Mom is 75 now and still grieving my Dad’s death. When I insisted she move in with me because she was lonely, she refused and said she’d go to a nursing home instead. Is my relationship with my mother going to fall apart?
What makes a house a home? Is it the lovely interiors and beautiful furnishings? Is it the warm and cozy atmosphere it houses? Or is it the beautiful memories that live in every nook and cranny of it?
We all love our homes, don’t we? It’s our happy place, and we feel safe there. It’s where we cry happy and sad tears and build memories. My parents adored their home too.
Mom and Dad had lived in their home since they married, and we had never moved. Even after I moved out and they were older, they decided to stay there.
Hi, I’m Greta, and this is more of my mom’s story than mine. I loved my mom. I always have. So I was shocked when she refused to move in with me despite being all alone at home. Little did I know the reason behind it would tear my heart apart…
“Your Mom always wanted to buy this house, honey,” my dad used to tell me. “She fell in love with it the moment she saw it. And if she loved something, I would never say no!”
Years passed. Our lives changed. Dad went to his heavenly home, and Mom was left alone. I had seen how heartbroken she was without Dad.
After Dad’s funeral, I stayed at Mom’s for a week. Do you know what she used to do every night after Dad’s death? She’d go to the kitchen, take out the ice cream tub from the fridge, and cry.
Feeling unwanted by someone you love is the worst feeling.
My Dad had diabetes and a sweet tooth! He was worse than a kid when it came to stealing sweet treats. So many times, she had caught him stealing ice cream at night! And she would pull and twist his ear when he did that!
“Darren Jones!” Mom used to call Dad by his full name when she was angry. “What did the doc tell you? NO SWEET TREATS FOR YOU!”
“Oh, my beautiful wife!” Dad would say poetically. “Thou love is sweeter than it. Please, mi amor? Only this one time?”
I think I was 15 then. Dad would win every time by reciting his silly, poetic lines, and Mom would let him have the ice cream. When Dad died, Mom missed all of it. She missed his silly poetic lines. She missed twisting his ears and getting angry at him for stealing sweets from the pantry.
As a daughter, my heart went out to Mom when I saw her crying. She was devastated after Dad left us, so I began visiting her often. Sometimes, I would call her over to my house so she could spend time with my kids. I thought being surrounded by the family would help Mom heal from Dad’s loss.
Alas, how wrong I was!
One Sunday morning, I visited Mom.
“Hey, Mom, how are you doing?” I asked as I walked in.
“I’m fine, honey,” she said. “I’m making some chamomile tea. Would you like some?”
“Sure, mom!” I said as I sat on the couch.
While Mom was busy making tea, I was looking for a magazine under the coffee table. I didn’t find the magazine, but what I did find was shocking. Under the table was a brochure for a nursing home.
“Mom?” I called out to her. “What’s a nursing home brochure doing here?”
“I got it!” she replied. “Why? I need to find a home for myself.”
“Mom!” I cried, shocked.
“What?” she asked as she brought two cups to the table.
“Why, Mom? Why did you get it?”
“Because I’m planning on moving into one,” she said, unfazed. “I’m getting older and need someone to look after me.”
“I had asked you to move in with me a few days ago, Mom, and you said no! And you’re fine with a nursing home?”
“Yes!” she said sternly. “Why? You think it’s the wrong decision?”
I was shocked. “No, Mom! I just don’t understand. Why move into a home when you have me?”
“You can’t always be there for me, darling,” Mom said. “Your Dad’s memories are still here, and honestly, I wouldn’t have considered moving if it hadn’t been for my deteriorating health. The nursing home down the street works best for me. I would stay close to the house and be well looked after.”
“I will be there for you, Mom!” I said firmly. “That is why I wanted you to move in with me. I understand you don’t want to leave this house, but Mom…”
“NO!” she almost yelled. “What I said is final, hun! Nursing works the best for both of us!”
Something wasn’t right. Mom didn’t even look into my eyes when she said that. What was going on? Why did Mom not bother to tell me anything until I found the brochure? Was she hiding something?
For weeks after that, I tried to persuade Mom to move in with my family, but she refused and insisted on going to the nursing home. One day, I was on a call with her, making yet another futile attempt to persuade her.
“Mom! Please?” I said. “What’s the matter with you?”
“Oh, Greta, enough is enough! You don’t get to tell me what to do! If I say I’m going to a nursing home, nothing can persuade me otherwise!”
I gave up. “Fine, Mom,” I said. “Can I at least come to see you off? At the very least, I hope I get to do that!”
“Of course, you can!” she said. “Now I have to go. Goodbye!”
I thought Mom had hung up the phone. I didn’t realize she hadn’t until I heard whispers from her end of the line. I put the phone on speaker, and as I listened to what Mom was saying, I found myself crying…
“So this is why she didn’t want to move in with me? This is unbelievable!”
“She wants me to be there for her kids!” I overheard Mom say. “She thinks I’m available as a free nanny for her children!”
“They won’t pay me and will force me to look after her house and children! Do you think she loves me? Kids nowadays don’t want to care for their elderly parents. And her husband… I never liked him! I want to spend the last few years of my life in peace and quiet. I have already sacrificed several years of my life to raise her!”
I heard Mom confiding in her neighbor. My hand went to my mouth in shock. Mom hates my family? She thought I wanted her to move in with me because I wanted a nanny for my children? And she hates my husband? Why?
I love my mom. Feeling unwanted by someone you love is the worst feeling.
I was shocked. Sad. Confused. However, in the end, I moved Mom to a nursing home. I did what she wanted without telling her I had overheard her talking to her neighbor.
Should I tell her about it? Should I ask her why she thinks l want her as my kids’ nanny? Should I confess to my mother that I overheard her conversation and convince her that everything is not as she thought?
Tell us what you think, and share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.