We move Mom out on a Monday, day after the equinox. We don't any of us have a lot of stuff--except for the medications. And a mountain of paperwork.
All night the March wind roared. I lay awake listening to the wind and thinking about my friends and their journeys--Lydia and the rest moving back up to Norway, Henry heading south. Soon, maybe right now, he'll find my letter in the cookie jar. I want to be there, back at my little store--although, for daylight, I'm probably better off here. I still feel like a stranger here, but I also feel like it's right. I sit with Mom, both of us half-listening while Becky gets more discharge instructions from the nurse.
The wind is still gusting. Plum petals fly like stray snowflakes and stick to the sidewalks in small drifts.
It's hard to see my mother in a wheelchair, but it's the rules and she still looks weak, so we roll her out to the car and drive the five blocks to our new home--a one-bedroom apartment. We'll put Mom in the living room, and Becky and I will share the bedroom. We debated this.
"She'll need her rest," Becky argued.
"But we don't want her to feel isolated--shoved aside."
We finally decided to try it this way and then switch if it doesn't work.
After we settle Mom in, Becky heads out to the store for groceries.
"I can go, if you want."
"When is the last time you drove a car? And I want something besides beans."
The door closes, and suddenly this is even stranger than the hospital.