David and Paula decided that they want a platform on wheels for my son Colin’s Garden Tower (www.gardentowerproject.com) to sit on. Sooooo . . . David is about to construct that. He found the wheels last night, and just got home from two meetings. Hopefully, we’ll still get it done on this Equinox day when, by the way, all the trees, en masse, decided to leaf out together. Really weird, how yesterday was still winter dull grey and today bursts with spring green. As if Nature knows when the Sun balanced between day and night and tips over into day . . .
Meanwhile, this morning, Paula ran our 95-year-old Mom through her daily exercises with blues music in the background. First one leg up (note Mom has weights on her ankles) . . .
Then the other . . .
Then lift the butt and down again, over and over . . .
All these to keep Mom as strong as possible during her waning time, so that she may stay here in Paula’s home without too much extra help coming in. So far, she has been able to get herself in and out of chairs and bed, with careful watching over, however, as she is extremely wobbly, and forgetful. Must be told each time, where to put this hand, then that hand, back up until the back of the legs meet the chair before plopping down on it, and so on. Paula extraordinarily patient and consistent in her attentiveness to both physical detail and emotional care.
The second day I was here I happened to come upon them both while Paula was guiding Mom into the bathroom for the first time that day. Paula had hold of both Mom’s arms, and the two of them were singing “Waltzing Matilda,” as they slowly swung to the inside the room. Tears sprang to my eyes. I had to look away.
Paula, an accomplished singer who has held the principle role in numerous musicals in the Baton Rouge area over the years, is using this natural talent of hers to help guide our mother through her final stage of life. I, and my other (seven) siblings, are both astonished and intensely grateful. One of us tries to be here for them for a few days once a month or so, but we don’t always succeed. Paula soldiers on, taking two days a week off now, with caregivers, to maintain her life and sanity as she focuses every other minute of every day, on caregiving for this fragile old woman.
This morning I noticed that Mom was still asleep in her room next to Paula’s bedroom, but Paula’s door was open. So I walked in. There was Paula, at 8 a.m., fully dressed, with earrings on (neither of them consider themselves dressed until they’ve donned both earrings and lipstick), washing the large glass top to a desk. I expressed astonishment at this activity so early in the morning, and she said, “Well, it’s the only time I can do it!”
Paula had made reservations for her and Mom to have lunch at a nearby Community Center, so that Mom could begin to mingle with other old ones. The plan was for me to go with them and take my walk during that time. But when we got there, Paula discovered that she hadn’t filled out the paperwork correctly, and so hadn’t yet gotten permission to have lunch there! So we made a quick change, called up one of Paula’s sons, William, who we knew had work in Covington today (he lives in Baton Rouge), and we all met for lunch at a seafood restaurant, where, William leaned over to tell me, the shrimp comes from inland waters, so we don’t have to worry about oil. I was glad he said that, as I have been feeling queasy about what to order on the menu.
But before that, Paula and I walked with Mom for a bit on the Trace Trail, near here.
And we were lucky enough to see an egret stalking fish in typical Louisiana wetlands, below the bridge.