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Knowing that new clothes always make a lady feel better, I shopped a little for my mom yesterday. For the last 3 years, I have been by her side for all her shopping, and I know very well what styles she likes, and what pleases her.

So tonight was the night we tried on clothes, in the half of the room that is hers. This was quite difficult, as she was in her wheelchair, and barely able to stand as of yet, without great effort and some discomfort.

Little Ferl, the dear, frail, French lady in the nearby bed, had an amused look on her face, as she observed our laughter and fun. We pulled the curtain around our side of the room, and giggled as we struggled to make the pants go on. When we had a full outfit, we would push the curtain back, with a bit of a “TA DA” and my mom would wheel over to Ferl’s side of the tiny room, to get her opinion. Struggling to her feet, and with the help of her walker, she “modeled” her newest fashions, on the nursing home runway.

I played the emcee, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be right back.” And then I pulled the curtain back again, to disguise what was going on “behind the scenes.”

Ferl does not have any children, but she does have 2 nieces, who she loves dearly. They had visited her today from Birmingham. Ferl said proudly, “Today is a family day!”

To help my mom physically get through the trying-on part, I brought a Wendy’s hamburger, and fries for her to munch on, in between outfits. (Hey-a girl needs energy when she tries on clothes.) We would try on something, and then she would take a bite. Even at that, she really didn’t eat much, but I try to bring her a little something each time I come, just in case she is hungry, because the food there is terrible.

My mom modeled two new complete outfits, and we also tried out 2 pairs of black pants. Long before we finished, sweet Ferl fell fast asleep. She and my mom have become very close. My mother has become her protector, looking out for her since she came to the nursing home. She often pats my mom’s hand and tells her how thankful she is for her friendship. Sadly, (and happily for Ferl) she will probably be leaving soon. She lives in Bob Hope Village, in a retirement apartment, but she tells me that she will now be moving to an assisted living apartment there. The way she came to be in the nursing home is that one evening she fell in the bathroom of her apartment, and ended up staying on the floor all night, until a neighbor found her. She hurt herself pretty badly in the fall, but fortunately she didn’t break anything. She’s been at the nursing home, getting some physical therapy. We will hate to see her go, because we like her very much, and she was a welcome change from the grumpy Addie.

Before Ferl fell asleep, she told us several times, that she enjoyed listening to us having fun, trying on the clothes, and it made me realize that we have had so many fun, special times. We’ve faced so much together, and because of that, we are more than friends. Sometimes I have trouble knowing where she ends, and I begin. It is like being a mom, and taking care of a little one. You are meshed, in a special, undefinable way.

I helped my mom with her gown, and called for the CNA to help get her in bed. I leaned over and gave her a kiss, and she told me she loved me, and that I made a “great mother.” (Role reversal again.) I pulled the chain on her light over the bed, and made my way through the room in the dark, to the hallway, and said goodnight to the CNA, who was sitting in the corner reading a book.

As I walked across the parking lot to the car, I wondered if she would be able to function, on her own, at home anymore. She has seen roommate after roommate making plans for a different existence. Sophie was (more than likely) going to Mexico, to live in a cottage on her son’s property. It seemed a much nicer thought than moving into an assisted living arrangement here, while her 2 daughters argued over what was best for her. Poor Addie (who had Alzheimer’s), could not believe that she was not going home, when her family arrived to get her. They were taking her to another institution, better equipped to handle dementia patients. And now Ferl, who was living happily in her little retirement apartment, until she fell, is making plans to transfer to assisted living. I am sure that none of this has escaped my mom.

But we talk often about what it will be like when she gets home–of how she will sit in her chair and watch TV, and go to the bathroom (without an audience), and eat food that she actually likes, and sleep in her own bed. Tonight she said, “I want to go home. I feel like a kid who’s been at summer camp too long.” (Such a great description.)

She will have her chance to go back, God willing. We will just have to see how it goes. But she will have an opportunity to do all those things, that we all take for granted everyday, but she no longer does.

All of these thoughts were on my mind, as I reached for the handle to my car door, but I brushed it all aside, because tonight we had fun, she said that she loved me, and it was “just us girls.” Simple pleasures…

Please read other articles that I have written here:



  1. Lonnie, ok woman , ya been gone long enough, beginnin to worry about you! Just a short note to let me knlow you are ok , lov ya .
    Hugs, Sandy

  2. No matter whether we are old or young, we prefer to have our own ‘little territory’ and we prefer to be in familiar surroundings. Your mom would be thrilled to bits if you could take her back home.

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