Getting Old


My mom is 92 and has had her good times and her bad times since a stroke about five years ago.  She’s been in an independent living place in Lenox, Massachusetts but her kids, all seven of us, have been aware for quite a while that she need more care just to be safe.  Unfortunately, mom thought she was just fine and had no intention of moving.

So today, when she moved to Sugar Hill in Dalton (assisted living) without complaint, we all heaved a huge sigh of relief.  And we’re keeping our fingers crossed that this place lives up to its billing…seems warm and welcoming, respectful of seniors and has great food.   It’s been hard watching her slip down hill but the ones bearing the brunt of it all have been my Massachusetts sisters, Karen and Paula, who have had to drop everything and run every time there were problems.  So, while I’ve been worried and had mom on my mind a lot, I’ve gotten off real easy on this whole “aging parent” problem.  I sit, nice and comfortable in sunny Florida and let them take care of everything….come cruising in to visit every few months (although this time I haven’t been there since last fall)  and hope for the best.  And I count my blessings that I have so many sisters.  Karen and Paula are there all the time and Kim, who lives at the other end of the state, comes whenever she’s needed.  It’s really hard not to feel guilty for being so removed from it all.  And it amazes me that my sisters aren’t mad at me for not helping more.  And just like I know I never would have been the caretaker that Jerry was when I was sick, I’m not the daughter my sisters are.

Not an easy time for mom…or for us.  Say a prayer that she adjusts well to her new home.  I just finished reading Roz Chast’s (New Yorker cantwetalkmagazine) new book Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?  Perfect book for anyone with aging parents.  I suppose it’s perfect for all of us who will BE aging parents in the not too distant future.  (all of us?)  Frankly I’d love another option besides dying young (or at least not REALLY old) and hanging in there long after you stop having fun. Lucky dad…he’s 92 and still having fun (but not happy with the Red Sox this year)


Enough serious, sad stuff.  The Littles are coming next week.  Can’t wait.  Our quiet, slow-moving life will pick up speed and noise for a few weeks.   Beach, pool, camp for the girls at Mote Marine, maybe some kayaking…They are SO easy to entertain.  And maybe the girls will go to yoga with me.  Calli says she’s coming…She’s been practicing “airplane”.  And they want to go on turtle patrol although it’s going to be rough getting them out of bed at 6:00 (which is 5:00 Texas time)  I have my doubts that they’ll actually come.  We’ll see.




10 thoughts on “Getting Old

  1. I will remember your mom in my prayers and your family too. May the adjustment to her new home be smooth and may she be surrounded by warm and caring people. Enjoy the Littles….can’t wait to see the pictures you post. Have lots of fun!

  2. Mary, like YOU haven’t had enough on your plate. I’ sure your sisters don’t feel you have walked away, so give them extra hugs when you see them, or just an email. my mom used to say that if we all put our problems in the middle of the rug, we’d pick our own which to walk away. ENJOY your “littles”….say hello to Erin for me.

  3. Good wishes for you and prayers for your Mom. No matter what the situation, I think every single daughter has times when she wonders if she should or could have done more for her mother. You are loved as you are loving. Love, Barb G.

  4. Deirdre Christman

    I wouldn’t beat myself up about not spending much time with your mom and “leaving it all” to your sisters. I doubt they would have traded places with you this year! Enjoy the littles!

    • Hi Mary, Hope Mom does well in her new home. I wonder how happy I would be if I had to move and adjust to new surroundings when it was not my choice… Anyway, this is a hard time of life for the daughters, but such rewards to know you did what needed to be done. You had a good excuse for not being there to help, so how could your sisters be mad? Let’s hope things are peaceful and quiet for all so everyone can have a rest, at least for a little while. Have fun with the kids, that is the best!

  5. Moving your mom to assisted living is a tough one. I remember bracing myself for that summer, when school would get out, and I would have to force my mom to make the move. My summer goal. I had started the research without her knowing, and imagined the battle ahead. She was 89 and feisty. On the last day of school she suddenly became seriously ill and passed away the next day. Her very last words to me were, “I love you!’ with a sweet and funny gusto. I thought, “Good timing, sweetheart.” I am so grateful for that one tiny moment that I savor still.

  6. Having an age parent challenges our our concept of ourselves and our capacity for giving. Not an easy time.
    Just do your best,

  7. Wendie Highsmith

    Mary-I think you have to remember that if you were in MA, you would be doing what your sisters are doing. My sister was the “girl on the ground” in Tampa when my mom was alive and failing. I was the “girl on the phone.” Yes, I felt guilty living so far away(AZ), but my sister seemed not to resent it. She was grateful for my handling what I could by phone or when I went to visit. I think you are shortchanging yourself…you would do everything in the world for Jerry or your mom if you were in MA. Moral support is huge. We didn’t get much from our brother. I am holding your mom in my heart as she settles in to her new place. Wendie


  8. Thank God for all those angels in our families. Wishing all of you a peaceful transition especially your sisters. Hope you have a great week!

  9. My mom is 88 years old and still very independent physically. However, she depends a lot on my sister to keep her socially in the loop. I have always felt a twinge of envy, or perhaps guilt, that I am not so central to her life, but most grateful that my sister is such an attentive daughter. It does bring me a sense of peace.

    It was quite different with my father-in-law who developed alzheimers later in his life which consumed a great deal of our attention for years until we finally got him into the Soldiers Home in Holyoke just a mile from where we lived. His final years were filled with the blessing of being close to his grandchildren and our ability to bring him home for dinners and to special events and other family milestones.

    As our parents age, and so do we, our lives take on a complexity that adjusts the balance of our concerns. We all do the best we can. Like having children, there is no handbook on how to be daughters to our aging parents. Take solice in the reality that we are not alone in this journey and your mom is being well cared for by your love, concern and supportive siblings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s