We were driving home from an afternoon of touring senior communities and were both very tired. Betty had just signed some paperwork and planned to move into a large, active community the following Saturday. We were getting close to the skilled nursing facility where she had been for the last three weeks getting rehab after she fell during the holidays.
Despite the seriousness of our mission, that afternoon we had several laughs and shared lots of stories but the story of her last few months was a true nightmare. By all normal measures she should have been way over on the stress scale. Seven months previously her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness and put on hospice care. Three months ago he died in their home. Luckily she had enlisted the assistance of in-home caregivers as well as hospice so she didn’t have to do it all herself! Two months ago she was told that (for several reasons) she would have to move out of her fairly remote and isolated home of 37 years. As she was packing and moving boxes one night, she fell, hurt her hip, and had to drag herself to the street to hail some assistance. She admitted that she was pretty overwhelmed but who wouldn’t be!
She gave a bit of a sigh and started telling me about her favorite uncle. He was everyone’s favorite: always sought after, always the friend, always the dependable one people liked to spend time with. She asked one day and so he shared with her his secret word to live by. “Adapt,” he said. She leaned back in the seat and told me, “And that’s what I am going to do. Adapt!”
As we drove under a street light I could see that she had relaxed just a bit. What an amazing lady!