Thursday, March 21, 2019

You know it don't come easy

It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it
We care a lot!

~~ "We Care A Lot" by Faith No More

Ahhhh, man. How do you have this talk? 

One of my sisters texted me tonight and she and my other sister talked to our Mom and told her that we don't think she should be driving. Apparently, Mom wasn't very happy at this conversation. 

At 90 years old, Mom is still pretty sharp and can still get around on her own if she takes it easy. She's doing great in her senior living facility and I know that she loves it there and has come to think of her fellow residents and the facility employees as part of her family. But she is also prone to dizzy spells and the occasional fall. 

I could tell that my sister felt pretty bad about it and I felt bad, too. I've had talks with Mom and I've encouraged her to not worry about driving. If she wants to go somewhere, she has numerous people who will take her. But I also know she loves being able to get in the car and just go, without relying on anyone to take her. 

I get it. I am exactly the same way. There is a feeling of independence involved and I understand completely how hard it would be to relinquish that. 

But I also know that she has told me that she's had some "close calls." She wouldn't elaborate but that's not something that you want to hear. It's not a matter of not being mentally's a matter of reaction time and being aware of your surroundings and paying attention. She has a hard time with all of those things. 

I told my sister that I will see if Mom brings it up with me. If she does, I will try to make it more relatable for her. I'm 35 years younger than her, but I limit my night driving—especially if it's raining—because I can't see for shit at night! I will tell her that when I was driving home one night when she was in the hospital and it was pouring down rain, I almost drove into someone's yard rather than onto our road. (Trust me, you really don't want to be riding with me at night in the rain.) Maybe that will make her understand that it's okay to have limitations and even better to understand them. 

My sister responded, "Oooo, that's very good."

It's just honest. I'm not trying to manipulate Mom (although there is always a psychological aspect to this stuff, isn't there?). I just want her to be safe and I want her to understand that part of being safe on the road is knowing that you hold other people's lives in your hands. I think I will tell her (again) that one of the many things Dad taught me when I was learning to drive was that you have to understand that you are piloting a powerful thing. It is big, it is heavy, and it has the power to hurt and even kill you, your passengers, and others. This is why I never talk on the phone or do anything else other than driving when I'm behind the wheel. 

Man, I feel bad. I feel like our Mom thinks we want to take away her autonomy. I know that has to hurt but it's not out of anger or anything like that. It's just out of necessity and concern. I told my sister that I know we're not the only kids to have to deal with this and while that's somewhat comforting, it doesn't make it any easier.