Saturday, May 11, 2019

Mother's Day tomorrow; Moving Day today

Mom and Lauren
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  Today is moving day for Mom. It’s a mixed blessing.

Mom is 91.  She hadn’t counted on moving to assisted living the day before Mother’s Day, but her husband’s broken pelvis a month ago tipped the scales.  Both of them had fallen one too many times, and other safety issues surfaced as well.  Today the room was ready and it was time to move.

The studio is much smaller than she or her family imagined.  She is moving from a 1500 square foot mobile home where she lived for 22 years, with her first husband until his death in 2001, and until now with her second husband, whom she married in 2004.

For the last month until today, her daughter Carolyn stayed round the clock with Mom, spelled by her son Don, my husband..  Meanwhile, Mom visited her husband three times a day in the nursing home just down the hall from the room that would soon be theirs.   Now she is surrounded by boxes, and slowly but surely, progress is being made, thanks to her crew headed by Carolyn and helped by Don plus three of Mom’s stepsons.  I am the daughter-in-law, checking in by phone and getting our house ready for Mother’s Day, tomorrow.

Practically no one shouts “Hooray!” when moving to assisted living.  Even though it’s needed and the staff is caring, many people don’t enjoy the move at least initially.  How do I know?  I’ve worked with seniors and their families for years, and I know that’s often their response.  I also know that it’s easier for me to help a family with this kind of transition than to be a family member, even though this time I’ve helped from afar..

Only Mom knows the extent of her losses.  She has mentioned the beautiful furniture and treasures she can’t take with her.  In her generation’s words, “Her home was neat as a pin.”  She will likely miss her yard with its azaleas and rhododendrons, its lilies and hydrangea.  Not to mention the cedars and firs.  To quote one of her neighbors, who has excellent taste, her yard was “the most beautiful in the park, and no one could compete with it.”

There are likely other losses that most people over 90 face:  a slower pace, memories that go in and out of one’s mind, and a body that doesn’t respond like it used to.

Last Sunday Don attended services with Mom at Warm Beach Senior Community, where Mom lives. I was at in Seattle at First Free Methodist Church.  We celebrate communion every Sunday, and afterwards, people can move to the side aisle where a pastor or leader is available to pray.  I approached Bonnie Brann, one of our pastors, and told her about the move.   She laid her hand on my head and prayed,

Thank you. God, for Marge.  She is your child.  She is grieving a big transition in her life.  Help her to know your peace and love during this time.  And help those around her to be patient with her grieving.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I know this time has also been stressful for Don and for Carolyn.  They have been real troopers!  Tomorrow, on Mother’s Day, all of us will gather around the table and show our appreciation for each other.  Mom will be there; she will have a different address, but she’ll be there.

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