“I cared for my aging parents right up until the very end. And I can honestly say – I have no regrets.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say that?
I wanted to be able to say that.
My father was hospitalized just after Christmas 2008; he passed away in April 2009. Mother was left to fend for herself all during his hospital time and after his passing. I called her on the phone every day (we were separated by over 1700 miles) to check on her, but I could not be there to drive her to the store, the doctor, the hair salon, etc.
When Dad passed it was apparent to her she would have to move near us. But after you have lived somewhere for 46 years it’s just not easy to uproot. Especially when you are in your mid 80s.
We began to make plans, started the process of selling the house, and looking for a place for Mom to move across the country. I had hired a reputable in-home-care organization to take care of Mom’s basic needs even before Dad died. And we continued that arrangement until her move in early 2010.
We decided she would be happier living independently, especially since our house is small, and . . . she liked to keep her house heated to 80 degrees F. or more. Finally, the day came. I arranged for her things to be packed, the moving van came, and we headed to the airport.
Mother lived near us from February 2010 until her death in August 2012. I brought her groceries every week (she would leave a cute voice message on our phone, providing her “list”), made sure she got to the various doctor appointments she had, and assisted her in whatever way I could. Although she paid her own bills at first she eventually handed that to me as well.
Finally, after a back injury, subsequent surgery, and an extended stay in rehab, I moved her to an assisted living facility with which I was very familiar. She was there a total of 25 days; hospice was called in near the end, and she passed away quietly one night in her room, cared for by two special ladies who worked in the assisted living facility.
I don’t have many regrets. But . . . I do have some.
I’m not so sure it’s even possible to have no regrets . . . and be human at the same time.
Let’s talk about some of them. Shall we?