Who is ninety-four. She was scheduled to move into assisted living around the beginning of July. Then July 16--the anniversary of the successful testing of the atom bomb in 1945. Attempts to move her, however, remain unsuccessful. Her boxes are in her hallway and she says everything is "Fine!"
My stepsister and her friends are wondering What To Do. Gee, I'd love to help, but we're going on a cruise. But I've read my Atul Gawande and I think I'll leave her to her own devices. Yes, I'd be relieved if I knew she were in her own room at the assisted living facility where, should she ever actually descend upon them, they will require assistance to keep up with her. Yes, I'd prefer that she not continue in her increasingly dusty, dirty apartment, more prone with each passing moment to fall again and break her hip, or not hear the cars on the busy avenue nearby. But if she just hates the idea of doing what she regards as going gently into that good night, who am I to argue with her? She's as sane as she always was--not very, but she retains every last marble. I knew an old woman whose niece forced her into a nursing home for all the same reasons that I'd like to scoop up my mother the way I can still scoop up my daughter and just carry her, kicking and screaming (unfair comparison: my golden child does neither) and deposit her on her brand-new bed in her brand-new gilded cage. If she hated her life from that moment on--as did my elderly friend with the well-meaning niece--wouldn't it be better to let her do things her own way, including half starving, living in what's becoming a slum, and getting run over? Here's my favorite song at the moment: