Friday, January 1, 2016

So much work... So much guilt

As I said before I did go there.  I did clean house and make soup.  I reassured my Dad. 

Mom got well.

I also decided that they had to come home with me... if not that exact day... by summer and I made that happen.  I bullied Dad.  I just kept Mom completely in the dark, it was just too hard to imagine explaining to her every day... stabbing her in the heart every day.  So I chose to lie and stab myself in the heart instead. 

A quick piece of advice.  Finding a good senior living facility is not easy.  Start early.  Do your homework.  I toured every single place within 15 miles of my house. They are not cheap.  The good ones have waiting lists that can be months or even years long.  To our advantage was the fact that Mom and Dad have a really amazing retirement income.  Money was not so much a concern.  Thank fucking god.  Those cheaper places made my skin crawl.  Not so much the institutional smell, or the not quite maintained facilities... the worst was the pervasive faint flavor of condescension that had me wincing as the tour lady said things like, "seating in the dining room is assigned". 

Happily we found a great place... but like I said... NOT CHEAP.  Thank god for the money. At one point I pulled my older son aside and told him that when I am old and he is wondering what to do with me, that he was going to be genuinely fucked.  I do not have a great retirement to fall back on.  (And if the republicans have anything to do with it I am not gonna have much social security either. Please vote for Bernie... But I digress... Politics will have to be another post.)

Interesting twist... Nephew had made a commitment to stay until spring to give me time to find a place, make arrangements.  He did not keep it.  Dad gave him some money and he saw it as an opportunity to get the fuck out of Dodge.  So to my supreme horror the last month they were on their own.  Thank god the neighbors really stepped up and kept a very close eye on them until I could get there.

About once a week Dad would call and try to find some way to escape the trap I had him in and I would bully him until he would admit he needed to do this.  And I would drown in my own doubts about this whole process.

Plans were made and remade.  Airplane tickets bought and U-hauls reserved.

The house sold itself.  To an offspring of a dear friend who had grown up coming over to visit and loved the old place as much as the rest of us.  I cannot begin to describe the joy it brought both my parents to know that it won't be a stranger in their home. Dad gave him a real sweetheart deal on price and terms.

Other things fell into place.  Another dear friend thought that there could not be a cooler adventure than driving a pick-up truck towing a loaded U-haul trailer 2000+ miles down the Alcan Highway.  Crazy.  I know but who am I to judge.

One month before they were to move down, the Senior Community that I wanted most of all had an opening... A nice roomy two bedroom apartment with a study, laundry room and a full kitchen.  The second bedroom is perfect for Dad to have his TV.  Lots of room for all the treasures. I was ecstatic. 

And on the very next day after the last day of school in June, I was there.  It is nearly impossible to describe the task of sorting, cleaning, packing that ensued.  Husband/Lover/man in my life was an amazing help.  We worked 12 - 16- sometimes 18 hours a day.  I could not sleep so I just worked and worked and worked.  

 A pick up load of books donated to the local library.  Innumerable loads of stuff to the garbage dump.  (Thank god that is free in AK.)  The local Salvation Army/Good Wills literally had no room for donations so I ended up throwing away sooooo much stuff that was perfectly good but we just had no use for or room to carry down.  If I wasn't sorting, packing, cleaning... I was entertaining the endless parade of friends that kept coming by to say good bye one more time.  The good thing was I made them carry away all kinds of stuff... booze... taxidermy... pictures...

I felt bad...  Despite all the work, the place was still a mess when that kid took possession, but I kept reminding myself about that "sweetheart deal".  Plus all the cool stuff I could not give away, could not keep and could not bear to throw away... it was his... all his.  I remember him asking about one thing and me gently pointing out that it was his thing now and he could decide.

In the end the treasures were packed and shipped or packed and loaded on the trailer.  And by the end of June we had suitcases packed.  And turned and looked back one last time at the place that they called home for the last 35 years.  And turned the page and started this new chapter in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that the home is staying with someone the family knows. I know it will be a big transition, but I'm glad that you've got them by you in a good facility with decent room for them. Don't want to be cramped on top of everything else. I'm glad you'll have them close by.

    I didn't realize they were in Alaska. I have family in the Fairbanks area.