Why was it so darn important that I got my mom a new phone, and that it worked? Well, of course I want to help her, and of course it didn’t help her to give her a half-working phone, but if you had seen me thrashing around her nursing home room, more frustrated by the minute, when I could have been peacefully visiting her, you’d think I was some kind of crazy person. Even as it was happening, I didn’t know why it was so important. At that point, although she was asking for it, she wasn’t even very interested in using the stupid phone.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that what I was trying to do was to fix the whole situation.
We’d all had a long hard month since the night my mom fell in her apartment, one that had recently included a 911 call, a trip to the the hospital, and now the adventure of rehab. In that time, there was very little that I could DO to fix anything. “Fixing” the problem of providing a phone for my mom took on way too much importance, like it was going to make everything OK. And it really wasn’t.
Fortunately, other people, starting with my mom, are doing the work that will make a difference. The phone is just a nice-to-have, and I’ve learned a little bit about what I can fix, and what I can’t.