Back from ‘bama….tales of junk and romance….
January 26, 2009

See anything you want??

See anything you want??

I’m not gonna lie….it was 3 and half days of  somewhat grueling labor, physically and emotionally…moving my Mom to a single room in  “assisted living”. That said…it needed to be done…. my sisters were there to help and make it fun, we had a lot of laughs and a few tears, and bottom line, Momma is now where she needs to be.  Some of the larger pieces of furniture went into storage, temporarily, we promise ourselves, a few she’s using, and lots of others we gave away. But all the bric-a-brac, china, pots and pans, drawers full of old watches, thousands of pens, check stubs from 1995, old magazines, just …..the flotsam and jetsam of life….arrrrgh!!! Thursday night was the worst…my sister Jan and I standing in the apartment after getting Mom settled in her place, surrounded by mountains of stuff. Where to even begin….overwhelming.

Drawers full of keys to nothing, old watches, matches.....

Drawers full of keys, old watches, matches.....

 But we just started separating it..definite keeps, maybe keeps, and definite giveaway or Goodwill, and definite trash. And little by little by little, it all got done. I flew home mid day yesterday, and my sisters finished the rest of it yesterday…called last night giddy with relief, saying “It was the last load…we gave the keys back and it’s finished!”  It was so hard, truly it made me think about all the stuff in my house. If we were to die suddenly, I seriously don’t know what my kids would do….probably throw up their hands in disgust and walk away, or set a match to it all. Just kidding, but do you know what I mean?  It makes you think. At one point, My sister yelled over the phone to my husband, “There’s a lot of junk headed your way!!” She was laughing but she wasn’t kidding.

But, good news of romance blossoming ‘bama. My dear Father-in-law, who lost his wife(and the best Mother-in-law ever) several years ago, seems to have found love again, at the age of 80! I went out for lunch with him and his new sweetheart…he actually called her that…it was kinda odd, but lovely. And I do take a little ownership in this new relationship….he and I have talked about him one day, meeting someone he liked…even if it was just someone to go to dinner with or see a movie…companionship, you know. Anything else is just gravy. He told me about this woman who was taller than him, but they had spent time together as seat mates on a a church bus trip. And he wanted to see her but was unsure how to proceed. I advised him(advice for the lovelorn) to just casually ask if she wanted to meet at a restaurant for lunch one day…not a big date with a pickup…just lunch. And then meet for a movie one day. Very casual. And that was something he thought he could handle. And look where we are. He told me privately, “I think I’m falling in love..” with real wonder in his voice. And she told me, “I can’t believe out of all the women in the church, he picked me!” Isn’t it lovely to think that even at 80, life can hold surprises..good surprises…for us. Gives one hope for the future, doesn’t it?

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A changing of the guard…..in more ways than one…
January 21, 2009

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?