This day has come too soon. And yet it is no surprise after the last several weeks. Today, just a couple weeks after Mom’s residence facility called to suggest assisted living, I received a call saying it needs to be the memory wing or else. How I wish she didn’t worry about “those people behind that door.”

We all know that none of us wants to become one of those people in the secured wing. The bitter pill is that sometimes entering that door is much safer than life outside that door. I wish I could argue that she doesn’t belong there, but she does.

Mae, Betty, & Phyllis--Three Roommates

Mae, Betty, & Phyllis--Three Roommates

Tomorrow I was planning to meet up with one of her friends from her single teaching days, so that the three of us could have lunch tomorrow in her building. I’d warned Betty that we needed to do this sooner than later. Despite the fact that it’s later than we’d like, we’re not changing our plans, though, because this is probably our last time to be “Ladies Who Do Lunch” together.

I’m bringing pictures that show Mom & Betty, young, beautiful, and hamming it up with their other roommate, Phyllis, who has been long gone. One more chance to remember the good times and realize that much of life was really good, even if things aren’t going to end the way anyone would have wished.

I know I can’t pray or exercise—or even eat enough chocolate—to put a good spin on this. But during savasana today in yoga, I saw my mom, young and radiant, dressed in orange chiffon and full of life. I don’t know if she ever wore orange chiffon, but she should have.

Mae at a College Dinner

Mae at a College Dinner

As I rested, I watched as all the important girls and women from her life joined her. We danced around her, the movement swirling our own chiffon dresses, each in our own favorite and empowering color in the prime of our youthful beauty. The rainbow of love couldn’t have included all those young women who were touched by her who I didn’t know, but I can tell you the group of those faces I knew grew in numbers until Dr. Dennie called me back to the reality of this world.

My mom may be going behind that door, but I know that young woman in orange is waiting to dance again. May we all help her until that day comes.