Let me tell you what’s going on: nothing. Since Pop died in August, Mom has almost completely adjusted to life – happily – on her own. She says she has put in her best for fifty-nine years, and now she’s her own best friend. She likes it alot.
Mom is going to lunch with the girls. She’s going to the church she used to love years ago. She’s even tithing as much as she wants to. She’s slowly adapting to the idea that she can buy clothes when she wants to and anything else she needs is provided as she wishes. She’s paid fifty-nine years of dues to get to this place.
There are a few vestiges of her past life, however; things I didn’t expect and – at first – didn’t adapt to myself.
The biggest thing is that she calls to inform me that she’s going out to lunch. By itself, this is a step forward: she’s making a decision on her own. But it’s done half with the idea that she has to sort-of answer to me for doing so. I’ve said time and again that it’s not necessary, but it continues and I’ve quit trying. There is a side benefit to her calling me, however: I can keep track of her for safety reasons, and if Piedmont Place calls me to ask if so-and-so can sign Mom out, I can tell them if it’s okay or not.
Mom has been so afraid to spend money for all these years that her default position is not to do so. I have to encourage her. She always appreciates that. It’s as if someone has to give her permission, and it’s almost weird.
It took a while, but Mom finally expressed a desire to watch TV. Pop always controlled the remote, and she never had any say in what would be watched. Ever. Well, now, she wants to watch the news at 5pm, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and the local religious station at various other times of the day. To do this, of course, meant she had to learn to use the remote. It took several lessons, but Mom finally got it right. In fact, she got it right just in time to diagnose that the cable wasn’t working. She told me about it, I came in and checked for myself, and golly gee, she was exactly right. The cable guy came in two days later to confirm that it was their problem and promised it would be fixed the next day. I told Mom she should be very proud of herself. She is.
Mom has long been excessively modest. By this I mean that she will consider everyone else before herself. This has not diminished; I just work through it. But now there’s a twist. Whereas she used to discipline herself in such a way as to not elicit criticism from Pop, she’s now beginning to smell the roses again — both literally and figuratively. It’s simple things like noticing a cat or a crescent moon and saying something about it. She bent over and looked at my new license plate as if it mattered. She looked at the labels of many products at the pharmacy tonight as if enlightening herself to new possibilities. She’s beginning to feel free to do it, and that can only be a good thing.
Mom is a social person by nature, and her re-entry into this kind of activity means that this aspect of her life is being nourished once again. It’s not for me to guess how long she’s going to last, but if I did, I’d say she has a long life ahead. Good for her.
I thought you might be curious how things are going. In truth, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use the date code: 10/10/10.