It was the phone call they’d all dreaded,but somehow never really prepared for. Mother was ill, much worse than before, and the carers could no longer cope.
She had not mellowed into a sweet little butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-her-mouth old lady, her comments were as acidic as ever , carefully ladled up with an extra serving on the side. The manipulation was less effective of course, time and practise had made her daughter more adept as dodging the bullets and disarming the barbs before they hit their mark, but still her criticism stung, just as it was intended to; every comment carefully loaded and flung with amazing precision for an 85 year old . It came from years of practice.
This was a woman almost surely destined to die alone, with no kin beside her to ease her passing. No family member would authentically mourn her, though there would be guilt and regret. Most of all there would be great sadness for what might have been, and the mourning of hopes, dreams and love scorched before they came into blossom.
The question of how to provide care for her last days, months or even years was still to be taken. But the woman to whom this task now fell, could, finally, stand back and make an objective decision, detached enough to make the pragmatic choice, though the tears fell as she made the call.