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  • by Carolyn Lackey

Moving Miss Helen: The Reprise


Note: I started looking over my old, dusty blog, "Finding the Funny" the other day. Some of you who are new to the Meems Scene may be interested in the very beginning of Meems' journey to Lubbock. If the rest of you are "of a certain age" like me, you probably don't even remember reading this nine years ago. Win. Win. (I have edited it a bit. Every time I reread anything I write, I always find something that needs fixing.)

2709 Rockview

That's Meems on the front porch blowing goodbye kisses in her robe and slippers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yesterday afternoon around 3:00, my mom fell in her kitchen in Waco while I was in my kitchen in Lubbock foraging for snacks. She called me at about 6:45 to let me know. She doesn't remember what made her fall. She waited until about 6:30 to call her neighbors because she finally decided that she might need stitches in her chin because it was still "bleeding a little bit." The ever faithful McGuires took her to the ER to...um...have her head examined. No stitches.

Her falls are becoming more frequent. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent waiting for a neighbor to call me from the ER to let me know what the ER doctor had to say. The people at Providence ER are really nice about hunting her down for me when I just can't stand the suspense. "Mrs. Kinzbach is collecting a urine sample." "Mrs. Kinzbach is in X-ray." Last night when she got home from the ER, she called me. In her quiet voice she said, "I'm fine. I'm ready to sell my house and move to Lubbock."

Wait. What? You're ready to move to Lubbock?

I actually put her on speakerphone and had her repeat those words to Alan so that he could bear witness to this auspicious announcement. "I have to get my nightgown and robe on," she softly said, "I'm going to sleep at the McGuire's tonight." The doctor didn't want her to be left alone for 24 hours. She was supposed to call them to come help her down her steep driveway and across the street when she was all ready for beddy. I have been trying to get her to move to Lubbock since Kathy died in 1998. This was great news. However, last night the magnitude of her decision hit me full-on in the heart. After all these years of holding tightly to her home with it's pretty pink and yellow walls and floral bedspreads and multitude of feminine chotchkies, she is ready to close down the House of Memories. The thought of dismantling that home place overwhelms and saddens me.

Another daunting task will be choosing her new senior adult living situation in Lubbock. Just yesterday, she called and rattled on and on about all the amenities of the place her precious friend, Rachel, will have in her independent living megaplex in Austin. "Three meals a day!" "A nurse on duty 24-7!" "Tai chi!" "Water aerobics!" These things are high on the list of must-haves for youthful 80-somethings. I'm heading to Waco in a bit. I'm going to bring her to Lubbock to look at Senior "dorms." She will need the tai-chi-water-aerobics-no-more-cooking-movies-in-the-chapel-on-Saturday-nights package. She can stay with us indefinitely until the right thing comes along. Sweet, sweet Alan. I'm a pretty tough old bird, but moving Bryce back to Baylor on August 10, moving Reed into his dorm at Baylor on August 19, and moving Mom to Lubbock thereafter is making me feel...well...like an emotional mess. [2019 Note: Right in the middle of packing up Mom's house, I got a call from Alan that our beloved border collie had passed away. Our sons' childhood puppy.] Mother's love for her pretty little house and yard is going to make it hard to close that chapter. Also, so much of Kathy and my brother, Kirk, is embedded within those walls. And, then, there's Aunt Wanda. Mother is going to miss her so much. "I know that she's my sister-in-law, but she's more like a sister to me." With unlimited long distance, they can still discuss Dancing With the Stars as long as their hearts desire. I am in need of prayer. I know that God will see me to the other side of all these changes. I pray that the transitions will be smooth and happy. I pray that I can quit crying before Alan wakes up... I woke up at about 4:30 trying to remember whether Mom had really cried "Uncle" or I had dreamed it up. I feel like a big, fat baby.

2019 Postscript: We all survived the disassembly of the house on Rockview. Moving Meems to Lubbock was the best decision we could have ever made for her. And, for me.


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