At the end of September (2022) while driving home from a very interesting & informative Bryology workshop, I received a call from my 91 year old mother that she was in the hospital. After horrible stomach pain, my brother dropped her off at Crouse Memorial Hospital and soon left town with his family to go on vacation. Not knowing if they would have to operate, I could hear the fear in her voice. I asked if she wanted me to come and she quickly replied, "Yes!". I packed a suitcase and flew to New York State where I grew up a few days later. Little did I know how my life was about to change. After numerous tests, they couldn't come up with any definitive prognosis or solution and released her the next day. She announced that she was finally ready to go to the Nottingham Senior Living Community. A very nice place I'd been trying to get her to move to for the past three years. I was relieved that she made this important decision on her own accord. Though I contacted them immediately, it took a month to get her into the apartment. While waiting, I enjoyed a spectacular fall in Central New York, renewed some connections with old friends and started making plans for the move.
My parents moved to the Appollo Estates condominioms 2.7 miles from the house I grew up in during the year 1986, the same year I graduated College and moved to Colorado. Eventhough they upgraded to more modern style of furnishings, they brought over all their older furniture and things and stored them in the very large unfinished basement and a storage room off the garage. Now I was charged to moving her and the things she couldn't part with from the 2,830 sqr ft condo to a 905 sqr ft 2 bedroom apartment. Not an easy task especially considering my mother's attachement to her things. The first challenge was to decide what furniture take, that would actually fit. After lots of measuring, imaging etc, we started formulating the plan. This was made harder not getting a formal move in date until the week of her move! Fortunately, I was able to find a couple guys and a moving truck who could move the big stuff, and then my cousins drove down from Buffalo, NY to pack and help me get the rest. It took several days and loads to get the initial items moved. Things seemed to be unfolding nicely so I bought a plane ticket to Denver in order to meet Uriah to have Thanksgiving dinner at his son Calebs home in Castle rock. However five days after the move, she fell and broke her back, returning to the hospital for the 3rd time. After a week they were ready to release her, but her insurance would not cover rehab! Thanks UnitedHealth care!! Obviously she was in no shape to take care of herself, so I had to make the tough decision to stay. I really didn't want to spend the winter in NY & I missed my family. After much discussion, Uriah cancelled his plans to join his family for Thanksgiving so he could take advantage of the good weather to finish a big job he was doing. His plan was to pack up the animals and come join me in NY to support me and just be together again. After a harrowing trip, Driving 1700 miles with 2 cats and a dog pulling our Casita in winter, (read more here: https://sdasdona.wordpress.com/2022/12/) He arrived the first week in December. It was a joyous reunion followed by an awkward readjustment to settling in, to a home that was not ours with stuff that my mother still had passionate attachment to.
Joining the YMCA was the perfect solution to keep our bodies active and minds calm. We both played pickleball, and I also enjoyed swimming, yoga and Nia classes, when I wasn't caring for my mom. it took about two months for her back to heal enough that she could start doing some tasks on her own, so by February I turned my attention toward organizing what was left in the home. And there were still plenty of things. Not to mention, every day she would ask, "wheres' my..., I need ..." The longest most tedious part was going through numerous boxes of correspondences and photos. It's no exaggeration to say that my mother saved every letter, card, invitation, report card from everyone. I thinned out some non-personal items, but then sorted them by category. The photos were arranged chronologically. After 2 weeks of diligence, I finally got down to the slides. That's where the bulk of my youth was stored. I learned some very interesting facts that help put things into perspective about my childhood. Luckily, I've got some support as I take this deeper dive into my past.
After 4 months of solid full time work, it was time for the O's to take a little brake to replenish our reserves. Fortunately we were offered a place to stay in Maui. Those weeks were warm, relaxing, filled with sightseeing, nature-embibing, and connecting with friends. Mostly without any worries or responsibilities. A brief but wonderful long deep breath before returning for the final push.
Getting the house cleared out from 70 years of raising a family, travels, art gallery and carpet business, retirement hobbies was no small task! We hit the ground running as the weekend estate sale happened the day after our return. At the end of it we still had a house full of stuff despite the promise of it all being gone. The week that followed we posted the rest on Marketplace $5/box, or low cost for the larger furniture. Uriah found a guy who took a lot of the scrap wood, pallets, metal and freezers, leaving less to the dumpster and then finally two car loads to Rescue Mission. Lastly a full day of 3 of us cleaning and the job was done! Our last day in town I met with the realtor to sign off on the contract, a sidetracked ordeal having to deal with my moms car (which has another year on its lease) then another 1/2 day to clean and organize her apartment one last time!! Of course there were MANY details that have been left ou,t but as you can imagine we both were happy to load up our animals and hit the road back west.
I will likely take the month of April to re-calibrate, re-evaluate, and just have a pause to integrate all that has occured. I hope to have some updates soon about my plans moving forward. All my love, Rajni