Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Her way home
"I just want to go home!" she barks, frustrated, angry, bone weary tired. Then with a whimper and a catch of breaking tears: "Varda, why won't they take me home, now?"
Home. A shifting and shifted concept for my mother.
Home now is a nursing home; half a room; one dresser, one wardrobe, one nightstand and one small bookcase hold the sum of her worldly possessions, whittled down to a nubbin.
"I'm so sorry, Mom. You can't go home today, Mom." Holding her hand, leaning close, I try to break the news to her as gently as I can, for yet again the tenth time within the past three hours that we have been sitting in this, the intake office for the geriatric ward of a psych hospital.
"Why not?" she wails, distraught. "I just want to go home!"
"Mom, your home sent you here to get help; to make sure you're safe. Do you remember what you did?"
She stares at me blankly, searching her near non-existent short-term memory.
"You held a butter knife up to your throat at the lunch table and declared your willingness to end it all."
"Really?" She asks. "I don't remember doing that."
Of course not.
"Mom, you have to stop saying things like that. Then they'll send you home."
In spite of it all, as always, the sense of humor remains intact: on being told she had to stay at the psych hospital until she stops making suicide threats: "Motherfuckers, don't they know a butter knife won't kill you?"
(Yes, I'm a chip off the old block.)
Neither I nor the Psych ER team who evaluated her think she's actually a threat to herself or anyone else. But yes, she is deeply depressed (as her situation IS deeply depressing, with no end in sight) and she does need help to lift up out of it.
And so the nursing home, deeply concerned, has insisted that she ship out until she shapes up.
I understand it is their job to keep her safe. They felt they could not adequately do that, were afraid of the consequences of failure. But still, I think there has to be a better way, one that will not disorient and frighten her so, on the path to saving her.
Hollow speculation, however, as this is our way now, her way.
No way around it.
Have to go through it.
Mom's going on a bear hunt.
To find her way home.