Her eyes danced at the prospect of finally going to NYC after all these years
And we’ll eat lunch at Tavern on the Green. For so long I’ve wanted to go there.
If all I do is go there, I’ll be satisfied.
But how will you get around? How will you handle all that walking?
Oh they cater to older people.
It didn’t take much convincing me because the excitement in her voice was enough.
I would do this for her. I would go to NYC and be her traveling companion. My inner voice was saying m-i-s-t-a-k-e. But I ignored it. My mom, almost 80, wanted to go to NYC and by golly I would go with her. On a tour bus. With old folks. One of those. But still. Big busses have steps. She doesn’t do steps well.
Every so often she would call me from San Angelo. Still going, right? Yes mom. I will send you my money in March. I haven’t forgotten. OK. Just checking.
March came, we paid, we were set to go. She would call…..just two more months, Melva, are you ready?
This tour out of Abilene TX did everything for you. It toured all the typical places in NYC, let you stay at a fancy hotel, showed you major landmarks, and see two Broadway shows and still let you have time to roam around. What a deal!! We talked often about how excited we were. I was secretly worried about her traveling, but she assured me she was ready for the challenge and she was.
Our tour was set to go in June and she was so excited. In April she went to St. Louis to visit her brother who was dying and would stay with my sister who lived there at that time. She bought all her clothes for the trip while she was there. She carefully picked out the fanciest dress for the Tavern. She would call me and ask if I had my shopping for the trip done. I would ask her what to wear…and she would reply, It’s New York you HAVE to dress up. Especially for the shows and the Tavern. Oh gosh mom.
But, she never made the trip. Strange things started happening to her on that trip to St. Louis and she never recovered. We still held out hope though. After a clot in her lung and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure we still hoped for the best. The doctor told her: After three weeks of rehab Mrs. Namken you’ll be able to do whatever you want.
She never recovered. In rehab she got dehydrated-she nearly died then….she got moved to a nursing home….oh we still talked NY but things like…well I want you to go if I can’t were spoken…..Oh mom you’ll go…just concentrate on getting better. She didn’t. Infections happened, fluids got trapped inside her, nothing was going right. It seemed hopeless. We stopped talking about it.
I went in June with my niece. Yes, we had a great time. My niece is 23 years younger than me and all the old people on the bus thought we were roommates. It was awesome. But it was terrible too. I felt so alive there, but constantly thought mom should be here too. It was sad.
I showed her pictures when I got back. Tavern was the biggest disappointment. I told her , but I don’t think she believed me. By then her mind wasn’t as clear. She didn’t comment on any of them….just smiled and said they are nice. She didn’t seem happy or sad. She was just there. That’s how it was until the end. I didn’t know if her mind was there or not or if she was happy or sad. Sometimes she would say I just don’t know how to get better. Then you would think she was there…but then she would go back into her world of quiet. Depression in old people sucks the life out of them.
Mom lasted until the end of September. We actually saw her improving and yet was she? None of us knew.