It was my last day at St. Benedict's Monastery in Minnesota, where I had been leading a retreat on Julian of Norwich. Since St. Benedict's is one of my favorite places in the world, I wasn't really ready to come home, and put off calling with my travel arrangements until evening. I was glad to hear the sound of my husband's voice when he answered the phone, but I was horrified to learn that my 82-year-old mother had broken both feet in an accident on an elder-hostel trip. Not being able to put either foot on the floor, she was about to check herself into a nursing home.
Though Mother is determined and tough when it comes to enduring pain, it is no joke for someone her age to recover her independence after being immobile for a long time. Of even more concern, however, is her state of mind. Mother comes from a long line of Kentucky farm women who are dreadfully shamed by their own weakness or dependency.