We just celebrated mother’s day in our country. Taking care of Mom this year, while she is still at home, is made a little easier by the loving support she enjoys. Mom is in her eighties, and her three sons, of whom I am the baby, give her as much support as possible. Two of us are farther afield, so we each take a little of the financial burden on us to try to compensate for the distance we feel from her.

The oldest son is the closest son, so he tries to be there more for her, but that’s not always feasible. Work schedules, personal commitments, and life’s daily requirements don’t always leave time for things, even when they are important things.

But Tim, Tom and I are supplemented by Donna, Mom’s wonderful neighbor, who selflessly assists Mom with grocery shopping, helping with dog-care duties and the like. Until we got the call, three days before Mother’s Day, that Donna had broken her leg. This was the first event that shook Mom a little.

This is the same Mom who said she didn’t need any help, that she was able to ‘manage’ on her own. Though we are concerned about her, we are balancing our concern with her need for independence, and to date, she has fared well. Her support system of her three boys plus Donna had worked for several years now.

With Donna at least temporarily missing, Mom panicked and contacted us. We assured her that we could help ‘fill in the gap’ until Donna was on her feet again. We also could see that Mom’s veneer of independence was fairly thin.

So do we push ahead like a bull in the china shop, use this incident as ‘proof’ that Mom needs to take steps in the direction of having some daily assistance? In home or in an assisted living, doesn’t matter which.

No. We continue to guard Mom’s dignity before all else. And we allow this incident to be a small indicator, like the light on your dashboard that alerts you that you need to keep an eye on something.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Enjoy your surroundings. Enjoy the home you have known for so long…we’re here to catch you if you fall.