yesterday. She is now in a nursing home. It was the only possible option after she had several bad falls brought on by what she called "giddy turns". Her only child, a son, lives in the United States. He has not been back to Australia for eighteen years, the time his father died. His father left the house to him, with a life interest for his mother. It is not the first time such things have happened and it will not be the last. There has been a mass of paperwork to handle. I have not, fortunately, been responsible for most of it but there have been some small things that I have needed to do. So I went in yesterday.
She was sitting in her room reading a book. It was nice to see me she said. She looked as if she was dressed to go out so I asked what she planned to do that afternoon.
"Oh they have community singing in recreation this afternoon and a film. I thought I might go and find out what it was like. There was a film yesterday, an old one. I really enjoyed it. Tomorrow there is a bus to the shops so I can go to the chemist. Now, what have you got for me to do dear?"
We went through the paperwork carefully. She gave me a cheque to pay a bill for her. Then I walked her slowly up to the recreation room. She tells me a small joke she has just heard and of how she has met some people I know. Someone greeted her as she reached the door of the room so she gave me a kiss and I left.
I know it is not the life she would have chosen for herself but she seems determined to make the most of her circumstances. I wonder yet again just what sort of person her son is. I have never met him. She never mentions him. He sends her a card at Christmas. That is all. He has not responded to her move except through a legal firm.
Last night friends rang. Their family is extremely tight knit. One member of the family is critically ill right now. Everyone is trying to help, to the extent of putting themselves out financially if necessary. None of them can really afford it but they will do it anyway. They apologised for interrupting my evening but could I please tell them about the organisation I suggested might be able to help. I explained and said that their critically ill family member is eligible for some financial assistance from the government. It was something they had not even considered, wondered if it was even right. I pointed out he had paid taxes all his life. This way he can stay where he is for the last few weeks of his life. It is what he would like and it is what they want for him. Things will move rapidly today. They will see to it.
I wonder why the two families are so different.