A Thousand Suns on My Ceiling
“Nicole, I have been giving this a great deal of thought. I want to bring mom to my house.” He paused when her face froze. “I want you to know that I think you’ve been wonderful with her. It’s not about the care she is getting.”
“This is a big decision, Nicky. Are you sure you are up to it?” Nicole asked.
He sighed and looked at his hands. It was a normal question but he couldn’t help feeling like she was asking a child if he was ready for an overnight slumber party.
He took a big breath and continued, “Yes. It IS a big decision. I am quitting my job and we will work closely with Home Health, but I’m certain my wife Amy and I can take care of her. At least until she needs skilled nursing care.”
“I wanted to talk to you about it to transition her. I wanted your input about how to handle it best.”
“Well,” she paused thinking. “She forgets so easily that there is no moderate way to proceed.”
“Yeah, the forgetting is probably what has prompted me to do this more than anything. I feel like she is getting farther and farther from us. She doesn’t even know me sometimes.”
“You know there is no way to stop the inevitable, right? Eventually she will forget everything.”
“Yeah,” he frowned.
“But you are right. Having her near you will slow it down to some degree. All the research shows that keeping them at home for as long as possible is best for them. It will be hard on you, though. You’ll need to find resources to help you. Find support groups, take offers to stay with her so you can get out, and you will have to make a deliberate effort to take breaks and do things for yourself.”
“Thanks for understanding.”
“Oh, no problem.You’re to be commended. Not many choose the narrow road. And remember, you can always come back here or a skilled nursing facility if things change.”
Two days later, Nicky and his mother were sitting at his kitchen table. She watched him mix up some biscuit mix and the biscuits were baking in the oven. Pepper gravy was ready in a gravy boat on the stove. They were sipping coffee and enjoying the quiet of the morning.
She looked around the table. “Do you have anything for me to eat?”
“Yeah, mom. Biscuits are in the oven. They’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
She looked at the oven. “Oh, okay.” She looked around the room while he looked at his phone. “What are those spots on the wall?”
He looked up. There were hundreds of little circles of light spread across the wall and the ceiling. The sun had risen to that place where it reflected off the disco ball Christmas ornament hanging from the dusty chandelier. His daughter had hung it there when they put their Christmas tree up two weeks ago. For just a few minutes every morning around 8:30, the light came straight in through the kitchen window and sprayed the reflection of a thousand tiny suns all around them. Until he quit his job, no one was home at this hour to see the beautiful spectacle. He touched the disco ball and sent the tiny suns spinning around them. It was their own personal planetarium. Mrs. Huntington was dazzled like a little girl. He mouth spread wide in a delighted smile. Even Nicky was caught up in the innocent magic of a trick of mirrors.
“Is that,” she pointed at he disco ball ornament, “causing those spots?”
“Yeah. Its pretty, huh?”
“Yeah. Do I live here?”
“Yeah, mom. This is your home.”
“This is my home and you’re my son?”
“Yeah. You live here with me. I take care of you.”
She smiled. “That’s good. I’d have nowhere else to go.”
Nicky knew he’d made the right decision, even if things get worse. She was wrong. There were other places she could go, but this was the best place for her. Things may change sooner or later, but for today, to share this time with her, he knew it was the right decision.