Giving peace a chance

Moving Mom Stirs Lasting Memories

Fred Parry
The Music In Me
March 29, 2018

My contrarian father-in-law, Dodie, used to say, “When you get old, you’re a nuisance to yourself and everyone else.” “What the hell,” he’d say, “I’ve lived a good life; I’m ready to go anytime!” He lived independently to 91.

Lately, our normal schedule hasn’t been the same since my mother-in-law reluctantly concluded that moving to a retirement home, sooner than later, would be best. It’s been something we’ve talked about for the last 2 years; and, to be honest, it’s been a difficult process for her, and my wife and me.

Our recent Bright move was, in part, to be closer to mom. And, that’s been a good thing– making us better able to respond to her increasing number and variety of needs. We were wanting to honour her wish for independence, within her own apartment; but, her reduced quality of life, due to deteriorating eyesight and hearing, had become a personal safety issue – in addition to her always threatening heart condition.

Now, we’re happy because she’s happy – meeting new friends; enjoying balanced, prepared meals; having 24/7 care.

A good friend, having gone through the same process with her aging mom, gave good advice: that no matter how frustrating it gets today, you want to look back and have wonderful memories. And, looking through her 95-year-old eyes, it’s must be sad holding on to a lifetime of photos and memorabilia of family and friends – mostly all gone.

So, she takes it personally – after our trying to sell her cherished furnishings on websites and ‘moving’ sales – that almost no one was interested in her ‘stuff’. Charities will pick up donations; but, to sell at a fraction of their real worth.

Living on debt: folks riding high on credit with low-interest rates.

People have only so much cash to spare, so DIY (do-it-yourself) furniture and home décor stores like IKEA – despite relatively low quality – offer trendy designs at low prices and, most importantly, easy credit terms. The IKEA “tool” rules. Handcrafted furniture? – not so much.

But, whatever we value, it’s eventually reduced to nothing. As Shakespeare reminded us, “Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney-sweepers come to dust.” I guess with all our busyness it’s easy to forget that our time on this – life’s stage – is a brief moment… compared to all eternity.

And, when her time comes, we’ll miss the contribution she’s made to our lives, including: creating hand-smocked dresses, and sweaters for her grandchildren; the fabulous family quilts she made for our beds; the many hours she spent babysitting; the family get-togethers she hosted for holidays and Sunday dinners; the timely financial gifts; plus, the holiday baking she’d make for Christmas – the kids always looking forward to grandma’s goodies!

Without her presence, all we’d have is fading photos of a bright star that once illuminated our lives. So, during their twilight years – despite often overlapping issues of our own – let’s celebrate our older one’s lives… while we still can. All too soon, our lives will be so wanting without them.

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  1. A beautiful tribute to someone so dear to your heart. Looking back, we realize just how brief our span on this earth is and how blessed we are to have our friends and family.

  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother-in-law. I hope she read it and realizes what how much she is/was appreciated and what an important presence she was in your lives. “Give me the roses while I live.”

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