Mo is in love.
We have found a beautiful, kind, loving woman who treats Mo like a baby. She fixes his meals, cleans his house, tucks him in at night, rubs his head and showers him with tender loving care.
Joy has become Mo’s mommy. She is wonderful and too good to be true.
“I am getting stronger, I feel better, I am happy, and it’s all because of her,” Mo said, as Joy beamed in the background, delighted all her TLC and hard work was appreciated by an old man exiting the planet.
Indeed, Mo is no longer the 87-year-old man I helped lift off the pavement months ago at our condo project in Kings Point.
Freshly discharged from an assisted living facility, Mo fell between the cracks. Actually, he fell everywhere — in the bedroom, bath and kitchen, where I once found him fast asleep on the floor at 9 a.m. He took a spill for eight consecutive days and was transported to South Bay Hospital five times, where the ex-World War II sailor was examined and discharged without a dent or scratch.
Mo didn’t like the assisted living facility, so he decided to live in a rented condo — by himself. His wife was gone, and his only child was 1,500 miles away. He was home alone.
Now he has a live-in caregiver, one who treats him like family, and a support staff to assist where needed. “Nobody is gonna take her away from me,” he announced in front of me and the visiting nurse recently.
But I did. I took her to the Laundromat and the store, just for a couple of hours.
Upon Joy’s return, Mo was distraught. He had been crying.
I found his reaction touching. His nurse found it troubling. At first, I was puzzled.
I believe we all need to give and receive all the love possible. We need to connect spiritually, emotionally and physically. As a culture, we do a lousy job of it.
Growing up in an Italian family, we laughed, fought, and loved one another — mothers, fathers, bambinos, uncles, aunts, cousins. When my father died, all he left was a wife and two boys, 8 and 5. Yet we never lacked for anything. The family rallied around us and provided our material and emotional needs. Money flowed in each week, along with hugs, kisses, and a car.
Mo’s nurse, a seasoned professional, sees it differently.
“Mo needs and wants a woman. Not any woman, but his woman. A woman who takes care of his every need, who loves and adores him,” she said.
“So do most men,” I replied.
“Yes,” the nurse said, “but Mo will wear out Joy — emotionally and physically — then she will be unable to take care of him. She needs to lay down the rules; she needs to distance herself from him, for his good and hers.”
I realize she is right. Recently in the middle of the night, Mo got out of his hospital bed and began roaming around the house. He came into Joy’s room and began opening drawers, rummaging through the closet, banging his walker into furniture. Joy, already exhausted and sleep-deprived, begged him to go back to bed.
When he resisted, Joy unloaded on him. Like a child who knows his mother means business, Mo retreated to his room without a peep.
We all are learning. The curve is steep sometimes. But Mo is safe and happy and, in his final days, that is all that matters.
Jimmy Curtis is a retired journalist and entrepreneur. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.