She sat at the same kitchen table where she had sat for the past forty-six years. Where had the time gone? She looked across the table at the now empty chair where her husband had sat for all of those years. She thought of how lucky she had been to have shared fifty-six years with the love of her life. How long had he been gone? It seemed as if was only last week that she had called the ambulance to take him to the hospital to never come home again. The truth she had been told, it was really four years ago.
She longed for the days when she sat across from her husband talking about what they might do that day. How he would always smile as he watched her drink her morning coffee. How he would always help her with the household chores so they had more time to spend together, just relaxing or watching television. Now the chores go undone and her once clean home seems dusty and cluttered. She can’t even remember when she last ran the washing machine. Its been so long now she feels afraid to even push the start button. She seems to remember that the white clothes should be washed separate from colored clothes but she’s really not sure if that is correct. The vacuum cleaner still runs but it’s so heavy and hard to push. She doesn’t remember when she actually ran the vacuum either. How can her memory seems so bad?
Now she waits for her daughter to arrive. It has been a month or maybe three weeks since her last trip home. Oh, is a month three weeks long or four? Something else she can not remember. She would look on the calendar but she can’t remember which stack of papers she place it on. Why is her daughter visiting? Oh, yes, she’s coming to take her to the new home. She has told her she will not go but deep down inside she knows she can no longer take care of herself or her home. Maybe if she fights hard enough she will not have to leave her home.
She had made a promise four years ago that her daughter would not nag her to move from her home as long as she could take care of her self. She broke down and started receiving Meals on Wheels, after all she was afraid to cook. She might catch the house on fire. She learned how to catch the Seniors bus to go grocery shopping, doctor visits and other places in town. But a few weeks ago she had been walking into the super center and walked into the exit door. The door opened and pushed her into the ground. She hit her head on the winter cold concrete. She had a big goose egg on the back of her head. It hurt but it didn’t hurt as badly as her pride. She knew it was time to admit that she couldn’t take care of herself any longer. She forced herself to call her daughter and tell the story of her trip to the super center. Now her daughter was here to take her to the new home. She sat and cried.
The next morning the left for the airport before sunrise. It was an hours drive away. She was scared as she had never flown. The fear seemed to over take the sadness as she said good-bye to her beloved home. She kept trying to remember her daughters words saying that her memories were in her brain and heart, not in the house. She sat in the waiting area choking back tears as lady approached smiling. “Are you ready for your big trip? We understand this is your very first flight.”. She managed a slight, “Yes.”
When they arrived at the new house eight hours later, she was in awe how beautifully green everything was this far south. Flowers and trees in full bloom. The trip was the most exciting thing she thinks she has ever done. He daughter had explained every tiny little thing that was happening from buckling the seat belt to touching down. And they had flown in first class, the light attendant treating her like a queen, even giving her a set of wings to pin on her sweater. As she had looked out of the window at the clouds below them she felt sadness that she would never fly when her husband had been alive. How he would have loved this and now that she had concord her fears, she liked it too.
Her daughter and son-in-law guided her from the car into her new townhouse. The opened the door and she stepped in to a clean, new, home with new furniture. It wasn’t home but it was her new home. Why they had even bought her a new reclining chair. There was no piles of old newspapers or magazines. There was no dust. It looked like the way her home once looked. She felt a smile on her face.
How silly she now felt that she put up such a fight to stay in the old home. This place was so pretty and the best thing? Her daughter and son-in-law lived right across the street. She wouldn’t be a burden on her family, as she put it. Her daughter always laughed at her when she would make that statement. How lucky she was to be loved so much that her daughter put her foot down and made her move. Thank goodness her daughter is even more determined or hard-headed than she was. Now she could decide how to let her family know just how grateful she was and how sorry she was that she put up such a stink.