03:47:54 am on
Friday 13 Dec 2019

Going Home
AJ Robinson

“Going home” has a wonderful ring to it, doesn’t it, “Going Home”? Just thinking of those two words is enough to make anyone smile, even if the house you live in is less than stellar. There’s something special, even unique, as regards the place we all call home and “Going Home.”

► A long time from home.

I remember being in the hospital for my appendix operation. It was the longest I’d ever been away from home and I was a very happy when the physician said I could go home. What added to my joy was the knowledge that my mother, recovering from a car accident in another hospital, would be home soon, too.

That’s the topic of this column: my mom coming home. She’s been in rehab following a fall at her apartment in Naples, which resulted in a broken foot. She hated every minute of rehab. As she put it, the place is so boring, nothing to do but sit around all day.

Of course, with her foot in the huge plastic boot, it wasn’t as if she could zip off to go dancing or something. It depressed her, well, let’s say, she was dysphoric and not merely because she had limited mobility. This was to be expected.

My mom is sharp and smart. She’s seen or heard of other people, at her facility, suffering falls. She knows that, at her age, what tends to “do in” many elderly people is a simple fall. The person breaks a bone, which, at their age, does not heal right, they’re laid up in bed for weeks or longer, they never get their full range of motion back and something goes wrong. Next thing you know, they’re gone.

My mom was worried that was her fate. Here’s the thing, at her age, worrying over something is a virtual guarantee that it’s going to happen. My brothers and I have been worried for her, too.

► Mom is going home, today.

The physician checked her foot. He found it healing nicely and applied a new smaller and lighter boot. Today, she goes home. My brother Greg is picking her up and he’ll take her back to her place.

Now, just because she’s home does not mean she’s out of the woods. Oh no, we understand that. A nurse will visit her every day for the next few weeks, the dining hall will send over her dinner and the family will check on her regularly. In fact, David and Shirley are planning to spend Memorial Day weekend with her, which is a big relief to us all.

Yet, among the joy, there is a hint of sadness. Mom is slowly diminishing. Now, on the one hand, I am overjoyed that she got to 93 before we had to face this issue, but there is the simple fact that yes, we now have to deal with it, and we know that the ultimate outcome will not be good.

What’s that saying about getting old? It’s rough getting old, but it sure beats the alternative. Yes, we’re all sad to see mom losing her independence, unable to perform simple tasks and having to hang up her car keys.

Well, actually, we’re glad, in a way, that she won’t drive anymore. The woman is a maniac on the streets. Yet, we know that now we face the task of helping her take care of her home and life; to that end we have all pledged to visit as often as possible to do what we can for her.

How long does she have? Who can say? I’ve learned not to count my mother out when life seems to be going south.

Mom has more grit and determination than do any ten men or, at least, ten men I’ve known. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her make it to 100, on pure force of will. Yet, I also see her growing tired, and not merely tired, but “tired.”

► What more can a son hope?

I hope she does get to 100, but I’m also reasonable enough to accept whatever the future holds. For now, I’ll just be happy she’s coming home. What more can a son hope?

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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