It would be safe to say she didn't want to go.
About a month ago, we had all agreed to move her after many nights of her calling in the middle of the night wanting someone to come pick her up from the hotel. She never remembered how she got there. And she was amazed they had EXACTLY the same furniture as she did. Personally, my favorite conversations were the ones when she said she was in synagogue and how are you doing. Weirdly, the synagogue also had EXACTLY the same furniture as she did.
The plans were in order when my brother-in-law called off the whole thing. He backed out because she told him to fucking take her off his to-do list and leave her the heck alone because if you want to see crazy, move her there and she was going to show us crazy. And we had to agree with him. It sounded like a conversation of a capable, well-adjusted woman.
That is, until she fell. And didn't remember what to do. It scared us and we knew we had to do something.
So the move got put back on the schedule. I drove two hours to her apartment only to find her still in bed. Passive aggressive was the thought rolling through my mind. My brother-in-law met me in the parking lot to announce he couldn't get her to budge.
Ok. I knew I needed to pull some tricks out of the hat. Maybe something from my stint as a middle school teacher of kids with behavior disorders would help. Only I knew I couldn't call a principal or her parents for backup. I had to find carrot to dangle.
Me: "Mom, let's get up. We are going to have a girl's day. Just you and me."
Mom: "Is this necessary?"
Me: "Well, yeah. We need to get up and moving."
Mom: "I'm so tired. I just wanted to sleep in today."
The conversation continued like this for about 10 more minutes. Until I
Me: "If you don't get up, I'm going to go get one of the moving men to scoop you up and put you in your wheelchair. You wouldn't want to go hang out in the social hall in your panties now would you?"
This got her attention. Within 20 minutes, I had her pottied, dressed and in her wheelchair.
As we headed out, I offered to fix her breakfast. She quickly told me she was mad and she was not eating. Even when I offered her some bread and cake, she refused to eat.
Great. A hunger strike. There are already issues with her fitting into her skin. For a woman whose primary sustenance is cake and bread, she is skinny, skinny, skinny.
We first settled into the social hall. I tried to get her to talk about her past. About her children (especially Mr. Strong as a wee lad). About her marriage. Just about her life. But she kept expressing how angry she was at everyone. When I asked her if it was hard when she moved her mother into a nursing home, she said no because her mother was talking crazy and she needed the help. Ummmm. Ok.
In one corner of the social hall, there were women doing some sit down exercises. I tried to get Mom to join in. She was still seething about having to get out of bed for the move and not willing to give up the pity party. That was about the time she noticed the haggard looking woman in the red jacket.
Mom (kind of whispering but really not which lets me know that the decibel level of whispers is probably genetically passed on since I previously thought Mr. Strong learned to whisper in a heavy metal concert): "That lady over there is so mean."
Me: "Shhh. I think she and everyone else heard you."
Mom: "I don't care. She is mean."
Normally, I am a risk taker but considering Mom's agitated state, I decided to move her. Especially since the lady in the red jacket was now glaring at Mom. Plus, if she wanted to scrap, she had several clear advantages over Mom. Advantages like walking and being able to raise both arms up over her head.
We moved over to a table of older, non-exercising ladies. They all seemed to know Mom and expressed their concern over not seeing her for months and months. When she pouted and told them she was being moved into assisted living, they all looked at me and nodded while telling her that it was a great place to live. One of the ladies offered Mom a cookie and she refused as she was still too mad to eat (But don't you love the idea of sitting in the social hall watching the exercisers while nibbling on cookies!). As the conversation progressed, one of the ladies talked about how much she loved the sub sandwiches from the grocery store down the street. Mom agreed. When I offered to go get her one, she happily said yes. Deal! The hunger strike was over in less than two hours.
After several hours of conversing (we had several conversations over and over) and hanging out, Mom's room was ready. We spent some time getting her settled in when she finally admitted it wasn't so bad.
All the remaining things from her apartment are now housed in our garage. And that made me kind of sad. The random pieces of furniture and the relics are sad reminders of the life this family once lived.
And I am a bit sad I couldn't get some great tales for her children, grandchildren and beyond.
But we did get this fantastic bird. It was Mom's grandmother's show piece (I think that makes it a bazillion years old). Isn't it wicked!?