When Mom moved to the rest home, she had what appeared to be a very nice and companionable roommate. We’ll call her Deidre.
Deidre is ninety-one years old and one of the more astute residents at the home. She dresses in colorful and patterned skirts with matching blouses, a brooch attached close to the hollow of her throat, neat as a military sergeant and independent in ways my mother isn’t. For instance, she needs no assistance showering and she is still ‘toilet trained.’
As I look back on it, I believe these differences, along with a host of others, set Deidre to plan a permanent removal of my mother from the room. I should have known something was up when she took over one of my mother’s bureau drawers, then another, and inched my mother’s closet space down to nothing.
I heard about ‘the incident’ a day after it happened. Apparently Deidre, when she finally headed to bed around midnight, turned on all the bedroom lights, startled my mother awake and accused her of ‘moving her things.’ When my mother insisted she did not, Deidre called her a liar.
And hence, my mother was set off like a kite in a windstorm.
The nurse on duty that night heard the elevator bell ring, the doors squeak open, and out came my mother and Deidre, side by side. Mom was wigless and in her nightgown, Deidre as crisp and clean as she was that morning. When Deidre went into her diatribe of my mother’s sticky fingers, Mom had had enough. She wielded her fist in front of Deidre’s face, her eyes turned to paper-thin slits and she growled, “If you call me a liar one more time I will punch you right in the face.”
The nurse told me he had never seen Deidre so frightened, nor had he ever seen my mother so angry and so violent.
“It was scary, Lisa. Your mom is gentle and easygoing but she actually scared me too! It was completely out of character.” Hmmm, not so much.
Now, I am not one for conspiracy theories, but I do believe this was a plan hatched by Deidre. Why? Because my mother was bringing Deidre’s spirits down, dimming her mojo, filling up the room with pernicious odors.
In the end, it worked out just fine. Mom is bunking with a kinder and gentler roommate who watches over her with genuine concern and tenderness. We’ll call her Bea. She is an angel and I love her.
As for Deidre, she has a new roommate, for now.