DREAMS AND PLANS

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

I’m in a hospital room somewhere. I am going to die in about two weeks…

I sat up in bed and looked around. A red and blue patchwork quilt covered me in my Indiana bedroom. Whew! I was dreaming!

Grateful, I hurried to my notebook to record dream bits, hoping to understand it later.

Padding back to bed, I slipped between the sheets. I feel fine. But, death might come anytime… I wonder if Mother dreamed of her passing.

My mother believed in palmistry and horoscopes. She never mentioned dreams, but something must have happened the year before she died. Suddenly, she gave up her often-voiced desire to move to The Palms. It was a bright-gardened complex for senior living in Sebring, Florida where she lived.

I recall the day in 1994 when Mother broke the news during her weekly call to check on her grandson and me.

“Hi Tootsie! How’s David doing?”

I pulled a chair to the kitchen’s wall phone, sat and gazed out patio sliders at trees shedding yellow and orange leaves. I answered, “Good, good! He is nearly done with his semester at Community College. I’ll be glad when he’s finished.”

“That’s good …Tootsie,” her tone changed, “I’ve decided to move back to Goshen and go into assisted living at Greencroft.”

I stared at the phone.

“Goshen? Goshen? Surprise made me stutter. “But … but I thought you wanted to live at The Palms!”

Mother’s voice was strong. “I’ve changed my mind. I want to go home for assisted living.”

Speechless, I shook my head at the telephone.

Her voice held determination. I pictured her eyes bright and a firm set to her jaw as she continued. “I lived in Goshen, Indiana most of my life. My sister is there. Other people I know will come see me.”

I thought, I’ll be only two hours away. She’ll expect me to visit frequently.

Mother read my mind. “I know you can’t drive down every week.”

L to R: Sister Alma and Mother 1991

L to R: Sister Alma and Mother 1991

I nodded at the phone. “No. David has activities ….”

She filled in my pause. “There are lots of other people I know in Goshen.”

I was still processing her change of plans. “What about Indiana’s weather? I thought you hated the cold.”

Mother sighed. “It won’t matter. With my poor breathing, I can’t walk half a block. I won’t be going out much.”
Details of retirement homes rushed into my mind. “I heard there was a waiting list. Did you call them?”

“I did. They think they’ll have an opening in the spring.”

Yikes! Spring is only five months away.

Possible complications fell like big raindrops from a heavy cloud. “What about your doublewide? Your paintings? Your furniture”

Answering order, Mother said, “The mobile is for sale. I’ll take whatever I need and sell the rest.”

I paused to digest her words and Mother went on. “When you come for Spring Break, we can pack.”

Pack… spring beak!

“OK,” I said trying to think. I added, “Remember David graduates from CC in June and we’re going to California for his gift. I already have the tickets.”

“No problem. I’ll have everything organized for the move.”

As promised, Mother organized every detail for her move. But, she couldn’t control her health. By the move date, Mother had meals on wheels arriving daily and a nurse and a home health aide making weekly visits. Despite this, her nurse and doctor still approved her move.

I flew to Florida to help Mother load belongings, accompany her on a two-leg trip to Goshen, and help her get settled in her new home.

Neither my plans nor Mother’s came to be. After an attack of congestive heart disease on the plane, Mother died where our flight landed, in Grand Rapids, Michigan– her return “home” unrealized.

Like Mother, I decided to return to Goshen. Even though my recent dream said I am going to die soon–I made it back to Goshen! In a way, I finished Mother’s journey home, too.

I am blessed.

Frances Fritzie

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