The day that Father had the stroke which put him in the nursing home, and because Mother could not live alone in their house due to her dementia and grief, I moved her into my house. Surprisingly, mother went willingly. I just opened my car door, she got in, I drove her to my house. She went directly to bed in the bedroom that I had already prepared for her knowing that that day would come.
I had a lot of difficulty getting mother to eat, I had to coax and argue her into eating. That was very annoying to her. In exasperation I found myself telling her, “Mother, if you don’t eat, you will die.” While that was true in a general sense, I was shocked at how harsh it sounded in the moment, and I did not want to be that way with her. So I said to her, “You know, if you are unhappy living with me, I will drive you up to Minnesota to live with Carla (her other daughter). Mother thought for a moment, then shook her head firmly, “No, I don’t want to live with them.” I asked, “Why?” Mother shrugged off my question saying only, “Well, they never grew up.” I asked, “Who never grew up?” She said, “All of them, Carla, Peter, the kids...they run in and out of the house all day long. They never stay still...” And, she sipped her iced tea, ate a little of her soup, and took a nibble of her sandwich. I agreed with her, but my siblings were in their early sixties and Carla’s “kids” were in their thirties, so I wished they had all grown up into sharing care of our elderly parents with me.
Caption: Mother Said They Never Grew Up
collage of Carla Throckmorton Hertz and Peter Throckmorton
(sister and brother) by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018