a summer road trip with mum – part two


The day dawned… a good way for any day to start.

First I picked up my sister—she was ready and waiting—then on to our mum’s. Mum was a little distressed when we arrived.

“I’ve been trying to phone Karen, but it’s not going through.”

“Did you remember to dial the area code first, Mum?”

In our area we now must dial the area code for a local call. This has been in place for some time but lately Mum forgets—at least half the time.



“I was wondering when you were coming.”

We looked around and instead of the one bag Karen had helped Mum pack the night before there were quite a few. Amidst repeated explanations, Mum’s confusion and our stretched patience we finally got it down to one bag for the hotel, one for the car and one full of magazines for Aunty.

A stop for coffee-to-go and we were on our way.


A couple of hours into our trip we took a detour to a large mall. It seemed like a good time for a break and something to eat. As well, there were some specialty exercise shoes my sister wanted to look at that weren’t available in our area.

And, we had a surprise for Mum. She had been debating whether or not to get a walker. Karen and I knew it would give her more security and confidence in her walking so we got one for her. She was thrilled when we gave it to her and anxious to try it out.

Mum has always been a walker. Out of enjoyment, as well as necessity, she has walked countless miles in her lifetime. In the past couple or so years, however, Mum’s walking has decreased and deteriorated as her legs have begun to fail her. She catches her shoe on a crack or unevenness in the pavement and stumbles. Her knee sometimes gives out, with no warning. She’s had a couple of falls. Now a pleasant walk, even a slow one, conjures up fear of falling. I thought that with her walker she would have a sense of freedom—something she’s been lacking since no longer having a car, or legs that are 100%.

So, off we went. Mum was excited at first and walked at a smart pace… then slower… up the sidewalk to the door, through the door, a few metres, then…


“Where are we going in the mall? Is it far?”

It was a struggle for her to walk. Even with her walker. Even with multiple rests and sit-downs. Even with her determination. Her stubbornness to do and to go.

How had it come to this?


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