At the end of her first full week in the nursing home, my mother asked if she could go home. How quickly in one week the power shifted from her to me. I said no and she has never asked again.
There is a new resident named Laura. She arrived in early August and every day is the same. She emerges from her room every morning with purse in hand and coat thrown over her arm. She voices bewilderment at her location and asks to call her son. Everyday she begs him to come get her and return her to her home. When pleading doesn't work, she begins to harass him, often with unkind words. By days end it is clear she is worn out and in doing so has worn the staff out as well. I can only imagine how her son feels everyday when the phone begins to ring and he has to deny her this one wish. From my own experience, I know that eventually she will stop calling him. Eventually the fiery spark that wears everyone out will be replaced by resignation and submission. That is when the Alzheimer's begins to win. The spirit goes and with it the person we knew.
We learn. We learn that just one word can break a heart.