My mother is 89 and has lived a full life - and now she's in a nursing home 3 hours away dying.
Having grown up on a farm (or several) in northern Middle Tennessee during the depression, she went to business school after high school to learn skills that would allow her to be able to earn the money for college.
She earned a degree in Home Economics from Middle Tennessee State University - a land grant school - and spent what she would later describe as the worst year of her life as a home demonstration agent in a tiny town buried in the Cumberland Plateau. There were no other young people around, the bus only came through once a week, and she was renting a room in a home where the husband was an alcoholic.
She went back to college and earned a Master's in social work (Mom has more degrees than I do) and went to work for the state placing foster children. According to the autobiography I asked her to write 30 years ago, all of this was marking time until the right man came along and she could become a housewife and mother.
Having doubts about her future, she went to a religous retreat in New Mexico for the summer. Coming back, she had decided she was going to marry a certain man only to find out that he had become engaged while she was on retreat. Not too long after, she and Dad started seeing each other and eventually married.
Dad's path took him to be a Methodist minister. That means uprooting and moving to a new place every few years. Mom battled depression for years - I don't know how much all the constant moving added to that.
Growing up, we did a lot of camping. A cheap vacation for a poor preacher's family and a hobby for Dad building tent camper trailers. After I left the house, Mom and Dad graduated to travel trailers and were looking forward to Dad's retirement and being able to go off whenever it suited them.
They were able to do that for several years. Then, Mom suffered a major stroke that left her aphasic (unable to speak) and paralyzed most of her right side. That was nearly 20 years ago. I still remeber - at the end of a 700 mile drive from DC - being ushered into ICU and seeing a big DNR sign on her curtain.
For nearly 20 years she's lived with the effects of the stroke and Dad has been her primary care giver 24/7 all that time.
A few weeks ago, she came down with pneumonia and became so weak that Dad could no longer care for her (they are in independent living now). She went to the ER and was admitted to the hospital. After a few days, she refused treatment. She'd been "telling" Dad for about 6 months that it was time for her to go to a nursing home. Since she was refusing treatment, she couldn't stay at the hospital and given the shape she was in she couldn't go back to independent living. A hospice bed was available in the nursing home so that's where she wound up.
The only medications she's taking now are for pain. She's eating and drinking very little. Her ability to remember and store memories appears to be shot. In the last week, she's had a few lucid moments and during them wants to go "home" - back to the independent living place and gets weepy when Dad explains to her that in her condition they won't let her back. It's very stressful for Dad.
I'm not having a really great Mother's Day.
Postscript - Mom passed away on June 25th. Dad is still grieving (as of Thanksgiving), isn't eating much, doesn't want to mix with people, and is almost certainly suffering from depression.