Moving Out, Moving On

My dad died in 2007 after an eight year battle with prostate cancer. Mom struggled those first few years after his death dealing with the inevitable loneliness and grief and trying to find, as a friend described it, her ‘niche’ in life. Along the way she’s also had to deal with some serious health issues. Certainly it’s been very difficult for her and for the six of us girls as well. Mom chose to stay on at the homestead, a place she’s called home for more than 55 years. She sold a couple of sections of land a few years ago but has been reluctant to leave and start a new life living in town.

Until now.

She listed both her house, our childhood home and the adjacent apartment buildings this spring. The apartment buildings, by the way, were originally built when I was in middle school — another one of my dad’s many ‘ideas’ — as a dance hall slash tavern. He called it, appropriately, the Timber Inn. You’ll recall that my dad owned and operated a sawmill so the name was quite fitting indeed. Later my dad sold the Timber Inn to someone who wanted to convert them into apartments. Then a few years later my dad accepted the offer to buy back the property and it served as another source of income for my parents for many, many years. Ultimately the upkeep and expense for my mother to maintain both the apartments and the homestead convinced her that now was the time to sell and buy something more manageable in town where she could be closer to friends and to church.

The apartments were sold first and then a buyer materialized for the house. Mom had to move quickly and was able to find a place in town. The closing date on both homes takes place the first of August and there’s much yet to do. Happily she’s excited about this but I know it will be emotionally wrenching for her — for all of us — when the day comes to actually leave.

As for me I haven’t yet been able to get up there to help pack and otherwise prepare for the move but I plan to be there to help come moving day. And when that day arrives, in the not too distant future, I’m sure it will be fraught with anguish and sadness. I’m not sure how to prepare for it or what to expect. I do know that I’m not alone and that countless others have had to face similar circumstances with their aging parents.

I’d be interested and grateful for any insight and recommendations my readers might be able to provide as my mother and all my sisters and I prepare for Mom to move out of the home she’s known for so many years and to move on with this new chapter of her life.


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  1. Here we are…..our lives transitioning. Our children independent and successful on their own. We move from being children to caretakers of our parents. Some of us longing to travel or investigate living in another part of the world with our soul mates, yet our sense of family wants to assure our parents are safe and happy at home. It’s the least we can do.
    Moving is such an emotional event, and we are also going through this with our parents. They are so lucky they still have each other but change is difficult. Strong emotions are guaranteed and my only hope is that our folks can look at it as a residential adventure! I hope your mom transitions well Julie, and she will with you girls at the helm.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful response Rhonda. Yes, you (and your parents!) are very lucky to still have each other. I wish them well on their new adventure! I think it’s those ‘strong emotions’ you refer to that I’m most scared of for both Mom and for myself. When are your parents making the transition?

  2. I’ve been meaning to get back here. Love your blog! I’m contemplating starting one myself regarding our thoughts and plans and strenuous process in relocating to the east coast. It will certainly be a time consuming transition–emotionally, financially and physically.

    My folks have their house for sale in Forest City too. No lookers yet. Today, I helped my very fragile in-laws move in to their ranch home in Mason City–close to the hospital. I’m learning so many lessons just observing. Life lessons about flexibility, change, kind words, cross words, actions and family. It’s very stressful for all involved and sad to watch their health deteriorate so quickly. Life is certainly challenging. It sounds like your mom has a very nice home and very manageable as well. Good for her! I hope her moves proves to be stress relieving!

    • Rhoda — I didn’t know you were planning to move out east? New Brunswick? I’m anxious to hear all about it.

      Your comments and observations re: your in-laws and their own transition are gentle reminders for all of us. Very well stated. When the time comes for Bill to attend to his parents needs and when they pass will be challenging for him and for me in being there for him. Much the same as what you’re dealing with now.

      Thanks for your kind words. So glad you like the blog! I’m happy to share with you any advice based on my short tenure here. I enjoy doing this and while I have lots to learn I’m discovering my own voice in the process. Sometimes I struggle to figure out what to write about and then other times the words practically fly off my fingertips!

      Thank you again for your comments and your readership!

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