by Joy Loverde
I’ve long been an advocate of keeping aging parents in the driver’s seat for as long as possible, and my interacting with Mom and Bill regarding their long-distance relocation has proved that theory works without a shadow of a doubt.
My willingness to “be a sounding board” for Mom and Bill for the past two years as they justified over and over again their reasons for staying put has paid off big time. Today, the trust level is high. Mom and Bill are moving along swiftly as they actively seek my advice and proceed with their plans to relocate long-distance. Now my role is to facilitate their move plans by asking questions in an effort to forge ahead.
And I’m already exhausted!!! I see very clearly now how very vulnerable Mom is these days, and amazed at how willing she has become, almost overnight, to rely on me for every little thing. When I think about it, it’s far better to be physically tired because Mom is asking for help than the alternative of the physical exhaustion I have experienced in the past dealing with her resistance to move.
Bill and I talked on the phone today for an hour, by accident. I called to talk to Mom, and she was unavailable, and he just started to open up to me. We talked about the costs of relocating and renting a house. We talked about lifestyle options and choices of neighborhoods. We talked about giving up the car (he brought that hot topic up and I just listened). And after I hung up the phone I realized this phone call was a turning point for him, and it sounded as though his bags were packed. Today’s conversation with Bill was yet another example of how I had created a trusting relationship for the past nineteen years and how the process of listening over time paid off.
Mom called me back to tell me the realtor just dropped off the papers for them to sign. The selling of the house is now a reality. Mom must have called ten times today. They’re scared I’m sure. And being far away means I must rely on others to help them through the house-sale process. Thank goodness I picked a saint of a realtor.
It can’t be this easy. I’m not trusting how well and how swiftly things are going. As I’ve always told family caregivers, be ready for anything. Now I have to walk the talk. Stay tuned.
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