It was a difficult decision for Audrey to move to the assisted living facility. She was feeling a great sense of loss. Her house was sold, her apartment was empty, and all her belongings were going to fit into the one room she would call home... for the rest of her life.
I think if I could ask Audrey today if the move was a good decision, she would give me an emphatic "yes!". My mom may not have been able to see Audrey every day after work, but I think she would see her a good 5 times a week. On those visits, Mom would take Audrey a little stash of things she loved. Pepsi, fresh tomatoes, oranges, soup and an occasional pizza. Before she left, mom would always open a Pepsi and put it in Audrey's refrigerator. Audrey's old arthritic hands couldn't couldn't pop the tab on those cans. And, heaven forbid Audrey would ever call the people she paid to assist her. Hello!! Assisted living. They are there to assist you. But, that was an endearing quality about her... she didn't really take advantage of anyone. Remember when I first met her? "Honey, when you get old just have to do what you have to do."
Audrey was not demanding, but she did have one frequent request. She asked that my parents take her out to dinner. And, I guess one could argue about who was taking who. Audrey couldn't drive, so, of course, mom and dad would pick her up, help her in and out of the car and help her into the restaurant. But, in a sense, Audrey took them because she paid. And, they didn't argue. They could only take so much Bob Evans. Besides, it was not a line item in the budget for them to eat out that often.
Going to dinner was definitely a highlight. Another highlight for Audrey was when Shelby and I could visit. Remember how hard it was for Audrey to hear? I am sure it sounded, to an outsider or a child, like we were always yelling at little, old Audrey. Apparently, we would frequently ask Audrey if she wanted some juice. We know it was frequently because there would be many times when Shelby would wander around talking to herself (when we weren't even with Audrey) and we would hear her yell, "AUDREY!!! YOU WANT SOME JUICE????"
Every once in awhile, just for the heck of it, we still yell it out.
We always tried to get Audrey to come over for the holidays, but she wouldn't hear of it. She told us it would make her too tired. We would push her a little bit, but not too hard. We wanted to respect her wishes. We were afraid it might make her sad to see our family get together when she never had children of her own. But, one Christmas, we had let her push us away enough. So, we all packed up and showed up at her place. Seeing her face, made me wish we would have done it more often.
So, there were many pleasant times with Audrey, but there were still times that frustrated the life out of us. Like the conversations that always wound their way back to getting her affairs in order. Of course, her affairs always meant talking about Barbara and Barbara's son Russell and how she had to leave them her money. This would be in the midst of a conversation about Barbara doing drugs and being in jail and sending her nasty letters. Mostly, I just tried to listen, but one time, I had had enough. So, I finally said to her, "Audrey, you don't have to leave them your money. Why don't you do something else with it? You love the Girl Scouts. Why don't you leave a legacy for yourself and set up a foundation that gives away a college scholarship to deserving young lady? I could manage it and your name would live on and deserving young girls would benefit in your name."
She promptly told me, "Don't tell me what to do with my money!"
"Audrey, I am not trying to tell you what to do with your money. You were mentioning Barbara doing drugs and all kinds of other things you don't approve of. I would just think you wouldn't want your money used for that."
"Well!! Maybe, I'll just leave it to the state!"
That's a great idea Audrey! We spend our lives paying taxes. It would make perfect sense to leave your money to the state. AHH!!!
I was so mad. I would not entertain any other conversations about her money again.