As Dad has continued with slight improvements each week since coming home from hospital a few months ago, Mom is starting to feel more confident to go to appointments of her own, do some extra shopping, get a ride to church with a friend, etc. She still has to keep an eye on his medications that he takes several times a day, but she is not as housebound as she was.
I was so proud of her the other day. She had to take a bus downtown to pick up her annual bus pass. She lives in a flooded area and knew that with the reopening of the bus pass station post-flood, she would be standing in a long lineup to get her pass. The poor 85 year old woman had no idea how long that lineup would be. She stood outside in the heat, jammed into the line up area with several hundred other people, for over an hour and a half. She knew that if she left the lineup and did some shopping and then returned later, the lineup would be even worse, so she toughed it out.
After she received her pass she decided that she felt "a little wobbly", so she stopped in at a coffee shop for a drink and a muffin. "A little wobbly" is probably her usual low key description of how poorly she was feeling after that long standing in the heat.
Today she is off to a medical appointment on a brand new bus route she mapped out with a friend, so that she doesn't have to depend on someone else for a ride. Next week she has another new route she wants to try.
This is my strong, brave mom who has always depended on dad for absolutely everything other than paying bills. Dad never let her go anywhere without him. When she was working away from home for several decades he wouldn't even allow her to take the bus, but drove an extra 2 hours a day himself delivering her to the office and picking her up afterward.
The great part of her new found independence is that Dad is so proud of her. He is bragging her up every time we talk.....how strong she is, how smart she is to figure out her own ways around the city, how independent she is being. This is the man who only ever once in 60 years of marriage let her go away for 5 days with her sister to visit other family and freaked out because she actually took him up on it and went!
It is a shame Mom never had the chance to develop more independence until her mid 80's when Dad's health forced the issue, but it is so grand to hear her voice filled with confidence about her trips away from the house. It is even grander to hear Dad's joy that she is able to do these things on her own.
It is a huge encouragement to me that we are all capable of change. Perhaps it means there is hope for me as well!