Mom is 90, it is February and none of us knows how many days we have. So even though there was work waiting, I took Mom cross country skiing last week. Within minutes of starting Mom fell going down a slight incline. The impact bruised her backside but she didn't mention being in pain at the time so we continued on. It was a perfect day, a few degrees above freezing with not a cloud in the sky so except for the odd bit of shade we skied in sunshine most of the way around a 3k track.

As we neared the end of the track Mom fell again on the same incline, this time face first. "It was nothing", she said as blood seeped from a split lip while I held snow on it to slow the swelling. Mom was in obvious pain and I was in agony. I deeply regretted allowing Mom to try climbing that rise. It was pain I didn't need. Daily living with Mom is painful enough.

It is not the kind of pain in the neck I can be. It is the pain I experience when I see Mom unsure of her balance, when I have to help her count the change in her purse, when I have to repeat pieces of information over and over, when she needs help to sort out her memories, when we now have to rest going up hills on our walks, when I have to raise my voice so she can hear, when she falls asleep more frequently. It is the pain I experience as I watch another feather fall from the wings of my angel on an otherwise perfect day.