From Maui to Wisconsin マウイからウイスコンシンへ

(Sunset view from 'Ulupalakua. This is one of my favorite photos I have taken.)

Loren decided to have Grandma staying at a nursing home in Wisconsin. He thought that it would be better than having her live in a nursing home on Maui where only Loren and I would visit. In Wisconsin, there are more family members to visit her. We used the spring break (in the middle of March) to help her move there. Grandma said, "I never thought I would get on a plane again."

Since the day we told her about this to the day we left Maui, we spent our time with more intention. Right after Loren told her about her moving to a nursing home, it seemed to take awhile for the news itself to sink in her memory. She sometimes forgot the fact that she was moving, so it was painful for us to remind her each time and go through the experience again. Sometimes, she started to cry and cried in the middle of night. One day, she was happy and excited about seeing her great grand children when she moves there. The next day, she was unhappy saying, "Loren must dislike me. That's why he is dumping me." I think that she was doing her very best to deal with this dramatic change that was about to happen to her. Loren and I took her out often to make good memories on Maui before she left. We took her to a live performance of an Irish band at Maui Art Cultural Center. She got excited, stood up from her wheel chair towards the end of the show and started to clap her hands. Other audience seeing her also did the same. Her sense of humor always entertained us.

March came. I was busy with the Praxis test, doing college assignments, going to the student teaching every day, preparing for Grandma to leave, dealing with caregivers, dealing with paper work, everyday chores, and so on that goes endless if I try to list them all. It was the same for Loren. We spent every day as if we could not waste even a minute. It was intense and insane. Because of that, I did not comprehend that she was moving away with a realistic view point although my brain knew that she was. The moment my heart understood what it meant to me was on the day we were leaving for Wisconsin. We packed up, loaded them up in our friend’s truck who took us to the airport, and I was checking every room in the house to make sure that we did not forget something important. Then, I saw her gently smiling and sitting on her wheel chair, crossing her leg over the other by her room door where she often stuck her head out to check on us. Her empty room was emphasized in the back of her. At that moment, I understood, “Ah, this is the last time I would ever see her in this house like this.” Then, all of sudden, tears welled up. I hurried up to hide from her and cried quietly.

It was not easy three and half years. Schedule of Loren and my days were decided based on her. We spent our free time for her care. There have been times when she mentioned something sour to us when her mind was not clear (which have become funny stories to us now). Loren woke up every single morning at 6 am to give her 6 am pills. There was no one day when he could sleep in. There was much stress, but one thing was clear. We loved her so much, and her love to us canceled all the stress out.

To be continued...

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