Sue Ann sighed as the car turned into the gate way of the Mountain View Retirement Resort. Her son had brought her there a month previous to convince her it was time to move to a place where she would get attention needed in a pleasant environment.
This was one of Sue Ann’s better days. The past year had been terrifying! There were times when she’d wandered away from home on her usual morning walk to be found in unfamiliar places without any recollection. She wanted to get back to her little cottage with flower gardens she lovingly tended. A crowd would gather and with the help of police they’d piece together from fragments of information she’d remember general location of her home town. Sometimes it took days to get her back to a supportive environment where neighbours could keep an eye on her.
Her only child David was an executive of a multinational in a city on the coast, it was several hours drive away. He was well able to care for his Mother and had pleaded with her to join him in the city where he’d be better able to see to her needs. Increasingly frequent police contacts about his mother troubled him greatly. But while she’d love to be with him fear kept her from accepting his invitation.
She’d never accepted her daughter in law and the atmosphere was charged whenever the two women got together. It was distressing for David to walk the tightrope between them. Each watched to see if he valued one above the other which made life unbearable for him at times. But he loved his Mother and did his best to see to her needs juggling his work, his wife and his mother’s interests like the conductor of an orchestra.
Sue Ann was aware of the fact she needed help. Her occasional lapses into confusion were not threatening, but embarrassment when found in unfamiliar circumstances made her fearful of the time when perhaps she’d not wake up from that confusion. During her lucid moments she’d throw herself into her gardens and fellowship with her small circle of friends.
This had been her home for over sixty years. Her husband had carried her over the threshold after they were married, she’d raised her son here, she’d seen neighbours come and go and it was the depositary of all her happy memories. She’d nursed her husband here until his death. There were too many cords binding her to this place and to leave would be to cast it all behind and start over. She was too old for that and the very thought frightened her.
But she’d realized after increasing bouts of confusion something had to be done. David had been pleading for her to visit Mountain View Retirement Resort with him and look it over. He’d checked out several retirement facilities.
He had to find a place that carried some of the features his mother enjoyed. It would need a view of mountains, an abundance of flowers, caring staff and people who had similar interests. This retirement resort had those features and it was closer to the big city than her present home. He would be able to visit her more easily here.
The disposal of furnishings and sale of the home had been a traumatic experience for Sue Ann. She’d cried until there were no tears left to shed. David had taken time off to be with her through that experience and the local Doctor’s sedatives had helped her cope.
Those were the memories Sue Ann processed as they drove through the gates of Mountain View Retirement Resort.
Attendants materialized at the window of the car as it pulled into the entrance way. They were cheerful and attentive trying their best to make Sue Ann comfortable on her initial exposure to staff. But Sue Ann was suspicious. Why were they so solicitous? Why were they so cheerful when this was such an unhappy experience for her?
The attendants understood this. They’d been dealing with mature age residents for a long time and were expert at sensing the mood of their charges.
Registration and orientation were tedious events for Sue Ann and she trudged sullenly behind a nurse as she led her to the apartment. Sue Ann quickly scanned the room as they entered. It was just as she remembered it from that initial visit and had everything she could possibly need at her disposal.
I guess I won’t have to clean it! She thought to herself. She walked to the balcony and glanced at the mountains in the background and the little flower garden below the walkway from her balcony.
“What’s he doing in my flower bed?” She pointed crossly at the gardener weeding. He looked up and waved.
“You don’t have to clean or do the gardens here Mom.” David gave his mother a hug.
“But I like gardening!” Sue Ann glowered at the Nurse.
“You will find some small gardening tools at the bottom of the walkway from your balcony. You can use them if you like. Other residents like to potter around in the garden.” The nurse smiled encouragingly.
Sue Ann processed that thought and then brightened.
The nurse checked the room out to see everything was in place and then left David and Sue Ann to spend the afternoon together.
“I think you’ll like this place when you get to know the people better?” David looked at his mother anxiously to see her reaction.
Sue Ann thought it over for a while before answering and then smiled. David had certainly provided her a nice place to spend her last days and it must be costing him a lot of money. She didn’t have to clean, she could garden if she wanted to and there would always be someone around to see she was safe when she lapsed into one of her confusing periods. She nodded her head.
“Thank you David. I think I’m going to be very happy here.”
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014 All rights reserved”
The photo image belongs to Lendlease Buderim Gardens