Since putting my then 66-year-old father in a nursing home full-time last year due to his Alzheimer's disease, my mother has not had a break -
* She remodeled the basement of her home, which was 'almost' an apartment, to make it into a livable apartment.
* She moved into said apartment (still being worked on), getting rid of most of her furniture, boxing up everything, painting, etc., and is still surrounded by boxes
* She cleaned out her closet and struggles with getting rid of Dad's stuff
* My brother and family moved in to the main part of the house, so now she's sort of laughing about being "the mother that lives in the basement"
* She has a half-empty bed where her husband lied with her for nearly 48 years
* Her life revolves around when to go see Dad, making sure he's being taken care of, that his medications are right, etc. She has taken only a few nights off from seeing him for nearly a whole year but hasn't left home for a single night, making sure to eat dinner with him every night and spending most of all day on each Saturday and Sunday at the nursing home with him.
So as my husband and kids are camping (I'm more "indoorsy") I told Mom to come stay with me for a few days or as long as she wants. She lives 2 hours from me, so it's not like a quick jaunt around the corner. She took me up on it (surprisingly!!!).
Tuesday - I met her at an outlet mall then we had lunch. She followed me home.
Tuesday night - I took her out for tapas at a Spanish restaurant. She claims it was the best sangria she ever had.
Tuesday late night - watched and "slept-watched" the movie "Young Frankenstein" on DVD, a favorite of ours.
Wednesday - up and drank coffee and chatted for about 2 hours. Went and got spa manicures & I got a pedicure too (FABULOUS!!!!), with my fingers painted "Ruby Slipper." Wandered around the shopping area and bought a few things. Had lunch at Brio.
--BTW, I rarely do my nails. It felt so good I wanted to melt. I told Mom I was inches away from getting a designated driver home I was so relaxed. :-)
Wednesday night - as I attended a funeral, she simply relaxed (with my dog :-) and read while laying down for the few hours I was gone. When I got home we had some semi home-made stir fry then watched the movie "Easy A" - I love it, but because I'm a John Hughes fan (child of the '80's). The movie is a fantastic tribute to John Hughes (Ferris Bueller, Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, Can't Buy Me Love, Say Anything...) but definitely with a 2000's vibe with cell phones and more liberal language.
This morning - went to the local market which has gourmet foods, a coffee bar, etc., and had a 2 hour breakfast. She's driving home right now.
Hard habit to break, enjoying food. And not just with her, anytime. If I only enjoyed food on our few visits together, that would be different. :-
Regardless, she said she slept really well, which is what I was hoping for. I really hope she felt relaxed and like she's finally had some time just to get away and re-energized a bit because of it. Even though we've asked her on vacation with us this summer, she doesn't feel right going without Dad. I certainly understand.
She's amazing. You know when you don't FEEL strong but when other people see you as strong you're surprised? I think she lives her entire life that way. She just does what needs to be done then later looks back and wonders how she got through it. She's a faithful woman, so she knows God gets her through everything, but from the human side, she still wonders how she doesn't just break down sometimes.
I was thrilled to have time with her. I'm more happy that I felt like she really had a little vacation of "me" time for her, that she was able to relax without being surrounded with reminders of all the things she has to get done.
I already miss her.
Hug your loved ones.