For the record, my mom is staying in Taiwan. She's got a coffee shop that gives her enough income for now. It's only subsistence-level, so she'll chew through her savings (such as it is) at a very fast clip. She only needs $600 a month but she makes about $450. She'll need to have it supplemented, but that's where I come in. I am hoping that my dad's retirement pay will be payable to her; she appears to be elligible for about $600, so that would be just enough. It will take months, though, to wade through the paperwork if these forms are any indication of what's ahead.
One reason to stay is that I cannot afford to support her fully. There's not just room and board, but also medical. Another reason is that she would have no social life here. She's only 57 and she is surrounded by what she knows and loves; now is not the time to move her. I have to prepare for that eventual day, though. Besides, we're only recently reconciled.
If the occasion was more cheery, I would have enjoyed my trip. As it were, my biggest fear was my time with mom. As you may already know, my mother and I have not been on speaking terms for 10 years now. It boils down to my failure to be the son she needed; the details are murky and (at this juncture) not important.
That weekend which we visited grandma was another turning point. I watched a painful exchange between my grandmother and my mom. Grandma berated mom for an event from her youth, humiliating her in front of me, her son. I recognized the pattern in our the dysfunctional exchanges my mom and I have had at times. It pained me, but I understand now why we have the problems we do. The sins of the father really are visited upon the children.
On the bus ride home from grandma's, my mother told me she is proud of me; I was there for her in her time of need. For the first time for a long time, I fulfilled a son's duties in her mind just by doing what I knew to be right. In taking care of my father's business, I was finally able to honor my father and my mother in a way we both understood. I take the command "honor your father and your mother" very seriously. It is good to finally be able to do so in a way my mother recognizes.
It is the beginning of something better. I have much to do in the weeks and months ahead, trying to get my father's benefits applied to mom. Ultimately, however, we will be a family again. And that's a blessing.