I recently moved from Southern California to a small rural town northeast of Denver, and after a lot of discussion with my mother—who lives with me and who relies on me to take her shopping, the beauty salon and to our HMO. Ma said she wanted to move with me.
I thought things were going swimmingly in the new digs: I like my new house, love the town of Brighton and fell instantly in love with Colorado.
My mom, who is 91, had just the opposite reaction. She felt isolated, and had been intimidated by the little 3-inch snow fall we had our first week here, and started calling her friends, and a handful of family members back in CA.
Well, you can imagine where the waste flowed from there. Soon the begging to return to California kicked in, and then came the phone calls from loved ones MaForbes had talked to. “What were you thinking of when you moved her to Colorado?” is something I’ve heard a lot recently.
It’s a disturbing query to me. What I was thinking of was: a new life, grad school, learning to write in a new voice, and renewed friendships with former classmates, colleagues, entrepreneurs and closely held friends. Besides at the time I moved from California on Halloween, I had come to the realization that I was horribly lonely and starved for affection. But most of all I was thinking about a living environment where my mother was free to use all of my house and not remain isolated in the addition I built at my place in Escondido, pinned to the television watching Law and Order reruns in the afternoon.
Mom couldn’t adjust to the altitude here in the Denver burbs and has had difficulty breathing, which was the piece that finally let me solve the equation of encouraging my mother to go or urge her to stay here.
So MaForbes is leaving my house in Brighton, toddling onto Southwest 737-400 bound for Southern California tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. She’s spending the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend with my big brother at his house and I’m sure she’ll have a lot of fun.
My respect for Southwest Airlines has returned as a result of this experience. It’s reservations agents helped me route my mother back to Ontario, CA with a minimum of fuss and made sure Ma will have a wheel chair pusher to the gate here in Denver, at her intermediate stop in Las Vegas and from the plane to the baggage retrieval are in Ontario, CA—where my sister in law will pick up Ma, her cat and her bag in the thick air of Southern CA.
Oh and Southwest came through with a low senior fare.
Southwest, your tops here in my blog: You have my thanks, my business and a recommendation on my blog. Good customer service wins every time in my world.
I’m sad that Mom is leaving and hope she can spend a few of her remaining days, sitting in her chair on her porch in Escondido, watching wild long-tailed weasels tear after cotton tail bunnies zigzagging through my old peach trees. It’s going to be odd not having her as part of my daily life. Through good times and bad, Ma has been behind me and for the lat 25 years I’ve enjoyed our interactions.
So, as I’ve learned in countless 12-step meetings, G*d really does have a way of doing for me what I can not and will not do for myself. And to family members who’ve questioned me over the last four weeks, “yes, I have joined a local non denominational church and yeah, my soul is a little more peaceful.”
And I found this piece in Colorado; a land spoken of reverently by both sides of my family many of whom lived here in the time of the silver and gold booms. There’s no trout season here yet there’s an abundance of fish and the air, while thin is clear, and the vistas to the east, west and north are breathtaking.
The view to the South? Well, I’ve been so busy looking at the night skies in the other three compass points that I’ve not made the time to look there. But the time will come. Soon.
There’s a lot to recommend Colorado. The Denver area has a unique culture and its suburbs are filled with the politest people I’ve ever met. On the weekends the parks overflow with parents, grandparents and children and if you walk the South Fork of the Platte fishermen are happy to show you their catches and tell you what kind of fly they used to tease a tasty trout to their creel.
To come full circle, while I’ll stay in touch with Ma Forbes by phone on a daily basis, I’m snuggled up here in Brighton, CO, my copies of Hemingway by my side, my computer connected via a high speed link to the Internet. And I’ve a strong feeling that the rest of my life has finally opened up.
So I apologize for the lack of recent posts. I’m alive here in CO, experiencing things I’d only dreamed of before.—Jim Forbes, on 11/23/2009 from Brighton, CO.