• 93°

A peaceful, contented birthday

By the time you read this on Wednesday, my mother will have passed another milestone. “Miss” Ova turned 84 years young on January 20.

That, as she will tell you, “is a lot of years.”

The last several years haven’t been particularly kind to Mama. Arthritis, osteoporosis, polymyalgia rheumatica – all painful conditions on top of the numerous and assorted brakes and fractures she has sustained to both hips, an ankle and her back – have conspired to stiffen her up and slow her down.

It happens. None of us think it will happen to us, but it happens.

Our goal was to see Mama back “at home” at Pine Needle Place after a stint in the nursing home to rehab following the tumble last fall that led to a compression fracture of the spine.

The pain and the ensuing depression made her pretty miserable. I know there were times she really didn’t want to go to physical therapy. I remember only too well enduring PT on my damaged knee for a solid year pre and post-surgery and being told by a cheeky PT assistant, “Well, Angie, you know what PT really stands for, don’t you? Pain and Torture.”

I laughed even as I winced in pain.

And I was in my early 30s and in overall good health. It can’t get any easier the older and more fragile you become.

But as much as I empathized with my mother’s situation, I also knew giving up would mean the end of a return to PNP.

And I knew that’s where she was happiest nowadays.

So I mentally toughened myself to keep pushing her, to keep reminding her she could do it.

“I don’t have the control over my old body like I used to. This old sister just isn’t the same,” she would say.

“I know, Mama, I’m not the same as I used to be, either. But you can’t give up. I also know you don’t want to end up permanently in a wheelchair or bedridden, do you?”

And, no, she didn’t. So I kept coaxing, pleading, fussing, cajoling and doing what I thought it would take to get her back on her feet. My sisters did the same, but it was long distance, of course.

During all this, we unexpectedly lost my dear father-in-law and after a long illness, my mom’s own surviving brother, her baby brothers, also passed away.

So, yes, it was a tough time. But I am happy to say Mama is back at Pine Needle Place – we moved her back into Room 2 last Monday – looking as lovely as ever, and getting around with her walker, if not quickly or elegantly, getting around, nonetheless.

I don’t know what the future holds, none of us do. But I hope my beautiful little white-haired Mama’s is one of peace and contentment and time spent with her PNP friends and family. (I hope 2009 is the Year Without A Broken Bone for her, too.)