Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
It was kind of a scary week y’all. I woke up early Thursday morning from sleeping in my recliner (yep still sleeping there for another week!) to a barrage of text messages between my sisters. My older sister was at the ER with Mom who had fallen and broken her hip. She had gotten the call at 3 AM but waited until 6 AM to text us. One of our biggest fears – you always hear how bad it is for the elderly when they break a hip (or anyone for that matter!). Threw some clothes together and my younger daughter came over to help me pack and get my bag into the car, along with my backpack and laptop (darn these crutches!). Headed out to NC when my sisters called and said to wait and come Friday. Thankfully, my sisters were there with Mom, because y’all, it is NOT good if there is no one to look after the elderly. They were scheduling surgery for Mom when my younger sister (the nurse) said they could not because Mom was on blood thinners. “OH… ok we need to wait a day or so.” Uh, you think?!?!? I mean, it is right there in her record and my older sister had already told them.
Got to Winston-Salem early Friday morning and after walking what seemed a mile on crutches from the parking garage to Mom’s room (Forsyth Hospital is now so BIG), I settled in and stayed with Mom so my sisters could take care of things on their end. After all, I was there with no distractions or other responsibilities, and they do everything for her all the time. Mom and I hung out in her room Friday, with her in the hospital bed and me in a great recliner (who knew!) beside her. Carolina baseball was playing in the ACC tournament down the road in Durham, so we tuned in to catch them on TV. (We won!) Mom never once complained about the pain or anything.
“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.” Mother Teresa
Surgery was scheduled for Saturday morning. Beforehand, they asked Mom a lot of questions – her name, DOB, what year it was, if she knew where she was and what was happening to her. Her answers were entertaining – she gave her name, birthday without the year (would not believe she was 89), thought the year was 1998 (must have been a good year – she was 69 then!), said she was in the doctor’s “office,” and that she was having her tonsils out. Hmmm. When the next nurse asked her the same questions, she again started to say the year was “19,” but before she could say 1998, the nurse said, “yes it is 2019!”… don’t think that was going to be Mom’s answer, but whatever. My sisters and I walked to the cafeteria (which was almost half a mile from Mom’s room!) for breakfast, and to wait for Mom to come out of surgery. Our sweet cousin came by to check on Mom and brought her flowers. Surgery went well – doctor said they chiseled out her bone and put a rod in her leg – OUCH! She came back to her room and I settled back in the recliner and cut the UNC game on. It was a 4-hour ordeal but ended in another win! We watched most of it but both of us dozed off and on!
“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.” Tia Walker
The toughest thing was Sunday morning when the Physical Therapy team got Mom up and had her move from the bed to “my” recliner. I could barely watch, knowing it was extremely painful for her. But you know what? As scared as she was to move, and as painful as it was, she never once complained, screamed in pain, yelled, or cussed. But her face said it all as she winced in pain. This almost 90-year-old is one tough lady. Go Momma! And also a very polite and gracious lady as she thanked them once she was in the recliner and thanked each nurse when they gave her a shot, medicine, water, food. After all, good manners are imperative. Our Momma. Now you know where we “Holcomb Girls” get our strength, grit, and grace (and manners?).
“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Maya Angelou
Whew! Mom and I watched Carolina play baseball again Sunday afternoon, cheering loudly when we won the ACC Tournament! My nephew called to make sure kids were allowed on Mom’s hall and said they were coming up. I got my Jack and Izzie fix! Plus, Mom had not yet met sweet Izzie who is only 10 weeks old – that was the most special moment of the whole day. Family is what it is all about.
“Family is the most important thing in the world.” Princess Diana
By the way, I never saw one nurse playing cards (take note Senator Walsh!). Most were so helpful, one even brought me a warm blanket because I was FREEZING. We became fast friends!
“The chance to give back some of the love and compassion and tender care to the parents who were there for us… is truly a gift.” Gail Sheehy
So many of my friends have lost their parents. My sisters and I lost our dad in 2000. Let’s face it, we are now at “that age.” And so many are taking care of parents, my sisters for example. It’s not easy. And it’s not easy being so far away. Many of our parents are not as we remember them – their long term memories are there, but forget about any short term memories. My Mom asked us several times if her mom and dad would be coming to the hospital. We said that they were not traveling much these days but we would let them know. We “miss” our Mom, but are thankful she is still around, in relatively good health, good spirits, and still so sweet. One day this will be us. My oldest child has already given this some thought. She plans to pool our funds, buy a house for my sisters and brother-in-law and me, and hire good people to take care of us so that we can all live together. I wouldn’t mind that! And it makes pretty good sense!
“When spending time with your parents seems like too much effort, remember, one day all you’ll have are the memories.”
Several things came to mind this week:
- No matter how old we are, we all need and want our mommas.
- It’s scary to think that one day my sisters and I will be “orphans”, that our mom will no longer be here.
- There will always be obstacles and challenges in life and how you deal with them defines your character.
- We are all tougher than we think we are.
- We should handle people with class and kindness.
“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
Speaking of handling people with class and kindness, did you do anything in remembrance of our vets on Memorial Day? I learned something very interesting which y’all might have known, but I did not, the difference between Armed Forces Day, Veteran’s Day, and Memorial Day:
- Armed Forces Day (3rd Saturday of May) – For those who currently wear the uniform.
- Veteran’s Day (November 11th ) – For those who used to wear the uniform.
- Memorial Day (Last Monday of May) – For those who never made it out of uniform.
The hospital had a memorial of sorts for Memorial Day – “the Missing Man Table” – the chair is empty to remember the missing.
So take care of your parents, siblings, family. Respect our elderly. Find your inner strength and put on a brave face. Share love and kindness wherever you can, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
PS only 1 more week on crutches! Will I remember how to walk?!?!