Monday, April 21, 2014

Birthday Celebration With New Friends and Old

The birthday girl, Louise, is celebrating her ninety-fourth birthday today surrounded by old friends, new friends and family.

After clearing away the lunch dishes, we brought out the homemade Italian Cream Cake and served a slice to whomever walked by and wanted a piece. It didn't take long for the cake to disappear, all but one large slice, saved for the birthday girl to enjoy later at her leisure.

For the pair of ladies who've recently moved into the Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Facility, they've both put on a few pounds, made a host of new friends, attended church services, been serenaded by musicians, played Bingo and Wheel of Fortune and generally lived a more active lifestyle over the past few weeks than the previous few years.

Of course, there's still a general longing and tearful wish for "home" and the beloved family cat who can't join them at "the resort". Life has turned into a double-edged balance between pain and pleasure, matching safety against independence. To these precious ladies who would in any case, rather be in their own home, the services they have available have become more than just nice to have. They have physical therapists to help keep their mental and physical bodies in tune and a caring staff of dieticians, doctors, physician assistants and others to ensure their well being. They are in the care of around-the-clock nursing staff, technicians who assist during middle-of the night emergencies, along with the fail safe assurance of back-up generators for power loss like in the country home from which they moved.

Though all this is true, I deeply feel the loss of their proximity - my heart aches with each lonely entry I make into my Mother's former household seeking some missing item to deliver to their shared room.

Their world has grown larger in activities and yet, at the same time it's grown smaller in real estate. It is an adjustment for us all, but none feel it more clearly than Auntie, who has left behind her boy, Sugar, the cat.