My mother is 89. She was always an outgoing happy person, a leader in the community, efficient, organized...you get the picture. I always thought she was the perfect mother, could do it all, loved me beyond measure. She is still very healthy today by most standards. A little short term memory, not terrible. A little change in critical thinking, not totally necessary. It is very hard for her to walk, almost impossible. She must use a walker and her gait is typical of a very old person. Even getting in bed and straightening out the body is hard work. Thankfully, she has no pain to speak of. Even so, life is a real struggle for her now. She sees the glass half empty...always.
An angel of a caretaker comes in five days a week, makes meals, provides company, drives, and generally keeps things in order. We all love Elaine to death. Mother also has household cleaners every few weeks who love her and give her a kiss when they leave. They are definitely part of mother's village.
Mother's home is in a nice "subdivision" of smaller homes, where most resident are retired and many are her age. She is alone from 6:00 PM until 9:30 AM when she wakes us. She sleeps really well and long. Very near mother's home is a brand new, state of the art Senior Center that has everything you could imagine except a pool. It caters to the entire town of over 60s, not just the old and unfortunate. This is a cool, happy place. Original art lines the walls and Chef Michael prepares lovely, healthy breakfasts and lunches. A charming gentleman in a golfcart meets you at your car and takes you right to the door. I know because I've taken her several times, enjoyed lunch and a movie.
Hence the problem. My mother is incredibly lonely. She wants "someone" at home with her all the time. This "someone" is either my sister or me. My sis lives 4 miles away. She has a life and a husband, or at least tries to. I am a little over an hour away, and I have a life and a husband too. We get the phone calls almost daily. "When are you coming?" The knot tightens in my stomach as I just left 3 days ago! It seems wrong to me. And I will go again very soon.
How much is enough? Between the two of us, mother's daughters hit probably 15 days a month "being there" in person plus daily phone calls. We go out to eat, take a drive, and generally try to help her have a normal life. When we are not there, every meal is considered and arranged.
Oh well, invisible blogger friends, this is where I am. I'm wanting to agree with this radio personality that "lonliness is chosen" but is it true in this case? Tell me what you think from wherever you are. I'd love to hear some different perspectives. Have you been there....yet? Am I being selfish? Help!!!!!