I’ve waited over 8 years to write this.
My mind just wouldn’t let me do it I guess.
Maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be.
I got a bit misty eyed during the writing of this.
Just a warning.

If you’re new to this blog you may want to read THIS first.
“Home” is the precursor to this entry.



I don’t remember the exact day we physically moved my mother out of the house but I remember how blue the sky was that day.
It was a brutally beautiful day and one that still haunts me emotionally.
My mother never saw it coming, I’m convinced of that.
To this day, it still feels like I was selling her soul to Satan; a sale that desperately needed to happen, for her sake and my father’s as well.

I told myself it was for her safety, her best interest, the fact that my father could no longer watch over and care for her, any reason that would validate my personal termination of her current residence.

My sister and I had previously moved many of her belongings to her room in the waiting facility; the only thing left to move was my mother.

Getting her into the car was no problem, bringing her into the facility was even easier. But leaving her there and walking out the auto-locking door would be a very difficult thing to do.
And God, it was.
Through all this, I felt like Judas Iscariot; you will deny me three times.
I felt I’d denied my mother three to the third power.
This is what it ‘felt’ like not what it actually was.
I think.
I see it now for what it was but it felt so different back then.
20/20 right?

We brought my mother out to the car and told her we were taking her ‘someplace nice’, another white lie spilled out on the bare ground like an unwanted bottle of Boones Farm Strawberry wine.

When we arrived caregivers and staff were waiting for us with open arms.
We checked out my mother’s room and made sure she was settled before we approached the staff and asked, “What’s next?”

Just leave,” they said, “Call us in three days. She’ll be fine.”

Just leave?
This is it?
How can I just turn around and walk away?
How can I deny her?
I can’t just walk away.

Go. Don’t worry.”

Yeah, right, I thought; easy for you to say.
As we were turning to leave I heard my mother saying, “Wait! Where are you going? Don’t leave me here!”


And, we did.
To this day, I still don’t quite know how, but we did.
My father, sister and I walked through the self-locking door and out into the warm sunshine of the free world.
I was cracking inside but felt the need to hide it while my father and sister broke down.

My sister would be alright, she was a long time R.N. used to dealing with intense emotional turmoil.
My dad was another story.
I looked at him and realized he was the farthest thing from a happy ending that I’d ever seen.
And my heart went out to him.
I went to embrace him but his Irish bravado violently pushed me away.
In my mind, for all intents and purposes, he’d just said his last goodbye to a wife of almost 50 years.
Can it get much sadder than that?

Yeah, it can.
Aren’t you glad I’m remembering this? 😉

We drove away lost in our own private asylums of thought; my dad staring thoughtlessly out the window, my sister wondering whether my mother would be alright and me wondering why—period.

My sister and I had previously planned on making my father’s afternoon a light one with a BBQ at my house afterwards.
Dad needed a few beers and some food to get ‘right’ and I was just the guy to do it.
I’ve no doubt my father wanted a cold one as much as I did.

My thinking was indeed correct.

We got to my house and immediately got my father situated on our deck with a cold brew and some munchies. That was most important.
He seemed to relax almost immediately.
The worst was over . . . for now.

I walked into the kitchen as my wife’s eyes began to examine me.
She said, “Are you okay?”

My eyes filled up and I shook my head ‘no’.

She held me tightly as the stress, pain and profound sadness of the day flowed out of me; stormy oceans of regret pounding the waiting and not surprisingly able shoulders of my wife.

My life suddenly felt so wrong and there was nothing I could do to stop the feeling.
I couldn’t solve a complicated puzzle when there were no pieces to arrange, if that makes any logical sense.
My wife said, “Get a beer, start the grill and cook. Forget about it for now. Today is over.”

I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something bigger than all of us happening here.
Maybe it’s better I never quite figured it out.
I lit the grill and then my cigar and let my inimical thoughts drift up and away in the ethereal clouds of smoke.
Had I known then how many storms were to rain down on my life, this blog may have never been.

Maybe there’s something to be said about guardian angels.
Lord knows, I’m married to one.

Lucky me.






14 thoughts on “GO

  1. Yes, you are extremely lucky. And so is your mother, for having a son like yourself. This entry did make me tear up, for one, it struck me in the gut as I’m in need of doing an entry much like this one but I haven’t the courage to do it yet. And two, although it saddened me to read it, it was a wonderful read. It shows mucho love.

    As I said, it’s taken years to finally let this one out of the bag.
    I’ve always though about writing it but never really wanted to.
    Until a few days ago.
    Thanks for the comment, Red.


  2. This post leaves me wanting to know if your mom ever accepted this place or did she just get worse that she wasn’t aware of where she was?
    My mom is 85 in long-term, if it wasn’t for congenital heart failure, she’d be living with me. I visit often, and each time it seems her eye’s are accusing me, of leaving her there. Walking away each time is a small death.This is the worse thing you’ll ever have to do in life.

