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Finding Peace of Mind

My three sisters and I grew up believing our mom could do anything. She could refinish a table, drive a stick shift and play a Beethoven piano sonata. Age didn’t slow her much. In her 70s, she took up badminton. At 84, she went swimming with dolphins.

So it took us all a while to notice that Mom needed more help at home, and it took her a while to accept this. Only after she slipped off her icy porch did she reluctantly allow us to get a snow removal service. We hired a weekly housekeeper; Mom cut her back to twice a month. We arranged for grocery delivery, but Mom balked at the premium prices. Instead she’d call me and say, “Could you please pick me some milk next time you visit? And maybe some cereal?”

She lived a long drive away. When we visited, I’d be frantically preparing a few days’ worth of meals, while my husband would be fixing the old plumbing or shoring up the listing carport. We invited her to move in with us, but she didn’t want to be a burden. Keeping Mom in her house became a part-time job and a fulltime worry.

Always up for an outing, she agreed one day last fall to have lunch with my younger sister and me at a retirement residence in Aurora, Ontario. Admiring the elegant dining room at Park Place Manor, Mom said wonderingly, “I didn’t know places like this existed.” The clincher: Her baby grand could move right into the suite with her.

Since the move in December, Mom is now 91 and has gained a few much-needed pounds, looks years younger and is as independent as ever. Having her so close has given us a peace of mind we hadn’t known in years. Our daughters pop over to see Grandma any time of day or evening— except at 5 o’clock. That’s when Mom joins her new friends to work on that day’s crossword—an activity that for years she did alone. Now she shares it.

 







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