A New Outlook

It has been a week and a half since Lois went to live in a nursing home. It is amazing how our lives have changed but not changed. I have been way more relaxed about the state of our house, no longer having to worry about tripping hazards on the main floor, we find, more often than not, toys strewn from one end of a room to another. Since I don’t have to wash soiled bedding every single day I’ve grown lax with the laundry, resulting in some sour smelling work out clothes and a husband who is constantly in search of socks.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to get out on the weekend. We’ve been “just us” for two weekends now, and by Sunday afternoon we find ourselves itching to do something. We don’t want to stay home and get our many projects done, we want to get out, we want to drive around, go out to eat. Yesterday we took ourselves to the watershed and strolled – at what felt like an unnatural speed. Without an old lady clinging to his arm, complaining about the heat, her hip, the walk and imminent death, even pulling a wagon with a gimpy girl and a tired boy, Mike felt light as a feather. Of course, every bend in the path brings back a memory, a little inside joke. Remember when Lois said? did? talked about?

In the past week and a half we’ve been sad, guilty, relieved and everything else in between. But now we are happy. Mike has visited Lois in the last week, and the kids and I are going this week. He tells me that she is fine, happy even. The outcome of this whole situation has cemented in our minds how much we want to do this work and how necessary it is. In the months Lois lived with us, her mental state deteriorated to a point where she is not aware of the indignities of aging. A year ago, moving to a nursing home would have hurt her deeply and, I believe, would have caused damage to her family relationships. Now, she no longer understands where she lives, and she is happy. She helps out, she is sweet and kind to the people around her and she fusses over anyone with less capacity than hers.

In other words, we did our job. Without a doubt, we are a halfway house between independent life and a nursing home. We are just a stopping point, some will be staying longer than others. We understand that we will be going through all the feelings and emotions again and again, but we welcome it.

Now we are working towards our next guest(s). You could pray for us; on Friday we will be inspected by the state and hopefully become certified for two guests. Two guests will require some fancy maneuvering, our house is small, but we think we can manage it. The children all sleep in our renovated attic, one guest will have the spare bedroom, one guest the main bedroom, and Mike and I will sleep on the roof. Pray for our inspection, our spirits, and our future guests, that God will bring us the right people.

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