A changing of the guard…..in more ways than one…

It was fascinating watching the presidential changeover yesterday…George and Laura Bush, going through the motions of leaving Washington behind as President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle moved in(and may I just say how gorgeous Mrs. Obama looked yesterday?). I would guess there is relief, dread, uncertainty about the future and what life will be like…some regret, on both sides. You’d love to know what’s going through all their minds. But it reminded me of another changing of the guard that I will take part in this weekend.

Tomorrow I fly to Birmingham, to help my sisters move my Mom into assisted living, at the retirement community where she has lived for some years. She has been pretty independent, though just barely  able to live on her own for some time. A hospital stay just after the holidays really knocked the props out from under her, as she would say, and it was clear that returning to her apartment, where she struggled to do even the simplest of tasks, while possible, was certainly not wise.
So this weekend, we will move her from the nursing home where she has been getting “rehabilitation”…I use that word loosely…her care has not been the greatest and she has been up in arms, more than once over something that was said to her or how she was treated. Being sharp of mind, nothing escaped her and she cannot wait to leave tomorrow.

And I hope she will be happy in her new place….but no place is perfect. Learned that a long time ago.  We’ll be going through loads of stuff…she has more clothes than any 88 year old woman has a right to…she has always been and still is, very interested in how she looks(the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), but with a much smaller closet, some of it has to go. And furniture…storage? Giveaway to grandchildren? Goodwill? Trash? Some of each, I’m sure. Pictures? No need for all the kitchen stuff. The further downsizing of a life that has already been downsized from a lovely 3 bedroom house, to a 2 bedroom apartment, to a one bedroom apartment, to now…a one room apartment. She has lost many possessions and a beloved husband along the way.

But she doesn’t seem to mind moving , and in fact is looking forward, I think, to being in a place that is smaller, where she will have more help, but things have to be done on their schedule, not hers. You know how it is.  So as I wish the best of luck to George and Laura Bush on their new life ahead, and to the Obama’s and their exciting new life ahead, wish me a little luck too, as we sort through things, both touchable and intangible. Life moves on, doesn’t it?

6 Responses

  1. Donna you have my simpathy. I’m sure you know that this will not and has not been an easy task. I hvae done it with first my grandmother moving to nursing facility and much more rescently with the passing of my mother. I wish you to have strength and support from family and friends.

  2. Donna, our prayers are out for you and your family as you go through this transition period. My wife’s mother is 86 yrs young, and as remarkable as it is that she still lives independently, signs are starting to show that she won’t be able to keep going that way much longer. We may have to put her in an assisted living somewhere soon. She also lives about a half a country away (Missouri). Many flights back and fourth. ( you know the deal.)

  3. Donna, after having to go through the very same thing with my grandparents, I can sympathize with you. It isn’t easy for them to give up their independence but life is always changing. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Dear Donna. We are in the same place, at the same time. My Mom will be 87 on Jan. 27th. She has been in a nursing home the past two weeks, and we have to decide; assisted living or her senior apartment with help coming in. Life is full of choices, but with time, it’s narrowing down to this. We have to do what we feel is best. Our prayers to all who reach this part of the journey.

  5. Hi Donna. It was so good to read this because I am in the same place. My mom is 94 and was living on her own until Nov. when her legs gave out and she fell. After a few days in the hospital and a month in rehab she came out much weaker and dependent for every aspect of her daily life. Now I am looking into Nursing Home care for her since I can’t do this on my own. But oh my the guilt I feel is unbelievable. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done and my mom is so agreeable and positive. She is mentally sharp just her little old body is wearing out. Live is good, but boy it’s hard too. Good luck to your mom and to you and your sisters.

  6. Donna:

    I can relate! Three years ago, I was in your shoes. I saw the drawers full of old watches, the knickknacks, pocketbooks, clothes. My Mom cared very much about her appearance so there was much makeup, etc. I had to get her settled in an Assisted Living and try to do something with all her treasures. She was 83 and still sharp as a tack (and still very beautiful). She had all kinds of lung problems and could no longer live on her own. It was one of the hardest things to do in my life. She was reasonably happy in the Assisted Living. As it became obvious her life was coming to an end, she would say to me, pick out my very best dress and make sure I look pretty. She looked as pretty as ever on the day we buried her. I still miss her. My thoughts are with you Donna.

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