The assisted living home is lovely, with big windows that let in sunshine, a courtyard with flower gardens, a dining area that looks more like a nice restaurant, a cheerful staff, beautiful efficiency apartments, and everything an elderly person could ask for. And yet, it was a difficult move.
My mother-in-law had toured the facility and agreed that she wanted to move there. She needs help with everything from taking a shower to sorting out her medications. Her eyesight is failing. She liked the place and all the services it has to offer. The building is only about a mile from where she lives now, within fifteen miles of both of her sons. And yet, it was a difficult move.
Today we moved my mother-in-law out of a home she's lived in for 47 years. It's the home she moved into soon after she married, the home where she raised her children, the home of 47 Christmas trees, 47 Easter celebrations, and 47 summers. It's a home she can no longer take care of, with a driveway that becomes dangerous on icy winter days, a garage that holds a car she can no longer drive. It is no longer a house that is safe for someone with failing eyesight and shaky limbs. And yet, it was difficult for her to leave.
Her children and children-in-law and grandchildren all agreed that this was the best move. We all agreed that new place was wonderful. We knew she would cry this morning when we arrived to move her in, but that in the long run she would be pleased with the move. We all knew it was the right thing to do, that she needs the help of a staff who is there 24 hours each day. For the last few years, her three kids have spent endless hours taking care of her house, driving her places, shopping for her, doing errands for her, answering her phone calls in the middle of the night, taking her to countless doctors, and reassuring her when she gets scared by a thunderstorm or anxious over some medication. We all knew the time had come to move her, that the care we could provide on an almost daily basis was no longer enough.
And still, it was a difficult move.