Bad news, good news

I am out of town at a conference and thankfully about to head home. I got a call from the Alz center just minutes ago. Mom’s roommate passed away Sunday night. It is hitting me harder than I would have expected – possibly from the fact I am very tired. But also I feel so much for her daughter, who has been by her mom’s side virtually every day but a few since November, when she first showed signs that she might be nearing the end of her life. She held on for a long time, and so did her daughter. And she was such a dear, with probing eyes and a clear awareness, even without much language, of what was said to her.

And then there is Mom. She is doing really well, the social worker told me. And I have felt that way, too. I stopped in to see her before I left town on Friday. Sometimes a visit feels like a “must-do” task. That day, while I was caught up in the anxiety of getting ready to leave town, visiting Mom cheered me up. Her brightness improved my day immensely. I didn’t stay long at all. She was with Mr. R on a couch, and they held hands the whole time I was there. Mom talked and talked, and I told her a few things. And I hugged her and told her I’d see her in a few days.

Mom will get a new roommate, and I suspect she won’t even notice. But the social worker has a backup planned in case it doesn’t go well. And I got another piece of good news. A housekeeper at the center told me weeks ago that she had noticed that she hadn’t seen the box in Mom’s room that contained the ashes of her beloved cat, Petunia. I should have never left them there, but they had been part of her belongings for so long I hadn’t thought about it. The housekeeper found the box of ashes in one of the roommate’s drawers. Mystery solved. I will bring them home tomorrow.

I trust Mom’s roommate is at peace now, and for that I am happy. I know her daughter will miss her so much, and will now face a major life adjustment. I’m hopeful I can provide her some comfort along the way.

5 comments so far

  1. mirroredImages on

    Sorry to hear about your mom’s roommate passing away. How odd that will be for her daughter — I imagine some mixed emotions there. Perhaps part of your reaction to the news has to do with your own feelings about what life will be like when your mom passes…? You’re a good daughter and a good comfort to her, you know.

  2. Gloria Mueller on

    I was at the care center on Monday morning and looked around for your mom’s roommate’s daughter. Now I know why I didn’t see her. I was busy with the church group and didn’t talk to any of the staff. I’m so sorry, yet happy in a sad way. I saw her mom a week ago and she looked so wide eyed and comfortable. You are hurting too, and my prayer is that your mom will be comfortable and contented and that you will have the strength you need to meet her needs and those of your family. It is raining today so I’m not sure if I’ll be at support group tonight. You are the daughter we would all like to have. Gloria

  3. Sherri on

    So sad. She is at peace, though. Thankfully, your mom won’t notice. I’m glad to hear she’s doing well, though.

  4. momsbrain on

    Mirroredimages: I don’t think a whole lot about Mom’s death anymore, though I used to be obsessed about it. I think in this case, it’s mostly about the daughter. She has worked so hard and was very open about her difficulty with the concept of her own mom’s death. So I am just sick at heart for her.

    Gloria: I know what you mean about being happy in a sad way. I frankly think it’s helpful to hear your perspective, and hear it often. There is pain in the loss, to be sure. But the endurance required to get to the end, for the patient and the family, is so draining, in every possible way.

    Thank you both for your kind words about me.

    Sherri: Hi! Yes, she definitely has earned the peace. And it’s true, my mom will simply have no idea what has happened – a rare good thing about Alzheimer’s. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Pat White on

    Emily, Thank you for your recent blog. I am glad to hear your mom is doing well at this time.

    I am sad about Peggy losing her mom but relieved for her in another way. Jack and I are in Palm Springs, CA on vacation, returning to Columbus on the 29th.

    Would you send me Peggy’s phone or, if you see her, tell her I will call when we get back to Columbus. Thank you, Pat

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