My mother is 90 years old and suffers from dementia. Recently, my sister and I coordinated our mother’s move from independent living to an assisted care facility, and although the move had been discussed with her many times, she always “just needed time to think about it.” This went on for years. It came time where we simply had to make the move to give my mom the full care and assistance she needs. While my wife and I took my mother for a short getaway to New Hope, PA, my sister simultaneously oversaw our mother’s move.

My wife shared with me on this trip that my family tends to use the term “lonesome” instead of lonely. It didn’t seem unusual to me as I grew up with this word as part of my vernacular, but in thinking about this image and the complex feelings it evokes for me as her son, it seems very fitting. My daughter, in her own uniquely quirky way, has always called her grandmother “Bom Mom.” I’m not sure why, but it also seems fitting here.

My mother glances out the window in New Hope during the day of her move.

Although my mother is lonesome and living with a state of confusion and memory loss, she is well taken care of and has visitors many times a week. The stress of day to day details are no longer on her shoulders and she is happier now. Anyone who has been in the position of taking care of their parents and making life changing decisions for them knows the complexities and richness of the parent-child relationship.