When, at 92, a person ought to be dozing off in their easy chair while watching Turner movie classics, the past couple of months my mother found herself in a short-term facility recovering from a fall.
As she was returning to church after choir practice one evening with a friend to retrieve their music so they’d have it for a Masonic temple concert the following Saturday, Mom tripped in the dark on a doorstop protruding from the concrete, suffering a humerus fracture near the shoulder and two pelvic fractures.
Mom has maintained her own home and sprawling lawn in the Midwest single-handedly since her second husband died in 1995. She’s also championed her own fiscal management, housework, laundry, cooking, entertaining and busy social life over all these years.
Yet now she was temporarily without the use of an arm and having to make the best of rigorous sessions of physical and occupational therapy.
While in rehab, the therapists, nursing staff, management and activities personnel loved her — she talked to everyone who cared for her with graciousness and respect as she rode through this incredibly unfortunate challenge in the twilight of her life. My siblings and our families have witnessed this firsthand, having visited numerous times, with another trip planned soon.
It’s perhaps ironic the accident happened at church. Mom has simultaneously belonged to multiple choirs all her life. She has a lovely voice and singing is one of her greatest joys. She sings at home, in the car, in the grocery store — really just about anywhere.
We threw a 90th birthday party for Mom two years ago at the country club where she had played golf three to four times a week into her 80s. More than 65 guests attended; some family members came from as far as California to be there. Actually, after we suggested and she warmed up to the idea, Mom helped orchestrate the event, deciding on the menu, the band and the table linens. It was a grand affair, and so well deserved for, due to life circumstances, Mom was never able to enjoy a 50th wedding anniversary celebration as so many of her friends have.
If one could find a silver lining in what even Mom has admitted was a “tragic” accident, it would be that the family has spent more quality time with Mom, sharing her retelling of all her stories (Mom’s memory is a steel vault) of her youth, her travels, and good times with her kids and grandkids. Rather than “go places and do things” we just visited. I set her hair. We cheered her on in PT, and joined her and her fellow residents in the dining room to watch the Saturday matinee of “The Glenn Miller” story. We also made needed repairs and improvements on the house in preparation for what we all hoped would be Mom’s eventual return.
Miraculously, Mom is recovering, and her strength and mobility are improving.
She was able to return home about a week ago and is managing to navigate her familiar turf with the aid of a quad cane and some environmental adjustments.
As my husband and I sat with her last month in the orthopedic surgeon’s office during a follow-up appointment, we told her it was her tremendous positive attitude that has made all the difference in her recovery. She thanked us and softly answered, “It was because of your encouragement … I do it for you kids.”
Once a mother, always a mother.
May you be blessed with the presence and memories of your loved ones. Happy Easter!
Community Editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.