Locked in Place

When we become too dependent on something it becomes our prison.

And yeah, yeah—I hear the words, “well, duh”. Living with my mom, who is now 91 ½, has been one eye-opener after another.

Eight years ago, when she moved in, one of the first things to happen after she was settled into her room, was to find a spot for her electronic-lift chair in the living room. Tucked into a corner, just left of the large bay window overlooking our tiny front patio satisfied her. From there, with her back to solid wall, she has a commanding view of the front door, hallway, kitchen and bedrooms and, by leaning outwards, she can view the front yard. During spring the patio beyond the bay window, is ringed by flower beds. Fragrant Azaleas, Rhodos, and Wisteria blooms make walking outside a joy. Beyond the patio there are at least eight different varieties of trees blooming one after another: Rising above them all is a Pseudo Acacia. Between the trees and patio is a scattering of Japanese Maples.

It’s a tiny slice of heaven outside right now but getting Mom to step outside and enjoy the fragrances and the warming sun  is a lesson in frustration. She is too used to the comfort of her chair and hiding behind the curtains. Nor will she allow us to pull her chair out so she has a panoramic view of all the good stuff.

“Nope, can’t do that,” she says, “The neighbours will think I’m snooping”.

And nothing will convince her that if she can’t see through the shrubs, nobody can see her either. Nor will she consider moving to the other chair that came with her. It sits just to the other side of the window but it swivels. She’d be able to see more of the natural beauty beyond the glass. Nope, she’s too used to her chair and being hidden in the corner.

Such a crying shame. I mean, I understand comfort and I recognise, for Mom, the comfort of a routine but man oh man—when I get that close to the end of my life, I’m gonna’ want to see, smell and even taste as much of nature as I can before I exit. I’ll want to soak it all in and I’ll be damned if I’m going to imprison myself with the imaginary fear of what I think someone else might be thinking.

Being held captive by an aging body is one thing—it happens. Being held captive by a fearful mind is another thing entirely—it doesn’t have to happen.

But, on the bright side, I suppose she does get exercise trying to peer around the curtains now and then.

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