In her last two years, my mother was plagued with increasing poor health and dementia.
Her move from living in her own house to a quasi-nursing home was swift and dramatic. I bundled her home with me on Christmas Day so I could help her get over a flu bug and by New Year’s Eve she was sipping “champagne” at Victoria Place retirement home.
We whittled her many possessions down to what was most precious to her. We filled her one new room with books, photo albums, vases, some paintings, a chair and a large cabinet. I also stashed many of her endless crafting supplies in the nursing home’s rec room, but my mother never touched them again.
Everything else, including her house and car, was given to family members or charity or sold.
A month before my mother died, I had a birthday party for her and invited all her friends. I brought her mother’s vase to the nursing home and filled it with lilacs. My mother could no longer recognize some of the people at the party, but she exclaimed over the vase and was lost in memories of her mother, of lilacs, of birthdays past, of the vase and of bringing it to Canada.
In her last week, my mother was taken by ambulance to the hospital. The only possession she ever expressed any concern for was her false teeth. Where were they? Could she have them in?
Eventually she slipped into a coma and her teeth were taken out. It was just my mom then – naked under a sheet in a mercilessly sunny hospital room with her family and her dearest friend at her side.