donald's Peking Palace on Yakona Rd, and I got one of those bamboo roll-up calendars.
Circle of life.