|The guys moved the heavy stuff, while Mom and I got |
things settled just the way they had been in her old home
Along the way we discovered lots of treasures: photos, memories, friends old and new, and humor. Inviting my brother along to help guaranteed that humor would be on the menu. My kids call him "Uncle Hilarious" and know him for his tickling. Tickle he does, in spite of my protests. He and I flew the Denver-to-Bellingham leg of my trip together, and collected our first jointly owned barf bag. I add a bag to his collection almost every time I fly (he has a whole box of them in his basement -- it's an inside joke). We commemorated this trip by writing on the barf bag about our first flight together (that one we had when he was still a baby doesn't count).
Humor turned out to be an essential element to an otherwise difficult transition. Oma liked living on her own and didn't see any need to move. But at 91 years old, with a very unreliable memory, dizziness, diabetes, and incontinence, we all agreed that we couldn't wait any longer. The residents of her new home were more than welcoming, inviting us into their apartments and into their hearts. We soon figured out that "all the cool kids" had rolling walkers with a place for a meal tray, and that most of them took a good month to figure out the floor plan of the building. If Oma forgets her room number or how long she's lived there or what her husband did for a living she'll be in good company. Peer pressure already persuaded her to put her keys on a bracelet and a name tag on her cane. We're hoping that she'll soon realize she doesn't need to drive.
|A sketch of Oma I made a few months ago|
A dutch treat, that is. Only in Lynden is the "V" section of the phone book longer than any other letter. There are enough Van- and Vander-something-or-others to populate a small planet. Nowhere else do people reply to "What's your name?" with their last name and then their maiden name before they divulge their first name (as an afterthought). I met one lady who groaned when I asked her her last name. "Jones," she sighed, and we all laughed. To fit in all she'd need to do is add "Vander" to the front of it! Dutch coffee flows freely in the dining hall, and you can even pick up Dutch conversations at times. When I left for the airport, Oma was singing hymns in the lobby with other residents.
|Oma's new home overlooks a golf course and she can see |
Mt. Baker from her living room window