Always Best Care of South Florida

September 26, 2012

The Caregiver Chronicles

The mother: Still glamorous and flirty in her nineties. The daughter: Loving but conflicted, convinced she'd been a lifelong disappointment. What happens when the two women say good-bye?

by Barbara Graham

"You don't have to get all gussied up," I told her. "He's a hospice rabbi. He's used to seeing people in their bathrobes."

"I'm not people," my mother said, propped up on the hospital bed that had just replaced the single bed in her apartment. "And I don't parade around in a bathrobe when company comes." Even now, at 95, impossibly frail and tethered to an oxygen tank, Irene looked glamorous in her blue silk nightie with the ivory lace trim.

"He's not company," I protested halfheartedly, though really there was no point in arguing. My mother, the former belle of Pittsburgh, would die before she let any man see her undressed without her "face" on.

Which is exactly what would happen, but we didn't know that yet.

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