However, this time for some reason I kind of let her comments just run over my back and I kept moving: I negotiated the maze-like medical and nursing home bureaucracy to get answers and care for her; I gave my brother, her primary caregiver, some relief via cooked dinners, lunches out, walks together with their dogs. And mostly I just looked for something different in the way I felt about my relationship with my mother. One of the first days at the nursing home, I lined up my mother's shoes in front of the room's sofa and then started laughing. The variety in her selection of flat-heeled shoes from metal-studded blue slippers to plain brown brogans to silver metallic loafers just made me smile. At her PT session I watched her do her own version of arm pulleys -- all the while slyly smiling at how she was subverting the occupational therapist's directions. I watched her manipulate the nursing staff to avoid going to the lunchroom or eating their mediocre food. And at night when I went back at the house, I would lie in her bed, finally understanding why she really didn't want to leave her bedroom. Big soft pillows, comfortable foam mattress pad, an artsy red and white handmade quilt bedspread. And the sounds of mockingbirds and the whistle of freight trains traveling down the nearby tracks -- both coming through the open window. I could understand why she didn't want to leave, vacate, depart from this sanctuary. I saw all the artistic touches of her home. I saw where my creative talent came from and my sense of humor. I could appreciate my mother, I could forgive her and myself. I could love her. Finally. Finally.