I just got off the phone with my mom. She’s really enjoying life in assisted living. She told me her roommate is becoming a good friend and that she’ll pass on moving into her own one bedroom for a while because she’s comfortable where she is. “It’s a whole new lifestyle,” she told me. “There’s always something to do here. If you’re not doing anything, it’s because you won’t get off your butt!” She’s been sampling a variety of activities, trying to find things that she will enjoy and meet people with whom she shares common interests.
Yesterday she showed up for something called Chime Choir, without having a clue what that was… and now she’s going to be IN the chime choir, which is rehearsing a song to perform for the rest of the residents. That made me smile. Mom grew up in a musical family and some of my fondest childhood memories involve singing around a campfire. These days her voice isn’t very strong and she’s forgotten how to play the piano, but I know she still loves music. When I was packing up her apartment I found dozens and dozens of cassette tapes – Big Band music, gospel and homemade cassettes labeled “classical FM”. I think making music will be good for her.
I’m trying not to worry so much. When I was in school Mom used to tell me that I wasted too much time worrying about things that might never happen. A lot of what I worry about now will happen – my mom will continue to lose her memory and her faculties as time goes on and eventually she will die. Worrying won’t stop that from happening, it will just sour the time we have left together. She’s safe. She’s eating well, taking two showers a week, getting her medication on schedule. Most importantly, she’s enjoying her life. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is one of my New Year’s resolutions this year. I’m also working on living in the moment, appreciating what I have now and dealing with what’s right in front of me. That’s plenty. I don’t need to borrow trouble from the future. Mom can teach me something about that, I think. She’s so “in the moment” that she often can’t remember what she was doing an hour ago. If I talk about the future, she gets confused and sometimes agitated. So we’ll just stay in the here and now. As long as her moments are happy, that’s what counts.