13: Melba Faces Assisted Living

13: Melba Faces Assisted Living

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!

Melba Faces Assisted Living

A good laugh is sunshine in the house.

~William Thackeray

I was very proud of myself for having persuaded my eighty-two-year-old mother to tour an assisted living facility. I had even found one that was near the home in which she had lived on her own following my father’s death ten years earlier.

My mother was tough. She was the descendant of hearty pioneer stock that had braved the elements before settling in Salt Lake City. And she was the ninth and last child of a polygamous dad and, as such, had been forced to fend for herself in order to get her fair share of the family’s limited resources.

Yes, my mother Melba was a toughie for sure — a terror on the road, and aggressively independent. She didn’t cook anymore, but subsisted largely on McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. She didn’t need to clean the kitchen that way, and, in fact, she found the racks in her automatic dishwasher were ideal for filing and sorting her mail.

Nevertheless, it was time for her to move out of her house and into a facility where she could have some assistance as she continued to age. I thought that she was accepting my decision, too, because she handled the tour of the facility so well. She was the essence of grace, nodding politely to those I hoped would be her new “neighbors” and complimenting the tour guide on the cleanliness of the public areas and private rooms. She didn’t even grill the guide on how frequently fish sandwiches were served in the dining room.

Everything was going beautifully and according to my plan. But then, as we stood outside the business office, Melba gently took my hand and asked, “So, Gordon, do you think you’re going to be happy here?”

~Gordon Osmond

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