"Why do I have to go?" The pleading in her voice made my guts feel as if they were weighted with lead.
"Because we can't take care of you like we used to." I give her another spoonful of pureed chicken and dumplings purposely not making eye contact. My hand is trembling a little, but I don't think she notices.
"You can take care of me. All of you can. You have been. I'll be very quiet." She continues looking at me, eyes that were once mirthful now full of pain and misty with tears. I look at her, her tiny face weathered with the long years of her life, the toothless mouth that had once smiled freely was now puckered into a frown of worry.
"You know we can't. With that hip of yours, your doctor says you need to go someplace more well equipped to deal with your needs." I feel sick as I say it, thinking of every television show, news program or anything else my mind can conjure that reminds me how terrible nursing homes are. I wish I could convince her it wasn't my choice, that I'm just her house staff, that I fought for her to stay. Corporate saw her as a liability, I saw her as a person I had helped live for the last three and a half years. Corporate won.
"Will they be mean to me?" she whispers as I help her get a drink of water through a sippy cup. It's funny how we start off as children, and if we live to old age, we revert back to that. I dab her chin with a napkin.
"They had better not be since we'll be visiting every week." I mean it when I say it, but how long before my words are just so much hot air?
"I'm scared Crit." A tear slips down her cheek. I wipe it away with another napkin. I have no idea what to say, so I just take her hand and give it a squeeze. I think of what old age will be like for me. I'm scared too.