I’m a woman in my 60s who, like many others, finds that one of my main tasks in life these days is taking care of my mother. Alice is 99. She moved from Iowa to Oregon, where I live, five years ago and now has an apartment in an assisted living center. There’s a statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary in the front yard of the facility, which is owned by the Catholic church. She can’t quite get over this. “I’ve never, ever in all my life seen a pregnant Mary.” Although she is not religious, she disapproves. In any case, she can’t seem to remember, or doesn’t care to remember, the name of the facility and simply calls it “The Place,” as she did recently when tired from an outing: “Better get me back to The Place.”
She’s been through a lot since she came here, including hip replacement surgery. She’s the most undaunted woman I know, and yet she’s also incredibly shy at times. Her self-expression with others (outside of family) is hobbled by growing up in an era when the word “feminism” was not even spoken until I was in my late teens. But her self-expression with me is what I care about for the purposes of this blog. Her move to Portland has changed our lives. I’m hoping to keep track of some moments with her that I don’t ever want to forget.
(The names of residents and others on this blog have been changed to protect privacy.)
Copyright 2010 Andrea Carlisle