While Mama loved her sons dearly, she often admonished Der Eybershter (G-d) for not blessing her with at least one daughter to take care of her in her old age.
As Mama added on the years, she became increasingly thinner and more frail. Finally, she could not live alone in her own apartment and we boys had to make arrangements for her care. Mama’s concept of a moyshev zkeynim (old-age home) was a place where you went to die.
It started on the East Coast, and as Mama became frailer and she began to “wander,” her demands increased as well as her complaints. It started with, “They are stealing from me.” Perhaps they were, but it soon became evident that both Mama and the management decided that there needed to be a change and we began looking for more appropriate lodging.
Once we had used up the ones on Long Island, for they had to be strictly kosher; it was decided to bring her out here on the West Coast. After all, with two sons here and only one back East, the argument was that it is only fair that we had to share the burden of “looking after” Mama.
We soon learned that tending to an aging parent 3,000 miles away is a lot easier than being nearby. We learned all the questions to ask the caretakers and the management. We learned the exorbitant schedule of fees for all the “little extras” that we took for granted.
Mama was not very happy in California. She particularly questioned the dedication to kashruth (laws of kosher) that the “establishment” had. It was a standard comment, zey zenen goyim (they are non-Jews.) There was always someone hiding behind the doors listening to Mama and what she said to her boys. We had to “be careful” what we said.
After a while, and several changes, Mama went back East to her final home in Jersey City.
It was not very easy on her—or us boys.Mama, please help us when we hit those years.