    My mother did get worse. . . eventually.
    She had a deep-seated desire to ‘go home’ that never really left though.
    I wrote about it in a post called ‘Birthday‘.
    And yes, walking away was always a small death.


  3. I think some of the worst sorrow there is – is in the realization that you cannot help those you love out of their tragedy. It seems far worse than whatever sorrow is heaped upon us directly, because at least we can somehow act against it or at it.

    Life forces you to let go despite your desires and instincts to hang on. You’re blessed to have such a caring partner in your life though Michael – very blessed.


    Letting go is difficult but needs to be done. It takes such a long time too.
    And I am blessed to have someone that was always on the lookout for me.


  4. Your post makes me cry and think of my mother in law. She is in the same kind of someplace nice and every time I visit it makes me remember of who she was and how she welcomed me in her heart. It makes me teary and sad when I see her. I don’t go often for it hurts to feel the loss of everything she ever was. Mothers and mothers in law they are angels too.

    I know the feeling, Miriam and I understand completely.
    Thanks so much for reading and commenting.


  5. This is very emotional, and something that unfortunately a lot of Americans have to go through. We went through a very tough time with my grandmother when she fell ill and needed round the clock care none of us could provide. My greatest fear is having to go though this with my own mother, as I saw a huge part of her die when she sold her mother’s house to pay for the facility she had to “drop her off at”. Sometimes getting old is not dignified and rife with the type of tragedy we can scarcely imagine when we are young and fit.

    When sickness robs someone of any chance for a future, it’s a crime.
    Many are traveling the same labywrinth I’ve been lost in for the past ten years.
    Though I’m finally seeing a sliver of light these days, I will never forget how much it’s changed not only me but my life.
    It’s my secret hope that more people ‘happen’ on my blog and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone.
    Thanks for the comment, David.


  6. Thanks for the disclaimer at the opening. I read on anyway, and didn’t cry. Aren’t you proud of me? What a horrible thing to have to go through. As I was reading I was thinking of the last time I took my mother to the hospital. I remember her face as she got into the passenger side of the car. She had that look, the look like she knew she wasn’t ever coming home. And she didn’t.

    You’re a seasoned vet here, Carol and I’m glad you continued to read.
    I’m always proud of you. 😉
    It is odd when we instinctively know the outcome of a certain situation.
    And I understand all too well how difficult it can be when you’re on the outside looking in.
    Thanks for the comment, Carn. Much appreciated.


  7. Angels are everywhere……and I’m so glad you’ve found yours.

    And yet we still wonder about the ‘why’ of things. Strange, huh?
    Thanks, Lynn.


  8. My heart just breaks that people have to go through this. “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” my grandmother says. You made the best decision for your mom. I can’t imagine having to do the same.

    You under estimate yourself, Lass.
    It’s amazing what you do when put in a particular situation.
    Thanks for reading.


  9. I don’t have much of a comment except that I enjoyed reading this and it made me think – about my own mother, guardian angels, husbands and wives, and writing. Work and insanity, desperation, obligations. Even humour and fortune-tellers. And cigars and pipes!

    I made you think about all that? 😉
    Wow. I’m humbled.
    Thanks, Lolly.


  10. Aghhh what a lovely and poignant post.The sadness of it is tempered by the love between those involved. And to find our fortitude in our spouse, our helpmate, is indeed life’s wonderful blessing. Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure it was difficult, but the words were perfectly chosen.

    I really appreciate the comment. Thank you.


  11. June 24, 1998, their 48th wedding anniversary. Powerful, Michael. Now Mom actually IS an angel. I hope you feel her presence everyday as I do….. and, know how much she loved us.

    If I’m correct, this may be your first comment on my blog.
    And yes, it was their anniversary wasn’t it?
    That makes it even sadder to me looking back on it.
    I do feel her presence daily; a song, a woman that reminds me of her, a laugh, a kind word.
    I still miss her dearly in so many ways.
    Thanks for the comment, sis.
    Stop by again, okay?



  12. Michael, I just wanna hug you right now….this must have been so hard to write. Sometimes the writing is like closure, and sometimes closure isn’t always a good thing. Especially when something has been such a part of you for so long, it can feel like something is missing once it’s been dealt with…

    It wasn’t that it was hard to write but that I almost wouldn’t allow myself to write it until now.
    If that makes any sense.
    And yes, it’s been a part of me for far too long.
    It was high time I let it go. And I did.
    Hug accepted. Thanks, Kel.


  13. i know the feeling of it being missing after having been there for so long…and the one of not allowing yourself to do it…i know exactly what you mean…big hugs flying across the seas 🙂

    Thanks, Mum


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