Afternoon sun. Thanksgiving 2009, Pennsylvania.
"I’m not sure if I’ve told you, but I’m considering moving home," Pop Pop says. "Winter is coming and I want to be in our house."
"I know you do."
"Do you support me on this?"
"Pop Pop, I support you on everything. You know I do. But what does Aunt Pam say?"
"Well, she’s a little dubious…"
This was our conversation today, and it’s been our conversation every day since I started my afternoon calls. I listen as he tells me his plan. I never say no way, it’ll never happen, not in a million years. Of course I don’t. I ask questions, though — How will you get around? Okay, well, have you used your walker lately? — and I remind him that he’s a social person and it can be lonesome in the house all by himself.
"There are so many people who care about you and love you at the nursing home. Remember that," I say.
"I know, sweetie. But I want to be in our house."
What can I say to that?
The odd thing is that just as Pop Pop moved into the nursing home, giving up his freedom, his space, his autonomy, I moved into my first New York apartment on my own. I’ve been deciding on paint colors and sheet sets and cable/Internet plans. I’ve been navigating a new neighborhood and figuring out my new routine into work in the morning. Meanwhile, my PO9 has been waiting for aides to lift him out of bed and into a chair and into another chair and, eventually, back into bed. It’s a lot of waiting for other people, and not a lot of doing.
I don’t blame him for wanting to go home. I just hate that I can’t make it happen.