My mother lived with us for a couple of months after her stroke before complications forced her into nursing home care.
But during that time with us, I was responsible for transferring her in and out of bed, to the toilet, and into the car.
And I took good notes. Here are a few little adventures we had:
“I’m sorry,” I said.
“Oh, don’t worry,” she said, “that’ll just knock off that double chin.”
One night, at 1 a.m., on my third trip into her room to help her get to the toilet, she peered into my eyes.
“You look tired,” she said. Always a mom.
It was after midnight when I answered her call.
“I need you to put me into bed,” she said.
“Mom, you are in bed.”
“Oh, I am?” She looked down at her body.
“Do you want to go to the bathroom anyways,” I asked.
“No,” she said. “That was all I needed.”
One afternoon I helped her transfer from her wheelchair into a recliner in the living room. We’d done this a number of times but something slipped this time. She landed in the recliner and I landed on top of her.
“Well,” she said, patting my shoulder like I was a child sitting on her lap. “We didn’t do so well that time.”
One afternoon she took my hand with concern in her eyes. “I’m worried that I can’t afford all this.”
I smiled at her. “Dad did pretty well planning for you. I think you’ll be OK financially until you reach 110.”
“And then what?” she said.
Caretaking involves many skills but one of them is making memories.