It is very hard to “leave your mother in that place” as a friend of mine said to me last summer. And so it was. But from the moment that I realized that The Commander was not going to be able to live alone in her own very beloved home any more, I knew where I wanted her to move. Not that there hasn’t been any second guessing then or now. Lots of it. I wondered what people would think… Like, “Why doesn’t she move her mother to The Planet Ann Arbor?”
I don’t know if the last 10 months or so would have been easier with The Comm down here or not. In some ways yes, in some ways not. I do know one thing. She had an opinion! No way did she want to move down here! I actually think she had ideas about recovering enough to move back into her house (and drive…). I am glad that she was so feisty but, alas, I knew better.
Where to move (except home) was really her decision because she was of sound mind. I thought that Freighter View would be the best. Her wonderful friend Ginny was a resident. I mean they have been friends since The Comm arrived up in Siberia after World War II ended, which was well before I was born. Ginny’s youngest daughter was one of *my* best friends my entire childhood. And Radical Betty lived at Freighter View for eight months before she died. So The Comm was familiar with the place and she was also a familiar entity there. When I went over to put in an application for an apartment, the staff were all like, “Oh, Fran! Yes, we know her!”
And she did move into Freighter View. She got the best room in the house, in my opinion. I had high hopes. I knew it would be hard for someone with The Comm’s intellectual capacity and independence to adjust. But she was healthy and quite mobile at that time and I kind of expected her to live there a few years. Her considerable contingent of friends would visit her. We would come up and visit her. She could get up to her house to continue her long-term deacquisitioning project. She was *not* a hoarder and she did *not* want me to have to clean *anything* up.
Right off the bat, I knew that “we” had made a good decision. The uber-nurse who checked us in remembered my mom from when she took a class from The Comm in high school. And so did other people that worked there. They loved her! Mom would walk around outside of the building every day and religiously do all of the rehab exercises that Howard and all of the other [wonderful] physical and occupational therapists taught her. She loved them and they loved her and I will never forget them.
But then… What I didn’t expect was that first call that Freighter View had called the ambulance for The Comm. I mean, I knew she had been having some problems but still…
Alas, she sort of became a frequent flyer. There is a wonderful hospital up there in Siberia, an easy walk from Freighter View for someone like me. She hated taking the
bus ambulance over there but a few times she was unconscious until they got her over there. So, she would be at the hospital and then she would recover and then… (The Comm did not have a terminal illness, this was a very complicated situation.)
The last time she was transported to the ER and admitted to the hospital, she contracted a dangerous bacterial infection. She was there for a very loooonnngggg time and was in pain and miserable and couldn’t eat. But she was still all there mentally, able to understand her situation. She chose to enter hospice and, to make a long story short, we moved her back to her room at Freighter View.
Can I just say that between the staff at FV and the hospice folks she received excellent care during her last month or so. She even rallied for a bit and began eating and drinking a bit of coffee again. But then…