This is a picture of me, my daughter Nichelle and my mom, Marilyn. Nichelle is 19 now, so this picture was taken in September 1989. My mother is still living, but she lives in California and I'm up in Montana. This was the last picture that was taken of us together -- 19 years ago.
My father died when I was around 2, so my mom worked very hard to support her 3 children. She was a nurse, often working as a charge nurse or the director of nurses, so she had a very stressful job. She spent most of her career in geriatrics, so I spent most of my childhood in nursing homes waiting for her to get off work. I saw her working with the patients and she was very good at what she did. She loved the patients and it showed.
Yesterday afternoon I read this story on the news. It made me sick, it made me angry and it made me cry. You see, after giving her whole life as a nurse in a nursing home, my mom is now a patient in one. She had several bad strokes that left her nearly paralyzed, bedridden, unable to speak and unable to eat. She's been like this for over 4 years. Reading what these 6 teenage girls did to those nursing home patients broke my heart. Those patients are people. They could have been my mother. They could be your mother. Chances are, they are someones mother. The sad thing with my mom is that she is fully aware of what's going on around her, but she can't communicate. My brother comes into her room sometimes and finds the nurses have left the TV on the Food Network. That's kind of mean if you think about my mom not having food in her mouth for over 4 years. If anyone knows what goes on in nursing homes, it's my mom. However, she's completely helpless. She can't speak for herself, nor could she defend herself if she had to. What those girls did in MN was sickening. It was inhumane. It hit a nerve and upset me. I don't know how I'd react if I were in the same room with them because I am so filled with rage, anger and disgust. What they did was cruel.
I haven't seen my mom since October 2006 when we left the state to move here. The last few times I saw her were awkward. I can't talk to her on the phone because she can't speak. She will never be able to. I've come to realize that I probably won't see her again. If you know someone in a nursing home, please visit them or send them a card to tell them you're thinking about them. And if you could, please keep my mom in your thoughts. I don't know what I'd do if something like this happened to her. What those girls did was unacceptable and my heart goes out to the patients and their families. I apologize for such a depressing post, but I appreciate you reading it.