Over the last many months, I have been researching places for Mom to live after Dad died (with 12 years between them, it was a fair bet he’d predecease her). Two years ago, I noticed a new memory care assisted living place being built in Mashpee, 15 minutes from my front door. It’s not a place where couples go to live together, so it wasn’t a consideration at the time; still, I filed it away. I also looked at the fairly new Keystone assisted living community in Buzzards Bay, which has a memory care component. Bridges in Mashpee held my most hopeful attention, though, as it is designed specifically and only for memory care, and the location is perfect.
Soon after Dad died, I made an appointment and went to check it out. It was everything I could have hoped for, but expensive, so I needed time to be sure that my mother’s income and assets could make it work. While I hated to let it go, I had to pass up an available room. A couple of weeks later Mom was feeling up to looking at it herself, so Robin and I brought her there for the day. I thought she would have mixed feelings, but she liked it, and even said we should leave a deposit! By this time I was confident I should not let the opportunity pass by.
So it came to be that just six weeks after my father’s death, Aaron and Robin and I moved my mother into Bridges by Epoch in Mashpee. She’s been so brave about giving up her familiar surroundings so soon after losing her husband of 52 years. It is early days yet but she seems to be adjusting fairly well… which is not to say she’s constantly delighted, but that she’s not going through anything that isn’t to be expected.
As for me, it is taking some getting used to not having to call her several times a day, and not living with the constant background anxiety that I might get an emergency phone call at any time of the night. There is very much to do at the house in Chatham that was my parents’, but that is all just stuff. The emotional changes are profound and will take some time to realize. It is a mix of grief, relief, sympathy, exultation, sadness, happiness… everything, just everything. Whatever the feeling of the moment, though, I know this was absolutely the right decision.
It’s a new chapter.