A few days ago, I watched a rerun of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” In this particular episode, brothers Raymond and Robert went head to head over who would take care of their mother, Marie, during her later years (anticipating that father, Frank, would predecease her).
It brought back the decision Jack, Roe and I were faced with years ago regarding our mom. She was in her 80s, lived alone in her own home and was still fairly active: having lunch with friends, going to the beauty salon, attending community meetings at City Hall. Always a walker (she never learned to drive), she’d walk into White Plains to shop and would return home by cab.
Unfortunately, her sharp-as-a-tack mind began to falter. One day as she was waiting to cross the street, she passed out momentarily, regaining consciousness as two young men helped her to her feet. They were going to call 911 but she insisted she was OK and wanted to go home. They drove her home. We were mortified: Our mom was not injured, but she would never have gone in a car with strangers; thank God she was home safe and sound, but something was very wrong.
Some other out-of-the-ordinary actions occurred: Mom became obsessed with going down to the basement—she “heard noises.” The stairs were old and narrow and there was a cement wall and landing at the bottom. Jack had nightmares wherein she fell down the stairs and hit the wall. Finally, Art put a padlock on the door and gave the key to mom’s neighbor. She never gave up trying to wheedle the key away from her!
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