MayBelle worries about her mother, who is 90 and living at Happy Trails Retirement Utopia, far away from MayBelle, a lot. Does she have enough groceries? Did she take her medicine last night? Will she ever wear her hearing aids? What happens if she stands up one Friday night after a rousing game of bingo in the activity room and falls flat on her face?
“Mother,” says MayBelle after she gets the news from one of her sisters and calls to check on their mother. “What happened?”
“Well,” says MayBelle’s mother, “I stood up after a rousing game of bridge on Friday night and fell flat on my face.”
“You don’t play bridge.”
“Alright,” says MayBelle’s mother, “BINGO then.”
“Did you have your walking stick with you, the one with the feet on it? Or your walker, with the wheels?”
“I think so.”
“You think so?”
“WHAT?” responds MayBelle’s mother, who has obviously not started wearing her hearing aids as an act of love and compassion toward her children.
MayBelle decides to take a different approach.
“Are you in pain?”
“Yes,” says MayBelle’s mother. “The doctor said I didn’t break a rib—just bruised.”
“Did they give you some pain medicine?”
“I told them I didn’t need any.”
“Why did you do that?”
“Because I thought I wouldn’t need it. Anyway, it hurts so much I just wish I could go on.”
“Go on where?” asks MayBelle, knowing full well her mother often talks of being ready to die.
“Anywhere,” says her mother. “Anywhere but here.”