On a Friday in early December, my vivacious mother-in-law, coming around the corner of 90 – lost her current self.
“No fault”, said the insurance company.
Up until that day, this soulful, passionate – almost nonagenarian – was repainting her kitchen (well, not by herself); running to senior programs; making her husband kooky; talking incessantly about Florida; analyzing her grandchildren; loving her three children and spouses and pretty much being Ruby. The Ruby we love and still see so clearly even –if she does not.
Her legs are not (currently) working. Her mind is freshly off trauma and she is a rehab lady now. Some guests just hold their heads down; some require baby food; others curse at the dining hall help…and there is a “for men only” table.
She has been through a lot. She does not like being there one tiny bit. She feels unsafe, tenuous and afraid. “It’s normal to feel that way,” we tell her.
We share that this is just part of her journey, that her body does not define her.
We tell her that the food there isn’t that bad; that the nurses and aides are doing their best. We persuade her to try and push through physical therapy the very best that she can. We tell her she is a rock star, a force to be reckoned with and that soon she will be back.
Some days she believes us and others get lost in the sights and sounds of a place that is not home.
We feel very lucky after seeing the mangled steel that was once her car.
There is joy, jokes, bingo, beautiful people and there are smiles.
Soon there will be more days with familiar laughter, love, long life lessons and living.