UNITED STATES—Davy goes on: “Oh, sister, it’s a relief to share this with you and get it off my face, my chest, you know what I mean. Imagine how I felt, I’d driven all night to be here. I’d driven down the 5 and took the James Dean Memorial Highway, and then got to the hospital. I spent time with Mom. Then Tatiana came in and I was really happy to see her. She looked at me and said, “I’m so angry. I can’t talk about it. You don’t care.”

“What did you say? I’d be livid.”

“I said nothing. You can’t respond to a thing like that. It hurt. “Tatiana said, ‘I saw it in my mind. It just knew it was going to happen and tried to tell you. There she was on the floor.'”

“It was bound to happen. One of the trips I came early to beat the traffic and there she was trapped in the bathtub. For hours. It was a miracle she hadn’t broken a bone. She must have been doing something sitting on the edge and fell backwards. I called the fire department and they got her out.”

“Tatiana blames us for dragging our heels,” Davy says, catching a reflection of himself in the dark diner window, more haggard than he expected.

“She was pushing for 24-hour care. And it doesn’t add up, however you look at it.”

“We weren’t dragging our heels. I was trying to get ahold of you. And it wasn’t like we were gonna say, ‘Are you kidding?’ Honestly, the longer this goes on the honester I get.”

“I wanted her to go to Portola Oaks. She wanted to stay in the house. Nothing ever prepared us for a decision like that. It’s like a child who’s about to ride a bike off a cliff. Mom was so controlling, it was impossible to ever see her as the child in the equation until it was too late.”

“Tatiana was very quick to suggest a reverse mortgage, playing the guilt card,” Karen says. “And she plays on the fact that I live out of state. Look, it’s not maybe the way I would like it, I would do more if I could, but it is what it is.” She takes a slurp of coffee.

“I wanted her to go to Portola Oaks, but she wanted to stay in her house, and she ended up in the back room. What we’ve been paying Tatiana has been almost as much as a room at Portola Oaks. Homer’s mom already had all this taken care of. She downsized and got in at a good price. They said she wouldn’t have been able to get in three months later, she had failed so much. Mother, on the other hand, her strength and domination has had this result. She made choices to stop going out and not get rides from people when she stopped driving. She used that as an excuse to stop living. The bills: the choice not to turn over the finances to me. She had a total stranger, Tatiana doing the checks, and she probably knows more about the finances than I do. I wasn’t good enough.”

Karen continues:

“I’m so glad we’ve gotten the storage locker cleared out. I resented it, it was something always hanging over us and it took away from our visits. Now…”

“You can have all the visits you want…”

To be continued…