Thursday, May 2, 2024

Movin' With Mama

    Over the years many have asked me how we moved Mama cross country from NYC to suburbia in California and why. It wasn't an easy decision for us but hopefully this excerpt from our book "Dementia-Mama-Drama" on Amazon Books will fill you in. Little did we know what lie ahead...


    Mama didn't move many times in her life. She grew up in Harlem and my parents lived in the same apartment in the Bronx for almost forty years, all she knew was New York. Her first big move came when she wasn't able to take care of herself and live alone any longer. She needed to be in a nursing home. It was extremely important to us that she was nearby. I really pushed to get her into The Village Nursing Home just a block away from Douglass and me. It was as tough as getting your child into a good school!

    After she lived there for nine years the nursing home was sold and would be closing. We were very anxious and didn't know what to do. I looked for places to move Mama, but there weren't any nearby. As this drama was going on, Douglass' mom in California became very sick. We received a call that she was getting worse and immediately flew to see her. When we got there she was too weak to do anything that we had hoped to do with her. A few days later, she passed away.

    When we returned to New York we had big decisions to make. There now was an opportunity to move to California where it would be more affordable and a much needed change from city life. Fast forward, Douglass and I bought his mom’s place and brought Mama with us, it all happened very fast. Before moving we researched many nursing homes and found a few nearby. We chose one that we thought would be a great place for Mama, but shortly after being there it wasn't what we had hoped it would be. At least it was within walking distance from us and it had a beautiful garden that she loved. 

    We packed up Mama for her very first plane ride. I worried that she might freak out knowing her anxieties but surprisingly she loved it! She sang "California Here I Come" in the cab to the airport, on the plane (many times) and when we landed.  

    Her first flight had to be special so we flew first class. Our plan was to keep her distracted. We kept her entertained the entire flight by singing and watching video clips of old musical numbers and playing tic-tac-toe. When this didn't work we'd plug her into our iPod. The earbuds kept falling out and she'd curse out loud, it was quite comical. She kept saying that she loved the flight and felt like the plane was hardly moving. Thank God, the flight was a hit. She was in seventh heaven eating nonstop and lucky for us they served lasagna! The biggest treat for Mama was when they rolled the ice cream cart down the aisle and she had a custom made sundae with the works.


    When we landed we were exhausted but still had to drive from the airport to the new nursing home. For Mama the reality of being in a different place and in a different time zone was overwhelming. She finally had a meltdown, crying hysterically and not making much sense. She didn’t even acknowledge the beautiful rainbow that appeared as we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought the rainbow was a sign from Mama's favorite, Judy Garland. Douglass and I looked at each other and started to doubt our decision to move.  

    After getting her into bed, we stayed with her until she was finally calm and fell asleep. When Douglass and I got to our new place we had take out, then just collapsed and went to bed. For better or worse we were ready to begin our new chapter in suburbia.

                      *   *   *

Read more about our journey with Mama in our book 
"Dementia-Mama-Drama" on Amazon Books

You Can Also Follow Us On
                Facebook: Dementia-Mama-Drama
                Twitter(X): DementiaMama
                Threads: Dementia-Mama-Drama
                Instagram: Dementia-Mama-Drama

Visit Our Shop. Click on the Link Below:

No comments:

Post a Comment