Moments captured from “The Day the Wheels Fell Off”


I sit in the living room staring out the window and question why our lives are tearing at the seams on this particular day. Was I overreacting when I called the doctor, when I called 911?


The phone rings interrupting my guilty musings. “Lisa, this is Jerry. I’m the lead for the Crisis Team. How’re you and Tom holding up?”


“I can’t say it’s our best day, Jerry.”


“I need you both to stay strong. It’s going to be a very long day for everyone and you’ll be making some difficult decisions,” Jerry says. I am pacing the length of the front porch staring at the mountains in the distance. In the sunlight those mountains are stunning on the horizon, as if you could touch them with only the reach of your hand. I long to be anywhere but where I am at the moment and those mountains beckon.




“Lisa we have one option left,” Jerry is saying. “We need to get a court order to commit Vera involuntarily to the hospital.” I stop pacing and draw a sharp breath at that harsh word. “There’s little for you to do at this stage, relax the best you can. Have a stiff drink if it will help, as this process will take several hours. With a court order in hand, the troopers will come back to the house and bring her to the hospital.”


Then Jerry shattered my world.


“If there’s no ambulance available due to medical emergencies, they’ll have to take her to the hospital in a police car. The police will be required to follow protocol and handcuff your mom before putting her in the back seat.”


No matter where I look, I only see the image of my 80-year-old mother in handcuffs being placed into a police car in my driveway. Would the officer put his hand on her head to ensure she got into the back seat without injury? That image blotted out those beautiful mountains.


Jerry sensing my struggle said, “We’ll do everything we can, we just can’t promise.”


Ah, promises. I’d promised my father before he died that I would “take care of my mother,” and I’d promised my mother at a very young age that I would “never put her in a nursing home.” The weight of a lifetime of promises was closing in on me.


I nod as if Jerry could see my affirmation over the phone line, and then just sob.

Showing 9 comments
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